Nothing comes close to the golden coast

Had a pretty legit weekend.  As if Santa Monica beach time wasn’t fun enough, Kyle and I headed off to Palos Verdes and then San Clemente…

It all started with le beurre de cacahuetes (aka the butter of nuts). 


Add a duo of WF multi-grain bread slices…


And some strawberry jammin’…


And it’s a PB&J par-tay.  Nothing fancy, but simplicity is often underrated (that’s kinda my roundabout way of saying being on a budget can lead to boring repetitive meal choices).

Lunch was quick and snackalicious. 


WF’s traditional hummus and a soft pretzel (that I nearly finished off before taking a pic).  I was hangry.  Once my stomach wasn’t eating it’s own inner lining, I put together round two of my hummus feasting.  This time the dippage involved veggies.


Crunch.  Digest.  Move. 

I’ve been so lax about exercise lately, I hardly even recognize myself.  Rather than plan workouts, I set out without any time/distance goals.  I generally head to the beach and see where my feet take me…which was a foreign concept for me in NYC.  The weather used to dictate my every move, forcing me to plan my life around the temperature, gym crowds, and meal times.  Now I have no such worries.  I haven’t stepped foot in a gym in weeks (I also don’t belong to one anymore, so that’s that).  And I love it.  What do you think about scheduling exercise? 


If you missed my previous post about home fitness equipment, check it out.  In the above pic I’m using the Balance Board, which will be reviewed more thoroughly in a later post.  I did a few balance exercises (holding squats and such), followed by an arm workout with 5 lb dumbbells (all while on the balance board).  It’s crazy how adding a basic component like balancing increases the intensity of a workout so drastically!  I felt it in my core the entire time.  After that quick sesh (<10 minutes), I ran for about 20 minutes and called it a day. 

When I think about the hour(s) I used to log on the treadmill, this seems to be pretty minimal as far as workouts go.  But the odd thing is, I’m definitely getting leaner.  Maybe it’s the diversity of my workouts.  Maybe it’s my tri-weekly dates with Jillian.  Maybe I’m subconsciously practicing better moderation in my eating habits because of that whole white dress thing…who knows.  The fact is, I’m getting toned.

But back to the food.  Before hitting the road to Palos Verdes, I had a snack for the road.


We clean up nice, huh?


We went to PV for my friend’s graduation party.  She lives in a pretty crappy part of town. 

No seriously, is that view to die for or what? 


The “event” was catered and the entire time I kept thinking about our wedding.  Linens.  Food options.  Wine options.  Gah!  I will never enjoy a party the same again.  Ignorance is bliss, indeed.  Needless to say, the party was lovely, and I boozed to my heart’s content knowing that Kyle was my sober driver for the night. 


My girlfriend is so thoughtful, she called me in advance to make sure the caterers had a vegan option. 


Bowtie pasta with an evoo-based tomato sauce


We had a LOT of fun seeing all our friends from So Cal.  It was like one big night of celebrating…her graduation, our return to the West side.  So much reuniting!  It feels like heaven to be back here. 

As the night wound down we hit the road again…this time to go to San Clemente. 

I escaped the next day without a single photo, but Kyle’s parents did send me home with a big container of fruit salad. 


FRUIT!!!  I can’t decide which tropical fruit is my favorite.  I love mangos, but pineapple may be the winner.  I don’t really like fresh papaya (I do, however, love dried papaya).  What about you?

When I got home I had a bowl of greek yogurt with apples and two raw blonde macaroons from One Lucky Duck


I’m down to the very last of my OLD goodies.  :(  Guess it’s time for another order. 


While I was licking the bowl, I heard voices outside so Kyle and I went out to meet our neighbors.  Yea!!  They are so nice.  Young and fun and friendly.  I already know more about them than anyone in our entire apartment complex in NYC combined.  Typical East Coast/West Coast story. 

At this point it was 3 pm and the sun was beckoning us…beach vs. exercise.

Choices, choices. 

In the end, I didn’t want to break my streak of beach days (6 in a row!), so I abandoned the idea of squeezing in a workout before dinner, and instead headed to the water with my beau. 

Me + sand + sun + the sound of crashing waves = peace. 

For dinner, Kyle and I took my friend to dinner for a belated birthday celebration. 


We’ve been eyeing Blue Plate (on Montana Ave & 14th Street) for a while.  It’s within walking distance of our apartment, the menu looked fresh with variety for both vegans and meat eaters. 

