Archive of ‘review’ category

Mexican Yums & Wegmans Love

I have another dinner from our road trip that I want to share.

I usually don’t like Mexican food, but last Thursday (I think?) night it was late when we got into Tulsa (Oklahoma) and I didn’t feel like making an effort to find a good place. We decided to go to Monterey’s Little Mexico restaurant right near the hotel. (Funny how we went to another restaurant called Monterey the night before.)

We started off with free chips and salsa (score!):

I can’t find what I ordered on the online menu, but here it is:

It was a grilled chicken breast with a side of rice and beans, plus sauteed veggies. I don’t like beans so I asked for extra veggies instead. But I kept the rice – it was delicious (I usually hate rice). I actually finished this whole plate. Bobby got this gigantic margarita:

I think he almost finished it, with a little help from me. It was pretty yummy but not very alcoholic.

I really liked Monterey’s in Tulsa – I hope they come to New York soon!

Today I had a yummy *vegan* meal from Wegmans (a grocery store in NJ and NY that I worked at in high school). Back at Cornell, Bobby and I (and others) would make midnight runs to Wegmans and buy humongous bags of sour gummy worms. We were an odd group.

I got 2 packages of a butternut squash dish (butternut squash, spinach, cranberries, and onions with a whole lot of oil and a few spices) and a veggie medley dish (zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, red peppers, green beans, and some more oil). I love Wegmans’ prepared food. I think I like it more than Whole Foods’ hot bar. I have to figure out the recipe for the butternut squash one. I don’t think it’ll be too hard.

Do you buy prepared food? Why or why not?

P.S. …I have some good news. Friends, email me if you want to hear about it!

Favorites on both sides of the US

Bobby’s cousins are so sweet. I’m going to miss them a lot. On our last night in California (Monday, November 9th) we went out together to Blue Mango (our favorite restaurant) in Santa Clara. Blue Mango is a Thai restaurant and they have a separate vegetarian menu (I haven’t used it in a while). We shared a bunch of dishes…

Appetizer: Heavenly Stuffed Wings – de-boned chicken wings stuffed with ground chicken, silver noodle, cilantro, water chestnut and black mushroom. They came with this great sweet dipping sauce. This was kind of scary at first (fried! processed! breaded!) but the deliciousness made up for it.

For dinner we shared 4 dishes. The Blue Mango Fried Rice – a big house special: chicken fried rice topped with sweet garlic pork.

The Green Curry – eggplant, bamboo, and bell pepper are soaked in coconut milk, with a hint of basil (cannot be mild).

Mushroom Mountain, as usual – soft tofu, baby corn, bamboo, straw mushroom, and bean sprout stir-fried with a bit of green curry paste. Sesame seed are sprinkled on for a beautiful finish.

And Basil Chili Chicken, also as usual – with bell pepper and onion.

After dinner we went out for dessert (frozen yogurt) at Golden Spoon – pumpkin pie and chocolate flavors. The toppings were raspberries, mango (not ripe, unfortunately), and crushed brownie bits.

Blue Mango never disappoints. And neither does Golden Spoon. If you ever get a chance, go there! (I’m talking about the Blue Mango on Stevens Creek – I hear the other one is not so good.)

Now that I’m in NJ I don’t have Blue Mango. But I do have Edo Sushi! Bobby, Julia, and I all went out for dinner tonight. I love this place. Edo Sushi is a Japanese and Chinese restaurant on Route 31 in the same shopping center as Pennington Market. It’s about a 10 minute walk from my parents’ house.

First is the tea… (unlimited and free – my two favorite qualities). Notice my cool NY key chain – it’s kind of vintage because it has the twin towers on it. I think I got it back in middle school.

I got chicken and broccoli with the sauce on the side (brown sauce).

The other pictures didn’t come out, but Julia got veggies and tofu with the sauce on the side (also brown sauce). Bobby got the Dragon vs. Phoenix – chicken, shrimp, and veggies stir-fried with yet another brown sauce. He also got a big pot of rice.

