Warning: If you don't like images that include phallic-shaped cookies and other things created in that shape exclusively for bachelorette parties, then I suggest that you skip this post!
My bachelorette bash was better than I could have imagined. First, it was different from my typical Saturday night. Second, my girls deserve an award for all of their hard work. The decorations were unbelievable, down to the posters with potentially humiliating material from my crazy years in college, the Disney balloons, the streamers, and the 9-hour playlist of almost pure musical theater. I was in Heaven.
Putting on my tiara
Andi went through all of my recent pictures from the blog and Facebook and printed off the majority of them. Do you see the picture that says, "Am I the only one who talks to their pets and pretend they answer back?"
We started the night at Andi's apartment in Lincoln Park. We thought about going out to dinner or renting a hotel suite originally, but I wanted them to do everything they could do to keep the costs down. As you probably know, everybody is putting out the big bucks to fly to San Francisco for the wedding. I don't want to keep tacking on money to their "Jenny" bill. My friends are a very fun group of people, so we all knew that we'd be able to plan something cost-effective and have a blast-tastic time.
For dinner, the girls ordered food from Lou Malnati's
. If you're not a Chicago native or have never been here, then put it on your list of things to do when you visit (because you must!). Even if you don't like Chicago-style deep dish pizza, it's one of the best pizza places in the city. You can pizza with thinner crust, too.
They ordered one gigantic salad that apparently wasn't supposed to come with cheese and bacon, but it did.
We had plenty of pizza. I made sure to have a few pieces to "line my belly" for the amount of drinking that was about to take place.
There were meatballs and baked ziti.
My amazing baker bridesmaid Jessie
made phallic cookies. They tasted so good! Kate also made vegan rice krispie treats that were shaped like Jessie's cookies. Everything was great.
Andi, me, Nicole, Julie
I made sure that my mom was there for some of the night. She had no intention of coming to the bar later in the night, but she was there until we all went out. My maid of honor Jess's mom Karen was also there (and spent the whole night out with us since she is a trooper!).
Mom, me, Karen, Jess
Katie, me, Chantal
Once we were all settled in and fed, Jess cranked up the volume for our sing-along. I originally wanted to go to a karaoke bar, but I eventually realized that we could have just as much fun (or more fun) singing at Andi's.
I took a break to open some presents, and I got right back into the singing.
me and Molly
The rest of the photos are from Karen's iPhone. Thank you, Karen!
Alex, me, Nicole, Jess
The Haranders/singers: Laura, Nicole, me, Jess, Stacey
Around 10:30, we piled into cabs and went to Public House
where our table and bottle service awaited us. I took my pink fluffy goblet, my pink bell, and my inflatable genitalia friend who I started calling "Drogobob".
Jessie, Kate, me, Jess, Alex (Thanks for the picture, Jess!)
Me, Alex, Betty, Stacey, Danya
We all had a wonderful time!
My bridesmaids also made a funny checklist for me that included "getting proposed to by a stranger". The stranger gave me a very good proposal, didn't he?
Irene's dad drove me back on Sunday morning, and I slept about four hours until I had to get up to receive my family for Mother's Day. My uncle was in town from New Jersey, and my brothers and Aunt Harriet came over too. I was surprisingly able to be normal and enjoy the company while eating food. I was very tired, though!
I also don't have any pictures up there with my bridesmaids Irene and Goda, but they were certainly there and just as awesome as everybody else.
In case you have been genuinely concerned about me and my well-being, I assure you that I am alive and well! My days have been packed full to the brim with friends and food and Libby (on weekends), and studying and wedding planning for the other days of the week. I have been neglecting my little blog, however, and that makes me sad.
Let me make it up to you by telling you about my friend Goda and her wine and cheese party. She just returned from almost a year abroad in China and moved into a new apartment. She had a bunch of her friends over to eat one of my favorite creations in the entire world: cheese. There was more cheese than the eye could see.
She provided other nibbles such as chips and salsa and Lithuanian bread sticks (below, top right). They tasted like long, garlicky, buttery croutons that just melted in the mouth. I was going to town on them by the end of the party, and let me just say that I had top-notch garlic breath. Still, the star in my mind was the cheese. My favorite was the brie spread on the crostini.
