The Strawberry Fields Whatever Diet: Everything We Ate For An Entire Week (Pt. 2: Thursday through Sunday)


Thursday, May 15th

LJ: I woke up and had a cup of black coffee and a slice of chia seed toast with smooth Valencia peanut butter and sliced banana on top. I ate the banana-half that didn’t fit on my toast while leaning against my kitchen counter and waiting for the toaster to ding. I also took a bunch of vitamins: B-Complex, C, D, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, a digestive aid, and one for “hair health.” I love my hair health vitamin. It really lightens the mood.

For lunch I made myself a red quinoa bowl. I sautéed onions and cherry tomatoes with red palm oil and crushed red peppers in olive oil- I eat these crushed red peppers with everything. They burn your mouth off magnificently.

I wilted some greens into it, some hippie greens called Fire Blend. They were crazy and raggedy. I felt like I was eating the guts of a monster who was made of plants. I roasted some eggplant in my toaster oven with some cayenne pepper, rainbow peppercorns, pink sea salt, and more red palm oil, which turns everything the Crayola crayon color “macaroni and cheese” so never wear a white t-shirt in its presence. I charred the eggplant by accident but it turned out amazing- sugary and crispy. I love burnt food. I had way less quinoa than I thought so I added in some sunflower seeds and pepitas for extra sustenance. And, at the very end, some little cubes of feta the size of sugar cubes. The feta cheese gets a tiny bit melty once it comes into contact with the hot food and it’s the most perfect thing. But the meal would have been better with less intense greens- plain arugula would have done the trick. I drank San Pellegrino out of the bottle and ate six or seven dreamy and luscious raspberries for dessert.

I had a triple iced Americano from the Green Beanery on my way to work. During work I ate a tiny piece of tuna from a tuna ceviche to see if the tuna was off. It wasn’t. I’m a risk-taker.

I ate two Healthy Energy Cookies out of my Koreatown Tupperware once things began to wind down, around 10 PM. I’ve been eating Healthy Energy Cookies forever. Since 2007! They’re made of maple syrup, cinnamon, honey, sesame seeds, ground almonds, some boring ingredients like rice flour and etc, and the jam in the middle is apple butter. I could eat them every day for the rest of my life and never complain. I basically do already.

I drank sparkling water at work all night. I got home at 12:45 AM and ate a banana.

LIZ: My breakfast (I already explained my breakfast), and popsicles and peaches and iced coffee and big stir-fry and lots of tea and everything. It was 100-something degrees out. Before supper I made myself a rosé spritzer and got a mango from the fridge, then went down to the pool with my copy of the Elle that's got Tavi's interview with Miley Cyrus. I sat with my feet in the pool and read Miley and Tavi and ate my mango and drank my drink and listened to Hate Your Friends by the Lemonheads. My world felt very much in balance in that moment.

Later on, post-supper, I watched the Boston episode of No Reservations, which had some of the best-looking food I've ever seen. The last place Anthony goes to is some Portuguese restaurant called The Snack Bar, which is near the second apartment I lived in when I lived in Boston, and I deeply regret never having been there. When I was in Boston a few weeks ago my sister and my buddy Sarah and I went to visit that apartment, and we also got sandwiches and Hell Fries around the corner at All Star Sandwich Bar. After dinner we went to Christina's for ice cream and I hadn't been in years and I got a cone of burnt sugar and it was just like old times. 

JEN: Breakfast smoothie with unsweetened almond milk, banana, frozen cherries, frozen mangos, frozen raspberries, goji berries, chlorophyll drop.

I’m working from home today so I also had some toast with peanut butter and jam. The jam is plum cardamom jam that Caitlin and I made last summer when there were a million plums everywhere. It’s delicious. The bread is also delicious – it’s sunflower seed bread from Syrena Bakery. I also had some black coffee in my beloved Salem mug.

Lunch is leftover pasta from last night. It’s still good.

I made popcorn around 6pm. I had dinner plans at 8 and there was just no way I could wait that long. I needed a snack. Popcorn was popped in coconut oil and toped with sea salt and nutritional yeast, as it should be.

