Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ottawa Eats: Naji's Lebanese Restaurant

What's better than a spontaneous dinner date before a night out to the theatre? An amazing spontaneous dinner date that fulfills a craving that you've had for months, and that's discounted through Groupon, that's what! There's been a new Lebanese restaurant in the neighbourhood that I've been wanting to try since it moved in months ago and today was the day.

Naji's is a wonderful little place right by Bank Street and Second Avenue that has just brought a whole new world of flavour to the Glebe. Apparently, I have to come to terms with the reality that there is a compartment in my stomach dedicated purely to digesting falafels, and since it's been about a month since I had any, it was time to replenish its stock. Conveniently, right in time for out date night, I found a Groupon for Naji's and I was sold.

Though I didn't get any good pictures of the inside of the place, it was really nice; warm colours, really simple but classy decor, and it smelled delicious. We didn't need much time with the menus because I had checked it out  at home, and aside from salads, there were only a couple options for us. Our appetizer:
Baba Ghanoush 
served with pickled radish and warm pita bread

It's eggplant. You can't go wrong with eggplant, but this baba ghanoush was particularly tasty. I actually found that everything we ate tonight was really well spiced and seasoned, which I often really miss. Once again, I come from two culinary backgrounds that are pretty serious when it comes to flavour; and that being said, unfortunately, here in Ottawa, when it comes to vegan options at least, bold flavour is something that's actually often pretty lacking. I don't know if taste buds die in very cold temperatures, but it's true...
Our main dish: The Falafel Platter
Falafel wrap with pickled cabbage and seasoned potatoes

Falafels, oh, falafels, how I love thee, but these were exceptional. The only falafels I've ever had that were tastier than these were the ones from the infamous Amsterdam Falafel in Adams Morgan in DC.

When my plate came this evening, I had no idea that there was a whole falafel wrap tucked into that tin foil. Andrew laughed at me, but hey, maybe it was a giant Christmas popper... that would have been pretty neat, but no, it was one giant wrap filled with veggies, pickled cabbage and falafels. Once again, it was fantastically seasoned. The wrap was also perfectly prepared to warm, soft, yet toasted perfection. Even the seasoned potatoes were delicious, they were at ideal crunchiness levels with parsley, lemon, spices, and just the right amount of salt.

The portions were really generous. I really wanted to finish my wrap so I had to donate half my potatoes to Andrew. As far as I could see from the people around us, the meat dishes are pretty substantial too. For anyone in Ottawa, I definitely recommend this place. The food, atmosphere, and service were all fantastic.

I'm pleased to say that I think I've found a permanent place that will be fulfilling all my falafel needs in Ottawa.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Creative Hummus Ideas

With it being paper/marking/crunch time this year for anyone in academia, this is probably the most interesting thing I've done with food this week... though it made me really happy. I give you: Fun ways to eat your hummus.
The Hummus Octopus (or a Decapod, technically)
The Leftover Hummus Hermit Crab

Hehe... have a good week!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Kelp Noodle Kale Salad

So, remember back in November when I got so obsessed with the deliciousness of collard wraps that I ate them for a month straight? Yep, well, I've found my March food obsession: massaged kale salad with kelp noodles. OMG. Aside from the fact that I'm now eating kale salads for dinner about 4 times a week, the addition of the kelp noodles just sent me over the moon.

This dish pretty much has every nutrient under the sun. Kelp noodles are high in all sorts of minerals, while kale is one of the healthiest of the cruciferous greens. Including all the fixings, I can't think of anything it doesn't have! Of course, I don't have a full recipe for this, but just a mix of the things I always make it with. Here's to experimentation and kitchen intuition:
Kelp Noodle Kale Salad
Yield: 1 serving

1/2 to 3/4 head of kale
1/2 bag of kelp noodles
1/2 avocado
1/2 to 1 lemon
salt and black pepper, to taste
nutritional yeast
onion powder
tahini
honey
spirulina (optional)

1. Massage kale with salt until it's really broken down and looks "cooked." Squeeze in the lemon juice and keep massaging. Scoop out 1/2 a ripe avocado and mash into the kale salad. Generously sprinkle on onion powder, nutritional yeast, and spirulina to taste.
2. In a small bowl, make a sauce made of tahini (about 1 tablespoon), nutritional yeast (about 2 tablespoons), water (about 2 tablespoon), honey (about 1/2 teaspoon), and salt to taste.
3. Rinse kelp noodles and mix with the tahini sauce.
4. Combine noodles and kale salad, and get set straight to heaven after your first taste.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Vegan in Disney World: Part Trois


