Category Archives: Food

An Epic End To The Pantages Season (or We Aren’t Going To Throw Away Our Shot)

This past Sunday was the final show for my group in our current season at the Pantages. While we are a bit sad our season is over, we already have bought our season tickets for next season and we are really excited for that. But what was even more exciting was that the final show for the season was Hamilton! Getting to see Hamilton was the reason many people got season tickets this season. But I think all of us in my group were just excited to see all of the shows. Hamilton was just going to be a super amazing addition to the season!

And as we have done with the past few shows, we went to dinner at Wood & Vine before the show. And Wood & Vine just introduced a new menu with their new chef so we were ready to try some amazing new food and to have some of our favorites! Everything on the menu looked incredible, but we had to try to limit ourselves to make sure we didn’t feel overstuffed while at the show.

We ordered some veggies because they sounded delicious and they were a lighter option. The squash had an amazing butter sauce with some cheese and they were perfectly cooked so they still had a bit of crunch to them. And the carrots reminded us all of eating Honey Nut Cheerios! It was so crazy how sweet they were without having the sweetness overpowering the flavor of the carrots.

And while we knew we’d be ordering the bone marrow again, everything else that we got was something that was new to the menu. We were also able to have the tuna tartare, pork belly tacos, and the branzino filet.

And as we expected, everything was just incredible. I only had a taste of the tuna as it had a chili sauce on it and I’m really sensitive to spicy food. But it was really good and everyone else loved it. The pork belly tacos were so tender and the sauce on it was really refreshing. And the branzino was flaky and so flavorful! And of course, the bone marrow was out of this world! We had 2 orders of it and between the 4 of us the bones looked like this within minutes of the plate being brought to us.

When the bones were empty, Dani and Michelle decided to order some shots to have with the bones. They were actually talking about doing this the night before at my party so it was pretty funny that they were getting to do this. Doing a bone luge is a thing, I just hadn’t heard of it before they were talking about it at my party. If I knew I could handle a drink, I think I would have joined in with them. But it was cool getting to watch them and they seemed to really like it (even if it was a bit messy).

We also got to try some of the new desserts! They have a buttermilk panna cotta now which had berries on top. But what was our favorite was the new Nutella bombshell (and yes, I loved that it had bombshell in the name)! It had chocolate cake that was light and fluffy topped with Nutella mousse that reminded us of the texture of ice cream but was room temperature. It was so good that I can’t even think of better ways to describe it! And we also were given the butterscotch that we’ve had in the past but now it comes with maple ice cream which was loved by all of us.

Then the chef, Jennifer O’Neill came out to the table. It was wonderful to meet her and we were so excited to tell her how much we loved the food! And we got to learn about some things that might be coming up at Wood & Vine that we can’t wait for. I can’t share that stuff yet, but trust me I will as soon as I can!

After dinner we headed across the street for the show. We couldn’t believe it was finally time to see Hamilton! We ordered our season tickets about a year and a half ago and it seemed like we would never get to this date. And we were all remembering how we realized at my birthday party last year that it marked one year until the show. And it was finally here!

The energy in the theater was electric. I think everyone was just so excited to see the show (it only opened 2 days before so it was still very new to LA). The 4 of us kept saying how we couldn’t wait for the show to start. Michelle and I both have listen to the music from the show (many, many times) and have seen videos as well. But Dani and Elisa both tried to avoid seeing stuff about the show ahead of time since that’s how they like to see shows. But we were all equally ready for the show to start.

And I’m happy to say that all the hype about the show is true and more! I don’t know how to explain how amazing this show was and how it really is an incredible piece of theater. I wish that more people could see it because it’s that great. I know that ticket prices are high and there aren’t enough seats for everyone to see it now who want to. But hopefully eventually with the tours more people can experience this show.

While it’s a pretty long show (almost 3 hours when you include the intermission), it doesn’t feel like that at all. It goes by so quickly even though it is a very full show. I could see how there could be so much more show that I’d want to see and now I’m even more motivated than ever to finish reading the book that the show is based on (I’m about 1/4 of the way through the book).

I think all of us agree that this was such a highlight of what ended up being a pretty amazing season at the Pantages. We are all hoping that we will win the Ham4Ham lottery so we can go see the show again. It’s in LA for a few months so there’s a chance that at least one of us will win. But no matter what, we are all so grateful that we were able to see it with our season tickets!

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Birthday Twin Tradition (or An Almost Free Meal)

One of my favorite birthday traditions is going to Truxton’s with my birthday twin Joanna for dinner. We’ve been doing this for pretty much as long as we’ve been friends and it’s always a fun night for us. We try to have more catch up hangouts throughout the year and we’ve been getting better at doing that. But our birthday dinner is something we always look forward to.

