Travel TBT: Sutro Baths + San Francisco Brunch

I was up in Northern California for two week’s this month for Ashley’s wedding and my birthday. I didn’t feel particularly inspired to throw myself a big celebration for my 29th; my only wish was to do a little hike outdoors and have a great brunch. Here’s how the day went:

Sutro Baths

After some research into hikes near San Francisco, I ended up choosing more of a scenic walk because I wanted to be able to go straight to brunch after without changing. Priorities, haha. I have done the “Lands End” hike around the northern coast of San Francisco before, but never went down to the Sutro Baths. You get to the baths with a quick downhill walk and a series of stairs. What you end up seeing are the ruins of what used to be a public bath facility, which is actually very cool to imagine (you can read about the history here). This is by no means a hike, but a great little scenic walk… shall we say, for the gram?

Brunch at Aina

After scouring a few foodie websites (my go-to are Infatuation and Thrillist) and asking an old co-worker from my days at Tasting Table, I landed on brunch at Aina in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco. They do not take reservations, so we went straight from our walk to put our names in. We arrived at around 11am on Saturday and were told the wait would be about an hour…not too terrible for a new restaurant! We took a quick little walk of the neighborhood and got a snack of fresh beignets to-go at Just For You Cafe on the next block over. The beignets ended up being VERY good. Plus, what is more in theme with celebrating your birthday than having dessert before brunch?! Aina called us about an hour and 10 minutes after we put our name down.

Service was super friendly and the food was AMAZING. I’m not sure I’ve ever truly had Hawaiian food, but this place makes me want to eat it constantly. The flavors were absolutely incredible. We shared the (homemade) spam bao to start, which I was scared of. However, do not be scared of the word spam, this musubi was INCREDIBLE. We also had the kalbi loco moco (their most popular dish), trout and smoked mushroom entrees. All 3 were fantastic! We drank their white wine and red wine lemonades, both were very tasty.

 

All around, an excellent birthday morning.

Xoxo,
Truett

Travel TBT: Weekend in Phoenix

Last week I went to Phoenix to visit my boyfriend. It was my first time in the city and I must say it looks exactly like Cars Land at Disneyland. Yes, that is the reference I am going with, deal with it. Having never truly been in the desert, I just could not get over how desert it really was: cactus, every building painted in a tan color scheme and not a yard with grass in sight. But, by the end of my time there, I found myself thinking it is actually pretty beautiful in it’s own way. The people are all very friendly. The food is solid. The bar scene is legit. There is a ton of nature to explore. We were a bit all over the place this weekend, so here is what we did separated by neighborhood:

Old Town Scottsdale

I could not believe how adorable Old Town Scottsdale is, it looks like some mayor years ago was bet that he couldn’t make the most Cowboy Western looking town by his worst enemy and had to win. The trash cans are barrels. The bus stops have wagon wheels. It is truly something you have to see to feel the full impact.

Food

Morning Squeeze: This spot is a chain and a local (and visitor) favorite for breakfast. I think I saw 3 separate bachelorette parties waiting for tables. The food was good and the staff was all super nice. I got huevos rancheros and added turkey sausage. The sausage was a bit overdone, but the huevos had two different salsas (chipotle and verde) were great!

Bars

Holy moly, bars in Old Town (also called the Entertainment District), I was not expecting you. Think Vegas, but the clubs are all outdoor patios, within a few blocks of each other. The bartenders are in lingerie. The bottle girls have sparklers and different outfits to bring out different bottles. They’re all pretty similar, this is where we went:

Bottled Blonde
Casa Amigos
The District
Bevvy
Maya Day & Nightclub
Mr Mesquite Tacos: This is actually a taco place we went to after the bars. Not authentic at all, but very good. 10/10 recommend eating as a drunken snack.

Downtown

Food

 Salted Caramel Pudding
Breakfast Club: If you haven’t already noticed, my favorite breakfast is huevos rancheros. If it is on a menu, I will almost always order it. This one was high on the list of most-white huevos I’ve ever had. I mean, the “bowl” was a cold red pepper tortilla. I said to my boyfriend, “These should probably just be called Ranch Eggs”… which I thought was a hilarious joke. However, they were still a solid breakfast and the portions here are ENORMOUS. We got a pancake to share and the maple syrup was amazing. Plus, this area of downtown is really cute. We went to get an amazing salted caramel pudding at Arrogant Butcher after. Yes, we had dessert after breakfast…

Squid Ink Sushi Bar: We went here after Happy Hour, so my judgement may not have been at it’s highest– but the sushi here was great. We sat at an open air bar by the patio, it was lovely.

