Sunday, August 23, 2009

Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad!

I'm off to San Francisco, so I'm posting this a few days early. Happy Anniversary to my parents! Its now been a long time (36 years, if I'm not mistaken... which I often am) since they were married. And, they made it through raising me, but I was a goody two shoes for the most part.

Thanks for being great parents and a great example. Here's to many more great years together!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Favorite Dinner - Make Your Own Pizza Night

Last night, we had our make your own pizza night at home. Ever since I started shopping at Trader Joe's again, we've been making pizzas. They sell pizza dough there for just over $1, so it saves us a ton of dough (pun intended) vs. ordering in. Thought I'd share a few pics from our fun night!

Lots of ingredients we had on hand to choose from: pesto, olives, fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, peppercini, fresh tomatoes, parmesan cheese, fresh mushrooms, and goat chees
e. There was a lot more inspiration in the refrigerator, but only so much can fit on one pizza. yum!

my pizza certainly looks tastier, doesn't it? at the very least, it looks more artistic (maybe I've missed my career calling).
the pizzas were fantastic and now off for a game of chess (which I just learned) and an episode of Arrested Development.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Restaurant Recommendation - Han 202

For our anniversary last night, we tried a new restaurant that had come highly recommended to us. Han 202 is a Chinese/Seafood restaurant in Bridgeport. They offer a five course meal for $20 - what a deal! The food was fantastic and to make matters even better, its BYOB. So, we were out of there for a little over $40 for a gourmet 5 course prix-fixe dinner. Fantastic. I thought I'd share some photos from our meal. If you're planning on visiting us in the near future, be warned, we'll probably drag you here!

our 5-course prix-fixe menu & our soup course: spicy king crab miso (yum!)

our salad course: green apple salad with pink peppercorns & capers, and the beef lemongrass salad on top of the green apple mixture

appetizer course: crab rangoon & the calamari with spicy peppers. THE BEST calamari we've ever had. We were members of the clean plate club!

entree: monkfish in spicy black bean sauce and duck in a chili sauce I think.
Dessert: mango and vanilla sorbet with lychee. I forgot to get a before photo, so you'll just have to look at the after photo and imagine what was.

And, oddly enough we ran into some friends at the restaurant last night - they were seated right behind us!
All, in all, a fantastic time!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Recipe of the Day

This is a simple summer salad to make, especially when you've got fresh corn and tomatoes on hand. We use it as a light side dish with fish, but it would also be great as a light and tasty summer lunch.

Corn, Avodado, and Tomato Salad

Place 2 cups cooked corn in a large bowl. Add 1 diced avocado (1/2 inch pieces), 1 pint halved cherry tomatoes, and 1/2 cup finely diced red onion. In a separate bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon lime zest, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Stir the vinaigrette into the salad and serve.

Serves 4-6

Happy Anniversary!

Three years ago today, I was lucky enough to marry an amazing guy! He has been such a wonderful husband to me.

For nearly 3 years now, he has succumbed to my pescetarian lifestyle (without many complaints at all). I similarly forced him into running (not a fun sport at first, though he's now faster than me!). And, I dragged him to California for a year... only to hear my company was moving everyone to New Jersey (thankfully, he instantly got a job!).

He's a trooper, who is always there for me. He lets me be silly and ridiculous. And, he makes me laugh non-stop. I often burst into random laughter during the day when I think of some joke or funny comment he made.

Thanks for being such a kind, giving, funny, and all-around great guy. Happy Anniversary! Love you more every day!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Happy Anniversary Angie & Tim!

Happy Anniversary to Angie & Tim! Congratulations on two happy years of marriage. You guys are the best and we are so happy for you both and lucky to have you as part of our family.

Pics of Angie & Tim at our wedding, aren't they so cute?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday to a great mom-in-law! We hope you had a great day celebrating and enjoyed yourself. Here's to another fabulous year!