We also had plenty of wine, since each person who came to the party brought at least one bottle. I brought a bottle of Chateau St Jean chardonnay, and that was empty in no time. We all had a great time sampling each others' wines.
I think that the most creative thing that Goda did was personalize all of the wine glasses so that they didn't get mixed around with other glasses. She had a bunch of different plastic flowers to tie around the stems. I thought that it was such a smart idea.
After a few hours, my friends grew antsy and wanted to hit the bars. After chewing a few sticks of gum and downing strawberries with cheesecake stuffing (they were amazing) in hopes of alleviating my garlic breath, we piled into cabs and went to The Tin Lizzie
in Lincoln Park. My friend Andi knows how much I suck at taking pictures when I'm out and about, so she walked around for most of the night with my camera. In most of the pictures that she took, I either looked very angry or I was happy and on my phone. There was no middle ground. It was a shame, because I had a fantastic night!
Angry: with Nicole
Andi, Sam, Goda. I betcha I'm off somewhere smiling and not on my phone.
Angry: turning my back to shots
Happy: On my phone
Angry: with Chantal and Jon
My friends are such a blast. Now, back in the present, I am enjoying myself in the comfort of my own home while I study for my finals that are on Tuesday. My bachelorette party is next weekend. When I think about it, I feel both excited and frightened. I am excited for all of the obvious reasons, but I am frightened for two reasons. First, my friends try to force feed me shots on normal weekends, so imagine what they will be like next weekend. Second, the Bud Lite Monster
(the name I occasionally use for Andi's boyfriend) will be in town then. He moved to Nashville, but he's still close enough to come back all the time. If he meets up with us at the end of the night, I have no hope whatsoever of feeling like a normal human being for the days that follow the party. No hope. Not even a chance. I really like feeling like a normal person....
Now, back to studying Anatomy and Organic Chemistry! Has anybody ever taken organic chemistry and enjoyed it? Just wondering. I am certainly not one of those people.
I wholeheartedly love St. Patrick's Day, although I haven't celebrated it since I was in college. What a shame!
I spent Friday night at my friend Andi's apartment in the city so that I could be up and ready at a reasonable time to begin the festivities.
We knew that we needed a hearty breakfast, so we went grocery shopping the night before. We got fruit salad and pomegranate seeds.
We also got the ingredients for eggs with spinach and cheese.
Of course, we also had Irish oatmeal!
One of my favorite parts of St. Patrick's Day is getting decked out in green. I planned on wearing my Ireland sweatshirt, but it was actually too hot for it!
Sorry, but from what I recall, it's not supposed to be 80 degrees in the middle of March (26.7 degrees Celsius). I'm not complaining, but winter in Chicago is usually much colder than this! This weather along with the festivities was the recipe for a perfect day.
Our friends Julie and Nicole came over, and then we went to our first destination: a party with a balcony and a keg!
There's Jessie and David!
Nicole and Andi
Me with Julie!
Jessie and Jen
We stayed there for a while and then went to Moe's Cantina
in River North. If you read my blog, you know that I go there a lot.
Below, there's Nicole and Andi catching a cab!
We were prepared to wait in line for a good 15 minutes. I walked to the end of the line to hold a spot for the rest of the girls, and then Nicole grabbed me and told me to come to the front. They told me to give the bouncer my ID, and we all waltzed into the bar. I was really confused about what happened. It turned out that Andi asked the bouncer where the "girl's line" was, and they let all of us go to the front. Just like the weather, I won't complain about that either. If we get special treatment for being a group of girls, so be it.
As usual, Moe's was a blast. After a few drinks, Nicole and I were singing and dancing to musical medleys from a singing/dancing troupe we were in when we were in middle school. Yes, we actually were dancing in this picture.
I got this picture below from the balcony. I feel especially proud to share this photo, because it shows that Chicagoans know how to celebrate St Patty's Day!
We headed out to some bars further north after that, then we got dinner. I went to bed soon after that and woke up feeling refreshed before 9 am. That's one of the bonuses of day drinking: you usually go to bed earlier since it's very hard to stay up until the wee small hours of the morning.
Here's another fun fact about Chicago (the first fun fact is that Chicago celebrates St Patrick's Day in style thanks to their MASSIVE Irish population): we dye our river green! I didn't see it yesterday, but I saw a lot of pictures! Look it up if you don't believe me.
