mmm food

Dec. 27th, 2009 09:51 am
we're in chicago - it's been a reasonable temperature, and we're ensconced on the empty third floor until the renters move in on 12/29 - it's nice to have the big space all to ourselves, although it'd be even better with some furniture and a mattress with more support than a cushion of air. i think we'll leave on the 29th to make the trek to the ithaca area, and then tim will drop me in albany from there.

highlights have been seeing the nephews, working out at the fancy gym and lots of food and presents (highlights include ugg boots, new bathrobe, a bunch of dvds and cds including Glee vol 2, and tons of chocolate).

xmas brunch: two types of baked french toast, dutch baby pancakes, cream scones, fresh fruit and cheese plates, hash browns, corned beef hash, bacon, sausage, and frittata.

xmas dinner: prime rib, catalan style swiss chard, green beans, rice, three cheese sourdough bread, glazed carrots, cake with fresh fruit and meringue.

and then last night, the parents sent us to mercat a la planxa, jose garces' tapas place downtown. we had eight tapas: flash fried peppers with salbitxada; three cheese plate (pau w/chocolate hazelnut puree, ombra with orange-guindilla marmalade, and cana de cabra with strawberries and balsamic reduction - i drank all the balsamic it was so good); escalivada with roasted peppers, cipollinis, eggplant and tomato confit; patatas bravas; roasted brussels sprouts with bacon, feta, and garbanzos; wild mushroom saute with potatoes and onions; duck breast with seckel pears and a duck confit & foie gras crepe.

the food last night was excellent - it was well-timed as far as when the courses were brought out, and the flavors were unique and excellent. the duck with the duck crepe was by far my favorite - it was ridiculously rich, small enough that i wasn't overwhelmed by it, but big enough to feel like i'd gotten a good serving.

we went to see Addams Family after that - it's in preview in Chicago. Hard to go wrong with Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth in the title roles, but the show was kinda dumb - the story wasn't that interesting, and there were no stand-out songs. Maybe people who like the tv/movie a lot will appreciate the show more. The hardest part was Nathan Lane's accent -- it felt like it wavered from Spanish to Italian to Jewish. Meh. Also, Terrence Mann is one of my favorite broadway actors, and his main song was about his tryst with a giant squid - kind of a waste of his talent. But, it was fun, the voices were great, and it's always nice to get to the theater.
Tuesday started with being in considerable pain (as noted in the last entry). I ate a cupcake for breakfast, hot dog and fries for lunch, and pizza for dinner. Ah, Chicago, how I love you. Didn't do much until about 5, when I met [ profile] aibretty for some games. We went to the very cool Noble Tree coffeehouse, which is a converted three-flat, now art gallery/coffee place with great pastries and a cozy, wifi-enabled atmosphere. I'm not going to bother describing the games, since Brett already did that here. I went 3-2, and walking up and down the three flights of stairs at the Noble Tree twice almost killed me.

Yesterday started slow and easy. My muscles hurt less. We went to Tweet for breakfast, where the portions are too big but so good that you want to eat everything on your plate. The bacon was extra smoky, and the french toast was light and perfect. Tweet is right near the north side Chinatown, so we stopped for cha shu bao to take home (which I will eat for breakfast) and then my mother had to return to the real world and go to work. I bummed around the Clark/Diversey area near the store, killing time before my hair appt. Read knitting books in Borders, sitting in a big armchair in a sunbeam and sipping on a black cherry italian soda, which made me doze off, wake up, and get paranoid that I was going to get kicked out for sleeping in a bookstore. I bought a copy of 'the nasty bits,' a newer bourdain food book, and headed out. My hair cut and highlights make my hair happy, and even happier was another night of scrabble, getting to see some of the Chicago cool kids Scrabble club. We started odd, playing a 2 on 1 game, which became 1 on 1 as more people showed up, which I lost. Won the next two by fairly large margins, and then a third on pure luck while eating dinner at Goose Island Brewery. Home, Top Chef, bed.
My mother's personal trainer is sneaky. I had an hour session with him at her gym (after doing 15 minutes on the bike). He took me through some evaluative stuff, then we did two circuits of six exercises -- squats holding a medicine ball, then pulling weights on a machine one arm at a time, then hip bridges (where you lie on your back, keep your heels up and your hips off the floor, and lift one leg at a time, alternating 15ish times), then standing push ups, then stepping, then this plank thing, where you basically balance on your toes and forearms, holding your abs in. I thought it was all fun -- challenging, but not so bad that I wanted to die. This morning, I want to die. Every muscle group that I used hurts, and I used a lot of muscle groups yesterday. Ow.

