Venturing Beyond LAX and Trying Homemade Vegan Food in Inglewood, CA

I recently came back from a work trip to Michigan and while the food scene consisted of  lots of hearty American cuisine, I came back to California wanting something more light and natural. I found this Ethiopian place near LAX called Emma Habesha Restaurant and I was eager to try a beautiful platter of food filled with herbs and spices. On the outside the restaurant blends in with the building surrounding it and my friend and I actually drove past it (and it’s pretty easy to miss); however, once you enter the building you’ll realize that you’ve stepped into an African oasis.

Decor near the front

The interior of the restaurant had bright colors and while cozy and warm, the intimate setting was great for friends to chow down. The menu consisted of nine main entrees all served with injera – a sourdough spongy flat bread. After thoughtful consideration and seeing another patron enjoy a colorful vegan platter my friend and I were intrigued and decided to order that in addition to a lamb stew that was recommended by the waitress. Neither of us are vegan, but we were excited to eat with our hands and sample many different lentil, beans and vegetable flavor profiles.

Combined entrees

We knew the entrees were made fresh and enjoyed conversing with one another as we waited for our healthy meal. Since it was our first time I think they combined the two into one large platter. The Vegan Agelgil Fitfit (vegeterian plate $12) and Ye Beg Alicha (Lamb stew $13) were both wonderful, though the vegetables were definitely the stars! If you’re looking to incorporate more greens and non-red meat items into your diet the price-point is very reasonable and the flavors are incredible here.

After a long flight, what kind of food do you crave?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Getting up close and personal with the Hollywood Sign – check!

I’ll be honest I hate hiking with a passion. I had a really traumatic experience back when I lived in the East Coast and since then I forbade the “H” word into my vocabulary. Fast forward 8 years – a  group of friends wanted to make a trek up to the Hollywood sign and because I was A) planning to be in the Hollywood area that day B) I needed to differentiate my exercise regime and C) seeing the Hollywood Sign up close and personal was a bucket-list item – it seemed that all the stars aligned for me go for it.

Horses on the trail

Bright and early in the morning the group of us tied our tennis shoes and wore layers of clothes before heading up. While most people hiked on foot, there were a handful who were on horseback which was pretty cool to see.

Made it to the Hollywood Sign!

The 6.5 mile hike (round-trip) is a moderate hike for sedentary folks like myself, and while I probably won’t jump to do this hike again anytime soon I am glad that I did it and can share some cool photos! If you’re planning to hike to the sign – plug in this address (2927 Canyon Drive, Los Angeles, CA). There are two small parking lots, but they do get crowded so I did street parking before you enter the gate.

What’s on your bucket list?

XOXO

Rockstar

Enjoying Keto Diet Friendly Food at Silva’s Fresh Eatery and Churrascaria in Santa Ana, CA

One of my goals for 2019 was to limit my refined carbs intake and focus on protein and veggies; however it’s been a challenge to find a restaurant that fits a more keto-friendly diet and is also both affordable and tasty. Yet, located less than a mile away from South Coast Plaza, Silva’s Fresh Eatery & Churrascaria (3672 S Bristol St, Santa Ana CA 92704) meets all the criteria and for a very reasonable price!

Cocktails and Salad Bar

Nested in a strip mall Silva’s is a casual, but trendy buffet with authentic Brazilian faire and traditional and fusion cocktails. My friend and I ordered a caipirinha – a rum based beverage with lime and fruit and it was very refreshing. We then headed towards the salad bar to check-out their offerings. I loved that they use locally sourced organic veggies and how brightly colored everything was. The turmeric cauliflower and roasted broccoli were very simply prepared, but acted as perfect accompaniments to the protein offerings. I also tried some freshly fried Pao De Queijo (Cheese rolls) and while they weren’t on my “approved” keto-diet list, they were uh-mazing and I have no regrets poppin’ two – they were so, so good!

Chef cutting meat and our plates

For meats Silva’s had beef, lamb, sausage, chicken, and salmon – so something for everyone, although I loved how moist and juicy the gaucho style sausage was and the leg of lamb was super tender. My friend and I came for dinner and at $26.95 a person seven days a week, the price is a steal for the variety! If you can come during lunch Monday-Friday the price is $22.95! Many other comparable places charge $50 easily!

What’s something you’d never give up eating?

 

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Breakfast? Snack? Dessert? Nutritious and Delicious Bowls in Huntington Beach, CA

I’ve been on a search to find other healthy options to incorporate into my diet and as of today I’ve found an incredibly fresh ceviche at Mariscos Jalisco and super flavorful vegetarian food at Ashiwad The Blessing.  Unfortunately, both options are more than an hour away from me so when I found Blue Bowl, a nutritious assembly-style bowl joint, minutes away from home I knew I had to check it out.