Okay, time for bed! 'Till next time, friends!
Last Saturday was anything but NOT fun. Andi's birthday was last Tuesday, and her boyfriend Pat (you may remember him from that time I called him the Bud Light Monster
) decided to throw a surprise party for her two nights ago. I secretly dropped off snacks at his apartment on Saturday evening, parked at my brother's apartment, and then cabbed over to Andi's apartment for dinner (we ordered in Chili's). We made it to Pat's by ten, and boy was she surprised!
Sorry in advance if some of these pictures are blurry.
Everybody was hiding over in the corner. It was adorable.
We hung out at Pat's apartment for a few hours where we enjoyed drinks, snacks, and lots of familiar and new faces. We also played a few rounds of flip cup
, which I have not played since college. Lucky for me, I haven't lost my ability to flip a red Solo cup.
We left for the bars around midnight. The weather was in the 'teens or even colder (if you use Celsius, just know that it was very, very cold), so we didn't want to go somewhere where we would have to wait in line very long. We ended up going to Boss Bar
in River North, and then we went to Butch McGuire's
in the State/Division area. It was a great time. It's always a good time when I'm out with my girlfriends and we close the bar.
Nicole, Olga, Andi, Julie, Me
Me, Nicole, Andi
I think this was my favorite photo of the night: Andi seductively drinking her drink.
Since Pat with out with us, there were plenty of Bud Lights to go around.
We had so much fun! I also achieved my goal and didn't take any shots.
I'm proud to say that I've kept that goal for a long time now.
I hope everybody had a great weekend!
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!
My weekend in a nutshell:
Friday night and Saturday day was all about friends. On Friday, I met my friend Irene in the city for goodbye drinks ( she's moving to Boston with her fiance for grad school). On Saturday, I spent the later part of the morning and nearly the entire afternoon at Zella
in Lincoln Park to celebrate my friend Molly's birthday.
Zella has a ginormous beer garden, so it was the perfect place to convene on a sunny Saturday afternoon. They have a brunch deal that gives you bottomless
mimosas, beer and bloody marys along with an item the menu for $25. I partook in this deal, although I didn't end up drinking very much alcohol since I needed to be sober for my drive home. It was a great time, though! I also got a sunburn. That was the only part of my day that was not
Morgan, Molly, me
Before I left the house for Irene's drinks, I relished the Friday night pizza tradition with my parents. It included fresh cherry tomatoes from our garden, fresh basil and eggplant. It was a first-class pizza..
Skipping to this afternoon, I made protein pancakes
after a long bike ride with my mom. I used this
Again, they turned out very good. I used bananas this time, but I didn't end up eating them because they were so mushy. I can't eat mushy bananas at all. Yuck. We have a bunch of them, but we're going to freeze them and later use them for smoothies.
I also used a little bit of maple syrup. I followed the recipe exactly today.
Jon came over tonight to pick up Libby (so sad!), so my dad cooked another great meal. I am so spoiled by living at home. He made polenta (rolled into a cylinder-shape and then cut into small slices) topped with manchego cheese. There were other grilled veggies mixed in there.
There was also salmon. I didn't take pictures of the tuna steak or grilled romaine lettuce with baby bok choy with terragon, cherry and almond dressing, but it was all fantastic.
LIbby spent her last night at our house sleeping on my bed. Just in case you were wondering, she is a huge Aussie fan.
Today, we took all of the pups to Woofstock (not to be confused with Woodstock). It was a free dog festival in downtown Long Grove that was all sorts of fun. My mom works at the vet that sponsored the event, so she went early to help set up. My dad and I took the four dogs there for a little while just to see what it was all about.
In the barking lot!
I can see my shadow!
Downtown Long Grove is full of old buildings and antique shops, so it's always a fun place to go. When my family first moved here, I went to Long Grove Confectionery
all the time for their giant chocolate covered strawberries.
We got there before most of the people and dogs got there, but we knew it would be a good turnout. The weather was amazing!
We got free doggie treats from Page's Healthy Paws.
We still saw all sorts of dogs. One of my favorites was this gigantic shepherd dog. He was huge and so sweet!
