30 January 2011

Chicago Foodie Adventure Part II: City Olive and Urban Belly

Currently Listening To: Contra by Vampire Weekend
Currently Reading: My Life in France by Julia Child

I'm continuing my Chicago Foodie Adventure Series with a quick stop by City Olive for some wonderful condiments and snacks, followed by a delicious lunch at one of my all-time favorite restaurants, Urban Belly Chicago.

CITY OLIVE
5408 North Clark Street
Chicago, Illinois 60640
773.878.5408

After our visit to Paulina Meat Market, we stayed North and swung over to Andersonville for a brief visit at City Olive - a specialty food market that dabbles in olive oils, vinegars, and olive based products, with a gorgeous rack of honeys to sweeten things up a bit. The store front is tiny, but warm and welcoming. Upon entering the store, we were welcomed to try a taste of any oil or vinegar we liked, beginning a nice open dialogue with the shop owner about the flavor profiles we were looking to achieve through our oil and vinegar purchases. I made a b-line for the flavored vinegars, knowing well that I was after a replacement for a delectable and thick fig vinegar to add to my yummy sweet fig & honey vinaigrette that I splash on m sweet pear/apple, nut, and parmesan salad. Mom picked up some goodies, including preserved figs and a red-tomato-based-pesto, and I snuck some goodies into the bag - such as mini Vosges chocolates to mail to a friend. I was a little more reluctant to photograph in this space after being told not to take pictures at Paulina Meat Market, but here are some photos.


3053 North California Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60618
773.583.0500

And of course it wouldn't be a wintry trip to the North Side of Chicago without a visit to my personal favorite, Urban Belly for a bowl of house ramen and a cup of wrinkle beans.

29 January 2011

Chicago Foodie Adventure Part I: Paulina Meat Market

Currently Listening To: Aftermath by The Rolling Stones
Currently Reading: My Life in France by Julia Child

Yesterday I had a minor dental surgical procedure done, and to keep myself busy I've been rapidly reading my January book of the month. I'm well into Julia Child's My Life in France, and am on target to finish it by the time January comes to a close, keeping with my goal to read a book a month!! One of my favorite parts of this book, besides the fantastic photography by her husband Paul Child, are the detailed descriptions of her outings to various marches indoor and out in search of the perfect ingredients, kitchenwares, and odds 'n ends.

Living in Chicago with a wonderful and adventurous cook and mom, I've become quite acquainted with some of the city's culinary gems. Today, she organized a food-tour-de-Chicago for a group of friends interested in learning more about the variety of wonderful food shops in this yummy town. I took the liberty of going out on the excursion to take some photographs and take my mind off of the stitches in my mouth.

This entry will detail the our first stop of the day:

PAULINA MEAT MARKET
3501 North Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60657
773.248.6272

Growing up on the North Side of the city till the age of 20, the Paulina Meat Market was a regular haunt for my family - especially before a big barbecue dinner. While I'm not a pro on meats and cuts, I do know that their smoking and butchering is some of the finest in the city, and still the reason why we commute across town to nosh on their delicious in-house landjaeger sausages - which I will have to patiently pine over until I can chew solids again! The smell of smoked meats hits you like a ton of bricks when you enter this aromatic space, filled with gorgeously laid out imported German and European goodies and some of the most generous free samples I have ever come across. The crowd that shops here knows what they like - and have come to the right place, with a staff of nearly all-male well trained butchers in white paper hats and slightly stained white aprons on hand to answer questions and serve up the goods. While they weren't happy with me photographing their wares, I must say that getting a talking-to from a stern butcher was well worth it, as I left with gorgeous photos and a bag full of yummy treats!
The entrance to Paulina Meat Market. Note: There is a parking lot as well as street parking.
And it's a stone's throw away from the Southport Brown Line stop.
Please take a number, and wander around!
Guests waiting to be helped at the meat counter.

Thanks for being a wonderful model Ben!
Tank Top: Romeo & Juliet Couture; Cardigan: AA; Shorts: Levis; Tights; Hue; Boots & Socks;
Hunter; Scarf: Handmade by me; Bag; Longchamp; Necklace; Found objects. ALSO, WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE NEW BANGS?!

25 January 2011

So, I bought an alarm clock!


For those of you  who have never spent the night with me, you might not know that my current alarm clock (i.e. cell phone alarm) fluctuates between "Holland, 1945" by Neutral Milk Hotel and "Dammit" by blink-182. I love both of these songs very much, but it gets kind of old waking up to the same song day-after-day. Plus, I'd like to start sleeping with my phone off. I think it'll help me to find the right medium of "me-time" that I'm looking for. 

So, after much debate and deliberation, I settled on this adorable vintage darling pink alarm clock. I'm not sure what my deal is, but lately all I care about is the color pink. And the singer/songwriter P!nk. I have pink-fever. Anyways, I'm looking forward to turning my pink phone off and getting a goodnight's sleep now that I have a pink alarm clock to wake me up!

