To most, Labor Day weekend involves barbecues, napping, laying out in the sun and taking advantage of of those pop-up online sales. I can tell you the only activity out of the following I participated in was a long nap today after my 8:30a.m. Flywheel class this morning and ass-kicking Bar Method class yesterday afternoon. Maybe I indulged in a little too much coffee and maybe I ate a little too much chocolate last night but hey, that’s what a holiday weekend is all about. Moderation, indulging and being care-free for a bit.
After starting my weekend off right on Friday with a filling lunch at Brightwok Kitchen followed by a long walk around downtown, I ended up taking advantage of Athleta‘s “20% off all sports bras” weekend sale. This meant buying only ONE sports bra (go figure) and a pair of regular priced leggings. Not mad at it because they now are my new favorite leggings I own. I came to the realization crazy workout patterned pants and tops are the best kinds of motivation and inspiration. When you have a crazy coordinated and colorful workout outfit, it boosts self-confidence at least 10 points. Who can agree?
Putting my new gear to proper use, I paired my High Rise Bloom Chataruga Tights with my Renew Bra, Nike Flyknits and my Bar Method barre socks. I wore an old Lululemon top that matched one of the lighter shades of blue in my tights and the navy even matched my current BDG Myles Suede Colorblock Tote Bag in navy. You gotta love when your bag unexpectedly matches your workout outfit.
For lunch on Saturday I had a huge bowl of veggies and quinoa. This used to be my lunch and dinner at least five days out of the week last year when I primarily ate a plant-based diet. As much as I love veggie bowls now-a-days, I like getting my daily dose of chicken, salmon, tempeh, etc. in different forms than just a grain bowl or salad. I have to say that “buddha bowls” are my favorite meal, especially when you’ve got the right veggies. This bowl was a mix of steamed brussels sprouts, kalettes (I grab a bag at Trader Joe’s – a crossbreed of kale and brussels!), roasted carrots and turnips, over quinoa and arugula. I drizzled tahini sauce over for a dressing and devoured it happily.
On Sunday night, instead of cooking in at home (which I really miss to be honest), two of my best friends asked me if I wanted to go out to grab a bite. Naturally, I thought of tacos and my first pick was the new Old Town joint: Buzz Bait Taqueria. If you don’t know by now, I’ve slowly transitioned from chickpea and hummus enthusiast to taco queen. I even included this recently in my Instagram bio. If all tacos could be high quality, vegetable-filled and loaded with guacamole… I think I would be the happiest chick in the world. Until then, I’ll settle for the fast-paced casual seafood tacos, slowly but surely lining the streets of Chicago.
When I heard that Buzz Bait was opening in my favorite neighborhood (Old Town) a few weeks back, I was dying to try it out. Taking a few looks at the menu, I immediately saw a tuna poke taco and texted my friend (and fellow taco fan) Ana about it. The only negative of the menu is their shrimp tacos are fried (same with the avocado and cod ones) BUT they the ahi tuna poke comes with a soy tequila sauce and a teriyaki glazed tortilla… NOM. The blackened mahi mahi with peanut sauce is pretty dreamy too!
My two friends both ordered the ahi tuna (two per order coming in at $11) and really enjoyed them. I ended up preferring the mahi mahi over the tuna. The tuna was laid out in little chunks so that when you bit into the tortilla, it was a bit too soft for my taste. By the last bite, I was a bit confused as to how the whole outside of the tortilla was covered in oil. It looked as though I dipped my hand and tortilla in a tub of canola oil. Just a bit confusing but when you’re at a cheaper, fast-casual restaurant, these things tend to be expected.
The mahi mahi was some of the best I’ve had and I’ve tried my fair share of them in the past few months. The avocado salsa and baja slaw were the perfect components and just enough avocado to satisfy your palate but not overpower the fish. One thing I completely loved about Buzz Bait – they do not load your taco with sauce to the point where it oozes everywhere. However, the mahi mahi became a little oily as well once I neared the end. Not a fan of that.
An unexpected perk of Buzz Bait was their tortillas. I’m just like every other health-obsessed American with wanting corn tortillas over white flour, especially because I really dislike that dough-y consistency of a flour tortilla that most restaurants’ tortillas seem to have. I knew going into Buzz Bait that they used only flour but to my surprise, I LOVED these tortillas. They were thin enough to the point they resembled corn tortillas but didn’t break, therefore my friends and I rolled ours into little taco burritos.
If you’re looking for a fun and quick eat with friends, I’d for sure check out Buzz Bait before the summer is over. The wooden interior and beachy vibes are key to enjoying these hot summer nights.
To recover from a night full of tacos, I wrapped up my Labor Day weekend by using my one-ClassPass-class-a-month class (tongue twister) on a morning Flywheel class. Because I put my ClassPass account on hold, I am entitled to one class per month for $19. I’ve consistently been going to one Flywheel per month because of this amazing price! Usually spin classes run anywhere from $20-35.
Words can’t even express how addicted I am to Flywheel. When I began ClassPass back in February/March, the first cardio class I did was at Flywheel downtown. Despite the total beatdown I got and thinking I could never go back, I ended up going every month. I think it is one of the best ways to get in a killer cardio workout in less than an hour. Not to mention, they have the same concept as SoulCycle but their bikes are MUCH easier to use (in regards to changing your resistance), configure and the instructors are just down right AWESOME. Little tip: If you ever take a Flywheel class in Old Town or Gold Coast in Chicago, take Mallory Jaffe! My personal favorite.
I hate to admit it to the world of SoulCycle lovers but I’m by far more of a Flywheel girl. Except I will say their apparel needs a lot of design help…
Thanks to Mallory’s killer 8:30a.m. ride, I ended up starting my Monday off with an 18 mile bike ride. I came home and splurged on my favorite smoothie combination ever in bowl form. The recipe is as follows:
- 1/2 frozen pear
- 1/2 frozen apple
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 scoop Vega’s Viva Vanilla Protein Smoothie powder
- 1/2 cup ice
- 1 tbsp Dastony raw almond butter (from Windy City Organics)
After combining the above in my Vitamix, I topped it off with some Nutiva hemp seeds and this brand new granola I received in the mail this weekend from my friends over at Oat My Goodness.
If you have never tried an apple + pear + almond butter combo in a smoothie, you need to get your butt over to your grocery store, pick up these ingredients and throw ’em in your blender asap. I can promise you it will taste like the healthiest dessert EVER. Similar to a vanilla bean ice cream with a hint of almond. And cinnamon. And yumminess. I can’t get over the flavor!
The Vintage Oat My Goodness granola flavor is packed with cinnamon, brown sugar, cashews and vanilla so it the right granola to match with this fall-themed smoothie.
Welcome to the epitome of a life saving post-workout snack and a refreshing way to end this long, adventure-packed holiday weekend!
*This post was not sponsored by any products linked above. However, I was sent a package of Oat My Goodness granola for review. All opinions are my own.*