Tag Archives: los angeles

LA’s Best Dessert Right Now

With social media acting more as an IV for people across all generations in 2016 than actual medical care, there isn’t a single new item that isn’t known to the world within a scroll of the finger. (Your choice of finger would depend on whether your phone still fits in your pocket or is bigger than your laptop.) So with that in mind, it’s only a matter of time before someone like Jeanette Settembre writes an article for the New York Daily News about this find. 

Asian dishes constantly find their way to the spotlight and since there are so many cultures and peoples in that area of the world, I can’t see an end to the discovery on this side of the ocean. Recently, bao have been gaining popularity and a spot in LA called Take a Bao (clever names, although they usually involve pho) has been delivering options from tofu to duck and bbq pork. You need to make sure that you don’t just look at their savory bao. Just like with a crepe, you can stick something sweet in that bun.

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Chado Tea Room

My Nana passed away a little over a year ago and I wanted to celebrate her somehow. So, I started looking up places where the family could have high tea. After searching around a bit, I found Chado Tea. It was close by (we went to the Hollywood location), didn’t seem too pricey, and had good reviews. You may have seen some pictures from there in an earlier post. All in all, it was a good and fun experience. 

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Fitness & Wellness Job Opening

While this isn’t a job opening to work with Hungry & Fit, we wanted to share this opportunity for anyone already in the LA area or anyone interested in moving to the LA area, specifically Santa Monica. The Santa Monica YMCA is a beautiful facility located right in the center of downtown Santa Monica, blocks away from the Promenade, a Yasiel Puig home run away from the beach and boardwalk.

It’s a unique space that has a basketball court, racquetball courts, group exercise studios, indoor cycling, an old school free weight area, cardio machines, a gymnastics room, two pools, a hot tub, sauna, steam room, an area with mats and a heavy bag, and much more. It’s not your standard gym, but it has everything from an old school t-bar row to a Versa Climber. In my opinion, there is a lot that can be done with this space.

A pic from us working out at the SM YMCA

A pic from us working out at the SM YMCA

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LA Residents: Workout with Hungry into 2016!

Every year since 2013, the Westside Family YMCA (in the Sawtelle neighborhood of West Los Angeles) has had a three-month program to help individuals make it through the most challenging time of year for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The holidays present all kinds of travel issues such as staying at hotels, going out to eat a lot, huge meals with your family where saying no might be impolite, and just overall craziness. In this chaos, it’s hard to maintain balance, but we know that consistency is the key to success. Whether you’re trying to gain muscle mass, cut body fat, or just become stronger, you need to have a realistic and smart nutrition and exercise plan to accomplish these goals.

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Hungry, Fit & Co are Moving!

The whole family is packing everything up again and moving to the West Coast! Los Angeles here we come. At first, we’re going to be staying in Santa Monica but our goal is to eventually move to Korea Town as soon as possible. We would love to stay in Santa Monica or another beach part of LA, but with Alana certainly going back to school, and Chris possibly going back to school, it’s just not going to be affordable!

The chances are Alana will be going to school part-time and maybe eventually full-time for nursing and Chris will start to take part-time classes working towards a Masters in Physiological Science. Therefore, Alana could be working part-time, full-time or just managing Hungry & Fit, while Chris probably works full-time. You, or we, never know until we’ve made the change and hopefully we have good like in finding a place to live and good jobs! All those things could change! A huge part of the excitement of moving is the adventure; we love adventures… like hobbits… well Bilbo, and Frodo. We will be sure to keep you all updated on what we choose to do.

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We will be leaving Boulder August 1st and should get to Los Angeles August 2nd. It is two days of driving and we’ve done the trip before but not with all these animals in the car. We will have to take extra care and make sure to control the climate in the car. Again, it should be exciting and build character! Once we get there, we’ll figure out all the necessary evils such as where to live and how to pay the bills. Chris will probably try to be beach lifeguard, walk dogs, and do personal training… all things he has a lot of experience doing and enjoys. Alana will figure out a school and work schedule that is reasonable. 

