Friday, May 24, 2013
This is a list from a one hour period showing how people come to my blog. Two of you weirdos were watching porn and then decided to hop on over here. Um, thank you?
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
For my birthday, Michael got us tickets to dinner. Yep, tickets. A few restaurants here in Chicago are now doing things this way. Reason being, they are not turning over any tables. They only do one seating per night and the menus are already set. If someone didn't show up for a regular reservation, they would be out however much it costs per person. I know that's how most places operate, but the menus here aren't never-ending pasta bowls. They are extensive, creative, and expensive to make. The ticketing system allows them to make these menus while keeping the costs down because each night they know exactly what and how many of each item they are making. Got it? Great. Moving on.
Elizabeth opened up in our new neighborhood back in September and was recently named one of the best restaurants in Chicago. So, tickets in hand, off we went. First, the place is small. But cute-small. Kind of like you are in a little house except for the professional kitchen at the end of the room. They offer three menus that you have to choose from in advance. They then seat you at one of the three harvest tables in the room, so yes, you are sitting with a table of strangers. I don't hate this. Our table was the "deer menu", which is described as having a "woodland and forest influence" and would take about 3 1/2 hours. We also got the wine pairings.
Here was our menu for the night:
I really wish I had taken pictures of everything that night, but I didn't want to be that girl for 3 1/2 hours. Here are a few of the highlights...
"Terrarium of Grandfather's Farm"
From what I remember, this included malt, hazelnuts, pickled olives, pickled hibiscus, and a bunch of other stuff I'm forgetting. This was one of our favorite dishes of the night.
"Brioche, Prosciutto, & Fiddlehead"
The prosciutto was a foam inside the brioche and the fiddleheads were pickled. Also amazing.
This is hard to see but on top of those weeds or whatever was this ball that was kind of like raw Ramen with some roe on top. Not bad, but not my favorite. Also, with all the wine and the diverse food, I was this close to eating the dirt at the bottom of the weeds. I thought it was part of the meal. You can't really blame me because later on we're served tree. Kind of (see: dessert). Carry on.
"Rabbit Loin & Stinging Nettles"
That white stuff is bacon powder. This dish was incredible. I don't have a picture of the next dish, but it was bear. Yes, bear. The guy next to me wouldn't eat it, something stupid about teddy bears or whatever. So I ate it off his plate.
"One Pill Makes You Larger"
This was kind of like mushroom tea and started a recurring theme of the head chef, Iliana, coming to our table and explaining that "these mushrooms I foraged from my Grandfather's farm" and "these nettles I collected from my backyard" and so on. Keeping on with the whole "one pill makes you larger" theme, they brought speakers to our table while the tea was prepared and played Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit".
"Berries & Milk"
One of several creative desserts. We also had porcini brownies (so yes, mushroom brownies) and...
..."Birch and Rosehip"
This birch log had been sitting in front of us during the meal and we were told at the end we could eat it. Well, eat the malted twigs on top. Maybe you can now excuse me for trying to eat dirt earlier.
There were other highlights that I didn't get pictures of. Deer heart with acorn gnocchi being a huge standout (I don't know how one makes gnocchi out of acorns but I want more of it). Chef Iliana was lovely, the atmosphere was intimate, and the food was outstanding. One of the best meals (and experiences) I have ever had. Get yourself a ticket (and invite us along).
Monday, April 22, 2013
When you're from Texas, it's kind of like a rite of passage to take a million pictures of your kid running around in the bluebonnets in April. Unfortunately, bluebonnet season this year was a little lacking, but we managed to get a few good ones in while we were in town. Be advised- there's nothing witty or worth waiting for at the end of this post so if you don't want to see a ton of pics of Miles frolicking in the bluebonnets, go ahead on move on. Here are a few of my favorites...
Friday, April 19, 2013
It's April 19th and it's snowing. SNOWING. 48 hours ago I was wearing tank tops and flip flops. I'm mad about this. And I'm mad I can't blame someone. That's all I have to say about it, just lodging a formal complaint to the four-ish people that read this thing.
I considered being lazy and waiting six months to write this like I usually do, but decided that maybe if I write this somewhat on time, I'll get less snarky comments (though by writing that, I've pretty much guaranteed that they will arrive in my inbox anyway).
So we went. And despite a two hour delay, Miles was a rock star on the plane.
Miles' first order of business was to head straight to Pops' garden and throw all of his perfectly placed rocks onto the sidewalk (per tradition).
Nana and Pops kept him busy as usual. Miles tried his first beignet. At first, there was excitement:
And finally, bearing the powder marks of a delicious pastry being enjoyed:
There were lots of trips to the park across the street:
Ok, perhaps I should have taken a picture of my kid instead of this one, but I couldn't resist getting this kid on film. I mean, he's wearing spurs. I love it. Anyway, Miles loves this park. Especially the hill (as do I since it means all that running up and down the hill leads to really long naps).
Trying out new looks while in town.
Nana made him this great table that he used for play-doh and art projects.
Speaking of Nana, he was able to attend her school for a few days while in town. This is usually the section where I go on and on bitching about how Chicago doesn't offer anything like this for kids his age unless you want to pay college tuition prices to send them to one of the five schools that let you drop off your kids for two hours a day, twice a week... but I won't do that today. Once again, they said he did great and got along with all of the other kids really well. He was the only child in class to call out the food that the Very Hungry Caterpillar ate and yes, I'm very proud of him for it. They also said he was so cheerful and that they'd hear him on the playground singing to himself. This is the only picture I got, but it's obviously a stellar one worth putting on the blog (back of his head top left, eating lunch).
Butterfly project and report card from day one:
Another thing Miles loved is this play place called Wonder Wild. He's used to our limited space play areas in Chicago so to be in one located in a big warehouse was a treat for him.
I don't really know why but this car thing cracks me up:
Other highlights included a visit from Auntie Coco & Daddy over the weekend...
(after a fall in the mud)
Petting the caterpillars in the backyard (and watching them turn into cocoons!)
And lots of playdates with Jack and Tova
Towards the end of the trip, our friends came over for a bbq. We used to have these all the time and they would last well into the night. While it was a lot of fun, I have to say it was quite a different experience compared to bbqs in the past. The kids outnumbered the adults, the party ended while the sun was still out, and there was beer leftover.
King's new little nugget.
Two other highlights worth mentioning: Michael and I snuck out for a delicious lunch at Taco Milagro.
(obviously we had to test out every single sauce)
The other is this:
Michael will kill me for this but it was just too hilarious to ignore. My parents have two rocking chairs on the front porch that are fairly old and have been weathering the elements outside for years. Unfortunately for Michael, this particular rocker decided it was time to go at the precise moment he sat in it. More unfortunately for him, we were all outside to witness it (along with our neighbors).
The best part though was Miles' reaction. After studying it from all angles, he said, "I'm gonna go get my screwdriver" and headed inside.
We had a great visit and can't wait to go back (considering this weather, I'm already looking at flights).