They had a folk band scheduled to sing, but we left before that all went down. We also left before the pup parade!
Before we left, Libby rolled around in the grass to let us know that she was having fun.
Don't let me go back to the city!
Good times! My mom said that it was a great turnout. The weather could not have been nicer (unlike the poor East Coast). I bet the pups can't wait for next year!
Over the past few months, I've been hearing my friend Andi talk about her friend Pat. I have wanted to meet him for a while. Every time I went downtown, though, he'd always be out of town. I also never saw one single picture of him. I'm sure you can see why I thought he was imaginary. Andi also used to tell me crazy things when we were younger, like that her great-great-great-great-great-great grandparents were the king and queen of the United States. I'm not sure what's worse: that she told me that or that I believed her.
Then, last Sunday, something happened. I learned that Pat was real. I went to Andi's apartment in Lincoln Park to watch fireworks from her rooftop, and then we went to Moe's Cantina
in River North to meet this "Pat" character.
About five minutes after I met the Real Pat, this happened:
Do you notice anything unusual about the picture? Sure I am with my girls and we are holding beer, but do you notice anything else unusual? Perhaps the lack of free hands? Because every hand in the picture is holding a beer?
Pat is a Bud Light Monster. The monster is dormant during the week, but the Bud Light Monster takes over as soon as he walks into a bar and has a few drinks. Then, the Bud Light Monster will not rest until everybody he knows in a one-mile radius has their hands full of Bud Light. Even if you kindly tell Pat that you want a gin and tonic or a Blue Moon or even one Bud Light, he will get you two Bud Lights.
You know what I think? I think that Budweiser kidnapped him and brainwashed him in the same way that aliens abduct people in their sleep and then they forget about it the next morning.
Disclaimer: Before you see any more photos, please note that I am at least 21 years old and that most of the beers that I am holding are the same in each photo. In other words, I sipped my beer(s) rather than chugged them. I had to turn down the Bud Light Monster more than once since 1) I could only drink so much and 2) I only have two hands.
There were beers we could not finish.
We ended the night at Butch McGuire's
when Moe's Cantina closed.
I was very well-behaved, but that didn't stop my incredible hangover the next day. I just don't have the tolerance of a college girl anymore. I also think I won't drink anymore. That is, after all, the best way to avoid a hangover.
Thanks for all of the Bud Lights, Pat! I had a wonderful night!
It would also be irresponsible if I didn't show you what I had for dinner before going downtown that night. My dad made the best salmon I have ever had in my life. He wrapped it in foil and grilled it. If you live near a Costco, get your fish from there. That's where we get ours.
He made a warm polenta salad with mushrooms and parmesan cheese.
He also made a watermelon and asparagus salad. He wrapped these in the foil with the salmon while grilling it.
Shoot me an e-mail if you want any of these recipes. I told my dad that it was the best meal of his that I ever ate.
Time to go fry my brain....for real this time!
The deets (details- sometimes I like saying "deets") on the birthday weekend have been delayed, because this girl is one busy lady! I wish you knew how much I hate it that I can only blog a couple of times per week now, but being an aspiring nutritionist is hard work. I am counting down the days until I finish summer school (16 days). I wish I could decrease the number of chemistry days even more.
Saturday, I started my morning with a 5-mile run that did not go very well. I ran 2.5 miles on the treadmill and then got so bored that I almost surrendered all together. I finally dragged myself outside to complete the 5 miles. Honestly, I'm not convinced that I'll be able to run 13 miles
by the middle of August. My cardiovascular endurance is poor at the moment, and my leg prickles when I run. I never feel outright pain, and I actually haven't been sore at all for the past few days. For an injury, that is fantastic! I still want to run the half marathon so badly, so I'm going to keep training for now. I only need one long run a week, so it's not going to interfere with my stressful workload.
After the annoying run, I packed an overnight bag and headed to the city. I left at 2:00, and I didn't arrive to my brother's apartment until 4! A highway sign fell down on the Dan Ryan Expressway, and it stopped traffic all over the place. I really really love Chicago, but the traffic drives me crazy at times. Really, it should not take me 2 hours to get downtown on a Saturday afternoon!
I told my friends to meet me at the bar at 4, so I was already running late. I dropped off my stuff at Jon's apartment and hung out with Libby while he took a quick shower. Then, we grabbed a cab to Cedar Hotel
in the Gold Coast area.