There is not a whole lot more to tell you other than this is the big announcement and we better get in high gear to start preparing for the move. Lots of items are being sold on Craigslist and we will be having a garage sale soon. Let us know if you are in the market for anything! We are really trying to be minimalists for this move and prevent Chris from hoarding and collecting things he never uses. He promised to change this time so we’ll see!

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Hopefully, we get to see even more friends and family as a result of this move. We get to spend more time at the beach and although Chris will miss his whiter winters, we will hopefully be travelling to the East Coast more than when we were in Colorado. We like LAX a lot more than DIA. So if you’re living in LA and want to meet up at some point, let us know. We have friends there but building a new network is going to be a challenge. You make something out of yourself in one place and then decide to pick up and start from scratch again. I hope it all works out well for us! Thanks for all your support and look forward to an even better Hungry & Fit in LA!

Elysium (Hungry’s Movie Reviews)

This will be a short one because I don’t have a whole lot to say about this movie. There’s just something about it that leaves me short on words. It was a very good movie but there was something missing that made it fall short of exceptional and it had all the tools in place. So what was missing?

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The most intriguing bit of information pertaining to this movie is the fact that the writer (or someone up there) wanted Eminem (Yes, Marshall Mathers/Slim Shady, the rapper) to play the lead. When they approached him with the role he said that he would take it if they shot the movie in Detroit. Em wanted to help his city’s economy and give it some attention. When they declined, he declined and as a result we watched Matt Damon in another lead role. Nothing special.

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This movie shared some similarities to District 9 (in terms of casting, setting, and feeling) and that could have been avoided if the movie was shot in Detroit. Still, its use of a future Los Angeles had little impact on the movie’s grand picture, which highlighted the inequalities between the upper class and everyone else. The upper class was symbolized by the “heavenly” Elysium (city in the sky) while Earth was the diseased and destroyed land for all of us who are not worth hundreds of millions or more.

The message is simple and I love it. Do not allow those in the upper class to create further disparity between the rich and poor. Fight to save the lives of the majority of the population because everyone has a life worth living. Make it the last thing you do before you die to give it your all and help as many as you can no matter what impact that has on your own life.

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Matt Damon did a fine job but a different and new face might have been refreshing. The villain was amazing and outperformed everyone else. Although the performances were not amazing. The sets were mostly clean and beautiful, the editing and clarity in the action scenes were relatively crisp, and the writing was solid.

The movie was very good but was missing that element to make it great. Maybe a new lead could have put it over the edge. Maybe an extra 10 minutes of character building could have led to that attachment for the audience to love the lead. In the end, SPOILER, Max dies and I didn’t really feel bad or sad about it. That is where they fell short in my book. Make us love Max, make us love the movie. It was short, which I liked, because every movie is over two hours nowadays. However, at just over 90 minutes long, take another ten minutes to build the character up so we feel for the loss a little more.

Villain

Villain

But as I said, it was good and I have no major complaints. With some added content on the DVD this movie really could become amazing. All in all, it’s a short movie that entertains enough and promotes positive messages to earn a thumbs up and a seal of approval, courtesy of Hungry. Helping the greater good and making sacrifices is one great way to stay hungry and fit.

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Peruvian in Downtown LA: Mo Chica (Hungry’s Food Reviews)

This is another one of my “should just be a Yelp review” because it could be short and it’s going to be negative but I want to talk about the subject more than usual because it’s Peruvian food. As a whole food culture, it has to be one of my favorites, if not my absolute favorite. It’s generally a mix of Japanese, Chinese, and Spanish food. The diversity in the dishes is unbelievable and the development of flavors is unparalleled. One of my go to dishes when in Peru was lomo saltado and I’ve had gallons on gallons of Inca Kola so now let’s talk about Mo Chica.

