Seattle Spring Break (AKA Coffee Tour of Seattle)

Buckle up folks, this is going to be a long one. But I promise, it’s worth sticking around if you’re at all into amazing coffee and delicious food.

For Spring Break, 3 friends from college and I planned a trip to Seattle. After a couple of hours of flight delays, we arrived on Wednesday afternoon and hightailed it to lunch at Oddfellows in Capitol HIl. We stayed at an AirBnB in Capitol Hill, which despite th grungy walk from the light rail to the apartment, and the undersized, one bed studio we found ourselves with, we ended up liking the area a lot.

This was tied for my favorite meal of the trip. The restaurant had a very hipster feel, and I got kombucha on tap (those are one sentence because they go together). It had a flowery essence, and was delicious! For my main meal, I ordered a chicken and avocado salad (because avocado) which was fantastic.



After lunch, we headed off to Fremont for our first coffee adventure.


My roommate found a highly recommended coffeeshop called Milstead and Co.


Unfortunately for me, upon entering I learned that they didn’t have decaf. I haven’t had caffeine in over a year, besides chocolate which hits me pretty hard. Ever since my stomach started flaring, caffeine in tiny doses makes me sick/jittery. They offered to make me a half shot cappuccino. Unfortunately, I was only able to have a few sips before my heart started feeling it, but it was delicious, and I thoroughly enjoyed the gluten free biscuit we got to go along with it.


We then began to explore Fremont, when I recognized the bridge as “the one with a troll.” My friends, thought I was crazy, until I led them uphill.


Look! I found a troll!

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Two other highlights of Fremont: a pie bakery. I didn’t get anything, but my friend got an amazing looking peanut butter mini pie.


The other was an adorable tea shop. It was all loose leaf, in jars, and we could ask to sample anything. The owner was super nice, and had a sweet dog.

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The decor was vaguely steampunk, and we had the opportunity to play along for a photo op.

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As we were about to leave Fremont, I smelled something amazing. Melted chocolate. Strong. We followed our noses and found this:


A chocolate shop! With lots of samples. I’ve seen this type of chocolate all over Whole Foods. After extensive taste testing, I walked away with this:


For dinner that night, after much debate, we wandered into a Mexican restaurant in Capitol Hill. We started with an appetizer of smoked salmon guacamole, which was AMAZING. I honestly didn’t think I was going to like it; I’m not a huge smoked salmon fan. But the smoked salmon all over Seattle was fantastic.


For my main course, I had a Mexican chop salad with plenty of avocado.


Thursday morning, I rolled out of bed quite early to drop in to a 6:30am class at Xplore Crossfit, which was literally .1 miles from our AirBnB.


Xplore Crossfit has 2 locations—one downtown, and one in Capitol Hill, which is newer. The gym was a bit small, but really nice, with new-looking equipment. (My gym at school is literally in an old bunker, for comparison.) Everyone was friendly, and we had a small class that morning.

For the workout, we spent 10 minutes finding a 1 rep max strict press. I think I got to maybe 80#ish? They worked in kilos so it required quite a bit of mental math! The WOD was a 20 minute AMRAP of 10 push presses (55# for me), 10 ring rows, 10 toes to bar (I did about half as T2B and half as knees to elbow—also, the pull ups bars were SUPER high!), and 10 over the box jumps. I finished I think just over 5 sets? It felt so good to get a sweat on to start my day! I definitely get grumpy when I don’t exercise in the mornings.

Breakfast was super delicious. We bought food at the grocery the previous night, so I had some whole milk yogurt with berries, (packed) sunbutter, and gluten free vanilla cereal.


Next on the agenda was Pike’s Place Market and COFFEE.


On the way to our coffeeshop of choice, we picked up pastries. I found a stand with tons of gluten free goodies, and mixed up the most amazing lemon blueberry muffin. It didn’t look like much, but it was bursting with lemon flavor and the texture was on point!


I think this may have been my favorite cappuccino of the trip. I can’t for the life of me remember the name of the coffeeshop though! (Edited to add: it was called Storyville!)

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This was a great moment. Good coffee, good food, even better people.

Then, it was time to explore the market (and watch flying fish).

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At the fish place, they gave out samples of smoked salmon, and this self-proclaimed disliker of smoked salmon was won over. We tried several delicious types, but went with the original. We decided to buy a pound to split for lunch, and enjoyed it picnic style alongside some of the other goodies we found: cheese and amazing apples.


