midweek date night

kovalkoval2

for James’ Easter present, I arranged for us to take a tour of koval, the first legal distillery in Chicago since prohibition. James received a bottle of their rye bourbon for Christmas, and he became an instant fan. run by a husband and wife team, koval offers a well-edited range of small-batch, single-barrel whiskeys, a vodka, and hopefully by July, some gin. the first picture is a shot of their barrels, which are handmade out of American oak in Minnesota. the second shot is their line of liqueurs. the bottles have an antique apothecary vibe to them with their shape and the label images, but the typography used for the brand’s name is so modern, and I just really like the vibe. they tasted great as well, especially the ginger. they’d make a great present for our roommate, Jesse, so I’ve made a mental note for the next gift-giving opportunity. we had a chance to sample all of their current offerings, and my favorites were the white rye and the bourbon. I’m not a whiskey girl by any means (I prefer vodka or tequila), but the bourbon was smooth and warming, and I was surprised to like it as much as I did. the white rye was naturally more up my alley as it tasted like a super smooth and mellow vodka. James’ favorite was the four grain, which tasted close to a blended Scotch. after sampling to our hearts desire, we purchased a mini variety pack of the white rye, the bourbon, and the millet to bring home.

for dinner, we went to one of our go-tos for Indian/Pakistani food: ghareeb nawaz. this was just a 5-minute drive from the distillery, so it was an obvious choice. if you’re looking for a fancy setup, this place isn’t it, but the food is simple, delicious, and priced-right. I ordered my go-to: chili chicken paratha. the chicken was moist and spicy, and the paratha was warm from the oven. James even had a few bites of the chili chicken and liked it, which was surprising since he’s not a fan of spicy food at all. maybe 5 years of exposing him to different foods and different spice levels is rubbing off! the total for our two paratha plates, a can of RC cola (it was a Chicago night, all around), and a huge chicken samosa split between the two of us? $8.40, with tax. I love little corner places like this that give delicious, filling meals at reasonable prices. Chicago has great food, at all different price points. I have a deep appreciation for small local places doing their thing and serving really, really good food. if you’re ever up north, stop in.

any other Chicago gems I’m missing out on? let me know!

this was not a sponsored post, just sharing the Chicago love.

here’s to a lovely weekend

eataly

a sample of the wine selection at eataly

salmon

salmon carpaccio

cacioepepe

cacio e pepe

cheers

this guy with some fancy beer

let’s hear it for Friday and the promise of a new weekend. James and I are planning to go back to eataly this evening for some delicious grub and more wine. wine on a Friday night with my guy is a long standing appointment in my book.

I hope your weekend is delicious!

 

monday memo | home

home

Heimat. the word means ‘home’ in German, the place where one was born. but the term also conveys a subtler nuance, a certain tenderness. one’s Heimat is not merely a matter of geography; it is where one’s heart lies. ” jenna blum. those who save us.

if I were the most skilled writer in the world and had every word in every language at my disposal, I still could not come close to putting into words all that I feel for this place. I wasn’t born there, and I’ve spent over 75% of my life away from it, but in all the ways that matter, this has always been my hometown. everything I am – all the goodness and love and happiness and strength in me – has its roots buried deep in this place. sometimes when the homesickness comes over me in the middle of the night, I travel there in my mind, following the dirt road as it turns towards the ocean and to a house with a blue roof at the end of a well-worn path. I know I’m close when I can smell the salt in the air.

I’d like to share with you some images of the loveliest place I know, with many of the people I love most in this big, beautiful, lovely world.

beach

family

inang

love

sunrise

sunset

apple picking

apples

Is there a more quintessential fall activity than apple picking? On the morning of James’ birthday this past Saturday, Jesse (our roommate), James, and I drove to County Line Orchard in Hobart, IN to pick some apples, drink cider, and bring home apple cider donuts, not necessarily in that order. The orchards were definitely picked over since it’s almost the end of the season, but we found some fuji, red delicious, and golden delicious trees towards the back end of the rows waiting to be picked by us. Definitely the most fun we’ve had on a Saturday in awhile.

donut

donut and cider

james

reach

picking

jesseapple

us

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bags

me

pumpkins

bee

this bee would not leave me alone…it was having too much fun drinking my cider!

cider

caramel

cart

jesse

apple

Happy Monday!

five

IMG_1198

James & me

Today is our five year anniversary.  These past five years have been a once in a lifetime adventure. We’ve been through a lot together, both good and bad. We’ve grown up together and become better people, individually and as a couple. We’ve become even better best friends. He is my confidant, my advisor, my shoulder to lean on. He is also the best person to remind me that sometimes, life is too short to always be serious.

I don’t think there’s a magic “secret” to making a relationship work other than commitment, communication, love, and a whole lot of hard work, but I think the fact that we try every day to make each other laugh has gone a long way in the past 5 years.

Here’s to my best friend. Here’s to us. Here’s to five years, and many, many more.

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he’s not perfect. you aren’t either, and the two of you will never be perfect. but if he can make you laugh at least once, causes you to think twice, and if he admits to being human and making mistakes, hold onto him and give him the most you can. he isn’t going to quote poetry, he’s not thinking about you every moment, but he will give you a part of him that he knows you could break. don’t hurt him, don’t change him, and don’t expect for more than he can give. don’t analyze. smile when he makes you happy, yell when he makes you mad, and miss him when he’s not there. love hard when there is love to be had. because perfect guys don’t exist, but there’s always one guy that is perfect for you. – bob marley