After Las Vegas, I found myself in the final stretch of no drinking with a few days in Chicago.
Can I just say how much I like Chicago? Honestly, I've never gotten to explore much of the city as my stays are usually very work-focused but it seems like a place I could easily live if it weren't for the freezing cold winters and mountains of snow.
Homestead on the Roof
After all, our first dinner out was at a rooftop restaurant with the slogan, "literal farm to table." It was a beautiful night and the food was equally as aesthetically pleasing. Our hummus came out looking like carrots growing right out of the ground - but it definitely didn't taste like dirt!
The rustic roof with string lights set a laid back vibe and we all split some appetizers from the produce-centric menu that changes daily and seasonally.
A carrot salad with curry and frisee was texturally interesting while the salmon crudo fell short. The raclette, described as "adult grilled cheese" was, obviously, delicious. Melted cheese, how can you go wrong?
When my entree came out, I exclaimed, "Oh my God, this dish is 'so, ME!'" Okay Lauren, you weirdo.
I had ordered the Coal Roasted Eggplant which came with Quinoa Tabouli, White Bean Puree (I LOVE WHITE BEANS), Salsa Verde and Falafel. Just look at it. So pretttttty.
Flywheel & Doughnut Vault!
Chicago kept the good vibes coming in the morning when I woke up and walked less than 10 minutes to a Flywheel class. I am always shocked when I leave Flywheel at just how much sweat I can actually produce. It's quickly becoming one of my favorite spin studios.
Flywheel was followed with a stop at The Doughtnut Vault - a cute, tiny walk up window where I got a dozen donuts to bring in for coworkers (and mainly, for myself). They don't have a ton of different doughnut options, but I LOVED their buttermilk old-fashioned doughnut. It was sweet, simple and so cake-y and moist! Time and again I confirm my belief that cake doughnuts are FAR superior to yeast doughnuts and Doughnut Vault certainly kept me singing the praises of cake doughnuts.
Doughnut Vault has two locations - 111 N Canal Street and 401 N Franklin St.
After spin and doughnuts it was time to head to work on the right foot! I was then surprised with ANOTHER doughnut - a Biscoff filled one from Stan's <3 What a way to start the day.
Other things that were great about Chicago
- A second Flywheel class with coworkers because I accidentally bought 3 classes
- Garrett's Chicago Mix popcorn - caramel + cheddar is a match made in popcorn heaven (although I've also been feeling the pickle-flavored popcorn from Trader Joe's!)
- A biggg group dinner to wrap up the events season at Howell's & Hood (the food was unimpressive but the company was great!)
- A trip to the Ghiradelli Factory for a Brownie Sundae - the best decision I've made in life lately was subbing the vanilla ice cream for mint chocolate chip.
- Taking a picture by the river
When I got back from Chicago, it was time to break the 28-day no alcohol streak with a boozy brunch to send Kayla off to Boston. There were tears - but also lots of laughs thanks to the best wait-staff on the Upper East Side - everyone should go to La Pulperia! Their cocktails are A+ (the Smoky Room is my favorite cocktail ever).
HTML + CSS Class
But even though I was back to imbibing, I've tried to keep making time and space in my schedule for things that are productive, intellectually stimulating, and more of an experience than yet another happy hour.
And something I've been wanting to learn for a long time now is HTML and CSS.
I found a great deal via CourseHorse for a beginner HTML & CSS class from Noble Desktop . Normally these classes are quite pricey, but I was able to book a 3 hour course with only 8 people for under $40.
I really enjoyed the class - just to be sitting and learning again felt nice and I was surprised to find that the class was all women! We had the choice between using a PC or a Mac (go, PC!) and while I'm definitely not a coding pro now by any means, I understand the concepts a little better.
What I was surprised to find, though, is that there really aren't a ton a concepts when it comes to HTML and coding - it's a lot of, "and then you type this - because that's just what you type." And, "if you don't know the code for a specific thing, you just Google it."
I still really enjoyed the class and would consider taking more in the future!
And there you have it! Still to come, a Gotham City Writer's "Write In" and a Nuyorican Poet's Cafe Poetry Slam! Plus, rock-climbing, a 5K (my first race in 6 MONTHS!) and oh right, an Olympic Distance Triathlon -eeeeek.
If you want to read more about what I learned throughout the 28 days of no drinking, read this post! Moral of the story - it really wasn't as hard as I thought it would be! (But I'm looking forward to lots of summer cocktails!)
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