We finished everything. The check came with pineapple cubes and fortune cookies. Yum! I love Edo’s.

This dinner was nice after my indulgent afternoon… My parents gave me a massage + facial combo for my birthday and I finally used it. I went to Sydney Albert Salon Spa in Princeton. I’d highly recommend this place – I’ve been going there for years and I’ve always loved everything. Their haircuts are amazing, the facials are fantastic, and the massage was wonderful. Bobby also got a massage and he loved it.

While we were getting pampered, our Relocube arrived. Now we have to unpack it. I’m going into the city tomorrow, but when I get home I think we’re going to try to start sorting through all of our stuff. It’ll be a big project.

What’s your favorite restaurant?

Foodbuzz Festival: So many yums (tasting)

You all know how much I heart Foodbuzz. Now look at all these awesome samples that I heart as well (from the afternoon tasting). I can’t possibly post everything I tried, but here are the pictures that came out well.

Brandi‘s Stuffed French Toast:

Sabrina‘s Egg White Veggie Frittata Muffins:

Frog Hollow Farm‘s dried fruits (and Warren pears! So amazing).

Frog Hollow Farm also had a variety of chutneys and conserves, which were incredible. This was my favorite booth of the afternoon.

Some kind of shrimp and scallop ceviche from Fuego (can’t find a link):

A cool table with non-traditional shortbread made by Botanical Bakery:

Handmade marshmallows (pumpkin was one of the flavors) by Gateau et Ganache:

Chocolate covered nuts. I brought some of these home for Bobby and he has been calling them "poo balls". They are delicious despite their odd nickname.

My favorite candy of the day, made by Nina. Her Single Malt Scotch Bar was awesome.

Annie the Baker‘s cookies. Amazingly buttery and delicious. They tasted just like cookie dough.

p.o.p. candy‘s toffee – I had so much of the chai one. It had nuts and dried fruit.

Yummy (and pretty) chocolates.

Fabulous spreads.

479 Popcorn. My favorite was the curry (odd because I don’t like Indian food).

My other favorite dish of the day – Vineyard Pantry‘s Autumn Savory Tartlets (little pastry filled with wild rice, butternut squash, blue cheese mustard, cheese, and more). I can’t wait to experiment with their products.

A crazy cool beet meringue goat cheese savory dessert thing. It was a work of art (and quite tasty).


Shannon‘s savory bread pudding.

I still have pictures from dinner, but I’ll save them. I met so many amazing people, including Emily from Foodzie – what a cool woman. That is a company I would love to work for.

A big thanks to FOODBUZZ for an amazing weekend.

In other news… wish me luck – we’re moving this week. (We’re taking off Tuesday instead of Monday.) Road trip from Sunnyvale to Princeton with two cats. Will be interesting.

Happy Monday! (Or Sunday, if you’re up late.) What did you do this weekend?

Foodbuzz Festival Day 1

Now Coco and Sophia are both here!

Tonight we drove up to San Francisco for the first Foodbuzz Festival event. The welcome reception was from 5-7pm at the Hotel Vitale. This wasn’t the main food event of the day, but they did have two cool appetizers: gruyere gougeres with bacon and mascarpone and pork rillettes. They were provided by midi.

I tried the rilletes. Pretty good, but kind of salty. I didn’t try the puff things, but they looked cool.

After the reception we headed over to the Ferry Building for an amazing dinner event. Foodbuzz rented out a portion of the building and had restaurants serving food all the way down the alley.

As soon as we entered I saw mini cupcakes, and I couldn’t resist. Dessert first! I tried the pumpkin cupcake, but they also had red velvet, chocolate cinnamon, and an almond flavored one. I had an almond one on my way out for my real dessert. These were provided by Mission Minis.

I also tried this delicious vanilla bean ice cream by Straus Family Creamery. Awesome.