We were going to try to do our dinner on our actual birthday again this year, but our schedules didn’t quite work out that way. So we ended up going 2 days before our birthday which was a great way to kick off each of us celebrating our birthday week!

We did a later dinner than normal, but that was fine because parking meters in Santa Monica were free! We both found parking pretty easily and walked over to the restaurant together. Because it was a later dinner, the restaurant wasn’t that packed, but that was nice since it wasn’t horribly noisy either.

When we started going to Truxton’s the birthday deal was a free entrée and free dessert. That made things really simple for us but we also always felt like we didn’t need 2 desserts. Now, the deal is $20 toward the bill. They used to combine the coupons (so we could get $40 total) but now it has to be split onto 2 checks. We decided to try to see if we could make it so when it was split each half would be $20 and we would get our totally free meal again.

We originally wanted to get Monkey Bread as an appetizer (it’s so good there!), but unfortunately they were all out! It was crazy that they were out, but we figured it just wasn’t meant to be. And for our entrees, we both were kind of debating between the same two things: the brisket sandwich and the club sandwich. So we decided that we would order both and would each have half.

It was a bit messy when we tried to cut the sandwiches in half, but it was fine. And it ended up being the perfect thing since we both got to have some of each thing we were craving. We also did one sandwich with garlic fries and one with regular fries so we got to have both options.

And dessert is always the highlight of the meal for us. We decided to go for the giant cookie that has ice cream on top. It’s pretty decadent and seems like one of the more festive desserts they have there.

They brought plates out for us so we could try to split the cookie and ice cream up, but there was no way to really do that. And we are fine sharing a plate so we each grabbed a spoon and pretty much stuck to one half of the pan. And even though we were both full from the sandwiches and fries (it’s probably a good thing we couldn’t get Monkey Bread), somehow we were able to finish the entire dessert!

We really tried to do some planning on what we were going to order to see if there was a way that we could make sure that each half of the bill would be $20 or less. Technically there was a way to do it, but it would have been with the dinners we really weren’t wanting. As much as we want a totally free meal, it’s better to order what we want to eat. And even though we didn’t have our free birthday tradition, it was still a very cheap dinner out.

And even though the bill was super cheap, we like to leave a big tip because we know that servers make most of their income from the tips (we left about $20 on what would have been a $41 bill).

And while the food was awesome, getting to catch up with Joanna was even better! It had been a while since our last catch up meal and we both had so much to share! Joanna has gone on some fun trips and has had some changes in her day jobs. I’ve become a medical miracle and also have had some changes in my day jobs. But I’m lucky because even though it’s been a few months since we had seen each other, when we get together it seems like we can always pick up where we left off.

We ended up hanging out at dinner for about 2 hours before we both had to head back home. The next tradition we have is our cheesecake outing that we do around the new year, but I know that we both are going to keep trying to make an effort to see each other more often (even if it isn’t a free meal that we are meeting up for).

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A GNO Reunion (or Taco Tuesday Without The Tacos)

It’s been a while since my GNO has gotten together. The group kind of fell apart when other GNO groups were created and we stopped being as active in setting up events. I’m hoping that one day we can get the group up and running again, but since we are all so busy it’s tough to know who would be able to do it. But we’ve all been able to stay in touch through social media so we always know when each other has awesome news to share.

Recently, my friend Brandi shared that she won a writing fellowship with HBO! That’s such amazing news, but I’m not surprised as Brandi is an incredible writer. I love all the work that she’s done and I know that she has won awards for her writing in the past. But besides announcing that she won this fellowship, she told us that she would be coming to LA for a week to participate in the kickoff for the program!

I hadn’t seen Brandi in over a year, since she moved to Atlanta. So I was so excited to get to see her again and get to celebrate her success. I knew she’d be busy, but fortunately she organized a casual dinner in West Hollywood so we could see her while she was in town. And I had a feeling I’d get to see some of the women from my GNO group again so I was pretty happy to get to dinner!

The dinner was held at a Mexican restaurant that I like, but my stomach was not having the best day. I had taken some of my anti-nausea meds before going, but I couldn’t seem to want to eat anything other than the chips. I was excited to get some of the Taco Tuesday specials that they had, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be that day for me and I just had water and chips.

When I got there, my friend Danette was already there. Danette is also a big fan of musicals and has season tickets for the Pantages this season too. She goes on a different night than I do, but we had a lot to talk about with the shows this season. She and I are pretty much on the same page with which shows we have liked and not liked and we are both pretty excited to see “Hamilton” soon! Danette has actually seen it in NYC already but knowing how excited she is to see it again makes me even more hyped up to see it!

