Sunday, February 27, 2011

Taco Joint Review

Taco Joint is a new "Urban Taqueria and Cantina" that opened a few months ago in Lincoln Park at Halsted and Armitage. Neither the husband or I can turn down a good taco, so we went for a late lunch last weekend to try it out.
Everything on the menu is ordered a la carte. You simply make a list of what you want on the piece of paper provided, and you're good to go.

We started off with two different types of guacamole - traditional and the special of the day, which included pork rinds and cheese. The guacamole is served with plantains and corn and malanga chips. Really, really good and I know good guac if I do say so myself! M also ordered a citrus margarita and I had an apple effervescent drink that made me very happy. I've never tasted anything like it and could go for another right about now.
For our main meal I ordered two tacos - ceviche (tilapia) and barbacoa (spicy beef brisket). M had the same, but also added a carnita made with duck confit. Everything was super delish. So delicious in fact that I forgot to take a picture until we were finished.
I guess that means I'll have to go back again for the sake of taking a better photo, right? I'd recommend this place to anyone who likes Mexican food. Our bill came to $30 and we were stuffed. The atmosphere is cool, the service is good, and most importantly, the food is excelente!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Kymani's Travel Book

Before I moved from Toronto to Chicago, my sister-in-law gave me the cutest going away gift. At first glance it looks like a standard photo album, but it's so much more than that. The album tells the story of a teddy bear named Kymani, which means adventurous traveler.

On the first page, Kymani introduces himself explaining that he lives with my brother, sister-in-law, and their dog, and is well taken care of but gets a bit bored with life. He explains that the only places in the world he's seen are...

The basement, cuddled up with Gunther, watching the travel channel and dreaming...

The bathroom, where he had a very close call one day...

The backyard, which has lovely views but too many pesky fish flies (and if you can't see, there's one sitting on his poor head)...

Etc, etc. Kymani goes on to say that he knows there's something bigger and better out there for him, but the last time he tried to explore, he only made it to the end of the driveway then got stuck in the grass. The next page goes like this...
And then there are lots of empty pages to put in the pictures of all the places that Kymani has traveled to with us. So, Kymani has become my little travelocity gnome and so far has made it to some exciting places:

A road trip to his new home in Chicago,

the Amsterdam airport where he kept busy eating cheese and doing crosswords,

The top of Mt Kilimanjaro,

Bourbon Street in New Orleans,

and Love Park in Philadelphia.

Sadly, Kymani was feeling under the weather and couldn't make it on our last trip to Nashville. Either that or I forgot him :(

My sis-in-law is so crafty and this is a really thoughtful and meaningful gift, as I realize it takes creativity and is time consuming. I can't wait to fill up the rest of the pages with pictures! Thanks Stace. It's truly one of my favourite gifts that I've ever received.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Wedding

Like I mentioned in yesterday's post, the husband and I traveled to Ottawa last weekend for a gorgeous winter wedding. These two love birds are one of my favourite couples ever. They started dating two months after M and I did and we've had tons of fun times together, including a trip to Cuba.

The bride was stunning and just look at the way she's looking at her new hubby.
Signing their lives away.
It's a done deal!
Their reception was at a sugar bush farm and the wintry decorations were very pretty with lots of icicle looking things. The set up for seating arrangements was cute and they used engagement pictures in frames to list all of the names and table numbers.
Here's M and I enjoying some cocktails and hors d'oeuvres (wow that's the hardest work to spell) before dinner started.
Such a pretty background for the head table. White lights make the world a better place.
I like this pic of M and I, even though it's a bit blurry. Here we are, digesting our dinners of tender short ribs that were to die for.
A family picture! M's dad slicked back his hair for the special occasion.
M's brother is getting ready for the garter toss, below. He's overly excited for marriage?
The best midnight snack ever and oh so Canadienne. Poutine!! Genius.
A group shot!
BFF's at the end of the night, looking a little tired!
My my, what a great wedding! I wish C&R many many years of happiness and love and babies!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Feeling Nostalgic

