Category Archives: Food Follies

Gypsy Picinc in Downtown Austin

Two of our friends were in town this weekend for a wedding, and being that this was the first time we ever had friends “in town”, Dave and I took full advantage of their company for the day. We picked them up from their hotel, and headed over to the Gyspy Picnic, a food truck festival that was taking place in downtown Austin. It was perfect, end of summer weather, and we strolled in ready to eat.

gypsy picinc in austin

The event really epitomized the vibe of the city. Known for it’s food truck movement, the Austin festival corralled thirty-five local vendors into a park next to Lady Bird Lake for a day of finger food, craft beers, live music, lots of dogs, and free entry. That’s an equation for some serious chill-time. Now that I think of it, why didn’t we bring a frisbee? 

Our first truck stop was East Side King, with a menu inspired by Southest Asian street food. They had three options on the menu, and we jumped in for all of them: chicken kaarage (sounds like chicken garage, I know… and I have no idea what was in it), a pork bun, and fried brussel sprout salad. I see brussel sprouts on a menu and I just can’t say no. I know Dave felt the same ;).

East Side King food in Austin

The bun on the left was so white it blended into the paper tray in this photo, but it was really good. The chicken was our favorite–it had that sweet, fried, dry chewy Chinese food consistency that you would get from an order of sesame chicken. That description sounds weird, but I promise it was yum. And the brussell sprouts were also good, topped with a balsamic dressing and some large french fry like croutons. I dominated the sprouts, and Dave handled the chicken–teamwork. While we ate we watched the hipster marching band go by, naturally.

Hipster Marching Band in Austin

Next we stopped at Blenders and Bowls for a refreshing dessert type treat. To me it was really more like breakfast: an acai smoothie (pronounced ah-sigh-eeeeee!), topped with granola, strawberries, blueberries, goji berries, chia seeds, and a drizzle of honey. Mix two plastic spoons with two hungry people, and some silent food domination battles are bound to break out. It was like low-impact passive aggressive fencing as we both oggled the smoothie bowl out of the corner of our eyes while pretending to nonchalantly walk. Oh, I was aware.

Blenders and Bowls

We wandered around the park for probably another hour or so while our friends tried some other food trucks, and Dave tried pizza at Spartan Pizza. He’s on a quest to find pizza worthy of his New York pizza-obsessed palette–but I’m pretty sure that day will never come in Texas. I forgot to snap photos of the pizza, but I would compare it to Domino’s and Ellio’s coming to together to make upscale thin crust. Can you picture the undercooked white bread like crust? Someone commented on the blog the other week asking me not to compare Austin food to New York City food, and to that I say: fair enough.

Besides the pizza, everything was delicious, and we left there looking like sun-burnt, swollen blueberries. The day with our friends was a lot of fun, and Austin’s unique culture was definitely the catalyst.

The Awesomeness of Oat Bran

Today’s morning was a little flipped from my normal routine. Instead of starting out with my usual peanut butter and jelly on half a piece of bread to get me going before my workout (also known lovingly as pbj-bread), I had an 8:30am conference call to partake in. So I started out with straight up breakfast, instead. And there was no peanut butter involved. I don’t even know me anymore.

I’ve been eating a lot of oat bran lately. Have you ever heard of it? It’s basically like a really healthy version of cream of wheat. You can find it in the cereal aisle, tucked all the way on the end of the hot oatmeal products. I’ve had the Quaker brand, and the Hodgson Mills brand. I like them both: Quaker is creamier and the calorie count is lower somehow, while Hodgson Mills is a little chewy, which makes it fun to eat. Right now I’ve got Hodgson Mills Either way you go, it’s very filling and has really awesome stats:

This is a huge picture, isn't it?