Brandi got there shortly after I arrived and it was so great to get to see her! She looked so happy and I know that this fellowship is exactly the right thing for her right now. She didn’t start out as a writer, but it’s pretty clear to me that she is thriving as a writer and she truly shines when she is able to write. It makes me so happy for her that she is doing something that she loves and is getting so much positive recognition for it.

She was telling us a bit about the fellowship and the work that she’s been doing since it started this week. She’s gotten to meet some amazing people in the industry and it’s really a program to prepare those in it to be in a writers room on a tv show soon. She mentioned how the people who were in the program the first time they did it are all on staff on a show and I hope that she is on staff soon too! Mainly so she has an awesome job, but also so she moves back to LA because being at dinner made me realize how much I missed getting to see her in LA!

There were other women who were a part of the GNO group at dinner too and it was nice to catch up with everyone who was there. Everyone was enjoying the food there and I felt a bit bad that I wasn’t joining in with eating. But I guess if I’m trying to save money it’s best that I didn’t eat. But it was tempting to just get something to try to see if my stomach could handle it. I’m glad I didn’t because it would have been horrible to get sick there.

I was able to stay about 2 hours and then had to head back home to get some more work done. I wish I could have stayed longer to hang out with Brandi and everyone else some more, but I know that Brandi had a lot of people she wanted to catch up with and I didn’t want to take up too much of her time. It was so great to get to see her even if it was only for a few hours. And I have a feeling that she’ll be back in LA pretty soon to interview for writing jobs and then hopefully moving back because she has a writing job!

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Another Therapy Check In (or Someone Sees Progress)

I only see my therapist every six months now, and my visit with him was this week. So much has happened in six months and I was trying to think about what I wanted to talk about with him before I went in for my appointment. I know that my time there is limited and I wanted to maximize my time. I knew that not everything was relevant to talk about, but I still took some mental notes on what I wanted to make sure we go over.

A lot of my appointments with my therapist are pretty basic check ins. He wants to make sure that I’m still making progress and doing ok on my medication. But there isn’t a lot for me to work through in therapy anymore. Coming to the realization that I just have bad luck genetically with getting an eating disorder has helped me a lot. I know that I didn’t do anything (or have something happen to me) that caused this and I just have to work on getting through it and figuring out good recovery tools for myself. Sometimes knowing that is tough, but it does make my therapy appointments easier.

The first update we discussed in my appointment was me not having the liver surgery. Even though my therapist has access to all my medical records, I knew he wouldn’t have reviewed everything that has happened lately. He was very excited about me not needing surgery and was asking what might have caused the tumors to shrink. There is really no medical explanation for it, but he agrees that my tumor visualization might have been a big part of it. Our minds are really powerful and can do miracles. He agrees that I should keep that up and see what happens when I have my next MRI in a few months.

We also talked about how I was struggling a bit with the idea of preparing for surgery for so long and then that just stopping. I told him how the unknowns unnerve me a bit and that I was finding it tough to reconnect to myself. I still struggle with a bit of disconnection with my body and I don’t know if that will ever be resolved because even if the tumors go away they could come back another time. My therapist understood why this is so tough for me, but he was encouraging me to work really hard to get through it.

He was talking about how we cannot set expectations for life and then fall apart when they don’t happen. Things can change and we have to be ok with going with the flow. And when something doesn’t go our way, we have to let go of the idea of what we thought would be and start thinking about what is. Obviously, those things are easier said than done, but I do need to work a lot on that idea. And to have him tell me that it’s ok that I struggle with this idea made me feel better because sometimes I wonder if it’s just me who seems so rigid in these ideas.

Even though there are things that I’m struggling with, the main things that my therapist was saying to me were all positive things. He said that he can really sense a change in me and sees that I’m so much happier. He can see that I’m figuring things out and I am making progress. I don’t always see the progress, but I know it’s easier for someone on the outside to see it. He knows that even if my eating disorder isn’t getting better right now, I’m building the skills and gaining the tools I’ll need to be in recovery. So eventually it will all connect and come together and I’ll be better equipped to be in recovery.

We also started to talk about the future and when I will be going off of Vyvanse. I cannot be on this medication my entire life (nor do I want to be on it forever). I am not in a place to be off of it just yet, and in fact we actually made a small increase to my dosage. But we went over how this is just a temporary tool and how I need to be preparing myself to eventually not have the crutch of the medication to help me through the day. It’s a bit scary to think about going off of it because when I don’t take it for a random day off, I notice that things aren’t as great. But to start working through an end plan is something that I know I need to do.

