Tag Archives: Thai food

To be Flat Stanley for a day

I never thought my love affair with Chicago might wane. But it has. The dirty snow, gray skies, CTA service cuts…they’re  getting to me. Even though it’s been warmer and sunnier than usual, I want to stuff myself in an envelope and be mailed to a new city.

Perhaps I’m not annoyed with Chicago. I’d like to think I’m inspired by two recent visitors—Ms. Flat Stanley and Mr. Flat Stanley.

I had never heard of the Flat Stanley project until she arrived at our door all the way from Lanesville, Indiana. I say she because Flat Stanley arrived sporting a stylish bob and pink tank top. As part of my littlest sister Alexa’s second-grade class project, Ms. Flat Stanley was mailed to me and several other family members to explore the places in which we live. We were asked to take photographs, send postcards and write about our city and the things we did together. Not into the touristy sites, Ms. Flat Stanley was privy to a day in the life.

We played in the snow.

We rode the bus downtown.

We saw the John Hancock building hiding in the snow.

We ate Thai food.

We sought fashion advice from Nia on Ms. Flat Stanley's new warm weather gear. Approved.

Ms. Flat Stanley and I had a great time during her visit, but like all good things, her visit had to come to an end.

A few weeks later, I received a call from my childhood babysitter Tracy, asking me if I’d help her daughter Ally with her Flat Stanley project. Tracy was in high school when I was in elementary school, and of course, I thought she was the coolest. She listened to Guns ‘N Roses and Mr. Big, took me to the mall and let me tag along with her high school friends. I said yes to my childhood mentor, and Mr. Flat Stanley arrived soon thereafter.

Mr. Flat Stanley wanted to see the sights. So we did.

He's totally into art, so we went to the Modern Wing at Art Institute.

We toured Millennium Park

We waved at ourselves at The Bean.

He challenged Cash to a wrestling match. Cash won.

Hosting both Flat Stanleys encouraged me to be a tourist in my own city for a few days. And the part of me that loved being a pen pal as a kid was giddy.

However, I still want to crawl in an envelope and be shipped somewhere else until summer. Luckily, Barcelona is around the corner.



Filed under Chicago, frustrations, travel, weather

Reason we live in Chicago #5: Ridiculously good food

Whenever the possibility of leaving Chicago flashes through my mind, the thought that comes in my head first (right after the one about leaving my Chicago friends behind) is:

There would be a hole in my heart and stomach where food used to be.

I am spoiled. There is almost every culinary delight imaginable within a five-block radius. For instance:

Cuisines: Greek, Italian, Thai, Japanese, fancy Japanese, Mexican, fancy Mexican, Middle Eastern.

Foods: Greek fries, pizza, pasta, sushi, veggie tacos, freshly made guacamole, veggie sandwiches, chilaquiles, spicy hummus, falafel, greasy diner food, bar food, bakeries, frozen kefir, gelato, brunchity brunch, McDonald’s, hot dogs.

You may recall that I took a solemn vow against dining out in an effort to save money in 2010. ‘Tis true. But I figured since the anniversary of my birth was this past weekend, it may be cause for exception and celebration. After all, what better way to celebrate getting a little older than by getting a little fatter?

Keep your Tums handy.

Here’s a look at all the food I’ve eaten the past few days:

Tac Quick

Friday: Dinner.

Liz, Sunya, Russ, Joe and I headed to one of the old Lakeview haunts before the benefit for Haiti at The Spot. I don’t miss the neighborhood per se, but I dream about the foods I used to eat. Like this. Joe’s Pad Thai is playing proxy to my entree. I actually ate Pad Khee Mao. I forgot my camera, and the lighting was too low for the iPhone to capture its deliciousness.


Saturday morning: Brunch.

I have a crush on Jam. I hadn’t been there in a while, so when my pal Sarah suggested brunch, this was the first destination proposed. They always serve a little treat before the meal…this time it was a tiny, chocolate-coated, banana-creme pastry that melted in the mouth. Tres yum.

When choosing meals from the menu, Sarah and I were overstimulated by the amount of tastiness, so we decided to order two different entrees and split them. I chose the Spanish Omelet (middle) with chorizo, roasted peppers, melted onions and garrotxa cheese. Sarah order the Egg Sandwich (bottom) with pork cheek, ricotta and pickled plums on French bollo. Both came with fingerling potatoes, and neither dish disappointed.


Saturday night: Dinner

I hadn’t heard much about Spring before Joe suggested this restaurant as the site for ringing in my 28th year. My belly is still thanking him for the abundance of flavors that slow danced together that night.

We started the meal with the Creamy-Spicy Yellowtail Roll that was served with a tasty wasabi-creme fraiche dipping sauce. Since I’m only eating meat a few times a week these days, I ordered the well-balanced Roasted Sweet Potato Potstickers with bok choy, carrots and light broth. Amazing. For dessert, we ordered the chocolate dome cake, filled with pumpkin cake and chocolate mousse. Ridiculous.

Also ridiculous is the use of flash…one of the seven deadly sins of food photography. It was really dark in there, though.

Andrea’s dining room

Sunday: All day

My friends threw me a sleepless sleepover for my birthday. It was a yoga pants-filled, adult version of a slumber party. Much cake eating, nail painting and trashy TV watching occurred. And, man did we eat. Dre baked homemade chocolate cupcakes with butterscotch and peanut butter chip filling. Megan brought the Jeanine cake (sp?) from A Taste of Heaven in Andersonville. Cake is not even my favorite dessert, but the layers of white cake, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries mingling with the perfectly sweetened icing kill me. Casey and Sarah brought an assortment of treats from Fritz Bakery…macaroons, bread pudding, chocolate chip pastries—you name, we ate it. And for dessert we had cocktails and yummy, greasy, New York-style Santullo’s pizza while watching Mystic Pizza. A day of birthday perfection.

Hop Haus

Monday: Lunch

As if I hadn’t eaten enough already, my lovely co-workers took me to lunch at Hop Haus. They have every burger imaginable, plus exotic burgers with kangaroo, ostrich and boar. I always order the Vegan Burger and make a mockery of it by adding cheese. So good! But apparently, I was too exhausted from eating to think about photographing the not-so-Vegan Burger.

Great birthday! If you need me, I’ll be at the gym.

Continue reading


Filed under Chicago, city life, food