Some Recent Kitchen Experiments

I know I’m not the only person who logs into Pinterest when they are bored and tags a dozen delicious-looking dishes and then signs out. But this past week I was bound and determined to try out some of those recipes! Check out the links and my feedback below:

1. Cinnamon Protein Waffles

Ingredients
  • Serves 2 – makes 4 waffles
  • 1/4 cup oat flour/ground oats
  • 1 scoop vanilla or unflavored whey protein
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  1 tablespoon sweetener
  • 1 banana
  • 2 egg whites

Instructions

1. Put ingredients in a bowl and mix with a hand blender or put all the ingredients in a food processor to mix. This is important or else you won’t get a nice thin batter, mix until you get a smooth batter.

2. Pour a 1/4 of the mix into each of your waffle moulds, cook for approx. 5-6 minutes.
3. Serve with your favorite toppings.
Per serving (2 waffles) 173 calories | 2.3g fat | 0.2g sat fat | 23.9g carbs | 15.4g protein.

I’ve been looking for ways to cut down on carbs and increase protein in my life. But I LOVE carbs. All of them. So I thought this recipe might be a way to up my protein while satisfying my carb craving… and my breakfast craving. I was ultimately underwhelmed though 😦 The first issue was that I thought the recipe looked too small for two people to share, so I doubled it. Well, that made a LOT of waffles. Too many. The cinnamon and banana flavors smelled amazing and while the waffles were cooking, they made our mouths water. But when we went to eat them, they were just a bit dry and a little too dense for me. I will say that we had them for dinner one night with sausage and they were just as good the next morning with eggs and turkey in sandwich form. I can definitely play with the batter proportions for next time, but I might just scrap this recipe and look for another one.Do any of you have any suggestions?!

IMG_1583

2. Simple Turkey Burgers

1 lb. ground turkey meat (prefer thigh meat)
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced (or whatever fresh herbs you like)
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
cheese (optional)

Mix ingredients together and form 4-6 patties. Grill on medium heat for 7 minutes a side. 2 minutes before burgers are done, place a slice of cheese (optional) on each patty. Serve hot.

In addition to breakfast and carbs, I also enjoy Greek-style cooking and ground turkey. Frozen turkey burgers from the store lack a bit of flavor, in my opinion. So I wanted to try to make my own patties and it helped that my mom just gave me a Tupperware container made specifically for pressing and freezing homemade patties! This recipe ended up making seven patties for me from the 1.08 pounds of ground turkey. So that patties are a great size as far as portion-control goes. I used my George Foreman to grill them, since my oven has been out of commission. One turkey patty on an English muffin, topped with cucumbers, spinach, and tzatziki sauce, was the PERFECT dinner. I am so sorry I didn’t take a picture of the whole ensemble but I’ll try to remember to update the blog the next time we have them. I thought the spices gave the burgers enough character to hold their own and it was super easy to make. The best part? Having five extra patties to put in the freezer for another meal. I highly recommend checking out this recipe for quick and yummy burgers!

IMG_1586

3. Zucchini Carrot Oatmeal Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs + 1 large egg white
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 3/4 cup raisins

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and oil. Stir in grated zucchini and carrots. Add to dry ingredients and stir until combined.
  3. Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full and bake for approx. 20 minutes. They are done when a knife inserted comes out clean, and tops spring back when lightly touched.

 

My love of carbs and Greek-influenced foods drove my decision to make the first two dishes I shared tonight. But my DISLIKE of things is what drove my choice to make these muffins. Now, I do like muffins and I’ll eat zucchini. But I actively do not like carrots. Cooked or uncooked. Dunked in hummus or stir-fried with broccoli and cauliflower. None of it. They just aren’t my thing. I also don’t prefer oatmeal. It’s grainy and borders the “hot liquid” category that I avoid like the plague. But, I am trying to sneak more veggies into my meals and swap out white flours for brown or whole wheat flours. I will say that once I got started on this recipe tonight, I realized that there was still a LOT of sugar and a mixture of flours. Baby steps, right?

