Category Archives: food

Around Accra: Coco Lounge

My birthday was October 4 and David’s was November 4. Since we weren’t together for either one of them, we decided we’d celebrate both birthdays together on December 4. As I cruised around the internet and Trip Advisor, I decided that Coco Lounge looked like a good place to go.

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We arrived right on time even though I’m pretty sure the last kilometer of the drive took us 25 minutes. The traffic in Accra is unlike any I’ve ever seen before and 6:00 p.m. is a pretty busy time of day.

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We decided to order a cocktail and some chips while we decided on what to eat. David decided on a Heineken, the only beer they have on draft. I looked at the wine selection and was going to go with a glass of red wine until David discovered they have Beefeater Gin. Well! Since that’s my favorite, I ordered a dry Beefeater Martini up with olives.

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This part of our visit, the martini part, was the only part of our visit that was less than perfect. We saw they had drawn his beer but it appeared that they were stumped on how to make the martini. David said that I shouldn’t get my hopes up too high since they seemed to be having trouble. Our server finally delivered David’s beer and a perfect Beefeater martini for me. It was really good!

We ordered a second round of drinks while placing our dinner order. The second martini was not good. I’m not sure what was wrong with it but my guess is that they didn’t use the right gin. I took it back and she came back with a second martini. It wasn’t quite as good as the first but it was Beefeater and it was good. 

For dinner, David ordered spicy beef and rice stir fry which came in a bowl. It looked good and he confirmed that it was very good. I decided on the Coco Burger with additional cheese. If you know me, you’ll know that I’m on the endless search for the best burger in the world and a burger will be my first choice at any restaurant that serves one. This burger was delish! The cheese that was added was a nice thick chunk of cheddar. The fries were also good and I’m pretty picky about my fries. 

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We decided we’d split a piece of cake and the cake on the dessert menu was one of the big factors in my selection of this restaurant since we were celebrating birthdays. The three choices of cake (banana, sticky toffee, and raspberry vanilla) didn’t compare to the idea of a brownie with ice cream on top which is what we ended up with along with coffee. It was a very satisfying end to our meal!

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We got really good service and I love the decor and the vibe at Coco Lounge. I was also able to make my reservation via Facebook messenger before I ever even left Oklahoma! We will for sure return to try more of the menu items and help them to perfect their dry Beefeater martini. 😉

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It was a great place to celebrate our birthdays!

Coffee Holic

When I drove by Coffee Holic yesterday, I knew I was going to have to come back and visit. I’m in from out of town, working, and wasn’t familiar.
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This morning I had the perfect opportunity. As I entered I saw that they have wifi which is always a plus. The first thing you see is a nice goodie case and I honed in on the Chocolate Almond Croissant. Almond Croissants are my favorite and after verifying they didn’t have plain ones, I ordered the chocolate version which she heated up for me. It was delicious!

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I ordered brewed coffee and it was okay. Nothing spectacular, but drinkable. The total cost was under $5 which was pleasantly surprising.

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Their menu is small but diverse with many options including smoothies, waffles, and sandwiches. Several choices of energy type bars are available for a portable option.

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I’m glad I stopped in and if I return to Lewisville I’ll drop in again!

The Gift for the Person Who Has Everything

A lot of us have that person in our lives who have everything. Mine is my stepmom. I get to her birthday and Christmas and I never know what I should get that she will enjoy. I’ve done coffee and chocolate and flowers and wine. A lot of wine. 😉 

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This year, I was hoping to be inspired by something really different and awesome. But what would it be? I was clueless. 

Then I had a unique opportunity come my way. I helped my friend work her clothing shop in Las Vegas for two weeks at the Stetson Country Christmas show. The show was a large marketplace of cowboy and rodeo related merchandise. It was incredible. I would never have guessed that I’d find the perfect item at a rodeo show.

We were lucky enough to be placed next to Stuff It Olives. First of all, Bob and Norine who are the owners, are fabulous people. But secondly, their products are awesome. 

