Food Day Funday: Lakeview Edition

I’ll admit… I’ve been mopey lately. Why? Because I have three weeks off… I know, I know. That is the worst reason to be mopey, but so be it.

Thankfully, my husband is very considerate and kind and patient with my moods lately, and this Sunday, when he found me moping in bed at 1pm, he suggested we go to the city (which I LOVE) and eat food (which I LOVE). Poke to be exact (AAAAAH SO MUCH LOVE).

So we drove down to the city, with the rules that 1) I drive, and 2) he picks music. So as we drove to the city, listening to Kanye West’s best album (Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy), we plotted our attack on food and came up with that day’s hashtag (#fooddayfunday).

Our first stop was Aloha Poke Co. Coming from Hawaii, poke is a food that I crave quite regularly. It’s a bowl of rice, with sashimi grade fish (usually ahi tuna) and lots of topping. My fondest memory of it is getting it at the grocery stores and eating it at the beach. Poke has become pretty trendy in Chicago over the last few months, so I was excited to try it and see if it lived up to my childhood expectations.

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We decided to share a kahuna size bowl. We went with the marinated ahi poke, with brown rice. We chose 808 style (with everything on it). IT WAS REALLY GOOD… considering we got poke in Chicago. It was definitely different from the poke I grew up with, but a good replacement. It could have used more fish, and the marinade that the fish was in could have been stronger, but overall, it was a solid poke bowl!

Next, we decided to walk over to Jenni’s Ice Cream (AKA the most incredible ice cream in all of the lands). Along the way, we passed Cassava, a paleo restaurant that serves empanadas made with cassava flour. I had been there a few months ago, and remember it being great, but the hubby hadn’t so we stopped in for an empanada and a few cheese breads.

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We had ordered three different cheesebreads (bacon, original, and BBQ I believe), but they gave us just one flavor. A bit disappointed by that, but they were still good. We got the pulled pork empanada, which was great. We have been buying these cassava breads at Costco, and thought that in all honesty, those were better. The ones at Cassava were a bit too chewy for our taste. It’s a great option for eating out while paleo though!

We continued on our food tour, and wound up at Jenni’s. As always, it was busy, which is good, because there about 500 flavor options, and I am as indecisive as it gets! I wound up getting a trio, and the hubby got a cone.

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Pictured above – the darkest chocolate (99% cacao ya’ll), churro (cinnamon ice cream with churro pieces – kind of disappointing), and BISCUIT AND JAM. Guys, go get this flavor. It was amazing. UGH. The husband’s cone was whiskey and peans, which was good, but not the best.

We pressed on, and found ourselves at a new to me coffeeshop, Cafe Tola. The design of the store was so quirky and cute, that we had to stop in. Outside, they had a patio of chairs with a spray painted pink fence, which was great for people watching.

I ordered a small americano, which was strong and lovely. The hubby got a large iced coconut coffee, which had such an interesting flavor. We expected it to be overly coconutty, but it wasn’t! ¬†We also got two empanadas (ricotta and spinach, and beans). The crust was great, but the filling was a bit bland. This coffeeshop was fantastic though, and I’ll definitely stop by again!

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To end our Food Day Funday, we made a stop by Dimo’s Pizza. Along the way there, we walked by Wrigley Field. A Cub’s game was about to start, and the energy out there was so much fun to be around.

We got to Dimo’s and ordered a slice of mac and cheese & a slice of margarita. The mac and cheese definitely stole the show.

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With our stomachs full, we decided to call it a day, and drove back home. Overall, we had such a lovely day in the city. Lakeview is such a fun area to walk around, and the food spots are fantastic. Kudos to the husband for helping me to not be mopey all day as well ūüėČ

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Feeling 22

As of this weekend, I am officially into my 5th year of adulthood, or as my husband kindly said, a super senior of being a grown up.

This weekend was wonderful. The best birthday I’ve ever had. Celebrating birthdays as I’ve gotten older have gotten different, in the most beautiful of ways.

My birthday was full of cake(s), steak and quality time with the hubby.

We went to lunch at Fogo de Chao, which we had looked forward to for some time now. Earlier this year, we tried out Texas de Brazil during restaurant week, and had heard that Fogo was better.

The food was pretty good! Nothing exceptional, but great steak, and good sides. The cheese bread stole the show (as I had predicted).

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We went to go see a movie, Bad Moms. It was surprisingly good for the terrible title name.

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Hubs, sporting a trendy neck pillow and my purse. 

After the movie, we went to the Cheesecake Factory. Cheesecake is my weak spot, and I try my hardest to save it for special occasions. On this occasion, I got three slices and I have zero regrets.

Up first… the Kalua¬†cheesecake.

This was everyone else’s favorite, but my least favorite. I thought I would love it, based on my love for coffee liquor. It tasted quite tart to me.

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Next up, is the mango key lime cheesecake. This was AMAZING. The crust had coconut. The mango was incredible.

 

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Last, was the ultimate red velvet cheesecake. I LOVE red velvet. I also LOVE cheesecake. So this was clearly my favorite, and also, everyones least favorite. Maybe I just have strange taste buds.

 

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So that was my birthday. Lots of cake, and lots of food. We also stopped at Naf Naf because they’re fries are everything.

Now comes the cheesy part…

Going to the Cheesecake Factory, and ordering cheesecake. That was a personal victory for myself. I remember on my 16th birthday, my friends¬†took me there. They knew cheesecake was my favorite. I primed myself all day. “Jeanette, it’s your birthday. This happens once a year. You can eat the cake.” I couldn’t. I just couldn’t do it. I ordered the low carb cheesecake (AKA BLANDVILLE) and had one bite. One bite. I cried in the bathroom that night.

The next year, my seventeenth birthday, my parents bought me a cheesecake from Costco. I don’t know if you know, but Costco is THE place for cake. They’re rich, and decadent, and everything cake should be. I couldn’t bring myself to eat it. I didn’t even make it to the bathroom, I cried at the table. My dad spent the rest of that day driving around with me trying to find a cake I would eat.

Looking back on my previous birthdays, I can’t help but to think. I am beyond elated that I am past that period of my life now. I am so happy that I can have my cheesecake, and eat it too, sans tears. I am so happy that I’m learning balance, slowly but surely. I know that I have bad days, but I also know that as the years go on, the good days begin to outnumber them. I am so thankful for that.

Cheers to year 22 on this beautiful planet. Cheers to cheesecake.