Anyway, I made this recipe exactly as written and it was DELICIOUS! I got 18 muffins out of the batter, so I’ll have some to freeze and keep for later. I haven’t had dinner yet but I couldn’t wait to try the muffins so I snuck a hot one off the pan. Everyone knows that’s when they are the best anyway 😉 I could actively taste the oats and carrots, but didn’t mind them! There were also raisins in the batter, which I considered leaving out, but decided to keep everything as prescribed the first attempt. They were moist and flavorful and yummy! I can’t wait to have another one as a side to my chicken dinner tonight.

IMG_1584

Living Life in Leucadia

It has been SO long since I last posted about settling into California, oops? I’m excited to get back to posts about crazy adventures on the “Best Coast”. Jury is still out there, but for right now I’m leaning West. Anyway, so I told you that I bought a new car (SUV) and it’s still amazing. I have not picked out a name yet, but I’m sure that will come. For now, I’m just excited that I’ve driven over 1,000 miles so the engine is broken in and I can use cruise control. Work at Halstrom is going well, my hours are continuing to build and for right now it looks like I’ll be teaching a lot of AP World History and Algebra II, both of which are fine by me! I’m getting to know the new staff members and students and everyone seems really nice so far, so that’s great!

IMG_1365

After a lot of searching that really began back in North Carolina, I finally found an apartment and have moved in. I wanted to be in the Encinitas area again, since living this close to the beach is amazing and I like to walk to restaurants and stores when I can. My top priorities were two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a dishwasher, and parking of some sort… and obviously proximity to the Pacific Ocean. Several places fell through or changed at the last-minute or I was the second applicant and it was starting to look like April 1st was my new move-in goal. But then I found a posting 23 minutes after it went live that looked great! I called the property manager, went over the next morning at 9am, applied on the spot, and signed the lease the next day. It was a bit crazy but it was the first place I’d seen with everything I wanted. And it was the cheapest place I’d looked at too! It’s a two-story “townhouse-style apartment” with the bedrooms and bathrooms upstairs and the living, dining, and kitchen downstairs. There’s a great under-the-stairs closet for all of my athletic and camping equipment and I have an assigned parking space. There are only ten units in the complex and we have an adorable courtyard with a make-shift fire pit, ping-pong table, and outdoor shower. I’m still getting to know my neighbors but they seem really chill without being obnoxious. Yay!

IMG_1189

Enough about the business side of life, now onto the fun side of things. I can’t believe that I haven’t even been back a month because (in true Karen fashion) I’ve hit the ground running! I’ve already taken a weekend trip to La Quinta in the desert with an incredible group of new and old friends (pictured above). Less than 24 hours after landing, kickball started back up for the season and I have a fantastic team this time around! We may not be at the top of the leader board, but I’d argue that we have the most fun. In addition to playing together on Sundays, a bunch of us have fallen into trivia on Tuesday nights. We won the first week, which got us hooked, and were third this week. Our prize for winning was a bar tab and we got an Easter basket of candy this week for third (even better!). Last night nine of us stayed out after midnight to see Furious 7 on opening night. For those of you on the fence, it’s 100% worth going to see. The Paul Walker tribute at the end was a bit drawn out for me, but the movie itself was just what you expect, lots of fast cars and hot girls with some street fighting mixed in.

IMG_1257

I’ve also spent a good bit of time reconnecting with my core group of girls out here. I hit up a Dan + Shay concert downtown one night (pictured below), I hiked Cowles Mountain in Mission Valley one day (picture at top of post), I went on a training run along the coast, and I celebrated the first birthday of a very special little girl another night. It’s so good to be back with my support network and catch up on what’s been going on in their lives the last four months. Don’t get me wrong, I love my guys and I miss my East Coast people… but my girlfriends here are pretty incredible. We are starting our book club back up too, so I look forward to reading some new novels and having crazy discussions once a month going forward.

