Do You Like Thai Food? Chang Sensory Trails 2018 in Los Angeles, CA

As many of you know, I am moving to Bangkok, Thailand in October of this year (to pursue a freer lifestyle…be free my sheeple!) so I was super excited when Chang Beer invited me to their event in Hollywood, CA called  Chang Sensory Trails to try some local LA Thai cuisine & drink some Thai-imported Chang Beer.

One of the best things about Thailand has to be their food! The typical Thai dish combines the 4 major tastes:  sweet, salty, sour & bitter which makes the Thai flavor very distinctive. There are also a number of Thai dishes that are on the healthier side because many dishes have a ton of vegetables and can be served with brown rice. #FitFam

This event had a ton of local Thai food trucks but the one I picked was WatDongMoonLek. I had their Pad Thai which was delicious!  Perfect combination of sweetness & spiciness. If you don’t believe me, perhaps you’ll believe their almost-1,000 Yelp reviews.

Pad Thai, a classic Thai dish

Of course there was plenty of Chang Beer to go around. I’m not too big of beer drinker these days but I actually like Chang Beer. It has a light, refreshing taste and it reminds me of my future home in Thailand.

It’s also a good thing I drank a few beers because as soon as I saw the stage, I lit that thing up with my incredible dance moves & aggressive nightclub antics.

When the beat is too good and your moves are too lit that the camera can’t focus

Sweetfin, a delicious Poke franchise in Southern California (Venice, CA Grand Opening)

Last week, @dashofting & I were invited to celebrate the grand opening of SweetFin’s newest location on the iconic & highly-instagrammable Abbot Kinney. Being that salmon poke bowls are one of my favorite foods that I discovered after moving to Los Angeles in 2015, I was so excited to try their Salmon Yuzu bowl.

 For those who haven’t heard of or tried poke yet, you can learn all about it here, but it’s usually raw fish, vegetables and either a kale, seaweed, salad or rice base. If you’re trying to keep it healthy like me, you’ll either go for the brown rice base or something carb-free like kale or salad. I always add avocado, jalapeños, onions, crispy onions & Sriracha to my bowls.

We got to meet the owner of Sweetfin and women entrepreneur Dakota Weiss who is a culinary and business rockstar who appeared on Top Chef. 

Enjoying my Salmon Yuzu bowl from Sweetfin while casually looking off into the ocean.

What makes the poke in California special is that it’s only 1 of 2 states in America that do not flash freeze their fish (Hawaii is the other state). This means it tastes better & fresher and this salmon bowl was no exception.

What’s also interesting is that their tobiko was green, when usually these little eggs are orange. That’s because Sweetfin adds wasabi into their eggs which gives them both a green color and a wasabi-spice.

Close up shot of the delicious Salmon Yuzu bowl from Sweeten

I can’t wait to go back to Sweetfin & try the rest of their delicious menu. Let me know what you think in the comments! And if my post inspired you to try Sweetfin, I expect an invite 😉

Cardio at the Santa Monica Stairs (I almost died!)

 

I’ve been living in LA for almost 3 years and I never checked out the iconic Santa Monica Stairs until this week.  I’ve always heard that running up and down the stairs (170 steps) a few times is a good workout and they weren’t wrong. 

First off, this neighborhood is absolutely stunning. The houses are quite expensive. I hopped on Zillow to check out the prices and you can see the prices range from $3 million USD up to $18 million USD. Yeah, that’s probably not happening in my lifetime. 

Map of available real estate prices by Santa Monica Stairs

Once you get close to the stairs, you start seeing a lot of people exercising in the general area. I saw a lot of runners, a woman using resistance bands for a thigh workout, and a guy shoulder-pressing 30 pound dumbbells that he keeps in the back of his SUV (not sure why I haven’t thought about throwing a few dumbbells in my trunk and basically having a mobile gym). It’s a good place to workout because seeing all the people exercising can be more motivating than working out alone. However, keep in mind that you can’t park on the streets after 6pm or you might get a ticket. Shout out to the fellow stair-climber who mentioned this to me at 5:57pm as I was filming my vlog. She’s the real MVP.

Here’s a good workout routine:

-Run up and down the stairs 10 times as fast as you can (but not too fast or your heart might explode like mine almost did)

I did 1 climb and I was sweating, out of breath and my heart rate was certainly elevated. 

I’m going to hit these steps tomorrow as my diet has been a little brutal lately (including a Happy Meal from McDonald’s last night).

If you live in LA or you plan on visiting anytime soon, definitely check out the Santa Monica Stairs as a tourist or to get a workout in. You won’t regret it (or maybe you will). As my friends over at Anabolic Aliens say, “if it was easy, everybody would do it.”

And if you liked my pants, you can get them on Amazon.  Super comfortable and very affordable. Just look for SUPERBODY.

I Tried The Burgers at IHOP/IHOB (Review Inside)

After a few glasses of wine at The Lincoln, in Venice CA, I was craving a cheat meal. Luckily for me, there’s an IHOP in walking distance from the bar. I bet IHOP makes a killing every Friday & Saturday with the 2am intoxicated crowds.

