Monthly Archive: May 2010

Mexican Skunk Dance

I’m glad you guys are enjoying my tips for navigating the veg friendly parts of Cabo San Lucas…

For our last night in Cabo we went to Hacienda El Coyote for dinner. 

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The interior was on the eclectic side, but this was still probably one of the more “fancy” restaurants we went to.

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In addition to the restaurant area, they had a Tequila Lounge, and a few different outside seating areas.

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Navigating the wine list was the first priority after being seated.

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Check.

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Second order of business, the menu.

Kyle started with a tomato salad that I “borrowed” a few bites of. 

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The balsamic dressing was so tangy – it was really yummy.  The waiter ended up bringing me a plate after he saw me stealing so many bites ;)  I steered clear of the Oaxaca cheese, but the rest was very tasty.

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My mom and dad split the house salad (aren’t the plates pretty!).

And then dinner arrived…

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Finally a place that had vegetarian tacos as an actual item on the menu!!  They each had a different corn tortilla (the red was my fave) and inside was a delicious mix of veggies.  It was easily one of the best meals I had in Cabo.

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Oh wine, the silly things you do to me…

Anyways, we didn’t dine out every night though…far from it actually.  On most nights (and for almost all our lunches) we ate back at the villa. 

Here’s an example of the BBQ action: steaks for the boys, chicken for my mom, and veggies for moi.

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The zucchini was sliced in half and drizzled with EVOO, S & P while the mushrooms were marinated overnight in a Italian vinaigrette.

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We also had (steamed) corn and a simple salad (with romaine, tomato, avo, and carrots).

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Outside dining.  Love.

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The left plate was mine before I heaped un monton de ensalada on top of everything.  Such a delish meal.  My pops did an extraordinary job on the BBQ – I have never had such juicy grilled veggies.  Note to self, marinate overnight.

Before I say adios to Cabo, I thought I would leave you with a pic of our friend from yesterday.

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If you follow me on twitter, you probably saw my tweets about the baby skunk we found trapped in our trash can.

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To answer the implied question – no, we didn’t get sprayed.  He was a baby (and adorable at that), and didn’t seem to know how nervous we were.  In fact, he was quite intrigued by all the pics I was taking (it almost seems like he was posing, doesn’t it?).  Such a cutie!  Clearly he, too, could live off of beer and hummus…now how could I not respect that? 

We took a video of my Dad setting him free (he tied a rope to the garbage can’s handle and pulled it over from a few yards away).  It was hilarious until we realized we hadn’t closed ANY of the doors to the villa…and as the critter headed toward the house we felt like white trash morons running after a skunk with our beers in hand.  Classy.

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Heading back to CA now…adios Cabo!

Los Seis Favoritos

1. Cabo Coffee Co.

This was some damn fine coffee!  The Cabo Coffee Company has two locations in Cabo, and if I had even an inch of extra space in my suitcase, I’d find a way to smuggle a few pounds home with me.  Looks like those souvenir shot glasses are gonna get the boot.  ;)

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Paired with some lactose free milk (leche deslactosada)

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Nothing like some fresh local java to put some pep in your step (not that anyone needs to be productive while in Mexico…).

Runner up coffee selection goes to Blason Premium Coffee

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It’s from Oaxaca, in the coffee producing region of Pluma; and although I loved it, the rest of the fam was only so-so about it (hence the switch to Cabo Coffee Co).

2. Produce, produce, produce

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There’s a commercial grocery store near the Cabo airport (called Mega) which, in addition to regular groceries, has fresh baked goods and amazing produce.

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(I have a million and one strawberry, apple, banana, mango, and blueberry pics, so I’ll spare you and just post these)

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Also at Mega, they have baked goods on display and you take a tray and serving tongs and pile on whatever you want and then take it to the counter where they wrap it all up for you.  My parents and Kyle went with the sweeter breakfast items while I stuck with the freshly baked rolls.  It’s safe to say I dominated the carbs on this vacay.  Bread…chips…tortillas…all winners in my book.

3. Baja Brewing Co.

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We heard about this place from a few different people…and who turns down a recommendation for a good brewskie?  Nobody in my fam (well, except my non-hops-lovin Mom).

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The brewery is located atop the Cabo Villas (one of the hotels on the main beach), and the view alone is worth the trip.