After shopping around downtown for a few hours, we wound up in the coffeeshop near our place for some study time.

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Victrola was my second favorite cappuccino of the trip! They also had kombucha on tap!

Dinner that night was delicious, and I take full credit for picking it out! We went to The Gnocchi Bar. It was mainly a gnocchi restaurant, and you could choose any of the dishes with regular, sweet potato, or GF gnocchi. I love gnocchi, and this was amazing.


We started out by splitting a salad with roasted butternut squash, truffle something, and goat cheese.

And then decided to split 3 types of gnocchi to try some of everything!


Gnocchi special that involved truffle and mushrooms, and possibly duck bacon but I avoided that part.


My favorite: creamy with roasted cauliflower and mushrooms.


Apple cider sauce with chicken, asparagus, and parmesan.

Afterwards, we went out to Molly Moon’s for dessert. The ice cream was good, but not gourmet quality. I had honey lavender, and was happy with that choice!


Friday morning I went for a run through Seattle. I followed a route I found on map my run. I was skeptical initially because it started off going into the grungy area, but the cute neighborhoods and views of the Space Needle that followed won me over!

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The rest of the morning was spent back at Victrola studying.

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For lunch, we went to a place with Red Espresso! Red Espresso is made with roobois tea, which contains no caffeine and has an earthy flavor. We all oohed and ahhed over our lattes with a perfect drizzle of honey and sprinkle of cinnamon on top.

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Roobois is South African, and the cafe menu included South African fare. I had a toasted sandwich (GF) with spinach, egg, and gouda.


We then wandered around the area a bit, stopping in at a chocolate shop for a rosemary caramel (for me) and brown butter hot chocolate (ridiculous).

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We didn’t have much of a plan, but ended up wandering towards U District, making it to Fremont before we Ubered to Slate in U District.

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Slate is an extremely high end (and sort of pretentious) coffeeshop.


They absolutely know their coffee. They also use super high quality raw milk. The special, which I of course had to try, is a deconstructed latte. The espresso and milk are served separately to try each, and then a mixed version is served to try together. You drink them in a specific order: espresso, milk, latte. I had decaf, which had notes of raisin and maybe caramel? (According to the barista—I do not have the espresso prowess to determine that!)


I actually really liked the espresso—it’s such good quality that it’s not bitter exactly, and is crazy smooth.

To continue our liquid tour of Seattle for the day, we Ubered back to Capitol Hill for Capitol Cider. It’s an all gluten free restaurant with a ridiculous number of ciders. I tried the blackberry, and enjoyed it a lot!


We split a grilled vegetable salad with burrata to start.


And for my main dish, I had roasted chicken over a fennel bread pudding.


For dessert, we shared an oat/cheddar apple crumble served with orange cream sauce.


We spent the rest of the night exploring what Capitol Hill had to offer.


On our last morning, before we headed to the airport we walked about a mile to brunch in the Broadway area.


We went to Coastal Kitchen, and I ordered an omelette with goat cheese, caramelized onions, and sage. I was a big fan of the sage! On the side were smoky hash browns.

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Before heading to the airport, we had one more stop on the list. We lucked out, and it was literally 2 doors down from Coast Kitchen. NuFlours, a gluten free bakery!

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Everything looked amazing, and it was so hard to choose! Ultimately I went with a blueberry muffin (a classic), and my friend and I shared a piece of sweet potato coffee cake.

Overall, the trip was amazing. This really was a food and coffee tour of Seattle!

Yoga Fixed My Shoulders

Phew. Yesterday was quite the day!

I started my morning teaching a 7am spin class on campus, which was awesome. I didn’t think we’d get a big turn out because it wasn’t that well advertised and it was early, but I got a good group out, including a friend!

Then, I had a weight lifting session with my trainer. I tried to move it to not the morning I had to teach, but that didn’t work out so I had to suck it up and go in with less than fresh legs. We worked on cleans, back squats, and jerks. I PRed my clean again at 148#! That’s a 8# increase this summer, so I’ll take it! Sometimes being a little tired helps things-I don’t overthink the lift, plus I was super warmed up! I also hit 95% of my back squat max for 2 reps. This is especially good because my max is a year old, and I maxed out at my 95% when I tested it back in the spring.

