Saturday, February 27, 2010

a well-earned meal

i went home this weekend to teach my mother how to use the internet. you would think in the year 2010 there was no one remaining on this earth who had not been exposed to the internet, but you'd be wrong. this fine specimen was living in close quarters with yours truly. i should have put her in a museum.

so on friday after document review, i packed up my bags, got on the blue line (and proceeded to fear for my life for the duration of the ride) and arrived to spend the weekend:
here is my room at my parent's house.
pro of coming home: waking up and smelling fresh coffee
made by someone other than myself
con: waking up and finding myself on the floor because i've rolled off
the twin bed that now inhabits my room at my parent's house

so, after i introduced mary to the inner workings of the world wide web and taught her how to set up a facebook page (HA yeah right), she wrote three emails and called it a day. we celebrated our triumph with a trip to our favorite place, maria's.
mar and her marg.
this is why i am now in a pretty serious food coma.
i cannot go on.

now excuse me while i enjoy the figure skating exhibition gala.
on this lovely saturday night.
i am too cool.

doesn't get more polish than this

(yes those are two vats full of pickles and sauerkraut. don't ask)

something i definitely WILL miss: trips to the deli with my mother to stock up on things like kapusta, pierogi, barszcz, salatka and the like (google these if you really want to know whats up). i took advantage of shakeitphoto (which makes everything look better and more romantic, even raw meat (see below)) to snap a few pics of my and mary's trip today...

bread so fresh it was still warm. i'll have that with some
butter and cheese please (i would do well on a prison diet).
this needs no description.
mmm meat.
mary waiting to get served.

like a boss.
we sure love our pickles.
did anyone other than myself get bribed with mamba to behave
at the deli? maybe it's a polish thing.

Friday, February 26, 2010

cuba libre movement

when my lovely friend lindsay got me my job here at g&c music factory, my interview consisted of the following:

me: hi, i'm margaret, here's my resume, sorry i'm sweating, i ran here in heels.
[everyone is in jeans]
boss: [throws resume on desk] martha, it's nice to meet you. when can you start?
me: um, well i'm free the rest of the day. i can start now.
boss: GREAT! lindsay, show margaret around.
[tour of office takes two seconds because it is approx. 1000 sq. ft. "interview" continues:]
boss: so. this is the most important question. do you drink cuba libre?
margaret: um, yes. i do.
boss: GREAT! you're hired. go get started.

so this is how i was introduced to our friday afternoon ritual, known as "document review," which in no way consists of reviewing documents (altho it's fun to freak out new clerks and tell them they have to prepare documents for review. i never got punked like this because i was in on the ritual from the get-go). so excuse me as i go properly kick off my weekend...

workin for the weekend

ah, friday. a day of such promise. except for when it's 9 am and you realize you have 8 hours ahead of you until freedom. my office is not that exciting (altho the building is pretty damn cool, given that it's on the national register of historic places and all), but i wanted to share the tiny little scrap of outside i can see (by some miracle, i managed to get the one seat by the window. it's a hot commodity round here):

you can see a tiny little bit of the lake (i'm sure back in the day i would have been able to see the lake just fine. stupid skyscrapers.).

ps sorry for all the recent cityscapes. i just downloaded the shakeitphoto app on my iphone and i have become OBSESSED with taking faularoids of everything. yes, that is what they're called.

have a great friday everyone - let's hope it goes fast. anyone have any fun plans this weekend??

Thursday, February 25, 2010

my walk to the train

i took the train today for the first time in a long while ( i much prefer the buses because they go ev-ry-where. however the route cuts are NOT cool, cta. just sayin). the sun was shining and the air was crisp to say the least. but the city looked beautiful and i just wanted to share!
(see the moon on the left side? what are you doing there, moon?
i love this pic because of the sunlit building peaking out from
between the high rises)
seeing this makes me happy i do not have a car
waiting on the freezing platform!

recent discoveries...

... that i of course cannot take credit for. now that i've put my resolution into motion (not to be confused with a new year's resolution. i don't make those. but since i've resolved to try as many new restaurants as possible in the coming months, i have no choice but to refer to that decision as a resolution.), i've been relying on my friends a lot to give me ideas and suggest new places to try in the city (interspersed of course with shamelessly inviting myself to come along on dates, reunion dinners, and so on). because i started my blog a couple months into my quest, i want to take this post to brag about two places i went to a few weeks ago and LOVED.