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I ordered the Baja Blonde, which (from the menu) is “a German style lager, similar in many ways to traditional Mexican lager beers.”  It was light and refreshing – a success in my book.  My Dad went with the Peyote India Pale Ale, which was a true IPA (aka aggressively bitter).  He loves that hop bite.  They warn that this flavor intensive ale is not for the weak beer drinker but if you like to challenge your palette, this hop extravaganza will satisfy.  Kyle opted for the Peliroja.  For this brew, “a well balanced combination of malts and hops come together to produce a red full bodied beer.  Aromatic at first, the malt soon dominates the flavor of this ale, finally giving way to a smooth hop finish.  This beer has the most flavor, aroma and body of the three beers.”  Oddly enough, they don’t recommend this beer for those who say they like light beers…which is funny since Kyle likes light beers, but also enjoyed this one. 

We all passed our pints around, and I definitely liked mine the best.  My Mom hates beer and stuck with Coke, which was probably a wise choice in the end since I found myself rather tipsy at the end of the meal.  Day drinking is NOT for the faint of heart. 

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For the food part of lunch, I went with the Butter-Parsley Shrimp Salad
which was mixed greens tossed with pepper-lime vinaigrette, Tuscan white beans, cherry tomatoes, and jicama.  I actually tasted a few of the shrimpies, but they didn’t do anything for me, so my Dad and Kyle took care of the rest.

4. Pancho’s Restaurant & Tequila Bar

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I had some issues with this place at first, but it won my heart over in the end.  Well, actually, it was Kyle’s crafty ordering that smoothed things over, but either way, I was satisfied with my meal, so who cares how it ended up in the win column, so long as it made it’s way there, right?

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After single-handedly finishing this bowl of pico de gallo with two baskets of tortilla chips, I wasn’t exactly hungry.

Still, I wanted a little somethin’ somethin’ and I figured it wouldn’t be too hard for them to through together a taco with beans and veggies.  Not so.  Apparently, since it wasn’t on the menu, it wasn’t able to be entered into the computerized billing system.  Unable to figure out a way around the system, Kyle my Prince Charming swooped in to save the day.  Instead of ordering enchiladas, he ordered the combo platter (which comes with a tostada, burrito, and taco) and asked for the taco to be veggies only.

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That broccoli/carrot filled number on the end was mine :)

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It also came with a side of bean and rice, which I added into the taco.

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My Dad ordered fried plantains for dessert, which I know will make one girl very jealous.

5. Costco bulk buys

Yes, there is a Costco in Cabo.  And if you are a Costco member in the US, your card works in Mexico, too.  Although this store doesn’t have Sabra, I think I may actually prefer their brand (gasp!).

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This is basically just an excuse for me to show you how little my lifestyle (eating habits) change regardless of my location.  Sure, the tubs of hummus are suited for a family of twelve…but has that ever stopped me before?  Not so much.

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Again, this is a tiny fraction of the veg platters I created while in paradise.

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The first thing I noticed (and liked) about Sibari Humus was that it was WAY more dense than any other brands (tortilla chips broke off while scooping).  The second thing that really sealed it’s place in my heart was how it was topped with sunflower seeds, and also had a uniquely sunflower-y nutty flavor to it.  I’ve never tried SunButter, but now I am intrigued…maybe this winning marriage is the result of a tahini replacement (by it’s cousin seed the sunflower?).

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Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), like all other Costcos, everything is sold in bulk (read: you better have a bomb shelter to store whatever you are about to buy), so we had to go to a regular grocery store (or in our case Walmart) to get a six-pack of soda.  Not everyone wants to consume 800 servings of Diet Coke crack in a week (please note I said “not everyone,” but I didn’t necessarily include myself in that group).

6.  Avocado

I believe there is no explanation needed for this.

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If anyone could live off of dips alone, it would be me.  Hummus and guacamole should be in their own food group.

Villa Sonrisa

Hello from Cabo San Lucas!

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Last time I was here was January of last year and it was so fun I have no idea why I haven’t returned sooner…oh wait…there was that little job thing…

Now, I feel like I’m on summer vacation.  Even though living out of a suitcase can get old, I’m very aware of how lucky I am to be able to spend time off (post-move/pre-wedding) relaxing, visiting with friends, family, etc.

