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August 2007
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October 2007

September 2007

Summer's Almost Over and The Rum Is Running Dry...

Img_2670Today was the best sailing day ever...most likely because summer is coming to a close and full blown winter is just a hair away from being here.  Me and B rolled out onto the water 'round about 11 AM and didn't show face back for hours upon hours.  I'm quite certain we consumed a bottle of Flor de Cana (that 5 yr goes down reeeeaaaallll smooth)...and I played with my GPS (see the little boat on there, that would be us) while B perfected Dance Party USA on the water (I guess I was in on that one too).  After we tucked the boat back in (and did some boat tours on my star dock), I managed to make it over to N. Lincoln Square for some sushi and karaoke in some joint that I swear to God was ripped straight from a dark, terrifying back alley in Shanghai.  How me and my pal Jen managed to get the bartender to let us pour our own drinks is beyond me.  I think they were just straight stunned we showed face in there...Jen's convinced we were amongst Asian mafia. Indeed.  Ahhh, summer in the city, eh?
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Got Vintage Travel Trailer? Get One....

Colotr2_2Per usual, lots of things are happening and on the horizon.  I finish up a very long year of work in a week, I've got a ton of foodie related articles I'm working on (yum), I'm putting together some budgets for some indie films (I really miss those balls-to-the-wall indie days), my month long trip to Lombok, Indonesia to volcano trek, learn-to-scuba and volunteering is just over a month away, I've got to pull the boat out of the water at the end of October (tragedy) and at the top of the pile of upcoming MST doings is this super-magical little vintage trailer I just bought.  It's not much more than 1500 lbs. and it's about 14 ft. or so give or take.  I can just hook it onto my SUV (yeah....gotta that whole hitch thing worked out) and BAM!  I'm ready to hit the road...which brings me to my next adventure.  I'm headed out to Colorado in a few weeks to grab her, then I'm hauling her home to TN where I will quickly pimp her out gypsy-style and rig up some solar panels and then...once the new year hits, I'm going to spend the winter traipsing through Central America.  I just cannot go through another brutally cold Chicago winter, so I've got to get all this life stuff sorted out before years end.  This trip to the Darien Gap has been one in the making for a really long time, so to finally have a minute to do it (especially by myself), well....long time coming.  And, you know I will def. be fluent in Spanish when I return form that one!  There will be one small hiatus in Feb. to scooch over to Isla Mujeres for my PURE Pilates/Volunteer/Cooking retreat that I'm putting together.  Good winter, I can feel it~
*In other horrifying news...Flower from Meerkat Manor (Animal Planet) DIED in last nights episode from a Cobra bite to the head.  She was so busy saving rival gangs lost pup, Axl, that she missed the snake slithering into her den where her newborn pups were resting.  When she went in to save them, he bit her. It was bawl-fest central over at my place, I can tell you that right now.


Ramadan-Breaking Treat {From This Weeks Time Out Chicago}

Img_2535TOP NOSH (Just published in TO Chicago)
If you’re one of the billion-plus Muslims in the world, right now you’re partaking in Ramadan, an obligatory fast from eating or drinking during daylight hours. But even non-Muslims can benefit from the ritual: The 30-day event (ending October 13) brings out some culinary showstoppers. Our favorite is kataifi, a sweet created specifically to break the daily fast. Served warm, this half moon–shaped pocket of pastry dough is stuffed with either salty cheese or a mix of crushed walnuts, cinnamon and coconut, then baked until crisp and doused with a sticky lemon-tinged syrup. After starving oneself all day, it’s safe to say that the first sugary bite is pure heaven—akin to a stack of buttery, syrup-drenched pancakes on a hungover weekend morning. Kataifi can be found at many Arabic bakeries around town, but the best are at Salam (4636 N Kedzie Ave, 773-583-0776), a bustling strip-mall restaurant that bakes them fresh daily. In case you don’t get your fix during Ramadan, neighboring Nazareth Sweets (4638 N Kedzie Ave, 773-463-2457) breaks form and serves them year-round, but only on weekends.
See the Time Out article here.


My Magazine Subs Have Gotten Out of Control...

Img_2614_2I'm the gal who freaks if the magazine hits the newsstand before it arrives in my mailbox.  And, I'm also the chick who promptly calls customer service directly when I realize that atrocity and demand a month (or two) credit because I had no control when I saw it in the store and had to buy it on the spot, therefore infringing on my already paid for subscription.  But, I will admit...lately things have gone wild.   All my mags have taken over my tiny place and I'm in a major take-no-prisoners weed out stage.  Hell this pile in the photo barely even covers it...I had already raged thru half of them.  These last men stading are the toughies, though.  I use them as source material all the time and it's extremely difficult to let them go.  It literally makes me want to cry when I think of all the places within these pages that I need to go and explore; all the boat projects I need to tackle; all the yummy recipes I need to attempt.  I'm trying to be brave though, I'm trying....


Wild Oats Blueberry and Almond Granola Made a Mess Outta Me

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I kid you not when I say that this jar was almost full 2 days ago.  What happened?  Well, I had some vino and proceeded to mow on handful after glorious handful of Wild Oats Blueberry Granola.  You have never had granola like this...not even Milk & Honey or Bear Naked compares.  It's got this caramely, cookie dough taste--with little hits of toasted oats, crunchy almonds, and sweet blueberries.  When I was in the store the other day, I was ravenous, so I opened my small container (while choosing my wine, mind you) and ate almost the whole thing.  I had to go back for a big container!  I even let the stunned (but ultimately happy) cashier taste mine...I needed someone to understand my rapture at that moment.  She felt it, I could tell.  Get some at Wild Oats in Evanston...it's tucked on a small table over by the bakery.


Bahia Concepcion: Palapa for Sale--CHEAP!

