Happy 2013 from Napa, California! I haven't made a New Years resolution in a long time, but this year, I want to blog more. I used to do it every day, and now I do it more like one time per month. It will be hard once I start classes again for the new semester, because my schedule is CRAZY! Regardless, it shouldn't be too hard for me to update recipes, exercises, and fun happenings with friends and family.
I was supposed to post this below in November when I had dinner with a small group of friends from school at Demera in Chicago, but I failed miserably. As I said before, being a student makes me a much less-reliable blogger. Don't let my low-blogging frequency put a damper post, though, because this place was awesome!
I have heard stories about Ethiopian food, and it never sounded that great to me. I thought it consisted of eating paste with your hands. It seemed more or less fun (if you can handle meals sans silverware), but not delicious. Once I immersed myself into the world of food, culture, and nutrition though, I learned that people I know actually like Ethiopian cuisine. Perhaps I could like it too.
With some research, I learned that Ethiopian food is not necessarily eating paste with your hands. It usually consists (most popularly) of a flavorful thick stew called wat
and bread called injera
that you use to mop up the wat. The injera is a thin, iron-rich bread with a spongy consistency that is made from fermented teff flour (source)
. Don't let the spongy consistency fool you; injera is very filling.
The top picture shows assorted types of wat on top of one large piece of injera. I was in charge of ordering, so I made sure to get one large platter that included beef, lamb, chicken, seafood, and plenty of veggie wat options. This met all of our dietary requirements. For a group of five of us, this was plenty. We could not even finish everything.
The next picture shows the injera that they gave us on the side. They are large, rolled up pieces that somehow resemble building insulation to me (but they tasted much better than I think building insulation would taste).
To eat everything together, we ripped off pieces of the injera and used them to pick up pieces of wat on the shared platter. We also used our hands to rip apart the injera underneath the wat. After a while, the bread soaked up all of the flavor and it was delicious. Overall, our group had a lot of fun. We preferred this over ordering individual plates, because the food became the central part of our conversation. It was a great way to bring us together and discuss the food that we were eating.
If you have any interest in trying Ethiopian food in Chicago, give Demera a try or look at other Ethiopian restaurants around the Edgewater area (near Broadway and Montrose). Along with African food, Edgewater is an outstanding hub for authentic international cuisine.
I hope that everybody had a wonderful holiday. I'm escaping the crazy cold and wind in Chicago for Napa to spend time with Al before I have to get back to the grind of my 21-hour semester schedule. Happy Friday, everyone!
Yesterday was my 26th birthday, and it was pretty much perfect except for my aggravating trip to the DMV. My driver's license expired yesterday, so I was thinking that I could just waltz in there, take a picture, and then waltz back out with a shiny new license.
While I did leave with a new license, there were some extra unexpected steps that I needed to do before that was possible. Since I still have a speeding ticket on my record from 2008 (I got it in rural Indiana while visiting Andi at IU, and the county gave me a choice: never step foot in that county for a year OR go to driving school. I chose the first option, but I forgot that it was still on my record. Ugh.).
As a result, I needed to sit down and take a written test in order to renew my license.
I was a little terrified at first. Living in the suburbs without a driver's license means that you are like a needy poopy toddler needing Mommy and Daddy to do everything for you, so I really didn't want to lose Illinois' permission to drive my car. I asked the two ladies in the testing area if they thought that I needed to study to do well on it, and one of them made a joke about the fact that she already knew all of the answers and so it wouldn't be hard for her. They then told me that I could take a book and study for as long as I wanted, which was more helpful than the first remark, so I did that. I reviewed chapter 9, which went over all of the street signs. Then, I decided that I was ready.
The first page had a bunch of street signs without labels, and I had to write down what they meant. It seems like it would be easy, but we're used to seeing signs with writing on them. We had to know the sign based on the shape and color. The stop sign was a no-brainer, but I know that I wouldn't have done nearly as well on that page without first looking through the book.
The rest of the exam was all multiple choice. Some of the questions were like this (and I'm paraphrasing):
- Will you lose your license if you hit a pedestrian, kill them, and then drive away?
-Can you talk on your phone without a hands-free device?