They sell many different kinds of stuffed olives and garlic. My favorite of the olives was the Sicilian Double Stuffed. 

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The smoked garlic is amazing and is their best seller, according to Bob.

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But my very favorite thing they have is the balsamic vinegars and flavored oils. And this is what I got for my stepmom, the person who has everything. 

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The olive oil that’s infused with basil is SO tasty. I knew that would have to be one of my choices. Norine then paired it with the fig balsamic and I was in heaven. What a fabulous taste commotion in my mouth!

I didn’t stop there. I brought home a couple, well, several bottles for myself. I bought a bottle of fig for myself initially. By the time I was getting ready to leave Las Vegas it was halfway gone so I got another bottle of fig. Then pomegranate, chocolate marshmallow, and cranberry walnut. I’m also hoping to get a bottle of chocolate cherry but it was the last bottle and Bob couldn’t find it at the show. We’ll be having breakfast with Bob and Norine on our way back to California so I hope they will have the chocolate cherry for me then. I know I NEED it. 😉

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So there you are. For the person who has everything or the person who just likes tasty condiments. Everything at Stuff-It Olives and Napa Finest is delicious and I know you’ll think so too!

 

Promised Post Pageant Donut

We stumbled upon Psycho Donuts on one of our morning walks a month or so ago. I loved how the outside was decorated. We didn’t go in but when I got home, I investigated a little further and decided that after the pageant, I was going to Psycho Donuts and have a donut. 

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This morning, in a radical departure from my normally ultra healthy diet, we indulged.  It was truly difficult to decide which one of these amazing donuts I wanted to try. I asked the man in front of me if I could take a photo of his box and he said, “Sure”. 

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After we ordered, he ordered 6 more! It really is a tough decision.

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We decided on the Rocky Road (David) and the S’Mores (me)

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They were served up by this very pleasant health care provider. 🙂

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We also had a cup of coffee. I had the dark roast which was excellent and David had the lighter roast. 

Oh yum!!!!

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We grabbed some napkins for the sticky deliciosity.

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Sat at a cute table. 

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It was amazing. Afterwards, I was buzzed to the max, ready to walk another 1397 miles. David just wanted to sleep. 🙂 

Although it’s not in my usual repertoire of food choices, I’m glad we tried Psycho Donuts. It was awesome! 😀

Z is for Za’atar

I learned about, and fell in love with, Za’atar when we lived in Saudi Arabia back in the early 90s.I first had it as Za’atar Bread.

Doesn’t that look amazing? It is.

So what is za’atar? It’s a  is a mixture of sumac, sesame seed and herbs frequently used in the Middle East and Mediterranean areas. To make the bread, it’s mixed with olive oil and spread on the bread. 

A couple of years ago, I also found that you can get a za’atar bagle at Bagle Country in Skokie, IL which is now, according to Yelp, closed. 🙁 ::sobs::

I recently found za’atar bread here in San Jose. I stumbled upon the Sultan Bakery one day, which I will review one day soon. I entered the bakery and was met with all of the wonderful bakery items I experienced while living in Saudi and Bahrain. In an effort to maintain some composure (and respect to my pre-pageant diet) I decided that I’d just get one piece of za’atar bread. 

I hadn’t had za’atar in a long time. It’s like I forget it’s in my cabinet and then I get a craving for it and pull it out. I need to stop forgetting about it. When I pulled it out the other day, I decided to look at the lable and noticed that it’s seriously expired. Oops! 😉

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Now I really want to taste some za’atar and I planned to find an international grocery store today but David took my gps yesterday and I have no idea how to get there so I’ll have to save it for another day. But I will get it soon!

I think that it might add a nice flavor to the base of an Israeli Salad. And I’m going to try it. Just as soon as I get some fresh za’atar.

So this is what I’m craving on this last day of the A to Z blogging challenge. How great that it begins with Z! 😀

S is for Steak

As I eluded to in yesterday’s post, we celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary with dinner at Morton’s The Steakhouse last night. 

