My Fitness Plan and Restaurant Reviews

Happy Monday!  It’s my last full week of freedom before school starts again.  It’s a shame that I had the flu and was sick all week (note to self – remember to get the flu shot this year…even if it’s just to avoid Tim’s “I told you so”), but thankfully, I’m feeling much better now.  I’m planning to enjoy this week to the fullest.  Thank you for all your well wishes!

Now that I’m mobile, I can’t wait to exercise again.  I was so ill that I didn’t step outside the house even once last week!  One of my New Year’s resolutions is to incorporate running back into my workout regimen.  I’d been focusing on strength training this past year and had to cut back on cardio dramatically to gain some body mass.  I believe I’ve achieved that goal and am thrilled to get back on the treadmill again!  

When I terminated my gym membership, I did yoga at home, mostly following, and  Tina’s Best Body Bootcamp and saw some great results!  If you haven’t checked out this bootcamp, I promise it’s well worth your $25.  Talk about affordability!  I plan on doing it again on my own except this time I’m going to do the full version rather than the modified one.

Starting this week, I am going to be working out at our community gym that’s located only minutes away from our place.   The membership for the whole year is just $100!!  As much as it would be nice to have a treadmill at home, this is a much much cheaper alternative, wouldn’t you agree?

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So there you have it – my fitness plan for now.  And with that, let’s talk food.  I’m very behind in my resturant reviews, so I want to catch you up.  I try to do a review every Monday for Katie’s MIMM.

Several weeks ago, Tim and I went to Counter Cafe.  Tim’s been dying to go here since Texas Monthly ranked it as the number 2 burger in Texas!

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Once you step into the cafe, you may feel a bit claustrophic.  There’s counter seating and not much else.  And that’s exactly what I loved about this place.  It is so charming, cozy, and unpretentious.  The staff was extremely friendly and so were the other diners that I sat shoulder to shoulder with.  I shy away from dining out on my own, but this is a place I could comfortably stop by for a delicious bite to eat.


Where’s Tim?

Just across from where we were sitting, we could see the master chefs hard at work doing what they do best.

Counter Cafe Collage


There was a lot of artificial lighting inside so the picture doesn’t do it justice. It was a beauty…

Here’s the number 2 burger in Texas, the Counter Burger!  The patty was extremely well-seasoned and cooked to perfection.  They use a sweet sour dough bun baked in Houston that was quite a nice touch.  Look at the cheese….


These guys are so funny and sweet!  It’s not everyday that you get to shoot the breeze with professional chefs ;).  When I asked if I could take a picture of them, they happily obliged…well after saying that they’re not very photogenic.  Hilarious!  I beg to differ.  Tim and I will def be returning again soon.  I have my eye on some of their bfast items.

During the holiday, we ate out quite a bit, which I’m not very used to.  Since I can’t share with you all the places, I shall highlight my absolute favorite restaurant, Ruggles Green (you must take a look at the menu!).  Opening its doors in 2008, it is Houston’s first certified green restaurant.  They support local farmers and use only the freshest, natural ingredients.  With more than 35 gluten-free options, dairy-free and vegetarian choices (e.g veggie burger that contains 14 types of vegetables, quinoa mac & cheese), burgers, wood-fired pizzas, desserts… there’s something for everyone!

My absolute favorite is their 98% lean buffalo burger.  I also love their monster salads.  This time I got the Ruggles Green Atlantic Salmon (chipotle honey-seared) Salad served with mango ranch dressing.  Tim ordered the Quinoa Linguine with Turkey Meatballs.  He’s really starting to embrace this “quinoa business,” as he likes to call it!  Yes!  Mission accomplished.  He offered me some pasta (yes he was actually willing to share this time…rare moment, indeed), and I must say, it was divine!  Def going to try to recreate this at home.

PicMonkey Collage

The food is amazing, but the dessert, particularly the White Chocolate Bread Pudding served warm with strawberry sauce and vanilla bean ice cream…oh my word…

IMG_7209They also have desserts like High-Protein Hemp Brownie, Chocolate Creme Brûlée Cheesecake, and Tres Leches.

I eagerly anticipate the day when Ruggles Green will open in Austin.  I have a feeling that it will.   Wishful thinking? Perhaps.  But I have this gut feeling…

With that, I’m going to get my day started.  I have a lot to accomplish today.  On my to do list – grocery shopping, finish my dietetic internship application, work on a recipe, exercise, and catch up on my Korean drama.

