Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Injinji Socks

Confession: feet have always bothered me.

Some people have foot fetishes, but what's the opposite of a fetish? I'm not sure how I got into thinking that feet are just eyesores and smell-bombs.

Luckily, there are socks and shoes to cover up feet. For the longest time, I did not care for any shoe (sandals, etc.) that revealed them, but I traded my insecurities for comfort.

So when a sock comes out that highlights the "feet-ish" things about feet (i.e., the toes), I am the first to squirm, which is probably why it took me so long to try them.

Side note: I wrote about those Vibram shoes several years ago in my bewilderment, and it's actually my most searched-for blog entry!

Say hello to my Injinji socks. I bought these (crew cut) at a marathon expo recently for $12. I wanted to try the compression ones, but they were $38, an investment I wasn't ready to make considering I didn't know if these normal ones would work for me.

Against all conventional wisdom, I wore these socks at my marathon just days after buying them. I walked around town the day before to "get used to them," and they weren't even noticeablely different from my normal Hanes socks.
During my race, I did notice them at some points, but only in the sense that I was feeling a nice cushioning between my toes rather than them rubbing together. Overall, I don't think they impacted me one way or another. I only wish they had more cushioning at the bottom or something or some sort of arch support.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sizzler

A few months ago, I had my first meal at the all-too-popular restaurant, Sizzler.

I didn't grow up eating out, so it took me a while to hit up the all-American favorites such as Denny's or even Olive Garden. I generally go to the more "up" Souplantation.

So yes, Sizzler excited me, in spite of generally hearing it as the butt of a lot of jokes. Not sure why, though:

Above: We both got an "endless salad bar" for $9.99. My plate is on the left/bottom. A waiter served this not-so-good garlic/cheese bread.


Above: Dessert... Nilla wafers from the chocolate pudding (I think I like chocolate pudding), and fruit.


Above: Sizzler's telling us that this stuff is good for us. Yippee!


Above: "The Ukrainian"'s clam chowder.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Milks, part 2

In a previous post, I talked about some non-dairy milk alternatives. Yowzers, they are becoming popular! This actually makes me very happy, because that also means they are getting cheaper!

Here are some quarts that have graced the fridge at work as of late:

Halzenut Milk

This is a sweeter milk that really added nice flavor to oatmeal and tea/coffee. I liked this one a lot because it was thick and creamy like soy milk and had 2 grams of protein and adequate calcium to boot. (~$2.50 on sale)

Pearl Soy Milk

For something that was $1, I thought it was pretty good. I thought it was slightly creamier than the average soymilk I've had, though that probably comes from the extra calories it has versus other soymilks. Being organic is a plus. I know Pearl comes in a bunch of other flavors, but I am not adventurous enough to try because I usually don't drink soy milk alone. Love the vitamin and protein boost, though!


Coconut Milk

I first tried this when Tea Time brought it over one day, and I wanted to put some non-dairy beverage into my decaf. My first impression is that the taste was a little "grassy"? Definitely not as thick or chock full of vitamins as the other two, and even though the "saturated fat" content is mostly "healthy," it makes me weary. Still, I wanted to give this a fair shot and got it for $1.69 (after coupon) at Whole Foods.



I found this to be a thicker and creamier than the other milks, though for some reason I can't get over the fact that it's... coconut. Makes me think I'm drinking up a bunch of fat, but as you can see, besides the saturated fat issue, it's not too bad nutritionally. Not a big fan of the taste, but texture-wise, it's close to that of milk.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Banana-Date Scones

On my long "to bake" list was this banana-date scone recipe from Veganomicon. It all started when I opened "The Ukrainian"'s refrigerator to find that a bunch of bananas he bought less than a week ago still somewhat green were now mushed up/black.

I diced some of them and froze the parts that were salvage-able (for later use in smoothies and popcicles) and used the rest as the base of this recipe.

Above: Chopped up medjool dates (from Sprouts) and mashed-up banana. Yes, looks AND sounds appealing, eh? (Ignore booze in the background...) I had to grind my own flax seeds, sub soy milk for rice milk, and maple syrup for brown rice syrup.

Above: While I was in such a hurry that I didn't get any more "process" pics (it got quite sticky and messy!), I did get this fresh-outta-the-oven shot!

Above: I put them on a plate to cool.

Above: "The Ukrainian" made me take this picture, which is why I look very sheepish here.

Above: A texture shot. It's more cake-y than scone-y, but then again, I really think many scones don't have much flavor, while this one had a nice banana and sweet aroma. I would love to try making other variations of this recipe (cranberry-orange will probably be my next attempt, much to my chagrin).

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Foods of San Antonio

It's finally time for the highly-anticipated San Antonio FOOD post.


Before we get to the good stuff, I thought I'd show what we ate in Las Vegas between our flights.



If you are not from the area, you might be wondering what they eat in Texas, or at least the tourist-y parts of Texas. So did I. One thing I did assume, though, is that we HAD to go have barbecue and eat on the famous Riverwalk.

Although I had said I would eat fish again, I still imagined that I'd be very low on options. However, I was pleasantly surprised that there were decent vegetarian options at every restaurant we visited. I committed fish-sins twice, but I didn't have to. I just didn't want to be eating things I "could get at home" while over there.

Above: The place of our post-landing meal.



Above: Here's my order... a "Texas Iced Tea" (waaaay too strong) and a fried catfish/fries combo. This was fish-sin #1. It wasn't amazing, and I guess I could have ordered the Boca burger they had..... but I'd feel so lame...