-If you are driving and you see a pedestrian in your lane, do you: a) report them; b) hit them; c) carefully drive around them
That was pretty much how it went. There were questions about driving according to the road conditions, if the solid yellow lines mean that you can't pass another vehicle, etc. As you see, it was a piece of cake. I passed.
Speaking of cake, the rest of my birthday involved just that. I came home to four giant cupcakes. Say hello to Carrot Cake I, Carrot Cake II, Mrs. S'More, and Mr. Peanut Butter.
Then, my friend Betty picked me up and treated me to a manicure and a pedicure at my favorite nail place called Shalom Nails in Arlington Heights. They are extremely reasonably priced, and they do a better job than anywhere else (at least in my experience). A mani/pedi combo costs $35, and they do such a great job that all of my manicures last at least a week. Plus, they give you massages when they're finished.
After the pampering, we met Meredith and Kate at Yard House
in Glenview. This is legit one of my favorite restaurants in the world for a multitude of reasons (two of them being that their BBQ chicken salad is the size of a small child and is just incredibly amazing and they have a ginormous beer list).
I order the salad 9 out of 10 times, but I was craving something Mexican last night. I opted for two street tacos with rice and beans. You can pick any two tacos from the list, so I got the baja fish (grilled; not fried) and chicken tinga tacos. They usually come on flour tortillas, but I asked for corn tortillas. In my opinion, corn tastes a million times better and is more nutritionally beneficial for you. Why NOT choose corn?
Meredith surprised me with a necklace that I'm wearing in the picture below. I love it!
My friends spoiled me rotten, and it gets even better since I have more celebrating planned for the weekend.
I hope that everybody is having a great (and not too hot!) Thursday!
In addition to my wine and cheese party
, there are other happenings that require catching up. One of them is a brunch I attended a few weeks ago at Orange
in the River West neighborhood. It has a few locations throughout the city, but this one was the closest to where I was staying. I've heard about Orange a gazillion times, and I quickly learned why everybody was raving about it: it is fantastic.
Although Andi, Shelly (Andi's sister) and I had a to wait about 30 minutes for our table, we were still able to order juice from the bar and chatted the whole time with the very friendly staff. I expected the orange juice to be orange-tastic and amazing at a place called "Orange" (it was fresh-squeezed- the only way I will ever drink it), but I wanted to try something more creative. I ordered an orange-ginger-carrot juice. The ginger was very strong (never try this if you don't like ginger), but I felt better knowing that I was pumping my cells full of anti-oxidants. I still found Andi's juice to be a lot more appetizing: just orange and grapefruit.
One of my favorite things about the restaurant is that all of the water has a slice of cucumber in it. It's so simple and very refreshing. I prefer cucumbers in my water over lemons or limes.
Orange, carrot, and ginger juice
Orange has a stellar breakfast menu, but my body was craving something hearty and savory. I ordered a chicken caesar wrap and requested the dressing on the side. It came with fries, and they were perfect for dipping into the dressing. The fries were very flavorful, and you could also tell that they were not bathed in grease. Andi and Shelly loved them, too.
Andi ordered the Caprese benedict. The English muffins were topped with poached eggs, buffalo mozzarella, tomato, and their homemade pesto-hollandaise sauce (that does NOT contain pine nuts!). It came with some sort of a potato cake that was very tasty.
Shelly ordered the Chai Tea French toast. She apparently gets it every time that she goes there.
I tried everybody's food, and it was all great. The place was bright and cheerful, the service was friendly and efficient, and I didn't feel like a fat lard ass when I left there. Thanks to all of those factors and the fact that they put cucumber in their water, I can confidently say that this is one of my favorite brunch places. Thank you, Orange!
Here are some other fun photos from the past few weeks:
Below: Nicole, me, Julie, and Andi at Moe's Catina in River North. ( I am wearing a jacket that I bought from Abercrombie and Fitch when I was in high school, and I still wear it all the frickin' time. I am not ashamed of it.)
Below: Andi and Nicole at Durkin's in Chicago. I won a happy hour there and cashed it in.
To understand the final picture, you have to know that my fingers are very double-jointed and can do things that nobody should be able to do. For one thing, I can bend the distal phalanges on my fingers (the part furthest away from my hand) without bending the rest of my finger. On that same night, I met a girl at the bar who could do the exact same thing with her fingers. Observe:
Aren't we cool? We learn new things about people every day, don't we?