IMG_1286

I also like to check in on my fitness/nutrition in these type of posts too. I have been struggling with workouts these last few weeks because I dropped a DVD player on my toe, which prohibited me from wearing shoes for a while. I also cracked a big toe while jumping on a trampoline with my favorite fifth graders. And my left upper-calf/knee are giving me some struggles. But I’ve registered for the La Jolla Half Marathon on April 26th in addition to the Tinkerbell Half in LA on May 10th, so we shall see. I am just excited to get back into racing and finish these two events with my friends that are running with me. Time won’t be so much of a factor this time around, but I do plan to have both of my contacts in for LJ 😉 Oh! And I ran the Wellness 5k with Sean a few weekends ago. It was a smaller race, which was nice for a change. Sean ran his personal best 5k time and I won my age group, so we were both pleased with that! Immediately after the race, SK donated platelets and two days later I donated whole blood. It makes my heart happy to think about the lives we helped to save with those donations and I encourage all of you to sign up to donate blood this month, if you can!

IMG_1338

I’ve gotten some new Beachbody DVD’s to mix things up and they seem to be keeping me interested for now, but I’m craving getting back on the bike and in the pool. My road bike is being put back together on Monday and I need to figure out my plan for pool access so I can start triathlon training. Nutrition right now is taking a back burner just with the chaos of life. I’m re-adjusting to packing lunches and getting workouts/smoothies done before work, but it takes time and I’m trying to set realistic goals for myself. Finally, I have gotten actively involved in Girls on the Run again this season. My teaching schedule doesn’t allow me to coach, but I am a shoe fairy and am on the 5k planning committee. As a shoe fairy, I size girls on our scholarship teams for brand new shoes and then get to deliver them the following week. It’s like Christmas in April for these girls! If anyone in SD wants to help me cheer on our amazing girls at the 5k on May 17th, let me know! I’m in charge of coordinating the cheer stations, so any/all help that morning would be amazing… you get to dress up and be as crazy as you want… just saying.

Alright, that’s all for now but I promise not to wait another three weeks to post and happy Easter!!

Final Feedback on February Fasts

I made it! And what’s funny is that I didn’t even realize it until this morning (March 2nd). I think that’s a good thing though, right? Since I obviously wasn’t counting the minutes until the clock turned from February 28th to March 1st. This challenge turned out to be a lot easier than I anticipated overall. Again, I was basically hanging out at home in North Carolina with no friends which helped, but I was also doing a lot of running around town when it’s easy to give in to fast food and sugary treats for energy. Here’s my original post to remind you of my February fasting goals and my mid-month update to show my progress a few weeks ago.

So where am I going with each of these items? Let’s see!

Fizzy drinks – I am going to try my absolute best to keep these out of my diet. Between the sugar and caffeine, they do a number on me now that I’m not as used to them. That doesn’t mean I won’t have a good mixed drink here or there, but I want to set the standard to be less than one a week from here on out. We shall see!

French fries – Only the very best, most delicious fries will be had. Especially if they are sweet potato fries. And especially on special occasions. I want to continue to avoid fries as my “go to” side item in restaurants. The reality is that I can steal one or two from a neighbor and be good to go with fruit or a salad instead.

“Fourth meal” – I anticipate this to become a problem again… especially once I start work. Namely because I will go back to eating breakfast earlier in the day and lunch earlier, so I will want dinner earlier. I’m going to try to avoid this by scheduling a healthy snack in the afternoon to help push dinner back later. Most of my Cali friends wait until 7 or 8 to eat anyway, so this will allow me to wait for them without getting “hangry”. And if I’m eating dinner that late, then there isn’t much time for a “fourth meal” after that!

Frozen treats – Again, I just don’t need them and I don’t want to stock them in my house. I’m sure I’ll make a trip or two to the local froyo store, but I want to limit frozen treats to once or twice a month. I can pick other ways to get a bit of sweet at the end of the day. And if I do go, I am going to really try to stick to fruit bowls instead of chocolate bowls. What the heck does that mean? Basically that when I go to put toppings on my delicious frozen yogurt, I’m going to put fruits instead of candy. Not a huge difference, but a difference nonetheless.

Fast food – The reality is that I will need to eat out while on the road in the future, but I plan to avoid going to fast food in San Diego County. There is no reason to, especially when such great stores as Whole Foods and Jamba Juice exist. The food tastes better and is way better for me. Again, we shall see how that works out 🙂

Those of you curious about my health/fitness results will be interested to hear that while maintaining a similar weight to the middle of the month, I have lost another 2.5 inches off of my body! This is thanks in large part to my half marathon training picking back up and my Piyo workouts continuing to kick my butt. I’m excited to keep them up while adding in kickball and long, therapeutic walks with my girlfriends back in SD.