A few months ago, the LA Times published its list of 100 or so best restaurants in Los Angeles for the year. We were conveniently in Santa Monica for the long weekend at the time. To our dismay, many of the locations listed were very expensive and not places we frequented. Therefore, I arrogantly thought the list was garbage, a mere compilation of advertisements and favors. But how could I be a fair judge without trying the other places? I had to try one and conveniently that ended up being Mo Chica for a second late lunch on a Sunday afternoon. We had Sugarfish (sushi) and I was NOT full. Kai told us that Mo Chica was on the newly formed list and when I saw it was Peruvian, I did not hesitate.

Inside

Inside

Mo Chica actually reminded me of other New York City Peruvian restaurants that actually were not very good. It didn’t remind me of the good places in the Jersey ghettos and in Peru itself. Nevertheless, I ordered the lomo saltado for takeout. Orders come with two sides but the host informed me that they couldn’t give me sides since it was takeout and the price remained. I was so excited that I had no problem with that (I would regret that). While we were waiting, I saw an employee carrying a six-pack of Inca Kola to the bar. Inca Kola is the drink of Peru, literally, that is what the can says. It tastes like golden bubblegum soda. I told the host to throw that on the take out order so Alana could try some. Then I got the food and bill, so it was time to pay and eat.

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15 dollars for the lomo, 4 for the soda. Are you kidding? Four dollars for a can of soda? I can buy a six-pack in New Jersey for $2.50. I can get a two-liter bottle for a dollar! It’s even cheaper in Peru. I know you don’t have to import that stuff so how can it be so expensive? Crazy. And 15 for the lomo? Okay, but without the sides? This better be the best lomo that I’ve ever had. Well as you can see in the pictures, which were taken before I ate anything, I think they forgot half my food. It was the smallest portion of that dish I’ve ever gotten. And what I got wasn’t good! It was okay and they gave me very little rice! It felt like I was robbed.

Where's the rest of the rice?

Where’s the rest of the rice?

How can you ruin a dish like this? It’s basically onions, high quality beef, and french fries cooked in a pan with delicious flavors. Even in the bad areas of Lima, for a dollar, I got bigger portions of higher quality product. Safe to say that I have no interest in returning for the other dishes if they can’t get lomo right. And after seeing the portion sizes and prices of the other dishes, I really can’t see what reason I have to return anyways. For other LA locals that don’t know Peruvian food and get caught up in the trend, I hope you enjoy it and keep them in business. They seem like nice people and the service was good. We’ll just leave it at the fact that it doesn’t seem like Grandma and Mom made this food. It seems more like it was the cool son that cared about being trendy and looking fancy, not being authentic and full of flavor.

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Disappointing. Please find a GOOD Peruvian restaurant as in my opinion, it is probably the best ethnic cuisine there is. It has everything you need and want and more. Eating Peruvian food really is a great way to stay hungry and fit!

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Hungry Eats… SUGARFISH (Los Angeles, CA)

I love sushi! My favorite food is probably a toss up between sushi and ramen. It’s hard to say depending on how I feel, one being hot and one being not so much. If you’re going to find warm sushi anywhere in Los Angeles, it would be Sugarfish. I talk about the movie Jiro Dreams of Sushi all the time. It’s one of my favorite films of all time and it highlights the way that traditional sushi is made. The rice should be fresh and warm, the fish is fresh and cool, and the combination is not tainted by the addition of soy sauce, ginger, and wasabi. Any of those are applied only by the chef so that they compliment the fish perfectly. Sugarfish follows these standards and, although the have those condiments on the table, they recommend not using them. So let’s back track and start from when we entered.

