Our Weekend

Lincoln Park FlowersWe had a beautiful weekend in Chicago. The weather was nice and warm, and we certainly took advantage of it. My friend was visiting from Austin Friday night, so we went to Big Star with a big group of people. It was a fun get-together, but it took me awhile to recover from those margaritas!

Saturday we took our bikes out around ten and didn’t get back until five. We grabbed some breakfast, ran errands around the gold coast, and then decided to head up to have lunch on the patio at Café Brauer. The food was just okay, but we enjoyed the views. After lunch we walked around the pond, watching the turtles and ducks. We also walked under the wood pavilion (pictured above). I had seen it a bunch of times but never actually walked through it. It’s really beautiful. After the park, we checked out an open house in the area. We’re not seriously looking, but it’s always fun to see what’s out there. This unit had the most amazing sun room off their kitchen, and rooftop rights!

Sunday we went to the gym and swam a bit on the rooftop. It was really hot outside, but we were fortunate enough to get some chairs under an umbrella. It was supposed to rain Sunday afternoon, so we headed home, and then it ended up being pretty nice most of the day. Keith did some homework while I caught up with my family. We finished the weekend making a frittata and watching an HBO documentary.

This week should be pretty busy. I have a couple work trips, and we are trying to wrap things up before heading out of town. It’s crazy to think this is the last week of July. Summer is flying!

Summer Recipes

Tomatoes PeachesThe farmers market was so good on Saturday. We’re are well into summer, and the root vegetables are starting to take a step back to make room for their more exciting counterparts. It was the first week of peaches! There are so many colors and varieties of berries, beans, and tomatoes. I really need to start taking a list so I don’t buy everything in sight.

We have cooked a lot this week. There have been some misses (I won’t be making garlic scape pesto again), but we really enjoyed our Tuesday night panzanella and our first peach cobbler of the season. I have a feeling both these dishes will be in heavy rotation for the remainder of summer.


This is so easy that I almost feel silly writing about it. Panzanella is a salad typically made with tomatoes and stale bread. There are many recipes available, but I used rainbow cherry tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella. We dressed it olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Basically a caprese salad in a bowl. It was so quick and delicious. Exactly the type of meal I want to “cook” after work. Next time, I want to try a variety with more veggies, no cheese, and maybe some red wine vinegar.

Peach CobblerIs there anything better than peach cobbler? It’s one of my favorite summer desserts. Not too sweet, better with ice cream, quick to assemble (minus cutting and peeling all the peaches). Keith was skeptical when I told him what I was making. Apparently we aren’t very aligned on our fruit-based desserts. I picked up a slice of cherry pie at Whole Foods Saturday and I thought he would be so excited. He kind of shrugged and said he doesn’t really like cherry pie. He loves cherries though. So confusing.

Anyway, I didn’t want to bother my mom to get her recipe (we call her all the time for recipes. Someone needs to put together a family book), so I used this one from Epicurious. The only change I made was using far more than six peaches. I guess mine were medium sized. Also, it took me awhile to get the hang of peeling and slicing them.

The cobbler was amazing. We ate it right out of the oven with ice cream. The only problem is there are just two of us, and there’s only so much leftover cobbler I can eat. Next time I’ll try reducing the recipe to make individual portions.

Oh, and Keith really liked it too!

Pilsen Murals

Colorful muralKeith and I had wanted to visit Pilsen for awhile, mostly to try Nuevo Leon. We’d read good things; we’d heard good things from friends. We just needed to make the trip down there. We decided we would go for lunch Saturday, so I looked up a few other things to do in the area. We parked our bikes at 18th and Halsted and walked the last mile to the restaurant. We stopped at a chocolate shop and browsed some vintage stores. Our favorite was Modern Cooperative. They carry a great array of cards, jewelry, furniture, and barware. We spent some time talking with the owner, Tiffany. She’s lived in the neighborhood for 10 years, and suggested some other stores for us to visit. Then she told us about the Pilsen murals. She said their Alderman applied for a grant to attract local and international artists to paint murals on 16th street.

After lunch (which was delicious. Best mole I’ve ever had), we cut down to 16th street and looked at the murals. We didn’t know anything about them while we were exploring, but I found a video when I got home that provides a lot more context about the history of murals in the neighborhood. We were so lucky to strike up a conversation with Tiffany! The murals were my favorite part of the day, and we would have walked right past them if it weren’t for her. Here are some that we saw.

