Chicago, IL

What a great city! The first time I got to enjoy the city was back in 2017, got to explore and find some really awesome bars and restaurants. In the past I had only been here for work…blah…and on long layovers and didn’t get a chance to do much of anything.  For starters, and most importantly, we came to visit my favorite brother. Also, my husband and I celebrated our 5th anniversary (a little early) during our visit. We went to a very special Japanese steakhouse, Roka Akor, which was an incredible experience!! I highly recommend if you’re looking for a special treat. We really went all out and ordered the chef’s choice of a multi course dinner. Sushi, sashimi, salad, small bites, noodles, steam boxes, mains, dessert and so so so much more. I really do wish I can find the pictures from this trip to show you.

For our anniversary celebration, we first stopped into Public House. It was busy and energetic with a lot of craft beers. We stayed for one and ventured to the next thing. We walked into Rick Bayless’s Topolobampo. It was just too crowded and couldn’t get a drink at the bar. It was neat to see and had a funky atmosphere.

After dinner we stopped in Rossi’s bar, which was a cash only dive bar. Right up our alley! Funky, relaxed place to have an after dinner drink. Finally, the bodaga…we found the prize…a goose island special edition bourbon county beer along with three floyds zombie dust gumball head and yum yum.

Now for our more recent visit. The highlight was going to The Second City. So much fun and hilarious. The improv is the best, although the whole skit was awesome and spot on with the current political climate. You can purchase a snack to eat and they have a full bar, which adds to the atmosphere. Totally cool. 3B71BE04-BAF0-49B1-9612-67A1ED96B5D8_1_201_a

There were some great breweries we visited including Revolutions Brewing and DryHop (definitely order the Poutine Fries). Totally solid places in cool neighborhoods.

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Although I was visiting my brother yet again this second time around, I stayed in the Renaissance Hotel downtown. It was gorgeous with super comfy beds. They have a convenient little pick up shop where I was able to grab a quick yogurt, granola and berries before a spa appointment one morning. If you have the time, check out The Spa at The Wit Hotel across the street from the Renaissance. It was beautiful, relaxing and just what I needed. Maria gave me an 80 minute signature massage and I came out of it feeling like a noodle. I then got a manicure with a newish style nail polish that was long lasting, not gel, with no UV required. Right up my alley. They said it would last two weeks but I got about 10 good days of it. That’s way better than regular polish.

You must visit the largest Starbucks in the country!!! It’s on the Magnificent Mile located at 646 N Michigan Ave…5 floors worth of coffee and food. Just be aware, your wallet will take a hit.

One tip I learned is, if you’re going to Chicago to party, don’t stay downtown though. It’s mostly a business district and places close early. Check out the north side area for that.

I hope you enjoy your stay as much as I did!

One more pic. Me and my bro 🙂

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Spaghetti Squash “pasta” with sausage, onions, peppers, mushrooms and spinach

Spaghetti squash is one of the easiest vegetables to make. It’s also versatile and can be used as the star of the meal, as a side by itself or mixed into any kind of dish. This dish is simple and easy but does take a bit of time. Well worth it though!

A tip if you want to do it this way, prep the squash ahead of time and store it in the fridge until your ready to make the dish.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 sweet bell peppers, sliced
  • mushrooms, chopped
  • fresh spinach, about 2 generous handfuls
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb ground sausage
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • S & P
  • Olive oil
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, optional
  • Green or yellow squash, optional

What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Slice the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds. Season with salt and pepper and lightly brush it with olive oil.
  3. Roast the squash for 1 hour until soft.
  4. Take the squash out of the oven, shred it with a fork out of the shell and set aside. It should look like spaghetti.
  5. While the squash is in the oven, in a cast iron skillet (or your choice of sauté pan), brown the sausage and set aside.  
  6. Add just enough olive oil to coat the bottom and heat on medium.
  7. Add the onions and peppers and sauté for 5 minutes.  
  8. Add the garlic and mushrooms and sauté another 2-3 minutes.
  9. Add the broth and red wine vinegar and simmer for 10-15 minutes.  
  10. Add the squash and sausage and simmer another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  11. Add the spinach, stir to incorporate and simmer until spinach wilts.  
  12. Serve on a plate or a bowl topped with Parmesan cheese.

Enjoy!!

Awards: Blogger Recognition Award

I have been nominated by Kat from KAT BLOGS for this award and it really means a lot! Thank you again Kat! This is my first nomination and is a great surprise since I’ve only been blogging for a few months. The reason I started this blog in the first place is fairly simple; I love food! I talked about starting a blog for years and, finally, I just did it. The time was right, I wanted a new hobby and WordPress gave me the tools to easily kick start all the years of talk into reality. I have to give my husband some credit; he referred me to the site. I was instantly sold 😉

If you’re just starting out, so am I! I have been reading up on how to be most effective and one article I recently read (and I can’t remember where from) stated that blog posts are more effective when they are short, to the point, and with few tags. Who knew!?!? That’s what I’ve done the past couple weeks which held true and successful. 

I nominate Vegan NeedsCook Up StoryTAKING A BITE OUT OF BROOKLYNFEED YOUR PRETTY SOULLove Yourself – Love Your FoodFINDING MY INNER CHEFCooking with a WallflowerFOODIE THAILANDA GIRL WITH AN ADVENTUROUS FORKvegandrafoodbycamillaCooking without LimitsClash of PansDomestic Urbanite, and fuelledbyoats

Here are the rules for this award:

  • Select 15 other blogs you want to give the award to
  • You cannot nominate yourself or the person who has nominated you
  • Write a post to show your award
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started
  • Give a piece of advice or two to new bloggers
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  • Attach the award to the post (right click and save, then upload)
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them
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