Posts filed under ‘Restaurants’
Oh, hello there.
Have you forgotten about me?
So this time, I have a legitimate excuse for my prolonged absence. As I was walking home from work Thursday, I was hit by a car. Some of you may have seen me mention it on Twitter, but after that, I took a short break from the world for a few days.
Let’s backpedal a bit — to answer the question that everyone is asking, yes, I’m okay. Everyone has been so nice and I really appreciate everyone asking if I’m okay – it means a lot! :) Now, as to how it happened?
Well, it was about 6:30 and I was rushing to catch a bus to my friend’s house to make cake balls for her boyfriend’s birthday. I was crossing the intersection right outside my building, and I had the green light and cross signal. As I was approaching the other side of the intersection, I still had about 23 seconds left on the crosswalk timer. A car had turned left from the cross street, and was waiting for me to finish crossing. Unfortunately, a cab driver behind the car decided he couldn’t wait an additional five seconds, so he cut around the side of the stopped car and, without seeing me, was going to drive through. He saw me in time not to kill me, thank God, but I didn’t see him coming and he hit me hard enough to knock me off my feet.
I was pretty stunned and it took a second to realize what had happened, and a few nice people rushed over to help me up and make sure I was okay. Long story short, I called 911 (but declined an ambulance) and made sure the cop wrote him a severe ticket. She was incredibly nice and didn’t make me feel like an idiot for crying in the middle of the street. She also let me know that she wrote him a ticket for a municipal code violation, instead of a traffic ticket, so he couldn’t get out of it with just a fine. The cab driver was nice enough and completely agreed with me in that the accident was entirely his fault, but he broke the law — plain and simple — so despite how nice of a guy he may be, I was still furious.
AND…he ruined my favorite pair of shoes. Not pleased.
More than anything, I’m incredibly thankful that I wasn’t hurt worse, or killed. It could have been so, so much worse. It takes things like this sometimes for you to see how your life could truly change forever in an instant, and to be thankful for every second you have with the people you love.
Thankfully, the friend who I was on my way to see (and the aforementioned boyfriend) are both lawyers, so they came and picked me up to make sure I was okay . It was funny, because the boyfriend even happens to be a personal injury lawyer — or as my friend says it, “Psh – he’s the ambulance chaser.” Hah.
We went back to her apartment, but not before stopping for beer, some random fruit from the grocery store, and ordering Thai and tacos (random!) for delivery. She’s a good friend.
I helped her make some decorations and goodies for her boyfriend’s surprise party that was going to be on Saturday while sipping my beer and munching on our random dinner spread. We also watched trashy tv. It was the absolute best remedy for such a crappy day.
Thursday night, I emailed my boss and let her know that I was going to get into work late so I could sleep in and see how I would feel the next morning. I was right, and I felt pretty sore and kind of shaken up, so I was glad that I had built in some time to take it easy. I made some coffee when I woke up and nibbled a small breakfast, got a little work done, then got started on making some homemade pesto!
Into the Magic Bullet went:
- 1 oz fresh basil
- 2 chopped cloves of garlic
- 1/3-1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 1.3 cup walnuts
- 1/3 cup (plus more as necessary for ease of blending) good quality olive oil
- a few grinds of sea salt
You may have heard me rambling about this on Twitter, but not everyone is on Twitter all the time like I am (hanging my head in shame here), so I figured this would be easier.
The idea for a Chicago blogger meetup has been bouncing around (well, another meetup if you count our party of four!) and I wanted to gauge interest! I know a few who are already in, but please leave a comment (anyway) if you’d be game, and let me know if that date/time would work. The loose consensus was that Thursday, August 11 would be good, and I was thinking around 7pm. I know that’s sort of far away, but if your summer schedule is anything like mine, time slots fill up fast!
No wonder I woke up feeling like death today.
Or, more specifically,
I have a teeny apartment, and two kitties. Indoor dust and dander is bad enough as it is…yeesh. I need to vacuum more frequently, but sometimes I honestly think vacuuming makes it worse!
Dinner last night with my family (for Dad’s birthday) was great! We went to this old school Italian place in Little Italy called Salatino’s — note the checkered red tablecloth! The weather was perfect so we sat outside and enjoyed each other’s company as well as the nice breeze and the great view of the city. I ordered their homemade rigatoni dish, with San Marzano tomato sauce (the best kind!) and homemade sausage. I initially ordered it with whole wheat pasta, but at the last minute switched it back, thinking the boxed whole wheat wouldn’t be anywhere near as good as the homemade. I was right!
The portion was huge! I think I ate between 1/3 and 1/2, but I wasn’t paying super close attention because we were having such a good time. I also had some rapini that I ordered on the side for some green. It wasn’t that great — too much olive oil, no salt and red pepper flakes — whaa?? Weird preparation.
I also sipped on a glass of prosecco throughout the night, and nibbled on 3 small pieces of tomato sauce-dipped bread. YUMMM.