"Cedar Rapids" Movie Pre-Screening

Hello hello blogosphere - if you haven't noticed, I've been absent from writing/updating in the last week, but it's all been for wonderful reasons! I've been terribly busy running around the city going to a movie screening, attending the all-staff preview of the John Marin's Watercolors exhibition at AIC, seeing the Vivian Maier photography show at the Cultural Center, eating a prix fix dinner at La Sardine, drinking lots and lots of coffee, catching up with friends, and basically running around the city. Phew, it's been fun, but I'm happy to have a little time to relax and reflect on all the cool things going on in Chicago.

I recently signed up for the Block Museum's mailing list, in anticipation of the incredible print fair Printapalooza happening this coming weekend. Last Monday I received an email inviting me to a free pre-screening of the new Ed Helms & John C. Reilly comedy "Cedar Rapids", and I jumped at the opportunity. A free movie at a cool museum in Evanston - what could be a better way to spend a Wednesday night?

The movie is a simple comedy with some really fantastic one-liners and an all-star cast including Ed Helms, John C. Reilly, Ann Heche, Sigourney Weaver, and Alia Shawcat. This unexpected crew of characters comes together to create a series of incredibly funny, awkward, and at times super inappropriate moments that unveil the truth and lies behind a life insurance conference at a cheesy mid-western hotel in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. If there's one movie I highly recommend seeing this winter, it's "Cedar Rapids"!


17 January 2011

Soup and Bread at My Place

This past Saturday I took on the wonderful task of cooking up a giant batch of my roasted tomato soup, a huge pot of lentil soup with sausage, and then baking two loaves of focaccia with herbs and two loaves of challah bread - finished off with a wonderful homemade apple crisp. I was in the mood to host a dinner, and definitely in the mood to cook. I spent 7 hours in the kitchen working my way through some of my favorite play-lists, kneading dough, waiting for it to rise, roasting tomatoes, baking up an amazing crisp, braiding bread, stirring pots, and feeling very Julia Child-ish.

It was an amazing dinner, and the grilled cheese sandwiches made on my challah bread were an absolute hit!!

Tomatoes in various stages of roasting.
Herb focaccia bread, start to finish.
Fresh made loaves of challah. Braiding them was really fun!
The finished product! Yummy soup, fresh bread, mulled wine, generic beer, and a beautiful apple crisp! Bon appetite!

If you are interested in getting any of these recipes, please feel free to contact me/ or leave a comment. The soups can be made vegetarian/vegan if you change the chicken stock to vegetable stock and cut the cream/sausage. The focaccia is completely vegan as well. 

12 January 2011

Top 6 Picks: December

1) Matt and Kim, Sidewalks: I have been into Matt & Kim since Damon from Starscream put them on a mix-tape for me back in 2007. I heard the song Yea, Yeah and just about lost it. I loved Grand, and have found that Sidewalks is a total maturation from their previous two albums. Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 likes this album, too. I like the hip-hoppy feel to some of their songs - though Wires and Silver Tiles are my two faves. If you haven't heard it, go out and give it a try. M&K FOR LIFE.

2) Saltwash Canvas Backpack from L.L. Bean: After seeing this bag featured on Calivintage I got a serious bag crush that could only be satisfied by begging everyone I knew to get it for me this holiday season. My previous backpack was leather, thrifted, and had been repaired once already after having five solid years of love and heavy usage, I decided enough is enough, I need an upgrade. This backpack is gigantic, classic, and totally fits everything I need for my commute around the city (try change of shoes, lunches, books, camera, planner, pencil pouch, change of clothes, etc.). I LOVE THIS BAG. Oh and did I forget to mention that it's on sale? Thanks for the tip Lexie!
3) Vega Watch from Nixon: I had wanted a watch from Nixon for an entire summer, and at the end of summer 2k8, I found this bubblegum pink beauty at a resale shop in Chicago for $15 in perfect working condition. I rarely wore it, having found it clunky, heavy, and hard to read - so I just kept it in my room for two years until the battery died. One of the first things I learned working at a museum is that you must always wear a watch (there aren't clocks in the galleries, and it's impolite to check your phone!). In light of the new year, I dusted this baby off, had a new battery put in at Marshall Macy's, and have had this thing strapped to my wrist non-stop. Plus it's a fantastic color!