The biggest takeaway I had from this appointment was that I am making progress and improving even if I can’t see it yet. Getting to see myself through someone else’s eyes (and someone who has a critical viewpoint) is pretty powerful and really helped me feel more settled in what has been happening. My therapist wants me to focus on being more in the moment and accepting things as they come. If I am going to have a binge episode, he wants me to do it because I chose to do so and not because my eating disorder is putting me on auto-pilot. I’m getting much closer to that point so it’s good to know that that’s actually progress.

I won’t have my next appointment until December (6 months from now) unless something crazy happens and I feel like I need to be seen sooner. But I’m feeling much better about where things are now after this appointment. Some of the doubts I’ve been having have been reassured as good things and I’ve been given homework to try to work on over these next 6 months. Hopefully when I go back to see him again, he will continue to see progress and be happy with the steps I’ve made toward recovery.

Family Brunch (or Sibling Catch Up Time)

Even though all my immediate family lives in CA, I don’t see everyone that often. I was lucky that I got to spend about a week with my parents recently, but that was only because that was when I was supposed to have surgery and they weren’t going to cancel their trip here. Usually I see my parents maybe 4 times a year and it’s mostly when they are down in San Diego. But I do talk to them on the phone pretty much every day so at least I’m catching up with them that way.

My brother and sister-in-law live in Santa Barbara which is only about an hour an a half away from me. But between them and me, we all have pretty crazy schedules. So even with them being so close I don’t get to see them that often. The last time I had seen them was Thanksgiving and there was a chance I wouldn’t see them again until this Thanksgiving. They were going to come down here for the day if I had surgery and was in the hospital, but since that didn’t happen they didn’t make it here.

But my brother and sister-in-law were in LA for a wedding this past weekend and they invited me to get brunch with them on Sunday before they drove back. Of course I said yes because I need to take advantage of any time that I get to hang out with them. I don’t get to talk to them that often on the phone (again, we all have crazy and conflicting schedules) so I’m not as caught up with them as I am with my parents.

They suggested going to Momed in Beverly Hills for brunch. I had never been there before, but I’m always open to trying new brunch places! And it’s not too far of a drive for me and I wanted to go somewhere that they wanted to go since they don’t get to LA that often. They made reservations for us on Sunday morning and I was excited to get to see them.

I got there before they did and sat at a table outside. It was pretty nice being able to sit outside and even though it was a hot day it wasn’t too bad that early in the morning. And I like being able to people watch because it’s always interesting to see who is out and about on Sunday mornings. I only was there by myself for a few minutes before my brother and sister-in-law were walking up the street to meet me.

They had just gotten back from a trip so they were telling me about their vacation and the vacation that they are planning for later this year. And they were telling me about the wedding that they went to the night before. Then they asked me about everything going on in my life. I still don’t feel like I have a ton of updates on my life beyond saying that I’m working on getting things back to normal. I filled them in on the plan for the tumors and that I should be having another MRI in the fall to make a new plan.

My sister-in-law was also curious about my adventures in online dating. She had seen some posts of mine on social media and wanted to hear more of the stories. My brother didn’t really want to hear about it so we had to wait until he went to the bathroom so I could tell her more of the stories. But they met online so I think they feel like it’s very possible for me to meet someone amazing online so that’s good.

Since they had to drive back home that day, we didn’t get to spend too much time at brunch. I did have an amazing meal though! There were a bunch of Mediterranean dishes on the menu, but I went for something a bit simpler. The potatoes had a really nice spice on them and everything else was basic breakfast food. But that’s exactly what I wanted for my brunch.

We were only at brunch for a little over an hour, but then we all had to say goodbye. My brother and sister-in-law did walk with me to where I parked my car because they hadn’t had the chance to see my new car yet. I think that they both liked the car and agree that it is a major upgrade from my old car. I think I’m still getting used to having a new car and having the chance to show it off to family members who haven’t seen it yet keep the car feeling new to me.

I’m so glad that I was able to see my brother and sister-in-law for brunch. I know we all need to work a bit more on trying to meet up more often, but we all also understand that our schedules aren’t the easiest ones to work with. We don’t get upset with each other if we only see each other 2-3 times a year even though they live so close. And while I’m hopeful I’ll see them again before Thanksgiving, November will probably be here before we know it and I’ll see them (and my entire family) again then!

Book Of Mormon and Marrow (or Another Night Out At The Pantages)

This past week was another show for our season at the Pantages. This time, we were seeing “Book of Mormon”!. Usually our shows are on Sundays, but because of some scheduling issues we had to move our show. So we went this past Thursday and it ended up being such an awesome night out!

