Where oh where has the week flown by? I feel like it was just a few minutes ago that I was celebrating the start of Spring Break. But before I knew it, time has whooshed past, and I’m stuck with the same amount of work left to do, but a quarter of the time left to finish them.
If you can’t already tell, I had a pretty unproductive week. When my roommate returned from her spring break at home and asked me how I was, I replied with a groan, “Unproductive!” But she laughed and said, “Well, that’s the way spring break is supposed to be.”
That coming from an architecture student who never sees daylight. For an odd reason, that made me feel a lot better about my lazy week. Even my dear workaholic roommate got to relax. So why not I? In a few days, I’ll be working my butt off preparing for two mid-terms and a major project. So why not enjoy this break as the most perfectly legitimate excuse to slack off?
And so I did. Today, I had the most gloriously, sinfully unproductive time in the entire week. And boy, did I enjoy every moment of it. Let me warn you first—if it’s midnight and you’re reading this, grab a snack in handy, because you’re gonna get hungry.
I had another LA Blogger Meet-Up. If you recall from my “You Are What You Cook” Challenge Round-Up, I mentioned that I just discovered yet another blogger in my school: Yao, from BakeMe. Well, after finding out that Yao is a fellow schoolmate, I immediately demanded that we meet in person, just because it would be criminal not to. So Yao agreed, and we decided to expand it into a small LA Blogger Meet-up.
Unfortunately, Yao found out at the last minute that duty called for her to pick up her cousin from the airport. But we still got to meet beforehand. In fact, I kind of managed to bully her into going shopping at Whole Foods and Trader Joes with me. ;-p
We had a lovely time. Thanks to the horrendous LA traffic, we got a lot of time together in the car to talk about everything under the sun. I’m always astounded by how easily it is to connect with someone, even a complete stranger. Despite our relatively short time together, I really enjoyed our time together…and hopefully, there’s gonna be more get-togethers this semester. Hear that, Yao? I wrote it down in words for everyone to read. You can’t back out now!
Yao dropped me off at the Farmers Market so that I can meet up with the other bloggers. I was a bit early, so I got to browse around the market for awhile, and I came across the best store ever:
A store that sells every kind of hot sauce imaginable!!! Biz, you hear that? Come to your heaven! (or hell?)
Luckily, a certain text message saved me. Ameena sent me a message saying she had arrived, so I was able to practice self-restraint and back out before I did some major damage to my bank account (and myself). I hurried off to our lunch spot, The Loteria Grill:
Loteria is a small Mexican eatery in the middle of the Farmer’s Market in L.A. It was also listed as one of Jonathon Gold’s 99 Things to Eat in LA Before You Die, so I felt pretty confident that this was a great spot to meet for food bloggers.
Ironically, Yao was actually the one who chose the location, but couldn’t stay (sorry, girl!). But here are the lovely bloggers who did! (From left to right) Jenn from Bread + Butter, Andy and Amanda from Two Boos Who Eat, and Ameena from Fancy that…Fancy this.
Amanda and Andy traveled an hour and a half to get here. Jenn also traveled over an hour. Ameena had to wrestle her husband into taking her daughter Maya to a birthday party. Such dedication! Can we give a round of applause to these outstanding bloggers?
I’m sure you all know Ameena, who guest-blogged at my blog once:
I met her at the Veggie Grill for the first time, and I’d been itching to meet her again. I was so happy that she could make it, because she is one busy lady, juggling motherhood, a job, and daily blogging. Ameena’s life may not be all high-impact and cobra-dancing, but she has a gentle wittiness that makes her blog a leisure to read. She certainly lives by Ellie’s Pollan-esque motto: “Laugh lots. Not too loud. Mostly at yourself.”
I’d had the pleasure of meeting Andy and Amanda once already at the Foodbuzz Festival. It took us a good 4 months or so to meet again, but I’m glad we finally did. They are such an adorable pair!
How cute are they? They’re newly married, and co-bloggers of Two Boo Who Eat. I think that’s so cool to be married to a fellow foodie and blogger. Think of all the unlimited blogger gossip you can have…not to mention, no one to give you crap about taking pictures of your food! Like this guy on the left while Amanda was taking a picture of us: Andy is a high school US History teacher, and Amanda is getting her Education degree to be a high school teacher, too. I guess that just about destroyed the stereotype that high school teachers are uncool.
And finally, petite little Jenn!
I think I’m about 2 heads taller than Jenn. But don’t underestimate her because of her petite size. She’s quite an accomplished, admirable filmmaker, writer, director, producer, entrepreneur, and food blogger. Say what? Yup, you heard me right. This lady is a machine! Passionate, ambitious, intelligent, talented, and yet extremely down-to-earth. She is, in short, phenomenal.
As for the food, it was good. But not “must eat before you DIE” good. I’m afraid I’ll have to disagree with Mr. Gold here. And all these people lining up to get their grub:
Maybe it was because I had so much anticipation. Or maybe it was because I failed to get Jonathon Gold’s recommendation of the Chicharron de Queso. Or maybe it’s just because I’m not the biggest Mexican food fan. Or maybe it was simply because the food didn’t measure up to the quality of the company I shared with my fellow bloggers. In the end, it just didn’t wow me.