Going to pick up my race packet (!!!) after work today, then hitting up the grocery store because I ran out of veggies — even my frozen backup stash!! Heavens no. Instead of writing down a second list to copy what I had on my dry erase board, I just took a picture on my phone. Because I’m cool like that. And lazy.
Technology: 1, Laura’s handwriting: 0. (Do you like how it says email grandma? Haha)
I am a tired lady. My sleeping schedule is seriously out of whack at the moment…I’m finding myself staying up as late as I used to in college! Not that I’m too far out of college now or anything (I graduated in 2009), but since I’m now an “adult” and have an “adult job,” I have to be more responsible about getting a good night’s sleep so I can work hard. Last night I was up until at least 3…It wasn’t intentional, but I get such a burst of energy at night that I find it hard to imagine going to sleep when there are so many other things I could be doing!
Definitely drank a giant iced coffee this morning, made half and half with almond milk.
Part of the reason I was up so late is that I worked from home yesterday and got a late start. I focused and worked hard, but it was one of those days where nothing was going right and I couldn’t get the answers I needed to get things done. It was very frustrating, so I ended up working later than I planned to try and get more done. I worked most of the day at Caribou, but this time only bought a large iced tea and brought lunch from home — a small turkey, goat cheese and avocado sandwich on whole wheat and a few strawberries (not pictured).
I finally got home and made dinner around 9, and stuck to a simple combo of whole wheat rigatoni, marinara sauce, pecorino cheese, a Trader Joe’s chicken sausage and some asparagus on the side. It was simple, hearty and delicious.
So as much as I hate doing so, I have gotten back on the calorie tracking bandwagon. I am by no means obsessive about counting calories (I think those people who know the count of every single food offhand are a little neurotic), but I’ve realized that it’s really important to help keep portion sizes in check and to make sure I’m not unknowingly going completely overboard with my daily intake. I know that I need to set small goals for myself in order to make continuous and long-lasting changes toward a healthier lifestyle.
It’s one thing to eat three slices of pizza for dinner — anyone with an ounce of sense knows that this is a caloric meal and, if they’re trying to watch their intake, can compensate to a pretty close balance. That’s not an issue for me. My problem is all the really healthy, nutritious, but calorically dense food that I eat. I love healthy food — I love seeing how many superfoods and nutrient-dense things I can pack into my day, and seeing the benefits both in how I look and feel (hello, glowing skin!). But things like nut butter, chia seeds, Greek yogurt, olive oil, avocado….all these things are very calorically dense. I love all of them, so after tracking my portions and calories very closely, I’ve realized that I usually eat more of these things than I need. Sure, I can balance it out with fewer calories from other things throughout the day, but I doubt I would be satisfied or full if I wanted to stick to the same intake goals.
My point is, as much as I despise calorie counting and feel that it can border on obsessive or disordered in some ways if you’re not careful, I think it’s an important tool that can be used periodically to help make sure you’re sticking to the nutrient and calorie intake that your body needs, but not more than your body needs. My problem isn’t too many cookies or chips — it’s the freakin’ avocado!
On a similar note, I’ve noticed that while tracking on Livestrong.com/The Daily Plate that I almost always go over the fiber and protein “nutrient goals” they set. Fiber didn’t faze me at all — lots of fiber is awesome and most people don’t get nearly enough. But the too much protein thing really surprised me! They’re suggesting I need only 41g per day which I don’t think is anywhere near enough (for health, satiety, muscles, etc), so I decided to look up how much protein I (& women in general) really need per day.
As I suspected, I actually need more than twice as much protein as Livestrong initially told me. I’m guessing they just suggest the bare minimum since most people don’t get enough (or get far, far too much) protein, but I was still really surprised to see such a disparity. Interesting! Glad I have been making sure to get plenty and not listening to Mr. Armstrong ;)
One major accomplishment I made last night was finally setting up my wireless router. Even though I moved into my current apartment at the beginning of May, I neglected to set up a wireless connection for a variety of reasons, the main being laziness, but also because my apartment is very small. I could easily leave my laptop on my coffee table next to the modem I needed to plug it into, and it was never really a problem — just a slight annoyance, the biggest drawback being not being able to use my laptop in bed. I think overall that’s probably a good thing, but I suppose I’ll find out soon enough now that I have wireless!
Funnily enough, the only reason I couldn’t figure out how to set up the router was a faulty Ethernet cable! I thought I was going crazy or at the very least had lost my techie prowess because I couldn’t figure out this silly router for the life of me (it was used, but handed over by my parents so still in great condition). As it turned out though, the cord they included was just busted. As soon as I tried a new one (why didn’t I think of that sooner!) and followed the simple steps on the LinkSys website, I was up and running in no time! Hallelujah!
Another major accomplishment last night was making my first protein muffin, the ones that Gina is always raving about! I wanted a dose of protein (how appropriate!) but also something dessert-y. I know I’m always saying I’m not a sweets person, but for some reason lately I’ve been craving sweets much more than usual. Maybe I’m just not a junk food, processed sugary crap type of person? Even as a kid, I thought Sour Patch Kids and gummi worms were disgusting; they always gave me stomach aches!