Prior to heading to the airport on Thursday morning, Kyle and I made a few essential stops.

1. Starbucks

[non-pictured soy misto]

2. Whole Foods

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Who knew they would have such a legit wrapped up meal ready to take on the road?  Well, duh, it IS Whole Foods.  I swear to never again doubt you my love.

I was a bit worried about the little tub of teriyaki sauce, but I’m happy to report that my 4 ounces were safely smuggled through LAX’s security.

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I ate half while waiting for the boarding to begin, and the rest on the plane.

It was the best thing I have eaten on a plane in I-don’t-know-how-long.  Also, (for all the IBS-ers out there) in terms of foods that are easy on the tum, brown rice and tofu are about as benign as it gets.  There were a few greens and roasted red peppers too though, so I also felt like my veg quota was semi-met.  Happy Hippie :)

Once we landed my parents picked us up (they had arrived a few hours earlier and had already gotten the rental car and done the grocery shopping – talk about perfect timing!).  If you read the previous posts I linked to above you know that my parents own a house in Cabo, so I am familiar with the area, but this was Kyle’s first trip. 

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I got right to work once we got to our placePacifico time!

And shortly thereafter we headed to dinner at Mi Casa.

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Corona time!

It’s fairly easy to be vegan in Mexico (or at least meat and dairy free) – as long as you like beans, guacamole, and salsa (check, check, and check!).

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There’s no telling if there is or isn’t lard in the tortilla chips/tortillas, so I’m operating under the ignorance-is-bliss theory.  I ordered a salad which came with beans, corn, bell peppers, tomatoes, and tortilla strips (I nixed the queso but otherwise it was already a menu item so it wasn’t a big deal for them). 

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Once it arrived, I added a very generous portion of guacamole to it, as well as (more) pico de gallo.  Perfection.

In the last few days I’ve been inhaling so many chips you’d think it was my last meal on Earth.  I think I’m on vacay mindset, but I suspect (slash hope) my love affair with the crispy blue corn buggers will naturally wane.  I don’t want to deprive myself because, hell, I’m in friggin’ Mexico, but at the same time, I have NO intention of altering the size of my wedding dress…ya dig?  So, that said, I’m trying to get a good balance of indulging with moderation.

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Blue corn heaven.

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Produce galore.

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Lunch.  Aka TWO avocados, one massive tomato, half a lime (juice), S & P.

Anyways, you get the idea…it’s summah time and the livin’s easy :)

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Other good veg Mexican options include vegetable Fajitas, vegetable tacos, a beans & rice combo platter or (if you’re an avo lover like I am) straight up guacamole for one. 

And when all else fails, just order fish tacos without the fish.  The other night I had to get creative because they enter the orders in via computer.  It put a bit of a glitch in my ordering, but in the end I got crafty. 

Ok, that’s enough for now…time to get back to the beach…

Pradeep’s on Montana

There are several areas on the Westside that I adore, one of which is Montana Ave.  Since our friends live nearby, they took us to Pradeep’s.

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I love Indian food!  (Side note: I just discovered that this place has nutritional information available online if you’re into that…for some reason that seems a bit bizarre for an Indian restaurant in my opinion…not sure why, but whatever).

We started with the “famous samosas” which were filled with vegetables, mint and tamarind chutney, and then fried to crispy perfection. 

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Yum.  Not heavy or greasy at all.  Simply delicious.

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When dinner was ready, they brought out rice and salad to accompany the dishes we ordered…as well as our (double order of) naan

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My dining companion was willing to do veg, so we got two dishes to share, while the boys got their meat on. 

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First up was Aloo Mattar (on the left), which is potato and green peas cooked with onion, tomatoes, ginger, garlic and curry spices in case you’ve got a V-card in the Indian food department.  We also got Saag Tofu (on the right), which is slowly cooked spinach with aromatic curry spices and fresh herbs. 

Both dishes were fantastic – flavorful and complex – and I don’t think I could pick a favorite.  The only thing I would change was the level of spice.  In terms of tongue searing/eye watering/pore sweating, we ordered fairly benign dishes…and usually I like my food with a little more heat.  Next time…

The boys got Chicken Masala Curry (on the left), and Lamb Saag (on the right).

