Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Memorial Day Sunday Funday! Part 1 @ Chicago Q

Soundtrack of the day: Summer by Calvin Harris

I still can't believe it! It's Memorial Day weekend! It's the unofficial start of summer! After the rough winter Chicago has had, it's only right for Mother Nature to give us the best weather possible for this weekend.  In the spirit of red, white, and blue, and honoring the troops, it's only fitting that we commemorate this holiday with a good old American barbeque... with Chicago Q as the grill master.  

Not wanting to waste precious sunlight, we started early, as in early enough benefit from Q's bottomless mimosa brunch. When my friends arrived at Q, it seemed as though a lot of people had the same barbeque idea, and was told that it would be 1.5 hr wait for outdoor seating. Somehow, Buddy Jesus was on my side because when I arrived to meet my friends, the hostess sat us outside without waiting 1.5 hrs. My tapeworm thanks you (Brittney/Bridget)!

 This little bowl of pickles arrived along with a bowl of sweet potato chips ( I was too busy eating them to remember to take a pic! Whoops!) I am not a fan of pickles. I would gladly give you my pickle anytime ( uh huh. I set that up just for you.) For the sake of my reading noshers, I figured I would eat at least one, so you know, I can tell you that the pickle tasted like a pickle. Pow right in the kisser! What kind of heaven is this pickle pickled with?! These are sweet pickles, and by sweet, I mean that it tasted like they were bathing in some honey/maple syrup. It was AMAZING! It also had the most subtle, but just right peek of spice. I was starting to think that the chips and pickles were bottomless too. They kept bringing more!  And once again I polished off the bowl of chips before remembering to take a pic.
Que up the grill Q. I'm ready for some meat! I could not decide as to what meat would go with my mimosa, so I opted for the Benedict Flight. This fulfilled all my wishes. You get 3 different kinds of Benedicts:
Southern Eggs Benedict : You get a fried green tomato instead of an english muffin. I never thought I would ever be enjoying a fried green tomato, but I did! The breading around it still had a nice crunch despite the juicy piece of meat resting atop it. 
Smoked Chicken Eggs Benedict: This was my favorite out of the three. The chicken was juicy and tender, and to my taste buds' surprise, the chicken was nestled on corn bread! I typically think cornbreads are gritty and tasteless, but not this one. It had a cake-like consistency, and was perfectly sweet. 
Kobe Brisket Eggs Benedict: Do I need to say anymore? Kobe is all I need to say. 

As if their meat was not well sauced enough, they serve you with different sauces so you can drench to your hearts desire. You have the choice of some mustard based sauce, traditional bbq, spicy, and vinegar. I tried them all, and ended up just leaving my meat as it was served. It was already perfect! If I had to pick my fave out of the sauces,it would be the spicy bbq. I commend Q for giving their diners the option to sauce their meat so no one can EVER complain that it's not "wet enough" (here we go...)

 Now what proper Southern dweller would want to curtsey around with sticky bbq glazed fingers? The Q ends your meal with a nice moist warm towel, so the people who absolutely cannot thoroughly enjoy their piece of barbequed meat without using their fingers can clean them like a proper gent.

Chicago Q's atmosphere transported me to a picturesque southern town lined with plantation houses. The added visual of the horse drawn carriage passing by was a great prop to my fantasy. Wait, what? I'm in Old Town?

No. I did not forget about my mandatory dessert. Stay tuned for Memorial Day Sunday Funday! Part 2 to find out where I got my sugar high. Now go back to work!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

OhMyGosh! It's 7:30 A.M. and I'm @ Bloomingdale's

My friends and I tend to fancy early morning shopping adventures. Is it because the stores are not yet open, and we subscribe to the saying "The early bird gets the worm?" Uh huh! but, I also love the feeling of being a "faux-VIP," since let's face it, my budget does not allow me to be a real one. It's a good thing I know people who can help me attain my "faux-VIP" status. This time, this FV experience was brought to you by Fine and Dive, who is often found in Bloomingdale's on Michigan Ave. They were having an event called "The Makeup Date."

As we enter the great doors of Bloomingdale's at 7:30ish A.M. , a waft of freshly organized merchandise envelopes the air. We were met by a lady who was putting orange colored ribbons on our wrists, which we thought were fancy wristbands to the event, but no it was Tory Burch fragrance laced orange ribbons. What a nifty idea! It will keep the crowd stench down! I have a feeling, few of the early birds did not go through a bird bath. Ha!