Bars

Bitter & Twisted: This is a somewhat upscale cocktail bar. We only went in briefly because they serve a ramen burger (where the bun is made from ramen) that my boyfriend was fiercely craving and I had a vodka soda. I plan to go back, because the drinks are supposed to be great.

Valley Bar: This bar has several different vibes in one. There is a game room, a room for performances, a room with hanging mobiles, etc… basically something for everyone. It was fun.

Chico Malo: We went here for happy hour. Beer, wine, wells and shots are all $5 or $6. Like most places in Phoenix, the bar is essentially outdoors.

Cave Creek

Our original plan was to go out to Sedona and hike, but I twisted my ankle the week before the trip and was worried I wouldn’t make it. My lovely boyfriend has the idea of riding horses instead so we went about a 45 minutes outside of the main part of the city to Cave Creek.

Spur Cross Stable Spur Cross Stable: We were hunting on Groupon to find a good deal on horseback riding and Spur Cross was the only place with availability same day. The team was super nice in squeezing us in, even holding the ride a few minutes when we were delayed by traffic. For $68, we got an hour guided trail ride on horseback. I technically rode a horse when I was 3 years old, but don’t remember so this was really my first time. It was super fun and awesome to see the vast desert outside of the city.

 

Oregano's Pizza Oregano's Pizza
Oregano’s:
By this meal, I was already thinking I would need to do a major detox (next section) after this trip, so I figured YOLO LET’S EAT PIZZA. We passed by this place on the way out to Spur Cross Stable and it had a big sign outside that said “The only joint you don’t want to pass”. I mean, weed jokes AND pizza… does it get better? We had an amazing buffalo wings, the Italian salad, a deep dish pizza and cheesecake. Basically we ate enough for a family of 4. It was amazing.

Detox

Did I eat anything healthy in Phoenix? Hardly. Does it seem like I drank every night I was there? Yes. Did I feel absolutely gross by the time it was my last day there? Also yes. So I had to do something about it…

 Hot Yoga University: I saw this place driving one day and noticed the giant sign in the window that read $10 Drop-ins Daily. Having lived in two of the most expensive cities for fitness in the US (NYC and LA) this blew my mind so I made a mental note of it. Then, when the vacation diet grossness kicked in, I thought to myself, COME ON BITCH—LET’S SWEAT THIS SHIT OUT. I went to a noon hot yoga class with Veronica. The studio is very cute (I think they have every motivational quote painting on earth on the walls) and the yoga room is very large. I particularly liked the flooring, which is a sort of woven rubber that was not too harsh on your knees in certain poses. The class was called Cardio Flow and challenging, but in the way that could easily work for all levels. I looked like a smashed tomato by the end, but it was very worth it. I will definitely be back.

Nekter JuiceNekter: Are you even detoxing if you don’t do a juice cleanse? Now, I’m not a believer that a juice cleanse is going to make you lose weight or change your life. I do not believe in starving yourself (spoil alert: you will just gain all your weight back as soon as you start eating) but I do find that doing a 1-day cleanse with limited food added helps to reset my metabolism and get me back on track. I got the 1-day Advanced Cleanse at Nekter, which includes added probiotics, prebiotics and _____, which is a cool addition to the usual juices. I also ate a vegan greek salad around lunch and had some cashews as a snack in the afternoon. By the end of the day, I started to feel like a real fitness blogger again (haha)… but let’s not lie, a few weeks of cardio will be needed to reverse the impact of this trip.

Moisturizer: If you didn’t know, ARIZONA IS IN THE DESERT (lol)… 24 hours after getting there, my face starting falling off. Not joking. My spoiled California coastal skin didn’t know what to do without humidity. My usual moisturizer with sunscreen was NOT cutting it, so I took my frugal ass to Marshall’s and got an intense coconut moisturizer called CocoKind. I actually first heard about it from this IG account I am obsessed with called @ShutTheKaleUp, it is all natural, organic, lalala, you normally buy it at Whole Foods, if you fancy. Anyway, I bring this all up to say, PACK MOISTURIZER when you visit Phoenix. Your skin will thank me later.

I will definitely be back in Phoenix for the boy, so this is far from my last post about it. There is so much I want to go see across the entire West Coast in terms of National Parks, but Arizona has quite a few on my list. Please leave your suggestions!!