As an advertising professional, I always appreciate a good marketing campaign, so when I saw the uproar and madness that IHOP was changing their iconic name to IHOB, I had to check out their burgers for myself and compare it to their pancakes. Despite the importance of fitness in my life, I am a cheeseburger connoisseur. I probably have a cheeseburger 1-2 times per month and I truly savor those moments.

We ordered their Vanilla Spice pancakes (a brand new addition to the menu), even though my waiter strongly recommended the Mexican Tres Leches pancakes. As to be expected, these vanilla-infused pancakes were absolutely delicious.  However, because I cover my pancakes in syrup, sometimes I can’t tell if it’s the pancake I like or the syrup. Yolo. For those who don’t know, I’m allergic to chocolate but fortunately for me I’ve always preferred vanilla. Definitely recommend these pancakes for any pancake and/or vanilla lover.

I drown my pancakes in syrup. Send help.
I drown my pancakes in syrup. Send help.

Because I like my burgers like I like my women (spicy), we ordered the Jalapeño Kick. Wow was it spicy! Their jalapeños had a nice bite to them. I especially loved the addition of crispy bacon (which I shared with my kids). Just to feel less guilty about eating a cheeseburger at 1am, I split half with my friend. The burger had a little too much sauce but it was still a delicious cheat-meal.

Bottom line is that IHOP’s marketing campaign worked. I probably wouldn’t have gone into IHOP if it wasn’t for the temporary IHOB rebrand. Their burgers are definitely good enough for a burger lover and they had about 6-7 different burger entrees. However, I would say that IHOP does pancakes slightly better than they do burgers (which is to be expected). 

Final Verdict

Pancakes: 4.5 stars

Burgers: 3.5 stars

My Favorite Hot Pot Restaurant In The World (Literally!)

Have you ever heard of Hot Pot?

The cute Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot logo

According to Wikipedia : “Hot pot is a Chinese cooking method, prepared with a simmering pot of soup stock at the dining table, containing a variety of East Asian foodstuffs and ingredients.”

I define hot pot as “THE MOST DELICIOUS WAY TO GET YOUR LEAN GAINS ON.” Seriously. Hot Pot is basically broth, with thinly-sliced meats (proteins) & veggies (super healthy). Of course you can add in noodles and other carbs if you wanted, but if you leave those out, you have a really healthy meal. I like to add spinach, baby bok choy, lotus root & broccoli.  I always pick the spicier broths. Yo soy Mexicano!

Now I’ve been to many hot pot restaurants from Taiwan, to Hong Kong, to Cambodia, to New York City to Los Angeles & many more, and I was surprised that my favorite hot pot restaurant is a global chain! Ironically (based on my blog name), the restaurant is called Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot. The first time I tried this restaurant was completely by happenstance.

Early 2017 I was staying in NYC for a work trip and the only pet-friendly, affordable and convenient hotel I could find on Hotel Tonight was in Chinatown, NYC (Best Western Bowery Hanbee Hotel). At 10pm I went searching for food when I stumbled across an “All-You-Can-Eat” hot pot sign. Sold. Being that I was in LEAN GAINS mode (building muscle while losing fat), I made sure to only order meat & veggies. Here’s a wonderful picture of my flexing at the excitement of this clean meal.

Flexing at the excitement of discovering lean gains in Chinatown, NY

Back in LA, I was absolutely thrilled when I found out there were multiple Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pots in the Los Angeles area! The one closest to me is in Torrance, CA, a city of LA that’s known for their authentic Asian cuisines. Torrance has the 8th largest Asian population in America at almost 40%. It’s no wonder this is a go-to area for delicious Asian cuisines. Source. I’ll review some more restaurants from this area in the future!

Expressing my love of Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot in Torrance, CA

In mid-2017, Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot stopped offering an All-You-Can-Eat menu but it didn’t matter. I was hooked. I was happy to pay almost double the price for the same amount of food because I enjoyed the flavors and the experience that much. I love their strategy – get the people hooked on their food at an affordable price, and then increase it after we’re addicted because we’ll pay anything! 

In late-2017, I spent a few weeks in Cambodia (Phnom Penh). I was riding in the back of a Tuk Tuk when I looked up and saw the legendary logo of the Little Sheep!!! I made my Tuk Tuk driver pull over immediately so I could try Cambodia’s version. I assumed it would be significantly cheaper than their US counterparts but I was wrong – it was more expensive! This restaurant is one of the higher-end establishments catering towards tourists & rich Cambodians. With the average monthly income in Phnom Penh (Cambodia’s most expensive city) being $340, this is a meal that  is unfortunately out of most locals budget (which is why I thought it would be priced to the market). Source. If you haven’t been to Cambodia, I highly recommend Siem Reap (for the stunning Angkor Wat) & Phnom Penh (for the nightlife & history). Your dollar will go very far here so it’s a cost-efficient place to travel to. Beautiful country. E-mail me if you have any questions or want some travel advice. adam@befreemysheeple.com 

And some good news everyone! Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot recently brought back their All-You-Can-Eat menu!!! #winning. I’m not sure what the prices are across the country but the Torrance location was $23.95. If you haven’t been here yet, check it out!

Flexing with 2 plates of delicious meat