Img_2220Up and down the stunning Sea of Cortez are palapas just like this one.  Expats come down, get a taste of the cheap good life and never want to leave, so what they do is build a little palapa--either freestanding or around their motorhome.  This adorable one,  which is for sale (29k), is in the Playa Arena area in Bahia Concepcion (it's about 12 miles south of Mulege).  It's one of the best I've looked at and I almost bought it myself.  It sits back a little bit from the crystal blue beach and has an open kitchen, 2 bedrooms, a living room and a breathtaking view.  The little strip of beach is protected by a small gate and guard who lives on the property and there are about 15 other palapas directly lining the beach.  The best, though---it's all solar!  I just love it and if you want the email of the couple who is selling it, lemme know...but, keep in mind, you never own the land on this particular property--just the structure.  This type of deal is seen up and down the coast, so its wise to do some research. But, man...the more I write about it, the more I just want it!
*The photos below are of the view from the palapa and the beach it is on...just amazing.
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Yelapa, Mexico...The Boat Trip...and Next Fall

Img_2074I woke up at the crack of dawn this morning thinking about the sweet, sultry breeze in Mexico.  One place in particular captured my soul while I was there--a tiny fishing village called Yelapa (about 45 min. south of PV).  I was just laying in my bed gazing out the window and the breeze was coming in and I swear I felt like I'd just woken up in a cozy palapa on the coast of Yelapa.  I was daydreaming about a cup of hot coffee while sitting on the beach watching the sunrise--which led me to thoughts on my boat.  I'm planning a get-outta-Chicago-for-the-winter cruise at the end of next summer and I was thinking, can my little vessel make it?  In short, the plan is to motor down the inland rivers (part of the Great Loop) and hit up the Carib.  Then scoot on over to Central America and see what the heck I happen upon.  I guess my dreams are really that simple.  In a month or so, I have to haul the boat out of the water for the winter and have a list a mile long of winter projects to do in preparation for the trip.  I think I'm in pretty good shape, though.  Folks have done it in much less than a 30' sailboat, that's for sure.  I'd have to scram thru the Panama Canal to get to Yelapa, but man...with adventures like this, you never know where you'll end up~


Bean Soup and Bread at Bosnian Bel Ami (what a mouthful)~

Img_2509My favorite place to chow on a bowl of soup is Bel Ami, a smoky Bosnian joint on N. Lincoln.  Not only is the soup fantastic (I'm a huge fan of the bacon studded bean soup), but it's the homemade bread that comes with every $3.50 dollar bowl that make it all worthwhile.  Forget the rambunctious kiddies running wild; no matter the stunned stares as you enter the front door; try to avoid a table with heavy-duty smokers; and just sit up at the little bar lining the window.  The soup and bread combo is totally filling and when you get the bread basket slung your way by a very concerned waitress (she was delighted I loved the soup), tuck a little butter between each slice (3 usually come with) and wait a few as it melts before partaking.  It is such a slice of pure heaven, you won't know what the heck hit you.
**I also noticed someone having a giant vat of chicken soup that looked mouthwatering, so that's the one to try next time!


Save This Restaurant: Peacock Cafe and Restaurant {From this weeks Time Out Chicago}

134x600eatsavethispeacoc001_3*Here's a quick little article I did for this weeks TO Chicago.  Save it...and even if you don't eat, the coffee is crack-like killer!

Save this restaurant
Peacock Café and Restaurant

By Misty Tosh

A slew of cabs parked out front is what every restaurateur wants; it’s when those cabs’ drivers are your only customers that times can get a little tough. Such is the case for the Mezengi family, owners of Peacock Café and Restaurant. Resembling something transplanted from a working-class Parisian arrondissement, this no-frills BYOB focuses on fiery Eritrean food, a close cousin of Ethiopian cuisine.

Al dente spaghetti with meat sauce pulls from Eritrea’s Italian colonization in the late 1800s; ditto for an eye-opening pot of strong coffee made the old-school way, the beans pan-roasted, freshly ground and then brewed in a clay carafe on the stove top. Elen Mezengi (pictured), the skilled chef and owner, also turns out Eritrean favorites like tsebhi assa, pan-fried chunks of lemony catfish, and tsebhi begie, tender lamb chops served over sour injera bread. Meanwhile, one of her three children (Yohana, Seare and Noel) acts as waiter, host and buser while Dad drives a taxi.

Business is slow, but this tight-knit family is intent on surviving, and on introducing their native cuisine to Chicagoans. “The Eritrean community in Chicago is only 300, 400 people, so we all eat together, play together and help each other out,” Elen says. “But when [other] people find us,” Yohana adds, “they love the food because it’s different and you just can’t get it anywhere else.

6014 N Broadway at Glenlake Ave (773-262-2005). El: Red to Thorndale. Bus: 36 Broadway, 84 Ridge. Lunch, dinner. Average main course: $9. BYOB.


Homemade Tortillas at Huaraches Restaurant {From The Raving Dish}

Img00285I'd say that no more than half of Americans have had the sublime pleasure of partaking in a homemade tortilla. And, you can credit that number to the Mexicans that call America home. Made-from-scratch tortillas are a thing of beauty; they're far, far superior to their factory-created counterparts, and based on the number of ingredients they take, it's a wonder why more cooks don't make them. Ahh, such is the convenience of our economy, though. We opt for what is fast and cheap, shunning that which is from the root.

Lucky for us, a few places in town, including Huaraches Restaurant, serve only homemade tortillas. In fact, Huaraches makes more than just tortillas. Via an old-school, well-worn Mexican tortilla press, it pops out crude but perfectly shaped sopas, gorditas and huaraches flecked with black beans, which are my favorite.

*Please note, photo was taken on camera phone, hence the poor quality!

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