Thursday, November 17, 2011

Running the Good Life in California

After finishing the Chicago Marathon last month I was eager to get another long run in the books so I could have something else to look forward to. With the BF in California, I thought the Santa Barbara half marathon would be the perfect race.

Beautiful finish line of the race looking out on the ocean
I was expecting breathtaking ocean front scenery, but when we arrived Friday night we were greeted with intense darkness and rain. Not ideal, but we made the best of it and opted to order dinner in from California Pasta -it was definitely a good choice! I was really happy with my avocado farfalle (similar to a type of pesto, but with avocado as its base). I'd never heard of an avocado pasta before and have to say I loved it so much I'm on the hunt for a recipe to make my own.
Yeah - got a new 2:13 PR for the half marathon too!

Race day was beautiful and after some jaunts in the mountains and a park area during the first part of the race, I welcomed the sight (and smell) of the ocean for the final miles of the race. After eating a banana and a not so exciting protein bar, my taste buds were ready for something a bit more enticing. My race friends had made some restaurant recommendations along State Street (the restaurants were all packed) so we looked to my trusty friend Yelp for a restaurant recommendation and settled on Los Arroyos Mexican Restaurant. This family-owned gem had a high rating on Yelp and for good reason - the food was excellent (the BF lucked out with a delicious combination plate of yum) as was the service (Freddie the bus boy was soon good the BF joked my brother should move him to Chicago to work at one of his restaurants!)

Beautiful day for a Farmer's Market
Though Santa Barbara was the focus of the weekend, I of course enjoyed my time in LA too with stops at Urth Caffe (I love the salads that come with the breakfast entrees) and Jack N Jills (love the breakfast rice bowls). We also found a fantastically fresh sushi spot - Minori which is also a family-owned business. The rolls were simple but extremely fresh...they even had a container of live crabs sitting atop the sushi bar. Sight (and recommendation) unseen we also stumbled upon a delicious Thai restaurant called Melanee - their chicken with broccoli is a dish I'm still craving 4 days later! Farmer's markets are wrapping up here in Chicago, but in LA they are thriving - alive with avocados, persimmons, grapes and oranges.


  1. So many fun & tasty spots that I need to go to! Isn't there a Jack & Jill in Chicago too? Good writing Robyn - makes me salivate!

  2. No Jack N Jill in Chicago, but maybe I could offer to open one for them :)I forgot to mention that there was a petting zoo complete with a llama, ducks, goats and sheep at the Beverly Hills Farmer's Market!

  3. You go runner girl, Congrats on you PR!!! Avocado pasta sounds delish.