Last week was an absolute whirlwind of dinners and birthdays. As I mentioned last time
, the beginning of March is full of birthdays in my family. We had a lovely dinner on my dad's birthday last Sunday, and then I went to Cooper's Hawk
with my parents for my mom's birthday on Tuesday night. Cooper's Hawk is one of my favorite restaurants in the the Chicagoland area. I've talked about it here
, and here
As always, we started with their pretzel bread. (Sorry in advance for taking pictures with the iPhone. I should know better than that!)
We drank our wine from a decanter.
We ordered caprese-style flat bread to share.
For my main meal, I ordered the buffalo chicken sliders. I know that fried chicken smothered in buffalo sauce and ranch dressing isn't the healthiest decision, but there is usually no stopping me once I decide that I want buffalo chicken. Plus, sliders are adorable.
Each of my parents got a complimentary dessert with chocolate-covered strawberries, a truffle, whipped cream, assorted chocolate-less berries, a piece of chocolate that said "Happy Birthday", and some raspberry sauce. I helped them eat it.
My mom also ran 20 miles on the treadmill at her health club on the morning of her 60th birthday. No big deal!
Now, here is the great news. I just found out that I was accepted into University of Illinois at Chicago's Masters in Nutrition program. Remember when I first revealed my goals
last year? As long as I pass the remainder of my prerequisite courses, I am all set to start in August! I've been celebrating by eating and drinking a whole bunch of crap. That will have to stop soon. I not only have to practice what I will preach someday, but I also have a wedding in a few months! How crazy!
Hi friends! I was trying very hard to blog yesterday, but I couldn't get my host site to work. Every other site was working on my computer except for Weebly, and I eventually just had to give up.
I've been having lots of fun since recovering from my gum surgery
(I got the rest of my stitches out on Friday and can now eat whatever I want) thanks to the arrival of my friend Irene and family birthdays. Irene is going to graduate school in Boston, and she's on a break this week. She got into Chicago at 7 pm and was dropped off straight at our friend Andi's apartment to hang out with us. That's how much she loves us.
We boogied down at Old Town Social
. Cold weather
+ no standing in line
= happy me!
Andi, me, Kate, Irene
Our friend JJ from high school and college also met us there. I thought that he was living in New York, but he moved back to Chicago a few months ago for law school. I was so surprised and happy to see him. Here's a fun fact: we "dated" for a few weeks in sixth grade. I think he met me once (we went to separate junior highs) and then asked me to be his girlfriend in an e-mail. We went on two dates that involved his dad picking me up and dropping us off at the movie theater. He bought me popcorn, and I apparently hogged it all. It wasn't really working out, so one of us "dumped" the other. I honestly can't remember who did it.
Andi and JJ
Shelly made Irene laugh very hard
I drove back to the suburbs yesterday morning so that I could get lots of homework done before going to dinner for the March Birthday Club. I call it the March Birthday Club, because my mom, dad and grandma almost have the same exact birthdays. Funnily enough, the same situation exists in Alastair's family. I talked about here
We went to Wildfire, which is always good without fail. We started with bread rolls and butter (not pictured), and then we all got chopped salads. Their signature salad comes with chicken, avocado, tomatoes, blue cheese, scallions, corn, tortilla strips and lime vinaigrette already mixed into the salad. I always request my dressing on the side, but this salad was very lightly dressed. It was perfect.
I haven't been to Wildfire in years, but I used to always order the Cedar Planked Salmon with brown sugar glaze. I knew I would enjoy it this time too, so I ordered that. At our table, it was pretty much all salmon and steaks.
You can choose whatever side you want with your main dish, so I went all out with the cheddar double stuffed potato. I think it was four times the size of a regular baked potato.
Since we had three birthdays at the table, we also had a lot of dessert! I had a few bites of the chocolate cake with the ice cream.
My meal also was a wonderful lunch today. I wasn't willing to throw away more than half of my potato last night!
