Posts Tagged by pre-race meal

Long Branch Half Marathon Expo and Pre-Race Shenanigans

I signed up for the Long Branch Half Marathon only a few weeks ago because  had been looking for a flat, fast course where I could improve my time and this seemed perfect!  I grew up in this area and my dad still lives there, so I had a place to stay and I was fairly familiar with the course.  The finish line was also very special to me because it was right where B and I got married.  So with little training and my fingers crossed, I signed up for my 5th half marathon!

The race was on Sunday, May 5th so B and I drove the 2 hours to the Shore on Saturday morning so I get to packet pick-up.  The race expo was held at Monmouth Race Track, which was also the starting area for the race.  The funny thing about this day was that the track was showing the live simulcast of the Kentucky Derby and the windows were open to take bets.  Needless to say the crowd was an interesting mix of athletes and well, non-athletes… 01 LB Half_Monmoth ParkI had been to Monmouth Park many times in my youth as I used to love to watch the horses, but I guess I blocked out how small and dark it is in there.  Kind of seedy… 02 LB Half_Expo1The expo had a good mix of vendors, but the area was very crowded so I just headed straight towards packet pick-up. 03 LB Half_Expo2 As usual, I forgot to bring my waiver so I had to look up my bib number.  Unlike Disney where you do this yourself on a computer, here they had a booth where someone did that for you.  It was all very easy.  I then headed to pick up my bib, get my spectator parking pass and my shirt. 04 LB Half_Packet Pickup 05 LB Half_Race BibThe whole process took less than 10 minutes.  It was very well organized and a hassle free experience!  We didn’t stay long because we were famished so I did a quick browse of the merch and took off.

We met my friend Stephen on the Asbury Park boardwalk for lunch.  Considering all of the devastation from Hurricane Sandy, I was surprised to see that the boardwalk and some of the business were open.  A good portion of the boardwalk had recently been replaced and you could even smell the new wood. 07 LB Half_Asbury BoardwalkI had wanted to get tacos at Pop’s Garage, but sadly that hadn’t reopened yet.  So we went to a wonderful Italian restaurant called Stella Marina.  YUM!  I was so hungry that I forgot to take pictures, but I had a wonderful roast pork panini with arugula salad…perfect pre-race lunch!  I definitely want to return here for a nice dinner one day.  Oh and check out these awesome chandeliers! 08 LB Half_BottlesAfter lunch we made a quick stop at the grocery store for my morning supplies of bagels and bananas and then headed to my Dad’s to relax a bit.  We all love to cook so everyone had a hand in dinner.  We put together a healthy, pre-race meal of grilled BBQ chicken, roasted potatoes & cauliflower, tomato salad and avocado.  YUM!!! 09 LB Half_PreRace MealAfter dinner we watched Silver Linings Playbook (which was one of the best films I’ve seen in a very long time!) and I headed to bed around 11.  That 4:30 am alarm was about to come way too soon!

Full race recap coming up!

Friday Feast: Kouzzina Breakfast

The morning of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler, B and I decided to go to Kouzzina to fuel up for our race that night.  Kouzzina is located at the Boardwalk Resort and is owned by Chef Cat Cora of Iron Chef fame.  The menu is Mediterranean inspired from Chef Cora’s family recipes and traditional favorites.  The ambiance is warm and inviting with dark hardwoods and softly lit chandeliers.  The kitchen is open to the dining room so you can see your food being prepared right in front of your eyes!

I had been up early to cheer on the runners participating in the Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run, so I was famished.  We were seated fairly quickly and then we waited…and waited.  The service was definitely lacking that morning.  They seemed to be short staffed because even the chefs and the managers were bringing food out to the tables.  I’d be interested in hearing from anyone who has been there for breakfast before on if this is normal for the service there (let me know in the comments!).

Kouzzina Breakfast Menu
(click for larger image)

The food more than made up for the service.  We started by ordering the Press Pot of Coffee for two.  I’ve always been a fan of French Presses after having the delicious coffee at the Kona Cafe, so I figured I’d give this a try.  I thought the coffee was good, but B thought it was watery.  I wanted to limit my dairy intake before the race, so I asked for almond milk which they didn’t have, but they did have rice milk which was a nice surprise.  It never hurts to ask, right?

Kouzzina Press Pot Coffee

I was very excited for the Turkey & Sweet Potato Hash!  This comes with a poached egg and lightly dressed arugula on top.  Now, I’m not usually a fan of poached eggs, but the runny egg mixed so well with the hash.  The arugula added a contrasting freshness to the richness of the dish.  This dish blew me away and I think I can definitely say this is my favorite breakfast on Walt Disney World property.

Turkey-Sweet Potato Hash…look at that gooey egg!

More hash…almost gone!

I also ordered a side of bacon because you can never have enough bacon.  This was a really good portion with 5 strips of bacon and it was thick-cut and crispy.  Nothing like the normal soggy Disney bacon you find at the buffets around property.

BACON!

B ordered the Spinach, Tomato, and Feta Scrambled Eggs (sans tomatoes) which came with breakfast potatoes, bacon and a croissant.  If I would’ve known how much bacon he was getting with his meal, I never would’ve ordered my side!  B really enjoyed the dish.  The spinach was fresh baby spinach that was lightly sautéed and the potatoes had a great flavor because of the addition of peppers and onions.  The only negative he found was that the feta cheese was overly salty (a downfall of most feta cheese) and that it would’ve been better cooked into the eggs instead of just crumbled on top.  Overall, this was a winner!

Spinach & Feta Scrambled Eggs

Since we were prepping for the race that night, we decided to get a side of pancakes to share for some extra carbs.  These were the only thing I didn’t enjoy here.  The pancakes were very dense and didn’t have much flavor.  Also, by the time they were brought out they were luke warm, so the cold butter we were given didn’t melt.  I’m assuming these are the same pancakes they use for the Blueberry Granola Pancakes, which I wouldn’t recommend based on these.

Mediocre Pancakes

Even though the service was seriously lacking, this has become my new favorite breakfast spot.  That turkey-sweet potato is so different from anything you will find on a normal breakfast menu, and it is the perfect mix of carbs and protein for a pre or post race meal.  Hopefully next time I go won’t be before a race, so I will be able to enjoy the Bloody Mary that Jenn from Eat, Sleep, Run, Disney always raves about.

Have you ever been to Kouzzina for breakfast?  What’s your favorite meal?