18 August 2004

Chicago Day Three

yesterday i slept in, but what else is new. i eventually dragged myself out of bed, hopped into the car and headed into the city to meet my pops for lunch. i'd wanted to take him to chinatown for dimsum, but no such luck. instead, we ate at the Petra Cafe, which is his new and excited lunch spot, across from his office. i got the eggplant sandwich and it was grossly oversalted. i tried to dull it out a bit with the yogurt salad my dad got, but that was oversalted too! perhaps my dad is having some strange sodium craving--what nutrient is he lacking? but it was lucky, in a way, that i wasn't able to finish my nasty sandwich, because an hour later i was hungry and ready to head to Caminos De Michoacan, on Sheridan just off of Irving Park. VimandVigor and i shared a tasty chicken taco dinner. i was mostly craving the chips and salsa that come out before the meal, but those tacos were damn good...light tortillas, avocado, onion and perfectly spiced chicken. wow do i miss this food. and it's perfect post-drinking food, too, which i can say having had many many breakfasts there while hungover.

after tacos, i headed up north and, gasp!, had dinner at home! at first i fought it but by the time i sat down at the table, i was more than happy to have my mom's turkey sloppy joe roll-ups with whole wheat tortillas. kind of comforting in a way. in fact, i'm going to see if there are any leftovers right now...

...mmmmm, lucky me. but, ew, there was also some sort of large meat chop that had cut through the ziplock bag it was stored in and was in the process of drying out. gross.

anyways, yeah, turkey roll-up. strangely satisfying--even when cold and minus the roll-up.

after dinner, i went to don's and ate too many lime tortilla chips.

the end.

17 August 2004

Chicago Day Two

Wow, so much to catch up on. let's see....

Day two began with a lovely breakfast at heartland cafe. happily, i arrived to find mintwaster working behind the bar, so abbey and i plopped ourselves down there rather than taking a table. we both went with the chili avocado omelette--abbey's with rice and toast; mine with potatoes and cornbread. okay, in all honesty, the cornbread was burnt to a crisp on the bottom, but everything else was fantastic. given the long day of food ahead of me, i had to be reasonable and didn't finish the omelette. i think it was a brave act of maturity and grace. after our leisurely lunch, full of talk about the olympics and secret happenings in the university of michigan library (shhh!!! big news that cannot be divulged!), mintwaster suggested a cocktail, so abbey got a bloody mary and i got a caipirinha. that mintwaster character sure does make a mean cocktail. everyone should go to heartland, order a cocktail at the bar and tip big.

after breakfast, i slowly made my way down to greektown, where i met my mom, jen and cindy for a mid-day snack. we dined on spanikopita, feta pies and greek coffee at the Panhellenic Pastry Shop, which is honestly divine. we walked by it a few times, since it has been totally redone on the inside since i was last here. what used to be a sort of dingy, white-walled room with florescent lights, is now a lovely shade of dark yellow with lots of wood shelves, and warm lighting. how pleasant. the elderly greek man seemed quite pleased to see us...he brought over our coffee and chatted for a bit, asking where we were from, etc.

after greektown, jen, cindy and i headed to wicker park for drinks. we found a lovely seat outdoors at Salud, a tequila bar on Milwaukee. that part of town gets fancier and fancier every time i come for a visit. i've never seen so many restaurants with one word, mostly single syllable names. after two mojitos, i started to get hungry (oh! the curse of the strong drink on the empty stomach! after drink one, i'd pretty much stopped talking, content to sip my beverage and listen to jen and cindy.) so we headed over to The Handlebar, on North.

The Handlebar is a restaurant that opened shortly after my departure from the city. it's a "mostly vegetarian" bicycle-themed place that got a lot of talk-up among bike folks that i know. i must say that i wasn't expecting greatness. and well, it was no charlie trotters but i was fairly impressed. i got the portabello mushroom tacos, which were perfect--light, flavorful and pretty inline with the tacos i get at taquerias. not that i'm some expert on tacos, but they did me good. cindy got the fish version of the same dish and found it to be lacking in flavor. jen's eggplant sandwich was good but not extraordinary. and, uh, while we were originally seated outside, we had to move in because our table was a foot or so away from a dumpster and, frankly, it stank. it wasn't too classy like that. but a cute place, clever bike art and general bike tie-in. i wonder how many of the employees bike to work.

16 August 2004

Chicago: Day One

so far i'm doing my best to hit my list of restaurants, which means some serious hauling of my parents all over the city. my marathon tour of chicago's restaurants began with a bleu burger and fries at moody's, not with them but with long lost friends. my chicago roommate was in town from west virginia for about two seconds so i basically drove from ann arbor to moody's. i wasn't hungry, since i'd stopped and gotten a bite to eat on the way, but when i got to moody's and saw three buddies digging into their bleu burgers, well, what's a girl to do? so i ordered one. they heap enough bleu cheese onto the burger that you can scoop about 3/4 of it off to use as dip for the fries, either with or in lieu of the ketchup. people claim that moody's has the best burger in chicago and i don't know about that, but it sure was good. medium-rare, nice and juicy. good with a pint of beer. unfortunately, i still felt it five hours later and had to skip dinner altogether which was a big waste of a meal, given the brevity of my stay combined with the lengthy dining list. but, well, shit that burger was good.

for lunch today i had sushi at kamahachi in one of those northern suburbs (highland park or northbrook or deerfield? they all kinda run together.) which, while it wasn't on the list, seemed appropriate. after all, what else would i do with my mom on a saturday in the 'burbs when my sushi-hating father is out running errands but go get sushi somewhere nearby. we got peculiar rolls, edamame and an ikura. and, of course since we were dining out in the north shore, we ran into people we knew--a girl i grew up with who i haven't seen since high school. she's in med school, leaning towards practicing internal medicine. geez. fancy.

and then for dinner, instead of seeing "De-Lovely," my mother's suggestion, i got the folks to drive in to the city for dinner at Udupi Palace on Devon. it was way more de-lovely than sitting in a movie theater would've been. we, in the Breakstone spirit, ordered enormous quantities of food that could barely be finished: masala dosai, the appetizer combo plate (somosa, vadha, deep fried green chili, etc.), channa poori, mattar paneer, aloo masala, chapati and a fancy stuffed bread. i got a plain lassi to wash it all down. i could barely roll myself out of that place by the time we finished. i simply had to have the two jim beam and soda's at spin to help settle the stomach. they're a sippin' drink.

03 August 2004

cook by numbers

a doctor recently ordered a friend of mine to gain four pounds...at least. being the good jewish mother in training that i am, i insisted on baking some lasagna for her--it's got lots of fat in it and it keeps forever. she took a. and me to whole foods to buy supplies and just a mere five hours later, we had ourselves three entire lasagnas: one w/turkey, one veggie with cheese and one 1/2 veggie and 1/2 vegan. i must say, i make a mean lasagna!! we went with high fat turkey and whole milk mozzerella for my needing-to-gain-wait friend. i was planning on making only two lasagnas, but i bought exactly the right amount to make three. this is what happens when you learn to cook in a co-op, when you're preparing food for 60+ people. i can cook for one or cook for 60; nothing in between.