Hope you have a blessed day!

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13 Responses to My Fitness Plan and Restaurant Reviews

  1. Since I started eating beef a few months ago, I have a newfound appreciation for burgers! I am still yet to find the perfect burger in Mumbai and that pic from Counter Cafe is only increasing my cravings – looks YUM!

    Your fitness plan for the year sounds great! Chances are your stamina won’t be as great as the last time you ran but the important thing to remember is that you can get it back & even better than before in no up slowly! Go you, Min!

  2. Hey Min!

    Great way to start the new year – with a fitness plan! All the best with your new gym! I hope you like it! Plus $100 a year membership is a huge bargain! I don’t think they have such cheap gyms in Buenos Aires!!

    I’m planning on maintaining my fitness plan (with my Curves gym membership – where I go for a 30-min circuit 3 times a week), and I plan to incorporate Hoola Hooping too! I know, not exactly very pro but still! Better than where I was 2 years ago when the only exercise I did was walking around the shops!!

    Cheers to our fitness plans!! New Year, New Bodies!!


  3. carol says:

    Are you serious! Only $100 for the entire year … and it’s a beautiful gym. My goodness – I’m coming down! I’m in for a knee replacement and then I’ll be back to the gym in three months time and can’t wait – I just can’t wait. Good luck with school and happy to see you are feeling fine once again. Happy New Year.

  4. healthydivaeats says:

    Oh lord, that salmon salad and dessert look amazing!

    So glad you are feeling better, I seriously need to get the flu shot, especially since I am pregnant. I should get it done asap.

    Yay for a new gym! I don’t belong to a gym, but once a YMCA ( community gym ) opens here, we are joining! It’s being built!
    Happy Monday! ❤

  5. I am certainly going to check out those bootcamps you recommended. I am trying to do more yoga and upper body training this year. Loved your restaurant reviews although I dont eat beef, I can certainly recommend friends!

  6. Julia says:

    wow, $100 for a whole year is such a steal! Great find! Your photos of the Counter Cafe food had my mouth watering…looking delicious!

  7. Oh my goodness, Min!! Everything about this post is making my heart go pitter-patter! First, THAT BURGER. Melty cheese and sweet sourdough bun? Perfection! I rarely order burgers at restaurants, but if I was dining at the establishment crowned #2 in Texas, I’d be all in. 😉 Second, the Ruggles salmon salad was prepared my very favorite way: seared. Add in chipotle-honey sauce and I’m weak in the knees. And the bread pudding? Eeee! Was it GF, too?!

    Tim’s comment about “quinoa business” made me laugh. I love that you’re converting him to the health foodie side. 😉 Have you tried baking with quinoa flakes yet? I bet you could fool him with some pretty amazing sweet treats!

    I’m so excited to hear you’re able to begin running again! It sounds like you snagged an incredible deal at your gym too; $100 for a year-long membership is an amazing rate!!

    Enjoy your last week of freedom, my dear friend! Hugs! ❤ xoxo

  8. That gym membership is so cheap! Wow! Great deal 🙂

    I’m glad you’re feeling better too!

  9. So nice to read a post from you Min and wow your gym membership is CHEAP! I just changed gyms and although my cheaper one is a bit more rough and ready, it works just as well and I’m so happy I switched. Hope your first week back is not too awful!

  10. $100 for the year? That’s awesome! I just joined a gym (now that I don’t have our apartment gym anymore), so I’m focusing on the strength instead of cardio this year. We’ll see how that goes 🙂 Glad you are feeling better!!

  11. balancejoyanddelicias says:

    I like going to the gym for workout. I miss my gym when I was living in DC. it cost almost 100 a month but so worth it. now I workout at home, although its convenient, I still prefer going to the gym and feel the working out environment! 🙂

  12. That white chocolate bread pudding with strawberry sauce is calling my name!! My absolute favorite dessert is bread pudding, and the best one I ever had was at a restaurant called Sabrina’s in Philly. They put white chocolate chunks, blueberries, strawberries, and other fruits inside, and I just couldn’t get enough. Sadly, that was the one and only time they had that dessert on the menu! Looks like I’ll just need to come to Texas to get my fix 🙂

    So happy that you are feeling better now!! And that gym membership – what a deal!! I’ve been debating whether to join a gym here, because I’d like to get back into shape (more muscle, endurance), but it’s hard with the kids! Maybe I’ll have to start doing videos at home 🙂

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