Alan, Caitlin, Pat and I went to Selamat Pagi for dinner. It’s a beautiful cool seeming restaurant with Balinese food OR – “Balinese inspired” food.  Caitlin and I got there first and drank rosé at the bar while waiting for our shmoe boyfs. We ordered a ton of food and shared everything. Here is the list:
-spiced nuts
-vegetable spring rolls
- Bali Urap (green papaya salad)
- veg Gado Gado (another salad – had roasted sweet potatoes, a lot of peanuts and cilantro)
- Tamarind glazed tempeh
- sautéed coconut kale
- long bean lawar
- roasted seasonal vegetables
- 2 orders of jasmine rice

It was an excellent feast. This place puts a little * next to items that aren’t veg but can be made vegetarian or vegan, which is a cool move. Most cool restaurants these days seem to exclusively serve things like goose neck, roasted pig hoof, fries fried in the blood of a lamb. It’s nice to have options and be respected as a human and customer at a cool place. I forgot to take pictures because I was busy chowing down. I only took this one:

Alan and I walked Caitlin to the bus because I had to buy bananas for breakfast anyway. We walked down to Manhattan Ave and Caitlin hopped on a bus immediately. Pat had his bike so we all stood chatting a little longer and eventually decided to get some dessert. Alan and Pat went to this frozen yogurt place because they’re gross. I went to Van Leeuwen and got 2 scoops of ~artisanal~ vegan ice cream – dark chocolate and pistachio. Vegan ice cream can be out of this world good and also disgusting. This was out of this world good. I think they do a coconut milk and cashew combo? Whatever. It works. We ate our treats standing on the street.

Friday, May 16th

LJ: For breakfast I had vitamins and two cups of black coffee and a slice of burnt-ish toast with crunchy Valencia peanut butter and those dreamy raspberries smushed on top like they were jam. An hour later I ate a banana. I’m not very good at not eating a banana.

I had this cucumber sitting around my fridge that I wanted to get rid of so I decided to make a cold peanut noodle salad thing. It was a semi-success. I found a really easy recipe for peanut sauce on the Internet and then added chili garlic paste and minced ginger to it because I am a genius. It was literally the best peanut sauce I’ve ever had. I used brown rice wakame soba noodles and overcooked the hell out of them. Very, very clumpy noodles. I added a little bit of diced onion, cherry tomatoes, a ton of cucumber, some of my fire greens, and some extremely ripe avocado, which weirdly merged with the sauce. The avocado-peanut sauce-paste was so crazy rich and delicious that I started to resent the soba noodles for taking up space in my stomach. They were a waste of my stomach’s time. Next time I’m going to use chicken and edamame instead of a carb. And a less squishy avocado.

I drank a Venti Iced Americano while walking to work. I had two Healthy Energy Cookies again, one in the staff washroom in the middle of service, another on the streetcar ride home. I got off work earlier than usual and briefly considered drinking. I have a “don’t drink on work nights” rule in place to prevent myself from becoming a bloated alcoholic that occasionally seems worth breaking, but tonight I couldn’t be bothered. I came home and had a dainty little bowl of raspberries and cut-up banana as my nightcap.

LIZFor breakfast I ate my breakfast. In the early afternoon I went to Starbucks and drank some goddamn iced coffee, plus a pouch of that groovy goldenberry trail mix. BTW did you know that goldenberries are the same as gooseberries? It's true.

The good news about Friday is I finally got a little money in the ol' mailbox. So early that evening, after taking care of some business at Sunset & Vine, I went to Magnolia and drank a cocktail while reading/making notes on pages for my Saturday-afternoon writing class/workshop thing. My plan was to just get some rosé - but then on the menu there was a drink called Strawberry Fields, and I figured it'd be against the law for me not to order it. The Strawberry Fields is vodka and champagne and muddled strawberries and it was just fine; nothing to write a novel about*. The bartender was sort of stingy with the strawberries, but really the biggest letdown was how it was served in a martini glass. Martini glasses are such bullshit: I hate a dainty drinking vessel, which is why I use an old glass milk jug as my water bottle. Drinking a pink drink out of a martini glass makes me feel like what women who go on Sex & The City bus tours think of when they think of Carrie Bradshaw. If I wanted to look like Carrie Bradshaw, I'd wear a fake-fur coat to a baseball game and drink too much beer in the middle of the daytime. The only pink Carrie Bradshaw drink I'm interested in is that strawberry McDonald's milkshake she got on her first hang with stupid Berger. God.

Anyway that night I went to Malo with Alisa and Shaz and Sadie and Patti. For my first drink I got the Señorita Angelina, which is tequila and hibiscus juice and the rim's smothered in chili salt. My drink was the deepest-rubiest red and I regret not photographing it; the salt was so aggressively/perfectly spicy that my mouth just watered remembering it. We got burnt-habanero creme salsa to go with our chips and I hadn't had Malo's burnt-habanero creme salsa in years and it was so worth the wait. Cream and burning is a magical dynamic.

