Saturday, January 28, 2012

Giuseppe's Revisited

You may have read my last review where Giuseppe's earned a 4 star rating.  I always like to do a little re-review if I get a chance so y'all can get an idea of how a place is over a couple different experiences.  This time there was just Ewok and myself.  She ordered the Chicken Salvatore (pictured above).  It has chicken french covered with eggplant parm.

The Salvatore came with a side of pasta and red sauce.  Ewok said the eggplant parm part was good, but she wasn't too thrilled with the french sauce.  Admittedly, she isn't a big french sauce fan, anyway.  She did note, however, that the chicken and eggplant together was quite good.

The calamari was once again nicely cooked.  However, this time there wasn't even any parmesan cheese to add to the flavor.  Luckily, the sauce is delicious.

I had the chicken parm sandwich and, it was okay.  The bread was a bit stale, and the fries weren't hot.  This was unfortunate, because otherwise the food would have been delightful.  As it was, the food wasn't terrible.  However, since it was cold/stale, I can only give Giuseppe's 3.5 stars this time.  It's still worth trying out, but maybe not so much going out of your way for.

Giuseppe's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Agatina's Review

One of Fancy and my favorite restaurants is Agatina's.  My mom had a birthday yesterday, so the folks and I headed there for dinner.  This place has the best damn Italian food in Rochester-there I said it.

Monday through Thursday from 4-5:30 Agatina's offers Early Bird Specials (if you ask for the early bird menu).  Dinner starts out with soup or salad.  I had the house chicken pastina soup which is made from scratch with fresh ingredients.  Delicious.  

We ordered all of our meals from the Early Bird menu, because okapis goddamn love to save money.  Fancy got the Chicken Asiago which she said was very good.  It was vegetables, chicken, and cheese in a delightful sherry wine sauce.  

Do you know what okapis love?  Chicken parmesan, and Agatina's is the best in town (this one or any other).  The chicken is crispy and the sauce is amazingly flavorful.  Do you like chicken parm??  Go to Agatina's.

Each meal comes with a side.  I got the linguini with extra (best ever) sauce, my dad got broccoli, and Mom (who ordered the chicken parm, too) and Fancy got baked potatoes.  

My dad had scallops over rice, which he said was "to die for."  Don't worry, he survived.  He also insisted on placing his broccoli on his plate for this picture.  As a former caterer he is all about presentation.

Did I mention they have beers for $3.25 (at least during Early Bird hours).  Fancy goddamn LOVES $3.25 beers!  A happy Fancy makes a happy Killer Okapi.  The service is terrific and the atmosphere is between casual and formal.  This is a great place for a date night or really any occasion.  Easy 5 stars.  Go to Agatina's.  Go right now.  Seriously.  Why are you still reading this?

Agatina's on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mel's Diner Review

No, I'm not cheating on weight loss; these pics were snapped back in October.  Mel's Diner just opened around the corner from our house and of course I had to go check it out.  Do you folks remember the Mel's Diner that used to be in Henrietta?  The theme is the same: think James Dean/Marilyn Monroe.  I was suddenly excited: could it be the same place reincarnated around the corner from my house??

There were two things I loved at the old Mel's:  the Beltbuster and Wets.  The Beltbuster is that fine lookin' burger pictured up there and Wets are fries with brown gravy.  So, clearly the burger was on the menu, but oddly Wets were not.  Oh well, I ordered them anyway.

Fancy had the Reuben which she reports as being delicious.  The fries were of the extra crispy variety and the bread was perfectly toasted.  In fact, both sandwiches were fan-goddamn-tastic.  I ordered mayo on the side of the Beltbuster, but the waitress forgot it.  This led me to use some of Fancy's Russian dressing.  Best decision ever.

This new Mel's also has Mile High Pies and a big ol' chocolate cake, just like the old one.  This is very strange, really.  I'm not really sure what's up with this whole situation.  Is it the same owners?  Old employees?  An homage??  Who cares, it was as fantastic.  Go to Mel's, this okapi gives it 4.5 stars!