Then it was time for some real food. I had a bean burrito from Tacolicious. It wasn’t that good. I wanted chicken, but they were out. They had cool shirts though.

I also tried these savory vegetarian and meat pies from Pie Truck. Pretty yummy!

And a raw oyster from Hog Island Oyster Co…. awesome.

I passed on these chicharrones (fried pork chips) but they were cool looking. From 4505 Meats.

Alive had a selection of raw foods – 2 raw pizzas and raw cheesecake. These were okay. Not my favorite, to be honest.

The best items of the night: Spencer on the Go‘s Beet Salad with blue cheese and "far west fungi vol au vent" (creamy mushrooms on top of a puff thing). I went back for seconds on both of these.

Then there was some incredible thin crust pizza from Pizza Politana. This was the best pizza I’ve had outside of Italy and New York. And I didn’t think I was a pizza person.

Lastly, there was a cool pork sandwich and potatoes from Roli Roti. This seemed to be really popular with other bloggers, but I thought it was just okay.

They had this funny shirt: "I heart Crispy Skin". (TWSS? Not.)

My favorite of the night was absolutely the mushroom dish from Spencer on the Go (second favorite was their beet salad). Holy amazing yum. On the way out I snagged some more ice cream and the almond cupcake.

Don’t worry, I didn’t finish everything pictured. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for tomorrow… Happy Saturday!

Whole Foods Budget Dinners – Nom.

Yesterday Jill and I went to a Whole Foods cooking class – 365 Budget Friendly Dinners. It was kind of like a Rachel Ray show – we got to watch Allison (I think that was her name?) make three yummy dishes in less than an hour, and then we got to eat them.

Allison made…

  • One Pot Chili Casserole
  • Goat Cheese and Zucchini Frittata
  • Fusilli Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes and "Hidden" Zucchini

Jill and I both agree that the frittata was the best (probably because of the goat cheese). The pasta was pretty good (for being pasta), and neither of us cared for the chili that much. The roasted tomato on the pasta was especially delicious. I’ll post the recipes later, or you can look for them on the Whole Foods website. I bought the ingredients for the frittata and I’m going to make it either tonight or tomorrow – or maybe when my dad comes on Thursday.

I was really impressed that everything she made was vegetarian (vegetarian is very budget friendly!) and super simple. The demo was really well done.

We’ve been joking that we’re Whole Foods groupies now. I had no idea that Whole Foods had so many cool (FREE) classes. Tonight we have Get Fit with Catra again.

Have you ever taken a cooking class? What was it like?

Review: YummyEarth! & Discount

YummyEarth was kind enough to send me samples of their organic gummy bears and their organic vitamin C lollipops just in time for Halloween. (They’re also hosting a giveaway over at HealthyYum!) All of their candies are Gluten Free, Egg-free, Dairy-free, Peanut-free, Tree Nut free, high fructose corn syrup-free, Wheat-free, Soy-free, NO MSG, 100% Natural Colors, No chemical dyes, Real Fruit Extracts, 100% Natural Flavors, Certified Organic, and Kosher Parve.

The gummy bears are fat-free and they are made with real fruit juice. They have 100% of your vitamin C. The flavors are pomegranate pucker, strawberry smash, and sour apple tart. The vitamin C pops come in strawberry smash, tooberry blueberry, and razzmatazz berry. Bobby and I tried both products, and here is what we thought. Bobby’s reviews are amusing.

Pops review:

  1. Bobby: “These are amazing lollipops even if you don’t care about organic stuff. They remind me of the doctor’s office, which sounds bad, but the doctor’s office had great lollipops. They’re the perfect size; they’re not huge, and they don’t have gunk in the center.”
  2. Maggie: “I thought these were great. The flavor is perfect, they’re fresh, and I feel good about eating them.”

Gummy Bears review:

  1. Bobby: “These gummy bears are a little bit softer than the ones I’m used to (Haribo). But they’re still good! I liked the flavors a lot. They weren’t too sweet, which I liked.”
  2. Maggie: “I normally dislike gummy bears because they are way too chewy… these had a nice amount of chew. I love that they didn’t get stuck in my teeth and I enjoyed the (not too sweet) flavor.”