Already my last post on my culinary tour of Disney World, and the end of my perfect sister-bonding vacation... Five full days and two short half days in Disney World (counting the marathon) was really the perfect amount of time for us to be there. I think we could potentially have used another day to finish up some of the things we didn't get to do (mostly Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom, and a couple places in Epcot and the Animal Kingdom), but we definitely got to check all our favourites and more.

I can't stress enough how amazing it was to go on this trip with my sister. It was our first vacation as "adults" together, so for anyone with really close friends/siblings/etc, I highly recommend you take a vacation together now. Haha, I just realized that our first "adult" trip was to Disney World... yep, that's just who we are! It seems silly to say, but it made me happy in a way I actually hadn't been in a really, really long time. Running a 1/2 marathon and all, it was an actual vacation. Here were some pre- and post-marathon celebratory eats:

Day 5: Pre-Marathon Meal at Via Napoli, World Pavilion, Epcot

Not wanting to jinx her first run, my sister opted for the whole carb-loading/pasta dinner method so we went back to Epcot's World Pavilion to dine on pasta the right way... in "Italy." We made reservations that morning for an early dinner at Via Napoli, and I knew this probably wouldn't be a mecca for vegan food. 

That being said, it's Disney World, and I got to be a princess for five days. Also, our waiter was super open to my veganism, saying that he had a vegan friend back home so he understand how challenging it can be to eat vegan and Italian. I did see that the menu was pretty vegetarian friendly, so I knew making a couple switches wouldn't be too difficult either. As always, they were really good about everything, and had one of the managers come over to make sure my order was indeed properly veganized. Because we wanted to get a little fancy that evening, I went for this delicious appetizer:
Veganized Eggplant Caponata
The flavours of this was sooo delicious. 
I think I could have order three or four and called it dinner.
My Salad Beast: Pollo sans Pollo...
I managed to get a laugh out of the waiter, when I looked at the salad section
of the menu and asked for the Pollo (chicken, in Italian)... without the Pollo.
This salad was a lot bigger than it looks. Its simplicity was exactly what I needed after
a couple nights of huge dinners. It was exactly what I needed before the run!

Day 6: Trip Celebratory Dinner at Jiko, Animal Kingdom Lodge

And then, after being up since 3:30am to run a successful half-marathon, my sister and I went for our last-night-here Feast. I'd been looking forward to going to Jiko since before we even got to Disney World. I had seen online that they had a special menu for almost every dietary lifestyle under the sun: omnivore, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, lactose intolerant, and more. The place itself was lovely, named Jiko, meaning "the Cooking Place" for the central open-concept kitchen they had. After our fantastic experience at Boma, which was the slightly less fancy dining option right next door, we knew we were in for a treat.

By the time we got to Jiko, we were hungry, like, hungry hungry hippo hungry... or maybe fit, athletic, half-marathon running hippos? The waiter was even a little surprised by how much we wanted to eat, but he did agree that we had just run a half-marathon, so he cut us some slack... haha. Are you noticing how many times I'm subliminally inserting the whole "I ran a half-marathon" message into the past two paragraphs?

Anyway, our last dinner started with the Taste of Africa sample which was four dips (don't remember exactly what they were anymore but there was a very spicy masala, a delicious Moroccan tomato-based dip usually used as a fish sauce, an African-spiced pesto, and a spruced up hummus). 
I cannot even begin to describe the vegan bread that came with it (sorry for the dark photos, the restaurant was romantically lit and I only had my phone cam)... Because the waiter already thought we were porkers, I had to keep myself from asking for more when he suggested it:
For the main course, I opted for the Durban Curry Vegetable Plate, which made me really happy. The curry sauce was light and excellent, and once again, you can't go wrong with a plate full of veggies. It had just the right amount of jasmine rice, sprouts, and lots and lots of veggies.
Dessert, oh dessert. Did I tell you that after the vegan ice cream no-go at Boma, I had it in my mind that if Disney World truly was a magical place it would give me vegan ice cream? Now, for the next three days, I scoured Disney World for ice cream. I even spent on night online looking through vegan blogs and reviews just to find out where I could get some... No luck. Until our last night.
So, they blessed us with Toffuti vanilla ice cream for dessert. I had never had it before, it was exactly that type of creamy vanilla ice cream you expect to have in a vegan sandwich. It was the perfect end, to the perfect trip. 