It was a bit weird having the show on a Thursday because once I was done with work it almost felt like a Sunday to me. I had to keep telling myself that it was Thursday and tried to keep doing my usual Thursday stuff I have to get done. We knew that there would be traffic getting out to Hollywood so we ended up meeting a bit earlier than we probably needed to at my house to carpool out there. But one advantage of Thursday night shows is that we were able to park at a parking meter! We normally can’t because of the timing of Sunday evening shows, but it was nice to only have to spend $4 in parking at a meter instead of $16 to park in a garage.

As always, the 4 of us went to dinner before the show. And because we had such an amazing time at Wood & Vine last time, we knew we’d have to go back there! The last time, it was raining so everyone was seated inside. But this time, it was a really nice evening and we were seated outside on their patio.

Sitting inside was fun, but I think I might have liked the patio a bit more. It’s always nice getting to sit outside and it didn’t feel like we were in the middle of Hollywood. It was quiet and peaceful back there. And we were told that sometimes they screen movies back there! We were all saying that we would have to find out when they do that and go back for sure!

Ever since our first time at Wood & Vine, we have been dreaming about what food we were going to get the next time we were there. We decided to start with some things we’ve had before and some new things so we can see if we have some new favorites.

But of course, what we have been dreaming about the most and what we knew we’d be ordering for sure was the bone marrow!

This time, the bone marrow was served a bit differently but it was still as delicious as we remembered it. We got 2 orders since there were 4 of us (last time 3 of us shared 1 order and it almost wasn’t enough) and it was the perfect thing to share. It was so creamy and flavorful and I’m already craving it again! There’s something so decadent about getting bone marrow and it feels like a real luxury. But it’s actually not that expensive (at least not at Wood & Vine) so it’s nice to have an affordable treat.

After eating all that, we were all pretty full. But then the manager came over and was chatting with us and asked us about what we wanted for dessert. We said how we were debating if we had room for dessert and he said that he had already placed an order for our usual. And to our surprise, they had treated us to all 3 desserts from the menu again!

We were not expecting to be treated to dessert again and we didn’t really plan our dinner to be having dessert. But even though we were all so full, there is always room for delicious desserts! We dug into all 3 of them and agreed that they were all amazing and so worth feeling super full.

This meal was just as good (or maybe even better) than our first time to Wood & Vine and we already know that we will be back before our next show this season. And we are talking about very possibly going there before every show next season as well. I just can’t believe it took us this long to discover this amazing restaurant!

We had taken our time with dinner so we were walking over to the show with only a few minutes before curtain. Fortunately, it only takes a minute or two to cross the street and we were at our seats right before the show started.

Since this wasn’t our normal night for our season tickets, we weren’t in our normal seats. But these seats might have been a bit better. They were similar to our normal seats (2 seats in 2 rows one behind the other) but a bit further back than we were seated for the other shows. But because we were farther back we had less of an obstructed side view. But even with the slightly obstructed view, I was so excited to see the show this time because the last time I saw “Book of Mormon” it was from the very back of a theater. So being up close was a nice change.

When I saw the show in NYC, Ben Platt was in the cast. He’s an incredible actor who is now a Tony winner. I had said to my friends that I felt a bit bad for this cast because Ben Platt is a tough act to follow. But this cast didn’t disappoint at all! They were amazing and they had some really fun and different takes with the characters. It almost didn’t feel like the same show because they had so many unique things that made their characters their own. Also, I felt like the choreography was very different from the Broadway show and that adding to making it feel unique and different.

We were all laughing so hard at the show and it was so much fun seeing it again now that I knew what to expect. It was totally a perfect evening out at the theater. We’ve only got one more show in our season (finally seeing “Hamilton”!) and then we’ve got 5 months after that before our first show in our next season. It’s so crazy to think that this season is almost over. It felt like it wasn’t that long ago that we were thinking that we still had a year before seeing “Hamilton”. Now it’s just over a month away!

Brunch Celebration (or Everyone Has Awesome News)

I had my WIF mentee brunch this past weekend and it was awesome. I always look forward to our brunch meetings and I know that I’m so lucky that my group has been able to maintain these hangouts as long as we have. So many of my other friends have not continued meeting with their groups after the official year ended (just like my first group), so I know we have a special group when almost all of us are continuing to be dedicated to the group.

As usual, we met at Rush St. for brunch. Almost all of us live so close to Culver City, so it’s pretty convenient. I was originally planning on walking over, but we have a heat wave right now and I didn’t want to be super sweaty so I drove. It does make me feel a bit silly driving when it’s so close, but I also knew that walking in that heat wouldn’t be good for me. But it is nice that it was only like 5 minutes in my car to get there so I didn’t have to hurry over.

