Breakfast for Dinner at Cafe 217

Friday night Chris and I needed dinner but were not in the mood for cooking. After debating for a while on where to go for something good and relatively inexpensive we decided to hit up Cafe 217 on Delaware Avenue, one of our favorite late dining spots. I think we ate here on third date, actually!

Even though it wasn’t late, it was still dinnertime and it was completely empty!


Chris got a veggie quesadilla for an appetizer. I had a piece and it was tasty, just your standard quesadilla.


My dinner was actually breakfast! I love that this restaurant serves breakfast all day! I chose scrambled eggs with a side of home fries and chipotle tofu sweet potato hash.


The tofu hash was incredible. It was a little more spicy than I’m used to but the sweet potato went along great with it!


This was the perfect dinner before running a long run. 🙂

Cafe 217 on Urbanspoon


Jen’s Top Five Albany Eateries

Have I ever mentioned on this blog that I loathe chain restaurants? I highly dislike eating at chains (I won’t name names, but I really don’t like most of them), so whenever I go out to eat you can find me at a local establishment. I’m not very picky when it comes to food, but I do like to have a good selection of somewhat healthy/delicious meals. Although I admit, sometimes going out to dinner, you just have to induldge once in a while.

Here are my top five faves, in no particular order:

Albany Pump Station – Downtown Albany
I always think of the Pump Station as a place to celebrate. I came here in 2007 with my graduating class the night before my college graduation. I ate here after running two races in one week (in 90 degree weather) to celebrate. I ate here the day after my first half marathon to celebrate my accomplishment. The food here has never disappointed me. The fact that they brew their own beer is also a major plus. AND their lobster mac and cheese not only won the 2010 First Mac & Cheese bowl, it is the best mac and cheese I’ve ever tasted. Seriously.

El Mariachi – Downtown Albany: Hamilton Street and Washington Avenue
I crave El Mariachi’s food on a regular basis. Their food might be the most authentic Mexican food I’ve ever had, but then again I haven’t had “real” Mexican food, so I can’t really compare. All I know is that it is good. Their margaritas are delicious and come in all different flavors. I’m partial to the Pomegranate one myself. They also have a large selection of vegetarian items, and their mole sauce is to die for. Oh yeah, and their meals are served with chips and salsa, which are highly addicting. And their outside patio at their Hamilton location is like an oasis in the city, perfect for those warm summer nights when you want to enjoy a margarita out on the patio!


Smiths’ TavernVoorheesville, Albany County
I’ve been going to Smith’s Tavern since I was a baby–literally. My parents frequented this place with my sister and I went we were little kids, when our mom had to cut our pizza into small chunks so we could eat it, and when we wouldn’t eat anything but cheese (and half without sauce, for my sister). Now, they have amazingly delicious gourmet pizzas with neat names, and you can order whatever toppings you want. The cheese is fresh and delicious, and the crust is crispy on the bottom and doughy on the inside: perfection.


New World Bistro – Delaware Avenue, Albany
This place also reminds me of celebration, except with more of a modern and trendy flair. I love the interesting menu items that feature local ingredients, and the fact that it is a vegetarian/vegan and food allergy friendly restaurant. I’ve never had a disappointing meal here. Although make sure to make reservations, since it tends to get crowded! Albany needs more places like this. Their desserts are also bigger than my head, making them more than enough for two people to share, particularly on a hot date. 😉  Take this magic cookie ice cream sandwich, for example. Yeah, enough said.

Cafe 217Delaware Avenue, Albany
Cafe 217 is one of the only places I know have that have great food and great hours. They are open all night during the weekends, which is perfect when you are out and about in Albany! Its proximity to Lark Street is nice, and its never crowded! Their pancakes are a favorite of mine, especially with chocolate chips and raspberries. One time I got an amazing dessert special, the Samoa ice cream sandwich, Girl Scout cookies with ice cream sandwiched between them. It was like Heaven on Earth. This place is comforting, and I love it!