The message I want to leave you with, is that as a vegan, you will have no trouble making your way through Disney World. Everyone was 110% accommodating and friendly about my dietary choice, and often went out of the way to make sure I had enough to eat. You can do it on the cheap, or you can put down some serious cash for some inventive dishes, either way, you will have all you Disney food dreams come true :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Vegan in Disney World: Part Deux

For Part I of my culinary adventures in Disney World, you can go here. Otherwise, let me take you through days 3 and 4 of my trip, which were probably by far the most copious! I think they have some kind of policy that no vegan will ever go hungry in their realm or something because, man, did they try to stuff me!

Day 3: Boma at the Animal Kingdom Lodge

While we had made a couple dinner reservations before we got to Disney World for places we had heard were particularly popular, my sister and I had initially left Day 3 open for whatever food might catch our eye. After the number of raving reviews she and I saw for Boma, the Animal Kingdom Lodge's buffet-style restaurant, we knew we had to try it. (Have to say again, my sister is such a trooper for accommodating to my eating habits!) 

After a full day of Animal Kingdom amazingness (the Tree of Life is magical... seriously), we were ravenous and took the shuttle to Boma a taste of Disney-fied African Flavours. Right off, I have to say that I was so impressed with the service here. When we made the reservations for Boma earlier that morning, I didn't know how to indicate that I was vegan, so I pretty much just checked the allergy options available instead. 

Pointer #1: For the sake of the waitstaff, don't do this. Our waiter explained to me that there is huge difference between how they have to handle allergies and veganism, though they do both wonderfully. Obviously, veganism is an ethical lifestyle choice, whereas allergies, well, they can potentially cause death. When it comes to allergies, the waiter himself (and the chef) are seriously liable if anything should go wrong. Apparently, it could be as bad as some jail time if there is any suspicion that it was consciously done, or if the customer, say, dies or something... 

Anyway, I told the waiter I was vegan, not hyper-allergic to food, and told him I didn't want him to spend the rest of his life behind bars away from his little ones on account of me... he appreciated that, and told me that he would get one of the chefs to come over and take me through the buffet to tell me what I could eat. Really? That was super impressive. The night got better and better after that. I felt so taken care of. Well enough, one of the chefs came and walked me through the place, pointing out my options, showing me his personal favourites, and what was safe to eat. He even pointed to a couple things that were yummy enough that he said he would make me vegan versions if I liked. I also asked if he could make a small stir-fry on the side and he said of course! I was really impressed.

Here was my starter plate:
Some greens 
a delicious papaya grapefruit avocado salad 
(who would have thought that's a winning combination?) 
a yummy slow cooked spicy tomato thing
a watermelon rind salad with a ginger sauce 
(it was delicious, and such a creative idea, though a little heavy on the sweetener for me)
and chickpea edamame salad

I think I could have been contented (and full) with that plate alone, but my personal chef for the evening impressed me with the following dishes that I happily shared with my sis:
a small serving of roasted veggies 
(delish, but a little heavy on the oil)
a faux-meat baby broccoli stir fry
(I think they use Gardein faux-chicken stuff, which has the most entertaining chewy flavour...
I'm definitely not a fan of fake meat, and it was super salty,
but I was so happy they obliged that I ate some and shared the rest with my sister)
a small bowl of wonderfully spiced couscous with peas, almonds, and apricots

I was so stuffed to brim by then, but when I asked what they had for dessert and the chef mentioned they had tofutti ice cream, I couldn't resist. Unfortunately, they were out and brought me a kind of berry sorbet instead. I tried a taste but it was super chemically and sweet so I had to unfortunately decline and let it turn into a little red puddle, while my sister and I spend the rest of the evening chatting and digesting.

I don't think I've ever felt more taken care of as a vegan before and the staff was so accommodating. I would definitely highly recommend Boma to any vegetarian/vegan going to Disney World!

