Category Archives: American

Food Memories in the Making

Lately I’ve been coming to terms with my twenties, realizing I only get to be in my twenties once. Once you turn thirty it is all over. I’m joking of course, but it is in your twenties when you participate in self-discoveries, make mistakes, get into ridiculous situations, and laugh about it all in a couple of years with your friends. The conversations will start off with “Remember the time when…”, and the memories will flutter back just as vivid as day they were made. What is life without memories, without stories and shared experiences that bring people closer.

I believe that it is truly those memories, both the good and the bad, that really make people who they are today. I told my friend that I love listening to people’s problems, and she told me if a stranger heard that he would probably think I am a little nuts. The truth is I like to listen to people’s problems, because I am interested in knowing what events and life stories make people who they are. Though I would think that someone in their twenties have had less to experience than someone much older, I still enjoy listening to my fellow twenty-somethings. Perhaps they should call the twenties the age of listening, reminiscing, and making memories.

Now what has this twenty-something year old been up to? Let’s take a look!

Kit Kat Lounge and Supper Club – Boystown, Chicago

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My friend invited me here for her sister’s birthday. My friend who took me here is always raving about this place, and I just had to check it out for myself. It is quite a fun lounge in Boystown, LGBT central in Chicago. This lounge is known for their hourly Diva shows when their Diva of the night comes out to impersonates female artists like Madonna, Cher, Pink. They lip sync while dancing ferociously to the songs. The night I went Sunny Dee-Light was performing. Pictured is her impersonating Pink.

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The drinks here are so fun. This one is called I Kissed a Girl.  It even came with a glow stick and rock candy. For a girly drink, it doesn’t get better than that.

This place is super fun for a group of girl friends. Singing the night away with the Divas while sipping the tasty, girly drinks makes for a fun girls’ night out.

Nana’s Organic –  Bridgeport, Chicago

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I am a huge fan of brunch. Unfortunately with my evening nursing work schedule, I don’t get to enjoy brunch that often. When I do, I love to visit this local place in Bridgeport. This is my second time here at this local eatery known for their fresh, organic foods. I got the breakfast sandwich with chicken sausage, potatoes and greens. Again it was simply delicious! The best part of the sandwich was definitely the English muffin. I have never tasted an English muffin as fresh as this one before. It was soft, but still appropriately crunchy from being toasted to perfection. What a great way to start the day!

Ahjoomah’s Apron – Chinatown, Chicago

This place just recently opened up in Chinatown. It is the first Korean restaurant to open up in Chinatown, and being a fan of Korean food I needed to try it. We walked in, and the decor looked really modern. Large pictures of Korean dishes on the wall with descriptions of the history and making of the dish. I think the feel they were going for is healthy, authentic Korean food, and with the decor they really nailed it.

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We tried the seafood pancake. This was my favorite dish of the night. I loved the slight spiciness of the pancake. Kind of like a more doughy version of an American omelette.

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We tried the Pan Broiled Salted Mackerel. I’m not a really big fan of mackerel, but this was quite flavorful. It was pan fried so the exterior was crunchy, capturing the flavors of the fish on the soft inside.

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Of course we needed to try one of the Korean beefs, and we settled on Bulgolgi. I thought the beef was tender and flavorful with the bulgolgi sauces. Nothing spectacular, but still good.

Overall this place was okay. I’ve had better Korean foods, but I did really enjoy the very modern yet still authentic atmosphere of Ahjoomah’s Apron.

Now off to make more twenty-something year old memories! If only my work schedule didn’t get in the way… Oh the life of a twenty-something year old.

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David Burke’s Primehouse for Chicago Restaurant Week

For those that have not heard about restaurant week, participating restaurants offer three course lunch or dinner at a discounted price that makes expensive restaurants affordable to the normal person. You can get pretty good deals on meals especially at the top restaurants, where an equivalent meal would cost double or triple the Restaurant Week amount. I am not such a big fan of Restaurant Week as my friends are. I just don’t think Restaurant Week meals are worth it especially since they limit your choices for appetizers, entrees, and desserts to a couple. Sometimes picking from the menu, at some restaurants, would just be a little bit more expensive, but you would get exactly what you want. Plus a lot of restaurants have lunch specials that seem like a better deal than the restaurant week deals. Nevertheless I went and tried out David Burke’s Primehouse for Restaurant Week.

David Burke’s Primehouse

After reading Yelp reviews raving about this place, I had high hopes for the steaks here. Since it’s a primehouse, I had to try out their steaks. Here is my Restaurant Week lunch adventure at David Burke’s Primehouse.

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For the appetizer I got the Surf and Turf Dumplings – lobster with black olive, caper hollandaise & lamb with harissa aioli. I thought the presentation of the dumplings was really beautiful. The lobster dumplings are pictured on the left, and the lamb dumplings are pictured on the right. The lobster dumplings look like the Chinese soup dumplings! The lamb dumplings look like cake pops, but only dumplings pops! How creative! Now for the taste the lamb dumplings tasted too gamey for me. The lobster dumplings were okay, but the cream cheese overpowered the lobster taste. Overall the appetizer plate was just mediocre. It looked a lot better than it tasted.

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For the entree I got the Classic Filet Mignon. It was perfectly medium. I loved the steak! It was slightly crispy on the outside and so tender on the inside. I was in steak heaven. My friend noted that my filet mignon looked a lot like a pan seared scallop. A scallop filet mignon?

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The entree came with sides of basil whipped potatoes and herb roasted mushrooms. I loved both of the sides. The potatoes were so light and fluffy. I am a huge fans of mushrooms, and these caramelized mushrooms were so great! These sides went really well with the steak.

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This was a set dessert plate for Restaurant Week – mini prime cake, cheesecake lollipop, and Jove’s homemade ice cream. The cake was really great – marshmallow cream, chocolate mousse, and chocolate cake on the bottom.  I didn’t realize that the cake pop was cheesecake. I am use to eating the cake batter cake pops, and this cheesecake cake pop just wasn’t as good. I loved the ice cream though. It tasted so fresh!

Overall this Restaurant Week lunch was okay. I loved the steak, but I could have done without the Surf and Turf dumplings and the Cheesecake Lollipop. This is my issue with Restaurant Week. Sometimes some of the dishes are a hit and the others are a miss. Until the next Restaurant Week meal.

Carmen, the Early Bird

There is nothing like the peaceful stillness of the wee morning hours. The feeling that just for one minute life is going in slow motion, and not sprinting at the speed of light. The idea that just for an hour or so you have time for yourself before embracing the hard realities of the world outside. I always thought of the morning as the best time of the day, when the mind is fresh, the body is rejuvenated, and the day begins anew again.

I try to explain this morning concept to my friends who are all night owls, and they look at me in disbelief that even on my days off I continue to go to sleep before 10PM and wake up before 7AM. Of course if there is a night out on the town, my sleeping schedule gets thrown off. Other than that I am pretty consistent with my early night and early morning sleeping habit. My friends don’t understand how I voluntarily wake up so early everyday, that waking up early is enjoyable. That is just the way I have been for a long time, and I love being that odd morning bird.

One of my favorite parts of being an early morning person is brunch. I love the smell of breakfast foods especially eggs and potatoes. Though the variety of brunch food options are limited, it never gets old for me. Brunch is my favorite meal of the day, and I would like to share with you the wonders of waking up early and enjoying a delicious plate of breakfast foods. I hope I can tempt you to come over to the light side of early mornings.

Wildberry  Pancakes and Cafe – The Loop

I’ve been here twice, and both times I left delightfully satisfied. Sometimes brunches leave you feeling stuffed in a bad way. You start the morning off wanting to hit the gym to burn off all of the calories you consumed in an artery clogging brunch. Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe’s brunches are light, but still delicious.

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This is the Wild Berry Belgian Waffles. I have had Belgian Waffles before. Waffallonia in Pittsburgh. The Belgian Waffles were quite disappointing. I was expecting crunchy, sugary Belgian waffles, and instead got regular waffles. They were really great waffles, but since I was expecting Belgian Waffles it did not suffice. I enjoyed the fresh berries that came with these waffles. It would have been better if there was some type of wildberry glaze or syrup with this waffle.

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These seasonal pumpkin pancakes were great! I am a big fan of all foods pumpkin – pumpkin bread, pumpkin scone, pumpkin cupcake, you name it and I would love it. This pumpkin pancake was no exception. I loved the strong pumpkin flavors and aromas with this pancake. The pumpkin gave this pancake a moist, fluffiness that a normal pancake would not have. This is a must try at this restaurant!

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Kind of looks like the spongey human brain or the spreading of a bacteria colony? How appetizing! This is actually potato pancakes. I loved the thinness and crispiness of these potato pancakes which the waitress described as more like latkes than a pancake. Delicious!

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This Garden Sizzling Skillet with two over easy eggs, hot potatoes, asparagus, mushrooms, onions, spinach, tomatoes and broccoli. This dish was a little underwhelming. There was no seasoning on the vegetables leaving it tasting very bland. It would have been great if they added spices or fresh herbs to the vegetables.

The Original Pancake House – Near North Side

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I came here on New Year’s Day after a night out for New Year’s Eve. Nothing like a hearty brunch especially when one suffers from the aftermaths of New Year’s Eve. The sausage patties were flavorful and slightly crispy from being pan fried. I love the combination of potato hash and the runny yolk of an over easy egg. These potatoes were a bit on the softer side. I prefer my potatoes a bit crunchier, but that is just personal preference.

Nana’s Organic – Bridgeport

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This has to be one of my favorite brunch places in Chicago. I ordered the Nanadict, Nana’s Organic’s version of an Egg Benedict. Two poached eggs on top of a bed of chorizo and a pupusa. Most Egg Benedicts come on top of an english muffin. In the Nanadict they came on top of a pupusa which is a thick corn tortilla. It tasted denser than an English muffin which was great in helping to soak up the poblano cream. I loved the home fries that came with this dish. It was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The dish itself wasn’t extremely heavy or fatty, but having a side of farm greens helped to ease the digestion process. I would like to think that by eating farm greens it cancels out whatever other foods I ate. If only…  The Nanadict was so unique, and definitely tasted quite special. I definitely want to go back to Nana’s Organic to try more brunch dishes.

Nothing beats sharing stories and catching up with good friends over a delicious brunch. I always look forward to weekend brunches. My favorite part of the week and one of the perks of mornings!

The First Time

It’s always better the first time around – more exciting, more memorable, more fun. That first time you try out that new restaurant, and it then becomes your favorite. That first time you take a mouthful of the ramen, and the springiness of the noodles and the richness of the broth is forever ingrained in your food memories. That first time you meet someone new over a meal, and time just flies like the conversation is endless. When the second time comes around, it is less exciting. You know what to expect, you discovered most of what is new about the person, the place, the thing. It is that uncertainty, whether it will truly be as good as everyone says it is or be a complete disappointment, that makes the first time so great. Treasure the first time, savor the moment, because it will only happen once.

These are my first moments at the following restaurants in Chicago. Even though the food may be the same the second time around, it will never exactly feel or taste the same as the very first time.

Vinci – Lincoln Park

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I came here with my sister to use a Groupon deal that I bought a while ago. $20 for $40 to spend at an Italian restaurant, count me in! I got the Spinach pappardelle – hand-made spinach pappardelle with roast duck, mushrooms, ovendried tomatoes, truffle oil, parmigiano. I loved the noodles. It definitely tasted very fresh. The slight chewiness and springiness of the noodles were perfect. The meal was great, and we even got a table right next to the window. A lot of the guests at Vinci that night were there for a pre-show dinner. I wish I knew about this show that was going on, because I would have liked to go.

Wasabi – Logan Square

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My friend invited me here, because her friend from NYC was visiting Chicago for the week. I am a huge fan of ramen restaurants if you haven’t noticed already, and I was excited about trying another ramen place in Chicago. I’ve had some pretty excellent ramen in NYC, but none that have really stood out to me in Chicago. This place was excellent. As good as or even better than the places in NYC. I loved it! I got the Tonkotsu Ramen – egg noodle, rich pork broth, berkshire pork cheek, soft boiled egg, marinated bamboo shoot, scallion, sesame, kikurage mushroom. The thing that makes or breaks a bowl of ramen is the broth, and this broth was spectacular. I was tempted to drink all of the broth after I finished my noodles! I loved the richness of the broth. The ingredients in the ramen were also quite tasty. The soft boiled egg, which isn’t quite as runny as a poached egg, but not quite as solid as a hard boiled egg, was the perfect texture for the ramen. 

The Girl and the Goat – West Loop

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My friends have been raving about this place for a while, and I finally got to try it. This restaurant owned by a Top Chef contestant is known for having one of the best foods in Chicago. I had high expectations for this place, and I was not disappointed. The small plates are meant to be shared, but my friends and I weren’t too hungry. We each ordered one dish. I ordered the scallops served with squash, onions, and other ingredients. The scallops were so soft. I took the first bite, and I couldn’t believe what I was eating. These are the best scallop I ever had! I hope the next time I go, the scallops will be as good as I remembered it being.

Cafe Iberico – River North

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I came here to meet up with a Georgetown friend who just recently moved to Chicago for his job. I am so excited more fellow Georgetown Hoyas are here in the city! Cafe Iberico is a Spanish tapas restaurant. The highlight of the meal in my opinion was the Iberico Styled Paella – chicken, pork, and rice baked in a pan with saffron sauce. All of the flavors from the meat and seafood infused into the rice making a fragrant and delicious dish. I could eat this for lunch any day!

My firsts with all four of these restaurants were spectacular. I don’t know what the second time will be like, but I hope if I return again it will be good as the first time.

 

 

MOVE in Chicago

The best way to spend my days off is exploring new places in Chicago. The excitement about going to someplace new and trying new things is exhilarating. I love the sense of adventure! The idea that you don’t know what to expect till you get there and see for yourself. Perhaps I will make it my New Year’s Resolution to experience new things with the idea that everyday is a chance to understand and learn more about this world we call home.

I stumbled across this video, MOVE,  last summer documenting the adventures of an international traveler. As a starry eyed college student, I remember thinking what a wonderful way to spend your life, and I still think that. Learning about the lives of people all over the world and how they may be different or the same as you and I, is the most appealing thing about adventuring around.

Sadly I do not have any trips planned for the future, but hopefully soon. As for now I’ll be doing lots of adventuring around in Chicago. There are so many places I’ve never been to even though I grew up here. Time to get up and MOVE in Chicago.

Chicago French Market – West Loop

from the Chicago Sun Time

Chicago is lacking in indoor markets that are quite abundant in NYC. I love indoor markets, because it is a centralized area where you can pick up many different one of kind goods. It’s an overstimulation of the senses in the best possible way. When I found out that Chicago had a French Market, I just had to make a trek there. It is not that big, but offers a lot of different types of hot foods, produce, and even fresh meats and seafood. The macaroons at the Chicago French Market is suppose to be the best. I had to try them for myself.

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These macaroons are from Vanille Patisserie. In order from left to right – cranberry orange, red velvet, mango passion, and lemon. We were wondering what happened to the poor red velvet macaroon, because it looks a little deformed. The macaroons were one of the cheapest macaroons I have ever seen coming in at $1.50 a piece. It was also slightly smaller than the macaroons I have eaten in the past. Overall the macaroons are okay. I like my macaroons to be slighly chewy with an airy, light crunch. Some of the macaroons that we tried were a little on the soft side, dissembling when we tried to break it in half. The cranberry orange was a little disappointing, because the flavors were so weak. My friend says these are the best macaroons, so maybe the ones we got were a bad batch.

Christkindlmarket – The Loop

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Christkindlmarket is a German market in downtown Chicago around the big Christmas tree. When I saw the Christmas tree up close and personal, it was a little disappointing. Apparently there was a contest to pick the best tree, and this was chosen. The tree is what we would consider top heavy. There is a lot of empty space, because of the lack of branches on the bottom of the tree. Perhaps with the addition of large ornaments it would have looked less barren. Kind of reminds me of a larger, bigger version of Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree. A Christmas Tree is a Christmas Tree no matter how barren. It was still magnificent to look at.

from ilovepasta.com

The market was super crowded. As much as I dislike crowds, there was a sense of Christmas joy and spirit at the Christkindlmarket. I loved looking at all the stalls and seeing all the German goods they had for sale.

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One of the stalls was selling these star lights. They came in all different colors with unique cut outs. I would have bought one, if they weren’t made out of paper. It just didn’t seem like it would last very long.

Longman & Eagle – Logan Square

from peppermintbliss.com

This gastropub had a great casual, rustic atmosphere which I thoroughly enjoyed. The dining seats at each table did not match. All painted the same color, but slightly different in terms of style.

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This Housemade Ricotta Gnuddi with cider gel, babyfennel, micro celery, toasted hazelnut, braised cippolini vinaigrette, and celery froth was delicious. The ricotta balls were delightfully crunchy on the exterior and soft on the inside. I loved the vinaigrette that it was paired with.

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This pumpkin risotto vegetarian dish was delicious! I loved the infusion of pumpkin into the risotto. It came with a poached egg on top. There is nothing better than a runny egg over a bed of carbs.

20121208_175445 (1)This Slagel Family Farms Burger with aged Widmer’s Cheddar, North Country Bacon, and briochh was okay. I’ve had better burgers. The best part of this dish was the Beef Fat Fries. They tasted so fresh with a slight hint of smokiness. Next time I will try to order just the fries.

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When our waiter came by with the check, he placed these two chocolate chip cookies on our table, complements of the restaurant. My friend and I stared at the cookies, because they are about the size of a quarter. Teeny, tiny chocolate chip cookies. They were delicious, but I never seen such a small cookie before.

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Our check also came with this quirky postcard which I took home. I think I might frame this. Longman & Eagle, you just get me. “It seems just so awkward…” 

I learned that Longman & Eagle has six available hotel rooms above the restaurant owned by the restaurant. That would be kind of like a bed and breakfast inn. Wake up, stroll downstairs for brunch at Longman & Eagle, maybe take advantage of the $3 whiskey shots at the bar, and stumble back into your hotel room upstairs. With the smallest rooms for about $90 a night, no wonder these rooms are booked three months in advance.

How about you? Time to get up and MOVE in your city. Let’s be explorers together.

Los Angeles Part 2 – Being A Cali Girl for a Week

Landed in Chicago last Sunday, and I was happily greeted with a bizarre 60 degree weather in Chicago. Can’t complain right?  You have to keep in mind though that whenever there is extremely warm weather in Chicago the next day it will be extremely cold. It’s like you have to sacrifice freezing temperatures for one day of LA weather in Chicago.

I have this theory about people in California especially in places where it’s sunny year round like LA. The more sun people get the happier they are. Doesn’t matter if you are having a bad day, some sunshine makes everything go away. Maybe that’s why New Yorkers are a bit more on the bitter side. All of those skyscrapers and high rises never let sunshine through. The same can be said about Chicago, but because Chicago has that Midwestern charm I think Chicagoans are friendlier. At least I would like to think so! Everyone I met in LA was so friendly. Definitely getting that Cali, hipster, chill, cool vibe from those in LA. Perhaps it was the certain areas of LA I was hanging out at, because I heard people in LA can be a bit phony and pretentious. I’m thinking Beverly Hills.

Even though I loved being a LA girl for the week, I think I prefer Chicago and NYC over LA. Guess I’m a Chicago girl at heart. Here’s my picture documentation of me being a California Girl.

Look at that clear blue skies with no clouds in sight. All that open green space with palm trees. Paradise? I think yes!

Bottega Louie – Downtown LA

This Italian restaurant and bakery is one of my favorite places that I went to in LA in terms of eateries. It definitely did not fit the ambiance of the rest of the places I went to in LA which seemed more hipster and chill. Bottega Louie reminds me of a place that would do really well in Georgetown, DC or Manhattan, NYC. A bit pretentious, classy, and a good looking customer crowd. My cousin and I split a pizza, half Burrata (burrata, grana parmesan, rapini, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and prosciutto di Parma) and Artichoke (roasted artichoke, chevre, mozarella, tomato sauce, cherry tomatoes, Italian parsley, fleur de se). The toppings tasted so fresh! LA is known for their extremely healthy and fresh ingredients, and I can really taste that in this pizza.

Being a bakery, Bottega Louie’s bread is the best I ever had. I loved the complimentary bread. You bite into it, and the outer layer cracks right when you sick your teeth in opening up to a soft, moist inside. Plus look at that design of the bread. How pretty!

Macaroons galore! I tried the earl grey and dark chocolate macaroon. Both were so delicious, but I think I had more fun just looking at the beautiful macaroons. So petite, colorful, and yummy. What’s not to love?

I was too full from all the pizza and bread, carb galore, to try any of these petite cakes and desserts. The next time I go back to Bottega Louie I will save my appetite for only desserts! YUM!

Hollywood

First time in LA and of course we had to check out Hollywood. Even Mickey Mouse has a Hollywood star.

Here I am with the Harry Potter cast’s hand prints and shoe prints. Emma Watson is one tiny lady. Her hands and feet are about the size of mine.

In-N-Out

I finally got to try In-N-Out. Californians always rave about how amazing In-N-Out is, and I think they might be overdoing it. After trying In-N-Out, Shake Shack, and Five Guy’s, I definitely would say Shake Shack comes out on top, then In-N-Out, and then Five Guy’s in terms of their burgers. Read this seriouseats burger review of all three chains here. The In-Out burger was a bit lacking. I thought the patty was a bit on the skimpy side. The bun being a classic white burger bun was definitely not as good as the potato buns the Shake Shack burgers are served on. Now I really want to venture to the east coast for a quality Shake Shack burger.

Bench from 500 Days of Summer

500 Days of Summer is one of my favorite movies. There are two scenes in the movie where the two characters sit on this bench. Those who have seen the movie know what I’m talking about. For those that have not you should watch it. It is a great movie! The view from this bench was amazing. Though it is overlooking parking lots and random buildings, it is relaxing spot to just sit and enjoy the little things in life.

To the right of the bench is this beautiful grassy area. Perfect for dozing off in the sun. I love the feeling when the sun hits your face in just the right amount of warmth and light. I could stay there like that forever.

The Getty

We went to visit The Getty, an art museum in LA. I loved the way it was laid out. Instead of being one big building, The Getty consisted of many smaller buildings that were connected through outdoor paths that weaved through flower and sculpture gardens. I am a big fan of impressionism especially the works of Degas. This painting, Dancer Taking a Bow (the Prima Ballerina), captures the complex and delicate beauty of ballerinas.

I also really enjoyed the rooms with the French decor and furniture. Imagine sleeping in this monstrous bed! Maid service please!

If only I could take this home with me. A clock that is intricately beautiful.

View of LA from The Getty. I thoroughly enjoyed my week long trip in LA. The people, the food, the culture, the places were all spectacular. You can definitely notice the stark difference between the go go go east coast culture and the more laid back west coast culture, two completely different worlds. Perhaps there is some truth in my sunshine theory. If you see a cranky east coaster on the street, tell them to take a vacay to the west coast and they might come back refreshed and hopefully a little less bitter. I think the world needs more sunshine-y, happy people.

Hello Fall, Goodbye Summer

Hello WordPress viewers! It’s been a while since I wrote a new post for foodifyme. Please excuse my month long hiatus away from my beloved blog. With the changing of seasons, there also has been a lot of new changes for me: last minute travels to the east coast, meeting new friends, reconnecting with old ones, and most importantly scoring an array of job offers. It’s stressful not having any job offers, but it is also quite stressful when there are too many. At the end of the day I chose to stick around Chicago, stick around to the city I call home. Though I truly loved the beauty and the small town feel of Charlottesville and the attraction of NYC, I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t leave the city I grew up in, the city I have yet to fully explore and live in. All of a sudden things got very real, as if they weren’t real before. To many more years of food adventures in Chicago!

Check out my food highlights from the last month.

Monticello – Charlottesville, Virginia

I made a small trip to Charlottesville, Virginia for an interview and to visit my very good friend from college. Growing up in Chicago and going to school in DC, I am definitely not use to small towns. Surprisingly, I loved Charlottesville! There was something so calming and soothing about being surrounded by miles and miles of trees and mountains in the distance. Here I am on the highest point at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s retirement home after his presidency. I felt like I was on top of the world!

Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s retirement home

My friend and I were driving on the road, when Sweet Disposition by the Temper Traps came on. Perfect song for cruising through beautiful Charlottesville.

Fry’s Spring Station – Charlottesville, Virginia

Mushroom Pizza

My friends who live in Charlottesville took me to Fry’s Spring Station for happy hour pizza. All pizzas, cocktails, and beers were half off. What could be better! I got the mushroom pizza. The mushrooms and cheese tasted very fresh! I loved pizza dough, thin yet still chewy and crunchy.

Clyde’s – Georgetown, Washington, D.C.

Corned beef hash with sunny side up eggs

Since Charlottesville was simply a 3 hour bus ride away from DC, I made a quick weekend stop in DC. My college roommate and I ate late brunch at Clyde’s in Georgetown. Brunch is my favorite meal of the day! You can never go wrong with eggs especially with runny yolks. I loved the combination of liquid yolk over starchy foods like potato hash. A perfect meal to start the day even though we ate brunch at 3PM. oops!

The Bongo Room – South Loop, Chicago

I have been meaning to try out The Bongo Room for a while. It is known for having one of the best brunches in Chicago. They only serve the Chocolate French Toast Tower on the weekends, so I came with a friend on a Sunday. This rich, chocolatey dish is extremely heavy. The bittersweet chocolate chunk bread stuffed with maple mascarpone was topped with a banana creme brulee sauce, bananas, and shaved chocolate. Dessert for breakfast? Bring it on! This was definitely too much for one person to eat alone, so my friend and I shared this along with another brunch dish.

Ming Hin Cuisine – Chinatown, Chicago

Cage Free Chicken Hot Pot Casserole

I came here to eat with my family. It was my first time trying this new restaurant in Chinatown, and it was excellent. The food was good, and surprisingly so was the service. When you go to authentic Chinese restaurants, you do not expect good service. You go for the food, and not the atmosphere or the service. Ming Hin offered all of that. A beautifully decorated dining area, friendly and attentive service, and authentic, delicious Chinese food.

the interior of the restaurant

toothpick in a pouch

I thought this was really great. I have never seen a toothpick packaged in a pouch before. How classy!

C foods for Carmen

The other day while riding the train home, I got on the train in Wrigleyville. The specific stop is Addison for those who are familiar with the Chicago train system. Wrigleyville is known for being bro central. Go there if you want to have a broey good time, otherwise stay away. I had to go to Wrigleyville for a meeting, and got my monthly dose of broiness. I thought I experienced enough broiness till I overheard a group of bros’ conversation.

“Today we’re only going to eat foods that begin with B: burgers, brats, beer … and bananas

– random bro on the train

What? Bro, you’re only going to eat foods that begin with the B? B foods for Bros. Thus if a bro is only going to eat foods that begin with the letter B, I am only going to eat foods that begin with the letter C. C foods for Carmen.

It is quite hard eating foods that begin with C. I am not the type of person to binge on junk foods, and it just so happens that a lot of junk foods begin with the letter C: chocolate, cookies, cake and chips. C for junk food catastrophe. Luckily eating C foods was not so bad. Here is a list of C foods I ate this week.

C is for Chicken Salad (Thai)

My family and I went to Panera for lunch one afternoon. I got the Thai Chicken Salad. It was surprisingly quite spicy. I wasn’t expecting it to be spicy. When it turned out to be mildly spicy, it was a lot to take in especially for someone who cannot handle her spicy foods. This salad came with a bed of romaine lettuce, a mix of vegetables, edemame, chicken, crunchy asian crackers and a spicy, peanut dressing.

C is for Cheesy Fried Mac and Cheese Wedges

Kind of cheated with the C foods here, but I really wanted to show you guys these Mac and Cheese Wedges. What a brilliant idea! Mac and cheese dipped in batter and fried, so the outside is crispy and the inside is filled with mac and cheese goodness.

C is for Cake

I love cake! Here are three different types of Chinese cakes. The white one is a white chocolate cake. The second one is a chocolate mousse cake. The third one is a chocolate cake with jellies in the middle. Chinese cakes are usually a lot lighter than American cakes. The cake part is definitely less heavy and more airy. The frosting is not as sweet and not as rich. Sometimes American cakes are too much for me. Chinese cakes are the perfect, light dessert without pushing you over the edge into a sugar high.

C is for Cheeseburger

Cheeseburgers make for a solid meal. This cheeseburger came with fries and an orzo salad. Yum!

Ending this C foods for Carmen post with a punny sign. Harharhar

Social Experiments – Living in Ikea, Holding Hands with Strangers, Pretending to be a Celebrity

These are my favorite social experiment videos of guys doing very quirky things. Peculiarly charming videos that put a smile on my face every time I watch them. There’s something about the fantastical amusement, when watching videos of strangers trying to make sense of what these guys are doing. Watching confused, bewildered and shocked faces of regular people just like you and me. Their amused expressions when they learn that a man has moved into Ikea. Their confused faces when a stranger tries to hold their hand. Their delighted appearances upon learning they just met a celebrity (fake celebrity).

Mark Lives in Ikea

I read about Mark’s story back in 2008. Mark’s apartment was being redecorated, so he decided to live in Ikea for a couple of weeks. What a great idea! I mean who wouldn’t want to live in Ikea. With an abundance of bedrooms, kitchens, living rooms and bathrooms Mark could definitely live comfortably here. Watch Mark move into Ikea on his big first day!

Speaking of Ikea there is one scene in the movie 500 Days of Summer where the two main characters play house in Ikea. Wouldn’t it be fun! If the faucet doesn’t work in one kitchen, there’s always another one right next door. If you get bored of your living room, mosey on down to the next one.

Andrew Holds Hands with Strangers

There is nothing like the comfort of holding hands with those you love, but what happens if a stranger surprise attacks you with a holding hand sesh. Either you freak out or embrace the experience. Watch strangers react as Andrew holds their hand while walking down a hallway. I think it would be such a fun social experience to try. Might have to try this in downtown Chicago one day!

Brett Pretends to be a Celebrity in Time Square

For a celebrities you don’t normally recognize (C-list celebrities), you might realize their celebrity status when you see them parading around with body guards and stalker paparazzi. The superficial nature of society is extremely apparent in this video, when you see people gawk over a random guy just because they think he is famous (even though they might not know how or why he’s famous, in this case whether he is famous at all). I love the answers they give about where they have seen Brett Cohen. Why yes he’s in that Spiderman movie. That new single he has out, so great! When in fact, he is just a normal person pretending to be a celebrity.

Do you have any favorite social experiment videos? Leave a comment, and share them with me. I would love to watch them!

Finally Got Some Fried Chicken

There were many food adventures this week, but the most memorable was the trek to get some fried chicken. I’ve been craving fried chicken for such a long time, and nothing was going to stop me from getting some. The crispiness of the skin and the moist, juiciness of the meat are too much to resist. Read about my fried chicken adventure and others as well.

Harold’s Chicken Shack – South Loop, Chicago

We tried to go to Harold’s Chicken Shack after a concert in Millennium park. It was around 8PM, and Harold’s doesn’t close till 9PM.  We rushed all the way to Harold’s Chicken Shack ready for some fried chicken. only to be stopped at the entrance by a very large bouncer. Turns out there was a private event at Harold’s Chicken Shack that Friday night. My friends and I were baffled. If you take a look at Harold’s Chicken Shack, pictured above, you too would be surprised to find a private party being hosted there. It looks like your usual fast food joint. Definitely not somewhere you would host a party. There was even a DJ inside with people getting down on the dance floor. Unfortunately we could not get into Harold’s Chicken Shack or the party. Guess we weren’t classy enough for Harold’s Chicken Shack that night. 

After a very unfortunate night of coming back fried chicken-less, we had to go back to fulfill our fried chicken craving. We came here on a weekday afternoon, and thankfully there was no private party going on. The fried chicken was delicious. It was perfectly seasoned and fried. The meat was moist and juicy. Sometimes fried chicken is over fried, so that the meat is dry and the skin is extra crispy. Harold’s Chicken Shack was not like that at all. I’ll need to come back here for more fried chicken soon. Maybe I’ll even get invited to a private event here?

Chicago Curry House – South Loop, Chicago

Garlic Naan

Since we were sadly not invited to that private event at Harold’s Chicken Shack, we decided to go to Chicago Curry House for dinner. We started out with Garlic Naan. This was delicious! A very strong garlic taste. I love garlic. so I thoroughly enjoyed all of it. Good thing I wasn’t on a date, or else I would have reeked of garlic breath!

Chicken Curry

My friend and I split the Chicken Curry. The chicken was extremely tender and pulled apart so easily. I also really enjoyed the curry sauce. Every cuisine has that comfort food, and I can see this dish being the comfort food of Indian cuisine. It tasted very homemade in a good way.

Mitsuwa Marketplace Food Court – Arlington Heights, Illinois

Soy Sauce Ramen

I am a pretty picky ramen eater. In my previous post Slurping Turtle – McKayla Maroney:Not Impressed, I was not  satisfied with the ramen I had. This ramen was so much better. Definitely one of the better bowls of ramen I have had. The broth was flavorful without being overpowering. The pork was tender, flavorful, and really added something special to the dish. The noodles tasted fresh in a springy, chewy type of way. When you bite into the noodles, you can feel the noodles snap in your mouth. A nice bite to every mouthful of ramen noodles.

Green Tea Mousse Cake

No blog post would be complete without a dessert blurb. Recently I’ve had the biggest sweet tooth ever. Once you start eating sweets, there is no going back. We tried this Green Tea Mousse Cake from the bakery in Mitsuwa Marketplace. Since green tea is such a light flavor, sometimes green tea foods taste really weak and barely there. The green tea flavor in this cake was definitely strong. You can tell that it is green tea mousse. My favorite was their white frosting. Just the perfect amount of richness, creaminess, and sweetness. Delish!