If you don’t believe us, YummyEarth wants you to try their goodies for yourself.

YummyEarth is offering a 20% discount off for orders of $25 or more thru November 15th for Say Yes to Salad readers – just enter the code “healthyyum” at the checkout!

I will be ordering these guys for Halloween treats. YummyEarth also sent us 2 of their mini bags of gummy bears (good for treats, or if you lack self control like I do) but we ate them before I got a picture.

What’s your favorite candy? When I was younger I loved those frozen Snickers bars… someone should come up with a healthier version of that.

Happy news – my dad is visiting next Thursday (the 22nd)!

Bay Area Resources for Organic Produce, Local Produce, and CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture)

I’ve gotten several requests lately for some Bay Area info regarding farmers’ markets, organic produce, and meetupsThe Bay Area has a lot of great farmers’ markets. Unfortunately, a lot of them are expensive – it’s cheaper to go to Whole Foods to buy your produce, and it really shouldn’t be. These are just the places that I’ve been; there are more.

Some Bay Area Resources for Organic Produce, Local Produce, and CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture)

Farmers’ Markets

  • MAGGIE’S PICK: Santa Clara Farmers’ Market (Saturday mornings; off of El Camino on Jackson Street). I went here for the first time on Saturday. It was great – romaine heads for $.50 each, heirloom tomatoes for $1.50/pound, 13 pounds of oranges for $8, etc… And these were the early deals – I was there around 9:15am. I bet they’d have killer sales towards the end. A lot of the stands here aren’t certified organic (yet), but they don’t use spray.
  • Japantown Farmers’ Market (Sunday mornings in San Jose). I also went here for the first time this weekend. Unfortunately we went at the end and most things were closed, but it seemed like it would be just as good as the Santa Clara market. I got 4+ pounds of kohlrabi for $3, and a bunch of fruit for $1/pound.
  • Union City Farmers’ Market (East bay; Saturday mornings). I used to go here about 1.5 years ago when I lived in Union City. It had very good prices. Maybe not quite as much selection as the big ones (Sunnyvale, Mountain View), but I always found everything I needed.
  • Mountain View Farmers’ Market (Sunday mornings @ the train station). This market is overpriced. It has a lot of variety, but not many deals. If you go at the very end (after 12:30; it ends at 1pm) sometimes you can get things on sale. But at that point you don’t have a lot of options and I don’t like haggling.
  • Sunnyvale Farmers’ Market (Saturday mornings). This one is just as overpriced as Mountain View. I think they have a lot of the same vendors. If you go at the end you can sometimes get deals. It’s hit or miss.
  • Ferry Building Farmers’ Market (San Francisco, a few days during the week). This one is okay… cheaper than Mountain View and Sunnyvale. But I never go anymore because I don’t live near it. When I worked in SF I would go on my lunch break sometimes.
  • San Jose Farmers’ Market (Fridays 10am – 2pm). I actually haven’t been here yet but I plan on going tomorrow. I’ll update this post once I know how it goes.


  • MAGGIE’S PICK: Two Small Farms. From their website: “Two Small Farms is a collaboration between High Ground Organics and Mariquita Farm in Watsonville and Hollister. We grow organic specialty vegetables, greens, strawberries, flowers, and herbs for our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) members in Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Francisco counties, and Silicon Valley.” I subscribed to this CSA for a few months last summer. Bobby and I split a share with another couple. It was $20/week for the share, so we only ended up paying $10/week for fresh, local, organic produce – and lots of it. The only reason we stopped is because you can’t pick what items you get. Two Small Farms just gives you whatever they have ready. I was actually thinking of starting up again because I’ve been juicing so much and using more produce that I was last summer.
  • Farm Fresh To You. I haven’t done this one, but it looks awesome! They deliver to your home or work, you can cancel anytime, and they offer deliveries starting at just $23/week. Their website is fantastic; I have high hopes for this one. Here’s the review on Yelp – pretty informative. If you don’t have time to do your own shopping this would be great.
  • Full Circle Farm. This place is specific to Sunnyvale. It’s a small farmstand at a middle school. The produce is overpriced, but it looks like it’s good quality. All organic.
  • Terra Firma Farms. I honestly don’t know much about this one; I haven’t tried it. They serve San Francisco, north East Bay, and the Sacramento area. I hear good things. See their website for more info.
  • Eat Well Farm. Don’t know much about this one either; it also serves the north Bay Area. Check out the website for more info.


