Sunday, June 21, 2009

Who needs Chipotle?

When you can make some Brown Rice Taco Bowls at home???
I found this recipe in an issue of Women's Health awhile back and this has become my go-to comfort/lazy meal. I've made it a few times now and each time I make a couple of changes. Tonight's version featured avocado chunks and some fresh salsa. One of my favorite things about this dish is that you can do whatever you want with it. The basics are just lettuce, brown rice and some ground meat (though, you could do ground chicken or turkey, grilled chicken, beef...anything!).

Brown Rice Taco Bowl
1/2 c brown rice, cooked
1 lb ground chicken or turkey
1 packet low sodium taco seasoning
2 handfuls of lettuce
1 tomato, chopped
1 small avocado, chopped
Fast Black Beans
2 tbsp salsa
2 tbsp 2% mexican style cheese blend

Cook chicken or turkey according to taco seasoning packet directions, set aside. Place 1/4 c of brown rice in each bowl, top with 1/4 c of seasoned meat, 1-2 tbsp beans and 1 tbsp salsa. Scatter lettuce on top of each bowl, followed by some tomato and avocado. Top with a sprinkle of cheese.

Here's the under-lettuce layer:
If you're not into brown rice, you can also just do this with white rice...whatever your heart desires! My heart screams brown rice and Texas Pete ;) Is it weird I love my hot sauce and that I have a handful of favorites?? Sometimes I think it's weird.

Ok, back to Baltimore (no, I didn't finish writing about all the food and stories)!

Some perks I'd like to mention about the Baltimore 10-miler:
  • SWEEEET Rain jacket. We're talking quality material and tastefully done. It's navy and hooded with a small logo for the 10 miler (sorry, I can't seem to get a decent picture of it). Unfortunately, I think mine's too big...should have gone with the XS.

  • Baby Luna and Clif bars post race!

  • Not one, but TWO free drink tickets attached to your bib! Everyone took advantage of it as shown by the huge beer line...for CANNED beer. Klassy. (I've only seen them serve post-race beer in cups)

  • Post race food also included (aside from the mini Clif and Luna bars) watermelon - sliced right in front of you. I don't know about you, but I get really excited when there's more than just cold bagels and bananas.
Overall, I really enjoyed the race. It was by far the most challenging 10-milers I've run, but challenging is a good thing! I definitely would have preferred a non-rainy race day, but I'm glad we braved the rain and hills. It was a fun experience :)

We hung out for a beer each after the race and then headed back to Susan's to warm up and shower. Lunch was at Baltimore Pho...though we were advised by Susan
not to get the pho. Hm. I don't know if I've already expressed my love of a steaming bowl of pho after a long run. There's something about the saltiness of the broth, the acidity of lime, the protein, the starch, the all just makes me so happy post run.

Anyway, according to Susan, the broth wasn't anything special (and all pho eaters know it's all about the broth!) so we decided to explore the other fun dishes they had to offer.

We started out with an order of
Fresh Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls (also known as summer rolls):
I feel like you can't really mess these up unless you can't wrap them properly. These were probably the most tightly wrapped rolls I've ever seen. I could probably toss one across the table and it would stay intact. Ha.

For my main dish, I ordered the
Bun with Barbecued Pork
Bun is basically a bowl of cold rice vermicelli noodles topped with a grilled meat (Susan got shrimp, I prefer it with pork) and fresh veggies and a side of nuoc cham (a Vietnamese dipping sauce that's made with fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, chilis, garlic and probably some other secret ingredietns). This is one of my favorite summertime dishes because although it's a fair amount of food and is filling, it's not heavy at all and there are lots of different textures going on. Plus, who can say no to veggies??

Jamie got the
Caramelized Pork (slices of pork rib cooked in a claypot with absolutely wonderful aromas and flavors - that's what the menu says)
I took a bite and I thought it was a little too salty for my taste.

Overall, I thought Baltimore Pho had some pretty good dishes to offer. Though I must say I thought it was a little pricey for what we got. Jamie's dish only came with that small bowl of rice and they charged him extra when he asked for more to finish his food. Dude, rice is cheap...why must you be all frugal with it?? Also, service was a bit slow. We got there at 11 and didn't leave until 12:30 AND we were the only ones there for a good 30 minutes.

After lunch, we headed back to DC so I could get ready/shop for a gift for the bridal shower I had to attend in Baltimore later on that evening. I ran to Crate & Barrel, picked up a gift, refrained from browsing all the sale items (yes, they are having a big sale right now), showered and then it was back to Baltimore!

Here's a shot of the delicious cake (I'll update this once I get the other pictures)
At first, I thought it was draped in fondant but when I nibbled on my piece, I found out it was MARZIPAN! I've never had cake with marzipan was pretty tasty! I'm not much of a cake person (I only like ice cream cake) but I thought this cake was fantastic. The bride's cousin described it as having a strawberry and cream filling and I started picturing a strawberry shortcake cake. However, when she started handing out slices (again, I'll post that picture soon), I noticed the 2 cake layers were super thin and it was mostly WHOLE strawberries with a bit of light cream. Delicious!

The bride's cousin also put together these really cute wedding cake cookies. Thumbs up for all her hard work!
Sorry for the blurry. I took a few other shots with my friend's fancy new camera that I want in such a bad way. It was AMAZING. I started running around taking random artsy shots and I can't wait for her to send me the pictures. I think she said it was the new Canon Rebel? It made me want to throw my camera out the window. I think I might love her camera more than the one I used at work! :(

Hope everyone had a fun weekend!


Mia {runs and rests} said...

Can't wait to see more of those foodie pics you took with your friend's camera. :P
Again, congrats on the 10 miler!

Anonymous said...

Funny! I've been looking for a new camera, too!
Wow, a 10-miler! CONGRATS! You're a trooper!
And you could have fooled me with that cake! Amazing!
Oh, and thanks for that recipe! Now I can save a few bucks~ The cheap Asian in me is delighted, lol!