As for the jerks, we didn’t go super heavy but they felt better than expected. Over the last year or so, I’ve developed very creaky shoulders, especially when I go overhead with the bar. I basically have not been able to go overhead more than once a week without stiff shoulders and pain when I press up. Earlier this week at Crossfit, we did a ton of push presses and high volume overhead work. But, the jerks yesterday felt fine! It was a night and day difference. So what changed? I started yoga about 6 years ago to help with flexibly (because I have none). I honestly think yoga was key for helping me stay injury free in my many years of softball. (I was a pitcher and never had any shoulder/arm trouble which is rare for someone doing it for 10 years!) In the past year, yoga has kind of fallen by the wayside. Last month, I finally started making it to class again, and I’ve noticed my shoulders getting stronger and looser. I felt a drastic difference from just last week’s class to this week’s class when doing low push ups-my shoulders felt strong and were losing their creak. Plus, this week I walked out of class with much less foot pain because I spent 60 minutes stretching out my tight calves. Needless to say I will be making yoga a regular thing again if possible!

After my training session, I met my sister for coffee at Bliss in Redwood City for any locals.


Of course, I got a cappuccino and it was fantastic. It was a light roast, and had premium quality milk foam (which is clearly what matters, if you ask me!)

After coffee, we headed home for lunch. I made myself a salad with truffle goat cheese (because we didn’t have any regular goat cheese), dates, a nectarine, and deli turkey.


Sweet potato seed crackers were on the side.

I spent the afternoon resting, and then apparently going on a baking frenzy.

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It’s 4 days into September and I’ve already make 3 loaves of pumpkin bread and a loaf of sweet potato bread. Besides the pumpkin bread, I did lots of experimenting and improvising.



For the pumpkin bread, I baked some Noosa honey yogurt into the center for something fun.

If you take one look at my recipe page, you’ll see that most of what is up there is quick breads and salads. Those are my two claims to fame. I’ve gotten very good and making up recipes for healthy quick breads. I have one base recipe that I use, and I have yet to screw it up, surprisingly, despite how many modifications I’ve tried. (That’s actually not true-the one thing that didn’t work was coconut flour banana bread. Apparently bananas and coconut flour are not good together. It was gross.) I’ve even started making it with gluten free flour, and you would really never know. At this point, nothing contains more than 1/4 cup of sweetener, but you’d never know. Even my sister approved, and she is wary of anything “healthy.”

When the sweet potato bread came out, I decided I am a freaking genius. It was on point.


My third loaf was a total experiment, and I was running out of flour so I had to really improvise. The bread? Awesome. Exactly what I was looking for. The appearance? Uhhhh.


The batter was completely gray-this picture doesn’t do it justice. Anyone want to guess the secret ingredient that reacts to turn this color? I’m guessing it reacts to baking soda/powder. Because of the appearance, I’m not 100% sure I’ll share the recipe. Plus, it still needs tweaking because I think if I had more flour and didn’t have to improvise quite so much it would be better!

As for the sweet potato recipe, it’s coming this weekend-I promise!

That evening, I went to run club at Crossfit. My legs were not really up for it, but I’ve been wanting to go for a long time now and this was the only week I could really make it. Since everything is based on paces, I had to do a timed mile. Blech. I clocked in around 8:10, and with tired legs, I’ll take it. I should probably actually do a timed mile sometime with fresh legs! Back in the glory days, in another life I was actually reptty fast. I think my all time best mile is 6:53, but that’s not happening any time soon! Overall, between warm up and cool down, I covered 3 miles which is exactly what was on my half training plan for the day.

Dinner was another basic one. Stir fry veggies and cheesy polenta. The cheesy polenta was just cooked polenta with smoked gouda stirred in, and it was delicious!


I hope everyone has a fabulous labor day weekend. I’m on puppy duty full time, so I’m trying to think of things to do with her! And check back for that recipe this weekend!

What are your weekend plans?

Giant’s Race 2015

Hello! Guess who did a race this past weekend?


The Giant’s Race finishes in the Giant’s ballpark. It’s awesome. It was my first ever race! This year I did the 10k, not the half like I did the past 2 years. I had a hard time with my training for my April half because I was so sick, that I was just not up for it. That, and I had no time or energy to train with work. This summer I was on my feet 8 hrs a day, and half marathon training plus that would have torn up my feet!

So, I settled on the 10k.