It’s been tough for us to find a time that all of us can meet, so we go with when the most of us can make it. This time, 4 of us could be there (we were missing 3). We got one of the booths we normally get and we tried to figure out our food quickly so we could order. I got an omelet, which is what I usually have. They are really good omelets and I love the tater tots that come with it!

And for this meeting, everyone seemed to have some pretty amazing news! My news is all stuff that I’ve talked about on here. Mainly that I didn’t need to have surgery (our last brunch was before I would have had surgery) and how I’ve been really busy trying to get back to normal life. Everyone totally understood how it might take some time for me to get back to usual and that right now is a bit of a slow time for auditions. It’s nice that they get it so that I don’t have to explain my lack of news to them. But obviously not needing surgery was huge news to share!

Another member of the group is working on getting investors for a play she wrote. It’s got a really great chance to be on Broadway and we are all so happy for her. She had meetings in New York since our last meeting and she was sharing all the amazing feedback that she got. I really hope that her show gets the investors she needs because she has been working so hard on this script for so long!

But what I think was the most excited news at our brunch was one of the women in the group announcing her engagement! I’ve met her fiancée before and I’m so happy for her! Of course, we all wanted to know all the details of the proposal and what she’s started to plan for the wedding. And I told her I wanted to go wedding dress shopping with her (I have so much fun helping friends find their wedding dress). I think that she and I are going to go shopping soon so that will be really fun!

So much of our brunch was social talk and not about our careers. But that’s how it almost always is now and that’s one of the things I love so much about our brunch meetings. When we started our meetings, it felt so much more official and I was nervous I wouldn’t have enough to share with everyone. I would feel pressure to figure out what I could say and I didn’t want to bring too much of my personal life in since nobody else was doing that. But now, our meetings are more about just supporting each other in any part of our lives that we want. We support each other through crazy stuff and fun stuff and it’s all equally important to everyone.

I’ve been trying to make more of an effort to do more stuff so I can share it with the group, but I’m glad that nobody seemed to mind that my update wasn’t that much acting related stuff. And hopefully when we have our next meeting in August I’ll have way more fun stuff to share and everyone else will just keep on having amazing news in their lives too!

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Heat and Hormones (or Not Letting Cravings Take Over)

I’ve written about the heat from time to time on here. I don’t know why each year when it gets hot I seem surprised by it and how my body reacts. I know that my body swelling is a reaction to the heat and I understand that I shouldn’t be stressed about it. But knowing about something and feeling that way are totally different things. So of course, as soon as my body starts swelling (and my clothes stop fitting as nicely), I start to stress out.

And knowing that I’ve gained a little weight lately doesn’t help me stay rational about this. I’m working on getting my weight loss back on track, but it’s not easy to do. There are so many things that feel like they are working against me and sometimes I forget that it’s not always all my fault. There are things beyond my control at times and I have to try to manage them the best that I can.

I do have air conditioning now, but I do limit how often I use it. It’s not too expensive to run, but I also don’t want to feel dependent on it. I use it when it gets really hot and stuffy inside my house and once it feels cool and comfortable again I’ll either turn it off or adjust the temperature setting. But I really don’t need to limit it as much as I do and I have to tell myself that it’s ok if I get a bit spoiled with the air conditioning. I’m hoping that I will never feel like I always need it on and end up spending a ton of money on electricity (which is unlikely to happen with my current energy-efficient a/c), but there is a lot of middle ground between how little I’m using it now and using it all the time.

The other thing that I’m dealing with (and is probably being made worse with the heat) are the food cravings I’ve been having lately. I’m still adjusting to having hormone fluctuations and haven’t had to deal with cravings this way since I was in high school. Since I was on continuous birth control pills, I didn’t get a period and didn’t have PMS. The cravings are so weird to me and I’m working on trying to distinguish the difference between cravings because of hormones and cravings because of my eating disorder. I need to treat each type of craving differently and it’s not easy to know what to do.

I’m working on finding good and healthy options for when I do have hormonal cravings. It’s not easy when you want something that you know isn’t good for you, but hopefully I can figure out what will satisfy my body when I feel like I need something. This is all new to me, but hopefully once I’ve been birth control pill free for a year it will normalize. It’s only been 6 months and I know a lot of people told me it could take a year or two for things to be stable. While some things stabilized right away, I have to keep reminding myself that other things might not have normalized as quickly and I have to allow myself for an adjustment period.

