Everyone knows it’s hard to lose weight (if it weren’t, America wouldn’t have an obesity problem). The trick is to find what works for you. What works for me, and may benefit you as well, is the Calorie Counter app on my Windows phone. In fact, it’s working so well that I lost six pounds in my first week.
The app was created by FatSecret and is available on all of the major smartphone operating systems, but if you don’t have a smartphone, you can always go ahead and use the FatSecret webpage instead.
Essentially, all you have to do is track what you eat every day and how much you exercise. The system will be able to tell you how many calories, carbs, etc. you’re taking in and compare your calorie intake to the amount you should be consuming if you want to lose weight. If you slip up one day, it’s easy to stay motivated, because the diet calendar can still show you how many calories you have lost in an average day since you started using the program. There are a handful of foods and restaurants that aren’t on the list, but you can always look them up online and add them to the app where it will be available from there on out.
Check your Penny Savers, because V House Pho & Grill constantly sends out buy two get one free coupons to everyone in East County. Of course, even at full price, this restaurant is worth every delicious penny.
Their pho is rich and flavorful and you don’t miss out on the presentation when you opt to get your soup to go. The broth is packaged in a massive Styrofoam container, the noodles, onions and beef are in a take out box and your basil, jalapenos and bean sprouts are kept in another container. They even provide you with small cups of plum sauce and packets of soy sauce so you can further customize your soup flavor at home. If you do get the order to go, be sure to microwave your broth before adding the raw beef because the meat is supposed to cook in the soup and if you wait too long, you could be exposing yourself to unnecessary risk.
Eating in the restaurant is also nice. The atmosphere is nice, clean and quiet and the service is immaculate. Aside from the pho, I highly recommend trying the crispy calamari (which isn’t always available), the beef vermicelli noodles and the Thai iced tea. In fact, I have yet to find anything that’s not great here.
With some of the most flavorful Chinese food in all of East County, China Diamond is an amazing value. While all of the dishes are cheap and delicious, the buffet is the best way to go, offering tons of choices for under $8 during lunch and under $10 for dinner.
The orange chicken is rich. The egg drop soup is perfectly balanced. Don’t miss the shrimp dish, although it changes every time, it’s always heavenly. When it comes to sweets, the sesame buns and donuts are always crispy and replaced frequently, so they are always toasty.
The servers are friendly and incredibly attentive, refilling your water and other drinks long before you even think to ask for them.
All in all, it’s a great place for an unbeatable price. Try it out.
1265 Avocado Ave # 108
El Cajon, CA 92020-7783
The Disney Food and Wine Festival that takes place in California Adventure every year is a marvelous experience, but to take part in most of the celebratory activities is actually rather cost prohibitive. Rather than spending $80 on wine tastings and $100 per plate on a few dinners, why not enjoy the festivities without shelling out the big bucks?
Here are a few tips on entertainment during the festival that won’t cost too much.
Catch the shows. A lot of the displays and shows can still be watched for free. They may be educational or entertaining, but they still aren’t worth a bundle of cash just for the privilege of sitting during the presentation.
Enjoy the freebies. There aren’t many freebies at the park, even during the festival, but if you see some, take advantage. Over by the bread and tortilla factory there is a booth offering taste samples of exquisite olive oils and vinegars with bread chunks to try them. If you’re so inclined to buy a few bottles, remember that you can often use a high-quality olive oil to dilute your fancy one without losing much flavor.
Try the Festiv-Ale. Over at the Karl Strauss beer truck, there is a special blend just for this occasion. At $6.75 per glass, it’s hardly more expensive than buying a good beer at a bar. As for the Festiv-Ale, it’s a quite nice blend, rather dark with a bit of a bite and sweet, berry accents to round out the finish. Their other beers are also quite good even if they don’t quite fit in with the theme. The IPA has the highest alcohol concentration and it has all the complexity and depth that a fine IPA should have.
Enjoying the Festiv-Ale
Try a few wine samples. While there are package wine samplings that are rather expensive, there are also wine stands throughout the park that allow you to try a few sips for not too much money.
If you’ve been and have any more tips on enjoying the festival, please leave them in the comments!
It’s been years since I stopped by BJ’s in La Mesa, but I always knew they had a great happy hour, so we headed out there yesterday to see if it was still around. As luck would have it, the restaurant’s happy hour hasn’t changed a bit. All of their mini pizzas are half price, drinks are a dollar off and appetizers are two dollars off. Of course, the prices for everything are on the expensive side, so this just means everything is reasonable instead of over-inflated.
We went ahead and ordered the piranha nachos as an appetizer and I ordered their Irish Root Beer. The nachos were good, but a few chips were burned and their salsa has always been a bit strange. The smokey chipotle flavor is just a bit off when paired with the sweetness of the rest of the flavors. Unfortunately, you can’t have nachos without salsa, so we just tried to go light on the salsa. While the chili, cheese, olives, sour cream, tomatoes and other toppings were tasty, I think I’d skip this $9.25 appetizer ($7.25 during happy hour) in the future, unless they get a new salsa.
As for my drink, the Irish Root Beer was pure heaven. With the restaurant’s own root beer, Baileys, BOLS butterscotch schnapps and Jameson whiskey, it was the perfect blend of sweet and bitter. Over all, it had a taste of a root beer float, but the sweet bite of the Jameson made it all the more delightful. At $7.75 per glass ($6.75 during happy hour) it’s a little on the pricey side, but the size and flavor made it worth the expense.
For dinner, we went for the mini pizzas. BJ’s specialties are its beers and pizzas, so I knew we’d be in for a treat no matter what we ordered, so we went for the exotic and tried the Mediterranean, with Kalmata olives, grilled chicken, tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, pesto, feta cheese, peperchinis and garlic, and the bacon cheeseburger, with ground beef, red onions, bacon, pickles, tomatoes, cheddar cheese and thousand island dressing.
Both of the pizzas were tasty, but the Mediterranean had quite a few less toppings than one would expect, although the taste was still an excellent blend of all the ingredients. The cheeseburger pizza was a treat for the tongue as the flavors of the pickles and dressing were unexpected, but entirely pleasant. I would highly recommend either pizza, particularly for the price of $5 each during the happy hour special.
I ended up with enough left overs to have lunch the next day, which meant I was too stuffed to try the pizzokie, which looked quite tasty. But, to correct that omission in our meal, I’ll be making home made pizzokies later and then sharing the recipe with you all soon.
If you get the chance to stop by BJ’s, give it a try. You won’t be disappointed.
I’d give the restaurant a 3.5 out of 5 right now, but if they reduced their prices a bit and got a better salsa, that could easily become a 5 out of 5.
If you’ve been itching to try the new BK burger shots (I have, and they’re actually quite good) now’s your chance. On Saturday, 3/14 Burger King is giving away free burger shots between 11 AM to 2 PM. I’m not sure if “one” means one shot or one pack, but either way, one free tiny burger is yours if you stop by your local BK this Saturday.