Thursday, January 7, 2016

Thinking Out Loud Thursday

As tough as the Chicago winters can be, I'm thankful for plenty of fun things to help ward off the doldrums!

First off...

Chicago Restaurant Week 
This starts two weeks from tomorrow and includes over 300 restaurants offering special pre fixe menus. I'm not a foodie by any stretch of the imagination, but I enjoy opportunities to try new restaurants (especially at good prices).

The Chicago Restaurant Week options are truly overwhelming! I've only made a reservation at one place so far (Texas de Brazil), and am still sifting through others. Off the top of my head, here are a few places that have caught my eye:
  • Topolobampo or Frontera Grill - I've always wanted to try one of Rick Bayless's restaurants but it's so tough to get a reservation!
  • Michael Jordan's - I was a huge fan of his during the 90s
  • Monteverde - brand new and just a few blocks from my home
  • Formento's - just a few blocks from my home
  • Roy's - I love Hawaiian food and there are so few Hawaiian restaurants here

Time to start loosening my belt buckles! Or better yet, time to start wearing stretchy pants for all occasions, all the time. =D

Next, and just a few weeks after Chicago Restaurant Week, I am looking forward to...

Chicago Theater Week
This is my first year taking advantage of Chicago Theater Week, during which over 100 productions are offering discounted tickets. Again, the options are overwhelming! Why didn't I start participating earlier!?!?!?

Adam and I will be going to see Cabaret on Valentine's Day.

I'm also eyeing Blue Man Group. It's been around for so long and I feel like I'm one of the few people who has never seen it. This would be the perfect time to check it off the list!

This isn't part of Chicago Theater Week, but I have been wanting to see The Lion King musicalI love all things Disney and have heard rave reviews! Unfortunately, I just realized it's in town only until January 17th. Bummer, but this one will probably have to wait for another time.

Now, changing topics to something much more oppressive...

Doom Week
Adam is a Penguins fan first and a Blackhawks fan second. I am a Blackhawks fan first and a Penguins fan second. We both root for each others' teams EXCEPT when they play against each other. I call this "the doom scenario" (or just "doom" for short). No matter what happens, one of us is going to walk away unhappy at the expense of the other.
From the Blackhawks-Penguins Stadium Series game in 2014
This past week, the two teams played against each other twice. On back-to-back nights. (The teams were in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night and in Chicago last night.) It made for an interesting 2 days.

Our friend Lindsay was in town to attend last night's game, so on Tuesday night, she came over to watch the away game. It was a good thing she was there because she helped keep the atmosphere light. =D
What a game that was on Tuesday night! Tons of speed, skill, and puck-possession. It was an incredibly exciting game to watch. There were times I was so nervous that I could feel my heart pounding!

Then last night, we went to the United Center to watch the two teams duke it out in person.
Sorry for the bad picture quality, the upper deck doesn't have very good lighting
Last night's game was slower-paced, but it was still an incredible exhibition of talent and finesse. I love NHL hockey!!!

Leading up to this week, our friend Michael told us, "No offense, but I hope the result of these two games is that Adam has to sleep on the floor for a week." (!?!?!?!?!?!?!?)

As it turns out, the results from both games would have led to yours truly sleeping on the floor. Oops. Thankfully, Adam and I both always keep things very respectful so there was no overnight floor occupancy.

I am thankful this year's edition of doom is now over!

A few other random notes:
  • I'm getting new glasses and contacts tomorrow, and hopefully a haircut over the next week!!! I'm not planning any drastic changes (no green mohawks or purple-and-yellow-tinted contacts or anything like that) but psychologically it'll be nice to freshen things up a bit.
  • The travel bug is starting to bite again. Unfortunately, my passport expires next fall and there's a lot of talk about how Illinois drivers licenses no longer meet federal ID requirements. Looks like I'll need to be strategic about my renewal.
  • I've had way too many bananas get overripe these past few weeks, so I've been making an industrial-sized supply of banana bread. This is my go-to recipe. If anyone has others to share, I would love to try out some new ones!
  • It's terrifying to see how quickly my homemade baked goods get moldy compared to store-bought baked goods. Apparently all those preservatives are really doing their job...
  • A lot of friends have talked about reducing their phone/social media usage as a goal/resolution for 2016. I'm starting to think I need to get on board with this, too. I realized I had hit a breaking point this morning when I got a pleasant email and my first instinct was to "like" it. What has happened to me!?!?!?
  • As a pet-lover, this news made me incredibly happy. Way to go, PAWS Chicago!!!
--
Linking up with Amanda's Thinking Out Loud Thursdays.

26 comments:

  1. Jason and I went to Roy's last year because we had a coupon from our American Express card. Good but I ate soooo much :-) This year restaurant week falls right between our birthdays and we already have reservations at Dolce Italian for mine and RPM Steak for his so we probably won't go out a third time. However, if you need a companion for Monteverde I'd be happy to try it with you :-)

    I tend to peel and freeze bananas for use in smoothies or banana "ice cream." Easier than baking!

