Tag Archives: Food

Hamptons Marathon Training – Week 16

Sunday 8/30

18.5 mi @ high nines + a birthday brunch at Cafe 44 and a 7 mi birthday hike at Baldplate Mountain Perserve!

Even though I got an early start it was a rough one. SOOOO humid! We survived though, with visions of omelets and pancakes and coffee dancing in our heads…

If you’re even in the Pton area and hungry, Cafe 44 is an absolute top choice place to hit!

So, after a grueling 18.5 miles and a proper face stuffing, why not go get in another 7 mile hike at Baldplate Mountain Preserve? This is actually the second time I’ve been here and while it’s not the most serious hiking terrain I’ve ever seen, it is a really pleasant place to go for an interesting, yet manageable, walk. And just to make sure things were interesting, the sky decided to open up on us ~0.5 miles from the car!

 

Soaked!

Soaked #1! (P.S. Why are we smiling?!?!)

The torrential downpour pulled a lot of the humidity out of the air, which was nice, but it it’d efficiently deposited the majority of it right on us, which was NOT nice! (…especially with zero towels in the car and slimy leather seats for the 30 min drive home…)

Monday 9/1

rest

Tuesday 9/2

7 evening (read: “dark”) mi @ 9:23/mi

Evening but still hotter than hell and HUMID. My clothes were totally soaked through by mile 3 and I don’t think I’ve had leg-sweat like that all summer — and at 8 pm!!

I totally didn’t need a mirror to do inventory when I got back as going up the stairs I ran into my neighbor and:

Dr. T: Hello!

Dr. T neighbor: Wow! Did you just get back from the pool?

Dr. T: silence 

**In both of our heads I’m absolutely convinced the following reply was playing “You idiot! We live above a Papa John’s! We don’t even have a laundromat, never mind anything even loosely resembling a swimming pool for miles!!”

Dr. T neighbor: Actually, never mind. Don’t fall.

(Now this raises an interesting question. Does something about me just scream that I fall a lot, even with no immediate falling threats? Or, was I really that sweaty that Mr. Neighbor was concerned that I might slip on myself and fall down the stairs?)

Soaked #2!

Soaked #2!

Wednesday 9/3

rest

Thursday 9/4

8.34 mi @ 8:43/mi

Friday 9/5

rest

Saturday 9/6

22 mi @ 9:50ish/mi with my new awesome running buddy/mathematician Dr. T2!! 😀 We started off before 6 and soaked (again) through our clothes before the sun was up.

P.S Pre-sunrise start times is a great excuse to dress head to toe like a fluorescent highlighter 🙂

Safety (and style) first :-)

Safety (and style) first 🙂

East Coast humidity can be WICKED. I brought the camel back mostly full, re-filled it at just over the half point and then emptied it again by the time I was home. Having great conversation for 3 hrs first thing on a Saturday morning while getting the longest run of the training season out-of-the-way before 10 am is a wonderful way to start the weekend!

Stay tuned as I’m sure there will be plenty more to come regarding the adventures of Drs. T^2!

Total:  55.5 miles

Today was a good week! 🙂 Last Sunday was solid, the week went well, and the long run on Saturday was the best (and the LONGEST), although challenging, all season! Let’s hope this keeps up for the last 3 weeks of Hampton’s Marathon prep!

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Filed under Marathons, Running, Work out

Gracias Madre (San Francisco, CA)

After dinner out at Tortuga’s this weekend (which you can read all about here) I could not stop thinking about Mexican food! Rather than going back for a third round of delicious over indulgence in two weeks (you can judge me after you try it) I figured I’d take the lower calorie option of writing about it.

So you’ll notice that the title of this post has nothing to do with Mexican turtles or Princeton, NJ. The delicious little treasure that I’m going to tell you about is from my most recent trip to San Francisco, CA. The little iPad snafoo that occurred during this trip made posting very unattractive to me for a while. I think our relationship is more or less on the mend now though, so here we go 🙂

On Friday, the first day of my trip, Dr. M and I decided to go into SF to roam around without having to battle the weekend crowds of irritating tourists (not that I should be included in this group or anything…)

Note: Friday = weekend in touristville 😦

So, instead of standing in line for the cable cars and elbowing our way through the wharf we wandered our way through the Mission district for a calm afternoon and some good eats.

Enter Gracias Madre.

This cute little joint had outdoor seating, live music and a local, organic, seasonal, vegan, Mexican menu.
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What?!?!

The menu

GM’s menu is seasonal and vegan. It is determined by what is currently available at their local organic farm, BE LOVE Farm, in Pleasants Valley, CA. All of their cheeses and milks and ice creams are made using nuts and their tortillas and tamales are handmade from non-GMO organic heirloom corn. They typically have a selection of antojitos, entradas, sides and postres.
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We ordered three items to share.