My Friday Leg Routine
Last night's meal is indeed not the best way to get toned legs. With a combination of moves from P90X and other exercises that I know from experience, I made my favorite leg workout yet. This is what I do on Fridays:
Normal squats (toes pointed forward) with weights
Sumo squats (wider stance, toes pointed out) with weights
Alternating curtsy squats
60-second wall sit
Balance lunge with foot on chair
Walking lunges with weights
Side lunges with weights
Back lunges with weights
Calf raises with weights (feet facing out/forward/in)
Side leg lift on floor
90-degree leg lift on floor
The crab (lie on side, bend knees at 90 degrees, keep toes together and lift knee to work inner thighs)
Leg circles on side
Get on hands and knees, straighten one leg and pulse up using glutes
Same routine as above, but bend knee so that the heel is facing the ceiling. You will feel it in your glutes.
Let me know if you need better explanations of these. If I was really good, I'd be posting pictures of myself doing them (but I'm not always that good!).
Now that I'm back in class and the shuddersome week of finals is approaching, I wish that I could go back one week and enjoy my gratifying break one more time. My Thanksgiving break was nearly perfect until I remembered that I had responsibilities in my life on Sunday morning and pulled out my study materials. Wah. I may not be able to go back to last week literally, but I can at least recapture the memories.
On Friday, I drove to the city with Libby (so that I could begrudgingly drop her off off at my brother's apartment) and Jessica
. From my brother's apartment, we went on to our mini Harand Camp gathering at our friend Kate's place.
I went to overnight camp for six years, and five of those summers were at the same place: Harand Camp of the Theatre Arts
(ohhhh how I miss it!). Most people who live for up to six weeks with the same people year after year become very close friends, and I was no exception to that rule. My group of friends and I used to meet up several times per year, but that doesn't happen as much now that we're scattered all over the place. Since there were so many of us in town at once last week, we coordinated this gathering.
We were always convinced that our friend Kate was an adult trapped in a teenager's body when we were at camp, so it was no surprise to me that Kate is naturally an amazing host. For one thing, she concocted deliciously creative drinks that consisted of champagne, anise liqueur, mint, lemon, and other tasty ingredients. We pretty much finished the bowl.
She also put together three cheese plates:
Cheese plate one
Cheese plate two
Cheese plate three
I brought my mom's drool-worthy pumpkin cake and gluten free peanut butter cookies from Thanksgiving. I brought them in a disposable pan, and Kate arranged them on a plate to make them look pretty. I believe she should could do this professionally.
We almost cleared the plates by the time our last friend got there. Everything was so, so good. She also let us sample three different kinds of beer from Half Acre Beer Company
, which is a Chicago-based brewery. As I said, Kate is the Hostess with the Mostess.
In addition to inhaling all of her food, we had a great time taking in the views of her apartment and browsing her decorations. She uses vintage suitcases as a coffee table. How creative is that?!?
We had an incredible time together. It was like we had never left each other. We've been all over the place since starting college, but we're still the same people. It's so much fun to reminisce about camp memories and people from the past. It will never get old for us.
Me, Mimi (lives in D.C.), Laura, Jess (lives in LA), Stacey (lives in NYC), Kate
After appetizers and nonstop chatty-time, we walked from Kate's apartment to Vapiano
in Lincoln Park. It's new in Chicago, but there are locations all over the world.
If you've ever been to Foodlife
on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, then you will understand the concept of this restaurant. Every person gets a card when they sit down at their table. From there, you can roam around the restaurant (which resembles an upscale cafeteria) and pick what kind of food you want. The restaurant is Italian-themed, so you get your typical choices of pizza, pasta, paninis and sandwiches. You can either pick something from the menu, or you can customize it.
You walk up to the appropriate station, order you food, and then give the cook your card. For instance, I walked up to the pasta station and ordered whole wheat spaghetti with pesto sauce and broccoli (a customized order). I handed the pasta cook my card, he swiped it, made my pasta while I waited, and then gave me my food to carry back to my table.
There is also a full-serviced bar there. Drinks also go on the card. When you're ready to leave, you give the hosts your card. You total is tallied on there, and you pay and tip right there. Easy as pie.
Kate and Mimi had to leave after dinner, but the rest of us hung out at the bar. Nicole, who was also a Harander for two years, also met us.
