Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Chicago !!

I just returned from an amazing trip to Chicago for my best friend's - Taylor Waterman - college graduation from Northwestern ! I am just so proud of her. We became so close senior year of high school and it is so crazy that its been 5 years since then ! I had so much fun spending time with her and her family, and I am so grateful they included me in their celebration.

The trip started a little rocky - while waiting at the Waterman's house for a car to come bring us to the airport, I realized I had forgotten my dress for graduation, toothbrush, deodorant, and BOARDING PASS ! uhhhh...whoops :P luckily I have the best brother in the world and he was able to quickly run home and get my stuff before we had to leave ! Things took a turn for the better when Taylor's mom - DMa - and I decided to get 2 pounds of fudge in the airport terminal while waiting for our flight ! They even cut each large piece into 6 smaller pieces, which was nice but did not stop us from quickly devouring it.

top row : rocky road, coffee toffee, coconut creme
bottom row : penuche with nuts, choclate peanut butter x 2
(bottom row definitely dominated in the taste category !)

When we got to Chicago, we met up with Taylor and she brought us to the restaurant she worked at called Tommy Nevins. To quote Taylor - "Its pretty much Irish Chili's." Nevins is an Irish pub serving tasty comfort food and boasts a wild night life scene ;) One of the most interesting menu items I saw was called 'Pint o Bacon' and was literally a pint glass with bacon strips and french fries spilling over the top. Niceeee ! We stayed at Nevins all night watching game 7 of the Stanley Cup championship series cheering the Bruins to victory !! yeah B's !

Some other highlights of the trip were :

- a bookstore/wine cafe called Book Cellar. It was a very cute bookstore made all the better by serving wine, cookies, and other treats. While I was there I bought a small Moleskin notebook that I know will come in handy in my upcoming travels. We enjoyed many glasses of wine and great conversation in the outdoor seating section just in front of the store. I also found this book there : Useless Japanese Inventions. I didn't buy it, but it gave me a good laugh.

Mr. and Mrs. Waterman in the cute outdoor seating section of the Book Cellar.

- dinner at The Girl and the Goat, a brillant tapas restaurant with head chef Stephanie Izard, the only female to have ever won Top Chef ! The restaurant was great all around : the interior design was very cool - raw and industrial and our waitress was so sweet and friendly which made the dining experience very comfortable and unpretentious. The food was AMAZING !! It was served in small portions so we ordered 10 dishes for the table (it ended up being too much food but we were glad we got to try so many different things) The freshest ingredients were prepared in unusual yet ingenious combinatoins, which not only made for delicous food, but also a great table converstation discussing the dishes and our favorites. Some of my favorites were:

Goat Chorizo Flatbread with ramp pesto, rhubarb, ricotta cheese

Crisp Calamari with rabbit ravioli, spring onions and bacon

Sugo (aka meat sauce) with homemade linguini, rosemary, and cape gooseberries

- a day in Oak Park, and getting a chance to see many homes designed by notorious American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. Touring around the neighborhood, all of the homes we saw were absolutely spectacular. We also took a guided tour of Frank Lloyds personal home and studio. It was amazing to see first hand how visionary he was for his time and the innovations he mastered. For example - to save space and add to the open floor plan of his family's play room, he place the baby grand piano, not just againest a wall, but THROUGH the wall. He literally cut a hole in the wall and had the piano hanging through and into the starwell just behind the wall, while it was being suspended by an iron hook. It was so cool ! Unfortunatly we couldn't take any photos in the home but here is one of my favorites from the neighborhood. I love the round turret :)

Now that I am home, it is time to get serious about prepping for Denmark !! mentally, physically, spiritually, financially, etc.... AHHHH ! well its a step in the right direction, I have almost 100% secured housing yay !

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