Thursday, March 26, 2009

Summer/Life Plan

This Sunday over a delicious lunch at the Chicago Diner (I had the Aztec avocado tacos – AHHHMAZING) my roommate and I mapped out our new summer/life plan.

Lately, I’ve felt like we are in a slump, same bars, same neighborhood, same people. I’m looking for a change and now that summer’s approaching, warm weather, beer gardens, it’s getting imperative we make the move.

We discussed bars, restaurants, activities, groups of friends, meeting new people and getting out of our rut. For me, the straw that broke the camel’s back was on Saturday night. I was out with a couple of friends at an uber fratty sports bar. Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with sports bars…when there’s an ACTUAL sporting event. However, as a 25 year old semi-professional, I was looking for something a little more than guys in jersey’s, $3 O-bombs, forty’s and grinding on a make believe dance floor. It was so frat-tastic, I could’ve barfed. If I wanted to go to a frat party, I could walk myself back to Miami.

Then the night took a turn for the worse, I look over and this guy is making out with some rando girl on the (again, make-shift) dance floor. Let me re-phrase, they weren’t making out; he had turned his mouth into a vacuum and was sucking off her face, tongue, tonsils and stomach. Spit was flying everywhere, hands groping air, it was so awkward and sloppy. I thought her head might disappear into his mouth. Then, no joke, 45 seconds later he’s making out with someone else against the wall, while the other girl watched on. This is where I put my beer down, grabbed my roommate and headed outta there.

So back to our new summer/life plan. We came up with some great places/things to try. Maybe you all can print this out and put up on your fridge; a great new list of places for you as well:

  • Hopleaf (duh, I’m obsessed and it’s stalking me)
  • Market in the West Loop
  • Speed Dating
  • Lumen
  • Danny’s in Bucktown
  • Violet Hour
  • Elbow Room
  • Live music (jazz/blues)
  • Turtle Racing at Joe’s Bar
  • Improv show
  • Subterranean in Bucktown
  • Capitalizing on new groups of people

If you’ve been to any or want to drop a reco, please feel free! We’re looking to shake things up this summer.

Attraction is not a choice,

LOLLA 2009!

I am SO SO SO SO excited for Lollapalooza this year because the line-up is AMAZINGggg. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Lollapalooza it's a three day concert in Grant Park, full of amazing artists where you can lie in the grass and enjoy the Chicago skyline while listening to some of the best music around.

I've gone almost every single year that it's been in Chicago (with the exception of the year after I graduated college and I was in South America) and it's by far one of my favorite parts of Chicago summers.

Last year I went with my sister and we saw some bomb acts like John Butler Trio, Tally Hall, Iron & Wine, Amadou & Mariam, G. Love & Special Sauce, Girl Talk, Flosstradamus, Gnarls Barkley and Kanye West.

This was my sis and I in front of the Tally Hall stage which I'm pretty sure was her favorite act that year. We got really close and were in the shade which isn't a common combo in a giant, open space like Grant Park.

I on the other hand, was obsessed with Girl Talk last year. His performance was so incredibly amazing it wasn't even funny. Gregg Gillis was literally so close to me I could touch him. He crowd surfed right over my sister and I.

Then he landed in the middle of the crowd and spun from this booth they had set up. My sister and I were mere inches from him, it was insane.

This year seems EVEN better than last year. According to this blog, and his source states that ten percent of the artists he lists may be incorrect, but the potential line-up has acts like:

  • The Killers
  • Kings of Leon
  • OK Go
  • Regina Spektor
  • Atmosphere
  • Ben Harper
  • Franz Ferdinad
  • Ra Ra Riot
  • Silverspun Pickups
  • TheDecembrists
  • TV on the Radio
  • Vampire Weekend
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs

3 days passes go on sale March 31, and I know I'll be the first to swoop mine, I CAN'T WAIT.

Also, this weekend I'm going to see another one of my favorite bands, Bloc Party at the Aragon Ballroom. I've never seen them live, but I've heard they're great and I'm amped to see them. Concerts are such a great way to hang out over the weekend without the usual bump and grind of blacked out frat boys that you have to beat off with a stick at Lincoln Park bars. This weekend, I can rage in the comfort of two of my good friends and quality tunes.