Above: "The Ukrainian"'s order... The bread roll was AMAZINGLY buttery! The barbecue sauce (that we got an additional side of) was everything I'd expect from Texas... very deep flavors. And for dessert, we got a peach cobbler in a skillet. We actually got the dessert for free, presumptuously because our server liked me for my touristy naivete.



Above: I mentioned in my "Sights" entry, we went to Market Square and got some Mexican pastry snacks! We got three different empanadas (sweet potato is pictured) and this:

Above: Caramel-filled churro. I was amazed to see such a rarity!



Above: Zuni Grill at the Riverwalk is where we had our carbo-load dinner. We had just come out of an Irish pub with a singing guy (SO much fun!) and weren't too hungry. It's hard to see, but I had a portebello fajita dish (center). "The Ukrainian" ordered a smoked salmon, caper, goat cheese pizza (right). This pizza was my favorite eat the whole time I was there. I had a small piece... which is fish-sin #2.




Above: Post-marathon, we went to The County Line on the Riverwalk. They served HOMEMADE bread. We got the wheat with honey butter. It was comforting and heavenly! I ate two. Pictured also is a side-salad.



Above: "The Ukrainian"'s meat sampler and my large baked potato.



Above: The aftermath. I didn't do so well...



Above: Also, as mentioned in my "Sights" entry, we ate at a revolving restaurant at The Tower of the Americas. We ate fine for not too much (very safely under $100 w/tax+tip included -- did I mention the lower taxes in Texas????). We ordered two drinks: pomegranite mojito and pineapple drink. I asked for mine to be weak. Also pictured is my salad entree (so choppy!) and lava cake dessert. We only had two real desserts in San Antonio. Amazing for me!!

P.S. The Tower's elevator ride = outta this world.

Above: I also ordered a side of gazpacho. "The Ukrainian" got a very-fishy smelling but good planked salmon.


Now, let's talk about the hotel. We stayed at the Drury Plaza Hotel @ the Riverwalk, and they fed us free breakfasts and "kickbacks" (light dinners). On race day, they even started a cold breakfast bar for the runners very early!

Here's the progression of breakfasts (Saturday's on the left, Monday at center, Tuesday on the right). Note the dwindling content.



Our "kickbacks." We got free alcoholic drinks. I had nearly three in a day. A record.



And finally, this is our pit-stop before flying home. "The Ukrainian" is calculating all the costs of our trip. Strangely, not too expensive at all. (Our hotel was really cheap, and we didn't have to eat out that often.)


At the gym when I got back, I learned that in spite of all the food, I did not come back heavier. Amazing!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Sights of San Antonio

San Antonio really surprised me. Coming from Southern California, I am used to landmarks and excitement. So when I saw the course previews of the San Antonio Rock n Roll Marathon looking like some of the less glamorous parts of Los Angeles, I wasn't very hopeful.

But San Antonio is a very historical and fun city. And in spite of its 2.2-ish million residents, it has a very small-town feel. This is definitely the most pictures I've ever had in one entry, so I condensed them a little.

To see the pictures up-close, right-click them in "Open in New Window/Tab".

If you're ever considering coming here... here's a primer for some of the sights!

Starting off the sites is our hotel... As I mentioned in my race post, it used to be a bank. It definitely had that appearance.

Here's the view from the top of the hotel.

The interiors were pretty sweet! Here's some views from the rooms. The beds were SOOOO comfortable that I slept A TON while I was away, while "The Ukrainian" (and I when I wasn't dead sleepy) watched English soccer and football (thank you, ESPN!).

Next up: The Alamodome, where the Spurs (NBA) play. Since we stayed in Downtown, we walked everywhere, though this was probably one of the further walks away.

The Downtown view.


Above: The interior of the hotel. See... bank-ish! Speaking of banks, one thing I really loved about San Antonio was the dominance of Chase banks!


Above: (left) San Fernando Cathedral. I believe it's one of the oldest in the country. (right) O Henry -- a famous American writer -- house.


Above: We went to Market Square on Saturday. It was full of Mexican culture, crafts, and food.


Above: The right picture is a toothpick holder.


Above: We bought snacks here. I will talk about it in the "Food" entry. This place was SO beautiful. I wish I had actually dined here just so I can look at the beautiful ceilings in the dim light.


Above: More sights from around town. There is actually some theater life in this city. And on the very right is the Convention Center, which is HUGE.


Above: Places that reminded me of home.


Above: We did not go to the Children's Museum, but we DID go to this Buckhorn Texas Ranger one. A basic summary of this museum is what you see on the very right. I've never seen so many animal heads in one place...


Above: For example, check out this deer portrait. Is this corn... or rattlesnake rattles?? Assume the worst.


Above: An Australian Dingo. It was SO cute!


Above: (left) Two-headed sheep. (center) Bear encounter. (right) One of the many scene creations... this one is of General Robert E. Lee.


Above: Some old-fashioned fun. Yes, we paid a quarter just to confirm what I already knew. I also got to play bartender!


Above: We took a ride on a boat of the famous River Walk. It was a half hour of boating around. It was such a beautiful day.


Above: After the marathon, we finally got to The Alamo, and also some other surrounding sites.


Above: I took advantage and ran... there's no better recovery!


Above: More sites. (center) I took this picture of a store in the mall for Tea Time. (right) Tower of the Americas. We were told it is the third tallest tower in the world and second in the US.


Above: Speaking of The Tower of Americas, we ate there! This is Chart House, a higher-end dining experience that we had in San Antonio. I will talk more about this place in the "Food" entry, but the views were amazing! Best of all, I did not get sick in this rotating restaurant, which made one rotation per hour.


Above: To end, here are two indoor sights I had: weird water that looks like the Arrowhead that we have in California. And this hotel gym that did NOT get any use during our time there.