Small Bowl ($7)

I was picking up some food across the way and noticed the new shop. It was almost closing time and there were a ton of people inside so I decided to check it out – so glad that I did. The set-up is very similar to an assembly-line where you pick your base and your cup is handed off to other people in the line.

Assembly Line Set-up

On this trip I decided to go for a small with a pitaya (aka. Dragon Fruit) base with blue chia and freshly ground almond butter. Toppings are unlimited so I loaded up and was super happy with the result. It’s extremely colorful and tasty! Highly recommended and there are two locations.

ORANGE STORE
417 S. Main Street
Orange, CA 92868

Monday-Friday 7:00am-7:00pm
Saturday 7:00am-6:00pm
[ Closed Sunday ]

 

HUNTINGTON BEACH STORE
18051 Beach Blvd.
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

*Soft Opening Hours:
Monday-Friday 10:00am-7:00pm
Saturday 10:00am-6:00pm
[Closed Sunday]

 

What kind of toppings would you put in your bowl? nuts? fruit? honey?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Where to a Buy Magical Jar to Help Weight Loss, Bower Blood Pressure and More in Garden Grove, CA

It’s no secret that I love to eat, yet it can often be a challenge to find inexpensive healthy food without comprising taste. I’ve already devised a plan to increase my steps for 2019 (exercise post) and plan to cook more regularly to control the quality of ingredients that I’ll consume. One item that I plan to buy once a month is kimchi as it’s been linked with many health benefits.

Store Front

You can purchase kimchi at any Zion Market or H-Mart, but I found this local specialty shop called Seoul Do Soon Yi Kimchi Co (9972 Garden Grove Blvd, Garden Grove, CA 92844) that uses a homemade recipe. Open daily (Mon-Sat 9am-7pm; Sun 9am-6pm), this small mom n’ pop shop sells various styles of kimchi – napa, bok choy, cucumber, and radish in two sizes (Small $11 ; Large $16). I purchased a small half gallon bok choy.

Fridge of Large Napa Cabbage Kimchi Jars

You can eat the kimchi by itself or include it tofu soup or make kimchi fried rice. When I went home I sampled a small bowl-ful and it definitely has a kick to it! Much more flavorful than what you get at the grocery store. I also love supporting small businesses and plan to come back to grab a small napa cabbage kimchi. They ran out on my visit, but now that it’s on my radar I’ll definitely be back.

What kind of healthy food are you incorporating into your diet this year?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Devouring Ugly Delicious Seafood Endorsed by Jonathan Gold in Pomona, CA

Mexican food and Socal are synonymous with one another, and some of the best are found in dingy hole-in-the-wall restaurants. During my Anime Los Angeles Trip (ALA Cosplay Post, ALA Ribbon Trading, ALA My Hero Academia Panel), I had the opportunity to try a variety of restaurants including amazing Indian food at Ashirwad the Blessings and one of the best burgers at Daddy O’s Rockin Cafe, but my favorite restaurant on that trip was Mariscos Jalisco in Pomona, CA. If you love seafood you’re in for a real treat!

Botana ($21) and Taco ($2.25)

With a 5 star review average on Yelp and listed on Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurant, I wanted to see if it’s as amazing as the reviews. With a shabby exterior, you would most certainly drive by and not think twice about going in; however, my motto in “Never Judge a Book By it’s Cover” is one that I always stand by. So, My friend and I shared the Botana ($21) a box of ceviche that included abalone, squid, fish, shrimp, and avocado with chips on the side as well as their famous deep fried tacos. The ceviche ingredients were very simple, but tasted very fresh and I devoured that taco instantly.

Tostado Menu

The Botana has the most variety of seafood, but if you’re dining here alone they offer personal size tostada’s with different combinations of seafood. This hole-in-the-wall restaurant truly is a gem and with 2 trucks and 2 brick and mortar stores.

  1. Mariscos Jalisco  – 3040 E Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90023 (Boyle Heights)
  2. Mariscos Jalisco  – 753 E Holt Ave, Pomona, 91767
  3. Mariscos Jalisco (truck) – E 10th St and Towne Ave, Los Angeles CA 90021
  4. Mariscos Jalisco (truck ) – S Figueroa St and 140th Street, Los Angeles CA

I’d totally make this my go-to taco shop if I lived closer, where do you go to curb your Mexican cravings?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Kicking off 2019 at the Peanuts Celebration at Knotts Berry Farm in Buena Park, CA

Like most people I too wanted to diet and exercise more for my new year resolution, yet instead of solely going to the gym more frequently, I decided to purchase a season pass to Knotts Berry Farm as an incentive to increase my steps. At $200 for a Gold Membership, which includes admission to Buena Park theme park and water park, parking, and admission to other Cedar Point theme parks throughout the US it seemed like a no brainer and also a fun way to move more. There’s usually a theme each month and in January and February, Knott’s celebrates your favorite beagle with birthday decor and various photobooth backgrounds.

