Tag Archives: Chicago

So this is the new year…


Happy 2013, lovelies!

It’s been a lovely two-week blog hiatus, and also much needed.

I fully intend to go into complete detail of how our holidays were spent. I just need to go through the bazillion photos I took with both the big cam and the phone.

Let me just say this: I had a great time in Chicago (like I always do), an incredibly fun new year, I feel so incredibly blessed and lucky, a lot of adult beverages were consumed…and I am officially on detox.

Come back later this week where I’ll have the complete breakdown of how it all went. For now, I need to get back in touch with the compuworld aka work. Here’s to the new year!

Windy City – Wildcats – Wine – Beach

Happy Sunday everyone!

Did everyone have a good weekend? I most definitely did. We had our friends come over on Friday night and we had a fun night of drinking wine, board games and sitting outside eating delicious foods.

I had promised to share the photos from the weekend REB and I were in Chicago for my sister’s graduation, so here it is! A week late, but the idea is still there ;) Hey, it’s been a busy week!

We started our journey last Thursday June 14 and it actually went quite smoothly. Gryff actually did really good in the car ride. I don’t think we’ve taken the dog on a long car ride before, but he slept pretty much the entire time. We made a pit stop at the Indiana border (at their welcome center) so the dog could TCB and REB and I could eat the light dinner I had packed for us :)

We got into Chicago kind of late and checked into our hotel (allowed dogs!) and went to sleep. We were exhausted! The next day, we had to get ready for my sister’s graduation. She got her bachelors 10 years ago, but decided to go back and get her masters in Engineering Product Development and Design. REB and I got dressed and headed over to Northwestern’s campus, parked the car, then met my sister, brother-in-law and my sister’s team mates (who she was graduating with!) for brunch and a pre-celebratory drink!

Words can’t express how proud I am of my sister. She has worked so hard and she’s so incredibly smart! She had a hard three years studying while working full time and tackling everything else going on in her life, and she managed graduating from school with flying colors! I’m so proud of her. She just continues to do things that make her an even bigger inspiration to me!

My sister and her teammates!


The proud hubby :)

After her graduation, there was a reception with open bar and appetizers, but we ate light because we were going out later in the night. REB and I stopped back at the hotel in Skokie to check on the pups and hang out for a bit before we drove to my sister’s house. From there, we went to this bar called Lush where one of her teammates had reserved an event for all of us! It was an unlimited wine bar w/ heavy appetizers! Holy crap was it so much fun!

Progression of sloppiness

There were so many great wines we got to try, a board full of cheese, fig, jelly; bowls of bread and tall breadsticks; boards of meat (we steered clear of that one ;)); they also served us a yummy shaved brussel sprout coleslaw. It was unbelievable and even though it was just heavy appetizers, we were stuffed! In all honesty though, I could eat tapas any day.

From Lush we walked to this weird little bar called Beauty Bar. It looked like an old salon-turned-bar. You walk in and if you paid enough in drinks, you got your nails done for free. They also had those old hairdryers set up every where. By the time we got to this bar, I was feeling miiiiighty good so I opted to dance around like a weirdo before we made our very fun, drunkard cab ride back to my sisters.

Thank goodness REB was not as hammered as me so he could drive us back to our hotel. I don’t remember the end of that evening, but apparently I was pretty amusing trying to put on shoes on the way out. I deny everything :) haha.

Saturday was super fun! We spent the day at the beach! My sister’s friends birthday was that day, so we went North Shore Beach near their apartment, and spent an evening on the beach barbecuing and hanging out. It was such a beautiful afternoon!

We couldn’t stay long though, since Gryff’s eyes were getting really irritated with the sand blowing :( We didn’t have any of his drops either, so we had to leave, but it was still a lot of fun! And we did have fun at my sister’s with her friends who also came out for her graduation, so it was all in all, a really good day :)

It’s always sad to leave Chicago but it was one of the most fun weekends. I know I say that every time when I leave the city, but it’s true. I’ve never had an awful time in Chicago and I don’t think I ever will. I’m so glad I was able to be there for my sister’s graduation, too! :)

Until next time, Chicago!! <3 <3

What’s your favorite city you’ve visited?