  Keep your eyes on the prize comrades! We really did not know what we were getting into, but we know that we needed to get to where all the hubbub is. Registration check, raffle entry check, and oh! I get a goody bag and a $25 gift card? check! ( Keep reading to find out what's inside)

We get to the 3rd floor, and the FV in me secured a front row spot. It really was not all that special nor was it hard to procure, but hey! It's all about believing in your delusions.
The event program

The "Makeup Date" was hosted by Splash Magazine's Susanna Negovan. The event talked about the latest  skin care and make up products that the featured brands have ( refer to the event program). SK-II was throwing out their face mask, that they presented as the ultimate repair and pre summer skin regimen. I have drank the SK-II cool aid thanks to Life in a Fruit Basket. I have tried to divorce SK-II a few times, but I always end up going back! As the presenters did their shpeal and product demos, I could not help but be distracted by their HD projection! Being in the front row, I was able to clearly see the "whala! see the difference?" moments, but when I glanced at the HD projection, it made it look like the models had pores the size of a Chicago Post Polar Vortex pot hole. I looked back to the real-life version, and they were gorgeous! Another culprit that added to the horrible HD visual was the fluorescent lighting! Even the most amateur media artist knows that studio lights do wonders. The HD version of the models looked pale/blue/green/hungover, with lines, sun spots, random blotches of discolored areas. No bravo! I was eventually able to accept this HD mishap, and started judging the products by how well it corrects/shows in HD, after all, it's the eternal memories of how our faces look in pictures is what matters! The HD standouts were the YSL-Touche Eclat, it really brightened up the dreaded dark circles, the Nars Contour Blush, and the La Mer specialist's face still looked good on the projection. I'm not sure if it had anything to do with La Mer though. I was rooting for Lancome's Visionaire Blur to create the Barbara Walter's blur effect, but the HD just did not show it well.

Oh did I mention I won something? After exclaiming to my comrades that I don't want what they were raffling off,which was from Clarins, I was called the winner! Yes, I was being bratty, thinking that SK-II was going to have a raffle, and if I won now, I won't win the SK-II. Nope, no SK-II raffles. Ok now I want it.

My reward for waking up way to early! It contains:
Double Serum
Super Restorative Total Eye Concentrate
Exfoliating Body Scrub
Moisture Rich Body Lotion
Instant Definiton Mascarara
Overall, the event provided information on what we all can put in our wish lists, so we can pile it on our faces in our journey to perfection and the fountain of youth. Although, at some moments of the event, I felt that I was at an Avon/Mary Kay pep event.  I wished there more detailed demos, better before and afters, and better production set up that gave the products justice.

Since I did not score the SK-II face mask. I mosied on down to SK-II, got a mini facial, and had the "real" age of my face read by the Magic Ring Skin Analysis contraption!
Let's just say it was horrific enough that I added these to my SK-II collection:
And got this "free gift with purchase."

The fun pouch contains:
LXP Ultimate Revival Serum
LXP Ultimate Revival Essence
Essential Power

 After my facial, I went to Nars to have them put my face back on! Thanks Angie and Nars Lead Stylist Jake Broullard!

 If this event were to come around again, maaaaybe I'll give it another go. It was a pretty fun day, but oh so early. The table of carbs they had set up was not even that appealing yet that early in the morning.  Snaps for eco friendly water cartons!

OK time to dump out the goodie bag (Oh My!):
Kiehl's Powerful Wrikle Reducing Cream
Trish McEvoy Intense Eye Pencil
Lancome La Vie Est Belle perfume
Lancome Absolue Siblime Oleo Serum
Clinique High Impact Mascara
Laura Mercier Foundation Primer
Nars Pore Refining Primer
Sisley Hydratioin Anti-Agine Hydration
Guerlain Orchid Imperiale Eye and Lip Cream
Clarins UV Plus HP SPF 40 Sunscreen
SK-II Essential Power
Tory Burch The First Fragrance
Valentino Valentina Perfume
(oh there's more hiding in the bottom of the bag!)
Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara
YSL Top Secrets
Estee Lauder Revitalizing Supreme Global Anti-Aging Creme

Phew. Fin!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Seattle:Following My Gut @ Icon Grill

For your listening pleasure:
Under the Sea cover by Bottle Boys. They made it sound so fun...

