Make Out Every Day? Yes, Please!!

I am sure you read this title and thought, okay…what on earth is this going to be about? Sorry folks, I am actually NOT going to talk about making out (which is fun, but that’s a whole other blog post!), this post is regarding a very cute and chic incognito cafe I happened upon while walking to a workout class in Culver City.

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Make Out is nestled in the heart of Culver City, in between the Archlight Culver City and the historic Culver Hotel. I say it is incognito because the location is rather small and it is easier to find walking by then to drive around looking for it. I was headed to a workout class, as I mentioned, and I was feeling rather tired and needed a pick me up. I walked into this cute little cafe hoping to find something caffeinated, and indeed I did, and much more.

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Preceding this cafe was the raw/live food restaurant M.A.K.E, which was raw chef Matthew Kenney’s dining experience located on the top floor of Santa Monica Place until it closed in June of 2015. Make Out came along to cater to the growing demand of plant based whole foods and makes this type of food more accessible in an everyday setting. The name is supposed to align with “sexy” food.

I did not sample any of the actual sexy food at this cafe, but the desserts look heavenly. They have everything from raw cheesecakes, to macaroons and raw chocolate truffles. Raw sushi, flatbreads and wraps are included in their savory delights.

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I guess I should get back to my point of needing a pre-workout pick me up. This cafe sells cold brew coffee or chai with different medicinal herbs added to it. A very cool, unique (and hipster, I admit) concept, however, I am intrigued.

While they have different juices, smoothies and kombuchas on tap, a smoothie with avocado and almond milk can be found at many juice/smoothie bars nowadays. Make Out has something very unique they call Latte Potions. So a person can chose, again, a chai or cold brewed coffee with coconut oil and coconut nectar or honey, and then there are six different potions you can choose from to add. Different coffees have different physical and emotional intentions based upon their names. There is the Make Out, Geek Out, Bliss Out, Work Out, Chill Out and Shroom Out.

I chose the Work Out. My coffee had Tocos, Eucommia Bark, Cordyceps and Astragalus in it. Some of you may be familiar with these herbs, but for those who are not, here is a short de-briefing…

Tocos-a very potent source of vitamin E, contributes to healthy skin and liver, Kosher and non-GMO, delicious in smoothies and desserts.

Eucommia Bark-used to treat lower body pain and weakness in the bones.

Cordycepsknown for strengthening the immune system, improving athletic performance, reducing the effects of aging.

Astragalus-is said to increase blood flow and speed up healing and fight bacteria, but there is not enough scientific evidence to determine its efficiency.

A few other herbs found in some of the other drinks…

He Shou Wu-a good source of iron, helps maintain strength and stability in the lower back and knees, promotes healthy aging process.

Pine Pollen-good for hormonal support, brain food, supports and detoxifies the liver and can be a natural aphrodisiac.

As for how much of these herbs is put into each coffee or chai, it is all mixed up into a potion (hence Latte Potions!) and the amounts are measured out and safe for consumption. You can get your drink iced or warm. I got mine warm, apparently if it is too hot it can destroy the effects of some of the herbs.

I downed my potion before I finished my walk to the class and I did feel revived and ready to get my workout going. At 7 dollars a coffee, I can honestly say this would be a once in awhile indulgence, but I suppose it is something anyone could try at home given the right tools (and you can buy most of these herbs online) and the desire.

FALL RECIPES- Acorn Squash and Chicken Chili

So, fall is here in Southern California…even though it doesn’t particularly feel like it. Today the forecast says it will get down to a chilly 70 degrees, only to get back up to 91 degrees on Saturday. I am dusting off my UGGS as we speak…haha!

Anyhow, even though it hasn’t cooled down a ton here, the fall vegetables are out in full force at the grocery stores, so I picked up a few of my favorites last week. I always buy spaghetti squash, but one of my other favorites during the fall is acorn squash. This little green and orange nugget of joy has a sweet flavor when baked. One cup has only 56 calories and 25% of your daily Vitamin C!

One of my favorite acorn squash recipes is to just cut one in half, bake it in the oven for about 25-30 minutes and drizzle it with coconut oil, a little cinnamon and brown sugar. But today I decided I wanted to do something a little more filling and put together a delicious chili that will last for a few days in my refrigerator…which is a good thing, because I have a busy week. Any time I can make a healthy and hearty meal that I can put in tupperware and carry with me to work for lunch is a good meal.

This chili was a little different. It called for a cup of pilsner, which is a light beer. It also called for unsweetened cocoa powder, which has become a staple in my chilies, because it adds a rich but subtle dash of flavor.

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ACORN SQUASH AND CHICKEN CHILI

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped

2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 acorn squash seeded, cooked, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch pieces
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes with their juices
1 cup pilsner/light beer
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Navitas Naturals)
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 15 1/2 ounce can black beans, drained
Juice of 2 limes (about 3 tablespoons)
Cilantro, for serving

Feel free to add sour cream, greek yogurt or sliced avocados as well!

DIRECTIONS

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper, garlic, five-spice powder and chili powder and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the squash pieces, chicken pieces, tomatoes, beer, cocoa powder and brown sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Stir in the black beans and lime juice and cook for 5 minutes. Let the stew cool slightly, then ladle into bowls and top each serving with some cilantro.