Laura, Stacey, Jess, Nicole, me
Jess and Nicole and I later painted the town red. Okay, that's not completely true, but we were out pretty late dancing our bums off.
I slept at Jon's apartment, which was walking-distance from my next gathering the following morning. I met a bunch of my college friends at EATT
in River North for a Saturday brunch.
I am a big lover of skillets. I got a veggie skillet with two eggs (sunny side up) and swiss cheese. It was GOOD. It wasn't as satisfying as the cheese plates from the night before, but it was close!
My college friends also make me so happy ( Irene is also a high school friend).
Irene and Jenny
The majority of us were out (painting the town red) very late the night before, so that makes it even more special that we all got out of bed to get together. It reminds me of college!
From back left: Jenny, Alyson, me, Kate, Irene From front left: Molly, Danya, Rachel
I hope everybody else (in America) had a wonderful break!
Friday night was a blast and a half. It was my brother's 30th birthday, and we dined in style at Carlucci in Rosemont
(a hop and skip away from O'Hare).
On a side note, I used to want to live in Rosemont because the water tower looks like a giant rose. Obviously, I had my priorities straight as a liltle babe.
Back to the juicy stuff, I could not say enough wonderful things about Carlucci. Everything about the place screamed out "Tuscany!", but not in a tacky way. It was very classy, but it also didn't feel like the kind of restaurant that you walk into and walk right back out because you can't even afford a bread roll and a glass of Coke from the menu.
While we waited for Jon to get there from the city, I dove into the bread, olive oil and parmesan cheese while my dad perused the extensive wine menu.
They gave us a little bit of variety with the bread.
Once Jon arrived, we got our wine and appetizers: eggplant parmesan and fried calamari.
The calarmari was perfectly crispy and fried. I wish there were more of the tentacles in there, but I was still happy. The eggplant was also impeccable.
My mom and I split a caesar salad. It was great.
I decided on fettuccine with clams for my main dish, and I was not disappointed with my order. Not only were there clams in the shells, but there were also happy little shell-less clams dispersed throughout the noodles and broth. My gosh, I was clam-happy. Everything was just so, so good.
I got up and went to the bathroom when they brought out the tiramisu for Jon, so I didn't get a picture of all of it. There were berries , too. I'm sure you know I'm going to say that the dessert was also perfect.
There's four out of five of us! My oldest brother Ben was away for the weekend, so he missed our small foodie gathering.
We loved our food, we loved our server, and we loved our table. I didn't like having to leave the restaurant and go out into the office complex to use the bathroom, but I guess we can't have it all.
Jon also got some fantastic presents. Even Libby got something!
I celebrated with his friends in the city on Saturday night, although I unfortunately didn't get any pictures.
If any of you live near Vernon Hills, Illinois, you should forget about everything that you are doing at the moment and drive/walk/bike/horseback over to Nirvana Wine and Grillerie.
I had never been there or even heard of it until I accompanied my parents to dinner last Saturday night during a study break. My dad told us that he was going to take us somewhere exciting and new, but he kept the name of the restaurant a surprise. My mom and I didn't know where we were going until we got out of the car.
The weather was very cold, but we forgot all about that after we walked in the door. I learned right after that that I had entered an international clean-eating wine bar. No sort of dining experience could excite me more, unless it's an international clean-eating wine bar that allows dogs and frequents in Disney sing-alongs throughout the night. I was very intrigued.
Although I knew I had to hit the books when I got home, I still ordered a flight of wine. A server dropped off complimentary samples of wine for us to taste before we ordered our drinks, and it was delectable. My mom and I both decided to get the Spicy Latin wine flights. I can't find the exact names of the wines we drank, so I can't tell you what they were. Bummer. I enjoyed all of them, though. Along with the flights, they have tons of affordable wines. They have a few pages filled with $20 bottles of wine that my dad said were complete steals (in other words, incredible value). He knows his wines very well, and he knew that you could find them elsewhere for a lot more money.
Our server explained to us that as a restaurant specializing in international cuisine, their dishes had to be incredibly flavorful. That made me want to sample everything on the menu. We didn't order everything, but we did manage to order a few things. My mom was dying to try the Cuban Black Bean Quesadillas, so we split that for an appetizer.
