Healthy and Sane

What day is it anyway?

June 24th, 2010 · 26 Comments · Boston, breakfast, restaurant reviews, salad

Ugh, technology problems (like the internet not working) are the worst part about blogging. I woke up bright and early this morning to give myself plenty of time to blog and have been unable to do so. After having breakfast and getting ready for work, I have no choice but to give ecto a go as well. Hopefully this will publish once our internet connection is back on. :)

Now, let’s talk about something a little more exciting – I’m going to Montreal TOMORROW. Yesterday the entire day I kept thinking it was Thursday, and getting more and more excited about our trip. Nope, I have to wait just one more day. Silly, Elina. This also gives me one more day to plan everything. Hopefully the internet is back up tonight and I can research my little heart out (I did make reservations for an awesome dinner… you’ll have to wait until Sunday to read about it 😉 ). Also, I guess Jazz fest is this weekend as well (completely coincidental). Hopefully it’s not too crowded. 😀

I don’t have anything too insightful to talk about today so let’s dive in to yesterday’s eats. Some were good, some where… well, we’ll get there in time. 😀


Good! Siggi’s vanilla yogurt with strawberries, kiwi, TJ’s American trek mix and Kashi GoLean cereal


This was my first time trying Siggi’s vanilla flavor and I absolutely loved it. Definitely my favorite. It tasted like real vanilla beans were added, not just vanilla extract. Now I see why the stuff ain’t cheap. Have you ever purchased a whole vanilla bean? Last time I had to buy one, it was $6.99 for ONE. Yeah, that’s how you get $2.79/yogurt.


Did I mention this bowl was awesome? Oh right. I did. 😆





Did anyone notice I haven’t been running lately? I haven’t really (just maybe as a quick warmup before a class if I’m early). I just don’t really enjoy it anymore so I stopped. At least for now. I still feel like I should be running. That was my primary cardio source (with spin usually once a week) and I‘m still trying to figure out how to stay fit without it. Any tips? I can’t really see myself spinning every other day either. I guess I just don’t love cardio in general. Give me weights and I’m a happy girl though. Is that weird? I feel like most girls (at least in the blog world) are really not into strength training. I loooooove it.

Anyways, yesterday was spin day. I love the instructor on Wednesday so I reminded myself this when I was having second thoughts about going and already started working up a “plan B.” “Just do it” mentality came to the rescue this time and the class was great. I’ve been feeling out of shape this week for some reason but I guess that’s why I’m there, right? Practice makes perfect. :mrgreen:


Mixed greens, heirloom tomatoes, avocado, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, sauerkraut, pine nuts, hummus and feta. Say that 10 times fast. 😆


This was a great loaded salad. So many textures + flavors. I was even too lazy to go to the kitchen at work to grab a dressing and ended up eating it without it. The hummus + feta + sauerkraut actually coated all the greens and the dressing was completely unnecessary. Awesome!


Oh yeah, I did pack a cookie-to-go. And yes, I ate it. :)



Leftover shelling snow peas. I still can’t believe I ate nearly 3/4lb the day before.



Dinner was quite the adventure. We had another Groupon to G’Vanni’s expiring on Friday, and since we were going to be out of town, we decided to have a mid-week date at the North End (Boston’s Italian neighborhood). Sounds good, right? I made reservations for 6:30, thinking we’d have plenty of time to have dinner and do our usual mid-week post-dinner errands, including planning the rest of our trip. Well, North End is notorious for this – regardless of whether you have a reservation or not – you’re going to wait for your table. We arrived at the restaurant early, the hostess checked our name off and suggested that we go to a bar around the corner to have a drink while we wait for our table (which supposedly was going to be ready in 20 minutes). Ok, drinks it is.

I had a glass of Riesling, which was sweet and fruity (no picture – the bar was tiny and I would surely bump into someone with my camera). Twenty minutes later we decided to go back and check on our table. The hostess was a complete scatter brain… she definitely did not have a grip on who’s there and who’s going to be seated next (and as we found out later, whether tables were even ready – there were empty tables for way too long while we were eating, and people were still waiting outside!). After nearly 45 minutes (in total) we were finally seated.