It’s so crazy to me. 4 years ago, I ran this race for the first time.



I was about to start my freshman year of college. Where the heck did the time go?? When I ran it 4 years ago, I actually won my age group. I was in my best shape of my life at the time, and followed a strict training schedule to work up to that distance (at the time a PDR). This year, I ran the race about 7 minutes slower. Instead of moaning about how much slower I’ve gotten, I’m appreciating how my body has changed to allow me to run this distance without issue, essentially without training.


I didn’t have any expectations for the race. I didn’t want to die, but I wanted to run a decent pace. I was actually a second away from my last minute goal time. I mostly just wanted to enjoy this race. It’s an amazing course-along the Embarcadero, under the Bay Bridge, and out past Fisherman’s Wharf. Bonus-the 10k is flat. The half marathon course actually goes to Chrissy field, with a fantastic view of the Golden Gate.


The energy of the runners is amazing as well-lots of like-minded people (aka Giant’s fans). Plus, finishing on the field never gets old. I definitely enjoyed this race!


After the race, I met up with my mom and grabbed a complimentary post-race beer, just because I could. Yayy for 21. I only had a few sips though because we had other plans for beverages that morning!



There was also a little sandbag toss, for prizes. Of course, I had to take part. I nailed my first 2 bags right in the whole. I still have some softball player left in me, and walked away with some new sunglasses!

After my coffee exploration in New York, I figured I should use a trip to the city as an excuse to try some of the best San Francisco has to offer! I picked out a place, and it turned out they had gourmet and gluten free doughnuts! Dynamo Donuts. We arrived minutes before they opened.


I had a chocolate raspberry and a lemon buttermilk gluten free donut. Both were delicious, and you definitely could not tell they were gluten free.


Plus, OF COURSE a cappuccino. Excellent as well. Good coffee is just so much smoother, and without the bitterness.


Overall, it was a great morning!

Tell me-where’s the best coffee?


Well, it’s been a hot minute since I last blogged, hasn’t it? Between my trip and my crazy work schedule since the trip, I haven’t had the time or energy to even open up my laptop! That being said, I only have 2 more days of my summer job, so expect all kinds of posts coming up!

When I caught you last, I was hanging out on my friend’s couch in New York City!

Now, it’s time to update you on our adventures since! It was a whirlwind 1.5 days-I think I got a taste of pretty much the whole city! It was disgusting weather-HOT and humid-super muggy. The air was thick. We had a very busy couple of days, full of walking. We probably walked 10-15 miles on Monday alone. One thing I will say is that being on my feet 8 hours a day at work has seriously conditioned my feet and legs. My feet didn’t bother me at all, and my legs didn’t feel tired! I’ll take it! (I also owe you guys a post about my summer job.)

Stop 1-laying eyes on the Statue of Liberty!

We walked from the Subway to Battery Park.

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From there, we walked to Ground Zero. It was very moving, and taking a picture for me felt disrespectful.

Our next stop was lunch-I wanted to get some NY pizza! We found a place with gluten free crust and stopped there. There was a deal for 2 to split a small pizza and a salad, so that’s what we did!

The salad was excellent-chicken, cheese, truffle, pear, and a balsamic dressing. Our pizza of choice was margarita.

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Although the crunchy crust of the pizza was not the typical New York crust, everything was delicious.

After lunch, we hightailed it to our reserved time slot at a cat cafe (in Chinatown). I was SO pumped for this. We were cutting it a bit close on time, and my friend kept laughing at my power-walking pace. I wasn’t going to miss those cats!

The kitties were very mellow and spent most of the time sleeping. Near the end of our timeslot, they released 3 black kittens! I think I need to open a cat cafe later in life. I need an outlet for all the kittens that are sure to find me working at a vet.

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After our time with the kitties, we stopped at a gluten free bakery, where we split a banana-chocolate-caramel cupcake and a frosted donut. Both were excellent!


On our way to finding pizza, we spotted the following sign outside of an interesting looking coffeeshop:


If they have cappuccinos on their sign, they must be good! I was sold. After some further research, we learned this little place was on the list of top coffee in NYC! My friend has been on the search for the best coffee this summer in NY, so we had to go.


The verdict? Yes. Just yes. Milk foam quality was high-nice and smooth. The espresso had no bitter aftertaste either. I didn’t even care that the outside temperatures were brain meltingly high!