As usual, I almost died of excitement when I saw two appetizer cheese plates on the menu. I chose the American Cheese Flight. It included Triple Creme Brie, Point Reyes Bleu cheese and Praire Breeze Amish White with French bread, figs and grapes.
While I would usually expect my favorite dish of the night to be the cheese, the best for me was the mushroom soup. It was just like French onion soup, except it was loaded to the brim with fresh chopped mushrooms in a flavorful but not overly rich base. I don't like soups that are very thick and creamy, but I also want them to taste substantial if the base is thinner. This one was a soup I could never get sick of eating.
After three appetizers, I got my main dish of the night: chicken tikka kabobs. I could immediately tell this was a healthy dish. It was grilled chicken and peppers, brown rice, cucumber and a whole wheat pita. It was guilt-free.
I can't say the same thing about dessert, which was a brownie sundae. Whatever. The brownie tasted more cake-like than an actual brownie, but it was still good (especially with the ice cream). It wasn't the best brownie dessert I've ever had, but it was a helluva good end to our several-course meal.
Like I said before, you must go to Nirvana if you live in the area. They also do carry-out. My parents and I were so glad that we (my dad) found this place. The service was superb, and the food was both flavorful and nutritious. We're definitely going back!
Happy Friday, friends! It's always a treat when it's the end of the week.
How cute is this Tigger pumpkin in our kitchen? I just wanted to show it to you, because Tigger always makes me smile. Especially Tiggers that dress up for Halloween and carry a Trick-Or-Treat bag.
Look what I found when I got home from class on rainy Wednesday:
I saw a slimy, hippity-hoppity frog! It was actually tiny and cute, and my mom had to kind of stomp behind it to make it go back in the bushes. If it just chilled out on the driveway, it would soon become roadkill when my dad got home. We love animals.
When I was out shopping the night before, I tried an amazing sample of mussels in a garlic and lemon sauce at our grocery store. The price was too good to pass up, so I waltzed out of there with 2.5 pounds of uncooked mussels. The next night, we cooked them.
My dad made a broth with about 3/4 of a bottle of white wine (we love wine), chopped onions and garlic.
While that was warming up, he also sauteed spinach, mushrooms and diced tomatoes for the pasta sauce. We also made pasta.
Now NOT alive.
The mussels were very small, so they opened up almost as soon we put them in the broth. The guy at the seafood counter told me that they took up to five minutes to cook, so we left them in a little bit longer after they opened. l never knew that mussels were so easy to cook.
Topped with our first home made mussels.
They tasted good, but my dad and I agreed that we could have done more to give it flavor. We brainstormed some things that we could do for next time. We'll try to make them again in the next few weeks!
Wednesday was also an eventful day, because our carpets got cleaned. This is what my bed looked like when I walked into my room:
But my carpets looked so pretty :)
Last night, I took the train downtown (there was no way I was going to drive in rush hour traffic) to meet some of my friends for sushi. I met my friends Jessie and Alex at Jessie's apartment, and then we took a taxi to Sushi X
in the West Loop.
Sushi X is byob, and the girls brought plenty of booze.
I started with a bowl of miso soup. There was a "spicy" option, so I decided to try it. I really liked it. Miso soup has a lot of flavor usually, but I enjoyed the extra kick of spiciness.
Four of us ordered four rolls to split, and it was definitely enough to fill us up. We got a crab rangoon roll (front), a Godzilla roll (middle), a Philadelphia roll (sides) and a Dragon roll (back). The crab rangoon and the Godzilla rolls were my favorites. I was full, but the sushi was so good that I probably could have eaten another gigantic plate of rolls.
We were celebrating Jessie's birthday, so we got a a complimentary mango mousse cake and mochi ice cream. Yum!
Some of the girls (me, Jessie, Megan)
You should definitely try Sushi X if you live anywhere near River West. It's very small, so book ahead of time. It was delish!
This weekend was one of the most entertaining weekends that I have had in a long time. I started out by shadowing an intensive care dietitian at my dad's hospital on Friday morning. I plan on shadowing a few different types of registered dietitians, but I really enjoyed the experience in intensive care. I think that I can handle the hospital very well. I don't get queasy from seeing blood or very sick people. I think that I got that from my dad! Intensive care may be a field that I will consider pursuing.