Is anyone interested in starting a Bay Area blogging meetup group (not necessarily through Or some kind of mailing list? Email me or leave a comment and I’ll start a mailing list and maybe we can get something together.

Word post – how big is your lexicon?

Raw-kin’ Exercise

Instead of chatting about more raw-kin’ salads (I’ll get back to them tomorrow), I want to talk about fun exercise that I’ve been doing lately.

I’ve been doing yoga – mostly on my own, but yesterday I did Podcast #23 (30 minutes) from Hillary Rubin. You can search for her name in the iTunes store or go to her site; she has free podcasts. This routine was okay. It was a level 2/3 and some of the parts were hard to follow… I tend to start doing my own thing if I don’t like what the podcast is doing, and I only followed with her for maybe 10-15 minutes and then finished up on my own. I’m looking forward to trying some of her other podcasts though.

I’ve also been using OnDemand’s Exercise TV (Comcast) – did you know they have free videos to watch online? Here are two that I’ve done recently:

Here is a list of all the free workout videos that you can watch online with Exercise TV.

If you’re ever curious about what I did for exercise in a day, check out my Workout page… I usually update it every day. I could probably be more helpful with linking to workouts, so I will try to do that more often.

I haven’t decided what I’m going to do yet today. I’m thinking Kendell Hogan’s dance routine (30 minutes), followed by some yoga, and then some retail cardio (aka shopping at Gap).

Some more word origins for you…

  • exercise – first used as we use it today (“condition of being in active operation”) in 1340. It came through Latin and Old French (“keep busy, drive on, remove restraint”). If you break it down: ex– = “off” + arcere = “keep away, prevent, enclose”. The oldest it’s traced is back to Proto-Indo-European, *ark- = “to hold, contain, guard”. It might have originally been talking about driving animals to a field to plow (which is how I feel sometimes about exercising). Some more recent variations include dancercise (1967), jazzercise (1977), and boxercise (1985).
  • gadget – recorded first in 1886, gadjet (but said to date back to 1850s). It was a sailors’ slang word for any small mechanical thing or part of a ship for which they lacked/forgot, a name. It might be from the French word gâchette (“catchpiece of a mechanism”) which is a form of gâche (“staple of a lock”).

I apologize for the lack of pictures today, but I hope this post helps next time you’re in need of a new workout idea. Happy Wednesday! I can’t believe the week is half over. I can’t believe August is more than half over. This week/month/year has been flying by for me.

A day in the life

Disclaimer (got this from Ellie) – everything pictured was eaten; not everything eaten was pictured.

Yesterday I started off the morning starving, so I chopped a cantaloupe in half and ate the entire thing with a spoon.  This was between 9:30-10:30am. I think there was more fruit as well. I’ve been working on a watermelon and some bananas.

36 cantaloupe

When I got a package from Amazing Grass I jumped right in.  I had this Very cool Organic GREENSuperFood Chocolate Whole Food Energy Bar (raw, cold processed, alkaline, gluten free, fair trade, dairy free, vegan). The bar was so delicious – chocolate coating, and the inside was perfectly sweet, raw, and delicious.  I’d highly recommend it.  (Nutritionals – 230 calories, 9 grams fat, 37 carbs, 4 fiber, 5 protein, lots of vitamins.) I had this around 11:15am. I was still feeling peckish so I had a bunch of baby carrots as well (unpictured).