As we browsed the menu, the waiter arrived with a little app for us to nibble on.


Full disclosure, I didn’t try the dip because my taste testers confirmed that there was garlic in it.  :P  I had a crispy toast chip though, which was delightfully salty. 

For dinner, Kyle got the fish tacos.


His notes are as follows: delicious tortillas, standard, but well executed.  Thank you Tom Colicchio.

Alene got the soup/wrap combo.  Starting with a roasted tomato soup.


Plus some floaters…


It was lacking salt, but she polished it off nonetheless. 

For the wrap portion of the meal, she got the tuna wrap without sprouts…plus pickles and balsamic dressing on the side.


Apparently the sprouts remind her of hair…I’m not so sure I disagree with her, but it’s certainly an odd thing to think of out of the blue.  I actually love sprouts myself, especially when there’s avocado involved…the avo all mashed up in it…yummmmm.

Speaking of sprouts and avocado…


I ordered a meal that definitely penetrated the top tier of my dining experiences.  And as far as restaurant salads are concerned, perhaps top ten even (?!?).  Since I was in major indecisive mode – wavering between two very delicious looking orders – I combined both.  Allow me to present the falafel burger on top of a garden salad.  Falafel burger?!  Was this concept invented just for me?  I was in love with the idea, but wasn’t sold on the (plain white) bun (meh).  The waiter was beyond willing to accommodate when I asked if I could get it atop a salad.  Friendly and helpful staff makes eating out so much more enjoyable. 


Maybe you can’t tell the size from this picture…how about an object for reference.  A ringed finger perhaps?


Yes.  That falafel is (was) the size of my hand. 


Psssh.  You know it.  Remember that whole moderation thing I was talking about above?  Yeahhh, about that.

While I nursed my food baby, Kyle and Alene browsed the dessert menu. 


Well, it was her birthday dinner after all. 


Red velvet cake. 


Double fudge brownie with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce. 


Beautiful as these desserts looked, they would have sent my tender vegan stomach into a state of shock (followed by a state of rejection).  They both did an impressive number on each…but a few bites remained behind.  Alene did ask to be rolled home, though, so I know she was out of commission.  And Kyle definitely pulled his weight too, so I guess Blue Plate’s portions are just large and in charge, end of story. 

All in all, the weekend rocked.  Wouldn’t you agree?  Back to work on the apartment tomorrow. 

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Comments (31)

  1. MarathonVal

    I LOVEEEE almost all fruits, but like you, can’t stand papaya!

  2. Cat

    If I’m not training for anything in particular I just ‘schedule’ (in my head) a time for exercise and then do what I feel like. At the moment I’m training for a half marathon and the only thing I’m scheduling is my long run each week. It took a while for me to get to a point where I could trust myself enough to know that I would actually do my workout without a plan, but it’s so much less stressful knowing I don’t ‘have’ to do the exact distance or workout I had planned. I guess I’d call it ‘intuitive exercise’ 🙂

  3. Molly

    Same here, I can’t stand raw papaya either. I don’t think I like the dried version either. I know you eat a lot of hummus…what’s your favorite brand? And do you ever make your own?

  4. Angharad

    If I’m not training for something then I don’t bother with scheduling – it never works anyway because I just don’t have the same sense of accountability as I do when there’s a race ahead!

    I try to schedule things on my calendar and aim to complete them but I’m pretty flexible (lazy) and when and what I do.

    I’m guessing Jillian three times a week would tone up anyones booty – that is some dedication lady!! Impressed.

  5. Freckled Foodie

    the picture of you and the boy needs to be a christmas card or something. it’s totally perfect! 🙂 annnn the falafel looks delish!

  6. elise

    I love hummus so much it’s hard to pick a fave flavor or even brand. I go through phases for sure. Sabra used to be my number one, but then I kinda replaced it with Cedar’s. Now I’m loving Athenos. I think either the original flavor or roasted red pepper are the best flavors. I don’t like garlic or olive ones.
    To be honest, I eat so muhc more hummus than shown in the blog, it would be super boring and repetitive if I took pics of it every time I ate it. HA.
    I’ve made my own several times…in fact, I make it so often I forget to blog about the recipes I’ve mastered.
    My most basic recipe: chickpeas, tahini, EVOO, and a dash of apple cider vinegar. I rarely measure but I may just post a real recipe now that youve brought it to my attention. I pulse it in my magic bullet until its creamy and then refrigerate it to get it thick (I try not to eat it all on the spot, but its hard). I can’t wait to get a real food processor so I can make huge batches!!