1) The quesadilla de camote with sweet potato and caramelized onions folded into tortillas with cashew nacho cheese and pumpkin seed salsa
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2) Gorditas, grilled potato-masa cakes topped with warm salsa verde, avocado and cashew cream
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3) Empandads, homemade pastries filled with grilled plantains, served on a bed of spice mole sauce and topped with cashew cream
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Now I always get super excited about pumpkin dishes. And they seem to be trending right now – lets put pumpkin in this, lets put pumpkin in that. So, I’m not sure if I was too excited, or if they quesadilla wasn’t totally thought through before it was put on the menu, but there was too much pumpkin! I’m also not the biggest sweet potato fan (which seem to be everyone else’s hottest crush right now) so maybe that had something to do with it. Maybe. Probably. Anyway, the over-pumpkin + sweet potato gripe aside, the food was fantastic.

To be honest/fair/whatever, the flavors and textures were not those of your typical Mexican food. Frankly, I think this should be expected given that the dishes are made from very different ingredients. It isn’t a bad thing, you just can’t expect to taste cheese when use almonds. With this expectation, the food was delicious. It was fresh and rich and filling yet not heavy.

The staff

The staff was great. The waitress was helpful and the music troupe that migrated around the patio (and maybe inside as well) was adorable.

The ambiance

The ambiance was great too. The restaurant is on a relatively busy street in the Mission neighborhood and there are buses and cars and people going back and forth in front of the front patio. This gave it a nice cozy neighborhood feel.

And complementary blessings from La Madre herself!
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Gracias Madre! 😉

The inside is a little bit more done up — nice tables, decor, lighting, etc… It was a great place for an afternoon lunch and I would anticipate that it’s a hot date night destination.

$$

Very reasonable. Main dishes are <$15, sides are <$5 and our antojitos were <$10 each. We had plenty of food and given the quality of the ingredients used (which I am willing to pay more for), I think this is very affordable.

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Happy belated pre-Boston Marathon + Easter weekend!

I hope everyone had a lovely pre-Boston Marathon Monday + Easter weekend!!

In case anyone is dying to know, my Saturday started out with a (~10 mi) run to-n-fro work (motivated by comments made the previous evening by the one and only Dr. M).

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After some shopping,

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cooking and cleaning, the day ended with pho, pizza, kugel, Russian salad, ma po tofu, French chicken and potatoes, Japanese pickled pork and cabbage, sweet potatoes, pineapple stuffing, cookies, chocolates, beer and wine. Sadly I was too busy stuffing my face to take a single photograph of the spread at my beautiful Multicultural Easter Hanukkah Potluck. In retrospect, stuffing my face was hands down the right decision 😉

Sunday then began with a quick ~4 mi run around the neighborhood…

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…followed by a shower (you’re welcome) and then round 2 of Easter festivities. This celebration was complete with adult Easter baskets,

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family photos,

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and post-x#-of-champaign-bottles family photos.
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Over all, complete success!!

I went to sleep on Sunday with visions of Miss Kristin’s pineapple stuffing and of Speedy Shalaney having the best day of her life on Monday.

While I would have loved for Shalane’s 2:20:02 to have been the best of the XX that day, it was simply not meant to be. SF ran the race of her life, she did everything right, she did everything that she could have asked herself to do. SF’s best on Monday was simply 1 min less best than Rita Jeptoo’s best.

This slight, cinewy machine of a Kenyan was absolutely unbeatable on Monday. Generally speaking, this 5’2,” 105 lb running monster may be beatable, may be, but not by SF, and not last Monday. On Monday Jeptoo also ran the race of her life, the race of the history of the Boston Marathon by over a minute. A blistering pace of <5:10 mi/mi was set (and held by SF) for as long as Jeptoo wanted the help, until she wanted to take off; and take off she did at just over 14 miles. Being able to essentially walk away from the pack (who are running a 5:08) at just over the halfway point deserves to win. Yes, 100%, absolutely.

However, with all that being said, I believe that the skinny, blond, former kamikaze’s ability to not lose her mind, to stick to her game plan and to run the solid, steady, race of her life, 1 min behind the woman she wanted so badly to smoke in her home town, after pacing her to the course record and an easy victory, also deserves a win on the day.

For completeness I feel like I should include a line or two about the XY victor, Elder Meb K. After recovering from my waves of excitement and disapproval and reservation and disbelief during miles 9-16, and the ulcers of miles 23.5-26.1, I have officially elevated The Elder to my highest mental pedestal and look forward to seeing him eat his competition for mid-race fuel in many races to come.