I did a pumpkin-chocolate combo for the muffin and it turned out delicious! It was almost like a brownie, but it also wasn’t very low-cal either…I’ll post pictures and the recipe I used later, but I have a feeling I’ll be experimenting with this recipe quite a bit going forward, tweaking it to at least make it the ultimate brownie!
I’m off to finish some work and eat my lunch, then I’m having dinner in Little Italy with my parents for my dad’s birthday! I cant’ wait! Due to the freezing AC in my building, lunch is a steamy cup of lentil veggie soup (in my favorite mug!) and a cold, crunchy salad. I also brought a cup of tasty fruit that I cut up. Have a great day!
I am totally beat today, guys. My weekend certainly gave me a beating. I’ll do a more in-depth rundown later (complete with a couple hilarious pictures), but I wanted to pop in and say hello first. (Plus, I totally can’t focus at work right now…heh).
Part of the reason? PACKAGES!
Confession: I’m totally obsessed with Amazon. I use it to buy almost everything I need, if it can be found on the site. I have purchased everything from chia seeds, to bedding, to appliances and, of course, books. Most recently, I ordered a fabric shower curtain liner (because the makeshift, plastic-y gross one I bought was overstaying its intended temporary welcome), a lunch bag, and a spillproof bottle for smoothies when I take them to work as breakfast. I can’t help myself when it comes to Amazon — their one-click ordering is a TERRIBLE, yet oh-so wonderful invention. Whenever my bank account is burnin’ a hole in my pocket, I go wild with the ‘Zon.
Side note: I’ve noticed that the Fitnessista, Allie (FFF) and Tina (Carrots n Cake) all have really neat to-go-smoothie bottles (especially Fitnessista). Mine are lacking. Anyone else have any other cool finds?
I picked up this guy:
I got it in this nifty green color, although now I’m sort of wishing I had gone with the pink ;) I haven’t tried it out yet, but I can’t wait to give it a test run soon! Should be a great addition to my collection, where I already have a Life Factory and a Camelback, and can be used for the gym too. I love fun water bottles :)
I’m super-duper excited about the lunch bag. Since I bring my lunch to work almost every day now, it’s starting to look a little pathetic when I roll in with a plastic Walgreens bag. I figured I should splurge a bit with the money saved from packing a lunch, and get myself a proper lunch tote. It finally got here, and I’m so pumped!
Please excuse the crappy camera phone pictures. I don’t usually have my good cam with me at work.
This is from Built, and it’s the “Gourmet Getaway Lunch Tote.” It’s insulated, which is great.
It seems like this will have room for everything I need and more, but won’t get too bulky or cumbersome (even though it looks huge in these pictures). It has several folded areas that helps it conform to whatever shape it takes from the stuff inside, and the handles are also obviously very handy (ba dum chhhhh! zing!). I can’t wait to carry this in every day!
It should be able to hold all my goodies, like this:
Seeing a common theme here? ;)
I finally snapped a pic of my Greek Quinoa Salad + salad combo, since this is like the bajillionth time I’ve had it for lunch. It’s just so good!
How scrumptious does that look?? With this batch, I subbed cannellini beans for chickpeas, because it was what I had on hand, but I didn’t like it as much. I also brought some black cherry Chobani and blueberries to have on the side, but haven’t eaten them yet since I’ll be at work late.
Not posting the pic of the shower curtain liner because…well, it’s a shower curtain liner.
Really though, is there anything more exciting that getting fun stuff in the mail?
I actually ordered this stuff weeks ago, but it came in two separate shipments (there is an additional re-usable travel cup still on its way), so I didn’t think much of it when I didn’t receive the stuff right away. Usually when I order “essentials” or housewares on Amazon, it’s not urgent, so I don’t mind waiting around for the stuff to get there. When I finally got around to wondering where my stuff was, I logged onto Amazon and saw that my package had apparently already been delivered, to my apartment, over a week ago.
This didn’t make sense because I definitely didn’t see the package in our mailbox area. I tried to call USPS to figure out what was going on, but I quickly learned that their automated phone system is THE ABSOLUTE WORST, akin to what you would expect from post office service. I must have gone in circles through the same menu six or seven times before hanging up. Ugh.
I called Amazon, and they assured me that the package had been delivered according to the records (I told them that yes, I saw this too when I looked it up, but I definitely didn’t have the package). Having worked in customer service for years, I really make a strong effort to be nice and courteous to the person on the phone (unless they are a total asshole and/or rude to me) because I remember how much easier that made it for me to fix problems when people would call in. The lady on the phone had to put me on hold several times, so I was expecting them to apologize and tell me that I just had to suck it up and eat the cost of the lost package. But to my surprise, she came back and told me that if the package didn’t arrive on my doorstep by that night, they would ship out a replacement, no questions asked. I was so happy! Amazon seriously has the whole customer service thing nailed — they won’t fight with you, you’ll get a human being on the phone within 15 seconds of calling, and they always follow up to make sure they’ve solved the issue. I was so happy and will continue to buy things through Amazon if their price is best (which it usually is!).