Thanks for reading about my health and nutrition progress and let me know what you’re trying to do to change your eating habits!

February Fasts Update

I just looked at the calendar and realized that we’re already over halfway through February! This month has been crazy busy so far. I’ve been spending a lot of time helping get the Edge Church ready for launch THIS SUNDAY! Oh, and I went to Big Sky, Montana for skiing with two of my best friends. I’ve also been spending a lot of time thinking about and then making the decision to move back to California. And I’m now frozen into my apartment by 2-3 inches of snow/sleet. Because this is North Carolina and they aren’t super used to the white stuff. But all this stuff isn’t what my post is really about tonight, it’s about my five fasts in February!

Let me first remind you what I chose to eliminate from my diet for this month: fizzy drinks, french fries, “fourth meal”, frozen treats, and fast food.

Fizzy drinks has been way easier than I thought! I did cave and have soda while in our box at the UVA vs. NCSU men’s basketball game. Mainly because I was tired and it was there and I was feeling spoiled. That night I didn’t sleep well AT ALL. I was totally wired. Note to self, caffeine makes my mind crazy. It’s all really dry in my apartment and I feel like I’m constantly thirsty, so not drinking soda has helped slightly with that. I will most likely continue to omit soda from my diet except for rare occasions.

French fries is not a problem when I eat at home, which I’ve been doing a lot of. French fries are a huge temptation when I’m eating out, especially because I really like ordering sandwiches which often come with fries. In Big Sky, I swapped my side of french fries for brussel sprouts and was disappointed in them. So I stole a few fries from the boys. But it was much better than having my whole plate full! I would love to say french fries will be gone forever, but I know that’s not the case. I will try to get a healthy side and just split fries with people in the future… because a half of serving is better than a full serving, right?

“Fourth meal” hasn’t been too bad… mainly because I’ve been delaying my meals and not having my Shakeology shake until about 10am after my Beachbody Piyo workout, so then lunch isn’t until 2pm or so, which means I wait until 7pm to eat dinner. There isn’t a ton of time after that to eat more. And I’ve already eaten most of the snacks in my house 😉 I’m trying to just drink a container of water instead to help fill my stomach. I’ve occasionally had a square of dark chocolate as a dessert to my dinner. But again, that’s way better than the foraging through the pantry I used to do! I plan to continue limiting late-night snacking because I know I sleep better when I haven’t just eaten!

Frozen treats again has been easy since I haven’t eaten out too much. The dark chocolate squares have quenched my sweet tooth and I just haven’t been craving cold milkshakes or ice cream since it’s been in the teens and 20s here recently. Brrr! There are also not delicious frozen yogurt shops on every corner like in California. I predict the frozen treats will be creeping back into my diet soon 😉 I know I do better when I don’t keep it in the house though, so I’ll continue to resist buying them for the house!

Finally, fast food. Again, I’ve been home alone most of the month and in an environment where I’m not being invited out to a ton of meals. But I have been running tons of errands throughout the days, which is when I’m always most tempted by fast food. I think I had fast food once on the way to Montana in the Chicago airport, which was to be expected. Again, I hope to continue this without too much problem while still in North Carolina!

So basically, I’m happy with how I’ve done so far and I feel good about finishing out the rest of the month. I am still trying to figure out how all of these will or won’t continue once I’m back in California. I will say that all of these diet adjustments, plus adding in healthier alternatives, and doing Beachbody six days a week with half marathon training… I feel great! I have also lost six pounds this calendar year and, more importantly, 2.5 inches from my body! Most of that was from my arms and waist, which have definitely become more toned from workouts and managing my food. I hope the next 11 days will help solidify my routines and remove the few cravings I still have.

