Romantical Weekend FAIL

Our second anniversary is on Wednesday.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t get any time off because my boss decided to go back east (I’ll rant about that in another post).  It ended up working out though, because DH is going to a conference all week, so our plans would have to have been put on hold anyway.

OK.  So I thought that I’d plan us a little romantical staycation.  I’d use one of our Groupons for a restaurant and get a hotel for the night nearby.  Then DH caught a cold.  He’s been sniffling, sneezing and has a sore throat since Thursday.  Poor DH.  But he was game to try for a romantical weekend anyway.

We dawdled our way down to the Ramada on Wildwood in Sunnyvale yesterday.  We went for a jog in the morning, visited a mall, went for lunch at a restaurant we hadn’t been to before, went to the fabric store and stopped at Santana Row.  We looked at the Telsa model they had there, I discovered Anthropologie (such a dangerous store) and bought a really cute dress with DH’s encouragement, we tried (and hated) Pinkberry, ate apple pie flavored gelato… and then drove for 20 more minutes to get to our hotel.

We arrived at a place that looked like the 70s hit the exterior (in a bad way) and never left.  It looked like the kind of place you’d see in those cop dramas where the hookers are found dead and the other residents “didn’t hear a thing.”  With trepidation, we entered the lobby filled with thumping music from the party in the attached ballroom.  The lobby was dark and felt dirty.  It was filled with kids running around and screaming.  Ugh.  Not romantic.

We went to our room.

There was a hillbilly outside his room hollering about some Texas team on the TV with his door wide open and a Styrofoam cooler on the chair nearby.  His room was next to ours.  On the other side of us was another person cleaning out a bedside commode in the landscaping.

We opened our door and immediately felt icky.  The furniture was old and decrepit.  The carpet was pulling away from the floor in many places and looked like it hadn’t been shampooed in recent history.  The walls were stained with who-knows-what. The lights weren’t bright enough to actually light the room.  The mini fridge and all of the drains were covered in rust.  The old-ass urine colored bathroom wall tiles had mold growing in the grout.  The bathroom floor had hair from the previous guest on it. The little binder that all rooms have with “helpful” things for guests inside had many things crossed out.

In short, it was gross.  It wasn’t to Ramada standards.  It wasn’t even to Motel 6 standards.  Ugh.

The restaurant was attached to the hotel and was just as bad.  We didn’t use our Groupon.  I’ll be asking for a refund.

I’ve never actually asked for a refund at a hotel before, but I did yesterday.  Actually, DH did.  I didn’t know how to put my disgust into words without being insulting.  And, you know what? The guy at the desk didn’t even bat an eye.  It was like he already knew how awful the hotel was.  He didn’t offer us an “upgraded” room or any complimentary anything.  He just said “I’m happy to cancel your reservation and ensure that you’re not charged for anything here.  You’ll need to call Expedia to get a full refund, though.”

Back to Santana Row we went.  We stopped for dinner at Hot Tamales, which was pretty good in spite of the waiter spilling my margarita on me and coughing on me.  The music was super loud… but then again we were right next to the band.

And then we came home.

So… our romantical weekend plans kinda failed, but we had fun anyway.  We decided that this was a weekend for new things and adventures.  We tried 2 restaurants we hadn’t been to before.  We played with a car that costs 3 times what I paid for mine when it was new and is meant for “driving around town.”  I found an awesome clothing store that I’m trying to figure out how to afford to shop there more often.  And best of all, I got to spend time with my husband.

I need to stop going to ball games

My husband called me at work yesterday and said “Babe, I won some Giants tickets for tomorrow at 12:45. Can you go?” I sweet-talked my boss into taking me off the schedule and said “Hell yeah!”

I was excited because I hadn’t yet been to AT&T Park and because it’s been so long since I’d been to a game. I sat in my awesome (almost behind home plate) seat and promptly watched the Marlins score 2 runs. *sigh* This happens at every game I go to.

I remember us getting some awesome 50 yard line tickets for the 49ers… Only to watch a lackluster game that they ultimately lost. Something similar happens at every A’s game, and when I watch Minor Leagues as well.

By the eighth inning, the Giants had scored 1 point. I knew it was time for me to leave if there was to be the faintest chance of them tying, let alone winning.

I’m not allowed to look at the score yet – the game is still going and I might jinx them further.

So, this is why I shouldn’t go to home games… My team always sucks if I do! Oh well at least I got some beer and garlic fries (yum!) out of it!

My Offensive (?) Obesity Post

I’ve been thinking about a few things for awhile now.  Most of my conclusions are probably pretty controversial on these topics, but they make the most sense to me.  They do not reflect the views of my employer and may not necessarily reflect the views of my family/friends.  I apologize if the following post offends anyone.


As a fat woman, I’ve heard/read many things by self-help and self-esteem gurus.  They usually say something along the lines of “Love yourself – embrace that beautiful (overweight) body.  There’s nothing wrong with obesity.”

