Casual Weekend Dining In The Southwest -2016 Global Expedition

Wondering what’s new on the menu this weekend- in southwestern USA? If so, I have a few places in mind for you. How about a quick getaway to Dallas, TX for some delicious yum yums that are moderately priced? The Big D of the southwest, as it’s affectionately called by some,  is the first destination up in Candacetravel’s 2016 Global Expedition. Each month, I will choose a different locale and will review everything from cuisine to accommodations for you. I hope that you’ll enjoy learning more about my casual dining picks for northern Texas below -and I wish you all Happy eats.

  1. My first pick is Cosmic Café. This litte eatery is located in the uptown area of Dallas, TX and features an eclectic dining area and spectacular menu. From the moment you arrive, you can sense that it’s going to be quite an experience from the vibrant colors of the building’s exterior. Once you step inside, you’ll find the same Asian theme draped throughout. The dining room is small, but quite cozy. Although we waited a bit to be seated, it was well worth the time. I ordered the Buddha’s Delight, which was comprised of curried vegetables of the day, dahl, samosa, pappadam, rice and nan. It was so delicious and the platter was incredibly filling!!! I would definitely recommend it. I’m calling all vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians and even meatetarians (lol,) a.k.a carnivores, to this oh-so-yummy restaurant- that won’t break the bank. There is something on the menu for everyone!delight

 

  1. My second pick is Zoe’s Kitchen. This wonderful, Mediterranean eatery has locations throughout the Dallas area, as well as in other states (US.) It’s a great option in place of your standard “fast food” restaurant, that allows you to dine in or carry-out. It offers a casual and relaxed atmosphere with orders prepared shortly after being placed. I had the red pepper hummus, which had a nice kick to it, alongside their classic pita bread (side note- I try not to eat anything with gluten in it, but at times will bend when unavailable.) The texture of the hummus was smooth and it also comes in basil pesto and classic hummus flavor, too. On my second visit (yes, I went back for a second time,) I enjoyed a tasty side of fantastically seasoned rice pilaf and mouth-watering Greek salad, with their signature salad dressing drizzled on it- thanks to my friend. It was oh-so tasty!! This restaurant offers everything from spinach roll- ups, to kabobs of all sorts. Zoe’s food is fresh, flavorful and festive. It’s pricier than your average fast food joint, but well worth the extra expense.

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  1. The Blue Fish is my third and final pick for this piece. If you enjoy traditional Japanese cuisine, then you will absolutely love dining at the BF. They offer an array of small plates, ranging from ahi to spring rolls and guests can also feast on dishes including- tempura, decorative salads, entrees that feature Chilean Sea Bass, Chicken, or Steak Teriyaki and tons of sides for those of us who lean more towards the more plant-based side of life. There’s also an extensive list of sushi rolls to choose from such as California, Shrimp, Tiger’s Eye, Volcano, Baked Salmon, Spider and many more. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, with a contemporary backdrop. I had the most delectable salad that was both visually and gastronomically pleasing, with a tangy dressing. The Blue Fish is a super option for both large and small parties who are ready for some awesome eats and good times.

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Please be sure to check out one or all three of these picks and be sure to let us know just what you think! Safe travels and again, happy eats my friends!

 

 

Photo credit for Cosmic Cafe and Zoe’s Kitchen goes to Google Photos and Blue Fish goes to Candacetravels

 

My November Suitcase Series Pick- Is Immune System Strong

Salutations to you, my road warrior and high flying friends! We are back again, discussing my top pick for November. As usual, the eleventh month of this 2015 calendar year was a busy one for me. My thirty days were filled exciting travels, airport delays, new acquaintances and all sorts of other incredible adventures. To ensure I stay in as tip top condition as can be, it is imperative that I keep my system strong. So…today I’m sharing with you, one of my favorite cold, flu and seasonal sinus busters. It’s none other than, Echinacea & Goldenseal Combination Extract, by Nature’s Answer.  You can find it online or at your nearest health store.

Let’s jump right in and find out more about this amazing supplement below!

Echinacea & Goldenseal

Why I chose this herb for my November travels? Germs are everywhere so it’s important to have a good, solid herb to help combat all that you come up against. Additionally, climate changes can also be a major factor in keeping your immune system up to par. Goldenseal is a remarkable herb to help fight bacteria, viruses and fungi. The list of uses extends far beyond the allotted space I have to discuss. Coupled with Echinacea, which has similar properties and abilities, they make for a mighty combo. My preference is the liquid form, because it enters the bloodstream faster, or so I’m told. I’ll worn you- the taste is utterly unbearable at times, but if you drink it in a small glass of water quickly, I promise it’ll (the unpleasant taste) end soon.