On the spiritual front, I have been working through my weekly devotionals which had given me a greater focus on my life. I’ve worked through a lot of frustrations and mental blocks that have been building and I’ve dealt with some issues I’d been suppressing. I’ve felt really fulfilled working the launch the Edge Church and because I feel so great about my nutrition and fitness, I can use my time being positive and supportive of others! Overall, this has been a great month and I’m excited to see how the rest of it plays out 🙂

Five February Fasts

As y’all know, I have really focused a lot recently on leading a healthier and happier life, both physically and mentally. A huge piece of that is nutrition. I mentioned in a post last month that I’ve started a Beachbody workout program and I’m rolling into another season of half marathon training as well. In order to fuel myself, I need to really buckle down on healthy eating. It’s easy for me to add fitness but it’s harder for me to alter my eating. Especially living alone, there is no one in the house holding me accountable… although there’s also no one in the house buying Oreos either 😉 But the temptations, especially of restaurants and fast food are right here and it’s on me to stop myself. I really, really want to work on this though. And I want to work on cooking healthy, delicious meals that make me WANT to just eat in, even with friends!

So I had already decided going into this year that in February I would really kick into high gear. I’d in theory be settling into life here on the East Coast and be ready to buckle down. So far I’ve just been doing a lot of research into clean eating and portion control and nutrition in general. But before I can really focus on adding tons of healthy stuff, I want to eliminate certain things for this month. I know realistically that I can’t (and don’t want to) eliminate some of these for the rest of my life, but I do want to force myself into healthier options by refraining from unhealthier ones. So for the month of February (which is the shortest month of the year, how convenient!) I will be fasting from the following five items:

– Fizzy drinks (aka soda)

– French fries (including sweet potato fries, sadly)

– “Fourth meal” (which really just means late night snacking after dinner)

– Frozen treats (aka milkshakes, ice cream, chocolate chunks, etc.)

– Fast food (which I’m defining as anything from a window or place that has a drive-thru)

Those of you that know me, know that I don’t frequent most of these things. And I’m certainly not eating out every day or drinking gallons of soda a week… but do I need them at all right now? I don’t think so, at least not for the short period of 28 days. These are some of my comfort foods and I default to them. I want to retrain my body to be satisfied with healthier snacks and “treats”. As a side note, I don’t love what soda does to my mind at night. Because my body isn’t used to caffeine, it keeps me up and gives me really weird dreams sometimes. I’m hoping that by removing these things, I can focus on the better choices I should be eating instead!

Another, smaller goal is to continue shaping my body and fueling it to help me perform to the best of my ability. I have a few athletic goals for this year and I’ve been really working on strength and flexibility as well as endurance. A less central thought is also that one of my best friends gets married six months from today (YAY!!) which gives me a great long-term goal for building tone and transforming to a healthier version of me! Again, my focus is not so much on physical appearance or the scale, but more on feeling healthy and being confident that what I’m putting in my body is actually good for it.

An additional piece of this fasting in February decision was added a few days ago when the couple leading our church posted about fasting and praying leading up to the big launch day. I’ve done a few “30-hour famine” weekends back in grade school, but I haven’t really applied nutrition to my spiritual life before. I’m excited to see what God can do this month while I eliminate some of these foods. And I look forward to praying and thinking about the health and strength of the church while focusing on the health and strength of myself! One of my biggest snacking times is in the evening while I’m winding down and boredom or fidgeting sneaks in. I’m going to try to take that time to stay on track with my devotionals and prayers, instead of heading to the kitchen for a snack. This spiritual part feels like something that’s been missing from my previous attempts at healthy eating and a fully transformed healthy lifestyle.

At this point it’s probably needless to say, but I’m REALLY looking forward to the next 28 days and I’ll be sure to keep you all posted throughout the month. And please, please, please help hold me accountable! Texts, emails, Facebook posts, cards, comments, anything… I can do it, but I can do it easier with each of you supporting me 🙂 And if any of you are on similar journeys, I’d love to hear about them as well so I can support you too!

Settling in to North Carolina

This is going to be a quick post because I’m just not feeling very motivated to write. But I know some of you are itching to know how things are going in North Carolina. This post might be all over the place and I apologize for that. In fact, I’m going to break it up into critical pieces of my life right now so it will focus me a bit while I type.