On that note, US Postal Service: YOU SUCK. I wish it were easier to avoid using them, but at least I can do so for most packages.
I ate lots of crap this weekend. I kept portion sizes in check, which felt great, and also made sure to compensate by eating clean and smaller portions throughout the day when I knew I’d be eating junk later in the day. On Saturday night, my friend Megan came into town and we hit up DMK since she had never been there before. Like my last visit, I ordered the #2. We also split the bacon + blue cheese fries (small portion) and the fried okra + pickles (YUM). I also had a delicious fancy drink before dinner came, but I can’t remember the name. Again, please excuse the poor photos — it was so dark inside!
I walked away a very happy girl, mmm.
On Friday night, some of this stuff was consumed while relaxing with some new friends on a torch-lit back patio:
Even though there were lots of festivities, I kept my drink consumption to 1-2 drinks each night, with the exception of Saturday, which was a girls’ night ;) That’s a whole different animal, my friends.
I’ll update ya on my comings and goings on Sunday and Monday later, as well as some more info about the latest running injuries I’m dealing with :/ Blegh!
Have a great rest of your day! And just for laughs, a hilarious post-5k picture in my full Pride gear. Enjoy :D
Well, hello there. *Wink*
After my rough evening last night, I felt like I really treated myself well today.
My lunch went undocumented because I scarfed it up so quickly. Seriously — you gotta make this Greek quinoa salad. It’s easy as pie, keeps well, and tastes incredible!
And for the record, Trader Joe’s organic pea shoots are SO TASTY. They’re like a cross between sprouts and sugar snap peas.
I left work a little early because I needed to get to a doctor’s appointment by 5:15. As I mentioned before, I was dealing with some health issues that were really stressing me out. Well, after today’s appointment, I finally feel like I can rest a little easier.
I’ve always had a lot of moles all over my body, but never really thought much of it. Recently, though, I have noticed that several were oddly colored, oddly shaped, or would get raised or itchy when I would get a sunburn. After silently stressing about it for far too long, I finally went to my doctor and asked her about it, thinking she would shrug it off as nothing.
Unfortunately, she didn’t do that — she told me to make an appointment with a dermatologist right away to have them looked at. I was super freaked out, but didn’t let my fears get too out of control before seeing the derm. Two weeks ago today, I headed to the doctor, unsure of what she would say. After looking at the three or four that I pointed out, she told me that two were unusual looking, but not overtly cancerous-looking. She wanted to remove them anyway and have them biopsied and sent off to a lab to check for cancerous cells.
I don’t know if I’ve told you guys, but I am completely, utterly, absolutely terrified of needles. It’s a legitimate phobia — one that I know is totally irrational, but one that I can’t seem to shake. I’ve gotten much better about it in recent years, but it’s like no matter what my mind says, my body just totally freaks out. What that means? I faint.
Yep, I faint every time I get a shot. So after they injected the lidocaine into the two spots to be biopsied, I laid there patiently in my paper gown, waiting for the procedure to be over, breathing deeply — in and out, in and out. That is, until I started to feel lightheaded…I’ve fainted enough times to know what it feels like before it happens, but let me tell ya — you don’t have much time to get that message across.
Before I could finish my, “I think I feel lightheaded..” sentence, I was out cold.
Oh, and I pissed all over the place.
Yes, let’s just sit here for a second and let that sink in. I peed all over myself and the exam table at the dermatologist’s office. For the record, I was unconscious, so it wasn’t inentional. I feel lik this is obvious, but just wanted to, ya know, throw it out there. I debated for quite awhile whether I wanted to post about it, since it was pretty embarrassing, but ultimately it was more hilarious than anything. I think the
most humiliating best part was having to throw out my underwear, and then being sent home with a pair of bright blue paper underwear, reserved for liposuction patients. In white jeans. My life really should be a sitcom sometimes.
Well, I went back today, two weeks after the pee incident, and received the incredible news that the lab results came back negative, meaning nothing showed up cancerous. One of the moles had “abnormal architecture,” which basically meant it could potentially have turned into something down the road, but it was removed completely so it won’t be an issue. Needless to say, I am so incredibly relieved.
After leaving the doctor’s office feeling like a million pounds had been lifted off my shoulders, I had planned on meeting up with a few friends for drinks and dinner. Sadly, our plans fell through, but I had a serious hankering for pizza since our plan was to hit up Piece in Wicker Park. So… I decided to improvise.
I toasted a FlatOut Wrap in a cookie sheet in the oven for 5-7 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Then I added all the goodies.
And cooked it for 7 minutes or so in the oven at 375 degrees. This bad boy started with some Whole Foods marinara, then I added a hefty layer of baby spinach, some sliced red pepper, halved cherry tomatoes, crumbled goat cheese, garlic gold and red pepper flakes.