02 grass chocolate bar

Sometime in the afternoon after I taught my class (Geometry) I made myself a large bowl of oat bran (heaping 1/2 cup dry) with avocado (1/2 of a big one) and honey (2-3 tablespoons).  Oh, and I cooked it in water and unsweetened almond milk.

03 oat bran avocado honey

I did some yoga – 60 minutes of a Wade Zinter flow (9/5/08).  I just picked one that said it had twists in it.  It didn’t actually have that many. After that I tried 2 more Amazing Grass products…

05 amazing grass

06 amazing grass mango pomegranate

07 amazing grass chocolate

Amazing MealPomegranate Mango Infusion.  I had a whole packet mixed with almond milk and water.  (Nutritionals – 110 calories, 1 gram fat, 13 carbs, 6 fiber, 10 protein.)  It was… okay.  I was way more impressed by the delicious amazing bar I had in the morning.  This tasted kind of chalky. I also tried another Amazing MealChocolate Infusion.  Same thing – a whole packet mixed with water and unsweetened almond milk.  This was much better.  Still a little bit chalky, but chocolatey too. Yummy.  And I was snacking on a bunch of these (Ezekiel bread with raw honey):

10 bread raw honey

I decided to stick with the starch theme of the day and make another avocado-honey pizza for me (Bobby had a normal pizza on the other half).  I had the whole half on the left seen here.

09 pizza

And more slices of bread with raw honey as dessert.  I actually skipped the chocolate yesterday; I think I had too much the day before and it didn’t feel too good.

Apparently I had this too (it’s in my camera) – maybe with dinner, or before dinner, or in the afternoon (baby carrots with raw honey):

08 raw honey carrots

Again, everything pictured was eaten; not everything eaten was pictured.

Do you guys have questions about anything I’m doing with my food combining?  I’ve emailed a lot of people individually, but maybe I should do a more comprehensive post regarding this new combining thing that I’m going…  Again, I’m *not* trying to eat raw.  I’m trying to:

  • eat fruit in the morning.
  • for the rest of the day – keep “starch”, “flesh”, and “nuts/seeds/dried fruit” in their separate categories.  these categories don’t “combine”. however, raw veggies combine with all of these categories and cooked veggies combine with the first two.

Hope this helps :)  Happy Hump Day!

Diner Food

We decided to go NJ-diner-style for dinner last night. I looked up “breakfast food” on and stumbled across American Diner in Sunnyvale.  This is what I got:

25 breakfast

That is 1/2 a Belgian waffle, 2 halves of French toast, and a fruit cup.  I also poured some HFCS-free (!) maple syrup on top.  It was a very large portion and I did actually finish the whole plate (well, I didn’t finish that huge pat of butter – but probably half of it).  I also had some of Bobby’s muffin and a bite of his ham (eh – I’m not really feeling meat so much ever since Food, Inc.). American Diner was actually pretty cute, but… not really a place that we’ll be going back to very often.  It was very – well, diner-ey.

24 american diner

Another food I got the other day was protein powder.  I bought this on Wednesday and I have tried it several ways, but so far my favorite is added to oat bran.

protein powder

The company is Jarrows Formulas (link to nutritionals and ingredients).  This product is vegan and vegetarian. They use non-GMO soybeans (a must).  One serving has a whopping 25 grams of protein and only 110 calories.  It is not sweetened at all and it has spirulina.  I made a bowl of oat bran with peanut butter, protein powder, and sesame seeds. It was fabulous.

21 protein oat bran

The protein powder gives the oat bran a strange/odd/different consistency.  It’s a little chalky, but it’s not bad.  I had to add some extra water because I think it sops up more water and makes the oat bran fluffier.  And greener!

Today I plan on going to Borders to look at a new book that Cindy recommended. What are your plans this week?

P.S. It’s my wonderful mom’s birthday today, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! I miss you!

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