D. E. Licious (restaurant reviews!)

So I decided that after my last two posts, it might behoove me to clarify a few things.

1. I am not in fact holding my own boobs while dancing in that last picture.  Thanks, Mom.

2. I danced (ie, sweated) most of the booze out of my system and actually managed to scrape by without nary a hangover headache.

3. In the midst of all the shenanigans, I actually managed to eat some pretty dang good food.

That’s right.  Dang good.

Once Catherine arrived in town on Thursday, we headed almost immediately to my new favorite restaurant- Sono Woodfired.

We ordered a funghi pizza to share.  After much stupid joking about what a fun guy the pizza was, we attacked.  Head on.

The poor pizza didn’t even have a chance to be photographed properly.

Sono makes their crusts Neapolitan style, which means they’re baked in a super hot pizza oven on a stone, making the crust super thin and a little bit charred around the outside.

Um.  Goodness me.  Thank you, sir, may I have another?

The FunGuy pizza was topped with mushrooms (duh), fontina (so melty!), sage, toasted garlic (I’m in heaven) and what they don’t tell you is that it’s also sprinkled with a little truffle oil.

It was intensely flavorful and a little bit salty and the perfect amount of cheesy.

I’m actually thinking of dropping this blog post to go get another one right now…

But there’s another restaurant to talk about and I wouldn’t leave you hanging like that.

As I mentioned, I also hit up Ben Pao over the weekend.  I’ve been there before, but this time was better. Why?

a) because I was with my hungover friends who made the whole experience very funny.
b) because my friend works there and gave us a heads up on what’s good.

Although, all the food is very good.  But I like to think we got the best of the best.

We ordered family style, and I’m glad.  Note: the lunch portions are definitely not lunch sized.  They are meant to be shared.

Plus I never feel right just eating one thing at a Chinese restaurant.  I need rice and noodles and meat.  And fortune cookies.

We ordered: chicken lettuce wraps, brown rice, spicy dragon noodles and seven flavor beef.

Yum.

Standard.

Holy mother, these were hot!! They were delicious, but don’t order them unless you like to feel fire in your nose.

My favorite.  I may move in with this beef.

We left as happy, full campers.

And then we went and ate chicken wings and sushi.

What?

We like to eat.

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We all know that I’m a big food nerd.

Ok, I’m also a nerd in general, but that’s neither here nor there.

If you’ll remember, back in August during the Healthy Living Summit a few of us Chicago healthy living bloggers decided to organize a blogger meet up.

Well, we finally did it!  It was so great to meet up with other food nerds.  I could sense the confused fear in the waiter’s eyes when we all whipped out our cameras before the last plates had even hit the table.  And then we made him take a group picture of us.

Poor guy.  He was a good sport though.  Front row:  Kate, Katie, Heba; Back row: Tracey, Kelly, me and Amy.

I don’t consider myself to be an indecisive person in general (boyfriend may beg to differ, which you will please disregard) but I tend to freeze when faced with a good brunch menu.

The menu at Yolk isn’t good.  It’s awesome and enormous.

Amy and I couldn’t decide between sweet or savory, but we knew we wanted bacon.  Some things aren’t negotiable.

Santa Fe Skillet. Spicy, eggy, cheesy and bacony. Yessir.

Cinnamon roll french toast.  Amy doesn’t like fruit.  I don’t get it, but if that means our sweet option had to involve sugary glaze rather than strawberries and bananas I think I’ll survive.  It was everything I wanted it to be: sticky and satisfying.

Happy brunch after-glow faces.  Or is that just a slight coating of sticky bun glaze?   I also may or may not be falling out of my chair.  Pay no mind.

After brunch, Amy and I decided to venture out to walk off our food coma.  We hit up some stores on Michigan Ave (how touristy for us Chicagoland dwellers!) but the evening eventually circled back to this.

Irish nachos at Jefferson Tap.  This is one of my favorite neighborhood bars that’s not actually in my ‘hood so I had to initiate Amy.  There really wasn’t an option.  And besides, 5 hours after brunch I usually need some waffle fries with all the nacho fixin’s or else I have fainting spells.

Those nachos owned us.

Nice little Saturday.

Tell me:  when you’re out for brunch do you get sweet or savory?  Do you have as much trouble as I do?

That Warm Fuzzy Feeling

Did you guess what the mystery foods were?

In case you didn’t (or were too lazy to click on the links) they are, in order of how they appeared: durian, ramps, ugli fruit, rocky mountain oysters (eww!) and sea urchin.  Ever heard of those?

I’m  not gonna lie- I’ve tried sea urchin, which is also known as “uni” in Japanese restaurants and is often served as nigiri, and it’s Nasty.  Capital “n” intentional.

**For the record, I’m still doing well on mission “one grocery trip per week”.  I haven’t had to shop for myself again- it’s been peanut butter toast and leftovers for me, besides the meals out this weekend that I had budgeted for.  Don’t want anyone to think I’m slacking.  S. S. Cheap Grocery Shopper will stay her course!**

While it’s really fun to try new things, sometimes you just need a good, reliable standby.  Like tonight.  After all, it’s Monday.  I didn’t want to over-exert myself.

I went out to O’Briens for dinner and a glass of wine tonight.  I love that place.  They’ve got an awesome patio and the food is always consistent.  Since I was feeling decidedly unadventurous, I went with my old faithful: a grilled buffalo chicken sandwich.

What’s that surrounding my buffalo chicken, you ask?  Why, that would be a pretzel roll.  I sincerely believe from the depths of my core that any sandwich is 10x better when it’s placed on a pretzel roll.

We also decided on a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc to share and some of these bad boys:

On the menu they’re called “bean fries“.  In my mouth they’re called “please someone hand me another plate of those”.  The menu name is actually a bit misleading.  They’re actually green beans that are tempura battered and fried.  No, they’re not the healthiest appetizer on the menu but they at least have a vegetable in them and it’s all about balance.

And sometimes Mondays just mean that you need a good side of bean fries.

And old friends!!!

My friend Joanne was in town from New York tonight.  She’s one of my close pals from high school and unfortunately, we don’t keep up as often as either of us would like.  It was so great to see her!

And being the good theatre nerds that we are, we never pass up a good photo op.

Total nerds.

And that’s what makes us cool.

A good night of comfort food and reconnecting with old friends…that’s what gives me that warm fuzzy feeling.

Even when it’s 90° outside.

What are your comfort foods?  Do you have any friends that make you feel right at home- even when you haven’t seen them for years?