G’Vanni’s has been around for 30 years, and the decor was definitely not updated since opening. Everything about the place felt and looked like a tourist trap. There were cheesy puns (“a veally good deal,” “taco bella antipasti” really?), Adam’s menu actually had a cover of a completely different restaurant in Rhode Island (I’m guessing they own it too?) and then the specials menu had a whole line of completely unrecognizable symbols (like their printer freaked out on them and they just left in there). Yeah, classy. So we decided to just laugh everything off. It was going to be quite the experience. We were ready! :)

Did I mention the super red lighting? Here is what our bread basket looked like. I kid you not.


I played with my camera, adjusted the white balance and did a little bit better this time (although more natural looking, that’s not what it really looked like to us).


The bread was soft and quite nice actually. I had a little piece. Adam finished the rest.

We also ordered a carafe of house Chianti. It was the same price as 3 glasses so we figured it was the way to go. Apparently a carafe is nearly 1.5 bottles!!! They kept re-filling our glasses nearly to the rim (and these are large glasses). Again, classy. The wine was quintessential house wine – totally drinkable but nothing to write home about.


For my entree I wanted a seafood pasta. I asked the waitress for a recommendation and she highly recommended the shrimp guiseppe – angel hair pasta with jumbo shrimp, organic tomato, prosciutto, white wine butter sauce. To be honest, it didn’t even sound great to me but she hesitated when I asked for another suggestion and after re-assuring me that it was not greasy, I ordered it after all.


Sorry for this atrocious photo. It was dark and the lighting was just washing everything out (read: made everything look one hue of red which I adjusted but it was still pretty much one hue of gray now…). So how did it taste? Blah (not bad but not good for sure). It tasted like buttery noodles with a few add-ins. Trust me, I wasn’t expecting something fancy or overly complex but I thought the food would be tasty. G’Vanni’s consistently has lines out the door, it has good reviews online, and the place has been around for 30 years surviving fierce competition in a neighborhood with 99% Italian restaurants. And it’s not cheap. In fact, it’s especially expensive for the quality of food you get. This dish was $26. Yeah, disappointing to say the least. I should say that Adam’s chicken dish (he actually doesn’t even know what he ordered – chicken with penne and spinach…) was pretty awesome. He gave me a few vegetarian bites and I really did love it (as he did, he polished the whole thing off). If we ordered the same thing (his), I’d write a different review I suppose. But this was the waitress’ recommendation!! Is this the best they can do with seafood?

We had enough of our entrees (I picked off the topping and left most of the pasta) and still had way too much wine to finish. I didn’t have high hopes for dessert (and the waitress admitted they were not home-made) but Adam encouraged me to get something since we were going to be there for a little while (and I did want dessert!). I very hesitantly ordered the tiramisu (because that’s what I was craving… although one waitress suggested the molten chocolate cake and another the mudslice pie. Again, can you say tourist trap?). Here is what we got:


Sorry, I forgot to adjust the lighting again (it looked fine on my camera, haha) but it was actually really good. I’m sure they get it frozen and then just dump a bunch of cinnamon on top and a dollop of whipped cream but hey, I couldn’t tell from the taste and that’s what counts.

This dinner was over $100 (we paid less with the Groupon) and I can definitely say it was NOT worth it. I am still shocked at how crazy busy it is (seriously, the lines are insane!!) – I even ran into 2 different people I know there (they were not together!) – that’s how popular it is. Clearly I’m missing something. Or maybe I’m a proper snob at this point. Haha.

How was your hump day? Did I mention we’re going on a mini-vacation TOMORROW? Oh yes, I did.

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26 Comments so far ↓

  • #1 - megabrooke

    i hope without the internet connection you were still able to get my email with the montreal suggestions! maybe we’ll bump into each other!

    instead of running, how about signing up for a class? i read that you take a stepping class here and there. i find that it’s all about doing what i know ill have the motivation to get out there and do. if it’s a workout im not into, then there’s no way im going to do it regularly.

  • #2 - Mellissa

    I HATE cardio so I do 30 minutes 4 times a week on the elliptical, bike, stairclimber or arc trainer. That way I am still getting the benefits and then I go lift with all the big guys 😉

    I am often the only woman in the weight room and I love it. Lifting changes your body!