Editor’s Note: WARNING: DROOL ALERT AHEAD FOR ENTIRE POST

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Fit’s family and I, along with Fit’s brother’s girlfriend (confusing right?) stopped by Sugarfish in downtown Los Angeles at 11:00 a.m. right when it opened on a Sunday (I think). Kai had recommended it and knowing that we are in Boulder where good fish is hard to come by, he decided to treat us to a nice meal. Not nice–amazing is more like it. Their quality control in their recommended dishes is second to none. The six of us were seated immediately and service was very good throughout the meal. It was quite empty but they took dirty dishes immediately and all of our dishes, or nearly all, were delivered warm. One hand roll had soggy seaweed but the rest were crisp and well toasted.

Sophie, Fit's brother, and Fit's mum

Sophie, Fit’s brother, and Fit’s mum

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Hand roll

Hand roll

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Nearly all of us got the recommended “Trust Us” with one person ordering a la carte, one getting the Trust Me Lite and me getting the super trust me (extra… for hungry, as always). The meal is not fresh in my head but nearly everything was great. The tuna sashimi salad was one of the highlights. Its dressing was spectacular and I must have licked the plate clean. The edamame was normal and the rice was always warm. The nigiri was all high quality with the exception of the unagi, which was just slightly off for me. Not quite sauced or toasted properly, but still tasty. It just didn’t match up with everything else. The seaweed on the handrolls were almost all toasted and I even enjoyed the blue crab handroll, which is typically something I would not order. Fit said it was the best hand rolls she had ever had. We drank water and it was refreshing and helped keep my mouth cool and fresh.

Tuna sashimi salad

Tuna sashimi salad

Edemame

Edemame

Unagi

Unagi

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All in all, I would say that Sugarfish is a very high-quality restaurant that utilizes the Nozawa style of creating simple but elegant sushi. If you are interested in complex rolls then you should venture elsewhere. If you are looking to get full on a budget, this is not the place either. The atmosphere is unfortunately very industrial and cold, despite efforts to warm it up. The concrete ceiling is hard to cover so I would advise couples that romantic dates might not be the best here, but they can still be great due to the food. It probably looks nicer at night so that might be a good time for a date. If you find yourself here I would almost certainly tell you to only get either the Trust Me, Trust Me Lite, or the Nozawa depending on how hungry you are. I did the math and the amount of food you get on the Trust Me for nearly 25 dollars would be over 35 dollars if ordered a la carte. Not only is it their best deal but it also highlights the dishes they do best. That is what I got out of our visit and I hope it helps you on yours.

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So mouthwatering I can't even handle it. One of the best dishes -Alana

So mouthwatering I can’t even handle it. One of the best dishes -Alana

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Perfect

Perfect

The obesity rate in Japan is over 30% lower than the United States so eating sushi is certainly one way of staying hungry and fit!

Editor’s Note: I made sure to keep all the pictures nice and big to emphasize the drool effect. Can’t wait to eat there again. -Alana

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Fit’s Favorite Spot: Yogurtland (Los Angeles, CA)

For the past few years or so, frozen yogurt has started to trend and is now a craze. I am certainly not separate from this craze–I love it too! It’s refreshing, delicious, and cheap! If you go to the right place, of course… And that leads me to YogurtlandIt is alwaysmust-stop when I visit home in California (as there are none nearby in Boulder, CO). They call themselves “the land of endless yogurt possibilities,” and it is so true.

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You can find yogurt places everywhere, we even have a favorite here in Boulder. But for me, Yogurtland tops them all. Why? Many reasons. First, let’s start with the incredible flavor selection: there’s always something for everyone, whether you feel like chocolate, tart, fruit, or any of the crazy flavors they come up with. When we were there, they were doing some “travel the world” mission to get different flavors from all over the world. They always have the best. And ENDLESS toppings too.

Second, they put real ingredients in their yogurt. If you get pistachio yogurt, there’s pistachio in there. They do it with real milk and use seasonal fruit. It always leaves you feeling refreshed and happy, unlike other places that will make you feel bloated and a little off. Third, they make sure to stock your yogurt up with all the probiotics you need, leaving you with a healthy gut and a happy belly with their deliciousness. And another big one, the price. You go to a lot of these yogurt places (one near our college comes to mind) and they are crazy expensive. Sometimes it’s just not worth it. But not at Yogurtland! 35 cents per ounce. Guaranteed for a delicious, healthy (depending on toppings), cheap treat.

My latest cup

My latest cup

This is a raving review of this place. I have loved this franchise since I first had it and no other yogurt place could ever stand beside it. I used to be a Pinkberry person, but never again. My favorite combo is tart with some other fruit flavors (acai if they have it) and I put toppings like mochi, lots of fruit, and sometimes yogurt chips (redundant, I know) on as well. I’ve turned on lots of family and friends to this place and it’s always worth the trip to Little Little Tokyo (not in Downtown LA, but in Westwood). If you have one in your state, make the trip there and go to froyo heaven.

A California sunset

A California sunset

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Hungry Eats… Ramen (Little Tokyo, Los Angeles)

If you read the title you know that there are a lot of good things going on so this has to end well. Hungry’s favorite soup and potentially his favorite food is ramen. Most of you are probably thinking why would Hungry love ramen; it’s not good for you and it’s disgusting. That’s what a lot of people I know say until I get them some real ramen. Ramen is a type of noodle popular in Asian cultures such as Japan and Korea.

You can find it in American supermarkets made by Maruchan and Top Ramen for anywhere from 15-25 cents a package. It’s almost completely nutritionally void or negative with dead calories and large amounts of sodium and abundant processing. But I love it. Ever since my sister ate ramen in high school, I have loved it. Luckily, I live a generally healthy lifestyle so I do not feel guilty or see the negative effects of eating it, even in excess, but you need to be careful consuming these supermarket brands (but the real stuff is okay!). BUT this all is going to be saved for another time because I didn’t mean to say this much about ramen. This is a restaurant review for Men Oh Tokushima Ramen in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles.

Little Tokyo

Little Tokyo (you can see Fit on the left corner!)

Daikokuya is the most popular ramen spot in Japangeles. It is always packed and it was very busy when we went with our party of 6. We decided to pass it up and continue to Men Oh because of reviews on Yelp. It is not in the main drag of Little Tokyo and is hidden in a strip mall so it can be hard to find. You need to find it. The 6 of us (Fit’s family and family friend) walked in the Sunday night before Memorial Day. It was empty but by the time we left it was completely full although it is small. The menu is tiny but I can assure you that nearly everything is amazing since we had nearly everything. Everything we had was amazing so we figure everything is just as good.

The Menu

The Menu

The atmosphere mimics a perfect, small ramen shop but not ramen stop. It was very clean and cute. The staff was organized, kind, professional and efficient. The food was ridiculously filling, delicious and cheap as dirt. It also was much healthier than your store-brand ramen. Their theme is ramen influenced by Tokushima Prefecture on the smallest of Japan’s 4 major islands, Shikoku Island. The industry here is based on raising pork so the ramen has broth heavily flavored by pork bones and filled with pork meat. We got 4 of their 3 ramen dishes available (custom) and all were nearly flawless. I was the only one with great ramen experience but even people having it for the first time were as thrilled as I was.

Awesome painting

Awesome painting

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My dish

My dish

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Fit's dish (without meat or pork broth)

Fit’s dish (without meat or pork broth)

I can’t say much more than this is the perfect spot. You get a cheap, delicious, and filling meal that is quickly served by an efficient and kind wait staff in a clean and enjoyable environment. We will go back whenever we can and bring whoever we can. Michelin might not give this place a star, but I certainly do. And that says a lot. Really. Hungry approved. More to come about my obsession and history with ramen in the future!

Hungry & Fit chowing down

Hungry & Fit chowing down

 

Double-fisting...finishing everybody else's broths

Double-fisting…finishing everybody else’s broths