Mural 2 Black and white mural Face Books Pilson mural Mural 1

And here is the video.


Our Weekend

Breakfast in bedOur weekend was fairly laid back. Slower paced, lazy even. Friday we met friends at Ciccheti, which is one of the best restaurants I’ve tried in awhile. Highly recommend. Saturday morning I woke up early and slipped out to the Green City market. I bought a bunch of produce, eggs, and a croissant for breakfast. When I came home, Keith and I decided there wasn’t anywhere we needed to be, so we enjoyed breakfast in bed while catching up on some reading. The croissant was amazing. I think it was from Bennison’s Bakery. I’ll check and taste again next week!

Our main excursion of the weekend was a visit to Pilson. We explored some shops and ate at Nuevo Leon. Wr rode our bikes, which was good because we needed to work off all that great food! After Pilson, I took a nap (I told you it was a lazy weekend), and then we rented a zipcar to run some errands. We picked up dinner at Whole Foods and watched movies at home Saturday night.

Sunday morning Keith went golfing with his friends, and I got breakfast at La Fournette, did some laundry, and planned a bit for our vacation. Then we cooked dinner with all my finds from the market. It was a nice, relaxing weekend.

Last Wednesday and Thursday I was in New York for work, and I got to see Andrea, who moved to New Jersey at the beginning of July. She just started working at Uniqlo, and while she is far away from Ohio, I will probably see her more frequently given my work travel. She came into the city Wednesday night and we got dinner in the West Village and walked the High Line. It was fun to show her around a bit.  It’s sappy, but I am really enjoying watching my sisters transition this year. Paula is engaged, entering her last year of her PhD program, and will start looking for jobs soon. A move is most likely on the horizon as her and Peter figure out where they will be living. Maria and Andrea both graduated from college this spring, and Andrea is in New Jersey while Maria will be moving to Houston in August. Monica is starting college this fall, leaving only Will in Cleveland, which is crazy. I know these changes aren’t all positive. They are faced with long-distance relationships, moving to new cities knowing nobody, and tough work schedules, but I couldn’t be prouder. They are all pushing themselves. No one is taking the easy road, and I am so happy to be part of their lives during this exciting time. I love you all, and I can’t wait to see everyone in two weeks!

Shopping in Andersonville

BlanketsKeith and I went up to Andersonville Saturday to check out Winifred Grace’s new boutique. Winnie is a Chicago based jewelry designer, and we first met her last summer when I purchased necklaces for my sisters are bridesmaid’s gifts. She had us come to her home to look at the pieces, and we ended up staying there for over an hour talking about our favorite places in Chicago, our families, etc. She is a lovely woman. When I read that she was opening a retail location this summer, we made plans to stop by. Unfortunately, I misread the hours and they are open Saturday and Sunday by appointment only. Oh well. Her store looked great from the sidewalk!

Winifred Grace

We had a little more success with the rest of our shopping. There are so many great stores along this stretch of Clark Street. It’s a nice mix of thrift stores and more focused design shops. One of my favorites is Brimfield. It’s a vintage home décor store that sells “Americana-style” items. Think metal lunchboxes, old license plates, and Hudson Bay blankets (yes, I know Keith, they’re Canadian!). The photo above is of their wall of blankets, and the ice skates below were one of Keith’s favorite items this time around.

Ice Skating Lake GenevaWe left with this pennant. Keith spent a lot of time in Lake Geneva growing up, so we decided we’d frame it…sometime soon. It’s currently still sitting on our dresser.

Brown elephantMixing bowlsWe also enjoyed looking around the Brown Elephant. This is more of a resale store, with lots of items to sort through. I have been wanting to swap out my plastic mixing bowls with glass, and normally, HomeGoods is our go-to store for items like this. However, the location closest to us just closed, so we were happy to find a few mixing bowls at the Brown Elephant. I also wanted to buy some teacups, but those were vetoed.

After our shopping, we grabbed dinner at Bar Ombra. I have been wanting to try it for a few years, and the food was really good. By this time, we were so hot and tired from walking around all day, so we didn’t stay long, but I would definitely eat there again the next time we’re in Andersonville.