After closing down Pike Place Market, we decided that we would walk in the direction of "wherever we feel like it!...Turn here, turn there!" Of course this adventure was sure to work off all the energy that The Colombian Hot Chocolate (click the link to read all about it) injected in me, and induce hunger. The Great Dane and I passed by a few interesting restaurants, but nothing that peaked our appetites. Thinking back to when I first visited Seattle, I remember seeing a glowing sign that said "Mac n Cheese." I declared that we should go there! Since I did not know the name of the place, I led the way with my "photographic" memory. Uhhh I think I found it, but somehow I don't remember it looking like this:

Did my memory not serve me right? But hey... Que sera sera! We walked in to be welcomed by this sight...

 My brain started singing...~look at this stuff isn't it neat..~~~ I don't know why. It must've been the shades of coral and all the blown glass that reminded me of seashells and jelly fish. This place is like an oyster with it's rough exterior, but nestled inside it is a beautiful pearl. "Um are you sure you're the mac n cheese place?" My eye spied a second floor balcony, which is also where the bathroom is located. Of course I checked it out!

There's a TV in the bathroom, which shows films from the 20' or 30's!!!

 The view from the Top

Our very friendly waitress confirmed that they are indeed known for their mac n cheese!...and fried chicken, and meatloaf. I stared at the menu and changed my mind up to the last minute.
 Meatloaf it is! And yep...that was the quote of the night.

While waiting for our food, this wonderful tiered tower of Washington wines arrived. Being that we started this adventure on a whim, and we are about a 30 minute walk to the hotel, I pushed most of this tower on to TGD. The hot chocolate energy has worn off by now...and crashing.

The bread is here! It came with 3 different butters, hmmm let me try remembering what they are...Normal butter, pesto, uhhhh I give up! Comment below if you know what they are. They were all good, and I was definitely eating it to keep me awake through the meal.

 Ahhh second wind! Food is here! TGD ordered the Cajun Tiger Shrimp Penne Pasta: The waitress prefaced this by saying..."do you like spicy?...this is good but too spicy for me." The pasta goes in your mouth with a creamy, buttery feel, then slowly, you start feeling the heat. The shrimps were the size of a tiger! JK...they were pretty large, like prawns.

 Ma brought in the meatloaf, but not just any meatloaf...It's Molasses Glazed Meatloaf! The Molasses bathed that meatloaf beautifully, which created the sweet and salty symphony that I feel never fails. Even the broccoli was elevated by taking a dive in the molasses. Yep there's left overs!


The friendly waitress asked if we had room for dessert. My honest answer should have been no, but I saw this giant bowl of ice cream that the table next to us had. It had a waffle cone in the center, which when lifted up, out comes a waterfall of hot fudge!!! To top that all off, there was this candy caddy filled with a plethora of goodies that you can top this sundae to your hearts desire. I want it! I want it now! but TGD, otherwise known as the voice or reason, talked me off the sin-sanity train. So no it is. 

Despite the "no," our waitress surprised us with these complimentary little brownie fudgey things filled with marshmallow fluff. See how friendly this waitress was?

If comfort food with a twist is your thing, along with kitschy art, this needs to be in your itinerary if you're in Seattle. The Icon Grill is definitely in the "I'll be back" list. I'm coming back for fried mac n' cheese, and that dessert!!!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

OhMyGosh! Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to my mum, Suzette!!!

The Tiger lily reminds me of my mom. I remember way back when I was a little chickling, my mom received a Tiger lily plant, and she then declared it her favorite flower. I have a feeling she does not remember this. So hopefully this jogs your memory mom! (I'll jog it some more when I call you.) It's only fitting for her to declare it her favorite, her name, Suzette, means "lily" or "graceful lily," and she navigates through the jungle of life like a tiger! My mom was my first food and travel buddy. She made the NYC subway seem like the safest carousel ride, I did not even notice the weirdo next to us, and she made the snails from Chinatown seemed so normal...put that in my spaghetti!!!

