We celebrated last night (on the 3rd) with our 2nd annual Rooftop Fireworks Extravaganza!
Last year, we discovered that the view from our roof deck was the perfect panoramic venue for prime firework viewing.
So, naturally, we deemed it a new tradition that we intend to keep up as long as every neighborhood (and most neighbors) keeps blasting off patriotic explosives in honor of our nation's birthday!
Classy plastic bunting courtesy of a last minute trip to Party City
The food was potluck-style, with all the traditional fixings: cold salads, slaws, dips, chips, and grilled meats (courtesy of my grill-master husband!)
Plus, red-white-and-blue sweet treats:
White balsamic custard tart with berries
Happy Bday, USA!
So we're wandering through Whole Foods on Sunday and stumble upon a tasting table of tasty looking candy. I had secretly been hoping they would have some sweet samples out on the floor while I was shopping, since it was after lunch and therefore the time of day that I am searching for chocolate like a heat-seeking missile. Score!
Turns out, I knew the proprietress behind the goods being offered as well! Margery is the mother of a high school friend of mine, and her toffee business - Sweet Margy - is booming. It was such fun to see her there - I remembered noshing on her toffee years ago when her son would bring us some to try. Clearly, other people quickly caught on to how good this stuff is.
We picked up a bag of the dark toffee:
and it disappeared in a day or two. The best part? It doesn't stick to your teeth. I love that!
You can order Dark or Milk Chocolate varieties online, or find them in various locations throughout Chicago. I've got my eye on trying the Tofikomen next - a whole sheet of matzo dipped in toffee and then chocolate... ZOMG!
I'm watching the SuperBowl. Although, I admit, I'm a little apathetic about the whole thing, for a couple reasons:
1) I don't really have a strong interest in football in general.*
2) I don't really have a strong interest in rooting for either team.
My mom takes issue with #2. According to her, I have Wisconsin in my blood (she was born in Milwaukee), and therefore should cheer for the Packers. Now, you might say: "Well, since you don't really care either way, why don't you?"
And I would say: "TREACHERY!:
Because I may not be a football fanatic, but I AM a Chicago fanantic, and I simply can't put my city pride aside and support the team that dashed the Bears chance at Super Bowl XLV.
My sister however? Total Benedict Arnold!
Look at what she prepared for her Super Bowl party:
Not only is she cheering for the Bears long-time arch rivals, but she's made a cake for it!
It doesn't end there:
Oh, the humanity! For shame!
(I will take one of those cupcakes though. With the sprinkles.)
* I do enjoy football snacks.
We got some record amount of snow last night. Not to mention THUNDERSNOW! And lightening. The last time I remember there being a storm like this was back in 1999, when we had just moved back from Australia. Let's just say it didn't help convince me that moving back to Chicago was such a great idea!
Anyway, I'm glad to have a garage for my car, because these poor bastards have got their work cut out for them:
If you're in the same boat, stay warm and be careful today if you have to leave the house! If not, I recommend wrapping yourself up in one of these:
Last Friday, we celebrated our friend Dave - aka "T-Bone's" - 30th birthday.
First, some beer and CAKE:
Why is the cake a picture of a fire? Well, because every year Dave hosts a party called "First Fire", in which he has people over and - you guessed it - lights the first fire of the season in his fireplace. There's also a component called the "Togetherness Log of Love" that involves wish-making and a story about a wet-nurse, but really, that's too difficult for me to explain because honestly I'm not sure I understand it myself.
Anyway, David loved his cake:
Afterwards, we trekked downtown for a haunted bus tour, courtesy of Chicago Hauntings! It was spooky - I even saw an ORB:
The site of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre
See that round circle in the upper left hand corner? According to our bus driver, THAT'S AN ORB. Although, according to Josh that is the result of a dirty camera lens. Way to burst my bubble Josh. Now I'll never see a full-body apparition because of your skepticism!
I feel like this post is long overdue. Being a certified frozen yogurt addict, and having visited many of the Chicago-area froyo shops, I feel it is my duty to rank them. You know, for the children...
1) Annette's Homemade Italian Ice - they sell ice cream and froyo in addition to Italian ice. I've been coming here since high school, back when it was called "Anthony's" - and their frozen yogurt is the real deal. No live active cultures, no tart... just plain, creamy goodness.
2) Starfruit - My top pick if you DO like the tart froyo. It's made from Kefir, and I love it topped with fresh fruit.
3) Yogen Fruz - I like how they blend it up a la minute!
4) Berry Chill
5) Love's - Another more traditional spot. Like the peanut butter flavor a whole lot!
6) Red Mango
6) Forever Yogurt - I both like and hate that this place is soft-serve. On the one hand, it's great for customization. On the other hand, I usually get overwhelmed and end up with too many different flavors in my cup. That's not the real reason its ranked so low though... it's because the froyo is always too soft and melts too quickly. No good!
7) Fresh Choice - I actually like the froyo here a lot but I had to rank it low because I used to work here in high school and actually got FIRED! So, now I avoid it like the plague.(Side note: A friend gave me a cactus when I got fired, which I named after my former boss. The cactus is still alive. 10 years later.)
Any must try places that I'm missing? Always looking to do more research!
This weekend was like a sick little trick for a person like me. A lover of hot, steamy, sunny weather, desperately clinging on to the remnants of a dying summer. It was in the 80s here in Chicago, and I was determined to enjoy it.
What better place than Lincoln Park? J. and I checked out the new-ish nature boardwalk:
Naturally, a lot of walking and sweating leads to beer and ice cream. We had both that afternoon, stopping at Kincaids and then at Forever Yogurt (pumpkin pie frozen yogurt?! I almost fainted.)
Sunday? More of the same. This time, we grabbed some chow at Sarks in the Park:
Josh chose an obscene sandwich called the Ham Loretta that included, well, ham, plus a side of cheese-blanketed hashbrowns.
My selection was much more virtuous:
Awesome fruit cup
(Why so healthy? Oh, I dunno... maybe because last night we went to Pequods and ate a pizza covered in about 3 lbs of cheese in all its greasy, delicious glory!)
I know it's a little weird to be getting all excited about a fruit cup, but you know how most places give you a tiny little ramekin with a scoop of watery honeydew melon and a mushy banana? No? Well, I hate that... this was much better.
Liked Sarks a lot, loved sitting al fresco for what may be one of the last times this year. LE SIGH!