For dinner I got three tacos: a ground-beef and pickle taco, a carnitas taco, and a taco that was supposed to be stuffed with sugar pumpkin flowers but was actually something else. I don't know what the hell that third taco was (chicken?), but I really couldn't be bothered to send it back. It's too bad, since "sugar pumpkin flower taco" sounds like a food invented just to be loved by me, but that's all right. All my tacos were so yum. For my second drink I got a Dos Equis and the hostess was really cute and reminded me of Flea's older daughter and was wearing these adorable denim shortalls. I should remember Malo exists more often.

*Ha, I mean to type "nothing to write home about" but then it came out "nothing to write a novel about," which is obviously so much better. My Magnolia drink was definitely not novel-worthy.

JEN: Smoothie, duh, banana, frozen mango, frozen blackberries, peanut butter,  unsweetened almond milk, goji berries, chlorophyl drop.

 I was still feeling kind of weird from my double vaccine blow out on Wednesday. I drank English Breakfast tea in the morning. I drank my tea while maniacally trying to get Cher tickets the second they went on sale. I didn’t, but Greg did – and we’re going to see Cher IN LONG ISLAND!! I can’t wait.

For lunch I got an avocado tartine from Le Pain Quotidien – I think they call it the Omega 3 Tartine because there’s hemp seeds on it or something.  I usually like this, it’s a totally dependable work lunch option but I could not eat it. It was disgusting to me. Luckily I also bought a vegan hemp seed blondie which I love and had no problem eating. There are big pieces of dark chocolate inside this vaguely healthy seeming treat that is really just a treat.

I left work early and worked from home in the afternoon. I drank 2 cups of kukicha tea with lemon.

Alan and I ordered Chinese food from Shanghai Lee for dinner. I really like this place and it felt weirdly healing. We had the crispy tofu with broccoli and the baby bok choy – which is very garlicky and great. It was pouring rain outside -  we watched Zodiac and I drank ginger lemon tea.  After watching Zodiac I now think of Mark Ruffalo as a friend in a demented sort of way.

Saturday, May 17th

LJ: By Saturday all my jerk raspberries had gone moldy, so it was back to dependable old peanut butter and banana on toast. Coffee, water, vitamins.

That afternoon I met Anabela and Geoff at Sud Forno. I was famished when I arrived. Sud Forno is just across the street from my restaurant; when I was general managing in the wintertime I ate there maybe three or four days a week. It was too cold to venture much further out into the world. They used to have this killer broccoli salad with raisins and roasted leeks but replaced it with a beet salad in March, which I’m not too torn up about. I can’t imagine a person liking beets much more than I do. The beet salad at Sud comes with a wedge of orange, so it’s got kind of a savory Negroni vibe to it. And there’s some endive, which I ignore. And I had the salmone sandwich, same as always. It’s smoked salmon, mascarpone, capers, red onion, and some sort of purply lettuce on nice crusty brown bread. I used to add on some of the roast leeks from the broccoli salad. RIP roast leeks from the broccoli salad. And I had a fancy Italian sparkling water. It opens like a bottle of beer and when you order it the employees are taught to ask, “Is it okay if I open it for you?” which comes off so sweet. You’re like, “Yes, you little angel! Of course!”

Before work I drank an iced quad Americano from Dark Horse and felt a little too caffeinated for my own good. I made myself an agua fresca when I got in: lime, agave, cucumber puree, and sparkling water. I kept refilling that same glass all night, so even just my plain water kept tasting like cucumber.

In place of my Healthy Energy Cookies I ate an Oat Almond Bar from the same brand, “Snacks For You.” The oat almond bar is a very moist and sweet rectangle made of oats and almond meal bound with honey. On top is a thick, cold layer of carob. I love Snacks For You. They also make a really nice peanut butter bar with Nature’s Path Vanilla Sunrise cereal listed as one of the ingredients, and a carob bar with puffed rice. Snacks For You does not have a website. I feel like Snacks For You is probably just an old hippie couple who live in a bungalow and own a plastic packaging sealer.

When I got home from work I ate a banana. Obviously.

LIZ: During breakfast I listened to All Things Must Pass for the first time in forevs and learned (a) that my third-favorite Galaxie 500 song is actually a George Harrison song, and (b) that "Hot and Cold" by Ex Hex is basically the same song as "If Not for You." Listen:

Saturday afternoon I have my writing class/workshop thing, which is in Culver City. I got to Culver City early and went to Essential Chocolate Desserts to get a big iced coffee with cream, plus this pretty little white-chocolate truffle stuffed with pistachio marzipan, which was like eating a tiny little heavy cloud made of sugar and almond paste. On the way to Francesca's house I accidentally pulled down some rando side street and it's a good thing I did cuz some little girls had set up a lemonade stand on the sidewalk (!). I got a cup of pink lemonade, which tasted like bubblegum. I guess I approve.