It was SOOOOOOOOO good. Just what I wanted, and healthy to boot. I didn’t calculate the calories, but now I’m sort of curious. Certainly it’s gotta be better than restaurant pizza, anyway ;)
After taking some time to clean up (but I’m still not even close to being finished) and letting my food settle, I got myself ready for the gym and headed out the door. Unfortunately, the sky was green and I felt a few rogue sprinkles coming down, so I dashed back inside and grabbed my umbrella. The last time we had a big storm, I was unprepared…
I thought I looked too hilarious and SOAKED not to take a picture. Check out those sexy raccoon eyes! ;) Hubba hubba.
Anyway, I got about ten feet down the street toward the gym when it started to pour. The sky turned black and the wind picked up out of nowhere, it was so neat. I love storms, so instead of giving up and going back home, I decided to wait under an awning for the storm to pass, or at least for the rain to slow down. It took a good ten minutes before my umbrella would have even made a difference, so I was really proud of sticking it out and keeping up wtih my commitment to hit the gym.
Because my legs are still having issues (shin splints, IT band and knee pain, blegh), I decided to take it easy and read my new issue of Women’s Health on the recumbent bike for a good 40 minutes, then I hit the elliptical for another ten. By that point, it was actually hailing, so everybody at the gym was just glued to the windows, mouths agape. Let me tell you — this was good motivation to stay at the gym and keep working out! Haha.
I did some wall squats, which I’ve read are easier on your knees and also strengthen your gluteus medius, which is supposed to help with knee pain. I also did some hip raises (I’m pretty sure my hips are super weak because my running gait is all sorts of wrong) and shoulder + chest exercises. Finally, I finished off with a good ten minutes with the foam roller of death. It hurt, but I could tell I needed it badly. I really need to get one of my own for home.
When I got back, I needed a snack and couldn’t figure out what I was craving at first. After looking through the fridge for a minute, I decided to top a toasted Kashi waffle with some whipped cream cheese and a little fig spread, then topped it with a sprinkle of chia seeds. This was beyond delicious — I think I could eat this every day of my life and not get sick of it.
Sorry my pictures are kind of blurry — I’m not quite sure why I’m still so sucky at snapping my food!
Speaking of which, I realized I never posted pictures from my dinner with Allie and Mel at Karyn’s the other night. I had two undocumented (aka too delicious to remember to take their picture) drinks — a caipirinha and a Sazerac, and we shared an arugula, potato and Daiya pizza to start.
I had two slices, and while I’m not a huge fan of Daiya, this was pretty tasty. The heaping mass of fresh arugula really made it fresh and delicious.
For my main meal, I had their “chicken” drumsticks. They were served with barbecue sauce, which was sweet and delicious, and reminded me of Sweet Baby Ray’s, and some spinach and sweet potato hash. I ate the whole thing! The chicken was made out of seitan and was perfectly crispy on the outside, and very “meaty” on the inside. I was surprised by how good they were.
Again, sorry for the blurriness. But how lovely is that presentation?? I think I moved it around a little bit before taking this, so it didn’t look quite as asymmetrical when they first brought it over ;)
Anywho, I’m going to get a little work done, then hop in bed with my book. I’m currently splitting my time between The Hunger Games and More Than It Hurts You. They’re both excellent and I can’t wait to finish them.
Thanks for all your kind words and comments lately — you guys are so great :)
Sometimes I have to laugh at the ridiculousness of my life. I was in the middle of my lunch and realized that I needed to go downstairs to switch my laundry out. Since my cats are fatty vultures, they will immediately jump up and sniff/lick/consume any food or drink that I leave out, regardless of what it is. For this reason, I am always balancing or hiding my food in weird places when I walk away. Today, my lunch was perched on top of the fridge for ten minutes.
I had a delicious open-faced turkey sandwich with TJ’s sliced goat cheese and 1/3 of an avocado, and a salad with chopped romaine, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, yellow bell pepper and TJ’s champagne pear vinaigrette. I just picked up some sliced turkey from the deli yesterday after finishing off the gross pre-packaged turkey I bought last time when the deli was closed. It was the natural, no preservatives kind, but still — that stuff is so slimy and just not tasty. I prefer Boar’s Head ovengold much more :)
See the little flecks of Gorgonzola in the dressing? Mmmm! It’s pretty low-cal too, I think only 45 calories in a serving. I always keep this stuff in the fridge because it makes any salad taste like it came from a restaurant.
Half a banana was also enjoyed on the side.
I was able to sleep in and work from home today (yayyy work-from-home Wendesdays!) and it’s a good thing too, because it’s bleary and rainy out! It seemed like it was actually pretty nice out up until about 1 o’clock, but I was a good little worker bee and stayed inside near the computer, so I can’t be sure. Now it’s raining pretty steadily though, and it’s nice to have the sound in the background while I’m working away.