My mom used to bake and decorate cakes that would give the Ace of Cakes a run for his money. Cooking however, is another story. Growing up, my mom did not cook often, she left it to the people who actually enjoy cooking and don't need a 3 day weekend to recover from that ( I inherited this gene), but when my mom'll be asking for more! This was the case of her lasagna. I remember her spending all day or maybe even a few days in the kitchen making everything from the home made pasta to the sauce! From that day on, the lasagna replaced spaghetti's place in my life. I became the human version of Garfield.

When I was old enough to understand that knives are sharp and fire is hot, I took her lasagna recipe and  made it every moment I had...well, minus the homemade pasta. That's too much work! Zzzzz. I rave d about her lasagna so much, that one day I was forced to defend the honor of my mother's lasagna...Um winner! winner! winner! Lasagna dinner! ( I would like to thank the fine men in the USS Cole who broke the tie) 

Cheers to my mom the graceful lily...The Tiger Lily! No other woman can walk through the rocky path of life as gracefully as she does ( she used to be a legit dancer...and is still dancing!). Thank you for  your tiger-like strength that I have drawn from when life kicks me in the shin, while it points and laughs.  You have always showed me how to jump back up...and laugh along! 

Wishing all mothers and mother figures a...
Happy Mother's Day!!!
May your days be filled with good food and good memories!

(The thing about flying out of the nest...I don't have access to the vault of embarrassing pictures. This could be both good and bad)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Viva Las Swedish Day Parade! @ Hugos Frog Bar

A soundtrack to complete your reading experience : Keep on Drinking by Johnny Young

As previously mentioned, it was the Swedish Twins' birthday last weekend. I'm not quite a fan of the word "birthday," because if we really were celebrating our birthday,we'd spend it with our mother, who  birthed us,  and shower her with gifts. Instead, many of us revel in drinking debauchery enough to make  death put his robe on,  and get ready to... Get! to! Work! Let's be honest, you're celebrating you, and what better to do that than a "parade!"

Let the Swedish Parade commence! Instead of getting rumbunk (rambunctious) in a random Chicago bar, they picked Hugo's Frog Bar...inside River's Casino! Ready, set, pretend we're in vegas! 

Our waiter introduced us to these fine pieces of nomery (food, noms, nosh).  No frog legs here! the frog in Hugo's is the nickname of Hugo's grandfather. So we can skip that frog leg adventure.

There was this big piece of meat that looked like Fred Flintstone's dinner, called The Tomahawk. I was too enamored by the meats, I forgot to snap a pic. Here it is...stolen from Google.
We ordered a few appetizers. The parade Grand Marshals ( the twins) are obsessed with oysters.I on the other hand, eat it because it's there. I like my shellfish smothered in cheese.Notice how there are small oysters and big oysters on that tray? It's because Karla Fantastic thinks that the big oysters "look vulgar!"Hmmm...ok I'll leave that to your imagination. 

The second appetizer was the Spicy Tuna Tartare with Sriracha Mayo and Fried Wontons. Every time I got ready to scoop one in my mouth, I kept thinking that I will be eating chips and salsa, then as my taste buds wake up, I realized that it tastes like spicy tuna sushi, minus the rice. How fun is that?! It's like taking a trip to Mexico and Asia all in one bite. I wish it was a little bit more spicy.

 For the main course I had the Cajun Chicken and Crab with Andouille Sausage, Rice, and Lemon Butter.

When I heard we're going to Hugo's, my mouth watered with anticipation for this dish. It's got all your proteins covered; poultry, pork, shellfish. One for every craving. To add to the allure, this dish always leaves me with left overs. Next day gourmet! This time, I really tried to stuff all of it down, but the button on my shirt looked like it was holding on for dear life!  A quick caution for this meal: walking around with your leftovers might clear out the penny slot machine you're dying to play on...or people just think you stink of garlic, etc. Put that doggy bag in the trunk!

What's a birthday parade without cake and candles...and in this case, a dagger ? I've been hearing about the monstrosity of Hugo's desserts from the twins. No kidding!  We got the Ice cream pie with macadamia and fudge, complete with a pep from the staff  that's reminiscent of a Greek chant. This pie looks small in the picture, but don't be fooled, it fed 6 grown adults! Well, ok. This might be small compared to the tower of sliced cake that was paraded by our table. It was approximately a foot and a half tall!  I'll have to go back for that after I come in first place in a marathon...wait, that will be never, so... I'll be back as a reward for driving there. Ha!