Day 4: Spirit of Aloha Dinner & Show, Polynesian Resort

The morning of Day 4 was spent at the Fit for a Princess Expo to prelude our Half Marathon. There was a lot of really neat stuff there (like the tutus we ended up wearing for the race, and some Cliff energy goo). For the rest of the day, we discovered Epcot by day. The World Pavillion was just as amazing by day as it was by night. For lunch, I snacked on some edamame in Japan while my sis fulfilled an udon noodle craving.
And then... I think we came as close to a bachelorette party as you can in Disney World by going to the Spirit of Aloha Dinner and Show at the Polynesian Resort. Tribal dances from the Pacific islands, fire dancing, and abs, oh my! It was as fun as watching 300, but... set in Polynesia. Oh, and I guess there was some lovely singing and dancing ladies too...

I told our waitress that I was vegan from the get go, and she said that I could start off with the salad and not to worry, they would take care of me (I love Disney World). Our appetizer was indeed a huge salad with mandarin oranges and ginger dressing, delicious fresh pineapple, and a coconut bread (not vegan). I know the dressing in it had some kind of ingredients and sweetener I probably wouldn't usually agree with, but it was tasty!
While my sister had their lovely main dish, the brought me a really fantastic stir fry (still a little heavy on the sodium side) but the simplicity of a veggie stir-fry was very very welcome. I chose to opt out of the rice, since I'm just not use to eating that much of it anymore, but I tasted it and it was yummy too, had I wanted to partake in more of it.
Dessert was also a welcome assortment of fruit. The grapes were delish and that perfect pop in your mouth amount of ripeness. The pineapple was as perfect as during the appetizer.
What a perfect, perfect night it was, and just the right amount of food for me. Give me salad, stir-fried veggies, and a few pieces of fruit and I'm a happy vegan. We followed the show by taking a lovely stroll on the resort's "beach" to digest, watched the electrical parade, and fell in love yet another night, with the magic of Disney World...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Vegan in Disney World


I've always been a big pre-planner (though hopefully not to the point of obsessiveness). One of the big things I've found about going vegan is that it takes pre-planning to a whole different level. Whenever you go on a trip, most people can just think "so, what do I pack?" but one of the big questions in a vegan's mind, especially an organic-eating processed-food-avoiding vegan, always ends up being "so, will I actually be able to eat anything?"

Enter Disney World. Now, as much as Disney World elicits princesses, and magic, and dreams coming true in my mind, vegan-friendly is definitely not something that jumps to mind when I hear those two words. Ever since I planned this trip with my sister, my food-loving self started scouring the internet for vegan-friendly resources about Disney World (see below for details). At my public library, I also found the very nifty book called "Vegetarian Walt Disney World and Greater Orlando" that was great way to get psyched up about my options.

Now, I know that the internet does tend to motivate people to be a little alarmist... ever gotten freaked out by your minor symptoms because of what Doctor Google said? Yep, been there. People (especially my fellow vegans) do tend to be a little bit more stressed out than necessary when it comes to blogging. A lot of things I was hearing was "you need to call a month in advance to let them know you're vegan," or "you have to speak to the chef directly," or "just bring all your own food to make sure."

After reading all that, rather than freaking out, I decided to opt for spontaneous and trusting over obsessively pre-planning. I knew everything would be okay, and that I would venture off to Disney World with the intention of making it work and knowing the Universe would provide. I was so right! So follow me along for the next few posts, on my culinary trip to the magical world of Disney. After that I'll go back to the usual food & fitness thang...

Day 1: Wolfgang Puck Express & Babycakes, Downtown Disney

First off, I have to say that airports have gotten significantly more vegan/organic food friendly over the years. Sure, it's still not a mecca of good health, but there are always fruits and salads available now somewhere. Most concessions also now carry some very decent organic and/or vegan bars, and dried fruit and nut mixes.

The second thing is that I'll pretty much just be posting about dinners. My sister and I went the money saving route, and stocked up on fruits at the food court of our resort at Port Orleans Riverside to have for breakfast and lunch. (They even carry organic soy milk!!!)

My awesome sister had also brought us a box of Cliff Bars and coconut water from home to get us through the day. Breakfast usually consisted in a Cliff Bar and fruit, lunch for me was more fruit, and dinner was serious refueling time (as you will see).