No one's getting out alive,

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Moving forward, high school is dead.

So I suck at posting lately, but in my defense I've had so much going on at work that I've barely had time to come up for air. Moving forward, (this is one of those classic lines you fine integrated into your 24 year old lexicon that you couldn't have paid your 18 year old mouth to say) I am going to try to be better at posting and not let other things affect the amount of time I dedicate to said blog.

That being said, and I'm going to hell if she ever finds this blog, but last night I went to dinner with one of my high school friends. This friend I grabbed food with, was one of my best friends from high school that I literally used to be inseparable from and I've known since I was in 8th grade. Now whether you have a 60 year old perspective while reading this blog or a 16 year old, everyone knows that one of the basic tenets of being a human is that people change. That is the best way to explain the dinner dynamic I had to endure last night.

My friend from high school, let's call her Red, has been been mad at me for the past year or so because I "haven't dedicated enough of my time to our friendship." She's one of those classic needy friends, everyone has them, that takes every little move you make as a personal accost to her humanity and can't really understand that you are busy living your life and drinking beer in your basement as a 16 year old doesn't hold any sort of precedent in your life anymore.

Regardless, she took the time to send me a really sweet card for my birthday and in the card was like, "I just want to wish you a happy birthday and I would love to take you out to dinner or drinks for your birthday sometime, let me know when you are available." As nice as the gesture was, she didn't come to my birthday party so I kinda thought it was just one of those reaching out sort of things people do without any follow through.

But sure enough, come Monday, I sign onto gchat and she IMs me saying, "Hey have you gotten my card yet, would love to take you to dinner if you can?" Since she was really trying to reach out I felt bad pulling away anymore than I already had so I agreed to go to dinner last night.

Even though this was supposed to be my "birthday dinner," she insisted on me picking the place and telling me how poor she was. Due to these disclosures, I tried to pick a local, cheap spot that I knew had specials on Tuesdays.

She called me to let me know that she had gotten to dinner 45 minutes early and since the bar was more in my neighborhood I offered to have her come to my house while I finished getting ready. She refused and little did I know until I showed up at the bar that instead of coming to my house a mere four blocks away, she sat in her car.

When we went into the restaurant, there was a half hour wait. While we waited it was butt-clench central. It couldn't be more apparent that we had just drifted apart, through no fault of either one of us, we just weren't the same people anymore. There was nothing left for us to connect upon and we had grown and changed from the 16 year olds, excited to have our licenses, to 24 year olds who had nothing to talk about.

We spent the next hour and a half at dinner, re-hashing high school drama that I could care less about before going our separate ways. Finally, when the bill came, after she had ordered the majority of the check, she asked if we wanted to split it. In my head, I'm thinking, okay you've managed to harass me into a dinner that I didn't want to attend and into paying for food that I didn't want to consume with you, but please, can we split the bill! Either way, I ended up accepting my debit card fate and throwing it down.

Moving forward, it just goes to show you that no matter how many tears you've spilled in sweaty garages over emo talks while guzzling Mike's Hard Lemonades as a teen, there comes a day when there's just nothing left to talk about.

No one's getting out alive,

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Fav Chicago BYOB's

I LOVE going out to eat! It is one of my favorite things to do and to be honest I may be addicted. On average, I go out to dinner 1-2 times a week and eat all my meals out on the weekend. If I gave up eating out, I’d be a freaking millionaire. Brunch and BYOB’s are my fav!! While we are in a recession and I’m not made of money, unfortunately I can’t hit up the hot spots every night. Sure, I’d love to frequent Table 52, Charlie Trotters, Eve, Carmines, Rosebud Prime and Gibsons on a regular basis, but let’s get real.

BYOB is the greatest thing ever! I hardly ever go anywhere that’s not BYOB and Chicago has so many great resources. A couple months ago at my favorite wine shop, Kafka Wine, I picked up the best book ever, “BYOB Chicago,” complete with all BYOB restaurants in the area.