i tried out the purple pig on a friday night after work (and happy hour) after roommate invited me to come along with her and her other employed friends. as it turned out, their high school friend (and some others of these amazing chicago restaurants) is the enterprising culinary genius behind this place - not like it helped us get seated.
don't let this photograph fool you - i snapped it at midnight when we were closing the place down with post-dinner shots (thank you, roommate, for sneaking up on us with those). when i arrived at around 7 pm, the place was HOPPIN. every table and bar stool was taken; thankfully the bar was fully stocked. my friends and i took advantage of our happy hour buzzes and happily imbibed while we waited. let me tell you, it was worth it.
i didn't want to pull out my iphone every time a dish arrived, so this was the only photo i snapped of the damage we did. i really wish i had just sucked it up and gotten over my fear that "my dinner companions will be annoyed and/or think i'm creepy and weird if i take pictures of the food." fail. we tried 15 things off the menu. i counted. 15!! in our defense (and so you don't think we're complete gluttons), the purple pig serves only small [and affordable!!!] plates. the proprietors' greek and italian heritage obviously influenced the menu, which features cured meats, cheeses, smears of mortadella and pistachios, creamy bone marrow, octopus, fried smashed potatoes with tzatziki... i'm drooling. gotta stop. all in all, i was very happy with this place - great food, great wine, great environment, unique place: at the end of the meal, guests are provided with a sharpie and get to sign their wine bottle, which is then placed above the bar.

the following weekend (given that i couldn't eat the rest of my purple pig weekend, i was so full), two law school friends invited me to ja grill, a jamaican restaurant in lincoln park. i knew i would have a good time when i walked in and saw this:
since this post is getting a little long, i'll keep my newfound love for ja grill short and sweet:
food = amazing (altho i must warn you, the jerk chicken's spiciness factor is not for the faint of heart)
music = amazing (dj spinnin reggae and hip hop all night long)
drinks = amazing and delicious (minus the patron kiki sprung on us toward the end of the night. this is becoming something of a trend. ouch)
owner = amazing (considering we sat there drinking so long after finishing our meal that he sent over jerk chicken wings, which we proceeded to HOUSE even though we'd all eaten dinner)

two very successful experiences. i highly recommend both. and i'm inviting myself now.

anybody have any favorite restaurants they want to share? i'm always looking for new options!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

miss/won't miss

when i move to new orleans, i definitely will miss the city.

i will miss this view on the way to school...

this especially - chicago-kent just a stone's throw from the sears tower...
THIS, on the other hand, i will not miss:

snow, please go away. it is almost march.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

late nite ice cream

roommates and i decided it would be a good idea to eat cookies & cream at 10 p.m. (a well-known and common side effect of paper-writing and studying). well since we were out of spoons (sometimes the dishes get a little backed up round here) we resorted to using kitchen utensils. let me tell you, you get a lot more bite for your buck when you eat like this.

at least the ice cream was supposedly "half the fat." whatever that means.

chocolate-covered strawberries

who doesn't love them? i decided to make some for my parents, for two reasons:

1. they seem to not be able to figure out how to make them
1.5 i know that this is partly because i make the best chocolate-covered strawberries, so as long as my parents don't know how, i will continue to make them (sneaky sneaky)
2. chocolate-covered strawberries are so fun to make!

look how perfect they are!

yes i had a strawberry photoshoot

melting these guys is a process - so messy but fun!

i didn't have wax paper, so pam and a cookie sheet
did the trick

finished product! i totally ate about half of them.
mark took care of the other half.

my adorable parents!*

*this was when i introduced them to cafe baba reeba on valentine's day (obviously, since they usually don't wearing matching red shirts when they go out in public) and they LOVED it. baba is offering a restaurant week menu... i might just have to venture down the block...

Monday, February 22, 2010

millennium adventure

after our delicious brunch at the gage, marty and i decided we needed to burn some calories at millennium park. he insisted on seeing the bean (sorry! cloud gate). i was just happy to take some pictures, despite the poor lighting conditions (fog is never good. everything is the SAME COLOR (grey)).

i would appreciate this scene much more if it were
taken december 24.
instead, i took this photo on february 21. not cool.

i've taken this picture about 10 times before.
never gets old.

the bean is very conducive to goofing around.

on the bridge connecting millennium park and
the new modern wing at the art institute.
not worth $8 mil, in my opinion.

i would be a lot happier with this picture
if the sky didn't look so dreary.

i took advantage of the fact that the crown fountain
was turned off to be able to pose this picture.

told ya it was cloudy
this picture was taken from the super-fancy university club
(marty's dad is a member, ooh la la)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

the most wonderful time of the year

other than christmas, of course (which just so happens to coincide with the day of my birth). no, friends, restaurant week is upon us. the one week in chicago when the gainlessly employed, student-loan-ridden, 25-year-olds who have yet to have a salary-paying job are able to enjoy three-course, prix-fixe meals at restaurants whose names we cannot pronounce and who similarly would usually not bother having our names on their reservation list. ah, restaurant week.