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Columbia Firehouse (Washington DC)

As anticipated, Dr. A and I ended our Saturday (American History Museum + massage day) with a most perfect dinner at the Columbia Firehouse in Alexandria. CF is owned by the same people who have ….

The menu

To start with the wine and beer list was a fun place to start with draught and bottle beer from all over the US (although mostly from the NE) and wine from all over the world. My DC Brau Pauncy oatmeal stout was a good choice. The dinner menu for actual food had a short list of petite snacks, mussels, raw bar items, sandwiches, salads, small plates, supper items, sides, chop-house pieces and daily plates. There were only about two to ten items under each section of the menu, but they ALL looked delicious! It was great to have a bunch of different options for how to approach dinner without being overwhelmed.

Dr. A and I decided to share a few smaller items on the menu so we didn’t have to pick just one thing. I strongly recommend this approach as everything we got was delicious and plenty of other things were also calling my name.

In no particular order…

We each got a bowl of the pumpkin basil soup which was fantastic!

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pumpkin basil soup

It wasn’t so much that it’d be a good stand alone dinner, but it worked great as one of our many dinner parts 🙂

We also go the anson mills roasted heirloom hominy off of the petite snacks –

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anson mills roasted heirloom hominy

And the cornbread panzanella with buttermilk vinaigrette off of the sides –

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cornbread panzanella with buttermilk vinaigrette

This was so so so good, despite looking like it was saturated in too much dressing, which it was not. If there was a gun to my head and I had to pick one favorite dish, this one would probably be it. Who doesn’t keep talking about food with a gun to their head?

We also got the buttermilk brined onion rings off of the small plates.

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buttermilk brined onion rings + cornbread muffins

Dinner also came with the best complementary corn bread muffins (they are hanging out with the onion rings above).

The staff

The waitress was nice and helpful enough. There was nothing remarkable about her and that was just fine. The rest of the staff were nice and helpful as well.

The ambiance

So I’m not sure what the building used to be that the CF has taken over, but now it’s damn cool. We were actually seated in what used to be a big hallway leading from a door to the outside to another room in the back (now a dining room). There were benches for the sides of the table against the wall and chairs for the other sides of the table. The ceiling was super high with interesting old light fixtures, dark wood and bras lined the walls, and the whole restaurant was cozy and warm. There was a bar in another large dining room off of the hallway and additional rooms upstairs. The background chatter/noise level was nice, and there was no problem holding a conversation.

$$

Considering the quality and quantity of food we got the prices were VERY reasonable. To be quite honest, we both ate more than we probably should have (what would be fun if we didn’t do that though?) and I was drinking (as usual) and the bill was still less than $30/person (including tip). Of course, this probably isn’t the best plan for dinner every night of the week (as I would be broke and needing an ever expanding – in the wrong direction – wardrobe) but it was most definitely a perfect plan for our Saturday night!

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MLK weekend in DC

In stark contrast to what I’m sure Dr. MarkyMark wants me to doing this weekend (thanks to a surprise research project for which he wants data from me now/yesterday/last week, never mind that I found out about this little treat less than 48 hrs ago with an already full plate…yes…never mind that…), I am off to DC on the Amtrack!

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Apparently this isn’t the coolest thing to do at 6:40 am on a Saturday…

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I’m an Amtrak newbie, but so far this has been totally slick. Given that this continues and that I can capitalize on early/cheap (<$100) tickets, I could get used to taking the train as an alternative to driving (no offense Beetle). Of course the train is the way to go to NYC from P-ton, but the Amtrak can really get you to a hell of a lot of other places in the NE too (and otherwise…but at a certain point the cost and time factors become a bit rediculous)

The specific aims (sorry, I can’t help myself, and yes, I know that isn’t normal) for the weekend are as follows:
1. American History Museum (First Lady’s dresses and the Muppets) – this is one of my favorite Smithsonian museums and these are 2 of my favorite exhibits there! YAY!! 🙂
2. Apothecary Museum – I have been to a surgery museum in Chicago ages ago (and loved it in a creepy kind of way :-/) but never an apothecary museum, much less this one. I feel like the Smithsonian is a tough act to challenge in DC but my hopes are high.
3. Massages 😀
4. Walks with Sir Jack
5. Food!!! One of the many awesome things about Dr. Allison is her taste in food, ability to find/pick superb restaurants and bake like it’s her job (which it should be). Unfortunately this means I’ve basically been hungry since I packed my bags last night and I’ll return after only one weekend with extra padding to work off. Oh well!! Yummy DC restaurants and the best home baked goodies that you’ll ever have: HERE I COME!! 🙂

Any DC restaurant suggestions?
Any off-the-beaten-path sight seeing or touristy suggestions?
Any Amtrak advise?
Any fun/exciting plans for your weekend?

