July 2009: Staff Picks
Don’t just exercise—Zumba! There is a new fad infiltrating workout studios. It’s quirkier than yoga, groovier than jazzercize, and more entertaining to watch than Tae Bo. Zumba is a fitness program that enables you to enjoy hypnotic Latin rhythms while dancing your worries away. Many people are drawn to Zumba classes because they find it more motivating than the usual exercise routine. I think this is an awesome new way to exercise, but before you run out and join a class, think about the “Zumba-ing” you can do on your own. Just pop in an old Shakira CD and rumba your way to the bus stop. Or if that turns your cheeks red, close your blinds, and dance along to the Zumba DVD to tone your mamba muscles. Whatever you do, just keep your body movin’ and groovin’!
Since I had my first bowl, I have been obsessed with pho (pronounced “fuh”). Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup made from beef stock. It’s a pretty simple soup—beef broth, rice noodles, and your choice of meat—but it gets into your taste buds and doesn’t want to leave. It is a perfect soup for summer because it’s refreshing and not at all heavy. You can find it at most Vietnamese restaurants, and many will advertise it on their windows.
Pho contains many different types of meat, with choices for both the tame and the very adventurous. Most will contain meatballs and various cuts of beef flank and steak. The more traditional the restaurant is, the more likely that you can get it with the more “interesting” parts of the cow, such as tripe (the stomach) and tendons. If that sounds more adventurous than you would like, don’t worry. Most menus are in both Vietnamese and English, and the wait staff can answer any questions you may have.
When you get your giant bowl of steaming pho, you will also get a plate full of garnishes: bean sprouts, basil, limes, and hot peppers. It is also traditionally served with hoisin sauce and sriracha sauce. In mine I like a lot of hoisin and just a splash of the sriracha sauce, but everyone has different tastes.
If you can’t find a good Vietnamese restaurant near where you live, here is a recipe from a local natural foods co-op publication:
I wish I were cool enough to be a skateboarder, rolling effortlessly around town, doing tricks and whatnot. Well, I found something almost as good and a lot safer. If you’ve been in the toy section of a store lately (it had been awhile for me), you may have seen little tiny skateboards. Called fingerboards, these miniature skateboards are just like the real thing, but smaller. The wheels roll, and the board has deck tape and custom graphics on the bottom. The fingerboard even comes with a little wrench to tighten your trucks. Now you can have a good time just rolling around on fingerboards and pretending your fingers are a little person, but some people use their hands to do actual skateboard tricks on these toy boards. I had heard of such things but didn’t believe it until I found some videos on YouTube. Take a look above (it takes awhile to get going—be patient, or skip ahead). If you’re inspired, you can find instructional videos on how to do simple tricks. Simple? Ha! Doing an ollie takes practice, but at least I don’t have to wear knee pads on my knuckles.