Yesterday after leaving work, I hopped on the bus to find that it was uber-crowded, so I had to stand up at the very front next to the driver, and it felt like I was playing a video game or something. I was RIGHT up against the windshield. Traffic was bad, so I downloaded a new phone app that is similar to the Hipstamatic for the iPhone and played around with it. Here is an overly-Hipsteresque shot of my ridiculously treacherous-looking spot on the bus.
Crazy, no? That happens from time to time on the bus because it’s the very last stop before it runs express up Lake Shore Drive. It was a beautiful day with tons of people running and biking along the lake shore path, with lots of sailboats out on the water too, but I couldn’t snap a decent enough shot. Sorry! Here’s another.
This app is so neat, I can’t wait to play around with it more. Expect many more hipster-y, vintage-looking pictures in the future!
When I got home, I made a quick run (hah!) to the grocery store to pick up some supplies for the evening’s activities. I seriously don’t think I can leave a grocery store with a bill under $50. Honestly. I think it’s impossible. Thankfully it was still lower than it would have been normally, because strawberries were $1.50 a pack!!! Talk about a kid in a candy store — I went nuts, and left with four packages :D
My friend Laura met me in front of my apartment soon after, and after dropping off the groceries, we walked over to a new restaurant that just opened in the neighborhood called Taverna 750. Immediately after seeing the signs and menu go up a few weeks ago, I knew I had to try this place. It had lots of small plates, homemade cellos (limoncello, orangecello, etc) and a fantastic drink list, all with an Italian twist.
I started off with their signature 750 cocktail, which was very similar to a cosmopolitan, but was made with homemade limoncello and came with a sidecar!
It was STRONG, but very delicious. And how cute is the little sidecar in a bucket of ice? The drink was $10, but I felt like I really got my money’s worth with the extra little carafe. Of course I shared with Laura, and she got a shooter of homemade pistachio-cello. It was sweet and very smooth!
Next we each received our own antipastos. She got a chilled carrot soup, and I got a mozzarella dish wrapped in phyllo dough…they were both amazing.
We shared two small plates after that: a slow-roasted pork shoulder in a tomato sauce with creamy polenta and a pesto drizzle (OMG), and a “pizzette” with brie, figs, pepperoni and poppy seeds (OMG!). This is my kind of restaurant.
The polenta was SO creamy and amazing, and paired with the savory meat and sauce, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I will never turn down slow-roasted pork shoulder, it’s one of my favorite dishes. The pizza was amazing too, and I thought the poppy seeds (typo alert – I wrote “poopy seeds” at first…heh) were such a neat and unexpected addition. I can’t wait to come back and try everything on their menu!
For dessert, Laura and I planned on making strawberry rhubarb pie (!) after I texted her earlier in the day saying that it sounded really good (drawback of looking at food all day for work). When we looked at some of the recipes, though, it seemed like the combination of a few tired girls and my very small kitchen might mean we should pick something a little easier. We decided (after a stiff cocktail, of course) that Emeril’s Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble with Irish Whiskey Butter sounded perfect to these two lushes.
I have to admit, this dessert was very good, but it was far too sweet for my tastes. I have never been a big dessert or sugar person, and hardly eat much of it from day to day, so when I try something really sweet, it usually turns me off. While the taste was fantastic, I had a hard time adjusting to the sweetness with that first bite. The sauce was also very sweet, so I needed to gulp down a gigantic glass of water after a few tastes.
I think next time (if there is a next time), I’d make this with 1/3 of the sugar or even less, since the strawberries were so naturally sweet. I would also try to figure out a way to make the sauce with less sugar, because once that melted into the crumble, it was just that much more sugar. If you’re a big sweets fan though, this would definitely be for you!
I decided to have dessert after my lunch today, and mixed a small portion of leftover SR crumble into a big blob of Fage 0% and sprinkled a little cinnamon on top — I think this was the key here. The yogurt’s tang really set off some of the sweetness of the dessert, and the insanely indulgent creaminess of the Fage (seriously, this stuff is worth the splurge — it is leaps and bounds beyond every other Greek yogurt out there) contrasted nicely with the crunch of the crumble.
You better believe I licked the bowl clean! Yum.
I have a bit more work to do today, and I’m multitasking by doing some long-overdue laundry that has been staring at me for weeks. There are about nineteen piles of clean clothes on my bed, and every hanging surface available is covered in clothes hanging dry. I’d like to get to the gym at some point before it gets too late, but I have a feeling this is going to take a looooong time tonight…wish me luck.
Catch ya later!
I was browsing though the dictionary, looking for the antonym of punctual — and it turns out that it’s actually “unpunctual.” Hmph. I hate that word, so I have decided to confirm what many people already know with the word “laggard.” It means someone who takes more time than necessary, or constantly lags behind.
I was super late to work today. My sleeping schedule is completely off (think washing the dishes and folding laundry at 2:30 last night) so I have had a really hard time getting up in the mornings. Since I am running my first 5k in less than 2 weeks, I really need to kick up my exercise schedule a notch if I plan on not…well you know, dying during the race. I know I can run 5k, it’s just a matter of how embarrassed I’ll be with my time.