I made mine with 1/3c oat bran, 2/3c water, 1 splenda, a dash of salt (all in the microwave for 2 minutes–watch it, it will overflow!), and topped it with raisins and a little coconut butter for some healthy fat.

cooked oat bran

Get in my belly

The coconut butter is a fancy shmancy topping, I know. I was feelin’ like a fancy shmance one day in Whole Foods, what can I say. If you’re all out of fancy shmance things when you try it, just make it with half water, half low-fat milk (fat + extra protein), and add honey and a little salt and you’ll be all set.

After breakfast and a conference call, my workout today was the Sexy Supremacy bodyrock routine (awwww yeah).  It was a tough workout, and I was grunting in the very small gym, thanking God that all the guys in there were wearing headphones. My grunts are not manly sounding. I probably sound like a kitten coughing.

I found the reverse push-ups to be seriously killer. For anyone who follows bodyrock, here are my reps. The workout consisted of 4 rounds of each exercise in a full loop circuit–40 seconds on, 10 seconds rest:

  • 10 mountain climbers and 1 push up: 4.5, 4, 4, 3.5
  • one arm row, alternating arms: 15, 14, 12, 12
  • forward and backward lunges (left): 11, 8, 7, 7
  • forward and backward lunges (right): 9, 7.5, 7, 7
  • reverse push-ups (halfway down): 24, 20, 22, 19
  • bicycle crunches: 55, 42, 50, 52

Now I’m ready for lunch, and it looks like my pbj-bread will never happen today. I’m going to miss that lil’ guy. He’s my fave morning friend.

“Healthy Lunch at Quiznos” or “Sponges, Snot and Chocolate”

One of the things I miss most about living in New York City is twenty-four hour delis. Any time of day, anywhere I was, I was guaranteed access to a freshly made turkey sandwich, with an apple and a Diet Peach Snapple–my go to choice when all I have is ten minutes. This is genuinely fast food done my way (I sound like Burger King)–consistently healthy, yummy, and filling.

Back at my NYC office, I went to the same deli everyday, lovingly knicknamed “the dirty deli”, for breakfast and lunch. They knew me by name, and invited me to their family Christmas parties and children’s birthdays. One might call me a deli addict, one might call me boring. I say I’m just low maintenance (right Dave?). I digress…

Today, after a killer bootcamp workout at personal trainer school, I was starving but only had twenty minutes to find a place to eat lunch. I pulled out my GPS and typed in “dirty deli”…. but nothing came up. So I looked up “local food destinations” instead, and tears were shed as I drove myself to a nearby Quiznos, pondering what I could get off their menu.

When I got there, the smell of salty meat and pickles immediately ovewhlemed me (I know you know that Subway smell I’m talking about) as I scanned the menu for a healthy option. I ended up choosing the Mediterranean Chicken salad, swapped the cheese out for pumpkin seeds, and got a side of fat free balsamic vinagrette. I paid, stared longingly at the chocolate chip cookies for a minute, and headed to the outdoor seating to eat.

quiznos salad

All of the ingredients were good except two, which isn’t bad! Except that the two were kind of main items: the chicken and the salad dressing. The one thing that really gets me with meat from these fast food chains is the spongey texture. Gah, what was in this chicken?

Ingredients: water, salt, spongebob squarepants, artificial chicken flavor, pepper, matzoh balls”.*

That’s what it tasted like. I wish they added more matzoh balls. I’d also like to note that the salad dressing was super gloppy. Every time I dipped my fork in (yes, I eat salad that way) a big blob would come up, but then get sucked back down. Some nice balsamic snot for my salad. Mmm yeah.

quiznos salad dressing

But really, the pumpkin seeds and olives were right on :).

After kind of finishing the meal, I promptly went into the Starbucks next door and grabbed a package of heaven dark chocolate covered graham crackers which I immediately devoured. So in my attempt to grab a healthy lunch, I ended up eating sponges, snot, and chocolate cookies. #Winning?

Hey, I’m doin’ the best with what I’ve got.

*Those are not the actual ingredients in Quiznos chicken. But I still say they should add more matzoh balls.