I hate to break it to them, but there is something wrong with obesity.  We all know that obesity is a fully preventable and treatable problem (in most cases) that can be linked to major conditions like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.  These are all things that can lead to disabilities and early death.  Obesity costs this country and its citizens a lot of money in rising health care costs.  It also costs us in emotional damage when we can no longer fit on amusement park rides, when we become the butt of jokes, and when we feel as though we’re facing our personal demons all alone.

Please don’t tell me to embrace and love my fat.  Don’t tell my overweight neice and nephew to love theirs.  Don’t tell my brother that it’s OK for his dog to be overweight. Don’t tell me that my obesity is not my fault even as I make the choice to eat poorly and lead a sedentary lifestyle.  Stop offering the “magic pill” of gastric bypass and/or lapbanding when you know that patients see it as a magic pill.

I’m not condoning bullying by any means.  I do think, though, that there should be a stigma attached to obesity, just as there’s a stigma attached to alcoholism, drug use, and tobacco use.  If there were a way to tax obesity I’d probably support that too, so that at least we could recoup some of the money it costs this country to medicate these people. 

I know I sound harsh, but I’m coming from the position that our children learn what they see.  If mom and dad buy fast food every night and sit in front of the TV for hours on end, the kids will think that this is OK.  If mom and dad are obese, the kids will think obesity is OK.  Trust me, I know from experience!  My mom was obese.  Most of the food choices in our house were unhealthy.  We sat and watched TV.  And before I said “enough is enough” I was almost 200 pounds with joints that ached and problems sleeping because of my weight.  I learned how to be obese as a child and I accepted it as normal.  I didn’t learn how to be healthier until I was an adult and looked at my lifestyle objectively to see that it wasn’t (and should never be) normal.

I’m reading the book “Switch” by the Heath brothers.  One of the vignettes in the book talks about being specific when seeking change.  We can tell people over and over to “eat healthy” but most people only have a vague understanding of what healthy eating entails.  So instead, you need to be specific.  Community leaders in one city focused on getting people to switch from whole milk to 2% milk.  They showed the community how much fat and saturated fat is in whole milk, and told the community what ingesting all that extra fat could do to them.  They illustrated the problem, and then told the community they should switch to buying 2% milk to avoid these problems.  It worked. 

I know that the answer isn’t for someone to tell me (or anyone else) to love their fat.  And the answer may not be taxing obesity.  And telling people to make healthy choices is too ambiguous.  So maybe, instead, we should focus on one food choice and one activity choice each year.  This year we’ll focus on replacing sweets with fruit, and walking around the block as a family after dinner instead of turning on the TV.  Those goals are specific and doable first steps for most people. 

I’m not sure what’s bringing out this tirade.  Maybe I’m just tired of the campaign to make obesity acceptable.  Maybe I’m tired of hearing people make excuses  for their obesity.  Maybe I’m tired of going out to eat on a date with my husband and trying to make a healthy choice only to find that the healthiest thing on a menu is onion rings.  Seriously – ONION RINGS!  It’s just so disheartening to believe with every fiber of my being that it is within my power to be healthier only to find that the media, my family, and even date night restaurants are against me making the best decisions for my health.

Date Night: Chili’s and Tequila Drinks

We usually try to go someplace new for date night because of my New Year’s Resolution.  One of my coworkers treated me to Chinese food dinner a few nights ago at a new Chinese place, so I got to eat at a familiar place for dinner.  Dinner was followed by a trip to the grocer to pick up some additional liquors for the rest of the night’s festivities.  We decided to share 4 tequila based beverages from our tequila cocktail book.

Acid Trip

  • 1/2 oz tequila
  • 1.5 oz Midori
  • 1/2 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz vodka
  • 1/2 oz rum

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass

Review: Tastes like alcohol, but not much else.  DH says that it needs sprite to make it not hurt to drink.

Arizona Aztec

  • 1 oz gold tequila
  • 1 oz Bacardi Limon
  • 1/2 oz spiced rum
  • 7 oz coke

Stir well in a highball glass

Review: Tastes like watered down coke.  Maybe it would be different if I had a heavier hand with the alcohol or just used less soda.

Warm Blonde

  • Tequila
  • Southern Comfort
  • Amaretto

Layer equal parts in a pony glass or shot glass

Review: Super yummy, warm, and smooth.  Our favorite of the night.

The White Devil

  • 3/4 oz gold tequila
  • 3/4 oz Crown Royal
  • Tabasco (for rim)
  • Margarita salt (for rim)
  • Lime wedge for garnish

Dip the rim of the glass in tabasco and then in the salt.  Pour the alcohol into the glass and garnish with lime.

Review: In the words of DH “No.  God, no.”  This was interesting, but definitely not something to be tried again.  Ick.

Date Night: Federico’s in Union City

I was super excited to try this restaurant.  I’ve only had one previous tapas experience, and it was positive so when I found out there were tapas here I was happy.

My husband and I visited this past Wednesday night.  I was happy to see fenced off outdoor seating, but it was too cold to eat out there so we wandered into the building itself.

