So here’s the first lesson I’ve learned being self-employed. Um, you may have to check your emails more than twice a day. I was up by 7 on Monday and I think I checked my email around 8 before heading out for a walk and then getting ready to go downtown. By the time I caught the train at 10:08, I’d already walked 5k steps! My goal was to try to not to have to take a cab anywhere and to walk to where I needed to go. The weather was perfect! It was in the low 40s by the time I got on the train, but then it was close to 50 when I got downtown and then all the way up to 63 degrees by the early afternoon, which I think broke a long standing record.
It was blue skies and sunshine! I actually love the hustle and bustle of the city, and it’s one of the reasons, other than the food! that I miss the most of not working in Chicago. I met up with my sister and we had decided on going to Seven Lions because it was on my list of restaurants I wanted to go to, and it was only a two block walk from my sisters office. Alpana Singh owns the restaurant. She used to host a show that Tony and I watched religiously together called “Check Please!” Three regular Chicagoans would pick their favorite restaurants and the other two people had to go to their favorite spot, and then come on the show and everyone would review each others restaurants. At the end of the show they would then tell the price tag of the average price per person, without tip, and Tony and I would try to beat each other getting closest to the number. He LOVED it when he would win the price on all three pics!
But I digress. We got seated right away because we had a reservation. But it took nearly 10 minutes and help from our busboy who filled our waters twice before we asked him if our server would be stopping by. By that time, we already knew what we were getting. I got the half sandwich cup of soup combo – tomato bisque and a Cuban sandwich. Jenn got a braised short rib sandwich. Now, much like my favorite sandwich the Reuben, I am quite the connoisseur of a Cuban sandwich. It has to have the right ratio of ham/pork/pickle/mustard with a super crunchy baguette. I found it interesting that they also listed mayo on the ingredient list – not sure I’ve ever had a Cuban with mayo, so I requested the sandwich without mayo.
A runner brought our food out in a timely manner. My tomato soup, while good, needed a bit of cracked pepper in my opinion. And the sandwich? It had mayo on it. It became clear our server was nowhere to be found, so I just scraped it off, and in doing so managed to scrape off the shaved pork because it was covered in mayo, which resulted in about a tablespoon of pork resting on my plate. What I was left with was a mostly pickle and ham sandwich, on bread that wasn’t even remotely crunchy. Our server came by about 20 minutes after our food was delivered, but it was a little too late to change anything as Jenn had to get back to work. People in my sisters office said it has been hit or miss for them as well, but that the burgers are amazing so I may go back for a burger. But having lunch with my twin sister?! Priceless!
As my sister went to use the restroom I checked my phone for emails. Doh. There was an email at 8:07 a.m. from the guy I was meeting with saying that he had a family issue he had to deal with in the suburbs and wasn’t going to make it into the city, and wanted to know if I could reschedule for yesterday or just make it a phone call. I knew our weather was going to be bad yesterday – we went from 63 degrees to a winter snow storm advisory – luckily we only got a couple inches of snow, but it’s fricken cold again.
So note to self – check my email more often!
My sisters office is a block of Michigan Avenue, so now with my afternoon free and clear, I headed over to Millennium Park – the ice skating rink closes at the end of this week. By now it was still warm, but the clouds were starting to role in. I took a seat by the lake front and just looked around. I watched the birds flying overhead. The people jogging and biking by. And I felt happy. Today, March 2nd is the 15th month anniversary of Tony’s death. Some days it feels like 15 days and other times it feels like 15 years because my life is so different. But I think Tony would feel happy for me that I am using this time to find work that makes me truly happy. Until I find it, I am going to take the most advantage of the time I have off.
Not 15 minutes after that pic was taken, the temps started to drop, I’d already walked nearly 15k steps and thought a coffee was in order. Latinicity opened up on State Street maybe eight months ago. It’s a Latin food court and market, and even though I wasn’t there for the food, thought I’d be able to get a good cup of coffee and not have to go to a Starbuck’s that seems to be on every other corner. I stole that picture below off of Google images.
You walk in and get a plastic “credit card” because you don’t actually pay for anything until you leave. So you could go to any food stall, hand them your card, they would swipe it and you would pay for everything at once.
I ended up getting an almond milk latte – I had to take a picture of my latte art – Hannah’s been practicing with hers at the coffee shop she works at. I took a seat by the window and placed my bag on the seat opposite me and when I looked out the window, I saw how close I was to the Goodman theater and thought this would make a great picture.
I love, love that shot and actually can’t believe I took it. And with my iPhone to boot! But I have a secret – I use a photo editing app – I am sure I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s called Photo Toaster and I think it cost me $2.99 cents for no ads. It’s easy to edit my photos on the fly with that app. And I am the app whore! By the time I left there it was late afternoon. I walked outside and it felt like the temp had dropped 20 degrees and it was starting to rain, so I high tailed it back to the train station and headed home. All in all I got over 20k steps in Monday!
I rescheduled my “conversation” meeting to yesterday morning, and the guy I talked to could not have been nicer and we ended up talking for nearly 35 minutes. I asked on tips on how to market myself to catering companies, etc., and while his company doesn’t have any openings, he would keep my resume and invite me to future networking meetings that his company has with other people in the industry. So you never know what will pan out, but I know it is just one step closer from getting my foot out of the door I was in and placing it closer in the door of where I want to be.
Since we are leaving on vacation, I’ve been trying to use up what we have in the house. I actually thought I was going to have to supplement a little bit with a grocery run, but I told myself I could figure something out. I had bulk Italian sausage in the freezer so I defrosted that. Which led me to pasta. I always have canned crushed tomatoes on hand, so very quickly dinner was solved.
Funny thing about homemade pasta – neither Jacob or Hannah like red sauce on homemade pasta – just butter, salt and pepper. They say that the pasta shines all by itself so why cover it up?! Me, I still need sauce on my pasta. A few weeks ago I made fresh homemade pasta in the food processor, and decided to try my hand at making spinach pasta the next time I made it. So into the food processor: 2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3 large eggs, 1 cup baby spinach and 2 tablespoons water. That’s it. Just pulse until it pulls away from the sides of the processor.
I ended up making two batches of dough – one regular for Hannah and Jacob (although Hannah tried the spinach pasta and liked it) and one with the spinach. You can actually see the little bit of flecks of spinach in the dough. Then I rolled it out in a big rectangle and used my pizza cutter to cut the pasta as thin as I could. I may look on eBay and see if I can find a used pasta maker for my KitchenAid. It gets a bit tedious cutting each strand of pasta by hand!
It doesn’t even look real, does it?! But this pasta is tender, flavorful and perfect with a quick pasta sauce and balls. You gotta have the balls ladies!
So I actually have nothing concrete for the next three days. I tried to get together with my Mom for lunch, but I should have known to get on her social calendar three weeks in advance. I love how active she is though! But I have some projects around the house to do. I am still watching video tutorials on Pinch of Yum’s Food Blogger pro to learn about the behind the scenes magic of having a food blog. And I love having access to my kitchen whenever I want!
Happy Wednesday – hope you make it a great day!