normally i wouldn't care. up until a little while ago, my restaurant repertoire was pretty much set (read: going to maria's mexican restaurant once a month with my parents - the very same we've been going to since i was 6 - and following my much-more-culinarily-advanced friend kiki to her favorite places). hence, restaurant week held little appeal. i already had a knowledgeable tour guide and a family favorite. everything changed when i decided to move to new orleans, home of gumbo, bbq shrimp, creole tomatoes, remoulade and po'boys, from chicago, home of basically everything else there is to eat in the world. i decided that i needed to try as many new places as i could, so i could move to new orleans knowing that i was officially a foodie worthy of living in a city emeril lagasse and paul prudhomme call home.

so far i've done pretty well for myself. i've managed to frequent at least one new place per weekend (which is impressive considering my attempt at a clean diet coupled with my minimal cash flow). this weekend i reached a new record (2) AND i got to introduce marty to one of my favorite places, wilde (not to be mistaken for the wild pug, where we went the other night). my new places this weekend were the bagel, an amazingly delicious deli in lakeview where i stuffed my face with a turkey reuben and potato pancakes, and the gage on michigan avenue, a delicious "gastropub" (aka modernized english/irish/scottish food which is totally YUM).

the ridiculously tempting dessert counter at the bagel.
literally everything was covered in chocolate.

i forgot my camera at wilde. boo.
so here is an iphone shot of the outside.

all in all, an incredibly successful weekend!
i'm NOT going to think about the 1 million calories i consumed.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

so close, but so far

marty and i, fresh off of our phish 2009 tour tidal wave, decided to test our luck yesterday and headed out to the riv to scalp tickets to see trey (the lead singer/guitarist/front man of phish aka marty's idol). we weren't the only ones. what we encountered was dozens of cold hippies pointing their fingers above their heads - the discrete code of phish fans looking for a ticket. we joined the crowd but instantly foresaw that this wouldn't go anywhere. there were just too many fans and no one selling.

me in miami on new years, graciously selling my extra ticket for face value

obviously i was disappointed because i wouldn't get to listen to trey, but also because i wouldn't get to go into the riv. the riv is one of several old theatres and ballrooms in chicago that were built in the 1910s and 20s and now function as [incredibly popular] music venues. there's something about being in an old space that holds the secrets and history of the past that makes the music sound so much better. it's really fun to imagine what went on, who was there, what they wore, how they danced... okay, well it is for me.

anyways we ended up sitting at the
wild pug all night, just down the street (not before i snapped a pic of marty looking sorely disappointed). if we couldn't listen to trey, we would settle for a dj spinning techno versions of the rolling stones and 3 dollar newcastles (for me) and boddington's (for marty).

Thursday, February 18, 2010

don't quit your day job

so i've decided that if being a lawyer doesn't pan out, i can always become a pizza maker. so, domino's, pizza hut, sarpino's, pizza guys at whole foods, if you're hiring, keep me in mind. i have a very extensive resume of pizza eating. my palate is quite refined and i'm very understanding of going halfsies on toppings (that was always a big deal at my house, when back in the day all i would eat was cheese and sausage and my "i pride myself on eating like a rabbit" mom insisted on veggies ONLY... and now here i am):

the deliciously fresh veggies are all from stanley's fruits and vegetables on north ave and damen. GO THERE. my roommate and i stopped in on a whim and discovered a fresh fruit and veg gem (especially if you're on a budget)! in a city covered in snow, where we haven't seen the sun in weeks, stanley's makes you feel like you've walked into an outdoor farmer's market. the endless free samples of their fresh, homemade potato chips are pretty nice too...

roommate with the finished product!!!

what should we name our creation?

ps it was DEElish. don't be jealous of
our culinary prowess. whole foods, beware.

welcome friends

so i've decided to start a blog. i know, i know - you're all thinking to yourselves that the blogverse is big enough without my meager contribution added to the mix. there are already awesome, successful bloggers out there (like her and her). like many of you (which would explain why some of you are here), i've become obsessed with blogs - blogsessed. i've read countless blogs and gathered inspiration and decided that i need to put my two cents in too - mostly because of my blogsession (if i'm going to spend this much time blogsessing, i might as well blogsess over my own blog, right? ok, ok, i'm done with the blog-obsess pun. i realize its not that original in the first place).

anyways, there's another reason i've decided to start a blog. come may, i'll be moving across the country to new orleans. i'm graduating from law school in chicago, pulling up my roots and making my way down to the big easy to find fun (for sure), fortune (ya, right) and adventure (mos def). AND a job (dear god i hope). since i'll be leaving my old life behind, i'm going to take some time away from the law books to reflect and share on this blog everything i love about this city and my peeps. i hope you enjoy following my journey as much as i enjoy living it.

am i really moving to a city where people dress like this?
this could get interesting...