ENJOY!

CLASS PASS SERIES- CrossFit Elements With A Cardio Kick

You probably wouldn’t ever know it was there if you didn’t a)take a walking tour of the neighborhood and casually stroll by on your way to Brick and Mortar or b) look it up on ClassPass, but located in the back corner of the Edgemar building on Main Street in Venice is CrossFit Santa Monica. It looks boutique-ish, but be warned, your a** is about to get kicked.

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I stumbled upon this place when I was working an event in the area and wanted somewhere to workout around 430pm. Believe it or not, depending on where you are, there are not a lot of open classes last minute near that time…but this one was, and they were doing a class called Cardio-Fit, which is supposed to be more about repetition and less about super heavy weights.

The first thing I have to say about this gym is although it is small, everything is stacked in its place, which is nice. Most of these boutique spots do pride themselves on having the members put away whatever they use after class. Secondly…the men are hot in this class (sorry guys who read this, just being honest). And many of them take their shirts off, so at least you get some eye candy while you are dying on the pull-up bar.

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Most importantly is the workout, and I have to say, this is not for everybody. The workout for our Cardio-fit class consisted of a short warm up and stretch period followed by 5 different exercises. The first (and I cannot remember the exact name for it) was a push press type of movement with a barbell. The second was getting on the rowing machine. The third was box jumps, where you jump and land with both feet on the top of a box that is is a few feet tall, many times. The fourth was wall balls, where you take a ball that is anywhere from 10-20 pounds and squat and throw it up against the wall, then catch it. The fifth movement was a sumo style squat with a kettle bell in your hand. Now here was the catch…this was timed, and the first round started with 42 REPS of each exercise. YES. 42. The second round was 30 and the third round was 18…if you made it there, as this was a timed event, about 35 minutes. In your mind, you think, yea, that is enough time to get throughout the whole thing…yea…no. If you are a seasoned cross fitter, perhaps this is nothing to you, but to me, while I consider myself somewhat of an athlete, I only made it to the first exercise on the sets of 18 reps round. Phew!

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I highly recommend this place to people who enjoy Cross Fit, or just high intense shorter workouts. The people are all super nice and happy to make modifications on exercises if, say you need to kneel during pushups or just step up and down on box jumps because you have a bad knee, etc.

They have bathrooms and a shower. You can park in the Edgemar parking lot and they will validate your car for 2 hours, which is a nice perk, given the area is right by Urth Cafe and gets extremely crowded.

CROSSFIT SANTA MONICA

2433 Main Street

Santa Monica, CA 90405

CLASS PASS SERIES: More Combination Classes!

Hey there folks,

My apologies for going MIA, I have been pretty busy the past few weeks doing nutrition clinics and just didn’t make the time to write about some of my very cool new workout experiences. I apologize and will try not to keep you waiting so long in the future!

There are so many amazing workout studios in and around Los Angeles and I have been fortunate to attend many amazing classes that if I had any other type of schedule would not be possible.

Recently I attended a class at 1045am on a Friday. Most people are in the throes of work during this time, but fortunately for me, I had worked a few events earlier in the week and had Friday completely opened, so when I saw a studio I had never been to with a class that I had never taken that sounded intriguing to me in Marina Del Rey, one of my favorite areas in Los Angeles, I jumped on the opportunity to take it.

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The class I took was a TRX and boxing combination class at a cute boutique studio called Studio U. This studio is small, but has Pilates reformers set up in the front room and in the back room, which is a bigger room, classes are conducted that range from TRX to boxing to yoga, plus dance classes like hip hop and salsa.

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I was excited for a hardcore workout, because TRX can be very difficult. TRX is a portable performance training tool that leverages gravity and the user’s body weight to complete hundreds of exercises mainly involving core stability. So this class was set to combine 30 minutes of TRX based exercises with 30 minutes of a boxing circuit. I own boxing gloves and brought them with me, so I was prepared.

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The class was fun and there were only 5 women other than myself it in. The trainer was a sweet woman and there was a lot of intermittent chit-chat, which to be honest, I prefer to workout during my workout and chat later, but the slower pace wasn’t a bad thing necessarily. TRX is not something I normal do, so it was nice to go over some of the basic movements, rows and planks with the TRX bands around your ankles are some of the movements we did.

The boxing portion consisted of three bags places in the middle of the room and we rotated in a circuit, One bag we would punch fast, the next we would do a punch and jab movement, the third station was freestyle with the teacher of the class commanding a variety of punches directed at her mitts, and the fourth bag was another series of punches and jabs. I have taken classes that were more technical and more difficult, but it was fun and I did work up a little sweat.

This gym is definitely more specialized, so if you like classes where you will have less people in your space and more attention is centered around YOU (hence Studio U!!!) this is the place to be. I also apologize for the pictures of the room where the boxing and TRX took place, they came out darker than expected, but another class was entering right after mine so I didn’t get a chance to take more!

Parking is on the street (Washington) and there are definitely one and two hour parking spaces open for the morning classes.

STUDIO U

760 Washington Blvd.

Marina Del Rey, CA 90292