It comes in a 1 fl oz. liquid dropper, is gluten- free, alcohol- free, is “super- concentrated,” and is a 1,000 mg, proprietary blend of echincacea purpurea aeriel parts extract, goldenseal root extract, echincacea angustifolia root extract and echincacea purpurea root extract. 

This is a super product to keep tucked in your suitcase. Consider it your germ-busting companion. I recommend picking some up before your next big adventure!

 

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VEGA Plant-Based Protein Powder and Shakes- September Suitcase Series Pick

Welcome back fellow travelers!!! Up next is my final Suitcase Series pick for the month of September. I’m sharing with you today, the oh-so-fantastic VEGA ONE, all-in-one nutritional shakes and VEGA SPORT, performance protein powders. These healthy, plant-based drinks are perfect for the avid and leisure traveler, so prepare to include them on your next trip-to-come’s checklist!

Why the VEGA line of plant-based, all-in-one nutritional shakes and protein powders made my 2015 Suitcase Series cut?

Answer-Because… they’re nutritious, delicious and simple to transport. Life on-the-move can be grueling, so when you find a product that aids in the support of your body’s maximum performance, it’s a keeper! Taste is another key factor in the all-in-one and protein shake journey. Let’s be honest, there are a number of them on the market that taste like chalk…or at least what I imagine chalk tastes like, but Not VEGA!!! The other obstacle is often finding items that come in travel sizes, otherwise you’re faced with having to measure and scoop from a large tub and transfer into some type of travel proof container. VEGA obviously took this into consideration when they created their products. They can be purchased in canister form or box, with single serve packs of 10-12, 1.2 or 1.5 oz packets, making it the perfect travel partner. They fit snugly inside just about any luggage pocket, so they won’t require too much space, leaving room for other necessities like… shoes or something:).  Additionally, the powder mixes well with the right liquid ratio and adds a fantastic punch to any fruit-filled breakfast. I especially enjoyed the French Vanilla flavor, while the mocha recovery certainly satisfied my chocolate, post-workout cravings. Over the course of my review, I created several smoothies, consisting of variations of almond or coconut milk, alongside a rainbow of fruit, such as strawberries, bananas, kiwi, blueberries, mango or pineapples, paired with kale or spinach and my VEGA ONE shake mix. It was a fantastic start to each of my days. I was equally as happy with the VEGA SPORT, which comes in three levels; prepare, sustain or recover. The Recover was definitely the best choice for me because of my hectic travel schedule. Many times, my ability to keep up my normal workout regime suffers. When this occurs, it forces me to cram in a month’s worth of gym sessions in shorter periods, leaving me with minimal time to recover in between workouts. VEGA SPORT is said to “improve strength, build and repair muscle, and reduce recover time between training.” Body Builders and healthy lifestyle advocates swoon over these products, and now I see just why. They provided an excellent boost to my system and supplied a mass amount of nutrients needed to maintain my diet, while on-the-move. This was a huge plus!

About VEGA ONE Nutritional Shakes

The VEGA shakes are made from “real, whole food ingredients.” They offer “20 grams in premium plant-based protein, 6 servings of greens, provide 50% of daily intake for food-based vitamins and minerals, 25% of the necessary fiber, 1.5 grams of Omega-3s, are full of antioxidants that protect against free radicals, include probiotics to promote healthy flora (1 billion CFU,) and the French Vanilla flavor for example, is only 160 calories. Not only do the shakes have a wealth of goodness, but they also taste amazing, too. Directions instruct users to mix with water, a non-dairy beverage or within a smoothie. I elected to use each of my single serve packets as part of my daily smoothie- over the span of a few weeks. I was fortunate enough to review the delicious VEGA ONE, French Vanilla and the VEGA SPORT (Recover,) Mocha flavors. VEGA ONE shakes also come in Chocolate, Natural, Berry and Vanilla Chai. This complete protein is a wholesome combination of pea, hemp, saviseed and micro-milled flax. The 6 servings of greens comprised in the shakes include kale, broccoli, Vega Chlorella and spirulina, as well as a mix of whole food fruits and other vegetables. It’s certified vegan, gluten-free and non-GMO.

