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El Compadre

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Happy 2017! Here’s My New Year’s Resolution—and I Think It Applies to You, Too

December 31, 2016

Happy 2017, everyone!

Let me preface this by saying even though they are so cliche, I do think new year’s resolutions serve an excellent purpose (when applied properly). Really, who can disagree with a seemingly fresh start?

new-year-champagne

That said, I think most of us tend to go overboard with goals and expectations, which leads to maybe a few weeks at best of said resolutions, only putting us farther behind than when we started. Like I would love to say I’m going to workout five (heck, even three) times every week, or that I’m only going to have two drinks max every time I go out—but that is not realistic (for me).

This is why I think making even one minor change can lead to many more. Granted, I, too, in the past have held myself up to unrealistic standards, and clearly they didn’t get me anywhere. This year I am taking baby steps with the hopes of a bigger turnout.

I started a new job at the beginning of April, and one of the biggest perks of office life there is we are never left hungry (well, I guess I should say never left without food). Our fridge is non-stop stocked with almond milk, soda, every condiment, you name it. Our cupboards are piled high with coffee, tea, pita chips, Popchips, those really delicious kettle chips from that brand I can’t recall, every brand of Frito-Lay chips and the list goes on. Yes, snacks and beverages, they run aplenty.

new-year-chips

In previous places of employment, we’ve had a Bagel Thursday type of situation, or a catered lunch one day of the week, and then anything else we had to nibble on courtesy of the office, came via special deliveries from the Sprinkles Cupcakes publicist or something along those lines. To further my point, I was not accustomed to having free snacks at my disposal around the clock, so I was never hit with ongoing temptation.

This year, I found myself munching incessantly when I wasn’t even hungry—on things I don’t even normally eat! Sure, chips and guac are delish at El Compadre, but during my day-to-day doings? It’s never been a thing for me. Once I gave into this snacking free-for-all, it led to other overeating situations in general. Like coming home from work stuffed, but ordering delivery for dinner because it’s just there and it’s really good. I noticed my mood, my dreams at night—everything—was being affected by my poor habit, and I realized it needs to stop.

The point of all of this is that I am going to (try to) cut excess from my life in the new year—and I’m starting with all the senseless snacking. Sure, there will definitely be moments where I’m so-called “bored” (I know, such a damaging word) and I may want a nibble or two. But that’s when healthier (and far more filling) options like apples, water, mixed nuts, celery and almond butter come into play.

new-year-mixed-nuts

By training my mind to cut these unnecessary additions from my day-to-day diet, I am hoping it will guide me to cutting excess in other areas of my life, too. It’s all about starting small.

I think it is fine to indulge in that plate of lasagna once in a while, but is it necessary to eat all of it in one sitting, and eat it all the time as if it isn’t a treat? Definitely not.

There are certainly times to do things in excess, but they shouldn’t be done excessively, and I think every one of us is guilty of doing something or another in this way—some things more than others. Try to take one of the smaller things and eliminate it, and see if it leads to other rightful eliminations. I guess I’ll have to check back in 2018 and see how this went!

With that, I wish everyone a happy, healthy, safe new year, and hope that whatever self-improvement road you choose to take (if any) leads you on a successful journey!

Food Angelenos

These 5 Mexican L.A. Staples Will Give You the Best Cinco de Mayo Experience Without the Hollywood Scene

May 5, 2016
Photo courtesy of ilovemole.com

Photo courtesy of ilovemole.com

To most people, the thought of Mexican food goes hand-in-hand with margaritas and Mariachi bands – but to a resident of Los Angeles, the way your Carne Asada is cooked for your fajitas takes a backseat to the possibility of who you might end up standing next to on the smoking patio of the trendy, South-of-the-Border-themed eatery cooking up that hot plate.

Mexican restaurants in L.A. are no joke, and when it comes to Cinco de Mayo, you can bet on the most scene-y individuals making it out to one of the city’s many sit-down hotspots (El Compadre, El Coyote, El Cholo, Gracias Madre, Don Antonio’s, Mercado, Toca Madera, Mexicali, Casa Vega, to name a few) known to provide quite the wholesome Hollywood crowd.

Not to say there’s anything wrong with wanting a vibrant ambiance, but if you’re looking to avoid obscene lines and save hours on getting overly glam for the night – yet still have a swell time with super cool folks – there are several under-the-radar mainstays in the City of Angels that are a must for events like these.

Keep scrolling to read about five consistent Mexican hotspots that you can visit today to avoid “the scene,” but still keep the festive fun!

  • Guelaguetza – If it’s crickets (AKA chapulines) you fancy, then you’ve come to the right place! Jk (well, not really – they do serve these as an automatic appetizer) – this Koreatown-based hotspot is also known for its Oaxacan-style cooking, particularly its mole.
  • El Condor – When I think Mexican food on Sunset Blvd., El Compadre is obviously the first thing that comes to mind – but head 20 minutes east and you’ll approach Silverlake’s laid-back, but lively El Condor. I can tell you firsthand that their various queso dips, mini tacos and cool vibe make the visit very worthwhile.
  • Sol Y Luna – Tarzana’s highly touted festive space boasts decorative folk art and a mural of Mexican icons. Added bonus? Their tableside guac is Zagat and Yelp-acclaimed! This restaurant has been referred to as the best Mexican food in the Valley.
  • La Serenata de Garibaldi – If authenticity is what you’re after, this is it. Located in the heart of East L.A., this cozy little spot offers a selection of specialty seafood dishes unlike any other, in a colorful atmoshphere.
  • Candela – Located just south of La Brea and Wilshire in a humble setting, this sit-down taco bar draws crowd of all kinds for its laid-back, social atmosphere and yummy, inexpensive offerings.