Posts tagged ‘restaurants’
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)
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!!
How was your weekend? Lovely and fun-filled, I hope — whether fun for you means vegging on the couch or out and about all day.
I had an interesting morning today; get this — I didn’t wake up feeling crabby.
I know — where did the real Laura go, right?!
A good part of yesterday was spent cleaning and attempting to reign in the complete organizational chaos that is my bedroom. I have never been an organized or particularly clean person, and when I don’t have proper space and storage capabilities, that mess is increased TENFOLD. My room almost always has stuff all over the floor (which is a paltry 5×10 little spot next to my bed) and if something isn’t on my nightstand, windowsill or dresser, it’s probably lost and gone forever.
Do you ever feel like your head is a mess when your living space is a mess?
The problem is also compounded by these guys:
Translation? Cat hair is everywhere. I feel like I am constantly picking and sweeping up little black tumbleweeds everywhere in my apartment, and especially in my room. Since it is so tiny, the fur has nowhere to go so most of it CLINGS desperately to my area rug and the rest clumps up together in corners. I kid you not, it is seriously gross.
Anyone have any suggestions for keeping pet hair/dander at bay, especially in small spaces? I brush them regularly, but with all the petting these little attention-seekers get, the hair is always coming off. (I vacuum and sweep frequently, of course).
Anyway, my long preamble was to explain why I felt so nice falling asleep and waking up after tidying up. I also have some squeaky clean sheets and a freshly made bed (you know, replacing the top sheet so it’s no longer bunched up on one side of the bed), which really makes for a deliciously luxurious night’s sleep, no? Maybe I should do that more often…
What I found made the biggest difference, however, was a surprisingly simple fix…
I opened my curtains!
Not only was I able to sneak in some fresh air since Chicago’s weather has been so nice, but the difference having a little sunlight in the morning really astounded me. It was easier to wake up on my own (although I still needed the alarm clock to actually get out of bed) and I just felt..well, happier! *facepalm* Duh, Laura…
My weekend was also full of good things. I got my first outdoor run in for the year, and was able to do so in a t-shirt and running capris. Talk about a mood booster! My mileage was average for indoors (for me, anyway) at 2.5 miles, but pretty darn good for outdoors! The pain in my knee is always an issue, so I have to be very careful when running outside, which is why I was so thrilled to make it all the way through my standard treadmill mileage! The sunshine didn’t hurt either ;)
I also spent most of Saturday with a certain someone and had the best time. I am almost afraid to talk about for fear of jinxing anything…as you may have noticed, I’m a total worry wort and overthink things way too much sometimes. But for now, I’m just trying to enjoy every second and try not to get too stuck in my head!
We went to dinner at a Japanese barbecue restaurant that I had never heard of before…it was so good! The best way I can describe it is a mix between Korean barbecue and fondue. There is a small grill in the middle of your table, then you order whatever combination of meats + veggies you want (they are served a la carte) and cook them yourself with a little set of tongs. It was so much fun, and I tried beef tongue for the first time…I was so nervous because, well, obviously it sounds nasty, but it was actually quite good.
There is a fun review of the restaurant here.
We went bowling afterward, then spent some time with his friends playing drinking games. My kind of night!
After some serious cleaning, I decided to hit up the gym yesterday with my Women’s Health book in tow. It had been a few days since I had really done any strength training (okay, five) so I really wanted to get back into it and feel the burn, baby.
And holy cow, am I sore!! I have slowly increasing my push up skills and can not only do many more than when I first started, but I can also do them better. Proper form really does make all the difference, and I have found that simply squeezing my glutes while doing push ups really improves the stabilization of my core (blegh, that was a mouthful). But you get the point — squeeze your buns and tighten your abs (whatever that means) while you’re pushin’, and your torso will stay straighter! Fun little tip from a newbie like me!