(Sorry for posting 1 day late... but better late than never!)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Photo tour of the West Loop

We've lived in the West Loop area for several years now. We've lived in lots of different neighborhoods in the city, but have really grown to love this one. Its a bit of a hidden gem, really. It used to be the meatpacking and market district of the city. Many of those businesses still remain, and some are even open to the public now. There are tons of old warehouses in the area that have now been converted into condos and lofts and each day new shops and restaurants are appearing.

e surrounded by Restaurant Row which has some of the hottest restaurants in town as well as lots of clubs.

Its definitely an area in transition and with lots of juxtaposition going on. One minute there's a valet line, the next there's a delivery truck full of vegetables.

Sights & Sounds of Greektown

We live only a few blocks away from Greektown and its one of my favorite places to go for dinner. Being a pescetarian, I love Mediterranean food. I spent a day recently walking the streets of Greektown and trying to capture the area in some photos. Its so colorful and lively!

one of my favorite
bakeries and lunchtime haunts.

reflections in the music store window

i love this old hotel signage.

greek keys are everywhere, including the gates around Walgreens'

Hello New York City!

After my friend's wedding in NJ, we had the chance to go visit some friends in NYC. I haven't been there in quite awhile and its one of my all-time favorite places! We had a great time catching up with friends.

We spent the night in Park Slope, a neighborhood in Brooklyn with some friends and got to meet their adorable son, Jack. He's over a year old now, so we were really happy to finally meet him (though I do follow his blog). :) We wandered around their neighborhood and parks, all of which were beautiful. I didn't even know there was such a large park in Brooklyn.

We also had the opportunity to see one of my high school friends as well. He moved out to NYC after college and was actually the person who showed me around during my very first visit to New York. He's a great guy and we were lucky to get the opportunity to meet his new fiance! They got engaged about a week after we left. Congrats to Jeff & Emily! We are excited for the upcoming wedding.

The hubby also got to spend some time with his favorite guitar buddy who moved to NYC. It was such a sad day for us. Steve is a great guy and now hubby talks to me about guitar playing - and I'm absolutely no help. But, I am a good listener.

Friends in Town

A few weeks ago, some great and very fun college friends came to town. It was so nice to see them. Sometimes after college, its easy to lose touch, but I think we've done a great job of staying as close as we can (especially considering we're scattered across the Midwest and West).

We had a great time - went to a Cubs game at Wrigley Field. Even though we did leave before the end of the game (hey it was 13 innings, what do you expect?!).

We also hit the Taste of Randolph festival (you can see the crowds in the picture below) one evening and a great hidden gem, Mariscos El Veneno.
All in all, we had a great time catching up and hanging out!

Robin's Wedding

Recently, a very old and very dear friend of mine got married. She is a friend from high school, so I've known her now over 15 years. Wow - pretty amazing when someone is still a good friend 15 years later.

We traveled out to Flemington, NJ for the wedding and it was so quaint. Just a cute little town hidden outside of New York City. My husband and I had a great time at the wedding. We loved meeting Robin's in-laws, they were a hilarious and boisterous Italian family (I felt right at home!). Although, we probably had a bit too much fun at the rehearsal dinner, which seems to be a tradition for me. :)

Robin looked beautiful. Since I was in the wedding, I wasn't able to take
any photos during the ceremony. But, I did get some great shots in at the salon in the morning when we were all getting ready.

Congratulations Robin!

The Fishmarket

If you live in the Chicago area, you have got to check out my newest favorite spot! Its called L. Isaacson & Stein and its a fantastic fish market at the corner of Halsted & Fulton Market.

Fish is flown in fresh several times per week. They have so many different kinds of fish in the aisles and once per week they get items like live blue crabs in or extra large scampi (they look like mini lobsters!).

The selection is amazing, and the prices can't be beat... not to mention the freshness. When you don't have an ocean nearby, this is about the best you can do! You can pick your own whole fish and have them fillet it for you while you wait or you can choose to get their steaks, or fillets already pre-cut. Its such a great place - I'm usually in there about 3-4 times per week. Definitely one of the benefits of being unemployed.