I was excited when I made the reservation a few weeks ago because I’ve been excited about our anniversary. 36 years just seems so much longer than 35 years for some reason and it seemed like such a huge accomplishment. But more than that, I’m looking for 36 more and, after that? Another 36. David and I have so much fun! 😀

Earlier in the day, Heather called from Morton’s to confirm our reservation. She also wanted to know David’s name so they could personalize our menu. I thought that was a nice extra touch and I loved seeing it when they gave us the menus. Of course, you know how I can get, going on and on, Heather knew it was our 36th anniversary and she included that as well. Nice!

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We were greeted with Happy Anniversary when we approached the host to be seated which was awesome. He took us to our table and told us our server, April, would be right with us. April arrived and also wished us happy anniversary. Then she said she always likes to ask couples what their advice would be to a newly married couple.

I told her that I would tell the bride she should always put her husband first. It can get hard, when kids come. They need so much and pull you in so many different directions. But if you put your husband first, you will have an ally and helper when it comes time to going in all those directions and it makes everything easier and the marriage stronger. 

David, man of few words, said, “Laugh.” 

Well alrighty then! And here I thought he found me utterly entertaining all these years. 😉

We ordered our appetizers and it wasn’t until she took the wine list and cocktail menu that I noticed there was anniversary confetti on the table! 

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We had a cocktail to start. David had an Amstel Light and I had a martini. I was so excited to learn that Morton’s has Beefeater Gin, which is my favorite. So many places don’t have it anymore. 

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April brought us onion bread and soft butter. Mmmm. Yum!

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Then, a gal came by and asked if we wanted to have a photo to mark the occasion and we said yes. So nice! 

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I got the Broiled Sea Scallops for my appetizer. They were wrapped in bacon and came with apricot chutney and the whole dish was amazing! David got the short rib tacos which he said were good but he ate them before I got a chance to take a photo. Gotta be quick with that guy. 😉

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We ordered steaks for dinner because, well, it seems like the thing to do at a steakhouse. I got the 8 oz. filet .

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David got the center prime ribeye.

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We decided on Brussels sprouts and 

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Au Gratin potatoes to share. 

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It was all so delicious!

Of course we had to have dessert. I mentioned I might have a couple of bites of cake and I did. We ordered Morton’s Legendary Hot Chocolate Cake and it was gooey and warm and came with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Just the right size to share after a fabulous dinner. And I got to eat all the raspberries because David doesn’t like them. 😀

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All in all, we had a wonderful night celebrating a wonderful event. Morton’s went out of their way to make us feel even more special with the little touches acknowledging our anniversary and we are so appreciative. 😀 

 

 

 

 

 

Zoodles with Avocado Pesto Sauce

Oh. My. Goodness. This is one of the best things I’ve eaten. And it was pretty darned easy to make, too. 

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First I chopped a head of romaine to use as a base. Then I chopped a large Roma Tomato to put around the lettuce. If I’d had cherry tomatoes, that part would’ve been easier. 😀 Then I made zoodles out of two large zucchini.

Then I made the sauce:

1/2 avocado

1 clove garlic

3 large basil leaves

Juice from 1/2 a large lemon

1/2 a zucchini and the two long center pieces that are left after you made zoodles. 

A little water

Blend all ingredients until smooth, then toss the zoodles with it. Place the zoodles on top of the bed of lettuce and add cracked pepper to taste. Yummmmmmm!

 

J is for Japantown

Today, included in our walk, was a detour into Japantown.

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 We wanted to try a new coffee shop but couldn’t find one beginning with J but there is a coffee shop in Japantown called Roy’s Station Coffee and Teas. I knew I could make Japantown be in the path of our walk and I’m glad I did. 

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We stopped into Roy’s. It’s a great coffee shop with an awesome patio outside. Where, of course, we sat.

I hate to tell you that I had another almond croissant but, when it comes to almond croissants, I’m weak, y’all, I’m weak. This croissant was so big and so delicious. The first thing I tasted was the butter but the almond taste was so nice. 

