tacos

Velvet Taco and The Chopping Block

As usual, there’s only one excuse for not blogging in three+ days (Saturday and Sunday count as one day, by the way): I was too busy living to write about living.

I feel like I didn’t sit still this entire weekend, which is always a welcome feeling (unless, of course, you’re doing things you don’t want to do. I don’t let this happen too often, however, so usually when I’m “busy,” I’m busy doing fun things. It’s a nice problem to have). Ever since I made a conscious decision to be a “yes” person, my days and nights have become filled with one adventure after the other. So what have you guys been up to these last few days? You all feel like strangers to me. Let’s change that.

On Thursday night I met my mom for dinner at Velvet Taco, a new taco joint located just around the corner from where I work. I’ve been wanting to go for awhile now and luckily she agreed to be my date.

unnamed (36)

YOU GUYS.

This place is the BOMB.

I tried two tacos: The WTF Special (lobster salad, avocado, sea salt and arugula) and the Tikka Chicken. The Lobster was pretty freaking delicious but the Tikka Chicken was out of this world. Crispy chicken smothered in spicy pepper sauce, buttered cilantro basmanti rice, raita crema and thai basil. It took me to the moon and back. I’m in love.

Afterwards I met Colleen for drinks at Havana, a Cuban hot spot located downtown. Margaritas ensued – always a great idea.

unnamed (35)

Pretty soon we met up with Spencer and a few other friends at the House of Blues to see one of our favorite high school bands. You know the kind. The ones whose songs come on your “Best of the 2000s” Pandora playlist and immediately transport you to that Friday night when you were about to get your first kiss and had a container of Vaseline in your coat pocket (not Chapstick, no, you weren’t cool enough for that) that you kept frantically putting on because you were so nervous (that’s not a true story or anything…..) But yeah. We saw Motion City Soundtrack.

unnamed square

We also clearly got the most sober person in the room to take our photo:

11006413_10204602406153956_2651888990438848078_n

Friday was a pretty chill day and night — I went in to the store and then I got to see my college girlfriends who I realized I hadn’t seen in a month (!!!!). Never letting that happen again. Time can slip away from you if you’re not careful.

Saturday I woke up bright and early for a yoga sculpt class at CorePower. I know I’ve said it before but if you’re in the area and can get into Ariel’s class, do yourself a favor and get there. It makes my weekend.

That afternoon my dad came into town and we headed to The Chopping Block for a knife skills class!

unnamed (23)

I’ve been trying to go to this class for more than a year. My brother got me tickets for Christmas LAST year and I ended up cancelling at the last minute. Thankfully time flies, and this year I managed to clear my grueling schedule for a few hours to take this fun class with my dad.

It’s no surprise that just being in an ornate kitchen for a few hours was paradise for me. And at the end of the day, even though the class itself wasn’t revolutionary, I learned how to properly chop an onion so I’m calling it a success.

unnamed (14) unnamed (15) unnamed (25)

Sunday I somehow convinced more people to go back to Velvet Taco with me because once I get a restaurant stuck in my brain, I go there waaaaaaaay too many times until I’m sick of it and can never go back. Also, you know you’ve been someplace too many times in one week when the manager comes up to your table and when you introduce yourself, he mentions how he recognizes you from the “many” times you’ve been in. Yiiiikes.

It was a blast of a night. I met and chatted with some of the staff and ended up spending the better part of three hours there. It’s such a warm, welcoming spot that I felt so comfortable just hanging out with my friends there after work. This time around I tried the fish taco and buffalo chicken taco and was once again not disappointed. That Tikka Chicken still holds the #1 spot in my heart, though. And because I couldn’t possibly love them more, the kind managers treated us to two orders of their signature tater tots as well as their homemade red velvet cake. Shoutout to Cory and Rory for making it their personal mission to make sure their local lululemon girls won’t fit into their yoga pants come June.

unnamed (21) unnamed (16)

I’m really excited for this week! Tomorrow is the first day of the Girls on the Run season so I’ll be meeting my girls. I’m also starting a new fitness challenge for the month of March that I can’t wait to share with you. Let’s just say, good thing I fueled with those tots. It’s gonna be a burner.

Questions:

  • Tacos: what’s your favorite kind?
  • What was your favorite band in high school?
Advertisements

things i love friday: kiddie pools and tacos galore

Aaaaand just like that, it’s Friday again. Don’t you love short workweeks?

Even though it was a short week I still ran into a million things I loved and knew I had to share today with everyone, so without further ado, a few things I love this Friday.

Image

Farmers Markets

Well it’s officially farmers market season and I couldn’t be happier. I love strolling past the dozens of farmers’ stands and checking out the homegrown produce and unique products. From crepe stands to flower stops and some of the freshest fruits and veggies you’ll see in your life, there are few things better than throwing on a casual maxi dress, grabbing all the cash you can find in your house, and walking the sunny streets of a farmers market. I plan on going to the Green City Market in Lincoln Park tomorrow morning, so stay tuned.

Image

 

2% Greek Yogurt

Why have you all been holding out on me?? The difference between 2% and 0% greek yogurt is like night and day. It was so rich and creamy, it felt almost indulgent. I’ll never buy 0% again – ain’t nobody got time to be afraid of a little fat!

Image

 

Speaking of that, have you ever put mango in your greek yogurt? Life-changing, I tell you.

Tacos

It must be the warm weather but I’ve had fish tacos three times this week – can’t stop, won’t stop. I’m still on the hunt for the best fish tacos in Chicago – as of now the honor goes to Benchmark in Old Town but I have two places on my must-go list: Antique Taco and Big Star. I guess it’s my taco bucket list 🙂

Image

At-home workouts

When I move to Lincoln Park in a few weeks I plan on signing up for a gym in the area, but until then I’m still using up my Yoga Loft 2-week pass and doing home workouts. If you’re looking for a fast and effective workout that you can do in your living room blasting Kesha, look no further than the Total Body Workout by Body By Jake on Hulu. Because honestly, what’s better than free?

Image

 

@HiddenCash

Have your heard about this? A millionaire is leaving cash taped all over spots in California, from fire hydrants to park benches. He’s tweeting clues from @HiddenCash and hoping people will “pay it forward”. How heartwarming is that? I love little moments of humanity like that – everyone’s coming together and helping each other find the hidden cash, and then either taking their friends out for dinner/drinks or donating to their favorite charity. It’s such a cool idea and brings a little excitement and unity to the world! Fingers crossed he stops by the Windy City 🙂

Image

Movies and Music in the Park

I promise that one day I’ll stop talking about how great Chicago is in the summer. Today is not that day.  Starting next week the city puts on free events multiple times a week such as concerts in the park and outdoor movies. For all the time I’m planning on spending on the grass it’s probably a good idea to invest in some outdoor furniture. How about this?

Image

Is that perfect or is it perfect?

Have a great weekend! Check back tomorrow for a fresh new summer recipe!

Questions:

 

  • What are your favorite outdoor activities in the summer?
  • What’s your favorite kind of taco?
  • What are your plans this weekend?