Not A Leaf Meets The Veggie Next Door


Hello friends!!

I had mentioned in the previous post how I spent St. Patty’s weekend in Chicago. While Saturday was fun drinking in the city – literally (oy lol), Sunday was fun too! I got to have a mini blogger meet up with Diana from Veggie Next Door!

I remember I had originally started reading her blog when I randomly saw that someone had been writing about Ann Arbor, the art fair here, Seva (my favorite vegetarian restaurant here in town) and Zingermans. It turned out to be Diana and I was instantly excited about her blog because she too is a vegetarian and has some great recipes to share. We already had a lot in common and I didn’t even know her that well at the time! We kept in touch over the past 9 months, commenting on each others blogs, tweeting, sharing restaurant reviews, recipes and emailing one another. Then finally we had an opportunity to hang out this past weekend!

As it turns out, this gorgeous girl lives in the same neighborhood as my sister! Talk about small world. It’s things like this that make me realize that Chicago isn’t so big – it only seems that way. When we found out we would be in the same neck of the woods, we decided to meet up for brunch and hang out for the afternoon. It was so much fun. Plus the weather was so nice that it just made for a really great Sunday.

My sister and I met Diana at Cafe Selmaríe, which is in Lincoln Square. It’s a little French-type bistro and I’ve been wanting to eat there since my sister and brother-in-law bought their house in the area. The problem is on Sundays there’s almost always a wait since a lot of peeps dig the whole brunch scene. Luckily this time, the wait was only about 30 minutes so it worked out great because we were able to be total chatterboxes while waiting to be seated.

Gorgeous Diana!

Cafe Selmaríe had some great options for brunch, a lot of which were vegetarian – a plus! Diana had mentioned they have a really good vegetarian chili, but sadly they weren’t serving it on this particular Sunday. Next time! They had a lot of other yummy things for us to choose, though.

The first thing we needed was something to drink. It was already getting to 80-degree weather that afternoon and three of us were parched. So we started with an Iced green tea.

It was the perfect thing on such a hot day. Oh yeah, did I mention it was March 18th? I don’t think it’s normally that hot in the city in March! As far as good goes, we all got some tasty treats. My sister got their breakfast croissant: scrambled eggs and gruyere on a croissant (she got it without ham), mixed greens salad and diced potatoes – looked so delicious! Diana ordered the wild mushroom omelet with the mixed greens salad – also looked uber delicious. I saw one thing on the menu and knew instantly I had to get it.

No…it wasn’t the corned beef hash (nast).

Egg florentine had my name all over it. I find it weird that I hate getting my eggs over easy or over medium, but poached? Love ‘em. I know it doesn’t make sense, but what did make sense is that this dish was delicious and totally hit the spot.

Diana was also the biggest sweetheart and surprised me with a little gift from her Asian adventures this past fall. She gave this little bag (that had two little bags in it!) and it was made from recycled materials.

I already plan on using them as lens bags for my camera. Thanks Diana! <3

After brunch, we walked to the Chicago Public Library branch in the area, which excited my sister since she needed to renew her card. While she was in line for that, Diana took me up to the cooking/cookbook section (WE ARE NERDS) and showed me all these great cookbooks she’s checked out before. One stood out that I plan on ordering - Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I looked through the book a the library and there were so many yummy looking recipes in there, some of which Diana had made before and recommended. She had a great idea though: let’s try our luck and see if a used book store might have the book. So that was our next stop.

Unfortunately my sister needed to head back to her place, so Diana and I continued our Lincoln Square adventure! I took her to the Ravenswood Used Books store right on N. Lincoln.

I had been there before with my sister and she reminded us about checking it out. And since Diana hadn’t been there before, it was a great idea to check it out that day. It’s a quirky little store. Literally…little!

This place is floor-to-ceiling with books. It’s so tiny and you have to maneuver your way around all the little aisles, but it’s full of so many different kinds of books – some are even super old.

Love love LOVED this sign. There were a lot of them every where in the store!

We scoped out the cookbook section (duh)…after taking a while to find it (we kept passing it lol). We ended up buying one book each. I bought 15-Minute Vegetarian Gourmet by Paulette Mitchell. There area  lot of great recipes in there I can’t wait to try and at $6, you can’t beat it! I didn’t find Vegan Brunch, but Amazon is a beautiful thing ;)

Diana resisting the urge to buy 5+ cookbooks!

Once we had bought our books and had our fill of the bookstore, we walked down to the Delicatessen Meyer/Gene’s Deli on N. Lincoln. It’s a German market, which I thought was just a butcher place since they hang meats and stuff in the front window (No joke. It’s gross!), but I was surprised to see that it was a full market with produce, world items, tea, all kinds of wine and more!

View from the second floor


I'm such a sucker for neon signs!

After that we walked across the street to this cute little toy store, then we walked next door to the Chopping Block. This store is really great but really expensive. The entire store is basically a store for Le Creuset (drool but spendy!) and little kitchen knick knacks. But they’re best known for offering cooking classes and knife/cutting technique classes.

Once we were done buying some kitchen goodies we had to part ways, but I am so so glad I got to finally meet her! It was such a fun day and we realized we have so much in common and our significant others have a ton in common too. I can’t wait to hang out with her again maybe later on this summer when I’m back in the city or if she comes back to A2 :)

I look crazed :P

Do you like exploring your neighborhood for new stores?
What’s the best one you’ve found?

Green Weekend


Hi everyone!!

Sorry I’ve been MIA all weekend. I was in Chicago visiting my sister! It was probably one of the most fun weekends. I think a lot of it had to do with the weather being so beautiful. I always hate leaving that city and leaving my sister’s place. I just love Chicago!

Anyway, I have a big post I’m going to be writing, so I’ll just make this a picture post and show you some snaps I took from my phone from St. Patty’s Day :) Enjoy!

Green river!


Seester and me


Famous for chocolate shakes. I won't go into detail on what that means.


Chicago neighborhood


Hmm…I guess I don’t have more pictures! I have more in the next post, which was spending Sunday meeting with Diana from the Veggie Next Door! Stay tuned!

I always feel so sad to leave to leave Chicago.
Is there a city near you (or not) that you love to visit and hate saying goodbye?

Bachelorette weekend

My last days of singledom. In just a short 60-some-odd days, I’ll be a Mrs. I won’t lie to you, it’s pretty weird to think of it like that. I’m so excited though! And will probably stress and freak out a few weeks right before because I always freak out about something.

REB and I are having a traditional South Indian wedding, not sure if I ever mentioned that before. So that meant that my bridesmaids needed saris. Now, we could have just gone to some place here in Michigan, but we would have been royally ripped off since there isn’t a huge Indian district. There are a ton of Indian people here, don’t get me wrong, but not enough clothing stores to warrant a “good deal” when you see them. One option was to order them from India, but that might take longer than we need. So we decided to head to Chicago to visit my sister and make a trip to Devon Ave. aka Little India. It was also decided that while we were there, we would club the weekend with my bachelorette party since I’d be there with three of my four bridesmaids (the fourth lives out of state – we missed you AI!).

I have to say it was probably one of the most fun weekends I’ve ever had! I’ve been to Chicago more times than I can count. It helps having family there, but this time it was just on another level of fun! We did a lot of tourist-y things; something we don’t get to do that often, but it’s always fun. We got the wedding things done that needed to get done, and we also had some fun mixed in.

We left very early on Sunday morning so we could get to Chicago by noon or 1 p.m. We brought the lovely Danny Wood along for the ride. Have I mentioned how much I love my friends? They are a riot and so much fun to be around :)

I won’t go into all the details of Danny Wood and how he came to be, but it began in college with me and that adorable girl you see in the sunglasses. It became an inside joke and has traveled with us for almost…what…9 years now? Unreal <3

After we got to Chicago, we walked around my sister’s neighborhood. Her and my brother-in-law have a condo/house (yes, they own their very own piece of Chicago) in Lincoln Square. It’s almost as north as you can get in the city without being in the ‘burbs. It’s a very cute neighborhood though; lots of cute shops and restaurants in the area. But the real excitement was going down to Devon Ave. I never get sick of visiting Little India. It was a very tiring day of shopping, but we got everything we needed. Walking up and down that street works up a hunger, so we stopped at Uru-Swati, a vegetarian restaurant on the corner of Rockwell and Devon. Usually we go to Viceroy, but we weren’t really in the buffet mood and wanted to try new things. It had a great mix of north and south Indian food. I got the paper masala dosa, which is a two-foot long Indian-style crepe stuffed with potato curry.


Food won.

After dinner, we were beat so we headed back to my sister’s for some much needed drinky-drinks. A lot of them to be exact (o_O;

Day 2 was our fun, tourist-y day in downtown Chicago. We took the train down there and walked around to do some shopping. Then the girls planned a real treat for all of us: an architecture cruise of Chicago! Anyone who knows me and my sister know that we love architecture. It was such a fun ride through the city on the river. I learned a lot more about the city and its designers. Even my sister hadn’t done this tour before so it was a real treat for her as well!


Danny came along for the ride too, of course


Two of the bridesmaids and also two of my besties!


Trump tower = huuuuge!


Architecture <3


One of the best views of the skyline <3


Sister! <3



After the boat tour, we had some time to kill before dinner, so we walked down to Navy Pier. I’ve been to Navy Pier once and it was just to get some dinner. I need to make sure I come back and really take part in some of the fun.

Bob Newhart won me over. Watch out REB! ;)


Pretty city



Ferris Wheel

We went to dinner at Table 52 on W. Elm. This place was an ultimate treat! It’s owned by Art Smith, who is a very well known chef. He owns two or three other restaurants, was on Top Chef Masters and used to also be Oprah’s personal chef. The coolest thing about the night? We saw him leave the restaurant when we got there! He was getting into his Beamer (his M5 to be exact) before he drove off. I’m so bummed we didn’t get to say hi to him. The food was delicious though. It’s real comfort food. All of us ordered something different. My sister ordered the short rib (they looked like little burgers on top of a bread), my brother-in-law got the catfish, one friend got the southern fried chicken (which I didn’t try of course, but it did not look greasy at all!), the other got the special of the night, the walleye. I got the caramelized garlic risotto. I don’t think I need to explain how delicious it was. It was SO very rich, but so very tasty!


Cute decor and ambiance. Felt like we were eating in someone's house!


All of us!

After dinner, my brother-in-law went back home since he had to work in the morning, but the four of us girls headed to the John Hancock Center to the 95th floor. The 95th floor has the famed Signature Room and Lounge. We went to the lounge as the Room (the restaurant) was closed by then (it was about 11:30 when we headed out from the restaurant). The best way to end the night was a martini and a breathtaking view of Chicago. The best view of the city from the Lounge is from the girls bathroom. Guys are SOL on this one because they only have a wall in their bathroom. The girls get an entire wall of glass to look at the gorgeous city below.

Gorgeous Chicago from the ladies room! Pardon the reflection/glare!

We were also lucky enough to get a table right next to the window. We were told it was the best table in the bar and I believe it!


Thanks for a fun weekend, Chicago! I’ll be back soon! <3 <3

It was pretty much the perfect end to a perfect weekend. It was jam packed and we were so tired by the end of it, but I wouldn’t have changed any part of it. I can’t even begin to thank my sister and friends for such an incredible weekend! It was truly unforgettable!