The Runners Up:
The Midtown Tap & Tea Room – New Scotland Avenue, Albany
Justin’s – Lark Street, Albany
Aashiana, Indian Buffet – Central Avenue, Albany
Crisan Bakery – Lark Street, Albany
Yellow Rock Cafe at Indian Ladder Farms – Altamont, Albany County


The Dunkin’ Run 10K

Well, I have another 10K under my belt! 🙂 Today I ran the Dunkin’ Run 10K in Albany!

Admittedly, I was a little nervous about running a race today, as I’ve been traveling…but I felt really great when I woke up this morning. I started my day with my standard pre-race breakfast! Bagel thin + maple pb + banana. I actually wasn’t feeling the banana this morning so I took some of it off. I think it was a bit too ripe.


I also had a cup of green tea, which I think really helps. Maybe its the caffeine? I also made sure to drink lots of water yesterday, so I would be sufficiently hydrated for the race this morning.

I was running this race alone, for the first time! Chris didn’t get to register, so he came along to support me. I’m so glad he did! I actually ended up getting there with about 15 minutes to spare, since parking was a bit hectic. If it wasn’t for him I probably would have freaked out and drove home! So thank you Chris. 🙂

I checked in and got my bib number and soon the race was starting! There was a 5K as well as the 10K. I signed up for the 10K since I had a five mile run on my training plan this weekend, so I figured I might as well make it a race, since its more fun that way!

I did not take many pictures since I left my camera in my car because I was in such a hurry, but the race went really well. I started out really fast (surprisingly) and I knew I had to stay sub 10:00/mile pace in order for me to beat my previous 10K time of 59:33.

The course was FLAT, thank goodness, so I knew I had a good chance to PR.

And guess what? I did it!!!!


I ran the race at an average of 9:13/mile pace. I’ve never ran that fast for that long of a distance, ever. I was so surprised and impressed with myself. And I felt amazing the whole time.


Some days I love running and some days I hate it. Today I loved it.


I felt pretty beat at the end, but it was still great. The race was organized pretty well, which impressed me. They had arrows pointing the 10K runners in the right direction, since the 5K runners were finishing when we were supposed to keep going. The signs were helpful!

I rehydrated with my favorite drink.


After the race I dropped Chris off, and then went to Cafe 217 to meet some of my friends from college for brunch! Cafe 217 is my favorite, and I was starving!

Of course I refueled with pancakes. I ordered raspberry chocolate chip pancakes with a side of fruit (instead of homefries). They were delicious!!!


I was exhausted, but it was great to catch up with my favorite girls! 🙂 I wish I could have spent more time with them!

Well, I’m off to relax for the rest of the day. Back to work for me tomorrow!!! Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Question for everyone: what’s your favorite way to refuel after a hard run or workout? Mine is pancakes, of course!


Banana Pancakes and Tulips

Yesterday morning I woke up craving pancakes. I had this recipe for a while, but decided today would be the day to try it. I think I might have made them once before, but I’m not really sure…anyway, I had all the ingredients so I went to work. I tweaked the recipe a bit. I had some wheat bran lying around, so I added about 1/4 a cup to the mix of dry ingredients.


I also added about a tablespoon of ground flax seeds. I had those in my fridge I wanted to use up. So the pancake batter looked like this.




 I’m pretty sure these were the best pancakes I’ve ever made. They tasted so good and the bananas were so ripe and sweet, they didn’t even need maple syrup. So. good. I love pancakes. Especially banana chocolate chip. And they were pretty healthy. But I probably added a little more chocolate chips than the recipe called for, but who cares?

Here’s what was in the tweaked pancake recipe:

  • about 3/4 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup of wheat bran
  • 1 tablespoon of ground flax
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1/4 tablespoon of salt
  • 3/4 cup of light soy milk
  • 1 farm fresh egg
  • a large handful of hershey’s dark chocolate chips
  • 1 ripe sliced banana

The batter was a bit dry once I added the milk and eggs, but I just added more soy milk until it was like normal pancake batter, but it was a little bit thick, but the pancakes cooked just fine, and they tasted great.

