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August 2007

July 2007

Garmin 545s, New Dock Lines and Stunning Chicago from the Boat~

Img_1619Ahhhh, today was a banner day from the US Postal service.  I got four new bright blue dock lines and my insanely amazing new GPS from Garmin--the 545s.  I cannot wait to get out to the boat to hook this thing up...bought it from Abes of Maine (best price) and the dock lines from Overton (both places were way cheaper than West Marine).  Also, went sailing all weekend and all that time on the water has me dying (and I truly mean that) to be somewhere totally off-the-grid way out there in the tropics REAL soon.  Major improvements are being made on the boat, slowly but surely--got new curtains made from a fantastic 'lil seamstress and she came yesterday to get all the cushions from the cabin so she can recover them; measured out the cockpit for new weatherproof cushions and those have been ordered; had my mechanic install my new stereo that has a CD player and Ipod link as well as hooking up my new Bose Environmental 151 speakers and my Jensen cockpit speakers--can't tell you how lovely that little setup sounds.  Installed a new furling line and I guess just all sorts of stuff.  It's like the list never ends....I love projects on the boat~

Baja Fish Tacos Found in LA

Img_0948A couple of weeks ago, I was out in LA for work and happened to have a severe taste for Baja fish tacos.  Of course, I had no time to swing down across the border, but I did happen to find this little gem locally in Los Angeles.  Hole Mole is a tiny fast-food style fish shack out near Long Beach that has fried fish tacos EXACTLY the way they are made down on the Sea of Cortez--battered and crispy; slightly sweet and flaky; delicious and covered in crema.  I had three of them with some beans and rice and could hardly walk after, but it definitely took care of my violent, cave-man-like craving.  There used to be a place here in Chicago that served them the same way, but they closed down due to lack of business (being on the far south side in no man's land didn't help)...but I'm telling you if someone took a chance and opened up a Baja Fish Taco Joint (and literally, called it that) in a walkable 'hood in Chi, it would be an instantaneous hit~

Pasta and Farmers Market Finds = The Perfect Meal

Img_1504I've been eating out WAY too much lately.  Well, always, I guess.  But, somehow this week, I managed to whip together the most delicious meals using a bunch of madness that I had in my fridge...and I was so happy after every meal, especially this little ditty of gluten-free pasta, olive oil, halloumi cheese, green beans, sweet Italian peppers, butter and a hit of fresh thyme. It's time to start cooking again, that's for sure.  I used up my farmers market goodies, added in thyme which I never really do in pasta (I'm a basil girl) and it was stone-cold awesome. I assume though, you could sling in anything and it would still be delish.  That's the crazy  thing--when I really, really think about cooking, I am totally intimidated.  And, if I just toss a bunch of stuff  around the kitchen, I end up with perfection.  Go figure.  Here's the recipe~


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Resi's Bierstube and the Perfect Beer Garden~

Img_1265All month I've been researching my next great escape, daydreaming about tropical environments, Tuscan vineyards and the sweltering heat of Indonesia. After much exploring, I located an olive farm in Italy that trades free room and board for a week of toiling in the fields picking olives. I was ready to book away, but the available dates coincided with my month-long Indo volunteer/learn-to-scuba-dive trip I planned for November. Bah!


Back to the drawing board, I thought, until a pal phoned with news that she was getting married next summer at her fiance's family's vineyard in Germany. Perfect timing! I could enjoy a beautiful wedding while picking grapes in a classic vineyard. Having planned my first trip of 2008, I decided to celebrate at Resi's Bierstube, a German tavern on Irving Park with a fantastic beer garden out back. If you're like me, you've driven past it a hundred times, never acknowledging its existence. What a shame. It makes for the perfect hideaway to plot future escapades, especially if you go early to catch prime patio seating.

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Solar Panels, Stereo's, Cockpit Cushions and On and On...

Img_1452_2This weekend on the boat was bananas.  First off, me, Lis and B took the boat out early in the AM on Sat. when it seemed like gale force winds were blowing.  I know they weren't but when the bow of the boat was CRASHING through wave after seemingly gigantic wave, at the time, it was like holy moly! I was at the tiller and Lis was fiddling with the lines, while B was down in the cabin making us breakfast and then calmly chowing on his delicious tofu fritatta.  At one point, I believe I screamed, "get your ass up here and steer this boat, boy," so he could get a taste of the chaos.  After being out all morning, we cruised back in and got to work making some cocktails (we looked and felt as though we'd just gotten back from war at sea) and taking care of some projects.  B was delighted to measure out the template for cockpit cushions I'm ordering (Bottomsiders, navy with white trim) and me and Lis set to organizing the Powerfilm solar panel I'd gotten.  I am so happy that I went with a very flexible panel and not the rigid panel, that way it takes up way less space and can be tucked out of the way.  It set to charging my starter battery immediately.  So genius.  This one came from Outlaw Camping and I might have to pick up a few more of them eventually.  But, first I gotta take care of the re-covering of the cabin cushions and new curtains.  So much, just so much.  I did get a new stereo though that is ipod compatible (which my mom hooked me up with).  That goes in this week, with the new cockpit and cabin speakers.  It's all coming together...