But since there are so many amazing things to do in Chicago in the summer, it’s really hard to commit to doing anything after work, since usually there are a thousand free concerts, festivals, happy hours or simple icy-cold drink-fuled hangouts to be had instead. Why the hell would I want to be huffing away in the gym when I could be drinking an Oberon by the lake? Pfft!
I’ve been able to work with this problem a little bit by scheduling a few runs with friends after work, which is a great way to catch up and chat while getting some huffing & puffing in (not to mention being able to wander around the city, one of my favorite activities!), but I can guarantee that those runs will ALWAYS take a back seat to booze, music and sittin’ outside in the sun.
What’s a social butterfly like me to do?
This is why I need to exercise in the morning. Duh. But um, how exactly can I do that when I can’t even get up on time for work? I’m completely stumped — how does everyone seem to be able to juggle a social life (read: staying out late) while still being able to wake up and be a functioning adult? This isn’t me waxing poetic here, I need some advice — Help!!
I had a pretty decent weekend. Friday after work, I met up with a few friends for beers at one of my favorite bars in Chicago, Guthrie’s Tavern. It’s a bit divey (just how I like em!), has a great (and cheap!) beer list, and provides board games for you to play for free! We snatched up Scrabble and chatted for a bit before diving in.
Somehow, I grew up without ever having played Scrabble (criminal, right?) so this was only the second (third?) time I had ever played in my life (the first being on a date….with a guy who was VERY good at Scrabble. He thought I was a complete moron and never called me again. Oops). I killed though! I still lost, but only because my friend stumbled into a ridiculous coincidence of a word and won in the last five minutes. I still won in my head!
Saturday was sort of a crapshoot of a day; I was supposed to meet some friends for the Old Town art festival, but apparently AT&T’s reception crapped out because there were so many people there (shocker), so no one could get any calls through. I ended up sitting at home for a good chunk of the day waiting to hear from my friend who I was supposed to meet, but got really frustrated and annoyed because I never heard from her. I did get a good run in (perfect running weather — 60 & breezy!), and ended up walking across the street to do a few hours of work at Caribou, so the day wasn’t a total loss.
That night, I met up with Amy and we grabbed dinner at The Chicago Diner, a vegetarian and mostly-vegan restaurant with the slogan, “Meat-free since ’83!”
It’s right by my apartment, so I’ve walked past it a zillion times and had never been in it before. There’s always a huge line outside, and I’ve heard nothing but good things, so I was really excited to try it when Amy and I couldn’t agree on anything else except this place for dinner :) I love you Ames!
We both got veggie burgers — mine was a BBQ Bacon burger made out of seitan, and I topped it with Montery Jack cheese and avocado. It was SO GOOD. The texture of the seitan wasn’t weird or gross at all, and it was so flavorful and filling. It was also served with a side of sweet potato fries that were super crunchy and salty, the best and only way to serve them, IMO. I wish I had thought to take a picture, but I was too hungry and scarfed it down before the thought had even occurred to me!
I had an Oberon on the side, and since Amy and I had both heard about their amazing desserts, we decided to split a chocolate peanut butter cookie dough milkshake, completely vegan. Yes, you read that right.
It was made with a soy-based frozen ice-cream, and was TO-DIE-FOR. Not only was this bad boy rich, creamy, and free of any weird soy aftertaste, but the best part was that I didn’t feel gross, bloated or sick to my stomach at all afterward (since I am lactose intolerant). I’ve never been able to enjoy milkshakes, so this was VERY exciting! If you’re ever in Chicago and want to try an amazing veggie-friendly restaurant with classic diner food (they do offer eggs and dairy cheese, just no meat!), you’ve gotta give this place a try!
After dinner, I met up with some of my close friends who were in town for a bachelorette party, and hit a few bars with them. The bars they went to weren’t really my scene and were pretty overpriced, so I only had a few drinks and ended up going home in a bad (aka sad) mood.
I tried to sleep off the bad mood on Sunday, so after spending far too much time in bed, I got up and met Amy to head down to BluesFest! It’s a tradition for me to go every year since my Dad has been taking me since I was little, so I was psyched that Amy wanted to join me. We wandered around the fest a bit and picked up a few free samples (some not so great ZONE Perfect bars and some sickly-sweet soda — blegh!), then laid our blankets out in the sun to enjoy some of the great live music. It was a perfect way to spend the afternoon :)
We both were craving a drink afterward (but didn’t want to spend $13 for a nasty Bud Light at the fest), so we went out for tapas and sangria at Twist! after leaving the festival. We had a great meal and some seriously tasty peach sangria, but had the funniest/most awkward moment when we paid the bill. Apparently both of us had neglected to deposit enough money into our accounts over the weekend, so BOTH of our cards were declined at the same time (we split the bill). The waitress came back and tried to insist that something must have been wrong with the machine, but both of us knew better and just started cracking up. One of the reasons we are such good friends is that we have a problem with expensive dinners and shoe shopping :D
Awkward, yes. Embarrassing, yes. But totally hilarious? Of course!