1. House

On January 9th I got the keys to my apartment in Wake Forest, NC. It is awesome! I wanted somewhere that was quiet and relaxing, not in the center of downtown but not in the sticks either. I’m 18 miles north of the center of Raleigh and right along Capital Boulevard which leads straight north out-of-town. It’s an awesome location because I can be to almost anywhere in Raleigh or Durham in 30 minutes. I got a two-bedroom place that faces the small lake in the complex, which is just one of the many things I liked about this community. There are 288 units but broken up into buildings of just eight, four on the top floor and four on the bottom. I’m on the bottom, which I prefer so I don’t have to worry about my workouts waiting up my neighbors. I have a full kitchen, a washer/dryer, and a screened-in patio with a storage closet. AMAZING! I can’t wait to sit out there and watch the ducks float around once it gets a little warmer (although it’s 50 degrees outside today, so that isn’t bad!).

I’m still working on furniture (as I write this while sitting on the floor)… I’ve ordered a dining table and server, as well as a sleeper couch for the second room. My thought is that down the road I will buy a new bedroom set for myself (mine is still a full) and then I can shift my bed into the guest room. I also bought a few lamps and a tv stand, since I got rid of a ton of stuff in California. The next big thing on my list is a living room couch and/or chairs. Ugh. Such grown-up things to have to buy! The community here also has a pool, 24-hour fitness center, free DVD rentals, a car-wash station, a business center with free printing, and valet trash. Like I said, I love it here so far!

2. Job

This paragraph will be short, so I’ll rip the band-aid quickly and get it over it. I don’t have one yet. I’m applying like crazy, but nothing yet. I have taken a few placement tests this week for curriculum developer or content editing positions, so that’s promising! I’m considering looking into a job placement agency to help break me into mid-career jobs. It seems like everything I’m finding is either entry-level, hourly tutoring or non-profit CEO/Director positions I don’t quite qualify for. But it’s only been a week, so I’m still hopeful that the right opportunity will present itself!

3. Church

This has probably been the most exciting part of moving here so far. I have reconnected with friends from The Community Church back in Ashburn, VA who recently moved to Knightdale (an eastern suburb of Raleigh) to plant a new church. I’ve been to a few interest and membership meetings and am really looking forward to getting involved as the church launches. In the past, I have found great churches but never gotten fully “plugged in” because I always felt like leadership or volunteer groups were already well-established with people who had been together for years. The Edge Church will launch on February 22nd and I am already so excited! If you’re curious about the church, check out the website linked here. And get ready for updates on this as time goes on and I figure out where God decides to use me in the church.

4. Volunteer

In addition to work with the church, I have already reached out to the Girls on the Run chapter here in Raleigh. Because my job situation is up in the air, I didn’t commit to coach this season. But I will be helping plan and run the end-of-semester 5k race! I love this organization and how positive and supportive it is to young girls trying to figure out life. And it’s been awesome how welcoming this leadership has been in such a short time. I’ll let those of you in the area know more details soon, but for now if anyone wants to come support 800 elementary school girls and their running buddies on April 11th… let me know!

5. Friends

It’s been cool to see who is coming out of my past to reconnect with me now that I’m in a new place. Karen and Pete have been great to see and I look forward to joining them at church. But also, some friends from college have been in touch and we have plans for future dinners and UVA sporting events. Additionally, some high school friends are in the area and want to get together soon. And I have extended family scattered throughout the region! If any of you are nearby and want to get together, let me know! In an effort not to overdo things, I have not been to any meet-up events or UVA alumni functions that would introduce me to entirely new groups of people yet. I have a few penciled in over the next few weeks, and I’m excited to make new friends… but I’m also excited to be in my own space with my things unpacked and my schedule completely open 🙂

6. Fitness

This will just be a quick teaser, but I started a new fitness program this past week in an attempt to get back in shape after a fairly exercise-free fall. My good friend, and former teammate, Holly has become a Beachbody coach recently and asked me about joining one of her challenge groups. I put it off until now so I could have a TV and DVD player set up to run the program. But I’m excited about it and haven’t hated the home workouts like I thought I might. There is a nutritional piece to the Beachbody program as well, so I am getting back to healthier eating again too. If you want to know more, Holly posts on her blog all the time about her workouts and nutritional habits! Oh, and my half marathon training starts next week which will begin a long few months of running in the cold… Yikes!