Aside from that adventure and its aftermath, the rest of the day was relaxing. Went to lunch with mom, aunt and grandma at a place called the Cornerstone Cafe, which was a random little family-owned diner-ish place. Took a quick trip to Target, then did some more shopping around my neighborhood. Had leftovers from Japonais for dinner, along with my favorite summer veggie rolls (noodles, pineapple, carrots and cucumber in rice paper, with peanut sauce for dipping), plus Molly's Cupcakes for dessert. I think there are still cupcakes -- I might have one for breakfast.

I'm starting to get antsy with the lack of a regular schedule, and the fact that my parents' house is a disaster area (the whole dining room is currently being used for storage - you can walk through, but there's nowhere to sit at the table, or do much of anything else. Pretty much the same is true about the kitchen). I have to find some excuse to leave the house during the day today, but my parts ache enough that it may or may not happen in the hours leading up to my Scrabble date.
I have never been to a graduation with

-- teachers dancing in wearing robes and sunglasses while leading their procession of seniors to the songs like "Walk this Way" by Aerosmith
-- excellently-produced video montages of the senior arts showcase, which took over part of Chicago this weekend
-- spontaneous performance by Earth, Wind and Fire, who were receiving an honorary degree (one of them even swiped a bass from a member of the graduation orchestra)

Art school graduation is pretty cool. Many of the speakers' themes were the same as 'regular' college graduation (eg, life long learning and leadership; self-discovery as the most important lesson of college; the significance of collaboration rather than competing), but within this context, it somehow felt cooler.

So, after we collected the sister from graduation, we had a bit to eat at Clarke's on Lincoln, near the Biograph Theater. There's a Dillinger movie being set to film there, starring Johnny Depp, and everything is being converted to look like lincoln ave circa dillinger's time, which means lots of cool old signage. It's a little surreal.and then there was dinner )

chgo day 1

May. 17th, 2008 10:14 pm
I woke up at 530am EDT, and here it is, 1014pm CDT and I'm finally sitting down quietly by myself. The airport was uneventful - I prevented caffeine withdrawal headache with a quick stop at dunkin in the terminal, settled in to a quiet flight, and landed more or less on time to good weather. The train trip was annoying because of construction on the tracks that required us to detrain, take a shuttle, and retrain at what would be the next stop. This would have been fine if I wasn't shlepping a suitcase, but I managed.

Got picked up at the train stop and driven to Wrigley. Ducked into Starbucks to refuel (so glad they have those on every corner here), went to the game, watched six innings, then headed to the spa to join the sister for some pamperage. That accomplished, we wandered back to her place, watched some television, and then got picked up and brought back to the parental homestead, where I have had chinese food, watched the oldest nephew play some Wii, held the younger twin nephews while they slept (I appreciate that they broke me in gently to being around them), and now I'm in pjs heading to bed. Sister graduation happens at 10 tomorrow, so it should be a relatively slow-paced, relaxing morning (especially since my brain will stay on boston time for a couple more days, which means I'll be up many hours before I need to be).
We took a whirlwind, super-secret trip to Chicago this weekend. It was a surprise visit in honor of the sister's birthday and role in Romeo and Juliet at her school. It would have been a nicer trip if I hadn't been sick as a dog the whole time, but it was still nice enough. The nephew remembers me these days, which is fun. My dad got a PSP for his birthday, and I spent most of my free time playing the PSP version of Katamari (We <3 Katamari is still my favorite of the games).

got in on Friday, late. Found out that Wiener's Circle no longer sells veggie burgers, which reduces our motivation for moving to Chicago. Slept on the air mattress that the cat had clawed, thus woke up on the floor, on the deflated mattress. Spent Saturday doing a lot of nothing, but did enjoy getting hair cut and highlighted. Show was at 7, then out to dinner after, where we closed down the restaurant. I had fantastic braised baby back ribs.