Banana Pancakes and Rock of Love = Nighttime Bliss

Img_1429_5Arrowhead Mills makes this gluten-free pancake mix that is utterly delicious.  You've not really tasted life until you've inhaled some caramelized banana topped, half-a-stick of butter slathered, warm honey doused pancakes for dinner.  This was the easiest little creation to make and I devoured the entire plate in less than five minutes.  Just after this bundle of joy, my pal Lisa rang in and told me that "Rock of Love" with Brett Michaels was on the telly, and demanded that I tune into this straight-up trainwreck of a reality show immediately.  Thank God I did.  Never, EVER, have I seen such delightful smut on television.  These women are all vying for Brett Michaels attention and the lengths they'll go to--whilst wasted beyond belief--is tuly astounding and fascinating.  I season passed it in TIVO quicker than lightening and Lis and I buzzed each other all during the commericals commenting on each of the beautiful/hideous moments.  As we watched the show together on the phone, Lisa softly murmered, "I think this show has changed my life" and I breathily whispered, "I've never been so happy."  Man, if you haven't had the sheer pleasure of tuning in, please do so stat.  And, get some of that pancake mix.  The two together are what dreams are made of~

Street Food: A Cookbook by Tom Kime

51cs23q8rl_ss500__2I have just gotten in the mail what I am dubbing Misty's Perfect-in-Every-Way Cookbook.  It arrived today in a tidy little package and I just stopped flipping through the pages lovingly and had to immediately get to planning what I am going to make come the light of day.  Basically, the writer/chef, Tom Kime, travels R-T-W to get his hands on authentic, mouthwatering street food anywhere he can source the best stuff and has crammed it all in this beautiful, perfectly sized cookbook. I'm a street food, round-the-corner shack, pushcart vendor, cooler-toting-all-the-good-stuff, random kitchen fanatic, so this book is nothing but bliss for me (plus, all the recipes are short and seem very doable).  In all, the global recipes I'm diggin' most are:  Nonya Sambal (spicy green vegetable stir fry); Chee Pow Kai (paper-wrapped chicken); Cucur Udang (Singapore prawn fritters with sweet chili sauce); Cari do Bien (South Vietnamese Seafood Curry); Banh Tom (Hanoi prawn cakes); Queijo Na Brasa (Grilled Salty cheese marinated with oregano); Acaraje Com Salada Fresca (Bean patties with avocado and tomato salad); Triglie De Scoglio (Pan fried red mullet with preserved lemon, olives, and parsley); Fetta (Stuffed eggplant with yogurt and pinenuts); Shourba Corbase (Chard soup with rice and tumeric); and Houmous Bil Erfeh Lahem (Hummus with cinnamon lamb).  I could sit and gaze at this cookbook all night long (which I plan on doing), and not only taste the succulent food in my mouth, but plot and plan my very next escape.  Luckily, I'm heading back to Indonesia soon, where the street food rivals no other....and, in the meantime, I've got my new best friend of a book~

Romanian Sausage Company and the Perfect Polish Sausage

Img_1360I have just discovered the best hotdog in the world.  The Romanian Sausage Company (on Clark and Touhy) churns out this little diddy of a garlic Polish that is totally mind-boggling.  I picked up two of them the other day and a package of their pillow soft buns that come peppered wtih poppy seeds and tiny dots of onions and had a Polish fest.  All it needed was a little bit of spicy mustard and pure heaven, I swear.  Since I'm not much of a meat eater, I was taken aback by my own fervor in shoving this dog down.  I mean, 2 of them in about 5 minutes?  Jeezzzz....I can't seem to stop thinking about them, talking about them, dreaming about them and generally just wishing I had one of them near me at all times.  The company keeps funky hours, so call before you go...Also, on Thursday's they roll out some fantastic potato salad.  Much like the hotdogs, it flies off the shelf~

Target Sandwiches and Boat Goodies

Img_1406Who knew Target had such amazing sandwiches.  Last week, my mechanic Tim brought some onto the boat (he says you have to get them from a superstore) and me, Lis and B mowed on them...after tooling around the marina in my dinghy.  I just got a cool little electric motor that makes no noise and I love sneaking up on boats and checking out their setup.  I've actually been getting all sorts of things for the boat lately. A fantastic 20 watt flexible solar panel by Powerfilm (ordered at Outlaw Camping), so I can recharge my batteries without the engine and I just plunked down the dinero for the Garmin 545s (with transducer) GPS unit.  That thing is so bad ass.  It has all this satellite imagery (especially of marinas) that is totally unbelievable on the eyes.  It cost a ton of dough, but in the end, I think it will be worth it.  Also just got a CD/stereo that is ipod compatible with XM radio and a remote...which is very handy.  Next up are a bimini and a dodger and some teak.  You gotta think cosmetics, too, you know?  Next week, I'm planning on staying on the boat the entire week. Just to test it out for longer term comfort...Right now on the agenda, though, is heading over to the Celebrate Clark St. Festival a few blocks from my place.  We're volunteering at the beer tent for a spell (no, I do not drink beer), a rum tent might get me into trouble!

Taste Quest Rogers Park {Article I did for this weeks Time Out Chicago}--YUM!!

Img_0768_2Taste quest: Rogers Park

This weekend’s Celebrate Clark Street Festival is an easy entry into this strip of global eats. Here’s a plan of attack.

By Misty Tosh

Some call North Clark Street the new Pilsen, but we know the stretch of eateries between Devon and Touhy Avenues has a whole lot more going for it than carnitas. This hungry walkers’ paradise will showcase its global cuisine this weekend at the second annual Celebrate Clark Street Festival (Clark St between Morse St and Touhy Ave. Sat noon–8pm; Sun noon–6pm.). This food, art and music fest drew 20,000 people last year and expects to draw even more this year, especially since frosty cervezas will be on offer this time around.

Taste of Peru
If the fest crowd gets to be too much or you can’t take the heat, dip into one of the strip’s many restaurants for a break. That swarm of cabs taking over the meters in front ofAsmara Café (6511 N Clark St, 773-338-9650) belong to drivers who flock to this Eritrean gem for vibrant stacks of fiery food and, on a recent visit, ancient reruns of Lassie on a suspended television. The hearty, Ethiopian-style stewed meats piled high on spongy injera are the popular order, but vegetarians can opt for the hulking veggie platter of spinach, collard greens and lentils.

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