The rest of the workout included:
- body weight squats with shoulder raise
- single leg dead-lift with dumbbells
- standing supported dumbbell row
- hip raise with feet on a Swiss ball
- Swiss ball roll-out
- Swiss ball crunches
I think I’m missing one move in there after the squats but can’t remember what it was…Either way, I love these workouts. I really can’t endorse the WH Big Book enough — BUY IT!
My post-workout dinner last night was a delicious oven-fried chicken recipe I cobbled together from several online — I’ll post the recipe soon, because it was mighty tasty! I also picked up loads of veggies from WF, along with a few other things, so I’m excited to put together some fun meals this week…one of which will have an extra guest! :)
Adieu for now!
Yeah. So I still drank a bit too much.
My date last night doesn’t really deserve a full re-cap. I’m not sure I would recap every single detail anyway, regardless of how a date would go, but this one…well, it just needs to be forgotten.
It’s funny how you can surround yourself with pretty good people and forget that there are still so many pretentious a-holes out there. Hah. No, I don’t want to see a picture of your car on your phone, thank you.
I do have to thank this young man, however, for picking up the tab like a “gentleman” (I use this word liberally here), and treating me to some delicious drinks and food at two very tasty establishments. We first went to Sepia in the West Loop which has a really nifty, old-school vibe. It was also filled with white haired dudes in suits accompanied by much younger ladies, but we’ll leave that be….I had their delicious La Brasileña cocktail to start, then a Two Brothers Cane & Ebel and another wheatbeer, the name of which escapes me. Tasty!
We moved on to Gilt Bar and had some fantastic drinks (corn and oil, anyone?) and shared an even more fantastic meal of pork belly, lentils and brussels sprouts cooked with bacon. I never knew I liked brussels sprouts, but I suppose anything is delicious when drenched in bacon fat. Obviously I didn’t take a picture, but I highly recommend this place! We got to sit at the “kitchen bar” at his request as well, which was a fun experience. I ended the meal with a “dessert” of some sort of blood orange vodka something-or-other that was mixed with crushed ice. It tasted like a Tang slushie for grown-ups, and BOY was it good. That adds up to 5 quite strong drinks at this point, and only having food after drink #4. <—- buzzed girl. The whole meal was quite pricey, but thankfully my date picked up the tab.
After stumbling back home and laughing to myself about what a kooky evening I had, I collapsed into bed (not before knocking over a huge glass of water though!) and crashed. I woke up a few times throughout the night (a common effect of alcohol on your sleep cycle), but thankfully used those little interruptions to chug the (leftover) water I had at my bedside, so I woke up feeling just fine and dandy this morning!
Lunch today was the other burrito I picked up from the store, a HUGE cut up “Plain Jane” cucumber and some red seedless grapes. Boring, but tasty. I actually didn’t bring a lunch, and was going to run to the store (not very good budgeting!), but realized I had the extra burrito stashed in the freezer at work, as well as the grapes and cuke. Meal in a flash!
I wasn’t going to take a picture, but Kara started snickering at my snapping away of something else, so you can thank her for my wonderfully crummy photos :)
Have a great rest of your day!
Hi friends! Phew! Are you glad we’re already 1/5 through the week? I surely am :)
I had a nice, albeit interesting weekend. I spent some time Friday night doing the whole pizza and PJs thing to keep the mood light with a sad friend. We had a blast sipping wine and watching terrible horror movies, although I made the mistake of starting my glass (or 10) of wine post-workout but pre-dinner. Needless to say, I was a hot mess by the end of the evening. Glad I was among friends when I made a fool out of myself… *blush*
Saturday night I went out to dinner at Francesca’s Pizzeria on Clark and, as always, it was uh-mazing. If you didn’t know, I have a crazy obsession with Neapolitan pizza. I strayed a bit from my usual Bufalina (Margherita with bufala mozzarella) and got a Parmigiano with eggplant and parmesan subbed my favorite bufala for the regular mozzarella! Yum! My dinner companions each took two (albeit smallish) pieces home, but I sinfully gobbled down the entire thing. And it was soooo worth it.
