I’ve had such fun days this week. Wednesday I had lunch with an old field hockey friend. We’ve lived in the same town 15 years and ran into each other once like 10 years ago at Bed Bath & Beyond. She gave me her phone number then, but I brought it home, set it on the counter, it got wet and I couldn’t read her married name or the number, and back then she wasn’t on Facebook because her kids were too young to be on it. Shit, I am not even sure I was on Facebook 10 years ago? In any event, Facebook brought my name to her as “someone you may know” because of our mutual friends, and we now have each others phone numbers on our cell phones.
We met at a local restaurant. And with most good friends you just loose touch with over the years, we just picked up where we left off, and promised it wouldn’t be another 10 years before we see each other! And my steak salad was pretty delicious too!
Yesterday I finally met up with my Momma. She has a social calendar like no other and I tried to get together with her before I left for Texas but she was already booked for the week. She wanted to take me out for a belated lunch – let me first point out that she took me out before my twin sister, which (again) proves that I am Momma’s favorite.
She took me to a place in Oak Park called The Little Gem Cafe, and holy balls, was that a good choice. I seriously can’t wait to go back there to try their other menu items if it is anywhere close to how good their burgers are. Carrie, I couldn’t help think of your husband and what he would think of this burger! Carrie’s husband is quite the burger aficionado, and I am pretty picky when it comes to burgers too. First off, love a restaurant that can cook a burger medium rare. Mine was perfect, and my Mom wanted hers just slightly pink in the middle and hers was cooked perfectly too.
I am also particular about the burger to bun ratio, how juicy the burger is, the toppings, etc. This literally clicked off every “must have” on my burger checklist. Juicy, flavorful burger, diced tomatoes on the bottom so you don’t pull off a whole slice of tomato on the first bite, buttered bun, gruyere cheese (best melty cheese for a burger in my opinion) and what we think is a very subtle horseradish sauce. We both contemplated eating the whole thing, but were perfectly happy and content eating just half and having a few fries. Delicious lunch – thanks Momma! We then walked around Oak Park, but not for too long because the weather was awful – rain, which turned to sleet, which turned to snow as the temps started to drop. We quickly ditched that idea and headed to a thrift shop in LaGrange called http://www.thehopechest.net/. It’s an upscale thrift store. I ended up buying that cute jacket – I was heading downtown for an event and was looking for something exactly like that since my shirt underneath was long. Andrea, check it out, I am wearing both a scarf and a necklace! It was a fun way to spend the day with my Mom – love you Momma!
I’ve been trying to network and get my “name out there” any way I can to find a job that I want to do for the next 20 or so years. When I was at my sisters office a week before I quit my job, I was introduced by one of her co-workers to someone who works at a high end catering company in Chicago. He was much like me, although he came to the realization much earlier in his life, that the desk job he had wasn’t fulfilling him and he quit his job, went to culinary school, and as they say, the rest is history and he enjoys every aspect of his work life now. We’ve been emailing back and forth, and he invited me to an event called Thursday Therapy in Chicago. It’s mainly for wedding planners, but he thought it might be a great opportunity to meet with a lot of people in the hospitality/catering/food industry at once.
I had my game face on. I knew no one at this event. But I was bound and determined to mingle with people, even if at first it felt outside my comfort zone. But I thought I had nothing to lose, so why not talk to as many people as possible! Things didn’t start off on the right foot though – the first several people I talked to were actually insurance people trying to sell group insurance to catering companies. Huh. And the next several people I talked to were waiting for friends and had nothing to do with the food industry. Then the D.J. started to play music, and all bets were off – you could barely hear yourself thing! And while I know it was to get wedding planners to hear DJ’s for their potential clients wedding, any type of networking after that point was moot.
Strange thing though – I ran into two high school friends! My friend Joellyn owns a dessert catering company specializing in custom styled, luxury dessert and candy buffets for all occasions. She also didn’t know anyone at the event, so brought her friend Leanne, someone I also went to high school with. I had to laugh because Tony used to make fun of me that if went anywhere in the Oak Park or Chicago area, I would almost always run into someone I knew. So that was fun catching up with them, and while this event didn’t garner any leads to a full time job, it was good practice meeting people and being proactive about my job search.
Since I was meeting my friend Erin for lunch on Wednesday, I knew I couldn’t go empty handed. She is still very active with three teenagers and when I looked at her Facebook page pictures, they were all pictures of doing active things together, like rock climbing, etc. So I knew I wanted to bring her something “healthish.” I saw on Instagram that my friend Liz made banana and honey roasted peanut scones. Huh. Of all the scones I’ve made, I never thought to use banana! And as luck would have it, they had bananas on the $1 rack at the store. I did revise her recipe a bit, I made 16 mini scones and subbed in almond milk for the heavy whipping cream, reduced the butter by half and used pecans instead of honey roasted nuts, because that’s what I had on hand.
I thought these were delicious. Hannah took one bite and said “did you make these healthy?!” Yes, I did! I think I could even reduce the butter to two tablespoons and they would be just as good. Mine come in at 4 WW points each. I could totally eat these for breakfast with fresh fruit and a hard boiled egg and be perfectly happy with it.
So that brings us to Friday already – what a fast week this was! I am really excited because Tony’s nephew and his wife are coming over tomorrow – they just had their second baby – a girl named Hazel and it will be the first time I’ve met her. Then Saturday night we are going to Ruth’s Chris for dinner to celebrate mine and Jacob’s birthday – it’s a second annual trip to Ruth’s Chris, and worth the $$ the one time a year we go there. Then celebrating his birthday on Sunday – can I tell you that Hannah ordered a Portillo’s chocolate cake for his birthday? Um, it’s only the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had in my life, and insulin worthy! I’ll need to hit the gym hard these next three days to balance out all the good food I’ll be eating!
Hope you have a wonderful weekend, until Monday, you can always follow me on Instagram (mybizzykitchen). Make it a great day!