I’ve got some more work to catch up on, then I’m planning on either meeting up with a friend for another free concert in Millennium Park, or a nice long run before the hot weather comes back to torture is (high of 70 today! love!). Hope you’re having a great Monday!!
To say that this month has been crazy would be the understatement of the year.
After telling my roommates that I would officially be moving out at the end of the month a few days ago, so began the mad dash to find and secure a new apartment. The two that I had considered subletting both fell through, and I was beginning to worry that nothing would work out. So I took a huge chance and decided to sign a one year lease on a studio apartment.
That’s right folks, I am finally going to be fulfilling my dreams of becoming a cat lady living in a studio apartment with two cats. This should be interesting.
The plan is to sublet my new place (the apartment company actually lets you put someone else on the lease, so it would technically be a re-let) when my friend Amy and I find a new apartment when her current lease is up. I feel like I’m playing a giant game of musical apartments!
But now the thought of packing my entire apartment up in a week and moving, all while starting my new job, is daunting to say the least. I am a seriously stressed girl right now. But I know that this will be the best thing for my sanity, or whatever is left of it. So…wish me luck!
Yesterday was my last day of work at my old company, so they sent me off with a lovely tradition called “B&D,” which stands for beer and Doritos. BEER AND DORITOS!!! Really, how awesome is that? The office gets together around 4 o’clock and socializes with a few cases of brew and bags of chips. After the beer ran out, we decided to keep going and headed over to a nearby brewery for a few more beers. I spent some time chatting with my former boss about the power structure at the company and had to hold in the laughter a few times — it’s always so interesting what goes on behind the scenes among the higher-ups at companies!
After that, a few of us split off to go meet Amy for more beers (are you seeing a pattern here?) and get dinner at DMK, an AMAZING grass-fed beef burger place that also happens to have incredible fries. I would have snapped a picture, but my phone was long-dead after a day at work (I tell ya, smartphones are great, but you REALLY need to carry an extra charger around with you if you want to be able to use it!).
I got the incredible #2, which had onion rings, blue cheese and their house made ketchup. The way the cook their burgers leaves them super crispy around the endges and…oh…I can’t go on, I’m drooling here.
As if I hadn’t had enough at that point, we decided (after drinking since 4, save for Amy) to go to another bar! But as we were leaving, I realized that my coat had disappeared! We looked all over the restaurant, but it seemed as if someone had either stolen it or taken it by mistake. Fortunately I only had my mace (hah) and my Chicago Card (public transit pass) in the pockets and not keys or my phone, but it was a nice coat and now I have to pay to replace my card, which I use multiple times per day. So frustrating!
At this point, I was upset about the coat and, again, had been drinking since 4….I had half a dreamsicle martini, spilled the other half all over the bar, then was given a free replacement by the very nice bartender — I thought that was so sweet! She probably shouldn’t have given me that second one though, as I proceeded to spill it all over my pants. Oy.
After getting shoved into a cab to ensure my safe arrival home, I stumbled into my bed and passed out.
Hi, my name is Laura and I’m a hot mess. Nice to meet you! :)
I’m off to do some shopping with my friend Allison in the hopes of finding a dress for a concert date I have tonight. Wish me luck, and please don’t call an intervention on me just yet!
This looks tasty, right?
This is what I had for breakfast #2 this morning. It seems simple enough — multigrain english muffin, egg white, cheddar cheese and turkey bacon.
Think again. While the calorie count and protein/fiber combo is great, the ingredient list isn’t any better than McDonald’s:
multigrain english muffin (unbleached enriched wheat flour [flour, malted barley flour, reduced iron, niacin, thiamin mononitrate (vitamin b1), riboflavin (vitamin b2), folic acid], water, whole wheat flour, farina, yeast, sugar, molasses, flaxseed, honey, wheat gluten, preservatives [calcium propionate, sorbic acid], salt, soybean oil, rye, corn cereal, dextrose, ground corn, monoglycerides, brown rice, oats, soybeans, triticale, barley, millet, caramel color, whey, soy flour, nonfat milk), egg white patty (egg whites, whey powder, unmodified corn starch, salt, nonfat dry milk, butter flavor [sunflower oil, natural flavors, medium chain triglycerides, palm kernal oil], xanthan gum, guar gum, liquid pepper extract), reduced fat cheddar cheese (pasteurized part-skim milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes, vitamin a palmitate), turkey bacon (turkey, water, sugar, salt, natural smoke flavoring, natural flavoring, cottonseed oil). contains: wheat, soy, egg, milk
Gross. Seriously, Starbucks — GROSS. You should be ashamed of yourselves for selling crap like this. It tasted good, but it would taste even better if I could pronounce half of the shit in here! Why does a “healthy” breakfast sandwich need caramel color, corn starch and “natural flavors,” which I feel I can safely assume means MSG.
Never buying this again. Lesson learned.