A Trip to Brussels: The Beer!

About halfway through my trip to Brussels, I realized it would be impossible for me to adequately talk about my food and drink experience in one blog post. So, I thought it was only natural to do a beer-specific post about everything I drank in Brussels because, well, it was amazing. If you love beer (at all) and especially if you enjoy trying new beers, you have to visit Brussels. They take their beer seriously – I mean each beer has a specific serving temperature and type of glass it should be served in – and even though I was there for a week (and had at least 3 beers everyday), I didn’t even crack the surface of the Brussels beer culture.

Belgian Beers | FoodosaurusRex.com

One of the very first things I was told when I asked for advice about visiting Brussels and where to go was to hit up Delirium Café. I’m sure a lot of you are familiar with Delirium beer (it’s the bottles with the elephant on them), but this particular bar is so much more than that. The building is actually split into three separate bars known as Delirium Village – Delirium Café in the basement, Delirium Tap House on the main floor, and Delirium Hoppy Loft upstairs. There are also a few other Delirium locations nearby that offer a smaller selection. If you’ve heard anything about this particular place, though, Delirium Café is likely the location that was mentioned. So, what’s so great about this place, you may ask? Well, they offer over 2,000 beers to choose from! That’s right – on any given night (or day) you’re there, you can choose from over 2,000 beers… talk about overwhelming!

The ceiling in Delirium Cafe & their Guinness Book of World Records certificate!
The ceiling in Delirium Cafe & their Guinness Book of World Records certificate!

As I mentioned, I had A LOT of beer while I was in Brussels – one with pretty much every meal, and then another one or two each night when I went out. I found myself a little nervous when ordering since it can be a little nerve-wracking to order something you’ve never had before. Aside from one night where I hated pretty much everything I ordered, I think I was successful! So without further ado, here are the beers I had (and a little review of each)!

Saison Dupont | FoodosaurusRex.com

Saison Dupont – I absolutely love saisons, but they’re newer to me (just started trying them this past summer). They originated in Belgium, so when I saw this on the menu at Houtisplou I knew I had to order it. It was crisp and slightly fruity with just an ever-so-slight sour finish. I would have ordered this over and over again, but I knew I had to branch out and try as much as I could.

Delirium Nocturnum – I’ve had Delirium beers before, initially attracted to them because of the elephant on the bottle. I’m not ashamed to admit that I often gravitate towards different drinks (especially wines) based on their labels and names. What can I say? You get extra points from me if your label is cute and/or clever. And until this trip I haven’t made a bad choice based on the name/label (see below for my least favorite beers). I’ve had Delirium’s Tremmens before, and while I wanted to try new-to-me beers from breweries I hadn’t had before, I had to order a Delirium while I was at Delirium Cafe!

Kriek – I had a few different Krieks while I was in Brussels (one by Brouwerij Lindemans, another by Brasserie Cantillon), which are lambic beers fermented with cherries, and was shocked that I liked them. While you might think to yourself, “ew, fruit beers!” this is so much more than that. They have a slight hint of sweetness, but it’s mostly a tart and sour cherry flavor you taste, which I absolutely loved. Also, they’re pretty carbonated, which I’m a big fan of since I have a slight (okay, big) obsession with Seltzer. The bright reddish color makes it fun to drink, too.

Vedett, Cantillon Kriek, Achel 8 Trappist
Vedett, Cantillon Kriek, Achel 8 Trappist

Achel 8° Blond by Brouwerij der Sint-Benedictusabdij de Achelse Kluis – This was my first official Trappist beer of the trip, and let me tell you, those Monks know how to make a good beer! This is a strong pale ale, and is full of flavor since it’s right in the middle of their number rating system in terms of strength (6, 8, or 10). I had this beer at Poechenellekelder, a bar right across from the Mannekin Pis. They have a phenomenal beer list and it’s a perfect place to stop in and enjoy a brew (or a few) after taking in the tourist attraction.

Zinnebir by Brasserie de la Senne – Another Belgian pale ale, another near perfect rating on my Untappd app. This beer is simultaneously hoppy, but also pretty light, fruity, and crisp. I ordered this beer as it was listed as a local special when I was having dinner one night, and it was a perfect light companion to my heavier dinner of stoemp.

Vendett Extra Blond by Duvel Moortgat – This pale lager went perfectly with the fare served at Bia Mara, and I loved the fun pictures and sayings on the back of the bottles (as seen above). It wasn’t anything to write home about, but it was a good light beer… dare I say better than most light lagers found in my neck of the woods.

Moeder Lambic | FoodosaursRex.com

La Chouffe by Brasserie d’Achouffe  – This was a featured beer at Houtisplou on my last night in Brussels, and since I had luck with the Zinnebir, I figured I’d give it a shot. It’s an unfiltered blond that winds up being re-fermented in the bottle or keg, and it’s fruity and spicy (think coriander notes), and light on the hops.

Buffalo Bitter by Brouwerij Van Den Bossche – This was similar to the Dupont Saison, and I’d say is tied for first with my absolute favorite beer of the trip. The brew is actually a Belgian IPA, and I loved it. When I first started drinking beer for taste rather than to get drunk at keg parties in college, I didn’t know how to feel about IPA’s… I think there was actually too much flavor for me (since those college beers were always such high quality, ha), but I’ve since learned to actually love the complexity of a good IPA. And the Buffalo Bitter hits it right on the head.

And now for the three that I didn’t particularly like. I had such good luck the first few times I ordered beer, that I knew it was inevitable I’d happen upon a few that just weren’t my cup of tea. Unfortunately I wound up ordering them all on the same day! I also made the mistake of ordering them based on their names, which I know I said I’ve been successful with before, but these choices made me realize that isn’t necessarily a good way to order beer.

You win some, you lose some.
You win some, you lose some.

Open Mind by Birrificio Montegioco – This was the least offensive of the three that made it to my “yuck” category. It’s actually an Italian beer, but the bar I was at, Moeder Lambic, had a bunch of “visitors” so I decided to try one. It was okay (typical blond ale), but nothing to write home about.

Pink Killer by Brasserie de Silly – Yup, I ordered this because of the name. And when I saw it had a pink hue and came in a glass that had a cute little dog on it, I was pumped… until I took a sip. It reminded me of Mad Dog 20 20 that was mixed with cheap beer and cough syrup. Needless to say I didn’t finish it.

Barbar by Brasserie Lefebvre – Again with the name. But this time it wasn’t because of the actual name, but because it made me think of Babar, the cute little elephant that has adventures! As I type this out, I can’t help but shake my head (so you can too). This was better than Pink Killer, but barely. I’m not sure what it was about the beer, but I just didn’t like it. I managed to finish it, but only because I had ordered the Pink Killer when I was halfway through in hopes of it redeeming this beer, and since it was worse, this one didn’t taste so bad comparatively.

Needless to say I had a lot of beer on the trip. So much that I haven’t had one yet since I’ve been back (though that’ll change this weekend, I’m sure)! I was definitely spoiled by getting to try so many different beers, and on top of all the delicious food I was able to sample while there made it quite the trip. Now I need to figure out where to go next!

Tell me…
Are you a beer drinker? What’s your favorite? (I want to try it!)

Shoe Review: Mizuno Wave Sayonara

Disclaimer: The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Mizuno.

I first fell in love with Mizuno running shoes about a year ago. I headed to my local running store with every intention of simply replacing my worn down Brooks Ghost 4 with the 5’s. Instead of just grabbing the shoes and leaving, I decided to do a gait analysis and let the sales associates make some suggestions. I had felt like a Brooks loyalist, but was open to trying new shoes if it meant a more comfortable ride. I was happy that the Ghost were among the shoes suggested to me, but so was the Mizuno Wave Rider 15. I put them on and was immediately sold… I didn’t even have to jog around the store like they encourage. Here I am a year later on my third pair, and I’ve even added a pair of racing flats (Wave Ronin) to the mix. So when the opportunity to get a sneak peek at the Mizuno Wave Sayonara became available through Fitfluential, I immediately signed up and crossed my fingers. I received the shoes about 2 weeks ago, and have been running in them more and more ever since.

Wave Sayonara

Admittedly when I started running I didn’t know anything about running shoes, and I’m far from an expert. I ran my very first race in a pair of year old Nike Shox; thinking about that now makes me cringe. As I’ve gotten more and more into running, though, I’ve learned to appreciate the importance of a good shoe, and come to understand what different types of shoes can do for different types of running. I also like the idea of being able to switch it up throughout the week – putting the same shoes on day after day isn’t much fun anyway. While I’m far from a serious shoe hoarder (I’ve seen pictures of some of your closets!) I have no problem keeping quite a few pairs of good shoes in rotation.

Now onto the important stuff: the shoes. I wanted to take my time with them and try a few different runs over the course of the two weeks I had them in order to get a good feel. The Wave Sayonara feels very much like my Wave Riders, so it was easy to put them on and just start running, even though they’re almost a full two ounces lighter. The Wave Riders are 9 ounces, while the Sayonara are only 7.1 ounces of awesome. I am picky when it comes to the upper of my sneaker because my feet are sensitive and too much “junk” up top can leave my metatarsals and phalanges sore. These definitely embrace the less-is-more mantra and are minimal when it comes to fabric and material on top (which I love). They also have textured laces and notches on the shoes themselves which help keep them in place. The soles have awesome traction (I took them out in the rain and didn’t feel like I was slipping at all), and the colors are nice and bright just like all of the Mizuno shoes. I tried to come up with a Pro and Con list, but could honestly only come up with one negative; the laces are on the shorter side which can be tricky for a double knotter (like me).

These sneakers have been worn on easy runs, long-ish runs (10 miles), and tempo runs… And also video-ing runs, as you can see from above. They’ve been great, and everyone that I’ve talked to who also has a pair seems to love them just as much as I do. In fact, fellow Mizuno obsessed runner Ashley and I decided to put together a little speed workout to celebrate the Sayonara launch. We figured strides would be a quick, fun, and easy workout for anyone and everyone to do. The whole point of a stride is to add some quick turnover work, that can really be done at any point within a workout, and even after any kind of workout. What do I mean by that? I mean that at the end of a 10 mile run, in theory, you should still have enough energy to throw in a few strides. This particular workout is stride-specific, meaning you’re really just focusing on those sprint bursts with an easy mile on each side. I’ve found that in the event you aren’t on a track, simply starting off easy and picking it up to a full sprint for about 30-40 seconds total will get you about 100 meters, give or take. Feel free to take a few seconds rest in between each stride, but you shouldn’t need more than 15 seconds or so.

Sprints Workout | FoodosaurusRex.com & RunningBun.com

So the bottom line is that yes, these shoes were sent to me to review, but I would absolutely spend my own money on them. I’m a Mizuno fan that had high hopes for these shoes, and these definitely didn’t disappoint. They’re available as of July 5th, so go and check them out!

Do you wear different sneakers for different kinds of runs? 

Goodie Goodie Gum Drop

I don’t know how it started, but it seems like monthly shipment clubs are all the rage these days. “Of the month” clubs have been around forever, but they’ve really taken off recently and seem to include anything you can think of; food, drinks, workout clothes, health and beauty products, accessories… they have it all! I personally love the idea of getting a fun little box of treats each month, and stalk my mailman when I think a new package is on it’s way.

Since there are so many companies offering monthly subscriptions, I had a difficult time deciding what to try. I’ve mentioned before I’m in the Picky Bars club, but I also signed up for Goodies Company’s monthly box subscription. And I also bought my mom a Love With Food subscription for her birthday in February! There were a few things that really caught my eye when it came to Goodies Company. Obviously the biggest selling point is the price – $7! While the general price for most subscriptions I’ve seen is $15, there are plenty in the $30+ range as well. At first when I saw the price I assumed you must get “fun sized” versions of everything, and no more than two or three things each month. Because it was only $7, though, I decided to give it a try anyway.

This past month's box - breakfast themed!
This past month’s box – breakfast themed!

Well, I’ve received two boxes so far, and am completely impressed. Most of the time I get a sample of something, I don’t wind up buying it for myself… not because I don’t like what I get, but because I’m either lazy about it, or question whether or not I really loved it enough to buy full sized packages of it. The Goodies Company box this past month changed all of that! I always try everything, but there was something in the box that immediately caught my attention and I had to have it as soon as possible. Enter Rip Van Wafle’s Amsterdam Caramel Waffle! Not only is the concept really cool (you place the waffle on the edge of your hot coffee so it steams the waffle), but it’s delicious. After I finished it with my morning coffee, I was on their website, placing an order for my own stash.

Amsterdam Waffle!
Amsterdam Waffle!

At first I wasn’t really keen on the idea of paying X amount of money per month just to get little sample sizes of things, but it’s grown on me. I love that most of the companies allow you to pick your subscription length, choosing from either one, three, six, or a continual month option. I have every intention of continuing my Goodies Company subscription, because I’ve really found some great products. And besides, who doesn’t like a surprise each month?!

So tell me…
Do you have any monthly box subscriptions? 
Any monthly box subscriptions I should check out? 

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored or paid post. I simply wrote about Goodies Co. because I really enjoy my subscription. All opinions are my own. 

Diet-to-Go: Delicious At Your Doorstep

Even though I absolutely love cooking and spending time in the kitchen, sometimes it’s nice to have your meals prepared for you. A lot of nights after a full day of work and running, the last thing I want to do is spend 30+ minutes in the kitchen making myself dinner. Unfortunately, the “quick and easy” options don’t always translate to the healthiest options. I’m not a stickler for healthy foods and do my fair share of indulging, but at the end of the day, I like to make sure I’ve eaten enough of the right foods to keep my body fueled for not only running, but life in general. So, when I was given the opportunity to try out Diet-to-Go as a Fitfluential Ambassador, I jumped at the offer.*

One of the first things that caught my eye about Diet-to-Go was their accessibility – it isn’t just a one size fits all approach to diet meals. In fact, they have three different choices; traditional (which is low fat), vegetarian (lacto-ovo), or low carb with 1200 or 1600 calorie options. And, within those base selections, you have the ability to even further customize your meal choices; you can make substitutions, change your meal plan type, and even pause your plan! They also offer 5 or 7 day plans, and you can have breakfast, lunch, and dinner, or just lunch and dinner. Talk about options! And the best part? The meals that are delivered to your door are fresh, which I learned isn’t something that all mail order diet meal plans do.

Now for the good stuff – the food! My meals arrived on Tuesday and I started with dinner. Obviously being a vegetarian I chose the vegetarian meal plan, and my meals came from the 1600 calorie per-day group. I decided on my first meal, tomato pie and couscous with some crackers and a Laughing Cow Swiss cheese wedge. I am a Giant Sports fan and follow a strict diet and I’m pretty sure this was the first time trying Laughing Cow, and I can’t believe it’s taken me so long – it is absolutely delicious! I had the cheese and crackers first while I waited for the entrée to cook, and once it was ready I dug in. Not only was the dish flavorful, but it was filling! I would be lying if I didn’t say I was skeptical that I’d be full after this diet meal (especially having run 5.5 miles earlier), but I was. I added a salad to the mix as well (I make sure to have one pretty much every night – nothing special, just spring mix with some dressing) in order to round out the day’s fruit and veggie intake. I definitely picked the right meal to start of my experience; I couldn’t wait for the next one.

My first meal - Tomato pie & couscous!
My first meal – Tomato pie & couscous!

The rest of my meals did not disappoint. Whether it was eggs florentine with soy sausage patties and asparagus for breakfast, bean burritos for lunch, or a lentil loaf for dinner, I was always pleasantly surprised by the taste and texture of the options, and was satiated. I kept saying “wow, I can’t believe this actually tastes good!”

Added some hot sauce for good measure
Added some hot sauce for good measure

Of course since I’m not a registered dietitian I can’t speak to the overall nutritional value of these meals, but I think that it’s important for anyone (on a “diet” or not), to do research and ensure they’re getting the right nutrients. Some of these meals were on the saltier side for me, while others seemed to be higher in fat, or overall calories. Because high blood pressure and heart issues run in my family, I try to be cognizant of my sodium levels, while also understanding that as a runner, salt is important. In terms of higher-than-I’d-like sodium, for example, a suggested day is the eggs florentine with soy patties and asparagus (delicious) which give 830mg of sodium at breakfast, followed up with a grilled veggie burrito with polenta at lunch for 650mg, and then a lentil loaf with sweet potatoes and green beans for dinner with 1030mg. That brings my sodium totals to 2510mg in one day (if I don’t eat anything else). The Institute of Medicine recommends 1500mg of sodium per day as an adequate amount, and to try and stay under 2300mg (source). This is just one day, and not all of the meals are high in sodium, but because of those levels I don’t know that I myself would use Diet-to-Go for 3 meals a day, but rather as a supplement to add in quick and easy healthy options throughout the week.

Stuffed shells w. pesto sauce, carrots, and a roll.
Stuffed shells w. pesto sauce, carrots, and a roll.

Trying out these meals really opened up my eyes to the way I eat throughout the day, the food choices that I make, and what different calorie amounts really look like. For me, I tend to eat smaller or lower calorie foods in the morning and afternoon, but then find myself ravenous by the time I get home from work and wind up not only matching my calories from the first half of the day, but I usually have more. For the most part I’m not concerned with the weight aspect of eating since I am running 25-30+ miles a week, but I am concerned with the nutritional value and making sure my body is getting the right foods. Lesson learned: I need to eat more in the morning!

Super easy and delicious lunch at work - soy nuggets and creole veggies over rice!
Super easy and delicious lunch at work – soy nuggets and creole veggies over rice!

Mail ordered meals may not be for everyone, but for people that just don’t have time to cook or don’t like to cook, I think this is a great option. As I said earlier, I think it’s really important for people to understand their nutritional needs based on their age, sex, activity level, and overall lifestyle before they decide on a meal plan that’s right for them (whether they’re making it themselves, or having it made for them). Diet-to-Go has a lot of great options and flexibility, is delicious, and if nothing else can help people newer to the world of eating right form good habits. Not to mention it did win Epicurious’ #1 voted meal plan based on a national blind taste test! So for those of you that are interested in giving it a try, you can get 20% off by using the code “fitfluential” when ordering.

So tell me…
Do you track your eating throughout the day? 
How do you  make sure you’re getting enough of the right foods? 

*Disclosure: Fitfluential LLC compensated me for this Campaign. All opinions are my own.

Culinary Chic

There’s nothing quite like a homemade lunch, but sometimes I’m just too lazy to prepare lunch in advance. Even though I like to take the easy way out more often than not, it’s important for me to have easily accessible lunches that aren’t too expensive. Sure, I would love to go out to eat every single day, but it just isn’t realistic for my wallet or my waistline. I tend to gravitate towards the frozen food section for the obvious reasons – cost and convenience. Unfortunately in most cases this means some type of sacrifice on taste. Recently Lean Cuisine launched a Culinary Collection line of frozen meals, so when DailyBuzz Food offered the opportunity for me to try them out, I immediately signed up.

One thing I appreciate is vegetarian options, which are harder to come by than you’d think; it seems as though the majority of frozen meals available have chicken in them. One thing that always blows my mind is soup – they have so many veggie friendly options (lentil, black bean, pasta and veggies), but so many of them aren’t actually vegetarian! Of course being only 6 months in I sometimes forget to check the label since I assume things that don’t include meat on the initial package mean it won’t include animal products on the ingredient’s list. Thankfully I’m getting better at it. So I was initially nervous that there wouldn’t be many options for me to choose from within the Culinary Collection, but I was pleasantly surprised! After much debate, I decided on their Mushroom Mezzaluna Ravioli entree, and couldn’t wait to dig in at lunch.


It’s always a pat on the back when you’re heating something up in the work kitchen and someone makes a comment that it smells good… which is exactly what happened when I was heating up my lunch! You never want to be the person that stinks up the entire room (cough, fish re-heaters, cough). So with the smell already getting a thumbs up from me and my co-workers, it was time to eat. Verdict? YUM! As with all frozen meals, though, I found myself wanting more when I was done. Of course that’s a good thing because it means I enjoyed it, but it was just shy of being enough for this runner girl.


While the picture doesn’t do it justice, this dish has a lot of flavor. It’s half-mooned ravioli filled with portabello and button mushrooms, romano and ricotta cheeses, in a creamy marsala wine sauce with spinach and red peppers. I definitely tasted all of those ingredients, which was impressive. It’s nutritional values are pretty solid, too, with 14g of protein 3g of fiber, and a total of 290 calories. Paired with some fruit, yogurt, or other healthy options makes for a well-rounded, quick, and easy lunch. I’m definitely looking forward to trying their other varieties!

Have you tried any of the Lean Cuisine “Culinary Chic” dinners?
What do you usually have for lunch?

Disclaimer: I have partnered with Lean Cuisine through DailyBuzz Food to help promote their new line of Chef’s Pick products. I have been compensated for my time commitment to work with this product. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments. Thank you Lean Cuisine!

Treat Yourself

This post was supposed to be published on Friday morning. However, after sitting down to my computer to put the finishing touches on it, I was immediately distracted by the awful events that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut. Now I’m not one to talk about politics, gun laws, mental health issues, etc., but a horrible event such as this cannot go unmentioned. It wouldn’t be right for me to post about delicious chocolate covered strawberries and how you deserve to treat yourself every once in awhile, while ignoring current events. My heart goes out to everyone that was affected.


A few weeks ago I was asked if I would be interested in trying some Harry & David chocolate covered strawberries. Never being one to turn down chocolate, I happily accepted and was thrilled to find a pretty teal box waiting for me when I got home from work last week. I’ve been so wrapped up in buying gifts and being in the spirit of giving, I haven’t taken much time to do anything for myself. So these strawberries were the perfect treat!


I’m always fascinated when perishable foods are shipped – I expect them to arrive in less than stellar condition, but I’m always pleasantly surprised. They always come with reusable ice packs, which are always handy in a household of runners. After admiring the box (which I absolutely plan on re-using for gifts!) and the pretty bow, I tore into the strawberries. Each strawberry had its own compartment, and was surrounded by foam to keep it in place. I imagine this helped keep the strawberries fresh and bruise-free, which brings me to my next point.


The strawberries were so fresh! These weren’t just your average grocery store sized strawberries – they were big, plump, and juicy. Though I love strawberries, I usually shy away from them at the grocery store for a few reasons; they go bad so quickly, and they are generally just not impressive. So cover some plump and juicy strawberries in chocolate, and you have yourself a winner. These strawberries had a mixture of white and milk chocolate and made a surprisingly thick coating. Admittedly I couldn’t wait and dug right in. While I love strawberries, the chocolate definitely stole the show for me – it wasn’t just chocolate simply used to cover the strawberries, it was delicious in it’s own right. I would absolutely purchase these for myself, or a friend!

So in this time of giving, make sure to take a time-out for yourself, too. You deserve it. And don’t forget… Life is for one thing – living.

Disclaimer: These chocolate covered strawberries were sent to me free of charge, in return for my honest feedback. All opinions are my own. 

Product Review: Ghiradelli Luxe Chocolates

Like I mentioned a few weeks ago, blogging rules. Specifically, food blogging. As a Featured Publisher and member of the Tastemaker program on Foodbuzz, I get to try yummy things every so often. A few weeks ago, I got a sample pack containing three flavors of Ghiradelli’s new luxe line of chocolates.

I’m a huge chocolate fan, so I jumped at the offer for a sample. I’m not big on candy, but I’ll never turn down chocolate. I especially won’t turn it down when there’s nuts involved. The three pieces I received were milk, hazelnut, and almond. Even though they were just little squares of chocolate, being the good fiancée that I am, I shared.

I was least excited about the milk chocolate, and most excited for the hazelnut. I’m a serious fan of hazelnuts, and it’s my go-to coffee flavor. I like almonds, too, but wasn’t expecting anything special, as a lot of chocolates have an almond variation. While milk chocolate is the most common, I always gravitate to dark – milk is just average in my eyes. So I started with my least favorite, and it was a great start. I knew that even if it didn’t get any better, it was at least pretty darn good! As I continued on to almond, the flavor grew. For both the almond and hazelnut, there was actually a lot of nut in the chocolate. Usually, the additional flavor is minuscule, but Ghiradelli didn’t hold back. Of course, hazelnut wound up being my favorite, but it barely won out over almond. While savoring each square, I began dreaming up recipes where these chocolates could be melted down and combined into pure deliciousness.

After sharing with my fiancé, I was disappointed there wasn’t more. The chocolate is super rich and creamy, in a simply decadent way. It definitely earned it’s “luxe” name. I’m looking forward to getting some to enjoy as a treat every so often!