Ekiben

I’ve been storing up a few blog posts. In my head, that is. For future writing.

Starting with this one. YUM. About a month ago, Dan and I ate at Ekiben, a new sort-of-hole-in-the-wall-y Asian place near Fells Point. We met another couple there for dinner. Dan had heard that it was great from other friends. The rest of us had never heard of it.

The restaurant is small with maybe one two-top table on the right as you walk in and then an L-shaped bar with stools along the front window and left wall for sitting and eating. There was nothing else inside except for a shelf with sauces and the counter you order at. There were also a couple tables outside.

The menu was simple and straightforward. Four different options for a meal, served either on a steamed bun or as a rice bowl, plus a couple of sides. I had The Original as a rice bowl: Thai chicken meatballs, coconut black pepper corn sauce, papaya mango slaw, fresh herbs, roasted aromatics. I think everyone else got buns, which I think were good and probably better than rice, but flavor-wise, I think my dish won. The sauce had a sweetness to it, but the dish was still perfectly savory. So much good flavor. Between the four of us, I think we got all or most of the options (Taiwanese curry fried chicken, fried tofu, and braised pork shoulder), but mine was the best. Dan and I also got a side of the fried broccoli with Chinese sausage. Don’t let the word broccoli fool you. Nothing healthy about it. Crunch, salty, herby. YUM. (They were out of the roasted broccoli…).

Definitely going back.

But not this month, because I’m doing another #Whole30! So soon? Yes, so soon. Today is the end of Day 3, and so far, it hasn’t seemed like much of a burden, because it’s not that different from how I normally eat (Ekiben-type adventures aside). So why? Well, I become less mindful about what I’m eating sometimes, and I think the structure of the Whole30 is helpful for getting back into certain habits – like making healthier choices (or not making unhealthy choices) just out of convenience or lack of mindfulness. Other differences – yogurt and legumes and cream in my coffee. I eat those, but so far am not missing them too much. I expect to go back to eating them after the Whole30, although I also think I’ll try to do a better reintroduction than I did last time. We’ll see.

Something that’s helping me along? Real Plans! I’ve been using Real Plans to help plan my meals for the week for about a month and a half now. Blog post on it coming soon! But it’s great that I can enter certain parameters into my preferred diet and it spits out a schedule and recipes (for specified meals/days – not every one) that adheres to that diet, with shopping lists and a timeline. I’m shopping and cooking a ton each week anyway, might as well take some of the thinking/guesswork out of it.

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