Okay, okay… I said this was going to be short. That’s all for now but I’ll try to write again sooner than later!

The Great Taco Quest 2014

This will be the last of my blog posts about my 30 Before 30 goals… even though I have another week before my birthday! I have already blogged about 24 of the items, so be sure to check them out through links on the above post. This post will be all about item number 24 from my original list, Ten Best SD Fish Taco Places. This item was really a ten-part item since I followed the article’s suggestions for fish tacos based on surfers’ suggestions. Before my 30 Before 30 project, I had already been to four of the listed restaurants. This left six new fish taco places to find and enjoy in San Diego County! I’ll start with a quick ranking for those of you who want the cliff notes. In parenthesis I’ll include the article rankings (I don’t agree with them completely).

1. Blue Water Seafood Market in Mission Hills (1)

2. Oscar’s Mexican Seafood in Pacific Beach (4)

3. South Beach Bar & Grill in Ocean Beach (2)

4. PB Fish Shop in Pacific Beach/Encinitas (4)

5. Rubio’s in… Everywhere (8)

6. Kotija’s Jr. Taco Shop in Leucadia (8)

7. Mitch’s Seafood in Point Loma (8)

8. El Zarape Restaurant in University Heights (4)

9. Brigantine in Del Mar (2)

10. Mariscos German in South Park (7)

My first issue with the article and rankings was that out of ten fish shops, they listed eight as being “in a tie”. Really? Your ranking system is flawed. But I digress. The biggest disagreement was with Brigantine in Del Mar. They raved about this place and its fish tacos. I don’t agree with either. In my opinion, it is an overpriced restaurant that has an excellent location but rests on its laurels. None of the food is that incredible and the fish tacos are definitely not the best thing on the menu. They come in a unique stand, but that’s it. So why isn’t Brigantine #10 on my list?

Because I really didn’t like Mariscos German. It’s a food truck, which is unique. But I got the Baja Trio as recommended and didn’t love any of the three tacos. The shrimp and fish were both fried in a thick dough that didn’t have enough crunch. The marlin was tossed with veggies in a stew-like concoction… no thank you. Obviously, these rankings are based on my personal preference and I didn’t love it. My dining buddies had meals that looked… okay? I guess? It was cool to sit in a parking lot with a stool as a table!

185

Rubio’s ended up higher on my list than the article’s because I love Rubio’s. It’s fast food, I get that. But they claim to be the original fish tacos and I love them. I get the shrimp verde tacos which have an amazing green sauce on them and cabbage and no cheese. Cheese is actually a negative in my book for fish tacos. They also have a really good mahi mahi fish taco that is grilled with corn and a delicious white sauce. I’ve taste tested it before, check it out! Rubio’s also has churros for dessert… and if you get a kid’s meal, it comes with a mini churro. Bonus!

So why do I like Blue Water Seafood the best? Because the fish is FRESH. Like FOTB (fresh off the boat) fresh. And it’s a big honking slab of fish. SO good! And there are tons of choices of fish, not just one. And they come grilled. And the sauce is good but not too much. And there isn’t cheese. And it’s delicious, did I mention that?! Oscar’s Seafood was a close second because it also has healthy portions without cheese (they sub avocado!). I had the surf and turf taco and a spicy grilled shrimp taco. I’m not a spicy girl, so this was just enough kick without making it unpleasant. It might have also helped that we took the tacos to the beach to eat them!

117

South Beach Bar & Grill was the first fish taco place I tried in San Diego County, and I still love it. There’s an awesome view overlooking Ocean Beach from the top floor and tons of tacos to choose from. My favorites are the mahi mahi and the wahoo. They are fairly small tacos, but cheap! And they come with a white sauce and cabbage and a salsa that I don’t get. The other places that I mentioned were exactly how the article described them… all were good and some were cheap and all were eaten. I will say that this list was fairly comprehensive for fish taco places in the county… I can’t think of too many places that were left off, but can any of you?!

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: