Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Getting ready for Amgen Celebrity bike ride

Do you know how far a metric is? It’s 100 kilometers which is a pretty long way by car – but believe me, it’s going to be much longer by bike.

The reason I’m telling you this has to do with the upcoming Amgen Tour of California. If you don't know what this is, it's kind of like the Tour of France except this is the California version.  All the famous cycling people participate in the race and you have to be good to enter.  They have qualifying races and everything.

I’ve always wanted to do the tour, but we all know that’s not going to happen as I’m not exactly dedicated to cycling like Lance Armstrong. Still, it's part of my bucket list.  So when they asked me if I wanted to be a part of the Amgen Celebrity Bike Ride as part of the Gold Country Metric Century Ride, I instantly said “Yes.”

Then I checked out the details and it turns out the celebrity bike ride is nothing to sneeze at. It's a metric –100 long kilometers.

But I’m going to do it.  Starting tomorrow, I’m going to stop sleeping in and will put my New Year’s resolution into practice because this is one fitness challenge I’m not passing up.

I have until May 14 to get my butt into shape. Then I’ll get my chance to follow the Stage 3 of the same race course the pro cyclists will take in the 2011 Amgen Tour of California in Auburn, California.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Blowing the diet with the best pancakes in town

Pancakes have to be the comfort food for the food-lovers soul. I have absolutely no resistance to them--which could be why the people at Orphan Breakfast House in East Sacramento have seen me two weekends in a row.

I started off being good by getting up early and running 5 miles in the park. But somewhere around mile 3, I started fantasizing about their pancakes and how Orphan is only a block away from McKinley Park. Coincedence? I think not.

By mile 4, I had already decided that if I made through mile 5, I would jog over and look at their menu.

Only look. No eating involved. I swear, I just wanted to see what their specials were.

That was my downfall.

This Sunday their special was raspberry and poppy seed pancakes with lemon curd. OMG. How could I turn that down? It’s not like I can make those at home. I’m not even sure what goes into making a tasty lemon curd.

So yes, I ordered them…with a side of rosemary potatoes. I figured if I was already falling off the no carb wagon, I might as well go all out and get the works.

And it was worth it.

I may even be back next -- just to see what they have on the menu.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Chocolate souffle cake and the ying/yang of food

Lately, something’s changed at Tuli’s, my little neighborhood bistro. And the change is only making the place better.

The menu gotten more sophisticated, the wine selection is better and the desserts….well…the desserts are sinful. This is because they have a new pastry chef. I’m not sure where she went to school, but she knows how to make some tempting treats that make you want to come back for more.

Take for example their chocolate soufflĂ© cake. It’s out-of-this-world good. It’s moist, chocolatety – without being too sweet -- and garnished with pomegranate seeds. Thank goodness you can only buy it by the slice because I would be getting a whole cake right now if I could. (Hint to anyone wanting to treat me for my birthday).

The desserts aren’t the only menu itmes that have gotten better. The food has also evolved.

I admit Chef Adam Pechal at Tuli’s has always done a great job, but his new Winter menu has some things on it that need to be mentioned …and savored.

Keep in mind, I haven’t tried everything yet, but I did get around to tasting something they call “Birds of another Feather”. This is a pan-roasted Guinea hen with a spicy orange glaze, and for $21, it’s a steal. It's similar to the "Chicken and cabbage" dish they had in the fall, which was good - but this is even better. The marinade is more flavorful than before and the bean puree is less lemony. The whole dish is now mouthwatering good.

They also have these catfish fingers that are also yummy for $9. But I’m warning you, these aren’t that big, so you may want to only order them if getting a salad or looking for something small. They do make a good sharing appetizer though.

But my favorite new thing on the menu has got to be the sturgeon. Man…this is so good. Plus, even though, you will feel satisfied when done because it is filling, you will also feel healthy.

I call this dish the ying/yang of food because it’s the perfect combination of a being little bit bad and a little bit good – and here’s why. The fish comes with crispy Daikon cake (crispy means fried so that’s the bit that's bad), but it’s complimented with a light mushroom Dashi broth – that's the good. But the really good is how everything works together. In fact, the broth is so yummy you’ll want to scoop it up with a spoon.

Now if only there was some way I could make my gym workout a little more ying and yang. Maybe if it came with cake at the end?