I hate that I feel like I have these issues every single time that it gets hot and I wonder when it will stop feeling so crazy. I’m letting myself have these feelings because I know that things aren’t always in my control and I shouldn’t try to avoid feeling however I’m feeling. But it does annoy me that it feels like the heat and the cravings have ganged up on me right now and are making my life extra difficult.

But as all the other struggles I’ve written about on here, I know this is temporary. I have things in place to help me out this time. I’m in a better mental space to deal with the issues and I know what I can do to work on them. It’s not easy and I have to accept that it might never become easy. It’s all about getting through the tough times so that the next time they happen you are better prepared. I haven’t had to deal with the heat and hormone fluctuations together yet, so this time it might be a bit tougher. But that just means that next year should be better and that is what is helping me deal this time.

Air Food (or French Food In Santa Monica)

Because of this blog, I’ve been very fortunate to be able to do some really cool stuff. And this past weekend, I got to do one of those cool things! Through a friend who I know through Orangetheory, I was able to attend the soft opening of a brand new restaurant in Santa Monica! And I’m so excited to share with you all about the amazing experience I had at Air Food!

Air Food was started by Marc and Thierry who both come from Paris. They started with doing pop-up restaurants there wanting to create gastronomic food with a variety of foods. They became very popular and decided to open a restaurant in LA, which is how Air Food was born!

I haven’t had many opportunities to try French food, so I was beyond excited to attend this dinner! I had a feeling that I was in for an amazing night of food, and fortunately one of the new dresses I bought recently was the perfect thing to wear since it wasn’t too body conscious and I would be able to enjoy all the food there.

When I arrived at Air Food, I was the first soft opening customer there. I was a bit nervous about that and was wondering if maybe I should have waited to arrive, but Marc immediately came over to greet me and I think being there first was a total blessing. Marc introduced me to Thierry who was busy cooking and then he introduced me to the space and the food that they have there.

I loved the space. It’s a pretty small restaurant, but that makes it great! It’s not too crowded and there is a mix of seating at tables and at the bar for people to choose from. And Marc let me know that being at the bar was best because then I would have a view of the kitchen and could watch all the cooking going on. And for the customers at the tables, they would be able to watch all the excitement of the cooking through a camera that is in the kitchen that will be played on a large tv.

Marc also showed me their full water menu. For me, going to a place that has different types of water is perfect. I don’t drink soda and I’m not really drinking alcohol right now, so knowing that I have a choice beyond plain tap water makes me so happy.

Marc showed me the water wall and told me about all the different bottles and where they came from. I’ve never gotten to experience meeting someone so knowledgeable about water, but it made me want to learn more about water options for my house beyond just drinking filtered tap water. I told Marc about how I like sparkling water, especially with orange flavor, and he suggested that with my food I try a new tangerine/lemongrass water from Voss. I agreed that it sounded perfect and took my seat at the bar to get ready to have some delicious food!

To start, Thierry prepared some foie gras for me. I’ve never had foie gras before and was intrigued to try it. I’m not too adventurous of an eater, but I’m glad I tried it and I have so many friends who are so excited to find out that there is a new restaurant in LA that serves their favorite treat!

I was then presented with the menu for the soft opening. Everything on the menu that night will be available when they open, but there are some things that will be on the regular menu that weren’t an option for me. But even with fewer options, there was plenty for me to choose from and I was torn on what I wanted to eat!

What pleased me the most seeing the menu was seeing how reasonable the prices were for the food. I know that when I think French food (and sometimes when I think of Santa Monica restaurants) I think of expensive prices that I usually can’t afford. But everything on the menu is affordable even for me! After going back and forth on a few things that sounded delicious (and with a little input from Marc), I decided on the artichoke gratin and the rib eye steak.

The gratin was so creamy and I loved that it had truffles in it! And artichokes are one of my favorites so I was so happy that there were giant pieces of artichokes in the gratin and the pieces weren’t hidden in there. And the steak was so perfectly cooked! It was tender and flavorful and I wasn’t able to stop eating it!

But I probably should have paced myself a bit because then there was also dessert to order.

I was so full, but after thinking about it I decided to order the apple tart for dessert. I love apple tart and recently had a great one at Wood & Vine. So I wanted to see how awesome this one would be since I knew it would be incredible. And when it arrived I wasn’t disappointed.

Not only was it beautiful (and it was so beautiful that I didn’t want to cut into it), but it was so good! It was light and the pastry wasn’t too much. It was a refreshing dessert that seemed like the perfect way to end the meal.