Sunday, tried to play Scrabble, but mostly just pushed tiles around. Enjoyed food from brother's restaurant, Wow Bao, including excellent ginger ale. Spent quality time in the airport.

Woke up this morning to pretty snow, and dragged myself to work. I still feel like there are monkeys dancing in my sinuses, but feel better than I did for most of the weekend. There was very little food in the house, so my lunch consists of a Lara Bar, trail mix, and beef jerky, and I had to prepare my morning coffee with heavy cream, since it was the only dairy product that hadn't gone sour since Thanksgiving, which was the last time we shopped.
For once, I managed to brave the stores on the 26th. One nice thing about Lincoln Park is that everyone goes away for the holidays. It's a neighborhood with lots of transplants -- young people with too much money from their high-powered jobs who visit their families wherever else for the holidays, thus leaving us lots of parking, and apparently little post-holiday neighborhood shopping traffic. Barnes and Noble had the best cards, and my 50% off calendars. Cost Plus World Market filled out the card collection, and we stopped on the way home to find Zoo Tycoon 2 - Endangered Species (to feed my addition), and for the annual Char Dog visit (to feed Tim's). Char dog is an institution in Chicago, and has some of the very best fries I've ever eaten. As importantly, the boy is hopelessly addicted to their veggie burgers. He has a Pavlovian response to their mention if he's been away from them for too long. He orders them two at a time, hoovering the first and savoring the second. It makes me happy when he finds things that make him that happy.

After some tycoonage, we headed back out and sat at the coffee establishment that also always merits a visit. There weren't as many cute gay boys as I hope for, but there were enough to sate me, I suppose. My mocha didn't sit as well as they often did. I best not be developing a milk intolerance. I would be too sad to give up the espresso beverages. Got home, did a bit more shopping with mi familia (a whole new Barnes and Noble, where I also picked up the paper journal I'm using for '06). We went out for dinner at Casbah Cafe, a local mediterranean/moroccan type eatery, where I had a dish that involved cilantro that I didn't completely hate, and we were comped baklava, just to finish out an entirely lovely vacation day.


Jan. 13th, 2004 03:12 pm
before i forget everything that i did in chicago, i'm going to jot some of it down in shorthand, list form )
I just trimmed my friends list by about 15 people, and it was rather painful, but I'm just not keeping up. Let me know if you want to be added back, and you're welcome to trim me, guilt free, whether I trimmed you or not :)

Speaking of trimming, is having some American Weigh-In program that I'm thinking of doing, although I think it requires actually going somewhere to be weighed in, so we'll see if it really happens.

We're headed to Argo Tea this morning. I'm feeling less than great, and maybe tea will help. It's a new tea place that has opened since we were last here, so it should be interesting. Then, off to the giant wine store with the wonderfully helpful staff (aka Sam's) to get a case of wine to take back with us. I'm ready to go back to Maryland now.

To mpls

Mar. 27th, 2003 09:16 pm
in 18 hours I'll be on the train to Minneapolis. This trip was too short. I miss being this close to my family a lot living in Maryland. Today I ran into a high school friend's mother, and another friend's sister... I don't think I'd want to live in the city, with the connections as close as this, but Madison, Iowa City, Ann Arbor... I wouldn't mind those locations so much.

Today I bought three skeins of really pretty mohair that I'm knitting into a shawl for my mother's birthday in a couple of weeks (when I go to type mohair, my fingers automatically type 'mocha' and I have to delete). I think the 8 hours of train ride should give me ample time to get quite a long way with it. I still haven't found the black boucle that I need to finish the bag for [ profile] artyem, but I can always order it online if need be.