Libby with her pet frog
If you enjoy drinking cocktails outside on a nice day, then you must go to Cedar Hotel in Chicago during the summer. They have a gigantic patio, and it is always packed. It's a lively atmosphere. If you come with a few friends, you have to make sure that you get there early so that you can get a table.
Luckily, some of my friends arrived at 4 and got a table. Over the course of the evening, we were able to drag a few of them together.
A bunch of us got giant margaritas for $15. What a great summer drink!
Cedar Hotel also offers great views of the Gold Coast. I can see the Hancock Building!
Below is Meredith and my brother Jon. He was kind enough to enjoy a few drinks with us before meeting his friends for dinner.
Remember my friend Jessie?
She made me cupcakes from scratch! She bought some of the ingredients from her honeymoon in Tahiti. We devoured them.
For dinner, I ordered myself some chicken quesadillas with sour cream, salsa and pico de gallo. They weren't the best ones I've ever had in my life, but they satisfied me all the same. Plus, quesadillas pair beautifully with margaritas or beer!
After the margarita, I moved on to beer. Blue Moon
is one of my favorite beers in the world, so I got one of those. I love beers with fruity flavors!
We hung out for a few hours and enjoyed the beautiful weather.
Jessie was being silly!
We also shared a plate of nachos, but I guess I forgot to take a picture of them. They were good, but they had a mix of the liquid and shredded cheese. I despise liquid cheese. It's fake cheese!
By the time we left, it was getting dark outside. That would have to mean that it was almost 9 pm. I love how my birthday falls on one of the longest days of the year. Then again, I did celebrate my birthday in Australia one year. It got dark around 5. It's so strange to think that it's winter over there right now (HI WINTER FRIENDS!!!).
Somewhere in transit from Cedar Hotel to the next destination, I stopped off at my friend Nicole's apartment so that I could keep my presents there. I grabbed a Magic Hat Wacko from Nicole's refrigerator. I just navigated the website
and learned that Wacko is Magic Hat's summer beer. It's "a delicious summer beer with malty aroma, a subdued hop bite and a clean, slightly sweet finish." It's a very fun and creative website! I also liked the beer. Thanks for the Wacko, Nicole!
After the stop at Nicole's, we met up with everybody at Houndstooth Saloon
in Wrigleyville. We stayed there for the rest of the night.
Goda, Irene, me, Nicole
Dan, Kate, me
Meredith, me, Andi, Nicole
Kate, Irene, me
Nicole and Meredith
Never dis the straw-beer combination until you try it!
Dan and Irene
Andi, me, Dan
Nicole and Meredith
Andi being silly!
When the night came to a close, a few of us headed down the street to Ian's Pizza
. I find it almost impossible to go out in Wrigleyville without going to this place. I first discovered this joint when I visited friends at University of Wisconsin in Madison, and then it came to Chicago! They mostly serve pizza-by-the-slice, and their most popular pizza is the Mac N Cheese Pizza. It's mac and cheese on top of a pizza. Literally. It's also delicioso
after a night on the town! Sorry about the shadow on the pizza. I can't edit it out without making the whole photo too bright. I'm sure that there is a way to do it, but I just don't know it.
Time to hit the books! I'll recap the rest of my birthday in the next few days!
I do not think that weekends bite. I think that weekends rule. My insanely hectic schedule during the week makes it difficult for me to welcome the start of the week again, but I don't have a choice. Only six more weeks to go!
I ate a lot this weekend, which is why I am calling this post "Weekend Bites".
I haven't dropped in and said hello since Wednesday night, so I'll catch ya up!
I also think it's ironic that I wrote a post on Wednesday about how I was addicted to blogging, and then I took three days off. Who am I?!?!
On Thursday, I had leftover pizza with baby carrots and grapes for lunch. I'm not sure why I need to include this photo, but I'm once again showing you my love of leftovers. And baby carrots and grapes.
I had dinner plans that night that fell through, so I decided to maximize my study time. I met Irene at Panera for dinner and homework. Irene is taking 4 summer school classes online, so she will be my occasional study buddy. I honestly don't know how she manages, since I get vomitously (that's not a real word) stressed from my two classes.
