Tag: date night

Life is All About Balance


Sometimes I forget that life is all about balance.

For the most part, April and May were really hectic. With moving, running the Boston Marathon, dealing with running injuries, work demands, and going to Michigan for Mother’s Day, life had felt pretty devoid of quality Ian time. Fortunately, that changed a few weeks ago when after what felt like one of the longest weeks ever, Ian and I went out for a nice night on the town.

After much debate, we decided to go to English, an upscale restaurant and bar in River North, to enjoy a nice dinner and a much needed “bring on the weekend drink”. We arrived a few minutes before our reservation and were seated at a great high top table near the front windows where we could really appreciate the longer days and sunshine that Chicago has been experiencing of late.

malibu_meAs much as I love getting a good sweat in early in the morning, I also really enjoy going out with Ian and/or friends and having a drink or two. Unfortunately, unless you enjoy running 10+ miles with an awful hangover, it can be difficult to enjoy both lifestyles. Enter, Malibu Island Spiced, a Malibu rum that’s made with Truvia® so you don’t have to worry about having crazy blood sugar spikes (or sugar hangovers) the next day. Plus, if worrying about alcohol calories is your thing, one serving of Malibu Island Spiced is only 70 calories– much fewer than your typical serving of alcohol and probably less likely to make you feel guilty and sluggish the next morning.

At English, Ian and I each started with a specialty Malibu Island Spiced cocktail while we perused the dinner menu. I sipped the Sparkling Spiced which was made with Malibu Island Spiced, soda water, and garnished with an orange wedge and Ian tried the Malibu Spiced and Diet Cola.

malibu2We both really enjoyed our beverages and noted that we could taste the coconut, cinnamon, vanilla flavors. The Spiced on Ice was also really tasty and smooth– something you don’t always experience with your typical alcohol + soda water cocktail. We also agreed that we preferred the Malibu Spiced and Diet Cola because the spice paired nicely with the sweet coke.

malibu1What a perfect no-guilt cocktail to enjoy on a summery Friday night!

For our meal, Ian and I split an order of mussels & frites to start. The mussels were cooked in an allagash white ale broth and were really tasty but definitely on the smaller side. The frites were fabulous though and super salty.

musselsFor my main, I ordered the ahi tuna salad.

ahitunaAnd Ian had the lobster mac ‘n cheese.

macncheeseBoth of us were very happy with our selections and happily cleaned our plates. We also enjoyed the first round of drinks so much that we ended up each ordering another Malibu Spiced and Diet Cola to sip while we feasted.

malibu3After hogging our table for more than a few hours, Ian and I ended our fabulous date night and headed home where I happily traded in my cute dress and heels for some running shorts and my bed. What more can you ask for on a Friday night?

To make matters even better, I woke up super fresh, sans hangover, and ready to sweat on Saturday morning and was able to head out for an awesome, early morning run.

running

See, life really is all about balance.

Now it’s your turn:

Leave me a comment telling me what dishes you like to enjoy with rum cocktails for your chance to win a $100 Visa Gift Card!

Sweepstakes Rules:
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You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

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This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winner  will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 6/13/13 – 6/30/13.

Visit Malibu Island Spiced Rum on Facebook to get more drink recipes and join the brighter side of spiced rum!

And be sure to visit the Malibu Island Spiced brand page on BlogHer.com to read other bloggers’ posts!

SIP EASY. ENJOY MALIBU RESPONSIBLY.

MALIBU ® Caribbean Rum with Coconut Liqueur & Natural Spices, with Truvia® Sweetener. 30% Alc./Vol. (60 Proof) ©2013 Imported by Pernod Ricard USA, Purchase, NY

Truvia® and the Truvia®  logo are registered trademarks of the Truvia Company LLC.

PER 1.5 FL. OZ. SERVING. AVERAGE ANALYSIS: CALORIES 70; CARBOHYDRATES less than 1 gram; PROTEIN 0 grams; FAT 0 grams.

*when mixed with your favorite zero calorie mixer. Limes and other garnishes may add calories

Please note that I was compensated for both the night out and my review. As always, all opinions are my own.




Three Aces {Date Night}

After publishing yesterday’s post I realized that while getting back into my normal routine has been tough this week, I really wasn’t doing anything to prevent myself from feeling lethargic and tired in the evenings. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people complain about something that they can change, so I decided to do something to combat my fatigue (besides drinking a gallon of coffee).

One of the reasons I feel so tired after work is the fact that it’s pitch black out when I leave the building. As I run in the morning (dark) and usually don’t have much time to step out for lunch, the only daylight I’m really experiencing is on my commute to work. Then when I get home and it’s dark out, all I want to do is eat dinner, put on my sweats, and curl up on the couch for the night. Sounds pretty anti-social right? Well, this winter I’m challenging myself not to hibernate. Obviously everyone needs a little downtime, but I’m really going to push myself to go out more during the week, see friends, and have date nights with Ian.

Which brings us to last night, after a week of “blah” evenings, Ian and I decided a date night was in order! We decided to go to Three Aces, a fun gastropub in Little Italy. We’ve been there a few times (including once for brunch) and have always had good drinks, good food, and a great time :).

Three Aces is on the “trendy” side so when I got home I changed out of my work clothes into my favorite only hipster clothes.

I almost wore my glasses but decided against it at the last minute :P.

The dinner menu is not exactly food allergy friendly but I was able to make-do with a few substitutions. In addition to a glass of wine for me and a beer for Ian, we split the apple and fennel salad (without cheese) to start.

