Category: Restaurants

Fourth of July Things {07-08-2013}

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday weekend, mine was a good mix of having fun, being productive, and relaxing. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a ton of pictures so I’ll do my best at recapping our festivities!

Thursday: My fourth started off with an early tempo run, a patriotic breakfast (vanilla rice chex, banana, blueberries, strawberries, and almond milk), and a slow morning.

After Ian woke up, we walked to Mariano’s to pick up turkey burgers and beer, grabbed lunch at The Twisted Spoke (bbq pulled pork tacos!), and then took a nap. We eventually headed over to Erin‘s to grill out on her rooftop and watch the fireworks with her husband Jason, Kelsey and her boyfriend PartyDog, Katieand Molly, and some of Jason’s friends. It was so much fun and a nice reminder that we need to grill more!

Friday: I ended up taking Friday off from work so I slept in a little, headed out for an easy run, and then spent the morning eating, reading, and lounging on the couch. A little after noon, I headed downtown to Water Tower to meet Kelsey to shop. I needed to exchange a skirt and pick up a dress for a wedding that Ian and I are attending this weekend so having an extra day to run errands was perfect. J Crew was having a super sale so I found a dress there for only $50. Happy day.

After shopping I was wiped so I took a short nap, ate dinner with Ian once he got home from work, and then we went out to iCream for dessert.

sonicKitty sticker on the kitty.

Saturday: I knocked out an easy run first thing, grabbed a quick breakfast, and then headed downtown to meet Bethany, Erin, and Kelsey for free Zumba in Millennium Park. We arrived a little early and found a spot about halfway back from the stage so we could watch all of the people in front of us ;).

zumbaThe class was fun but hard! I’ve never done Zumba before so I had no idea what to expect and I was impressed with how sweaty and tired I felt afterwards. I also really enjoyed that we had three different instructors so we got to try different types of routines and that it was outdoors. So much fun!

zumba1After Zumba, we all went back to Kelsey’s to shower and change before heading out to Taste of Lakeview for some lunch. We arrived before the crowds got too bad and had our pick of places to try. I opted for a chicken kebab and “salad” from some catering restaurant that also served lots of delicious things like plantains, arepas, and empanadas. Katie also joined us which was a nice treat!

tasteoflakeviewI met up with Ian after lunch to do our grocery shopping for the week and then we headed home to watch some Fringe and relax a bit before meeting up with some friends at Lillie’s Q for dinner. I had a hard cider and the most delicious salad ever.

That’s an old picture but it was virtually the same only bigger. After dinner we went home and watched more Fringe… season 4 is so good!

Sunday: Another early morning and another easy run in the books. Afterwards, Ian and I cleaned our apartment, ran some errands, visited our favorite neighborhood fruit stand, and watched more Fringe. We debated going for a bike ride but opted to take a walk instead and picked up some pizza for Ian for dinner (we keep getting coupons for free pizza in the mail). We closed out our night with more Fringe and some Breaking Amish. It was a relaxing way to finish up the weekend.

How was your fourth?

Weekend Things {06-24-2013}

1. On Friday, Ian and I went to Bad Apple for a date night. Bad Apple is definitely one of our favorite spots in the city, they have a great beer list (many on tap), good burgers/veggie burgers, and the best fries in the city. Not the healthiest food but I’ve tried some of their salads before and the unhealthy stuff is where it’s at ;).

I tried a new-to-me hard cider that I didn’t love and forget the name of  and per one of Ian’s friends recommendation we split their pickled platter to start.

badapple1From left to right: beets, cherries, eggs, rhubarb, and plum. Ian really liked the plum but I thought the cherries were the best. We both thought this was fun but probably wouldn’t order it again.

badapple2I decided to do something crazy and ordered the elvis burger… bacon and peanut butter sauce. It was definitely tasty but I felt so gross after eating it. I’m glad I tried it though, you only live once!

2. Saturday was all about getting stuff done. Ian and I did our grocery shopping, cleaned our kitchen, and even made a quick run to pick up some cat treats. I also finally convinced Ian to go back to Nini’s, the little Cuban restaurant down our block, for lunch.


3. We also got out the juicer for the first time in about a month. Ian and I had been on a big juicing kick but we put it away a few weeks ago and haven’t taken it out in a while. We had some produce that needed to be used ASAP so we figured fresh juice was the way to go.

juiceMy juice was carrot, lemon, kale, and apple. Yum.

4. Ian and I are also completely hooked on Fringe. We started watching a while ago and would watch episodes for a week or two and then lose interest for a bit before coming back to Fringe. However, last week we finished season 2 and we can’t stop watching now. It’s soo good!