After breakfast I did some yoga. I DVR’ed the fit TV’s Namaste Yoga. I find yoga really helps stretch my legs out…lately my legs have been pretty tight. I’ve been running 17-20 miles a week, and my legs are feeling it.

I felt pretty good after yoga, so it was time to head to Tulipfest in downtown Albany. My friend Keri and I took the bus because parking is horrendous downtown, especially during events like Tulipfest. I saw lots of pretty tulips.





If you notice I have amazing rainboots on in this photo. It is because yesterday’s weather was predicted to be pretty rainy. But, since this is Albany, New York, it was quite interesting. When I got there, it was sunny and warm. After about 30 minutes dark clouds came overhead and there was a short downpour. (Thank goodness Chris was smart and put up a tent, just for this reason.) Then the sun came out again, and then there was another short downpour with hail this time. Then the sun came out. And then it was windy and cold. Go figure.

Anyway, Happy Mother’s Day to my mom and all the mothers out there! Hope you all are having a great day today!


Confessions of a Chocoholic

So, I have to admit something. I’m a chocolate addict!!! For the longest time I avoided all candy and chocolate (while I was in the process of losing weight) but once I hit my goal, I decided to splurge once in a while and have a piece a day. Eventually, one piece turned to two, and two to three, and on and on. Now I usually eat 3-4 pieces a day. I know, this is not good of me, I need to stop. I need to only eat chocolate when I’m seriously craving it, and need that chocolate  fix.  So this is my current short-term goal: cut back on chocolate!!!

Anyway, since we’re talking about chocolate, I had a small piece of chocolate cake yesterday, for a co-worker’s birthday. It was from Walmart, and it was really good! Nice job, Walmart! There were even sparkles on it!

As always, I felt a bit guilty of partaking in the cake-eating, even though I had a run planned for the evening. I had plans to run with my friend, Sarah, who is currently on Weight Watchers!! She’s lost 30 pounds already, so congrats to her!  Anyway, our plan was to go to our old high school and run at the track, but when we go there, there was a track meet going on! So, we decided to run around one of the soccer field’s behind the middle school. And being back there brought back memories of middle school recess! It was really random. But I ran for about 45 minutes, and I’m not sure how many miles that equals out to, but after searching on google, apparently 5.5 laps around a soccer field equals a mile. I have no many laps I ran around, but I figured I ran about four miles. So, I was starving when I came home, so I had a spinach salad with goat cheese, walnuts, and craisins. (to make up for my cake eating earlier in the day!)

So last weekend, I went to one of my new favorites places for dinner, Cafe 217. The first time I went there, I ordered the chocolate chip pancakes and they were under cooked, so I was a little weary of ordering them again. But the second time I went there I got the raspberry crepes, which turned out delicious! On Friday, I tried the pancakes again, instead of chocolate chip I got the raspberry /granola ones (with fruit instead of home fries).  The granola was nowhere to be found, but the pancakes were great otherwise. I’m pretty sure pancakes just might be my favorite food. Anyway, the thing I like about Cafe 217 is that its never crowded there, and they have a really cool ambiance, and you can order drinks! (I had a glass of Ravenswood Shiraz, Vinters Blend with my pancakes! It was so tasty!) And the glass of wine was huge! Also, I like they are open literally all weekend, 24 hours a day.

I was also in the mood for dessert (I’m actually always in the mood for dessert) and because I had been running a lot and ate pretty good during the week, I decided to order the Samoa Ice Cream Sandwich. Samoa you say? Like the girl scout cookie? YES! The ice cream sandwich was between two Samoa cookies (my favorite girl scout cookie) with ice cream rolled in graham cracker crumbs between them. The best. idea. ever. literally. The dish came with three little sandwiches, and I ate two! Yummy.


Cafe 217 on Urbanspoon

Needless to say, after eating like a fiend this weekend, I’ve been pretty good this week (minus the cake yestereday), and the afternoon sun is calling me. I’m off for a lunchtime run! Later!