After that busy day in the sun, I needed a nap and air conditioning to rally before heading out again. We convinced my friend’s sister to come with us to a gluten free Italian restaurant. Upon getting off the subway, we found the Friends’ fountain! Definitely a highlight of the trip.

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We also found the cafe the Central Perk was based off of (according to Google).

For dinner, I had a delicious dish of grilled chicken, roasted veggies, and garlic mashed potatoes.


Then, we headed off for a truly New York experience-a rooftop bar in Times Square. I should mention-I’ve never been to NYC before so this was quite the experience!

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We each had a glass of champagne before calling it a night!

The next morning, we set out fairly early to fit in as much as possible before I had to leave for the airport at 1pm. It was a busy morning! We started with authentic NY bagels. I had an everything bagel with herb cream cheese, and we split an egg bagel. Yes, NY bagels are as good as everyone says. They were amazingly chewy, and perfectly toasted. Plus, there was an abundant selection of cream cheeses. There must have been 15 choices!


Our next stop was the Chelsea Highline, an elevated platform to walk on.

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By the end of the walk, I was sweating buckets and could not resist an iced latte when we found a Blue Bottle Coffee. I know Blue Bottle is an SF thing, but can one really complain about excellent coffee?


We then went to Chelsea Market (similar to the Ferry building in SF)-an indoor market with little stores that sell high end food. I came away with truffle salt, garlic infused olive oil, and peach balsamic.

For my final meal in New York, I knew I had to try the avocado smash. Apparently NY has quite a few Australian cafes, which have 1. really good coffee and 2. avocado smashes.


I couldn’t pass up iced latte #2 of the day (but don’t worry-they were decaf!). Fantastic.


My friend and I split an avocado smash on gluten free bread, with 2 poached eggs on top.


This ended up being perfect-a full smash probably had over an entire avocado on it, and one smash had 2 slices of bread.

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(Can you guess which picture is mine, and which is my artsy friend’s?)

This was delicious, and will definitely need to be recreated!

I know I mentioned a lot of gluten free products on this trip. This is partly because my friend has a gluten sensitivity, and partly because my stomach isn’t 100% and I think going gluten free, especially when my stomach is sort of flaring up, tends to help. I felt a little sick on this trip, and really had to watch what/how much I was eating to manage it. However, this definitely didn’t hold me back, and I had an amazing first experience in NYC!

What it your favorite thing to do in NY?



WIAW-Back to Normal

Happy Wednesday! Today I’m linking up for our weekly food celebration with Jenn.


After my trip and race, I’m back to what I suppose is my normal routine for the next week and a half, so here’s what I ate!

For breakfast, I had leftover cheesy mushroom quinoa (with excessive kale) and some cherries.


In terms of my workout, as promised, I have a lot of cross training in front of me while my plantar fasciitis stops flaring so I went to the gym and did a spin workout on my own. It was a good workout, but not my best playlist ever. After my workout, I met my mom and sister on campus for lunch at my local cafe.

I started with a cappuccino (decaf).


And then my mom and I shared a couple of dishes.The first was called Beverly Hills Chopped Salad, and was mixed greens, olives, avocado, gouda, chicken, and asparagus tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette.


The second was an arepa filled with gouda cheese.


Before dinner, I went to my favorite yoga class and stretched out my tight muscles from the race. I think going to yoga more should help my plantar fasciitis-the stretching felt good and the one legged poses really made it apparent how weak the little muscles in my ankles and achilles are.

For dinner, we made a barbecue chicken salad. My dad grilled chicken with some of the new BBQ sauce we got in Napa, and we served it over a salad with corn, red pepper, tomato, onion, and avocado in a simple lime juice and olive oil dressing.


Plus some tortilla chips on the side!

For something sweet, I had the last of a container of caramel ice cream with caramel sauce from Napa. I didn’t get a picture, but I want to take this moment to share with you the best ice cream ever (although this wasn’t the kind I had last night because it was long gone).


This stuff is AMAZING but I’m pretty sure you can only get it in CA since Straus is a local dairy. Their dairy is the most amazing, creamiest, smoothest ever-the yogurt is amazing-and my favorite ice cream place uses their dairy. So it’s no surprise that this ice cream is ridiculous. SALTED toffee pieces. This is by far my favorite store bought ice cream.

And that’s what I ate!

What’s your favorite store bought ice cream?