For dinner, I got half of a Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich (from the menu: Zesty Peppadew™ piquant peppers, feta cheese, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and cilantro jalapeno hummus on tomato basil bread) and a small Thai Chopped Chicken Salad (from the menu: antibiotic free chicken, romaine, wonton strips,a blend of fire-roasted edamame, red bell pepper and carrot tossed in a Thai chili vinaigrette. Topped with strips of seasoned grilled chicken, Thai cashews, fresh cilantro and peanut drizzle) .
For a side item, I had a choice of bread, a bag of chips or an apple. I chose an apple.
Everything tasted great!
Irene got a free bakery item since she had a Panera card, so she let me pick out an Oatmeal Raisin cookie. They have the best bakery goods. I ate the cookie while studying later on, and it was so soft that I could roll it into a ball. It was like eating cookie dough. It was amazing.
I studied with Irene for a while, but I knew it was time to go when everything started blurring together on my laptop. My schedule is making me exhausted! I was too tired to blog...for a few days.
I slept in until almost 9:30 on Friday (it's a big improvement from 5 am!) and then completed a full body workout with weights. I tried Giant Sets, which is where you do one set of 5 different routines without resting. Then you rest, and you complete it 2-3 more times. I'll probably try it again tomorrow, so I'll tell you about it in more detail. It's a good way to get in and out of your workout fast.
After that, my friend Ednalice stopped by my house. She was my best friend from my graduate school program, and we've stayed in touch. I haven't seen her in almost a year, so we had so much catching up to do. We don't stop talking when we get together, so I had a blast with her.
We went to Champps
by my house and sat outside in the beautiful weather. We started with a pitcher of Summer Sangria.
To eat, I got the chicken ranch wrap. I used to work there, and I can tell you that it is probably the most popular thing on their menu. It usually comes with tortilla chips, but I upgraded to fries. They have spectacular waffle fries.
Ednalice got the Bourbon Salmon, which came with grilled veggies and mashed potatoes. She was really craving mashed potatoes before, so she was thrilled with her dish.
I was a little tipsy after lunch due to the fact that Ednalice drove and couldn't have too much sangria, so I drank the majority of it. I accompanied my mom while she ran a few errands, and then I insisted (nicely) that she take me to Dairy Queen for soft serve. I got vanilla soft serve with strawberry and hot fudge sauce (I love them both) and rainbow sprinkles. I've been going there since I was little girl, and my order never changes.
After that, I fell asleep for an hour. I then woke up and did homework. It was a very uneventful Friday night, but at least I finished some work.
On Saturday, I was busy for a large portion of the afternoon with wedding stuff. During all of that, my brother and his girlfriend Nicole arrived in Chicago. I'm sure I mentioned this before, but my brother Jon is finally moving back to Chicago after spending five years in Houston doing his residency (and one year as Chief Resident- we were so proud). He got a fellowship position here, and he starts in a few weeks. In about 17 hours, they drove all the way here from Texas. That's very impressive!
To celebrate, we went to dinner at Cooper's Hawk
. I mentioned it before
when I went there a few months ago with my parents and Irene. They import their grapes and make their own wine. Don't let the imported grapes fool you; their wine is fabulous.
To get to the restaurant, you go through a wine shop/tasting room. There are so many cute things to buy, as well as wine.
My dad, the wine enthusiast, belongs to their wine club. He gets a bottle a month, so we drank our bottle during dinner. We had Pinot Noir and Sangiovese. Okay, so maybe we got one more bottle. I requested the Sangiovese, since it is my favorite!
In true Cooper's Hawk style, we dispensed our wine from a decanter.
We started out with Over the Border Egg Rolls for the table. We also had pretzel bread. I didn't take a picture, but you can see it in the post from last time.
From the menu: Southwest chicken, corn and black bean relish, cilantro and trio of cheeses all wrapped up in an egg roll and served with tomatillo salsa, cilantro ranch dressing, cashew dipping sauce and Asian slaw.
For my main course, I ordered the Ahi Tuna Tacos from the appetizer menu. They were certainly enough for a full meal for one person.
From the menu: mini crispy white corn tortillas filled with citrus slaw, Srirahca, ceam, pico de gallo and sliced blackened Ahi tuna. Garnished with avocado, cilantro, and wisabi cream.