There were a couple of tables with customers sitting at them, a wall of bench seating (ugh, but at least it wasn’t the only seating), bar seating like at a chef’s counter, pretty paint and a water feature.  The chef had his back to us, and there was nobody else to be seen.  After a couple of minutes a waitress came out and sat us.

A carafe of water came out. We ordered a mango martini and sangria too.  The martini was OK, but needed a garnish.  The sangria was yummy.  I noticed lipstick on my water glass, but a replacement glass never came.

We ordered Hawaiian Poke, Gnocchi, Vegetable Risotto, Alligator and Sea Bass.  The waitress didn’t know how to pronounce poke or gnocchi – poke doesn’t rhyme with spoke, and gnocchi isn’t nah-chee.

It took soooooo long for the food to come.  Seriously, we timed it – 45 minutes from the time we ordered until the first plate arrived.  Completely unacceptable.

The sea bass was really tasty.  I would have ordered seconds.

The alligator was described as fried in a tempura batter.  It didn’t resemble any kind of tempura I’d ever had.  Although it was tasty, it seemed as though it was overcooked. The batter was dark and the meat was a bit rubbery.

The risotto was delicious and light.

The gnocchi was richly flavored and delicious.  I was worried it would be rubbery, but it was tender and good.

The poke was roughly textured.  I don’t know if it had to do with the freshness of the fish or if it was due to the way it was cut.  The flavor was good though.

In the end, we left hungry.  We would have ordered more or dessert but we were turned off because of such slow service.

Overall the food was really good.  We might go back in a few months to see if the service and speed has improved.  Unfortunately, right now the taste of the food doesn’t outweigh such a simple problem to fix.

Date Night: iSushi in Castro Valley

Every Thursday is date night, and this past Thursday was no exception.  Because we’re always looking for new restaurants with great food, and we hadn’t yet tried this one, we chose to eat at iSushi for date night.

DH and I walked in and noticed how cramped the place was.  Well, there’s not a lot you can do about that when space is at a premium, so we asked to be seated at the tall table in the far corner.  We figured it would give us extra room.  Then we opened the menu.

There are lots and lots of different rolls and appetizers and things, but it’s difficult to tell how many pieces you get with each roll and appetizer.  You can’t base it off of price either because all of the choices (except for rice and soup) were $10+.  I ordered the Jada and a miso soup, DH ordered the iSushi.  We shared a sake sampler.

I saw the different plates come out to all of the tables and had a very bad feeling.  Most of the plates only had 3-4 pieces on them instead of the normal 6-8 pieces you get with a roll anywhere else.  Then ours came out…  the Jada, while very tasty only had 2 pieces and the iSushi had 5 slices of tuna.

Even though we were both still hungry, neither one of us could stomach paying for more.

So, bottom line is: if you like feeling crowded and want to pretend to be a millionaire, eat at iSushi.  The food is really yummy, and the sake sampler was tasty.  The people were nice too.

Dinner Plan for the Week of September 19

Here’s the plan.  Let’s hope I can stick with it.

Sunday – homemade pizza, topped with olives, onions, spinach, ham and tomato

Monday – spaghetti with lots of veggies

Tuesday – leftovers, either spaghetti or pizza

Wednesday – arroz con pollo, it’s an experiment

Thursday – date night

Friday – grilled chicken

Saturday – leftovers, either grilled chicken or arroz con pollo

Date Night: Extreme Pita

We moved our date nights to Thursday nights because DH wanted to take Judo classes on our regular night.  So last night we went to Extreme Pita on Automall in Fremont, but we didn’t mean to initially.  When you’re driving around the Bay Area, you often see restaurants out of the corner of your eye.  As you can imagine might happen, if you can’t fully read the sign you’ll make up a name that fits what you think you’ve seen.  So we were totally stoked to go to “Extreme Pizza.”  All day DH was texting me about the various types of pizza he wanted, the beer he hoped they had and how awesome dinner would be.  I was excited to find a cheap place to go that also met my New Year’s Resolution to try a new restaurant every week.  Imagine our surprise to drive up and see that “Extreme Pizza” was really “Extreme Pita.”

We poked our heads in and saw a clean place.  A girl was mopping and the floor was wet so we were scared to go in and ruin her hard work.  She scowled when we asked if it was OK to go in.  The guy behind the counter gave us a huge smile and welcomed us into the building.

DH ordered the small Buffalo Chicken Pita and a sweetened Lipton iced tea, and I ordered the small Falafel Pita (vegetarian) and a honey Lipton iced tea.  DH liked his quite a bit and finished it quickly.  He said that it was spicy but it was a good spicy.  Mine was good, but it was a little boring.  It needed more spices or something.  I’d definitely try something different next time.

Although the food was good, we ended up leaving hungry.  The small sized pita didn’t provide enough bulk to fill us up.

Bottom line: the place was clean and the food was good.  I probably wouldn’t make a special trip to south Fremont for this restaurant, but if I’m in the area and hungry I wouldn’t turn it down.

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