Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Vegan Escapes!

Wow, it's been a long time!  Sorry folks!  These past few weeks have been mighty crazy.  As some of you may know, it was my birthday a week ago as well as my boyfriend's, so I was a little busy.  It was also my father's birthday the week before, so I've been jetsetting about the past couple of weekends.  Appleton to spend time with my family, so I brought Pineapple Right-Side-Up Cupcakes for my father.  His favorite cake is Pineapple Upside-Down, so I thought I'd try these bad boys out.  They were delicious!  I would have an adorably cute picture to post up here, but due to an unfortunate mishap I have lost and/or had my camera nabbed while in Chicago.  Yikes!  So incredibly sad.  Brand new camera that was a gift at Christmas from my wonderful parents.  I couldn't help feel like I disappointed the by losing it.  Oh well.  No sense on holding onto disappointments and regrets when you can't do anything to change them.  Observe and let go, I say!  Especially when my oh so wonderful boyfriend bought me a replacement camera as a belated birthday gift.  So sweet, this one!  He fully deserved his Peanut Butter, Chocolate, Vanilla Cheesecake that I made him for his birthday, as well as the Coconut Heaven Cupcakes that I just made him as a thank-you this evening.  (I'll post all these recipes, BTW, don't you worry!)

Okay, so today's post is dedicated to my trip to Chicago!  Losing my camera aside, this trip was amazing!  I went with three of the most amazing women I know and we ate and shopped til we dropped...or rolled.  We only ate at two restaurants, The Chicago Diner and Karyn's Cooked.  When we first got into town, we checked in at the Wynham Hotel and then we went to The Chicago Diner for lunch.  Yum!  I've been to this restaurant only once before, and I barely ate anything, so I didn't miss the opportunity this time!  It was my birthday weekend after least that was my excuse.  ;-)  I had the Mozzarella Sticks made with Teese Cheese.  They were pretty good, especially for the first vegan mozzarella stick I've ever had, but I prefer Daiya to Teese.  Daiya stretches better.  (Hear that Daiya?  Time to make mozz sticks!)  For the main dish I had a Barbecue Bacon Cheezeburger with Daiya and Sweet Potato Fries.  Absolutely delicious!  Oh, and I also had the Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Shake.  Phenomenal!  If you go to this restaurant, you have to get this shake!!!  Hands down, best milkshake I've ever had.

After this meal, we were all fit to burst, so we went to work off some of those calories (a very small fraction) by shopping downtown Chicago!  I haven't gone shopping in quite some time, so I went a little was my birthday after all...right?!  :-O  Anyway, after shopping for about 5 hours and putting quite a dent in my bank account, we were ready for Karyn's Cooked.  We walked on down to 738 N Wells St and only had to wait about 20 minutes for a table.  (They don't take reservations.)  We had the opportunity to stand in front of the dessert case, salivating until we got our table.  As an appetizer we had the Buffalo Wings, which came with three different dipping sauces.  My favorite was the extra hot sauce!  I wasn't a fan of the ranch, but their barbecue is also very good.  For my entree I had the Green Enchiladas.  These are corn tortillas stuffed with garlic mashed potatoes, smothered in a green tomatillo sauce and sprinkled with soy cheese, served with spanish brown rice and refried black beans.  Holy YUM!  I'm already a sucker for Mexican food and garlic mashed potatoes, combine the two and I'm in heaven!  Then to round it all out I had a slice of Carrot Cake for dessert.  Two desserts in one day?  You bet your ass!  It was my birthday after all...right?  (See a running theme, here?  You can justify anything naughty for the sake of your birthday!)  Oh, and I also had a Mango Martini with my meal.  Almost forgot that one.  Very delicious drink!

So after we were gorged and probably 10 pounds heavier, or at least I felt like it, we somehow found the energy to go out.  We got all snazzed up and went to the John Hancock building to have drinks in their lounge at the top of the building.  This is so high up that I got dizzy just from being up there.  There were spectacular views of the city from up there, especially from the women's bathroom.  Kind of funny that the best view out of the whole place was in the bathroom!  We all had ridiculously strong cocktails and then mosied along to another bar a short cab drive away called Maude's Liquor Bar.  I ended up ordering a drink before I looked at what they serve on their menu:  foie gras, bone meal and other equally disgustingly cruel meaty meals.  I was horrified to be a patron at such an establishment!  Next time I'll be wiser and look at what they serve on their menu.  Foie Gras?  Really?!  Diseased liver anyone?  Ugh!  We wrapped up our evening here, then headed back to our hotel to rest up.

The next morning we were somehow hungry again, even after gorging ourselves silly the previous day.  I ended up having a the Egg-Biscuit Sammy that was a chive biscuit with a tofu omelette, seitan sausage,  Daiya cheese and cajunnaise sauce, and herbed potatoes.  One of the best breakfasts I've ever had!  Seriously delicious!  I got one of their vegan cinnamon rolls as well, but I would say you can pass on this.  I wasn't impressed.  It was a bit dry and "meh."  I can do a better job.  The only reason I tried it is because I haven't had a cinnamon roll since I went vegan 3 years ago.

So that concludes my fabulous trip to Chicago!  As you can tell, we pretty much spent the whole time eating.  ;-)  I paid for it many days afterward and I think my ass is still paying for it a bit, but Spring is upon us and I'll work it off!  It was worth it!  Quite the birthday celebration!  Oh, and I almost forgot, it was also my 3-year anniversary of being vegan on my birthday as well!!  Best 3 years of my life!  Happy eating and traveling folks.  You better prepare yourself when I go to Portland next month.  I plan to eat my way across town!


  1. The best thing about traveling IS the food! Well, I'm sure the free days and nice weather or something could be good too... Anywho. As a Chicago vegan, you made good choices. Next time you need to try iCream in Wicker Park, and for a super-posh experience, go to Karyn's on Green. Handlebar for brunch before leaving town wouldn't be amiss either.

    I just found your blog and followed it. Yay!

  2. Oh, and Teese is FAB for grilled cheeses or melts or other sandwiches. Daiya for nachos/pizza/potatoes etc though. In my opinion.

  3. This was a great trip! The food was AMAZING but the company was even better!

  4. Thank you so much for the suggestions! I'll be sure to check those places out next time I'm in Chicago! I definitely want to visit again sooner rather than later. I have not tried the Teese for grilled cheese, so I'll have to try that out sometime.

    Thanks Court! I couldn't agree more! :-)