5. My big plan for Sunday was to go to the newish Road Runner Sports location and have them fit me for new shoes and/or custom insoles. My PT had mentioned during my first evaluation with her that I had flat feet which kind of surprised me. I go to my podiatrist pretty regularly and she always looks at my feet and has never commented on my arches. However, my feet have been achey lately and my right knee (same side as my hip) has been feeling funny lately so with 200+ miles on my Adrenalines, I figured it couldn’t hurt to see what they had to say.

I honestly couldn’t be more impressed with Road Runner Sports. After taking some measurements, I found out that I actually don’t have flat feet (my arches are normal) but my feet are really wide, so wide that I should be wearing wide shoes. This actually makes a lot of sense but I’m surprised that in 7+ years of buying running shoes this is the first time anyone has told me to buy wides (I’ve always had wider feet). Next, I got up on the treadmill barefoot and jogged for about 45 seconds while they videotaped my feet. I was told that my left leg hits the ground at near perfect alignment but my right foot bows out, meaning my ankle rolls out over my foot (I’m sure this is directly related to my stress fracture). Turns out the Adrenalines are probably a little too much stability for my gait and with the help of RRS custom inserts, I can run in neutral shoes.

mizunoI ended up trying on three different types of neutral shoe and found that I preferred the Mizuno Wave Rider to the Asics and the Brooks Ghost. However, when I got back on the treadmill and was videotaped running in the Wave Rider, it was obvious that the shoe wasn’t doing enough to support my right foot. The sales associate grabbed the Mizuno Inspire, hopped back up on the treadmill, and fireworks went off… my ankle no longer bowed out.

balegaI ended up buying both the shoes and the insoles because after seeing the difference in my foot/ankle, it was obvious the insoles would help. The sales associate helping me also threw in a pair of socks for free because I had mentioned that I tend to get blisters during the summer and he wanted me to try a different sock. Pretty awesome right?

6. I spent Sunday night catching up on all of my favorite tv including watching the man walk across the Grand Canyon on a cable. Did anyone else see it? It was insane. I also polished off my new favorite brand of chocolate bar.

chocolateIan picked up the chili for me too and I can’t wait to try it.

How was your weekend?
Favorite type of chocolate?
Have you ever had a thorough shoe fitting?

Weekend Things {06-10-2013}

1. After a long weekend in Denver and an exhausting week, all I wanted to do on Friday was relax and go to bed early (I know, party animal over here). So Ian and I did just that. We watched some Arrested Development, I read my book, Ian played video games, and I even made some sunflower seed + pepita butter in my food processor!

2. I actually slept in on Saturday morning and woke up at 8:45 to an alarm. It’s been a while since that’s happened. I went out for a run and then sat down to a delicious bowl of peanut butter overnight oats (thanks Megan for sharing the recipe!)

3. After breakfast and some coffee, I met up with Kelsey and Emily at the Printer’s Row Lit Fest.


The Lit Fest is a free festival in Chicago where independent/small local bookstores put up stands and sell new and used books at a discount price. There are also readings, a food tent, and lots of other miscellaneous things like old movie posters, magazines, etc. It’s a blast! I ended up picking up quite a few reads too, all for under $25.


I actually bought the top book at Tattered Cover but the rest are from the lit fest.

4. Ian and I decided to try La Luce, a new-to-us Italian restaurant, on Saturday night.


I had a glass of chianti, Ian and I split an order of grilled calamari, and then I had an order of the chicken limone. It was a lot of food and I’m happy that I was able to take home leftovers!

5. On Sunday I slept in later than planned and headed out for a longish run. When I get back, Ian and I had breakfast and then stopped at Sip Cafe on our way to go grocery shopping to pick up some iced coffee. We’ve been to Sip Cafe a few times but I’ve never noticed the bathroom door before….


This is a cafe I can stand behind :).

6. After grocery shopping and running some errands, Ian and I were hungry and decided to walk over to Carbon to have some lunch. We ended up splitting some guacamole and chips and then I had a chicken mole tamale and a steak taco.


I. love. tacos.

7. On our walk back home, we stopped to visit our favorite fruit man and pick up a few mangoes for Ian. He also had these tiny bananas that I couldn’t pass up.


Does anyone know what you’re supposed to do with these? Are they really just miniature bananas?

How was your weekend? 

Weekend Things {05-06-2013}

1. Friday was a looong day. After feeling some sharp/weird pain in my leg/hip/butt on Tuesday, I decided to stop running for a while to let it get better. After a few days and no improvement, I scheduled an appointment with a specialist to see what was going on with my body. I was lucky and got in to see my doctor on Friday and after an assessment, I was told to limit my activity to swimming and biking and was sent to have my leg MRI-ed. Not quite the afternoon/evening I had planned for. Hmph!