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They were equally satisfied.

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This was my first plate :)  Man can’t live on bread alone?  Hmmm…that’s debatable.  I could certainly live on naan alone. 

Anyways, after dinner Kyle and I went back to Westwood (we are staying with a friend) and took an evening stroll to Le ‘Bucks for a night cap. 

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PS  Thanks for all the kind comments about our car issues.  It has since been resolved and we are now the proud owners of this beaut.  His name is Rolf (yes, I’m the obnoxious type that names my property).

PPS  We leave for Cabo today, so next time we “chat” I will be in Mexico.  Adios!

LA Love

After saying goodbye to this:

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And saying hello to this:

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I LOVE YOU CALIFORNIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Talk about feeling like I returned home.  Everything feels right in the world now.  Seriously.  There is no other way to describe it.  I just feel like – at long last – I’m back to the city where I am meant to be. 

Kyle and I have been running all around So Cal, seeing friends, organizing our lives, buying a car, frequenting the WF hot bar, frequenting Starbucks, and y’know, just vegging out. 

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Oh, did I mention the WF hot bar?

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I can pack those cardboard boxes like it’s my j-o-bizzle.  If navigating the hot bar were an Olympic event, I’d take the gold medal without even batting an eyelash.  My latest list of essential goods: falafel, lentil salads, edamame salad, veggies, and enough hummus to satisfy an Israel army.

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Psst, I have a crush on you, Kombucha

This smorgasbord of a post comin’ atcha is very representative of this week’s assorted eats.

But first, let me just vent a bit about the current state of car financing.

What. The. Eff.

I realize the past year has been a bit rough in the auto industry, but seriously, Kyle and I are two of the most financially responsible people, and yet, nobody will let us buy a car!!!  Yeah, I’m jobless and he is starting school, so the income thing isn’t on our side, but we deliberately set aside money for this.  Strike one.  Also, the dealerships seem to take issue with our lack of a permanent address (we aren’t looking to get an apartment for the next few months since we will be traveling so much).  But I consider CA my home state, my license has always been a CA license, and my parents have lived in the same house in Nor Cal for well over a decade.  What more do I need to do to prove I’m a CA resident?!?  Strike two.  And then there was the ridiculous excuse for customer service.  I was prepared for pushy salespeople, but I was NOT prepared for apathetic employees.  It was like nobody cared if we bought a car or not.  My sister works in a similar area, so I’m very familiar with how important being personable is in making a sale.  She would NEVER treat her costumers this way.  Strike three.

The most frustrating part of the whole day (9 hours, 3 dealerships…shoot me) was the fact that I was told nearly 20 times that I needed to get a job.  After the first few times, I started to get realllllly annoyed.  Mind your own business.  What about me screams slacker?  Could it be my organized file folders with old pay stubs?  Or maybe the perfect credit score?  UGH.  I wanted to pull my hair out.  

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At least I had good food :)

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I’m definitely in a Mediterranean rut.  Falafel.  Hummus.  Quinoa salads.

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J’adore.

Oh, and crusty bread (with hummus obviously).

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That roll was almost the size of my face (aka perfection).  Cedarlane hummus was cheap, but I don’t think I’ll buy it again.  There was something a bit tangy about it. 

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This vegan hummus was out of this world, though.  It was one of 4 hummuses (hummusi?) available at the Santa Monica WF’s prepared foods bar, and was downright amaze.

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Also buried way under there was BBQ tofu and savory tofu (with pineapple), which weren’t the best, as well as four pita wedges (two white, two whole wheat), and veggies naturally. 

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Kombuchapple = best snackage around.  Why do some flavor explode more than others?  I can’t seem to solve the mystery on Kombucha de-fizzle-fication, but there MUST be some kind of science to it, right?  If anyone has tricks to keep the overflow to a minimum puh-leeze hook a sistah up! 

And even though I have made my love for the ‘Bucks very well known by now, here’s yet another reason why this company is so. damn. cool. 

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See that?  Annie’s, Lucy’s, and Two Mom’s In The Raw.  Coming soon to a Starbucks near you!  I’m so proud of you Starbucks!  Way to pave the way for other eateries in raw, vegan, and gluten free options.  I tip my hat hummus filled fork to you.