That’s right, you’re reading that correctly: I had pizza two nights in a row. And I loved every second of it :D
Sunday was spent sleeping in (and sleeping late in my dictionary means LATE), hitting the gym and running errands. After a quick shower, my parents came into the city and took my brother, sister-in-law and me out to dinner! It was so much fun and the food was delish. We went to Mia Francesca in Wrigleyville, and between the three of us, got the same two dishes! So funny. I had a penne pasta with sausage, broccoli (which was subbed in place of peas, ick!) and a creamy tomato cream sauce. Of course I topped it with a healthy dose of fresh shredded parm as well :D It was good, but it was a bit difficult on my tummy because I’m moderately *gasp!* lactose intolerant!
I can handle most yogurt and a little bit of cheese, but ice cream and milkshakes, etc. are my enemies. It’s a good thing I don’t really like sweets! But this pasta from dinner Sunday night was heeeavy on the cream, and my tummy was not happy. I had leftovers for lunch today (along with a salad), but made sure to take a lactose pill beforehand :)
Chicago is on the brink of a blizzard, so everyone at work spent the day discussing how we were going to handle it. The news kept telling people to get their errands done today, because one the heavy snow starts tomorrow evening, they’re expecting white-out conditions! I should have hit the gym after work today since it’s unlikely I will get there tomorrow, but I have been dealing with some nasty knee pain that told me it’s time to give my knees a little rest. I think I am having IT band issues (a previous physical therapist had guessed this was the problem), so I made an appointment to see a chiropractor on Wednesday. Hopefully the impending blizzard won’t keep me from getting there!
For lunch last week as an attempt at redemption after my salty (semi) disaster, I made a modified version with no added salt, more veggies and shrimp! It turned out perfect. I mixed about 1/4 cup dry quinoa (whatever that translates to cooked!), two cut up kumatos, about 3 oz. cooked, peeled, de-veined shrimp (from TJ’s, eyeballed the portion), some sauteed leeks from cooking the shrimp and some fresh spinach to cook when reheated. I also topped it off with some Garlic Gold.
I just love quinoa. I can’t get over how easy it is to cook! A little after my lunch today, I cut up a blood orange for a snack.
Isn’t the color lovely? I learned today that blood oranges get their color from anthocyanins, which are heavy duty antioxidants! They prevent cancer and do all sorts of other fabulous things for your health.
I couldn’t help myself, they were so pretty!
For dinner, I switched up my recipe plans a bit since the chicken I had on hand smelled a bit funky. I’m nervous about chicken + salmonella, so I stuck it in the freezer to be inspected later… (this sounds even sillier when I type it out). I did make some shrimp though!
Spaghetti squash is surprisingly easy to make! All you do is roast it on a cookie sheet at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes. Then it’s time to shred, baby.
The flesh just sort of strings along as you scoop it out with the fork. It was fun!
It has a sort of crunchy texture, and a subtle, but buttery squash flavor. I popped the finished strands in the microwave to cook them a little more since it was still a bit crunchy, and that seemed to help. While that was happening, I was doing this:
Shrimpies, zukes + leeks! Can you tell that I love leeks? They are easier to slice than onions, have a sweeter flavor, and add a nice crunch to just about anything! The final product had a splash of veggie broth and a handful of spinach, some cut up red and yellow bell peppers and was topped with some Garlic Gold and an almost decadent amount of freshly grated parmesan.
How AMAZING does that look?? And see my lovely new microplane in the background? :)
It tasted even better than it looked. I think I would eat every single meal with garlic + parmesan cheese if I could. Well, maybe not my chocolate oatmeal!
It was a long day because I didn’t get very much sleep last night. I felt exhausted and sluggish at work, and had more on my plate than my brain could handle. I was very happy to head home, put on some pajamas, and pour myself a glass of wine.
It has already started snowing, so it will be quite an adventure waking up tomorrow. Although I can’t imagine we’ll get more than Tina over at Carrots ‘n’ Cake has been getting in Boston!
Bedtime for this girl. Goodnight!