  • #3 - christina

    what a colorful day of eats! what kind of camera do you have? red lighting in a restaurant seems kinda creepy to me. were you eating at a strip club? just kidding :)

  • #4 - Elina

    Megabrooke – I got it. Thanks so much!! I can’t wait to actually research all those suggestions. They were great! It would be so funny to bump into you while in a different country. I’ll reply to your email tonight. (hopefully, fingers crossed on the internet) :)

    Christina – hahaha. Not a strip club 😉 Oh, and I use Canon T1i. I loooooooove it.

  • #5 - Cara

    Ok, I have a lot to say, here goes!

    I totally agree with you on G’Vanni’s. We had a gift card from a friend that we sat on for a loooong time before trekking out to the North End (Ben and I both like Italian food, but it’s not our favorite – there are so many other places we’d rather eat out, so getting into Boston just to eat Italian food sounds like a project.) We too had a reservation, but the hostess sent us around the corner to the bar as well. Who knows what time we actually sat down! I too thought the food was just ok. I ordered something that involved layered veal, prosciutto, eggplant and fontina, but because it was all breaded, I could hardly distinguish the tastes. Ben had a veal chop which was a lot better than what I had. And usually I am the better orderer! I agree, I can’t really understand why the place is so darn popular.

    Now, on strength training vs cardio – I am a strength girl! I wish there were more women blogging about this. Running is great, but it alsmost seems trendy, ya know? Have you read New Rules of Lifting for Women? If not, I highly recommend it. It has taught me so much about lifting and cardio and has really been the best program for my body. I still feel like I “should run” for fitness, and I do sometimes, but never more than 5 miles or so. Other cardio activities include HIIT and intense step DVDs, but I no longer force myself through hours and hours of long endurance, steady state cardio (if you read the book, you will understand why, hint hint!)

    • #6 - Elina

      Cara – I’ve heard of this book but haven’t read it. Just added it to my library list. You’ve convinced me. PS – 5 miles is still a lot. I’d like to do like 1. Haha.

  • #7 - Jess

    I don’t blame you for taking a rest from running, sometimes its just needed. Do you have any kickboxing classes at your gym you could try? In addition to spinning, it might give you a needed new cardio boost? I’m with you – I love strength training too! There’s just something about the powerful vibe it gives you when you’re all done. Quite empowering if you ask me :)

  • #8 - Sues

    Oof I hate technology problems soooo much!! Do you not usually like Ecto though?? I LOVE it!

    Holy red lighting- that is totally crazy!

    Have a blast in Montreal :) Can’t wait to hear about the dinner!

  • #9 - Heather

    I think a lot of people get burnt out after a long race. Besides, it’s good for your body (and mind!) to try new things.
    Have fun on your mini vaca!

  • #10 - Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly

    Yum…your entire day had me drooling from the start! Have a fun mini-vacation!

  • #11 - Diana @ frontyardfoodie

    Maybe yours was a fluke! It would seem like it since they’re so popular!

    Although, not everything popular is quality….

  • #12 - Kate

    I’m so with you – disliking cardio, but give me weights and I’m a happy girl! :) I usually lift and do yoga, and like 10 minutes on the elliptical if there’s a good movie on in the cardio room at my gym. Or I take Zumba cause it’s fun and you get an awesome workout at the same time! :) But cardio is rare in my vocabulary. 😉

  • #13 - Matt

    Sorry about the bum dinner :( Sometimes that just happens right? Every restaurant can’t be perfect!

  • #14 - Autumn @ Good Eats Girl

    Sorry about the bad dinner! I would have been less than pleased also!

