Lou Mitchell’s

December 12, 2012 at 1:53 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

As I mentioned yesterday, Mom and I had a fantastic brunch at an apparent Chicago landmark this weekend, Lou Mitchell’s.  This diner has been serving meals since 1923 and boasts being the beginning point of Route 66.  Presidents have dined there and I’m pretty sure Obama was campaigning there not too long ago, so it’s a popular spot.  That was also evidenced by how freaking busy it was at 1pm Saturday.  We didn’t really have to wait very long but the entire place was hopping and stayed that way until we left.  It’s located only a few blocks from my office so of course it’s going to be tempting me every morning but so far I’ve been able to resist.  I know I won’t be able to say that forever, though.

Outdoor seating?! I’ll be back when the weather warms up!

True to authentic diner fashion,  our server had heavy make-up and big, hair-sprayed hair.  She was really nice and as we were being seated, brought us over two donut holes each.  I guess this is one of their trademarks?  The bread there is baked in-house and the donut holes put anything Dunkin Donuts could ever come up with to SHAME.  They were huge and delicious.  We were also given boxes of Milk Duds, because apparently all women and children receive that candy upon entering the establishment.  Trust me, we weren’t complaining.

I ordered a pancake, omelette and side of fried potatoes, all which were served in large portions.  Mom had some egg dish with bacon and raisin toast, which was pretty much the thickest and most savory toast I’ve ever had in my life.  Our waitress kept the coffee flowing and there was delicious maple syrup on the table for me to drench my pancake in.  The entire meal was seriously delicious and just when I thought I couldn’t eat another bite, they brought us free, individual servings of ice cream for desert.  Talk about melting my heart!  And the price was reasonable – I think Mom and I both ate our hearts out for around $30.

If you’re ever in the neighborhood, I highly recommend this place.  It’s comfortable, tasty and historic so what’s not to like?  Of course, if you’re going to go please let me know.  I can’t think of a better reason to be late to work!


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It’s Like 10,000 Scoops and All You Need is a Spoon

August 10, 2011 at 10:23 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )


Yesterday, Denali Moose Tracks Ice Cream partnered with the Salvation Army and handed out 10,000 free scoops of ice cream in front of The Tower Formerly Known as Sears, where I spent the day diligently working through one of the crappiest days I’ve had in a while.  This week has seriously been kicking my ass at work so some free ice cream was just what the doctor ordered.  I made my way downstairs and only had to wait in the massive line for about ten minutes until I had ice cream in hand.  I was surprised because I was expecting a tiny little sample size like you’d get at the mall but they had cones and everything and happily doled out two rather large scoops into my eagerly awaiting, greedy palms.  And the ice cream was good.  I asked the woman with the scooper if they were really counting every scoop and she pointed to people holding the little tally clickers like I use at the museum when I’m counting guests, so apparently they were tracking the numbers after all.  I’m not sure whether they completely stopped once they hit 10,000 scoops or if they went until 3pm (their designated quitting time).  It would’ve sucked to be the 10,0001st scoop and given my day yesterday I’m actually surprised that wasn’t me.

I’m not a huge fan of the Salvation Army (not because I disagree with helping the disadvantaged and downtrodden but they have some pretty awful anti-gay policies in place which don’t seem to be going anywhere) but I am a huge fan of free ice cream so I did what I could to help them meet their goal.  Perhaps this is how politicians get corrupted.  Regardless, that bit of sugar, chocolate and peanut butter brightened my day and made me glad, once again, that I work in the heart of the Loop.  And you can bet that I’ll be keeping an eye out for more free snacks throughout the rest of the week my days on this planet!

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Just Beachy

May 31, 2011 at 2:32 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , )

It seems like every day I find something else to love about my new apartment.  Yesterday I was able to add one more item to the list when I realized that there was a beach no more than a mile and a half from where I was sitting on my couch.  Since it was actually sunny and in the 90’s for our Memorial Day, I figured I should probably hit the sand.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Chicago weather for making me look like a lying fool.  I’ve had house guests two of the last three weekends and each of these visitors have had to put up with rain and unseasonably low temperatures for the

Beach Day!

duration of their stay.  Then, just as Mr. Murphy predicted, the weather cleared up and became downright beautiful once they left.  As an example, my old college buddy and I spent Sunday morning battling downpours as we walked to breakfast and then drove to the grocery (friends who stay with me and then drive me to do errands earn a special place in my heart).  These were serious downpours too – flash flooding was taking place and my friend actually had to climb in her passenger side to get in her car because the streets were so saturated.  It was miserable and I haven’t seen a drenching like that in a good long while.  After our brunch and errands, my friend departed into the storm.  Not even three hours later the rain had ceased and the evening became warm and pleasant with a nice sunset to boot.  Of course.  That was Sunday – Monday I woke up to 90 degree temps and abundant sunshine.  Double of course.  While I was bummed that my friend missed out on the nice weather, I did everything in my power to enjoy it enough for the both of us.

There are many beaches throughout Chicago and each of them are known for different things.  North Avenue beach is probably the most popular but as I’m not the type of person who goes to the beach to see and be seen, I’ll stick with what’s local.  Foster Ave. beach had plenty of kids and families but not so much that it made the entire experience ultra annoying.  There was some beach volleyball action going on and I definitely had some ice cream from a street vendor.  A friend of mine and I enjoyed the sun for a few hours and I even braved a walk in Lake Michigan before heading home – and it was freezing.  Lesson learned in that respect.  It’s nice to know I have such a sweet spot so near to my humble abode, even if I only get to enjoy it 3 months out of the year.

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August 9, 2010 at 2:24 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Our Guidebook

Yup, I did it.  I braved crowds, expensive beer and eardrum destruction to attend the Lollapalooza festivities on Saturday.  My best guy friends from Bloomington and I got a bit of a late start but we were in Grant Park by the afternoon.  Since I apparently lack the ability to keep up with new music, I wasn’t too familiar with any of the bands playing prior to Green Day.  After randomly bumping into an old friend of ours on our way into the venue (and quickly downing many energy drinks, as he had just found out he wasn’t allowed to bring them in), we wandered over to a grassy area and set up with our blanket.  We caught Grizzly Bear (eh, they were okay) and then squeezed our way into watch Metric.  Metric is headed by some bad ass blond chick who knew how to work a crowd, that’s for sure.  We rocked out to her for a while and then partook in some of the delicious food gracing the booths in the street.  I had a veggie falafel gyro to start with and got some potato skins with seitan later on (for those of you who don’t know, seitan is wheat gluten.  Might sound nasty to you but if cooked right it’s delicious to us veg-heads).  A giant scoop of cookie dough in a waffle cone was dessert.

Wait, what was I saying?  Oh yeah, there was music at this thing too.

This was one of my first Green Day CD's. My mom confiscated and lost it before I was "grown up" enough to get it back. Well, Mom, I saw them in concert and they dropped the f bomb like it was their job, so taking and losing my CD really worked out, huh?

After Metric, we walked around a bit more and caught the end of Spoon, whom I’m actually familiar with and always enjoy.  Then it was time to make our way over to Green Day, where we tried to meet up with a buddy of mine but lost him to the sea of concert-goers.  No matter, we made ourselves a little spot on the grass and proceeded to dance and jump around with a general merriment and lack of care.  I used to listen to a lot of Green Day back in the day and I was thrilled that they played some of my old favorites.  They put on a helluva show in general and I’m so glad we got to watch.  Billie Joe Armstrong called some kid from the crowd up to sing a song and you could tell it was this guy’s dream come true – and when Billie Joe gave him his guitar at the end of the set, I thought the kid was going to cry.  It was a nice rock ‘n roll moment.

I’m really, really glad I was able to make a day of concerts.  I’m also really, really glad that my paycheck for my writing gig came in the mail Friday so I was able to go to the concerts.  I also more than enjoyed the time spent with my guys and it makes me sad to know that they’ll be gone by the time I get home.  Tear.  I guess I’ll have to get used to running around pants-less in my apartment again while eating cookies for dinner.  Sure is a hard life.

I also managed to meet up with an old friend for brunch on Sunday (we Chicagoans love our brunch).  This gal and I go back to junior high days and some of my best trips abroad have happened in her company.  I’m lucky to have had so much great, quality friend time in such a short span and I’m extremely thankful for it!

In other, completely unrelated news – I’m still getting lots and lots of extra hits to this here blog, all thanks to my celeb crush, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (JGL, remember?).  Since dozens of people are stumbling across this page every day whilst searching for photos of him, I’ve decided to add a Photo-A-Day category.  These won’t all be contemporary, because if I start looking for recent JGL photos I’ll never leave my desk.  Here’s today’s pic:

JGL Photo of the Day!

Joe As Seen on Roseanne

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Taste This

June 30, 2010 at 1:22 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Last night, I ventured to Grant Park for the Taste of Chicago.  I know that it’s pricey, overly crowded and quite the tourist trap but I enjoy going nonetheless.  My mom and I went last year and managed to catch a free show by Buddy Guy, which was pretty awesome.  That was on a Saturday though and the crowds were insane so this year I figured going during the week would be a safer bet.  A friend and I met up around 6:30 and hit the booths, and we were not disappointed.

Well, I was a little disappointed.  Last year, I found a place that was selling vegetarian ribs on a stick – and they were amazing.  I’m sure it doesn’t sound appetizing to most of you out there but I fell in love.  It’s not often that I get to eat anything BBQ flavored, let alone on a stick, so I was all about the wheat gluten/soy/bean curd/whatever pseudo meat product it was (you can stop gagging now).  I think I had it two or three times last year and I’ve honestly thought about it on and off ever since.  My friend and I did a tour of every single booth and sadly, came up with nothing that resembled my meal of yesteryear.  I wasn’t too thrilled about that but I managed to find enough other stuff to fill my stomach.

I had a few types of pizza (spinach stuffed is especially good), some toasted ravioli and a bunch of random things from an Asian place (the samosas with orange sauce were great).  I finished it all off with a huge cookie dough waffle cone, which in hindsight wasn’t the best idea.  My el ride home was a bit uncomfortable and I thought I was going to burst.

My friend had some of the same pizza I did, as well as an Italian sausage thing, some other Asian cuisine and another meat product.  She also had some cheesecake (I had a bite) and it reminded me just how much I love cheesecake.  I would consider eating it for every meal if I didn’t think my waistline would expand to the size of a small country.  Guess a girl can’t have everything.

All in all, we enjoyed ourselves.  There was some live music happening as we walked around and besides trying to dodge strollers the size of small cars, the crowds weren’t too bad.  I was amazed by the number of quite large women wearing shirts that showed off their stomachs (made me feel like I was back in Indiana) but to each her own.  Nothing would’ve killed my appetite last night, though that massive ice cream cone almost did me in.

And I would totally go back for more.

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Officially Summer

June 22, 2010 at 2:22 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Yesterday was Summer Solstice, which officially marks the beginning of summer.  In honor of this new season I thought I’d throw together a little pro/con list.  In no particular order:

Summer Pros:

  • Sandals
  • Swimming
  • Sunshine
  • Drinking and dining outdoors
  • Drinking and dining outdoors (this is so great I thought I’d mention it twice)
  • Street fests
  • Beaches
  • Long days
  • Skirts
  • Standing in front of your open freezer after a long, hot walk home
  • Vacations (for everyone else.  I get mine sometime after August)
  • Gardens in full bloom
  • Summer storms
  • Ice cream (this is good year-round but easier to find/swallow in the summer)

Summer Cons:

  • Lack of central air conditioning
  • The ugly hobbit feet that some people unfortunately possess
  • Not having access to a pool
  • Sunshine waking you up at 6am on a Saturday
  • Spending more money because you’re constantly drinking and dining outdoors
  • Clothes that stick to your skin because you’re so sweaty
  • Sweating more in general
  • Humidity
  • Watching everyone else take a vacation while I have to work
  • Bugs/mosquitoes
  • Summer storms (this is on both lists.  If you read my post from yesterday, you’ll know why)

Even with the cons, I love summer.  And since it’ll only be around Chicago for an oh-so-brief amount of time, I will enjoy it while I can!

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