4) The Films of Tom Palazzola at the Art Institute of Chicago: One of the perks of working at a wonderful museum is that I have access to some of the best works of art at my fingertips. In the Modern Wing there is a great film/new media/sound gallery that periodically screens films - and this exhibition of 4 of Tom Palazzola's films just came down this past weekend. 30 minutes of experimental film footage shot on beautiful 1970's color format film, these moving pictures tell the story of America and Chicago by creating interesting portraits of those objects, images, and people that become the subject of the camera. Rocky and Ricky (pictured above) is a 12 minute film about a wedding shower in suburban Chicago neighborhood. The movie is less about the shower and more about the colorful characters that make the event memorable. Jerry's Deli is a portrait of a day in the life of a zany out-there sandwich man. These films are amazing - I'm officially a huge fan of this man's work.
5) Tiny Furniture: I heard about Tiny Furniture after being hipped to Lena Denham's other project Delusional Downtown Divas a hilarious web series and satire on the gallery and underground art scene in New York City. Having loved the show, I wasn't surprised when I heard all of the hype surrounded 24 year old Dunham's success at Sundance this past year, and I honestly couldn't wait for it to come to the Music Box Theater in Chicago. Tiny Furniture tells the story of a girl in a post-graduate malaise. Having just finished college, Aura breaks up with her boyfriend, moves back in with her mother, and struggles to figure out what to do next. Can you see the parallel to my life here? This film is funny, simple, and threads together honest moments that most of us can truly relate to. SEE THIS FILM.

6) Annie Road Tee by ETC. for All: I bit the bullet and ordered this shirt. It combines a love of SanRio, the Beatles, and a playful cheery aesthetic - plus the cotton is super soft. I've basically been living in this shirt since it arrived last month, and I have found that I've been wearing a lot of bubblegum pink ever since. 

08 January 2011

Slowing Down and Enjoying the Little Things

In light of reading Julia Child's My Life in France, I've found that she relishes on the little things - the taste of a fresh juicy pear, the crispness of a freshly baked baguette, steam coming out of fragrant pot. Her vivid and fond memories for the little things have been captured in photographs, books, letters, and recipes, all of which we have at our fingertips.

So to welcome in the new year, I slowed down, and made myself an omelette for the first time. And it was divine.

Table salt, canella tea, blueberries, orange slices, and an omelette with sauteed onion, green pepper, garlic, and rosemary finished with tomato and parmesan cheese. Bon appetite!
I followed a simple omelette recipe from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, and while the end product wasn't as beautiful and perfect as it could've been, I'm really happy with the results. It was delicious, moist, light, and fluffy - and improvising by adding the rosemary was a really great addition! 

I'd like to keep doing this for myself. Teaching myself how to cook simple fresh delicious foods, taking the time to enjoy a cup of tea and a good book. What things do you do for yourself?


2011 GOALS

My last post very honestly shared with you some of the good and bad things that happened in the last year, and rather than making a laundry list of resolutions - I have come to the conclusion that change comes through action. And what better way to spring oneself into action than making a list of goals and things I've been meaning to/dreaming of accomplishing. It's strange going from a very structured, packed, social life of a full time student to an employed girl in a big city, and I'm hoping that these goals will help to add some structure and happiness into my day to day life. Here goes nothing, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Bringing the new year in with friends, sparkle, and style
2011 GOALS

CAREER AND EDUCATIONAL GOALS
- APPLY FOR A JOB IN PITTSBURGH
- TAKE THE GRE
- APPLY TO GRADUATE SCHOOL
- MAKE REAL WORLD AUDITION TAPE

SELF IMPROVEMENT GOALS
- RE-DO ROOM
- READ A BOOK A MONTH (12 BOOKS)
- TAKE A ROLL OF FILM A MONTH (12 ROLLS)/ SCAN AN SHARE THE BEST PICTURES FROM SAID ROLLS OF FILM
- ONLY OPEN A FRIEND’S LETTER/PACKAGE WHEN I HAVE TIME TO WRITE THEM BACK. ALWAYS WRITE BACK. 
- SLEEP WITH MY PHONE OFF/ BUY AN ALARM CLOCK

- TAKE THIRTY MINUTES FOR MYSELF A DAY
- ONE MEDIA FAST PER MONTH (TAKE A WEEKEND WITHOUT THE INTERNET, TEXTING, TWEETING, BLOGGING, TV, ETC.)
- BE VEGETARIAN FOR ONE MONTH (I'M LEANING TOWARDS A SUMMER MONTH WHEN THE HARVEST AND PRODUCE IS THE BEST)
- WEAR EVERYTHING IN MY CLOSET AT LEAST ONCE
- MAINTAIN THE BLOG
- WATCH EVERY MOVIE IN MY NETFLIX QUEUE – KEEP TRACK OF LIST
- LISTEN TO EVERY RECORD I OWN
- GO TO SYNAGOGUE ONCE A MONTH
- LEAVE THE CITY ONCE A MONTH
- KEEP A DIARY
- VISIT EVERY MAJOR MUSEUM IN CHICAGOLAND AREA
- GO TO THE BEACH IN A BIKINI 
- KEEP COMPLAINTS TO A MINIMUM 

- CONSULT THIS LIST FREQUENTLY


FRIEND GOALS
- RECONNECT WITH MAUD
- RECONNECT WITH ASHLEY
- RECONNECT WITH GRETA

TRAVEL GOALS
- VISIT ADOLFO IN GERMANY
- VISIT FRIENDS IN KANSAS CITY
- VISIT FRIENDS IN NEW YORK
- VISIT A STATE I’VE NEVER BEEN TO (TEXAS!!!)

Wish me luck, I'm already really feeling 2011. How are you feeling about it???
m