I spent the past weekend back in my home and native land and it was glorious. As the airplane touched down in Toronto, memories of good sushi and cheap bibimbop came flooding back to me. After 7 months of living in Chicago, I've recently begun missing a few things about Toronto. Man, flying into Billy Bishop is the best. Sit on the left side of the plane and you'll get a beautiful, up close view of downtown and the waterfront. If you're taking a connecting flight, like I did, you get to do it all over again for the second leg of your journey! The picture below was taken from the airplane window on the way back to Chicago. I miss the CN Tower!
Anyway, my trip to Ottawa was busy busy but fun fun. Although the main attraction was the wedding of M's best friend, we were able to get a few other things accomplished as well. On Thursday night, M and I met up with a couple of friends for Vietnamese food at New Pho Bo Ga La. We stayed entirely too long for a restaurant that likes quick turnover, but they didn't take our order for a good 30 minutes, so I didn't feel too badly.
On Friday morning I laced up my skates for the first time in almost a year and went for a skate on the Rideau Canal. This is the "world's largest skating rink", almost 8km long! The last time I was on the canal a couple of years ago, I didn't know how to skate and was pushed around in a sled. I'm so happy to say I didn't fall once and now I can cross this goal off my 36 in 365 list! We skated for about an hour, then met up with the groom-to-be for breakfast at the oh so delicious Cora's.
In the downtime between wedding related events, M's dad gave me tutorials on baking bread, cinnamon rolls, and oreo ice cream. I get a feeling that he wants me to start cooking better for his son!
And then on Saturday, the long awaited nuptials of C&R! Gorgeous wedding, totally gorgeous bride, good times all around.
For a few weeks I'd been asking M if he wanted to practice his best man speech in front of me, but he's the kinda guy who doesn't actually write one out, he just uses notes from his iPhone. Say what? I could never in a million years do that. I'd end up rambling on about something, forget a bunch of important stuff, and then go blank. M did a good job though and was able to relax after it was over.

After brunch with the wedding party on Sunday morning, we headed straight to the airport for our flights back to Chicago! It was really a fabulous time, my favourite weekend in ages.

And that's what I've been up to, since I know you were on the edge of your seat, wondering :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Look Back

Looking back at old photos kills me. It's hilarious to look at how people change over the years.

Every year (minus one or two?) since I was in Grade 10 (I think?) my group of friends have a Christmas party get-together. Back in the day we would dance around, exchange presents, and take wacky photos. Now that we're older, it's mostly about eating and catching up with each other!

Here's our group photo from 2010, including the genius cardboard cutout addition of our friend Double D in British Columbia. I can call her that because I know she doesn't read this blog.
Below, the group shot from 2008. Lookin good girls, lookin good. This was the last year before babies came into the picture.
Going back to 2002, here we are... hiding in curtains? Yeah, that's pretty normal for us.
And this is from our second annual party in 1998. Ohhh, the good ole days!
I love having these pictures to look back at and remember how weird we were and still are. Actually, I should say thanks Alison, I hope you don't mind that I stole these pictures from you :)

I'm pretty sure I got all of the dates down correctly, but I had to ask my husband what grade I was in in 1998, so I can't make any guarantees.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

This Is Why I Hate People.

Ohhhhhh, this boils my blood.
Some people are so selfish. If everybody shovelled their spot, parking after a big snowfall would not be a problem. YOU DO NOT OWN THE STREET.
I wanna know who has a dirty mattress lying around because this is definitely not the first one I've seen! Do people hold on to their old mattresses for this reason???? I'm so confused.

Argh! Do you think it's okay for people to "reserve" their spot? Obviously, I hate people who do this and every time I go outside, I put on my bullet proof vest, and throw chairs into snowbanks. I fear for my life but I'm willing to stand up for the cause ;)