After class, on the way back to the east side, I stopped at Top Round and got a frozen custard. I ordered the Southern Belle, which was supposed to be frozen custard + pecan pralines + butterscotch + peaches, but they forgot to put in the peach part. I didn't realize the lack of peaches till I was a few spoonfuls in but I didn't go back – I really just can't deal with "sending food back," I'm way too impatient, plus there had already been this whole prob where they lost my order and I had to wait like five thousand days to get my frozen custard in the first place. Jesus Christ, Top Round: get your act together.

Anyway my Sort-Of Southern Belle was fantastic, and I bet it's totally beyond when it's actually got peaches in it. I also treated myself to a few used Tom Petty CDs. I think it's great how Tom Petty went with "confused in a record store" as his look for the cover of the second Heartbreakers record. So deep.

That night I met some buddies for drinks at The Well in Hollywood. I ordered the Brown Sugar Old Fashioned, almost entirely because I thought it would be fun to type the title of a Rolling Stones song when writing this part of the Strawberry Fields Whatever Diet. Having the title of a Rolling Stones song in its name is definitely the best part of The Well's Brown Sugar Old Fashioned; other than that it was completely unremarkable. I don't get why Don Draper likes Old Fashioneds so much. I don't see what's so special about them at all.

For my second drink I switched to the house white wine, which was a solid move. My wine was five bucks and perfect: cheap and sweaty and secretly sweet, just how I like my men haha. My pal Jed was there and we talked a lot about Throwing Muses, which I wish were a thing that happened all the time in bars. If people in bars talked about Throwing Muses all the time, I'd be a way bigger fan of going to bars. As it stands I much prefer to drink in pizza parlors, seafood shacks, Mexican restaurants, and on my own porch.

Later in the night I went back to Echo Park and met up with my housemates at El Compadre. Instead of getting a flaming coconut banana margarita I got a Pacifico, plus a shrimp burrito, which was as pleasantly mediocre as I expected it to be. I also housed like half the basket of chips and salsa. The mariachi band was tight as ever.

JEN: For a while every Saturday I went to the Farmer’s Market with Laura and then ate bagels with her & Tom or we all went out to brunch. This almost never happens anymore but it happened today! Laura made aeropress coffee, which I drank black. I had a whole wheat everything bagel – on one side I put tofu cream cheese, scallions & pea shoots from the farmers market, pepper, and hot sauce, on the other half I put hummus, avocado, scallions and hot sauce.  Perfect.

Later in the day I had kukicha tea with lemon, as I often do. I believe this stuff is magical and healing.  That’s just my personal opinion. I read that kukicha tea had more vitamin C than an orange on the menu at Souen once - maybe that is true, too.

At some point I ate 3 squares of almond and sea salt chocolate. Later I ate a banana split into 3 parts with peanut butter, goji berries, and walnuts.

Alan and I ate dinner at National, which is a Thai place more or less right across the street from BAM. I had pad woon sen with no egg – glass noodles with mixed vegetables. I also had a gigantic glass of rosé.  After eating we ran across the street to BAM to see Only Lovers Left Alive, which I loved. I feel like every movie should open with a spinning shot from above of Tilda Swinton laying in a beautiful robe. While watching the movie I had a small popcorn and water. I usually order a large popcorn even if I'm incredibly full but I had a card for a free small popcorn and made an exception. 

Sunday, May 18th

LJ: My eating day was very boring until the evening. Coffee, vitamins, toast with peanut butter and banana. I worked brunch- drank an iced Grande Americano on the way. It’s a bit sad how I’m compelled to capitalize Starbucks size names. I had two Healthy Energy Cookies, one early into service out of boredom, the second after work was over. I bought two bottles of Torrontes from my restaurant because it was Victoria Day weekend and all the liquor stores are closed. I came home and did some exercisin' and then immediately started drinking wine. I was on a mission. I wanted to be drunk. 

Mark- ever the eccentric- made himself a vanilla protein shake with cognac in it, which I tried a sip of. “Better than a regular protein shake!” I declared.

We went to Terroni Bar Centrale for a baller dinner. It’s a little out of the way for us, but the dazzling dining room makes it worth it. Many, many millions of dollars well spent.

I drank two glasses of Blanc du Prieur, which was an unobtrusive white with a bit of a blush to it. It was a really sexy color, like a pink champagne fox. The Torrontes I’d been drinking earlier was hyperactively sweet, like a Gewurtztraminer with a more tropical flava, so the Blanc du Prieur was comparatively a bit of a snooze.

