Thursday, May 17, 2012

What a Lovely Spring Weekend

I'm a busy girl. If you follow me on Twitter or on Yelp you'll know I'm a gal always on the go. I travel. I go out to eat. I rarely spend my days not planning what's next on the omnipresent to-do list. This past weekend however I relaxed a bit. Things weren't as structured.

River North's Slurping Turtle (courtesy of Eater Chicago)
I had a dinner date with my friend Annie that we'd had on the books for months. We had secured a reservation at the soon to be closing (August) Charlie Trotter's. In Chicago's culinary world, this is it. The mecca of fine dining. A few days before our reservation you know what we did? We cancelled. Shocking! We agreed we didn't want to be spending $300 a person on dinner and instead opted for a more low key experience at Takashi's Slurping Turtle.

Loved this dish - spicy ramen noodles with little chunks of meatball goodness
The modern and bustling vibe of the Japanese-style restaurant with shared tables and boisterous diners is quite the different dining experience, but we both loved our duck fat fried chicken bites, grilled asparagus and scallops, umami brussel sprouts, tuna and truffle oil tacos and steaming bowl of spicy sausage ramen. It was quite the feast, so much so I had to roll myself the mile and a half home - luckily I walked to burn off a few calories I'd consumed.

Mushroom, asparagus & green onion crepe from Chicago's Green City Market
Saturday I was up at the crack of dawn to visit the Green City Market. I arrived safely by bike and no sooner had I sat down to enjoy my mushroom and asparagus crepe, did the rain start pouring down. My friend Janet was kind enough to meet me there in the rain and brought an umbrella too. Rain aside we perused the seasonal fare and split many of the goods - fresh lettuce, bundles of asparagus and Brunkow cheese spread (raw milk cheddar goodness!)

Despite the rain I was elated when I saw morels at the market!
I was beside myself (I did a little dance in the farmer's tent) when I saw morel mushrooms! Yes these are pricey little funghi but they are amazingly intoxicating and only make an appearance in the spring. After running errands Saturday afternoon I found myself at Macy's (ahem, Marshall Fields for all ye Chicago folk) flagship store on State Street for a free cooking demo by none other than Takashi Yagihashi who's restaurant I'd dined at the night before.
I had a great seat for this Chef Demo with Takashi at Macy's
I enjoyed an unexpected three-course lunch and cooking demo, and ended up buying a cookbook for him to sign as well. If I'd been in planning mode I never would have stumbled upon this random fun! At night I had the pleasure of sauteing my morels in butter and serving them over a bed of brown rice. I slept ridiculously soundly Saturday night!

Interior of adorable Swedish restaurant Svea (courtesy of
Sunday was definitely my funday! I called my Mom in Ohio of course to wish her a Happy Mother's Day, and then headed up north to Andersonville with friends Lara and Lesley for Swedish style pancakes with lignonberries at traditional restaurant Svea. We had beautiful spring weather in Chicago Sunday and it made shopping around at all the adorable boutiques and galleries that much more fun.
Traditional Swedish pancakes with lignonberry jam at Svea
 We treated ourselves to ice cream at George's and I have to say that is some of the best ice cream I've enjoyed this year! I had a small scoop of Fat Elvis - banana ice cream with peanut butter swirls and chocolate chips. After a lovely pink champagne toast back at Lara's with her roommate Jen, it was time for cleaning and decompressing at home.

Fat Elvis ice cream (courtesy of George's website)
Whew - what a weekend right! For not over planning I think I still managed to make some action packed fun. Next up is my high school reunion/wedding planning/marathon #6 weekend at home in Ohio!

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