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David had a chocolate croissant which he said was really great, too. We both had their house coffee which was yummy. I do so love drinking out of a real cup. 😀

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The people at Roy’s station were super nice and I know we’ll go there again because it was a nice experience. They, too, have a nice menu of not only drinks but food. 

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We then walked to the end of Jackson Street, which I would call the heart of Japantown. 

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I loved how the traffic control system boxes have ninjas 

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and dragons. 😀

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We considered living in Japantown and I really like it, but in the end, downtown won. Still, I’m sure we’ll at least go to Japantown for coffee at Roy’s again , if for no other reason. 🙂

F is for Fruitbat

If you follow me on instagram, I’m sure you’ve seen me tag photos #fruitbat. “What is that?” you ask. I got the term from Freelee the Banana Girl

Freelee is the person I found when I was getting ready to become a low fat, high carb, raw vegan. I found her video about Banana Island and have been watching her ever since. She’s a great source of information and inspiration and she calls her followers fruitbats.

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I eat a huge number of my calories in the form of fruit so I think the tag is appropriate. I follow the 80-10-10 plan of eating where I shoot for a breakdown of 80% of my calories each day from carbs, 10% from protein and 10% from fat. 

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This makes me feel AMAZING! Actually, amazing isn’t really a strong enough word. I don’t know that there is a word to describe how awesome I feel when I eat this way. I have no joint aches, my skin is SO clear, I sleep well, life is so good.

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Fruit is amazing. And, honestly, if you had told me that I would one day replace sugar with fruit, I would’ve laughed at you. Of course in diet books they always suggest that but I was such a sugar addict I couldn’t fathom how it could work.

I haven’t had a whole lot of processed sugar since I began eating this way on September 1 of last year. I chose to eat an almond croissant on Saturday in honor of my half birthday and I felt sincerely wasted. Like I was completely drunk. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to walk home and we were only two blocks away. I don’t think I’ll be doing that again because I just didn’t care for the feeling.

Fruit makes me feel clear and clean and joyful. It’s what I love and eat the most of. I am most assuredly a fruitbat. 🙂

 

B is for Bananas

It was about a year ago that David and I went to Banana Island. Banana Island, you ask? Where is that? Well, Banana Island is essentially a cleanse where you eat only bananas. We did it for three weeks and we felt amazing. 

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I figured it was an easy way to get started on the high carb, low fat, raw vegan lifestyle and I was right. It’s the only thing I ever did where I didn’t have sugar withdrawal.  Now, bananas are a HUGE part of our lives and we go through a lot of them each week.

Because we eat so many bananas each day, we always have to have some ripening. Since we moved, we still haven’t gotten far enough ahead of the game to have some to freeze and make ice cream out of which is a deficiency I need to correct. Soon. Spooning banana ice cream (frozen bananas put through the juicer with a blank = soft serve) off of celery sticks is a taste treat like no other. I also saw a recipe for mint chocolate chip ice cream yesterday that I’d like to try. Anyway, I digress.

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Bananas are super good for you. We wait to eat them until they have brown spots on them. This makes them easier to digest and gives you a whole range of health benefits. 

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The other day, I got the surprise of a lifetime when I opened a banana and found twins inside! Trust me, I’ve eaten a lot of bananas in my 54 years and I’ve never seen this before. I was so weirdly excited. 

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I have blogged about bananas before but in the event you missed why I eat so many, the reason is because they are calorically dense. I’m a pretty large (5’11’ on a large frame) and extremely active person. If I eat a pound of lettuce, which is a lot of food, it’s still only around 100 calories which isn’t good enough. The bananas help to keep my calorie levels up. 

They are also a good workout. When I buy a case of bananas, 15 bunches, it’s somewhere around 40 pounds. I have to squat those babies eight times to get them from the car to the apartment. 🙂 

So, anyway, that’s the story of bananas in my life. I love them, they fill me up, they’re delicious. 🙂