And, just this week, I got the new TimeOut Chicago’s, “BYOB Guide” which lists the magazines top 50 picks, and yes some of my favorites did make the list. So without further delay, here are my fav hot spots:

Adesso on Broadway in hopping Boy’s Town:
The braised short-ribs and creamy shallot polenta are to die for and I usually end up getting this every time. I try to branch out and get something new when I go, but it’s just too hard. This may just be my favorite restaurant, as it’s in walking distance to my apt, has good affordable Italian food, is BYOB (duh) and is so cozy and quaint. Reservations are a must as this place is teeny tiny and on the weekends is packed with glorious gay men.

Terragusto on Armitage:
So excited when this place opened up a second location in Lincoln Park (original is in Roscoe Village). My first experience was with friend's family and we got the chef’s tasting menu. It is still to this day one of the top meals I’ve ever had. I recently celebrated Valentine’s Day here with “all my single ladies” and highly recommend the “pop’s hat pasta filled with butternut squash” (also featured in TimeOut). Definitely drank heavily on V-day, so I hope this reco lives up to my memory.

Think in Wicker Park:
This one is a little on the pricey side, but well worth it, if you’re celebrating or on a romantic date. The duck risotto and lobster stuffed red peppers are a must and the white linen table cloths and candle light make you feel like you’ve stepped out of the blistering Chicago weather. I do not recommend going out after as the food tends to be on the rich side.

Thai Classic on Clark in Wrigley
This is a true hole in the wall and on Sunday’s they have an all you can eat Thai buffet, I have yet to go. They have an adorable seating area where you must take off your shoes and sit with your feet in the ground, very authentic and fun! This is my favorite delivery go-to and always get the green curry or any curry for that matter.

Jai-Yen on Braodway in Lakeview
Nestled off the beaten path, next to an empty store front, this sushi place offers low-key, convenient and affordable sushi. When I first moved to Chicago, I celebrated many a birthdays as I did my current job at this neighborhood go-to. The maki rolls are all great, my fav is the crazy and giant maki and the fried rice and mochi are also great staples!

Coast in Bucktown
Another great spot for birthday’s, I've celebrated a couple here. Coast tries to think outside the box and offers up unique and creative rolls. Aside from sushi, they also have great extras, such as the tuna tartare. Reservations are a must and be prepared to wait on weekends even with a ressie.

I highly recommend the new TimeOut Chicago. I know I plan on hitting up each and every spot listed, with SMOQUE number 1 on the list.

Attraction is not a choice,

Monday, March 9, 2009

40 Days and 40 Nights...

Apparently it is Lent and Catholics all over are giving up an array of things for forty days and forty nights. As someone who is not Catholic or religious, I am fascinated with all the stuff people give up.

My understanding is you have to choose something that is a true sacrifice – something that would be very hard to live without. As a Miami alum you’d think I’d have this down pat by now. I mean you were a minority if you weren’t Catholic, one of the only ones who stuck around Easter weekend when Oxford turned into a ghost town and drank herself silly (two of the best weekends in college). I sometimes forget how many are out there and was shocked when they started coming out of the woodwork all around me.

I find it quite interesting that most things sacrificed had to do with food. All of a sudden I had to constrict what I ate because my roommate had given up meat. Although I have to admit, we did go to an amazing seafood joint in Irving Park, Glenn's Diner. A great deal of people gave up the following

  • Soda
  • Cheese
  • Meat
  • Starbucks
  • Buying lunch
  • Carbs
  • Shots

However, I have yet to find anyone who gave up sex, liquor, coffee, TV or cigarettes. Sure people gave up Starbucks and shots, but they still are able to make their own coffee and drink liquor, beer and wine. So where’s the real struggle in that? None of the true vices were given up, because lets be honest, who could really go 40 days without those? And you have to actually partake in them to give them up. Just because you’re on a dry spell doesn’t mean all of a sudden your amazing, because you gave up sex…none of that!

Is it all a way for girls to proclaim their food neuroses out in the open? For the next 40 days they constrict what they eat, drop pounds and then on the 41st day are right back in the saddle? What’s the motivation behind it, how do you choose? What on earth would I give up? Good thing I don’t have to! I can have my Starbucks at work, my beer at the bar, my cheese on the weekend AND eat it too!

So, I want to know, what’s the craziest thing you’ve heard given up? What’d you give up this year? Do we have anyone who went for the gold and is in withdrawal? Comment here and let me know!

Attraction is not a choice,