The VEGA SPORT is an “alkaline-forming protein blend, featuring 5,000 mg of BCAAs” and is a performance enhancer, created to help us “recharge and repair,” thus cutting down recovery time in between training. This line is the 1st “all-natural, plant-based performance enhancement system specifically developed to help athletes perform at their best-before, during and after training and competition.” It’s also dairy, soy and gluten-free and contains no artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors.

I’ve not had the opportunity to sample the entire line of VEGA products, but I’m so pleased with my introduction, that I can’t wait to try some additional items. I can only imagine how tasty they must be. I can already imagine drinking that Vanilla Chai in the near future…. yum yum. Stay tuned for more reviews to come, and for more information on where to snag these and other VEGA goodies, visit http://www.myvega.com. Travel healthy!

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VEGA ONE, French Vanilla All-in-One Nutritional Shake

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VEGA SPORT, Mocha (Recover) Performance Protein Dietary Supplement and VEGA Sports Bottle

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VEGA Box of 12, single serve 1.2 oz VEGA SPORT packets and Box of 10, single serve 1.5 oz VEGA ONE packets

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Nutrition Information on the back of the VEGA ONE, French Vanilla, All-in-one Nutritional Shake

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A VEGA SPORT, single serve pack inside the inner pocket of my travel bag before departure. There is room to fit up to 4 single serve packets in this one pocket, while the rest fit nicely inside my large roller bag pocket.

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VEGA ONE, French Vanilla, All-in-one Container and Single Serve Packet

The Suitcase Series Continues…. Gluten- Free Travel Snacks Anyone?

If you’re anything like me, then selecting the right travel snacks are high on your list of priorities. However, with so many options on the market today, choosing the best item can prove to be more of a headache, than just a quick trip to the store for suitcase goodies. As a result, I’ve decided to take the guess work out for you, and share one of my newfound favorites. I present to you today, the ever delicious line of RICEWORKS Gourmet Rice Snacks (hint the word rice is meant to be an indication of the primary ingredient,) – a phenomenal alternative to potato chips. Yes, I said it, and I meant it! This line of rice chips is near and dear to my heart, as they are created by the ahh-mazing Ohio based company, Shearer’s. (Side note- If you haven’t figured out already, I’m a native of the great state of Ohio!!!) – Thus, I’m so thrilled to add this collection of rice snacks high atop my 2015 Suitcase Series, travel list.

Riceworks Line-

These yumtastic treats are so incredible that I’m unsure just where to begin. They come in 10 different flavors; Sea Salt, Black Japonica Rice, Sea Salt and Black Sesame, Sun Dried Tomato Mediterranean Herbs & Cheese, Salsa Fresca, Wasabi Soy and Ginger, Sweet Chili and new additionsRosemary Garlic & Balsamic Vinegar, Spicy Spanish Cheese Blend and Olive Oil Parmesan & Basil. How fantastic are these flavor profiles? Shearer’s has created a unique line to suit the taste of everyone. Riceworks come in a 5.5oz bag, as well as a smaller 1.75.oz size bag, which I only managed to locate during my time in Ohio, at a local Dave’s Supermarket. Both sizes fit perfectly in my tote bag, and make for the best airport and/or in-flight snack.

Ingredients –

Riceworks are made from “whole grain rice, have 0 grams of trans fat per serving, are gluten and cholesterol free, and contain no high- fructose corn syrup or preservatives.” Additionally, though some flavors contain dairy, there are milk- free options to choose from, so those particular flavors are most definitely vegan-friendly. Bravo!!! Be sure to check the ingredients on the back before purchasing.

All flavors contain “1 gram of fiber except for Sea Salt and Black Sesame flavor, which contain 3 grams.”  The Riceworks line is also a hit with the Celiac Disease Community, because as noted above, they contain no gluten. For more information, you can visit http://www.glutenfreechecklist.com.

While I thoroughly enjoyed snacking on many of the Riceworks’ line, I must say that I’ve fallen for the Sweet Chili flavor. I could literally eat a couple bags a week easily. Sometimes you just want a good ole crunchy snack for the road, and I don’t mean celery – at least not all the time!!! This Riceworks line makes my 2015 Suitcase Series cut, so be sure to pick up a few bags before your next big or small adventure. You will not be disappointed by this pick!! Visit http://www.riceworks.com to learn more about where you can purchase this product. Happy travels!

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Sea Salt Riceworks

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Sweet Chili Riceworks

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Rosemary, Garlic & Balsamic Vinegar Riceworks

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Shearer’s Salsa Fresca Riceworks Ingredients

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Sea Salt, Sea Salt & Black Sesame and Black Japonica Rice

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Wasabi, Soy & Ginger Riceworks