Mel's Diner on Urbanspoon

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Okapi Weight Loss Program Part Deux

*Disclaimer: You should contact your physician before starting any new diet/exercise program*

Some folks like to start their weight loss program hard.  They do all of their major changes at the same time: diet, exercise, sleep, etc.  This does not work for me.  Part of this is because we only have so much self-control.  Another part is that when okapis are bad with their diet, they are REALLY goddamn bad.  Can I take down a garbage plate no problem?  Sure can.  Want an Abbott's custard after that (easily over 1 lb of solid fat and carb) garbage plate??  Sure.  Just gimme about 20 minutes.  

So, suffice to say that it takes a lot for me to feel full.  We refer to beginning our eating healthy around here as when we "shrink our stomachs."  (I know we are not literally shrinking them, but it feels that way.)  Working out makes you feel hungrier.  Hmm, so I'm trying to begin to eat less food and work out all in the same day?  This is where killer okapis lose their ever loving minds and things turn very, very, scary around here...

Since we don't want that to happen, I have decided to start week 1 a little differently this time.  The first day of the program was dedicated entirely to deciding what to eat for the week (easier to cook at home with meal planning) and just adjusting my body to a MUCH lower caloric intake.  Note:  I include one "bad" dinner eaten at a restaurant each week and one "bad" breakfast (at Mom's on Sunday, of course). So, no problem.

The second day I worked in my body weight exercises: Have you ever heard of Well, it's a free six week guide to go from doing 1 or 2 push-ups to 100. It only takes 10 minutes three times a week, so I can't bitch about it. Hell, I can even watch TV while I do it, so I have no excuses. The same people who made the push-up site also did the same for squatssit-ups, and dips. So, I do all of them three days per week. I also added chin-ups and since I have to use a chair I just do them in the same amount of reps as the dips and call it good. The different workouts don't have to be in a row, I just have to do them.

Best part about the body weight exercises?  I don't have to leave my dogs and all you really need is a chair.  So, I started those on Tuesday.  I have the first week (of 6 weeks) of those done which is awesome.  Next week is when I will start working in cardio at the gym.  My body is used to the fewer calories and I have more energy since I'm eating better (very few empty calories, lots of water, and fruits/veggies).  I like to layer this so that there is no damn excuse not to do at least two out of three things every week.  Results so far: 2 more pounds gone since Monday for a total of 6 this week (and I already had my "bad" dinner this week).  Awesome.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Okapi Weight Loss Program

*Disclaimer: You should contact your physician before starting any new diet/exercise program*

This okapi is no expert at weight loss.  I also am not a serial dieter who has tried "everything."  I am somewhere in between.  Fancy and I started our quest for weight loss a few years ago when we were both at the highest weight we had ever been.  There are lots of reasons we got that way, but the top are: not cooking at home, no exercise, and beer or (diet) soda with just about every meal.  So, our first foray into weight loss, we went the Weight Watchers route.  We lost about 35 pounds each, and although we gained some of it back, we kept some of it off.  For "dieting", this is a success.

The reason that we kept some of it off is that certain lessons learned through this diet stuck with us: no more soda (except VERY rarely), no sugary creamer in Fancy's coffee, no more beer at every dinner, lighter lunches packed at home, and lighter breakfasts.  So, now with these things already ingrained, I have decided to take the lessons from other weight loss sources (nutrition class, web, etc.) and make an okapi plan for healthier living.

The first thing for me to do is to start paying attention to nutrition labels again.  This is a pain in the ass and super frustrating.  Nutrition labels are built to be misleading about calories and fat, so training yourself to first look at "serving size" and then "servings per container" will make this way easier to see through.  Okapis goddamn hate portion controlling, but it is a necessary component of weight loss.  So is logging what you eat. I use for that because it is free and totally easy to use (there's an app, of course).  I'm also using my handy dandy kitchen scale to weigh my foods for accurate input.

Okay, so now that the logistics are out of the way, here's what makes this less of a diet and more of a healthy eating plan:  I'm not subverting calories/fat by eating super chemical laden low calorie/low fat/non-fat foods because they aren't all that great for you.  I learned all about this in nutrition class and was amazed that I could eat delicious foods and still lose weight.  For example, I used to eat 50-75% fat free cheddar cheese on my sandwiches, but now I eat extra sharp cheddar; I just cut it into thinner slices and 1/2 ounce fully covers my sandwich and is WAY tastier than a full ounce of the diet stuff.  It takes a little creativity, but totally pays off.  Also, I'm introducing more "superfoods" into my diet.