After arriving to the land where magic is made real, we took a lovely water shuttle to Downtown Disney to get a first taste of the week ahead of us. There were lots of veggie friendly options around us, including a seriously yummy looking chickpea burger at the Rainforest Cafe, but we opted instead for the fairly empty and healthy Wolfgang Puck Express. Now, good ol' Wolfgang is quite notorious for having made more natural foods go mainstream. This restaurant was listed as serving organic and local food, so that was great by me already! 

That being said, the long-standing culinary sign of wealth still holds that if you want to appear as a fancy restaurant, everything will contain meat or a fancy cheese. So for any vegans out there, most recipes (including salads) need to be amended for our lifestyle. For our first night, I found a roasted beet salad that I only had ask to be made without the goat cheese (though I'm sure that would have been lovely.) It was the perfect portion, and was easily one of my favourites here for its lightness but great amounts of flavour.

Roasted Beet Salad
(Butter lettuce with roasted beets, candied pecans, mandarins, and balsamic vinaigrette)


Because I didn't set up my hopes too high on the first night, I had assumed that salad would be the be-all and end-all of my first night in Disney World. However, I forgot where I was, and since this is the place where all dreams come true, this happened:
Oh yes, that is a Babycakes Bakery, just like its mother store in NYC. Vegan, sugarless, and gluten-free, I was in heaven. I think I might have frightened my sister either by the squeal that came out of me or my ensuing gluttony. They had everything from breads, to waffles, cake bites, cupcakes, and more. I really didn't know what to choose since I'd never been to a Babycakes before. 

I surrendered myself by sampling the following three things: a vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting (usually my favourite as far as cupcakes go), what I think was their blueberry cinnamon and sugar toast, and a red velvet cake bite with chocolate frosting. How brilliant are cake bites? I never want a whole slice of cake, I only ever just want one bite, and now I can!
Verdict: OMG are their breads amazing. I actually went back on our last day and bought one slice of almost every kind loaf they had to bring back to my love monkey back home holding the fort, and for my BFF. Post-script to that splurge: They were all equally amazing. (My sis also tried one of their donuts, and they were equally amazing.)

The blueberry slice was "melt in your mouth perfect" on the inside and crunchy on the outside. The cake bite was also pretty tasty, though the cake part itself was a tiny bit dry (I figured probably because it was the end of the day.) I have to say the cupcake kind of surprised me for its lack of oomph. The one I tried unfortunately happened to be a little blah, not fluffy enough like you would expect out of a cupcake, and the frosting was kind of weird. It was pasty rather than icing-like, and every time I bit into it I was just trying to figure out what its deal was. Overall though... Babycakes, please relocate to Ottawa! I think I may invest in their cookbooks soon...

A very magical beginning :)

Day 2: Morocco, World Pavillion, Epcot

Day two was spent at the Magic Kingdom, squealing and acting like little girls... Awesomeness. We also learned that you actually can bring food and water into the parks, so do keep that in mind because it's a huge time/money saver!

We were pretty ravenous by the time dinner came around, and because we wanted to watch the Illuminations shows at Epcot, we opted for dinner at Epcot's World Pavillion. Now to start off, that entire place is awesome. It features mini-versions of France, the UK, Italy, China, Japan, Canada, Norway, and Mexico all around one lake. Having been to most of those places, it was actually pretty authentic and the food choices were to boot!
I suddenly got in my head that I had to have falafels that night so we went to Morocco's Tangierine Cafe and had their Vegetarian Platter (I know falafels aren't Moroccan, sue me. We were told it was suppose to be more representative of "Middle Eastern" fare than Moroccan food. And for a more authentic experience, you can always just head to the less vegan-friendly Marrakech restaurant next door.)

I did eat everything but the bread (and unfortunately later found out that their lentil salad may have contained dairy and their falafels may have eggs... I had forgotten to ask because who put eggs in falafels, but hey). On the upside, my digestive system didn't really seem to notice, so I like to pretend those suspicions were wrong. I also did hear you can ask them to veganize that platter accordingly. What was vegan for sure was the hummus, the couscous, the tabbouleh, the salad and olives, all of which were delish and hit the spot just right!
Tangierine Cafe's Vegetarian Platter

So that sums up Days 1 and 2, Days 3 and 4 to come including finding vegan paradise in the Animal Kingdom and Luau Dining! 