2. One thing I noticed about not running on Saturday mornings is that errands get done so much earlier than usual. By noon, Ian and I had both eaten breakfast, grabbed coffee at our favorite coffee shop (Big Shoulders), cleaned up a bit, and run some errands including meal planning and grocery shopping at Mariano’s (<– we spend forever in that store). Not to mention all of this happened at a very casual pace. At this point, I started to get antsy and crabby and forced myself to go to my community pool to swim some laps. I did feel much better afterwards so there’s that.

3. Saturday night was spent on the couch sitting on an ice pack and watching Gossip Girl. It was pretty relaxing but maybe too much so? I definitely started to feel really restless by the end of the night.

4. On Sunday, I woke up determined to stay busy and feel productive- no more feeling sorry for myself about not being able to run! Unfortunately, my gym is closed on Sundays so working out (i.e. biking or swimming) was a no-go but grabbing brunch is always fun.

brunch collageIan and I checked out a casual cafe near our apartment. I had oatmeal and he had some delicious bacon strata. Obviously, Ian won brunch.

5. After brunch, Ian and I hit up Ikea for some furniture odds and ends. The trip was a success although we couldn’t fit everything in Ian’s car and had to hold off on purchasing a few items. The store actually wasn’t busy at all which drastically decreased our chances of getting into a screaming match in one of the show rooms. Just kidding.

6. After Ikea, we decided to run some foot errands downtown and then grab tacos at Carbon, a small Mexican restaurant nearish our apartment. I wasn’t very hungry because I had a late lunch but I did manage to kills two tacos and some chips + guac. Everything was fabulous and I’m sure we’ll be back!

tacos7. Our Sunday night was spent in the best way possible, putting together Ikea furniture! Woohoo!

8. Bonus. I have the weirdest cat.

bubsHow was your weekend?

Umai Japanese Kitchen & Sushi

Ian and I are pretty much obsessed with sushi. It’s my favorite pre-race/pre-long run meal and we’ve even gone as far as setting a no-more-than-once-every-other-week sushi rule to keep costs down.

You can guess our excitement when little over a month ago, we noticed that a new sushi restaurant was opening up in our neighborhood (we currently have one and it’s far away). When we were walking by earlier this week, we noticed that some people were inside Umai and decided to pop in, say hello, and ask about their opening date. They told us they were going to open on Thursday so last night we decided to check it out and go out for a weekday date night.

I was really impressed with the interior of Umai, it had a modern, lofty feel while also staying true to a Japanese theme.


I thought the hanging lights were so cool, I wish they were practical enough to have in my apartment.

I love ginger dressing so I started dinner with their house garden salad (mixed greens, carrot, tomato w/ house dressing).


After giving my crispy things to Ian, I dug into my salad. The green beans on the salad gave it a nice crunch and the dressing was so good (although most likely cream based so I only used a little). My only complaint with the salad was that my “mixed greens” seemed to include a lot of iceberg lettuce. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with iceberg lettuce but a restaurant shouldn’t advertise mixed greens and then primarily serve something else. Either way, I’d still order the house garden salad again. The pros definitely outweighed the con :).

For dinner, Ian and I split a bunch of rolls.


From top to bottom:

  • Spicy Salmon Roll: salmon, masago, and spicy chili oil (we subbed the oil for spicy mayo)
  • Rainbow Roll: California roll topped with avocado, salmon, tuna, cooked shrimp, and yellowtail
  • Beni Imo: Baked Hawaiian sweet potato, asparagus, avocado, yamagobo ,tomato, crunch, honey miso sauce
  • Escolar Nigiri (super white tuna)
  • Hamachi Jalapeno (unpictured and ordered after) – Hamachi and jalapeno.

Umai’s sushi really impressed me. Their fish was fresh, they carried super white tuna (my fave), and their rolls were creative. Unfortunately, most of their signature rolls had heavy tempura or mayo so I had to avoid them (the Beni Imo was a compromise, I probably shouldn’t have had it… but whatevs) but I did appreciate that they were willing to substitute chili oil for spicy mayo which makes it possible for me to eat spicy rolls without getting sick from egg.

Overall, I’d recommend Umai if you’re ever in the South Loop area and looking for a good sushi dinner. The prices were very reasonable (rolls between $4-$17 with the ability to order half rolls) and the menu was quite extensive including Japanese BBQ, udon & ramen, teriyaki and tempura style dinners, as well as sushi. They also offered wine, beer, and cocktails. Ian and I are already planning our return to try some of their non-sushi items.

Do you like sushi? If not, do you have one type of food that you love to eat and never get sick of?