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Guacamole for Dummies

Q. What do you get when you go to the grocery store specifically to purchase the necessary ingredients for guacamole and are too busy yapping on the phone with someone to remember to buy avocados?

A. Guacamole for Dummies!

1 tomato
1/4 onion
1/2 cup corn (I used frozen)
a few cloves of garlic
as much sketchy avocado as you can find in the fridge
1/4 lime
chili powder
cayenne pepper
salt and pepper

1. Chop sketchy avocado, tomatoes, onions and garlic
2. Fry corn in oil + garlic + chili pepper + cayenne pepper and let cool
3. Dump everything into a a big mixing bowl and mix/smoosh together
5. Squeeze lime over mixed/smooshed product and salt and pepper to taste

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4. Lay in bed Properly sit at the table with the mixing bowl of guac and a bag of chips and eat directly out of the chip bag and mixing bowl off of a plate like a normal human being.

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How went the 13 in 2013?

Happy Annaversary! Can you believe you’ve been reading this high brow literature for a year already?! Crazy, right? Well, time flys when you’re having fun 😉

Those of you who’ve been here from the very beginning, I’m sure you’re itching to know how I did on my 13 goals for 2013. Well, you’re in luck! Here is how they went…

Dr-ing goals:

  1. Become good at learning and remembering peoples’ names 
  2. So I’ll be the first to admit that his is still not exactly my strong suit, but I have become loads better at knowing who the hell I’ve talked to and why. It doesn’t come particularly naturally yet, but the embarrassing situations of clearly not having a damn clue are much fewer and farther between.

  3. Become comfortable making non-painfully-awkward small talk 
  4. Much better. Still not my favorite, but a necessary evil game that I can not only play but also now usually win.

  5. Read one paper a day (NOT the MN Daily)
  6. HA! Fail! Big fail! This will be recycled for 2014. At this stage in my career this really shouldn’t be hard. But it is. It really is. 😦 Why?

  7. Graduate
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    Done! 😀

Trotting goals:

  1. Run 5 days a week (1 mile, 5 miles, 20 miles, whatever, just get my ass outside and do something)
  2. Nope, didn’t happen! In retrospect, this was also not realistic. 4 days a week is reasonable and this happened when it needed to (marathon training season…the second one).

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    ...come hell, high water or 100°F + 100% humidity...

    Unfortunately it didn’t happen during the off season. We will be revisiting this issue for 2014.

  3. Finish the Mt. Kilimanjaro marathon (t < 6 hrs)
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    Done! (By the skin of my teeth and thank god, but never mind…)

  5. Half-marathon PR
  6. So I didn’t have the chance to race any 1/2s this year so officially this was a fail. But, if you’re willing to grasp straws with me, the middle half of my Philadelphia marathon was a 1/2 marathon PR… If you’re not buying this (you shouldn’t be….I’m not…) it’s ok, this will be on the 2014 list with some uncharacteristically high stakes attached. The plan is to pace the first half of a BQ marathon for my faster, more dedicated couisin. God help me.

Me goals:

  1. Be a non-promiscuous, healthy vegetarian again (i.e. eat loads and loads of fresh fruits and veggies, no cheating on tartar, sushi or bone marrow and cheese curds and beer are NOT an acceptable dinner — even during orals season)
  2. I’ve been better… This probably needs to stay on the list.

  3. Drink  enough water
  4. Hmmmmm….unless coffee and tea count in the tally this also needs to stay on the list.

  5. Get a reasonable start on my/our children’s book series TAPP — hopefully this will make sense in a year
  6. 😦

  7. Maximize the use of my electronics: iPad, cell phone, computer(s), mp3 players. All of them.
  8. I’ve definitely been better. This will also continue to be a work in oprogress, but I’m happy to report that my technologically challenged self hasn’t totally failed here.

  9. Be at work during “normal business hours” (+/- 20%)
  10. So this was going reasonably well in MN but is literally impossible in the land of persister assays. Consequently, reestablishing something that loosely resembles a work/life balance has a special place reserved on the 2014 list.

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    Note: it IS important to still look cute when leaving work at 3 am

  11. Start and maintain a blog on the joys, frustrations, enigmas and epiphanies of science and running —  you’re welcome
  12. We’re all still here, aren’t we? A year later you are still most welcome 🙂

This year has been rather eventful actually. I (somehow) managed to graduate with my PhD and move 2000 miles to the armpit of the northeast lovely Garden State for a postdoc (with which I’m still having serious relationship issues), in the opposite direction of all parts of my family. In my “spare time” I got to spend 2 weeks on an adventure in Tanzania (complete with a safari and Mt. Kilimanjaro marathon) and managed a second marathon with my second-to-none Team CEMS and a 10 min PR. Not bad.

Happy end of 2013!

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