CicLAvia + my alternative to slapping a pomegranate
One of the things I've really missed since moving to LA from Boulder is definitely biking. I didn't have a car all throughout college, so to get anywhere, I relied on trusty ole Gary (my dad's old Gary Fisher mountain bike). When I left him in Boulder this May, he still has the glow stick halo around the wheels from that one time I did a Boulder Cruiser ride sophomore year. And the left handlebar was chipped from the time I thought that resting 20 lbs of groceries on it would be a good idea. So many good times.
Now, I've just got my orca bike (pictured below) that's keeping me company here in LA. I finally got to ride him the other weekend at CicLAvia, an event where city streets are blocked off from cars for alternate modes of transportation to commute freely and celebrate the amazing communities LA has to offer. Getting out of my biking blues, we pumped up our tires (and I changed my first flat!), got on the road, and took over the streets!
People were dressed in all sorts of ways: athletic gear, neon spandex, funky cyclist caps, and the occasional bedazzled floppy hat. There were plenty of food trucks gathered at each little district, adding scrumptious smells to the beautiful sunny scenery.
We got to ride through a tunnel as bikers honked their horns, rang their bells, and shouted at the top of their lungs. I wonder what it is about tunnels that make us go cuckoo! I was doing it too ;) Oh, and taking one-handed shots with my camera, hoping that one would turn out alright. Yes, mom, it was totally safe ;)
One of my favorite parts of the ride was when we headed east toward the LA river, crossing the infamous 4th Street Bridge, and stopping at the crest to soak in the view and the atmosphere. Everyone was snapping selfies and pointing toward something in the distance and many were sitting on the sidewalk, catching their breath after the climb uphill. I was so impressed by how expansive and beautiful the LA River is and wondered what it might be like if water really flowed through it, with fishies and birds and lush greenery along the banks. If that existed though, I wouldn't have fond memories of the chase scene in the remake of the Italian Job where they fly out of the tunnel and into the wash, treating the river like it's a half pipe! I digress...
We made our turnaround point at Mariachi Square, where there was live music, a farm mar, and plenty of food trucks. We grabbed two pupusas, took a seat along the busy sidewalk, and people watched as we scarfed down our yummy bean and cheese filled snacks with fresh crunchy slaw on top. If you've never had a pupusa before, EAT ONE. They'll blow your mind. Think of a taco/quesadilla/tamale-esque thing. And it's kind of like that.
We'll definitely be participating in another CicLAvia because, hey, the world needs more bikes and less cars on the road. Plus, it allows us to explore parts of this huge city we might otherwise not have noticed. Before heading home, we stopped at one of the farm mars and snagged ourselves a couple of pomegranates. THEY WERE 3 FOR $1. I MEAN COME ON! Since I've literally never bought a pomegranate before in my life and only heard of the slightly awkward slapping technique, I had Chris google how to best harvest the little seeds from the shell. Here's one of the best techniques he found (and that worked great!) that I thought I'd share with you:
What you need:
Place a paper towel on your cutting board and chop the pomegranate in half. This prevents your board from staining a pretty magenta color- which I think would look super cool- but the other people in your household might argue otherwise. ;)
Fill a bowl with water and place the halved pomegranate in the water. Take one half and begin breaking it apart, exposing the white cartilage-y flesh from the purple seeds. As you break the pieces apart, try to extract each of the seeds by running your thumbs over them and breaking them from their pods. Try not to puncture your seeds since that's where all the lovely juice is!
Continue breaking apart until all your seeds have been removed from the pods. You'll notice that the seeds sink to the bottom of the bowl while the lighter flesh floats to the top. You can then skim these bits off the top and compost them, then drain the water, so you're just left with a juicy pile of yummy looking seeds! Refrigerate until you'd like to eat them. I suggest topping your yogurt with them, eating them like popcorn for a sweet, tart, and refreshing snack, or maybe try juicing them for a healthy dose of antioxidants! (though I'm not sure how much juice the seeds from a single pomegranate is going to give you) Yay pomegranates and LA and biking!