We started with the funghi assoluti, which was oyster mushrooms baked with a really classily low amount of breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese, served with arugula, olive oil and balsamic. We ate it off Terroni bread, which is otherworldly. “Best mushrooms I ever had!” raved Laura Jane Faulds of strawberryfieldswhatever.com. For our mains we shared a delightfully-named pizza called “Puzza,” which was a white pizza with mascarpone, gorgonzola, Italian ham and more mushrooms, and the pappardelle with sausage, mushrooms, and peas. We aren’t usually that huge of mushroom enthusiasts.

I’m writing this the next day, and I feel like the Puzza is still very much a part of me. I can taste it exactly. The gorgonzola and ham were so flavorful they were almost pushy. And the pappardelle was as heavenly as ever. When I think of the things I’ll miss most about Toronto, that meal jumps immediately to mind.

After dinner I continued along on my quest to be drunk. I drank two pints of Spearhead Hawaiian Pale Ale at the Victory Cafe but then just felt tired and cranky. I woke up in the middle of the night to drink an entire water bottle in one gulp.

LIZ: To make up for my food boredom on the first four days of my Strawberry Fields Whatever Diet, I decided to make myself the fried egg & cheese BLT that Adam Sandler makes himself in Spanglish. It's widely known that the Spanglish sandwich is the best sandwich in all of cinematic history; I got inspired to make it for myself the week before, when LJ tweeted about Spanglish and then I turned on the TV and Spanglish was on. Supercosmic.

So here's the recipe for the Spanglish sandwich. I made it as a late breakfast/early lunch, and I was goddamn starrrrrrrving, having just gone for a big run. Making the sandwich was kind of chaotic; I absolutely did not have the preternatural calm possessed by Adam Sandler in his Spanglish sandwich-making scene. It felt to me like the success of the sandwich depended on eight million things happening at the exact same time, though really all I really needed to do was make sure the cheese melted nicely and the bacon reached a certain sizzliness and the yolk of the fried egg went just past runny but not quite to fully solid. Sometimes I'm easily overwhelmed.

While making my sandwich I listened to a playlist of songs that included lots of Tom Petty and lots of Replacements and lots of Big Star, plus the Lemonheads's cover of "Mod Lang" by Big Star. The theme of the playlist was "being an American."

So yeah this is my sandwich. I ate it while reading the Monica Lewinsky thing in Vanity Fair, and it was heaven. It didn't taste quite as good as Adam Sandler's sandwich looks, but it was still out of this world and soooo intensely satisfying. I felt, like, soothed by it. It also reminded me that fried egg + lettuce + mayo is a perfect trio, texture-wise and everything-wise, and I should really eat just plain old egg sandwiches with lettuce and mayo more often.

I'd thought about drinking a beer with my sandwich, just like Adam Sandler does, but I had shit to do post-sandwich and beer-drinking just didn't seem to be the right move. I told myself, "It's cool: you don't have to become Adam Sandler." But I was wrong about that: as wonderful as my sandwich was, it would've been a billion times better with beer.

For dinner that night I met up with my friends for Barbrix's 5th birthday party. We drank free prosecco at the bar, then went out to the patio for dinner. Shaz and I split the Moroccan lamb chops + couscous + yogurt and the hangar steak + fries, and I got a glass of txakolina. All of my food was beautiful and I gnawed at the bone of the lamb chop a bit; at some point a bunch of us split a bottle of rosé. For dessert we shared a couple orders of the hot cinnamon donut holes + gelato + rum caramel sauce, and then one of the dudes from the restaurant brought us each a piece of the Barbrix birthday cake. It was white cake with white + peachy-red frosting that was the most insane balance of sugary-sweet and creamy-buttery and I was sure it had to be from some big-deal bakery. But guess where it was from? COSTCO. Supermarket cake remains the queen of everything.

JEN: I decided to make pancakes in the morning. Do I have everything for them? Probably. I’m making them and they’re seeming too watery so I add some more flour. I add frozen blackberries to half of them. They look kind of weird but taste fine. I realize eventually I forgot to add a little bit of oil, which is something you usually do when making veegs pancakes. It didn’t really make much of a difference besides that they looked a little weird.  I ate them with banana and maple syrup. Also black coffee, duh.

I have my tiny amount of Thai leftovers at some point in the afternoon. They aren’t really enough to constitute a meal. I have a handful of walnuts. Later I have pretzels, chips and hummus.

In the evening I made a huge, massive amount of sesame noodle. I wanted to have them for lunch throughout the week. I added carrots, tofu, swiss chard, scallions and sesame seeds to the noodles. Also a decent amount of sesame oil and soy sauce. I had this with some watercress for dinner.

I had peppermint tea before going to bed.

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