After the hospital, I spent some time at home before I packed an overnight bag and made my way to the city with Libby. We went to my brother Jon's apartment where I fed her, fed myself, and took a cab to Nicole's apartment before the big event of the evening: the Australian Rules Football Grand Final!
If you don't know about Australian Rules Football, then look at the end of this
recent post. I posted all of my links from last year that explain a little bit about the sport and the teams.
The sold-out event was at the Brownstone Tavern & Grill
in Chicago, and it was hosted by the Chicago Australian Football Association
. The entire bar was reserved for the game, so you couldn't get in there without a ticket. It cost $20 to get in the door, which also included a raffle ticket for an assortment of wine, cash prizes (up to $500) or a round-trip Qantas ticket to Australia (which I sadly did not win).
The crowd was a nice mix of Americans, Aussies and other counties that wanted to get in on the excitement. At times, I really believed that I was back in Australia. It made me so happy. I was even happier at the end of the night, because the Geelong Cats won the game!
Nicole and I made a lot of friends on Friday night. We were in the bar from 10 pm (the game started a little after 11) until 2 am, so it was bound to happen. We even made a friend wearing a Collingwood jersey. Shocker.
Nicole stayed out the entire night, even though she woke up at 4:40 am to go to work on Friday morning. What a trooper!
I was so happy that I ended up buying tickets and going. As long as I'm in Chicago, I'm watching the game with these guys!
By the way, I said, "Gooooo the
Cats!" in my title for the reason that Australians use that expression. Americans would say, "Go Cats!", but not Australians. They add the "THE" in there. I just adore it. It's always THE footy. Or THE cricket. Of course, I picked it up while I was over there. I don't say it when I'm with Americans these days, but I'm sure that I would if I was talking with Australians. I certainly did it on Friday!
On Saturday, I drove to the suburbs in the early part of the afternoon and went to my friend Kate and her boyfriend Dan's new apartment. They moved everything in there in the morning, and they were organizing their things. I helped them all afternoon and then I went home and changed for dinner.
I went to Cooper's Hawk
with my parents and their friends Patti and Ken (who are just as cool, if not cooler, than people my age). I started out with a spatini, which is (from the menu) cucumber-infused Effen Vodka, coconut water and fresh-squeezed citrus juices.
For an appetizer, we all shared the Thai Chicken Flatbread.
Rotisserie chicken, cashew sauce, mozzarella, roasted cashews and chopped cilantro drizzled with peanut vinaigrette. I was not expecting it to be as good as it was. It was spectacular.
We also ate pretzel bread with whipped butter.
I got the jambalaya for my main dish. I've gotten it before and wished that I had gotten something else, so I'm not sure why I got it again. It's very good, but I don't like big quantities of shrimp or Andouille sausage. They have a huge menu, so I'll make sure to get something different next time.
Patti got the crab cakes,which came with mustard sauce, potatoes and sauteed garlic spinach. Their crab cakes are great. She was nice enough to let me try some.
My mom got her barbecue chicken salad, which is always good. I ate most of the crunchy onion rings.
My dad got sliders. Yum. The only dish I didn't photograph was Ken's! He got chicken and said it was very good.
I also drank wine and champagne, so I was surprised that I was holding up okay today. I had a great time last night, but that's to be expected when you hang out with Patti and Ken!
After working on my chemistry homework today, I joined my parents and the pups at the dog park.
This dog was so cute. I have a cute picture of him playing with Mickey, but I can't get it to load for some reason. Apparently, it's too big. Wahh.
The beautiful and spacious dog park
I sat in the back with the puppers on the way home. We had a little photo shoot. Mickey didn't want to participate, so I had to snap a photo when he wasn't expecting it. Perhaps he runs away from the camera because he knows that I'm going to post his pictures on the internet.
Riggles and Cody
A happy Cody
A happy upright Cody
For dinner, we had a white Hawaiian fish (sorry, can't remember the name and I don't feel like running downstairs and asking my dad when he's also probably asleep)
and a chicken and spinach casserole. Hooray for being creative with leftovers!
I'm going to do more chemistry homework and then I'm putting myself to sleep! Have a great night!