Thursday, April 12, 2007

April Snow Showers Bring... More Snow Showers: A Recap

Yes, I haven't posted for several weeks. And it's been snowing in Chicago... in April. But I've got a reason... for the break, at least: I'm moving! Well yes, moving apartments... but you knew that already. I'm moving blogs! For a while now, I've been checking out the other free blogging engines out there... including Typepad, Wordpress, and Blogger. While I found typepad to have the best blogging platform while also being the most user-friendly, I simply didn't want to pay the $14.95 a month to get all of those benefits. At least not yet. So, I settled on Blogger, which will allow me to blog for free (and ad-free), while still giving me most of the benefits Typepad wanted to make me pay for. Oh, and Blogger also has a deal with Google that will let me elect to host ads on my site if I want to... and get paid for it! How sweet is that?

Anyway, as with any move, there's been a lot of work to do in preparation... which is why I haven't had a new entry in a few weeks. The work has mainly consisted of manually transferring all of my entries thus far to my new site, but I even taught myself a little "CSS" code so I could manually add some special features to my new blog's layout. Pretty cool stuff!

All that explaining aside, here's a recap of what I've been up to the past few weeks:

1. Chicago Bagel Authority

This unassuming GEM of a bagel shop sits right next to the Armitage brown line el station that I walk to and from every day. Finally, last Friday, I ventured in for a snack with my friend Dessa. Lucky I was with Dessa, because she knew the whole history of the place! Apparently the first "Bagel Authority" is on the campus of Miami University of Ohio... and the one that is in my Chicago neighborhood was opened by MU alums. And when you walk in the door, you can tell: home photos and Ohio college memerobilia decorate the walls, and the place has a distinctively casual, down-home feel to it, as if that step in the door really did transport you to a quaint Ohio college town. Although the menu boasts legions of delicious looking sandwiches and toasties, I opted for a simple Bialy Bagel with Hummous... not toasted, but STEAMED! Giving it that warm, chewey, just-pulled-from-the-oven taste. Delicious. (notice the steamers in the foreground of this pic!)

2. First Friday @ The MCA

This was one of my first forays into the Chicago "young professional happy hour" scene, and boy was it a good time. Basically, on the first Friday of every month (hence the name), the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art hosts a glorified happy hour from 6-10pm. $10 entry fee gets you access to cash bars, free hors deouvoers, and of course, to the museum's exhibits... but I have a hunch that most people aren't there for the art. When Dessa and I rolled in to the MCA at around 7:30 last Friday, the place was HOPPING with young twenty and thirty-somethings decked out in their finest trying-really-hard business-formal and club chic. Needless to say, the people watching was phenomenal. Of course there were the hot shot "young professionals" (as was to be expected), but there was a whole crop of much more interesting people too: for instance, the long-haired Italian looking man with big rings on his fingers, the awkward Germans trying to set up tennis dates with us (we politely declined), and the lavishly dressed, considerably older men in general. Endless entertainment.

Drinks were predictably a little on the steep side, but the free munchies were worth the $10 entry: the resident Wolfgang Puck Cafe served up Fried Ravaoli, Homemade Parmesan and Cracked Pepper Potato Chips, and sweet little pistachio and sugar cookes. There was apparently an after-party at the super-pretentious west loop club Reserve, but we didn't make it. Instead, our night took us across Michigan Avenue to the NoMI Lounge at the Park Hyatt, then up to Mad River (lord knows why we made that downgrade), and then to Minibar... where the lack of women only confused us briefly before we realized we were on North Halsted. All in all, a good night.

3. Plush Pup.

I am a big fan of hot dogs... and a bigger fan of the little hot dog shops all over Chicago. I don't know if hot dog shops are a Chicago thing (perhaps because the headquarters of Vienna Beef are here?), or if they have them in other cities. The thing is that all cities have little fry-up burger joints, where you can get a burger, a dog, fries, a gyro, you name it. But the interesting thing about Chicago is that they always seem to have the hot dog champion the name... i.e., The Wiener's Circle, Clark Street Dog, Swank Frank, Underdog, Plush Pup etc... I could go on and on. (Hopefully this summer I will, as I continue my quest to document Chicago's best hot dog shops!)

Anyway, I think all of these places are great, and Plush Pup is no exception. It's actually pretty far out... on Cumberland just off of I90, but it was the perfect place to stop and grab a bite on the way home from two very freezing ultimate frisbee games last Saturday. I had a Chili Dog... which I've never had before. The chili kind of soaked into my bun in a way I didn't like, but it was tasty anyway!

4. Easter Brunch!

Last Sunday was Easter, and Dessa and I, being a few of the only people who DIDN'T go home for Easter, banded together to attend a little church (well a BIG church) at St. James Episcopal Cathedral, and then went to get some Easter Brunch!

Unfortunately, I didn't plan well enough ahead for my Easter Brunch, because come the Friday before Easter, pretty much every reasonably priced restaurant was booked up. We were, however, able to get a table at Heaven on Seven, which is at 600 N. Michigan, in the same building as the movie theaters. Heaven on Seven wasn't as nice as I expected, but we were able to get a decent breakfast for a very decent price, so that was nice! Dessa got an omelet and I got the Bananas Foster French Toast, which was de-lish:
Also delish were the delightfully seasoned home fries-- they were nice and zesty, and perfectly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Overall, a good Easter, and more motivation to check out some more of Chicago's legit bruch places, including Toast, Orange, Feast, and Hot Chocolate. Anyone interested?

And there's the wrapup. Hopefully the new blog will be A GO very soon... keep your eyes on this spot!

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