It was awesome and the smoked almonds were so good! I didn’t even know that people smoked almonds but I liked them :).

For my actual dinner, I ordered the beer steamed mussels. The broth was fabulous and there was even some butternut squash at the bottom of the bowl. So good!

Ian had a risotto that came with ham and black eyed peas. He really liked his meal but couldn’t keep his hands away from the mussels either. I’ve always thought that Hopleaf had the best mussels in Chicago but Three Aces sure gave Hopleaf a run for it’s money!

It was so nice to get out of the apartment on a Thursday night and have a nice meal. I’d highly recommend Three Aces to anyone who likes craft beer (their beer list is super impressive) and farm-to-table food.

This morning I woke up feeling much better. My legs weren’t as stiff (must have been that long foam rolling session yesterday) and I felt ready to run. My workout was on the shorter side (5 miles w/ 6 x 100 m strides) but I felt much stronger and looser than I have all week.

Now I’m off to tackle my last workday of the week. Have a good one!




GT Fish & Oyster {Date Night}

Yesterday was my last day at my old job. It was sad but exciting at the same time. I’m eager to see what my new job is like. To celebrate the closing of one chapter and the opening of another, Ian offered to take me out to dinner and we decided on GT Fish & Oyster.

We actually went to this restaurant on my birthday with my dad and step-mom and loved everything about it. The service, food, and ambiance were all top quality. The restaurant had also presented me with a $20 gift card for my birthday and we’ve been itching to use it ever since.

We didn’t make a reservation and arrived a little on the late side. We were told there was a 30 minute wait for seating but we could enjoy a drink and our meals at the bar if we would like to. I have no problem eating at a bar but given the shorter wait, we opted to put our name in and then have a drink at the bar. I enjoyed a glass of chardonnay and Ian had a Robert the Bruce (Three Floyds beer) and after about 45 minutes we let someone else take our seats and went over to the hostess to ask about our table. I mean it couldn’t be that much longer right?

Well turns out the hostess now didn’t foresee a table opening up any time soon and we had lost our seats at the bar. I was frustrated and ready to leave, why couldn’t she just tell us that the wait was an hour and a half? But Ian asked that we stay. One of the managers must have sensed we were upset and he came over to talk with us. In about 5 minutes he had us sitting at the communal table. I’m not sure why we weren’t offered that in the first place.

I’m not trying to complain because I love the restaurant but if last night had been my first time there, I’m not sure I’d go back. Lesson learned –> make a reservation if you want a table!

When we were seated we were offered both the regular menu and the oyster menu. We wasted no time in ordering 6 oysters: 2 Kumamoto, 2 Blackberry Point, and 2 Pemaquid.

The Blackberry Point was by far my favorite. The description was perfect, it was both sweet and salty!

Rather than share a bunch of plates, Ian and I opted to keep things simple and each order one main. I had the seared tuna salad without egg. It had red potato, nicoise olives, and green beans and was served with a cider vinaigrette.

I loved it.

Ian ordered the fish and chips which was beer battered cod served with steak fries, malt vinegar, and a dill pickle roumelade.

He also really like his dish. We both agreed that our fish tasted very fresh and everything went well together.

We both were still hungry after finishing out dinners, so we decided to order more oysters. When in Rome right?

We tried two Saltworks Seaside and two Stingray and couldn’t help but order two more Blackberry Point. They were definitely our favorite!

We were almost in the area so after dinner we caught the bus over to Black Dog Gelato. If you’re in Chicago and love gelato or sorbet you absolutely must try Black Dog. The flavor combinations are incredibly creative and tasty. It can’t be beat.

I had a small with cantaloupe and pineapple basil sorbets. I really liked it but it was hard not to order my all time favorite flavor, goat cheese cashew caramel. Stupid food allergies.

Ian ordered a large and tried the blueberry french toast (I was sooo jealous), malt vanilla, and coconut thyme (his favorite).  We were both happy campers!

Have a wonderful Saturday!




Date Night {Mista & Scooters}

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1. My lovely date for the night. Not only was it warm out last night but there was also barely a breeze. It was a perfect night to eat on Mista‘s outdoor patio.

2. House salad. Even though we split this, I pretty much dominated it. Whoops.

3. Gluten-free, vegan heart smart pizza. The crust was made with brown rice flour, the “cheese” was daiya, and the toppings included sauce, roasted vegetables (zucchini, eggplant), baby spinach, sea salt, and EVOO. It was awesome. I could have eaten the entire thing but I wanted leftovers so I ate half and saved the rest. I can’t wait for dinner tonight!

4. Ian’s prosciutto pizza. It was topped with sauce, fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, organic argula, roasted plum tomatoes, roasted organic garlic, and EVOO. He loved it.

5. Dessert came a la Scooter’s. I had the strawberry lemonade Italian ice. I’m so glad my favorite custard place can still accomodate me :)

6. Ian’s Boston Shake. It’s basically a shake (he had vanilla malt) with a scoop of vanilla custard on top, with hot fudge and whipped cream. It’s what Scooter’s is best known for ;).

Have a wonderful Sunday!




Sushi Naniwa {Date Night}

Not quite Winter 97.

Outdoor seating.

Sun in my eyes.

Some fun with the camera.

Nigiri: two yellowtail, two salmon, two super white tuna (+ 1 more after).

A wonderful date night.

Have a great Saturday!