Then, we came home. Do you see a new dog in the photo? It's confusing, because so many of my dogs are the same color.
It's my brother's dog Libby! She's the one on the right.
I am unhealthily obsessed with his dog. I haven't seen her since right before I moved to Australia, so it's been over two years! I think she remembers me.
Libby was not good about posing for the camera last night. My dad had to give her a hug to get her to stay in one place.
Like Mickey and Cody, she looks away when I point the camera at her!
Cody, while he usually doesn't pose, let me catch him cuddling with his toy. I think it was because he was sleeping.
Today is Father's Day. Happy Father's Day to all of the fathers out there!
We invited some family over for lunch. There were lox (smoked salmon).
We had homemade Asian Chicken Salad.
There was spinach cheese casserole.
Cody and Buffy.
That's all! I hope you enjoyed my weekend recap! I paid big time for skipping three days. It's always harder to catch up. Grrrr.
Happy (almost) Monday!
I hope what I talk about is remotely competent, because I am falling asleep right now! I think my body is just not used to waking up at 5 am two days in a row. Also, it's moving towards the 11:30 pm mark. The good news, though, is that I can sleep in tomorrow. I don't have class on Fridays, so my Thursdays are like the new Fridays!
I jumped out of bed bright and early this morning and completed my favorite (and only) elliptical interval workout
that I have ever done. I'm not sure what it is about the machine in my basement, but I swear it is harder than the ones I used to use at the gym in Adelaide. Either way, it was a great workout. After that, crunches, stretching and rolling on the foam roller, it was time to eat breakfast (overnight oats- no photo) and get ready for school.
It poured all night and all morning, and it felt freezing when I walked outside of my morning class. Chicago weather has multiple personalities (many of them angry) even without this El Nino/global warming/whatever stuff that's going on in the world. It has been nearly 100 degrees (37 degrees Celcius) over the past couple of days (first time in early June since the 1930's), and suddenly it feels so cold that I need to wear a jacket during the day.
Anyway, since it was so cold compared to the weather of late, I really wanted soup for lunch when I got home. I heated up a bowl of Amy's Organic Lentil Vegetable soup.
I also toasted whole wheat sandwich thins and spread Laughing Cow (herb flavor) cheese on them. It was a great combination. I dipped the bread into the soup. It was a must. I ate it in the kitchen standing up while talking to my mom. It's a habit.
Later on in the evening, after my second class, I met my friend Kate at Yard House
in Glenview. I've been going there since it opened years ago, and it's still one of my favorite restaurants.
For one thing, they have an astonishing beer selection. The two pictures below didn't come out well, but it should at least give you an idea of how many beers they have. Both pages are their beer menu. Wine and cocktails are on other pages.
I find comfort in knowing that I can get my favorite Belgian beer (Delirium Tremens)
, but I can also find a new exciting brew just by telling my server what I like. Tonight, for example, I told my server that I wanted something fruity. He pointed out a few different kinds (flavors including apricot and raspberry), but I got very excited when he recommended the Sea Dog Blue Paw Wild Blueberry beer. I mean, it has the word "dog" in it, and it's blueberry! As it turned out, it was amazing.
Kate said that it reminded her of blueberry pancakes. You could taste the blueberry, but it didn't overpower the taste of the beer. I would had consumed four glasses if I didn't have to drive home. Since it doesn't take much alcohol to affect me these days, I only drank about half of the glass.
I snacked on Mini Babybel Cheese
and cantaloupe before Yard House, but that didn't stop me from ordering my favorite salad. I always get the BBQ Chicken Salad when I go there. I just can't help myself.
From the menu: roasted pasilla, tomatoes, sweet corn, pinto beans, cheddar and jack, cilantro and corn tortilla strips tossed in chipotle ranch dressing and topped with avocado, fried lace onions and citrus bbq sauce
Same salad; different side.
I never tire of that salad. It's one of the enormous salads where after 20 minutes of eating it, you're still finding hidden goodies under all of that goodness. There are just so many wonderful flavors in there.
Kate had a small dinner before (it was her dad's birthday), but she still ordered the hummus plate. Pretty, yes?
That's all I got for today. My body really wants to sleep, so I will listen to it.