  • #15 - Lauren

    Great combos for breakfast & lunch!
    I am a cardio junkie, I like weight lifting enough…but I have a hard time going through all the motions with free weights. I can’t remember what to do and put it together, so I stick with dvds like 30 day shred or no more trouble zones or to the nautilus circuit.
    Do you have a stair mill (stair climber?) at your gym? I find those to help mix it up a bit. Or, try running a timed mile or doing a few sprints on the treadmill. I find setting a goal helps, it keeps me more engaged then just running a few steady miles.
    Sorry about G’Vanni’s! My husband loves, loves that place. He always gets the Chicken Parm. We live in RI and he never wants to try someplace new when we go. I’ve had a few different things that I thought were pretty good and their Caesar Salad tasted pretty good, the house wine was pretty blah, I wish they had a full liquor license.
    Have you tried Fiore in the North End? I believe their prices are about the same, but the food is more interesting.

  • #16 - Laura

    That’s weird! i just had MAJOR problems with my internet…then it eventually worked..i logged on, and read your post! i was amused! the internet is great when it works, in fact it’s amazing, but when it doesn’t! UGH. it does my head in to the max!!

    Yay!! hope you have a fabby trip! that meal doesn’t sound too good! and the lighting making the bread look red is hilarious!


  • #17 - Elina

    Jess – I actually just noticed my gym offers a kickboxing class on Monday nights. I may give it ago. I used to love going but they canceled my favorite class and I totally forgot about kickboxing. Good idea! 😀

    Sues – nope, not at ecto fan although clearly it saved me this morning since you’re all reading this post :) It completely freaks out when I try to import more than a certain number of pictures (and that number changes!).

    Matt – I wish every restaurant was perfect. It would make it so much easier on us diners. 😉

    Lauren – my gym doesn’t have the step master. Maybe Healthworks does. I’ll check it out. I remember that thing used to kill me. After 10 minutes I’d feel like I deserve a medal. 😆

  • #18 -

    forget the lighting, i can just see how AMAZING that tiramisu is from here… MmmmMmm that stuff is addicting!

    yay, im glad u liked Siggi’s!! vanilla flavored everything tastes pretty good to me :)


  • #19 - Lara (Thinspired)

    Wow, you’re going all sorts of fun places this summer! Obviously I’m looking forward to your SF trip the MOST! :)

    Have you ever taken a barre method class? I think you might like it. It’s not cardio at all, but it’s great toning without using heavy weights.

  • #20 - Shannon

    ooh, live up the strength!! there’s nothing wrong with focusing on that :) i miss it right now, but there’s only so much time in the day!

    bummer about g’vanni’s… can’t win ’em all i guess!

  • #21 - Jenn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog)

    Wow, that yogurt bowl and salad are so colorful. They look amazing!


  • #22 - Emily Eats and Exercises

    I’m with you on the weights – I love strength training! It makes me feel totally hard core. 😉
    For me, working up to running long distances was a good goal, but having finished my half marathon I have been more than ready for a break. I do think the weather has something to do with it though – so hot and sticky!
    I like taking lots of classes – boxing, kickboxing, bosu bootcamp – mostly I just like a lot of variety. I can’t stand the cardio machines inside.


    Hello you dont know me but i love your blog and read it all the time! After seein this post I want to suggest that you and your husband try Delfinos in Roslindale. It is in my opinion and many others’ opinion ( reviews on that it is one of the best italian restaurants without the northend prices.. if you havent been there I hope you try it and I would love to hear your review on it

    The Lobster Ravioli is to die for if you like seafood and pasta you will love this =o)

    If you ever try it I look forward to a review!

  • #24 - Kirsten

    WAIT! You’re going to Montreal? Try Garde Manger — it is amazing! You probably need a reservation though.

  • #25 - Monique

    I love running so that’s about the only thing I do haha.

    What about yoga or pilates?? Those are fun alternatives and a good way to switch things up.

  • #26 - Dominique

    I don’t have any healthy Montreal recommendations. BF’s parents are from Montreal and last time BF and I visited (in 2007), it was for all-out bad food…steamies, fries, smoked meat sandwiches, etc. Oh and bagels! You must go to Fairmount Bagels. They’re actually good for you—180 calories per bagel and made with no artificial ingredients or preservatives. I’m not supposed to eat bagels (IBS-trigger) but these ones are IBS-friendly. There’s nothing like a Montreal bagel. I hope you have an awesome time!!

    Oh and your dinner at G’Vanni, does not look like it was worth $100 so I totally agree with you on the food snobbery front.