  7. elise

    thats EXACTLY what i was thinking it would be called. i agree, when im not training its far easier to have this approach. when i have a race on the horizon its different. i make sure i get in certain mileage just so i know i wont pass out half way through a race!

  8. elise

    awww. thanks girl!!

  9. Mandiee

    Is your new place by Blue Plate? My aunt lives just a few blocks away from it! Oh my, I just adore Montana Avenue! Obviously, I went to Blue Plate the last time I visited. I wasn’t vegan back then (though I did eat mostly veggie, to my Dad’s utter dismay), but enjoyed my meal none the less. It is so cozy there! If I ever go back, I’m definitely having the Elise-special; it sounds totally delicious!

    Have a lovely day!

  10. sensorydefensiveness

    Same feeling on fresh papaya. There’s not enough acidity and thus the flavor is completely flat. Dried is good but still a little to sweet for me.

  11. sensorydefensiveness

    Same feeling on fresh papaya. There’s not enough acidity and thus the flavor is completely flat. Dried is good but still a little too sweet for me.

  12. elise

    i am! montana is the cutest street ever! such good shopping and dining. a bit $$$$ for my jobless budget at the moment, but a nice treat nonetheless.

  13. zoe

    when i stopped logging long hours on the treadmill or on the pavement i noticed i toned up, too! how weird is that? i think it’s the lack of stress running puts on the body that does it. i think my body likes much more gentle forms of exercise as opposed to a run just about every day. so i’m totes down with the home gym! and, of course, a yoga studio ;)!

  14. Erica

    What great eats and such a fun weekend. My favorites are the soft pretzel (so good!) and the roasted tomato soup looks pretty delicious as well. I schedule exercise, but mostly because I have to due to my teaching schedule!

  15. Mama Pea

    I’m kind of doing the intuitive exercise/eating thing myself, and it actually is kind of nice. I figure if I get a good sweat on most times I work out, I’m doing something right.

    Falafel burger salad looks right up my alley!

  16. Lara (Thinspired)

    What a delicious, decadent weekend! You and Kyle are such a good looking couple 🙂 The photo is gorgeous in every way.

    Red velvet cake. Oh gosh. Was it at least vegan so you could try some?!

  17. Lara (Thinspired)

    …West Cost represent, now put your hands up! 🙂

  18. Sarah (GF vegan)

    Oh my, what great eats! Re the exercise schedule- I’m rubbish at scheduling it in. I should but sometimes it stresses me out to be too defined about what I want to do and when. I do think that strength training is under-rated hugely. I kept lean through the winter by doing zero cardio and just practising yoga regularly. Love yoga… That said, I love cardio and have just started re-introducing running back into my life- nothing harcore just a good 25 mins on the treadmill. xxxx

    PS love your new home!

  19. Diana

    Ahhh the falafel burger looks SO GOOD! I also like my burgers bun-less 😀

  20. Rachael

    I miss falafel whenever I’m in North Carolina. No good joints to be found, in my neighborhood.
    San Clemente is one of my favorite spots – I used to head their on the weekends when I worked in Orange County!
    I actually dig raw papaya – in Malawi, a whole one cost maybe 5 kwacha (about a nickel) and so it became a frequent breakfast – kids would run up to my hut and compete to see who could sell one to me first!

  21. Lori

    Falafel burger?! Red velvet cake? Tacos? Butters of nuts…?! Mmmmm…..

    I’m sitting here contemplating which one(s) I will have tonight for dinner… and I want all of them now!

    Pretty view in the picture with you and Kyle! Love it!

  22. Katie

    I’ll take that yogurt macaroon mess with a side of that gorgeous view, please!

  23. BroccoliHut

    yee-haw! Now that’s a Caroline-size falafel:)

  24. elise

    not the least bit vegan 🙁 sadly, i went without.

  25. Holly

    i completely concur on a fabulous weekend. i want one of everything here. fo realz.

  26. Ethel

    OMG! Alene assured me that her and Kile went to town on dessert, but WHOA!

    p.s. Blue Plate is one of my tops in brunch spots. Shall we try it sometime? If not Huckleberry…Gawd I need to move west.

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  29. sarah

    I was just browsing your reviews and came across the falafel…I live in SaMo also, and recently discovered Cairo Cowboy in Venice…AMAZING falafel (and Med food!)
    Name is strange and its right at Venice beach, but totally worth it!

  30. Elise (Post author)

    cool! thanks 🙂

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