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    1. WOW! That is quite a nice perk from your Amex card! Roy's was doing a pre fixe special last summer, so Adam and I went to check it out and also ate SO much. =D It's hard not to!

      Happy early birthday to both you and Jason! Dolce Italian and RPM Steak both sound amazing. Absolutely - if you're up for Monteverde, let's do it!!! The location makes it super convenient to pop over there, yes? When we do our ice cream run we can figure out a specific date. =D

      Ahhhh, smoothies! I was really into making smoothies when I first got a new blender. Then I got lazy about all the clean-up so I stopped. (Also, it didn't help that Adam called my smoothies "sludge"! :\ )

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  2. Oh, I would also HIGHLY recommend Fulton Market Kitchen if you haven't been yet.

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    1. Ooooh, Fulton Market Kitchen has not been on my radar screen. I haven't explored many West Loop restaurants north of Lake Street, which I need to change. Thanks so much for the tip!!!

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  3. I just finished my passport application. Clearly the year of destination races can't go forward without a passport. Thank you, state of Illinois!

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    1. Good for you for getting your passport application taken care of!!! It's definitely one of those things where you do NOT want to wait until the last minute. You KNOW the rush to get new/renewed passports is only going to keep getting worse and worse as time goes by!

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  4. I love how you call it "Doom Week!"

    Also- I have the same problem with baked goods. Freeze them!

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    1. LOL, thanks!

      I definitely need to start freezing my baked goods to at least try to salvage them. My only fear is they will lose some of their quality when frozen. Has that been an issue for you?

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  5. Go see Blue Man Group. That is not a suggestion - you HAVE to see it. Seriously :)

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    1. Awesome! Thanks, Alexandra! Unfortunately it looks like all the Chicago Theater week specials for Blue Man Group are for obstructed-view seats only, but I'll be keeping an eye out for other dates. =)

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  6. I've been to Topolobampo a couple times with my old work. Very good!

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    1. WOW! How cool that you got to go to Topolo through your workplace! Your office must have had some serious clout. =)

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  7. I use a Betty Crocker recipe for banana bread that my mom's been making since I was a baby. She even figured out how to turn them into muffins if we don't want to wait on the loaf in the oven for all that time.

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    1. Betty Crocker recipes are always classics! Great idea to turn the bread into muffins, too. Makes it much easier to freeze or divvy up amongst potential eaters!

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  8. Every year I tell myself I should go somewhere during Chicago Restaurant Week, and ever year I fail to go. Maybe that will change this time! We'll have to see what happens. I did go to a show during Chicago Theatre Week a couple of years ago. It was a little storefront thing, but it was fun!

    Bethany @ Accidental Intentions

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    1. What I will say about Chicago Restaurant Week is that some of the pre fixe menu offerings are better than others. I've seen a few where the items/prices looked comparable to what you'd get anyday. So it does pay to do your research! The little storefront shows are the best!

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  9. Never took advantage of Restaurant Week OR Theater Week, always thought "oh I'll do it next year!" WHOOPS. Get after it girl, have a great time!

    And for the record, I think you'd look great with a green mohawk, so, maybe just think about it...

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    1. I've only taken advantage of Restaurant Week a couple times, myself! I've learned that some deals are better than others so it pays to do your research. Thanks Amanda!

      And per your suggestion, I will think about the green mohawk. =) Green is a universally flattering color, yes?

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  10. •It's terrifying to see how quickly my homemade baked goods get moldy compared to store-bought baked goods. Apparently all those preservatives are really doing their job...

    Yes, this!! Isn't it a scary thought!?

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    1. It's times like this that I am SO COMPLETELY on board with the "eating clean" concept. The fewer chemicals we eat, the better!

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  11. I've been to the Roy's in Orlando, FL and I loved it! I'm going to a Blackhawks game tomorrow and I'm so excited! Have a great weekend!

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    1. Ooooh, Roy's in Orlando would be so much fun! I hope you had a fantastic time at the Hawks game last night! You brought home a dominating victory for us. =D I saw Anthony's pictures of your seats and you really did have a great view (despite the puck danger!)

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  12. Haven't been to Texas de Brazil but I've been to Fogo de Chao. Love, love it there. Make sure you are hungry and prepared to eat lots of great food. I've also been to Frontera Grill and Topolobampo. I prefer the former one since it is more casual. I am not a big fan of high scale Mexican food.

    Next time the Lion King is in town make sure to go. It is wonderful. I've seen it maybe 2-3 times.

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    1. I've been to Fogo de Chao once, too, and it was a symphony of gluttony for everyone! I know it sounds cliche but I thought the salad bar was really good, too. =) Thanks for the thoughts on Frontera and Topolo. I think I'd be similar to you in that I generally prefer more casual Mexican food. But I did want to try Topolo at least once!

      Awww, so awesome you've gotten to see Lion King a few times!!! It must really be fantastic if you've been back for multiple showings!

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  13. I have not had banana bread in ages...you got me thinking about it now :)

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    1. If you end up making any with new recipes that you like, please share! =D

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