I ordered the Probaditas-Sampler:
All 12 of Loteria’s tacos, mini-size, on hand-made corn tortillas.
I have to admit, the presentation of this dish was magnificent. It was like being handed a platter of your own tapas bar!
I’m not sure if I can identify each taco correctly, but I’ll do my best. Here’s the Cochinita Pibil (left) and Calabacitas (right):
Pork, Slowly Roasted in Banana Leaf Served with Citrus-Pickled Red Onion and Chile Habanero. The other is Zucchini and Roasted Corn Succotash Served with Salsa Verde, Finely Chopped Onion and Cilantro, and Queso Fresco.
The Papa con Rajas (front-left) and the Nopalitos (front-right):
Potatoes with Roasted Poblano Peppers Served with Finely Chopped Onion and Cilantro, Queso Fresco, and Salsa Verde. The other is fresh Cactus Salad. Served with Salsa Verde and Queso Fresco.
The Carne deshebrada and the Tinga de Pollo:
Shredded Beef Served with Fresh Guacamole, Salsa Chipotle, and Finely Chopped Onion and Cilantro. And the other is Chicken, Stewed with Chipotle Peppers and our home-made Chorizo Served with Salsa Roja de Chipotle.
Here’s the Mole Poblano con Pollo:
Chicken in Mole Poblano Served with Sesame Seeds, Finely Chopped Onion, and Queso Fresco.
And the Albondigas en Chipotle:
Meatballs in a Tomato and Chipotle Sauce Served with Finely Chopped Onion and Cilantro.
And I missed out a few:
Champiñones con Epazote (the brown one on the very top center) – Mushrooms with Epazote Served with Finely Chopped Onion and Cilantro, Queso Fresco, and Salsa Verde.
And the Chicharron en Salsa Verde (The one on the very right above the meatball) - Pork Rinds in a Spicy Tomatillo Sauce Served With Finely Chopped Onion and Cilantro and Queso Fresco.
And finally, the Carnitas en salsa Morita (the one in the very middle next to the mole poblano) – Pork in a Spicy Chile Morita Sauce Served with slices of Fresh Avocado and Finely Chopped Onion and Cilantro.
What a spread, huh? It was certainly impossible to keep track of each tastes. By the time I was done, all I could remember was that some were better than others. I particularly liked the Chicharron en Salsa Verde. The fried pork rinds drenched in tomatillo sauce just glided through my throat. It was ethereal.
The other one I really enjoyed was Cochinita Pibil (pulled pork) and the Papa con Rajas (mashed potato thingy). But I wasn’t too thrilled with some of the meaty ones like the shredded beef taco, which was rather dry.
Ameena was kind enough to share her Nopalitos Ensalata:
Fresh Cactus paddle with tomato, Chile Serrano, Onion and Cilantro in a light lime Vinaigrette. Decorated with corn tortilla chips.
Ameena strayed away from the regular summer salad because I kind of encouraged her to get something different, but unfortunately, it wasn’t the best. The cactus tasted sort of bitter, kind of like artichoke. But it was rather interesting, and was a unique flavor and texture that you needed to get used to. But take a look at the other bloggers’ recap to find out what they thought about it.
Overall, Loteria was a fun and interesting place, but not somewhere I’ll visit again. The portion was just too small for its price, and I came back home with a half-filled stomach. But of course, the wonderful time I had with the bloggers was completely worth it. Honestly, I didn’t even realize that I was still hungry until I got home.
I dug into my new Trader Joe stash (chocolate-covered almonds and a pound plus milk chocolate bar!) and, finished the last of this Coco Joy bar from the Raw Bakery at the Blue Mountains Organics:
This is a rich, dense bar made entirely from raw, sprouted superfoods. The nutrients in these ingredients are left intact because they’ve been soaked, sprouted, and dehydrated. The only ingredients are: Coconut, Cashews, Dates, Almonds, Agave, Cacao, Vanilla.
I’m not a Larabar fan. This bar is made kind of like Larabar, but it’s different because it’s not just blended and pressed into a bar. There is actually some good texture in there from the coconut and nuts, and I love the shape of a handmade roll.
However, it is rather pricey at $5.60 per roll. But it’s also the kind of treat that you don’t want to finish all at once. I actually took 3 days to finish this. It’s so rich that just one bite will satisfy most of your sweet cravings, so I’d say the price is worth it if you’re one of those with occasional sweet cravings.
By the way, you know who else is sweet? My mother. To celebrate the return of my hair, she sent me a couple of beautiful headbands. I wore one of it today:
Whoa, am I actually wearing something remotely fashionable? I think it’s cute!
Moms are the best. Especially when they think and care about things which you don’t have time to care about for you. Lol.
Ah, I can’t believe it’s night already! I need to get to work… or not. It took over an hour to get home, because of road constructions and LA traffic. But time flew by, because I had yet another good chat with Jenn, who generously gave me a ride home. Thanks, Jenn! And thank you, Ameena, Amanda, and Andy (oh my god, they all start with A’s!) for the most awesome time together! And you, Yao! We’ll see each other again!
Question of the day: So…how productive was your week?