The point is that eating healthy doesn't have to taste like that up there.  It can be tasty.  My calorie intake quota is 1200-1500 calories per day (with an option to increase with exercise).  It isn't a diet, so I don't fail if I go over this number.  I also make sure that I eat 5 servings of fruits and/or veggies per day which fills me up and is awesomely good for me.  One way to do this is to bookend your intake: I have a half grapefruit for breakfast (which is a SUPER superfood) and (2 cups of) salad before dinner (which helps to eat less food because I'm less hungry).  More on the okapi weight loss plan to follow!  My results since Monday: 4 pounds lost.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Okapi 2012 Goals and Resolutions

Since it is a new year, Fancy and I jumped on the goal/resolution bandwagon. Resolution #1 is weight loss/muscle gain, because we made ourselves promise to "get back on" the weight loss strategy after the holiday gorgefest.  So, here we are.  Okapis are not fans of fad diets.  They have no chance of sustainability.  The only time I've bent on this was the EVIL juice diet and you all know how that turned out!  So, I'm back to good old fashion eating healthy and exercise.  

This unfortunately means less food reviews (and no doughnuts), but instead Okapi Home Cooked Food/Workout Updates.  Not as fun, I know, but definitely in the spirit of January.  

But, wait!! Getting healthier/losing weight/gaining muscle is not this okapi's only resolution.  I also have decided to hold myself to a minimum of two blog posts per week.  This is because with school, I have less time to 1) experience things worth blogging about, and 2) blog.  So, I will aim to post more than twice per week, but will make sure that I hit at least two.  Sometimes I snap pics of stuff that I want to share, but there isn't much to say because they speak for themselves.  Take that pic up there for example: it was snapped in the wheelchair accessible bathroom stall at school.  

I actually have two more resolutions (or goals): 1) work on the sequel to my novel and 2) complete the Art of Manliness "30 days to being a better man."  Yes, I know I'm not a man, I'm an okapi, but I do what I want.  I also know that you aren't supposed to have too many goals/ resolutions at one time because you only have so much willpower, but three of these are pretty easy.  The blog and writing the novel are both things I love to do, I just want to make sure I keep doing them.  The 30 day challenge is only 30 days and none of the stuff is terribly time consuming.  So, there you have it.  I will be throwing my workout/meal plan on here this week, so if anyone wants to follow along: DO IT!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Year Endeth, Year Beginneth

This has been quite a year for this okapi!  First, I started this blog which I enjoy writing and I hope y'all enjoy reading.  Also, we got that new pup up there who is adorable.  I started law school which was intimidating, followed by scary, and topped off with overwhelming, but I made it through!  The blog survived, the puppy survived, and Fancy survived, so I'll be heading back for another grueling six months in a few short days.

It's funny how life works, really.  You're just sort of stumbling around when you realize the things you really appreciate and the parts of life you're thankful for.  Last night we had to go into the most depressing fucking apartment building I've ever been in.  This pic is from some wiring above the stairwell.  Truman said "I feel like I could get herpes from just standing in this hallway" and a cop agreed with him.  Being there  made us all thankful for our homes, our friends, and even for being old and settled down.

Oh! I almost forgot that we got that fine kitteh up there (She moonlights as a saloon guard) this year, too!  It is the year of striped rescue pets in our household, and we sure love 'em.  What else cool happened this year?  Well, I finished my novel and made new friends.  The Bills had a pretty good run for a while and I started adding videos to the blog.

The year wasn't completely good for the okapi family.  As many of you know our loyal mastiff, Stella, passed away unexpectedly a few months ago.  She is sorely missed.  We hope she is enjoying chasing squirrels and leaping through snow in the big forest in the sky.

And, so we usher in 2012.  I know many of you are worried about a zombie apocalypse this year, so we figured Agnes could give you a preview of the official 2012 zombie dog look.  It will be all the rage in December!!  I hope that all of you keep reading the blog and feel free to hit me with feedback.  You can email me or leave comments (instructions provided on the right sidebar of the homepage) on any post.  I hope you all had a great 2011 and will have an even awesomer and more terrific 2012!