food, booze, and beans

Sunday, March 11, 2012

So here's been my weekend. Friday was largely uneventful save for getting much-needed curtains for my room (I'll take you on a little tour once I put the finishing touches!) and starting my Eat-Chicago-Alive mission.

What does such an operation entail, you ask? Discovering new foods and sampling new restaurants. Simple as that! As you know, Chicago is a big destination for some of the best food in the nation, and as someone who loves food (like most people, duh) I've been really excited to dive in. Not calling myself a 'foodie' because that is super pretentious, but I do like to try many different foods and love cooking. 

I researched the best local Thai food, because who doesn't love Thai food? Over in London, there is a little hole-in-the-wall Thai shop tucked into a Soho alleyway, and it has my heart. I'm talking, green curry that will make your insides melt (umm...not in the way curry usually does such a thing). And possibly the best spicy prawn crisps ever manufactured. 

Anyway, I went with Jim Rice & Noodle (or something along those lines. Jim Noodle and Rice? Jim Rice?). I ordered crab rangoons and crispy Pad See Eiw, with a side of sticky rice and the perfect complement to greasy Thai food, a Shock Top (white Belgian ale I believe). 

Not your traditional Thai fare, but delicious Thai nonetheless. Greasy food was just what I needed to hit the spot! The rangoon (left) is basically an American Chinese food influence, because real Thai food doesn't really use cream cheese. Regardless, these little things were to die for! It's just fried wontons (think yakimandu or egg rolls) stuffed with flaked crab meat, cream cheese, and scallions. 

Pad See Ew (say that out loud) is equally unhealthy but gloriously delicious. It's basically stir-fried noodles, fried in soy sauce (yikes!) and mixed with vegetables (like, four or five individual vegetables) and chicken. SO. GOOD.

Anyway, enough food talk. Saturday I decided to spend the day downtown and walking around Millenium Park.

Will definitely be making a visit here soon! Along with all the other fantastic libraries.

Wrigley Square, the Millenium Monument.

Not the best shot of Pritzker Pavilion, they hold festivals and play classical music here.

I went crazy with all the pictures, but I couldn't get enough!! This is the Cloud Gate sculpture, also known as "The Bean" and very identifiable with Chicago. It's fairly new, made within the past ten years I believe, by Anish Kapoor. You may have seen it in The Break-Up and more recently, The Vow. Can I kiss Channing Tatum under here, please?

This is definitely a piece that photographs well but must be seen in person, especially for all the reflection it offers of the skyline. I read somewhere that it gets a Tide detergent bath twice a year, which is funny.

 Under the arch, inside the "navel".

I bet people were wondering what a 7 year old was doing walking around Chicago by herself.

By the way, if you can see, I threw on an A&M shirt today because I felt like repping my beloved university. Actually, I did it kind of absent-mindedly and forgot about it until I got comments! I got some sort of snide remark that I couldn't really decipher, from these photobomb guys front-right:

Something along the lines of "hrmph mmrph she went to Texas A&M! Hmphf frumm"

I popped into Walgreens, though, and as I was leaving the toilet paper aisle (perfect timing, right?) a man and his wife pointed at me, smiled, and gave me a loud "Gig em!" thumbs up and everything. It was awesome. Even though I sort of hate "gig em" after Fish Camp and think, no, know how cheesy it is, I still love it and I felt this big rush of affection toward those tourist Aggies. Chicago is a lot different than good ole Aggieland and it was nice to revert back to that lost identity, if for a brief moment.

Meanwhile, a bunch of scruffy college-aged hipsters playing mediocre folk music nearby. This little Mexican girl front and center was dancing really crazy, so that was entertaining.

 I think this is Legacy Tower.

This was weird- this is a little, really inconspicuous overhang off one of the pedestrian bridges behind a back entrance to the Art Institute. I'm not sure why people chose this really random location to throw good luck pennies into, but maybe some moneybags person just dropped all their loose change. That's probably what happened.

Really cool pedestrian walkway.

Apparently, I completely missed the Crown Fountain but I'll just have to catch it some other time. I'm sure I'll be back here plenty when the weather gets nicer, even though now there aren't as many tourists out and about.

Oh, and this is more or less what I've been wearing to venture out. One thing I love about cold weather is layering and dressing for the climate - I read a post once in the Sartorialist about not necessarily dressing thickly from head to toe in colder weather. As long as you keep your core warm, you can leave other areas more exposed to balance out your overall temp and comfort. I always find tights a really nice way to stay warm and be a little more stylish than jeans. And who doesn't love getting away with dresses in the winter?

Saturday ended with the Bulls game in a neighborhood pub, with my roommate and her friend. It was funny to feel myself start rooting for the "local" team - they told me about this one player who makes millions of dollars to sit on the bench. Apparently, all this guy does it play great during practice, and only gets actual game time in the last few seconds. And the fans absolutely love him - they chant his name and cheer for his slightest movements. Plus, he's a ginger, so everyone loves him that much more. Good stuff.

We darted around to a few more Irish pubs, and it felt a lot like O'Bannons back in College Station. At one place, they even had Shiner and played "Wagon Wheel" (although, what bar hasn't played this a million times?). I also had my first taste of 312, Chicago's own inspired ale. It seems a Chicago-must is getting acquainted with the Goose Island brews. It was delicious, and I'll definitely be ordering it again!

Through this next week I'm planning on seeing some more sights, and finally taking a tour of DePaul which I will recreate to the best of my ability with a photo-heavy post. I'm really excited because next weekend is supposed to be big - it's St. Patrick's Day and people here have already started celebrating. When I finally met my landlord, who helps lead the main parade, he was wearing a tuxedo jacket and kilt. They also have an old tradition that is unique to Chicago of dying the river green. And, naturally, everyone gets beyond sloshed. So if it takes me a few days to post next weekend, well, you know where I'll be. Near a pot of gold, that's where.

Until next time!!

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  1. I am brand new to Chicago too; just moved to Hyde Park 3 days ago. I'm enjoying learning about the city, and tasting all of the delicious food as well! I stumbled upon your blog while searching for folks in the same boat. Your writing is really entertaining, and I look forward to following along. I blog at


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