There is no question that I will be returning to Air Food. And even though the event I went to was a soft opening, you are all in luck! Because Air Food is having their grand opening today! So if you are in Santa Monica, you need to make sure you stop by for lunch or dinner. And make sure you say hi to Marc and Thierry! They have created such an amazing restaurant and I’m so excited for everyone else to get to experience the food to see how lucky we all are that we now have this food in Santa Monica!

The Bodyguard and Bone Marrow (or An Amazing Dinner At Wood & Vine)

This past Sunday was another Pantages night out for me and my season ticket group. Normally I write about the dinner first and show second (as that’s the order that we do things), but I’m changing it up a bit. The show that we went to see was “The Bodyguard” and I’ll be honest that we were a bit unsure how we felt about this show before seeing it.

But this was such a fun show! It was explained to us as almost like a Whitney Houston concert with a bit of plot between the songs. And that’s a great description for the show! Deborah Cox is the lead and she was incredible! The songs were so much fun, the dancing was awesome, and everyone seemed to be dancing in their seats. And if you go to see the show, don’t leave during the curtain call. There is some fun after everyone takes a bow and I’m glad we stayed for it. Even though this was a show we were all unsure of before seeing it, I highly recommend getting tickets for it if you are looking for a fun night out at the theater!

Now, back to our dinner. Our group is always trying to figure out where to get dinner before our shows. We have gone to the same few places multiple times and when I was at the LA Times Festival of Books I went to the Pantages booth and grabbed one of their restaurant guides. I sent a photo of it to the group and we decided to check out Wood & Vine. Wood & Vine is right across from the theater and I have no clue why we hadn’t been there before. But trust me, we will be making many return trips there now!

Only 3 of us from the group could go to dinner, and since it is all shared plates we got a bunch of things for us to all share. We started with some olives which were perfect and then ordered a few things that sounded good to most of us. Michelle and Dani wanted the Brussels sprouts and I figured I’d try it. I hate them but I try to try foods that I think I hate at least twice a year. These were good, but there is still something about Brussels sprouts that I don’t think I will like (sorry Wood & Vine). But I think Michelle and Dani were happy I didn’t like them because they wanted them all to themselves!

Dani and I also split the mac and cheese which was so perfect! It was nice and creamy and the cracker crust on it was a nice crunch. And we also got the scallops and pork belly (scallops were something that I didn’t like until recently and started to like after forcing myself to try them) and I think we were all in heaven eating them.

But for us, even just looking at the menu, we were most looking forward to the bone marrow. My grandpa loved bone marrow and I actually had some at a Tone It Up dinner the night that he died. But I hadn’t really had an opportunity to order it since then. So to get it at Wood & Vine was exactly what I wanted. And when the plate came to our table, we were not disappointed. It looked incredible!

There are no words to describe how delicious this was. It was heaven on a plate and even just writing about it is making me crave it again!

The entire time that we were at Wood & Vine, the staff was just so nice to us. We got to chat a bit with the manager (he was the one who described the show as a Whitney Houston concert to us) and it was just wonderful and friendly there. And while we were eating we were looking so happy and they were telling us to save room for dessert. We figured they were talking about the bone marrow since that was the last thing that was coming to the table. We thought that was the perfect “dessert” for us and when we were done eating our table was full of empty plates where the amazing food had been.

But then, the chocolate pot de creme was brought over to our table. We thought it was a mistake but the staff let us know that they actually ordered dessert for us on the house! We were thanking them and then the other two desserts from the menu, butterscotch with bourbon ice cream and an apple fry pie, appeared on our table too! We couldn’t believe that they got us all 3 desserts from the menu on the house!

We were full, but of course there is a separate part of your stomach for dessert so we all dug in. And the desserts did not disappoint! They were all decadent and delicious and at that time the last member of our group, Elisa, got there and we offered to share the desserts with her too. We were not planning on dessert (we might have ordered a bit less if we knew we were getting it), but it was a fabulous end to an incredible meal. And to have the restaurant give us the desserts on the house to make sure we could try them is above and beyond what I would ever expect from a restaurant!

We’ve already decided as a group that when we go to see “Hamilton” in about 3 months that we will be returning to Wood & Vine. It is really one of the best restaurants that I’ve gone to and there are so many other things on the menu that I want to try now. And of course, we’ve joked that we are going to order at least 2 plates of bone marrow to split between the 4 of us. And I have a feeling that we will be going there for a lot of our pre-show dinners for our shows next season as well.

Usually my nights out at the Pantages are more about the show than our pre-show dinner. But because of how amazing the food and staff at Wood & Vine were, this time the food was totally the highlight of the evening and has raised the bar on what we expect out of our pre-show dinners! Thank you Wood & Vine for your hospitality, awesome Broadway show discussion, and the desserts you gave us!