Sidewinder in Camp Snoopy

It’s been a while since I last visited Snoopy and his friends (at least 10 years), so when I bought this pass I found out that there were several new roller coasters added. Hangtime has a 90 degree drop and Accelerator (my favorite!) launches riders at 82 mph in less than 2.3 seconds.  Sidewinder is a crowd favorite, and while it’s located in Camp Snoopy it spins while you peruse up and down the tracks.    

Since I live relatively close my plan is to go at least once a week after work to put in my steps – one lap around the park then ride an attraction. If coasters aren’t your thing, Voyage to the Iron Reef is a really cool underwater shooting game. On my first visit I waited almost two hours and still felt that it was worth while.

What are some things you’re doing to live a healthier 2019?

XOXO,

Rockstar

Vegetarian Convert?! Feasting on an Explosion of Flavors for Cheap in Upland, CA

When I was researching restaurants in the Inland Empire, I read rave reviews about Ashiwad The Blessing. This vegetarian restaurant had a 4.5 star rating on yelp and with a “eating healthy” new years resolution I was curious to see what it was all about. Additionally, it had dinner hours that extended in the late evening (9pm), which also contributed to my trip plans.

Khamni – Appetizer

Located in an unassuming strip mall, my friend and I wandered in to the simple, but clean restaurant. We were seated prompted and our waiter educated us about the diverse menu option. After thoughtful consideration we started the evening with the Sev Khamni ($4.99), a steamed chick pea. This gluten-free appetizer came with a sweet and spicy sauce accompaniment and was beautifully presented.  The portion was very generous as a starter and served as a great introduction for our enormous entree.

Thali – entree

To share my friend and I ordered the Thali ($14.99) – A complete meal with your choice of vegetables (we opted for a seasonal eggplants and sweet potatoe mix), soup, rotis, rice, raita, snack, and dessert (fried donut). This picture doesn’t do it justice in the size of the offering, and the taste was just was full and robust. There were so many complex flavors that I couldn’t help myself but mixing and matching the items. Everything tasted so earthy and there was no meat! Our total for two came out to about $20ish dollars which is so inexpensive considering the portion and taste. I loved it!

img_4522
Dining area

I love meat as much as the next person, but after eating this meal I didn’t miss it. I’m not likely to go full blown vegetarian, but I wouldn’t mind incorporating a meal like this into my routine.

What’s your favorite meatless meal?

 

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

 

 

College Touring at Emory University in Atlanta, GA and New Series Announcement!

As a school counselor one of my primary roles is to help students with college admissions, and there’s no better way to learn about a university than by signing up for an official campus tour. I went ahead and signed up for an info session and guided walking tour for Emory University, an Ivy League of the South.

Emory University Campus Photos 

There were so many prospective students and families eager to learn about this prestigious institution and at the end of the information session we were separated into smaller groups and a current upperclassman. We were guided around the campus and I loved learning about the traditions, and various free resources available to students and staff – one of which was free admission to the Michael C Carlos Museum, a premier museum focused on ancient artifacts directly on campus! My tour guide commented that in the past the museum housed a King Tut collection. So cool!

More Emory University 

The university places great emphasis on collaboration and sustainability, while also upholding academic excellence and a well-rounded education. The architecture evoked a New England feel and I loved walking around seeing the Fall foliage. And guess what, I’m kicking off a new series – Adventures in Atlanta!

Which Atlanta posts are you most eager to read? Wandering Wednesday or Foodie Fridays?

XOXO,

Rockstar

Living on Cloud 9 at the annual Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival

Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival is a luxury staple in Orange County. This annual event highlights great talents and features world renowned chef celebrities like Chef Nobu Matsuhisa (Nobu Restaurant), Chef Jet Tula (The Charleston) and so many more! It’s one of my favorite regional festivals and I was thankful to cover the event again as one of @foodiejudge‘s plus one.

Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival tastes and sips!

In previous years this festival focused primarily on the edible guilty pleasures and this year moved to highlight other activities. Wine and other libations made up 1/2 of the festival and vendors specializing in pampering experiences such as a braid bar, silly photo booth stations, and luxury furnishings had a large presence. There were also several large art displays for guests to enjoy.

More noms!

My favorite sample at the event had to be the seared-diver scallops with quinoa served by Pelican Grill. The chef continuously laid large plump pieces on the portable grill, seared them perfectly, and served them fresh to the guests. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I had three servings because it was so so good. *Drool*

More Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival photos!

Personally I enjoy eating more so than drinking, but there were so many different libations to choose from. Guests could enjoy a cider from Stella, Macallan a prominent whiskey brand, and so much more.

What would you enjoy first? Noms or sips?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar