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Here’s to 2013

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Oh look, it’s me on my phone. I’m having an identity crisis with this blog, FYI.

BUT ANYWAY. That is me texting on New Year’s Eve. While wearing a baller necklace from Kate Spade that I got for Christmas. I love Kate Spade jewelry, FYI, if you ever need to get me a gift.

Um, New Year’s Eve was fun this year. Totally a different scene from what I normally do. I love and hate New Year’s Eve at the same time because there’s so much pressure for it to be the BEST NIGHT EVER and it usually ends up being just okay.

For your reference, my past five New Year’s Eves:

2012/2013 aka The Most Recent: A relaxed dinner at Balena in Chicago with my two girls and our very favorite server, Mitch. Although, there was a solid ten minutes where Miss Kelly Purkey did not think she liked him at ALL. Then we all had some wine and relaxed. And proceeded to eat some of the best steak I’ve had in perhaps years.

2011/2012: Texas with Nora. Time in Texas was fun but the actual night where we couldn’t decide and quite frankly, didn’t know where the hell to spend the change of the year was not. We spent the whole night moving one bar to the next and saying “This isn’t it!” Woof.

2010/2011: Hudson Hotel in NYC with 15-20 of us. Actually a super fun night of dancing. I may or may not have found Nora with some random dude who was trying to pull a fast one get a hotel room for the two of them. I was Big Momma and put that nonsense to a halt. When we left the party, I did enjoy walking through Times Square after the ball dropped. The space was dead minus the confetti on the ground that a serious crew was working diligently on cleaning up. It sounds silly but it felt like magic. One of those moments you truly love New York.

2009/2010: Omg was this seriously only four years ago? My girl Abby came to town for a visit and we had terrible plans. We bought tickets (mistake number one) to some club hosting a “poker party”. There ended up being only one poker table and the space was gross. It was the biggest joke in the history of time so we left after 20 minutes to meet up with this guy I had met recently via Twitter ¬†and his friend that I did NOT like at all. Funny how things change over time as said friend was actually the one and only Tim Revell and now we are #besties.

2008/2009: Apparently this year I flew back to Detroit and a group of us got a hotel room in the D. Half of the us went to an Irish Pub and the other half had tickets for the Fillmore. Was it called the Fillmore then? Some of us (Aka Kayti Dicks and her boyfriend) forgot their IDs and never made it to the hotel or party. I was PISSED. People forgetting their IDs is one of my biggest pet peeves in life. Like, how is doing that even possible?

So ha! I am hoping that this next year I will be having another low-key New Year’s Eve or be at a party at my fabulous cousin’s apartment on the UWS.

And now it’s 2013 and things are happening. The biggest of which is Kelly Purkey has LEFT ME for Chicago. Well, she didn’t leave me specifically. But she left New York. I basically turned into a hermit crab the last few weeks she was here and by that I mean I put on this totally hard shell because at any moment I knew I could break. It’s not easy when one of your closest friends if not THE closest friend of yours in NYC for the past three years decides to ship herself away. It kind of sucks. A lot. It’s a good thing we’re both addicted to buying plane tickets and traveling because I know I will see her again very soon. It’s also very good that we’re both addicted to Gmail. And Snapchat.

mitchAnd here’s one more photo of us on New Year’s Eve. With Mitch. Haha. Here’s to 2013 and the hope that I pick up this blog again. Stay tuned.

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The best meal we had in Chicago a few weekends ago was the last one. Thanks to my awesome cousin who rules Chicago and her suggestion, we went to GT Fish & Oyster. It’s a gorgeous and fun setting, the service was fantastic and the food phenomenal. Easily the best meal of the year so far. Thank you, Chicago!

The menu is made up of small plates so it’s best to order a few. Or five thousand. As we did. Our server was so awesome and he made it really fun for us as we told him we were celebrating Nora’s birthday. Also – he could have sold us a plate of salt if he wanted to. He had us in the palm of his hand. If he suggested we try one more thing, we did. If he suggested we get more drinks, we did. Dessert to split? Yes, please!

So we ordered a lot. I am showing approximately four percent of the dishes that actually came to us. Starting with the clam chowder as you see above. Isn’t it cute how it was presented? And it was so good. You know I love me some clam chowder.

We got some oysters, duh:

Do you know how much fun it is to like oysters? I am so glad I am a fan. Here is an oyster I don’t remember which kind (shame on me for slacking with my Oysterpedia app!) and some mignonette on top. Delicious.

This was PHENOMENAL. Black gnocchi with squid ink, carrot lobster broth, prawns and fiddlehead ferns. AMAZING. I love gnocchi (esp when it’s good) and I love prawns. Excellente.

This is the lobster roll. They were kind enough to cut it in three for us. Also delicious. I’m excited because it’s going against The Mermaid at this year’s Tasting Table Lobster Roll Rumble, which naturally I’ll be at. Also the fried onions behind it – normally couldn’t care less. NOPE. Delicious and addicting.

The last picture of food I’m going to post is the lobster mac and cheese:

Ok these are my favorite kind of noodles that mac and cheese is made with. Yes. And they brought this dish to us last, which we appreciated, so it didn’t fill us up in the beginning (like I said before – we ordered five thousand other things I am not posting.) Perfect.

An all-around excellent meal. I can’t talk it up enough. If you go to Chicago, you must absolutely, absolutely go here. And here’s one last photo of me and my ladies before Kayti and I headed back to Michigan and said goodbye to Nora and my newfound love and appreciation of Chicago:

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So. If I didn’t mention that we were rear-ended when Kayti and I drove to Chicago a few weekends ago – we were. And if I didn’t mention my sister Emily very graciously let us take her car instead – she did. Her one condition: bring back Molly’s cupcakes.

So before we left for our drive back to Michigan – Molly’s is where we stopped. Kayti got some for her mom too. Molly’s has lots of different kinds of cupcakes and I almost didn’t know what to do. I decided to buy six random flavors: The Ron Bennington (chocolate cake, peanut butter filling, chocolate ganache, crushed butterscotch topping), Boston Cream (classic vanilla cake, delicate pastry cream filling, chocolate ganache), Cookie Monster (vanilla chocolate chip cake, raw cookie dough center, buttercream, mini chocolate chip cookie), birthday cake (duh) and something really chocolatey. I got them for my mom, my sis, and my Michelli to do a taste test for me and their winner was birthday cake.

But back to the store – it was cute. Look at this small child sitting on a swing:

I feel like it’s illegal (or just potentially creepy) to take pictures of other people’s kids which is why unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of the kid’s adorable face that – I’m sure you can imagine – was covered in frosting.

This is a strawberry shortcake cupcake that Nora bought, which they only have in the summer:

And this is the definition of friendship:

Gotta love Molly’s Cupcakes.

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I’m not sure if pictures will do this place justice. First off, Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Co is like a cave on the inside. A very old-timey bar and you give your name to a man who does not write it down but remembers your group in thirty minutes any way. So that’s pretty cool. Also – this is not pizza. This is pizza PIES.

But first.

The world’s best greek salad. Nope, the picture does not do it justice. Nor does it tell you it’s size but it is HUGE! And it comes with two dressings, which the server told us are best when mixed. It was true! One was sour cream based (what?) and I think the other was a vinaigrette. Perfect combination. And everyone at the table liked feta.

Now the pizza pies.

Just kidding. I forgot we got another appetizer. Which was bread – Mediterranean bread – because you’re never eating enough bread when you’re getting pizza. This was delicious, especially when you dipped it in one of the dressings.

And now the pizza pies:

They kind of look like mushrooms. The server actually brings them to you faced down and he then scoops out the plate or whatever was below it. It’s interesting. Your options are meat or no meat. Get the meat. It’s a very homey dish. Not really like pizza, kind of like a lasagne or something. It’s good. But it’s not pizza. So if you’re sitting there thinking, “I can’t wait to eat pizza!” you might be in the wrong place. But the salad and the bread. That’s what you need.

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If there is one thing in life I like to do, it is to go on adventures. Of course the actual traveling part to Chicago in an adventure in itself (did I mention we were rear-eneded not five minutes after leaving my mom’s house and the trip was almost Not Happening?) but while in Chicago – why not go on some adventures, like the Lincoln Park Zoo? As you can see, we did and we made great friends with the gorillas.

Also, while at the Lincoln Park Zoo, we rode the carousel. Carousels are like a Thing for me because I imagine the animals are real and always want to pick the very best/coolest ones to ride. You can also see my love for carousels here.

And where can you take better pictures than on a carousel? Let’s be serious. As you can see I was more interested in the fake animals than the real animals at the zoo. I do like real animals too, but they don’t always let you ride them.

AND another random picture of us girlies with some animals in the background. This was at the suggestion of KP who told me of a horse mural nearby her old Chicago apartment.

Yeah, this was pretty much the best trip ever. More restauranty/food stuff posts up next!

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Who loves brunch? Me, me, me! I’ve actually seen Twitter bios where people say “I don’t like brunch.” Sad for you! I mean… NYC brunch can be cray cray and sometimes you have to wait 3.5 hours but when brunch is good, it is good. And it was good at Bakin’ & Eggs in Chicago! So good.

We have the roasted veggie frittata for Miss KMD. And a little chicken apple sausage is hiding. Here whole plate was so good and I know because I hate half of it. What I ordered was a bit too much like a dessert to have for breakfast (imagine me saying that) and soon you will see.

This is Nora’s Southern Comfort Bowl. Yep. What it’s called. Two eggs (overeasy here) with potatoes, cheddar, biscuit and gravy. Southern Comfort indeed. What you see behind it creepin’ is called a flight of bacon.

So we’ve got a few different kinds of bacon here. Maple pepper, jalapeno, honey, mesquite, and cherry smoked. Actually not entirely sure which ones I tried but I did steer away from the jalapeno. I was expecting the bacon to be that really thick kind like applewood smoked bacon, but I’m actually glad it wasn’t cause the thin kind is what I actually prefer.

And then my dessert for breakfast:

Remember when I wondered aloud to myself (and whoever reads this) about bread pudding turned into french toast? Well now I know because that’s what this is. I’m pretty sure there were chocolate chips in it too. It was delicious, but five bites or so goes a long way. Which is why I ate half of Kayti’s instead. We took the lovely french toast (what it’s actually called) home and I hope Nora ate the crap out of it later.

And if you’re wondering if they know how to make their lattes pretty at Bakin’ & Eggs the answer is YES.

Bakin’ & Eggs is GOOD STUFF, people. Would be my new go-to brunch location if it were not in Chicago. Chicago, I do love you!

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Hello, welcome to my first food post from Chicago! One of the reasons Chicago is a great city is that lots of people I love live there. Case in point, my girl Nora, who you see right there staring intently at the ceviche sampler and guacamole trio. At Zocalo Restaurant and Tequila Bar, the servers take education very seriously and tell you a lot of things about what you will be eating. By this point we were all so extremely hungry it appears Nora was the only one listening but I’m sure they had good things to tell.

Another one of my favorite people in Chicago is my friend Eugene who I’ve known since my first job in high school. I worked at a movie theatre (free movie tickets, holla!) and I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but I still keep in touch with quite a few people from that job. It was fantastic. Anyway, it was Eug’s idea to suggest Zocalo and he and his lady (whom I also love) joined us there, so thank you Eug for that.

The trio de guacamole was very good. The ceviche was even better. I love ceviche! Why don’t I ever order it? Will adjust accordingly.

I am a fan of tacos at Mexican restaurants (specifically Mexican Village in Detroit, of course) and Zocalo is fun because you can choose up to three meats and then it comes with the fixins and tortillas to make them yourself.

And how can I forget! Our first order of business was glasses of sangria when somebody (ahem) was late.

Also – apparently there is a Zocalo in NYC. I had no idea. Good to know when I’m jonesin’ for some guacamole.

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