Check out my Part 2, and Part 3 of our trip for more safe vegan eat!

For some other detailed vegan experiences in Disney World, check out:

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Disney Princess 1/2 Marathon

I can't believe all the magic was already a whole five days ago. I flew back into Ottawa on Monday night, and it's been hard to get back to a place where a) you have to wear a coat; b) not everyone cheerily smiles at you and/or calls you Princess anymore; c) buildings are no longer colourful idealized cute versions of what they should be, but instead are sad and grey! This was probably hands down one of the funnest trips ever. My sister is one the awesomest people EVER. After deciding to run this marathon with my sister last spring, we had to go big or go home. The end result was 6 days in Disney World, complete with on-site hotel (the Port Orleans Riverside Resort, which I highly recommend) and park-hopper passes.

I'll go through vegan options in Disney World over the course of next week (there were tons!), but for now, let me cut to the chase:
I did it!

Waking up at 3:30am in the morning was so worth it...
... for me to dress in a Snow White costume, tutu included (she was the first princess I dressed up as when when I was little, so I thought I'd do her the honour)...

... and finish this thing with a bang. I sprinted the minute I saw the finish and man was that fun! 

(these race pics are from the official site)

My over-archieving A-type personality was not totally thrilled with my running time. However, the sane person inside my head also tells me that for a first half marathon, I did great! I was able to run it under 2 hours and 30 minutes (not by very much), but still! The biggest thing for me was to listen to my body. When my knee pain from running a lot last year started resurfacing around mile 10, I told myself "okay, stop being so A-type, if you don't walk for a bit, this might affect you for years"... and I actually listened! 

I have to give a five star rating and two thumbs up to the way this run was organized though. The buses ran regularly starting a 4 in the morning. Bag check was super efficient both at the start and end of the race. People (both fellow runners and the cheerers) were so encouraging. There was plenty of water stops and Porta-Potties, and they even had Cliff Bar reps out there with their energy goo stuff about halfway through. 

To give you a break down of how it went down, I was running my 9:50-10 minute mile for the first 5 and was feeling so awesome. When you're surrounded by a whole bunch of people in Disney princess outfits, you feel really pumped to give this your all. They also had Disney characters you could take pictures with or just wave at every couple miles which definitely added to the fun. (The row of Prince Charmings around mile 9 were particularly awesome.)

By the time we reached the Magic Kingdom, there was an unfortunate choke point as the road narrowed and lots of people started stopping in the middle of the course to take pictures, blocking people from being able to maintain their pace. The anal runner inside me was marginally annoyed, but you're in Disney World so there is only so upset you can actually get. I just know I lost a bit of time.

Miles 6.5-9 were getting a little tough. I was more conscious of doing my run-walk method, walking about 1-2 minutes every mile while drinking water. After I went through the castle, my motivation dropped a bit and I started to feel tired so I did have some Cliff Bar energy goo just in case it would do something (I'm not really sure whether it did or not). By mile 9 my knee was threatening to start hurting, I could feel the pain shooting down my leg and decided it was time to start walking a bit... 

By the time it hurt enough, I told myself it was definitely time for me to start walking. Mile 10-12 were probably about half run/half walk. (I am bummed about that because I know that's where I probably lost most of my time, but I'll live.) By the time I saw the mile 13 post, it was take it or leave it so I jogged 'til I turned the bend and saw that glorious finish line. When I sprinted past it (and they called my name!!!!), I couldn't believe it was already over! 

The mental game of running 10 miles or more is really something. I really enjoyed the process as much as I might have wanted to stop or kill something when it started getting painful. There's something so personal and primal about just running, and sweating buckets, and being surrounded by all this energy and cheer that just lights you up! 

Post-race recovery included drinking lots of water and stretching for a good half hour, eating a banana and some of my raw recovery balls, coconut water (seriously, it makes a big difference), taking an epsom salt bath, and just taking it really slow and easy for the rest of the day! I was up and running the next day (well, not literally running, but functioning very well thank you very much.)

My biggest tip was really those magic running socks I mentioned a few weeks back. I mean really, I ran 13 miles and didn't get one blister... MAGIC! I also highly recommend a kick-ass playlist and all the recovery tips I did. So that just about sums it up! I'm a half-marathoner!!!!!