XOXO,
Truett

Pumpkin Spice Yogurt Bowl

Pumpkin Spice Yogurt Bowl

If loving pumpkin is betchy, then call me a betch. I absolutely love pumpkin and not just during Fall. This bowl was one of my favorites this season when Chobani created a Pumpkin Spice seasonal flavor. However, I’ve found recently that dairy makes my skin break out in rashes (curse you aging hormones!) and have been avoiding it. If you have suggestions for dairy-free yogurts, please leave them in the comments!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4oz Fage Plain yogurt
  • 4oz Chobani Pumpkin Spice Yogurt (it’s seasonal, so can be replaced with regular yogurt + pumpkin spice or canned pumpkin)
  • 1 sliced banana
  • 1 tbs Chia Seeds
  • 1 tbs Maca Energy Powder

COOK:

Combine the above in a bowl!

Frittatas

Mealprep: Chorizo and Kale Frittatas

Pictures don’t do these frittatas justice. Baking them is not only super easy, it also makes the tops perfectly crispy. This recipe makes 4 (8oz) frittatas. I used these ramekins.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 9 eggs
  • 3 large stalks of kale, leaves removed and ribbed in small pieces
  • 1/3 white onion
  • 1/2 package Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo (regular chorizo chopped is good too!)
  • 2 slices swiss cheese, ripped in 1/2 inch pieces

COOK:

In a bowl, whisk your eggs until fully scrambled. Stir in your veggies and chorizo until fully combined. Divide mixture across 4 ramekins, top with cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until eggs are fully cooked and cheese has caramelized. Let cool and remove from ramekins.

Pack for an amazing breakfast at work! I reheat mine for 1 minute in the microwave.

Breakfast Salad

Breakfast Salad with Soyrizo and Fried Egg

This is a super quick dinner I like to make when I’ve had a long day and don’t want to spend too much time cooking. Serves 1 and takes 10 mins max.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup Soy Chorizo (meat chorizo works too!)
  • 1 egg (option for 2 if more hungry)
  • 2 cups Spinach
  • 1/2 cup Black Beans (canned)
  • 1/4 cup Mexican Cheese Blend
  • 1 tbs Italian Dressing
  • Salt/Pepper to taste

COOK:

Add black beans to a small pot, season with salt/pepper to your liking, and heat on medium high heat until warm, set aside. In a small pan, brown the chorizo until golden, set aside. In the same pan, cook your egg to your liking (I like mine fried over easy). Finally, top your spinach with the black beans, soy chorizo, egg, cheese and dressing. The end!

Huevos Racheros

White Girl Huevos Rancheros

Huevos Rancheros are probably my favorite breakfast, especially to make at home. I try to keep the basic ingredients on hand at all times: eggs, beans, tortillas, and hot sauce. That’s basically the recipe,  you can add whatever else you want from there. There are a million other options to add on top: chorizo, fresh salsa, cheese, avocado, onions, pickled onions, tomatoes, sour cream… etc. I usually use black beans and add things like kale… which makes my version very… white.

Here is my basic recipe with the toppings I had on hand. Buen provecho!

INGREDIENTS:

COOK:

I cook everything and lay it out so I can assemble dishes after I make each round of eggs, but if you prefer your eggs scrambled you can make everything to serve at once!

Beans: This time I used canned refried beans, but sometimes I use black beans. I added Tajin, Trader Joes Everyday Seasoning, Trader Joe’s Pink Himalayan Salt, and pepper and mixed it all together. I then microwaved it for two minutes (I would usually do this on the stove top but I was lazy today).

Tortillas: If you have a gas stove, put a burner on medium-low heat and put your tortillas directly onto the burner. Flip after 20-30 seconds. Keep tortillas on the flame until they have reached your desired level of char. If you do not have a gas stove,  you can heat your tortillas on a pan over medium-low heat.

Chorizo: I cut my chorizo on the diagonal and then sautéed it until it was crispy on the edges, about 3 minutes each side over medium heat. Make sure you check your package! Mine was pre-cooked, if yours is not it will take longer.

Cheese: Grate it!

Eggs: I prefer my eggs over easy, here’s how to do that, but any style works! Bonus if you cook your eggs in the leftover grease from your chorizo or breakfast meat.

ASSEMBLE:

Plate in this order: tortillas, beans, meat, eggs, toppings, finish with hot sauce and a squeeze of lime.

NOTES:

The options are really endless. You can prepare each ingredient in a million different ways if you have your basics on hand. I love adding avocado and onions, I just didn’t have any today.