I'm packing a big box of stuff to ship back to MD, and I bought an extra bag to stuff with stuff and fly with. Lane Bryant strappy tanks are a lifesaver -- all the stuff at the stores where I shop is too short or too tight, and these are just perfect. I bought three :) plus another hippie sort of top that'll fit me once I shrink it, like I shrink all of my clothes (sigh).

I also bought some supplies for carving rubber stamps today. This will be the newest attempted craft skill. I think I'll save it for home, since I don't want to risk carrying my carver on the plane (e.g., forgetting to stash it in my checked luggage and trying to board with both the knifey tool and the long pointy knitting needles -- no need to press my luck).

Had another lovely dinner with [ profile] annaoj -- wish more of the Chicago area folk had been able to make it, and I wish I was going to be in DC for the gathering this weekend! I feel more social during the spring than the winter, and I'm more willing to travel via public transportation, so hopefully we'll plan some more stuff once I'm back in town. I will need some saving from the mother-in-law right around Easter time if anyone's willing/able (please?)

Still to do tonight: )
Definitely getting a cold. Am tired from walking up a flight of stairs. Bah. Took Nyquil last night and almost died trying to get off the air mattress and to the bathroom, with the moving under me and dizziness from meds combined.

Just finished my Cmas shopping - I forgot to buy presents for my nephew, who is probably the easiest person on the list to shop for, so now he's getting overly expensive stuff from yuppie franchieses, but what can you do; it's still cute and baby stuff and so on. Maybe I'll get industrious and knit him a little hat tonight, so that there'll be something not mass-produced in the gift.

I'm going to 9pm service at my old church where I was actually confirmed back in the day. I don't think I've been there since high school, but it's close, reasonably early, and has a really pretty candlelight service from what I can remember back when I was an acolyte and went and such. Mostly I feel like I should do some singing because it's a Tuesday night and all, and there's no choir practice, so this will have to do. Hopefully the being sick won't interfere. Must not tempt fate with singing long passages without breathing or may end up passed out on church floor.

Hoorah it's Buffy night :) and one of my favorite episodes at that, even if it is a repeat.

Dad got Mom a 27" television for the dining room. He set it all up and covered it with a blanket, and we're taking bets as to whether she'll notice before tomorrow. Everyone's pretty sure she won't. This would make more sense if you knew what my house/apartment looked like and how ridiculously cluttered it was, and how delirious my mother is due to pre-holiday sleep deprivation.

So yup, can't wait for the presents :)
It is honestly 50 degrees in the room where we're sleeping. Actually, it's kinda divided into two rooms - the back one, which was an addition to the house (years and years and years ago), and then the part where we're sleeping. The back part is the frigid one - the other is only really really cold (maybe a whole 60 degrees). We have two radiators next to us, and I'm still dying even under my four blankets. Brr.

Aside from that, home is great. I love hanging out with my sister. I can't believe how old she is, and that she uses terms like 'deconstructionist'. She was 8 when I left for college, which makes her 18 now, and it's just weird. It's a good weird, though - we still get along fabulously, have a lot of the same interests, and it's just a relationship I'm glad to have. She'll hopefully be moving east-ish for college, which means I can see her a little more often, at least until we move to wherever we move next.

Went to the mall last night with the mom and sister for a couple of hours. That's about all the mall time I need this holiday season, but it's kinda a family tradition to head out the suburban mall, shop, and then go to Olive Garden for dinner. I'm definitely developing a scratchy throat (I'm sure the subarctic living conditions aren't helping), so I'm using that as an excuse to get Tim to drive us around the city instead of the usual public transportation. Luckily, many people in my neighborhood head out for the holidays, so we can always find parking. Today's tasks include taking my clothes to the dry cleaner, having coffee/tea at Intelligentsia, playing a game of Scrabble, and hopefully making a trip to the yarn store that's opened a few blocks from my house on Lincoln. Yum. I haven't been there yet, but since I managed to not pack myself a hat, I think I'll treat myself to some fancy yarn and a new hat for me, after all this holiday knitting for other people.



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