the friday five


this week’s the friday five is coming at you solely from our dinner at hopleaf, a bar in uptown/andersonville. in all the years I’ve lived in chicago, this was my first time, and man, was I missing out! we snagged a four-course meal with beer parings on how about we last month and scheduled it for memorial day evening. it was the best meal I’ve had in a long time. the food was delicious and a little more sophisticated than you would expect from a bar. the beer was excellent, and the pairings were spot on and well thought out. it was most definitely the highlight of our week. we’re already plotting our next visit.

I hope you have a lovely weekend!

dinner highlights


| mussels in white wine with shallots and peas |


| frites & aioli, round 1 |


| one of my favorite drinks of the night: vandermill‘s ginger peach cider |


| a decadent arugula salad |


| medium rare grass-fed ribeye with ramp butter and frites & aioli, round 2 |

p.s. we had a delicious lavender infused panna cotta for dessert, but I had long hit the food wall by that point and didn’t take a quick snap. they rolled us home shortly after…

here’s to a lovely weekend


a sample of the wine selection at eataly


salmon carpaccio


cacio e pepe


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!


food for fuel

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James & I signed up for a gym membership the weekend before Thanksgiving. The holiday notwithstanding, we’ve been in pretty much every day since. Over the past week and a half, I’ve taken to revamping a little bit of our diet. We’re working out pretty consistently, which means food isn’t just about eating, it’s also about refueling.

I’ve found that it’s surprisingly hard to find convenient, doesn’t-take-too-much effort food that tastes good & is good for you, too. The hardest part of eating well for me is having the supplies on hand and the time to prepare them. I used to think that I would wake up at 5:30 a.m. every morning, get in a good workout, shower, make and eat a well-balanced breakfast, and make and pack a well-balanced lunch, all before 8 a.m. when I had to be at work. When I was on, I could get all of those things done, but if I took a minute too long in the shower, or if I forgot to take the skinless, boneless chicken breast out the night before to thaw in the fridge, everything would be shot, and I’d have to order in for lunch, which more often than not, wasn’t too healthy. I decided that system wasn’t working, so I looked to find foods that I would want to eat but were also healthy and didn’t take too much time or planning to prepare. Here’s what we’re loving so far:

cereal | I’m not really a cereal girl. I’m Filipino, and in our culture, breakfast is never cold. Nevertheless, cereal + milk = quick, nutritious breakfast, if you pick a good cereal. Of the “healthier” cereals, I’m partial to Kashi Strawberry Fields and Cascadian Farm Cinnamon Crunch (when I’m hankering for the delicious, sugar overload that is Cinnamon Toast Crunch).

yogurt | Now yogurt, I love. Especially the Greek kind. I find that the thicker consistency makes it feel more substantial, and the extra protein is great, too, now that I’m doing strength training as well. My absolute favorite is Fage 2% with strawberry. I love that I can decide how much strawberry I want in every bite, and the yogurt itself is not too sour or too thick, as other Greek yogurts can be. Finding the 2% version is sometimes hard at my local grocery store (the 0% just doesn’t cut it…I need a little fat!), so when there’s none to be had, my second go-to is Chobani with pineapple. Love. Chobani’s consistency is less thick than Fage’s but it’s still definitely thicker than regular yogurt. I find that the amount of pineapple mixed in is just right.

kind bars | These are so good, especially my favorite, peanut butter + dark chocolate. These also have lots of protein, and I find that this keeps me tided over between meals if dinner’s a little later. Bonus: there’s chocolate, which is never a bad thing.

eggs | When I know I’ll be eating more carboyhdrates later in the day than usual, I opt for a more protein-centric breakfast and go for a pair of soft-boiled eggs. James has the cooking time down pat. I like the yolk still soft, but not runny.

couscous | I love rice. I love rice a little too much. To avoid the temptation to devour a giant bowl of it, I’ve taken to just making it rarely. Our grain substitute of choice is couscous since James doesn’t like quinoa very much. It’s so fast and easy to make, and it keeps well in the fridge for leftovers and lunches for the rest of the week. I like to make a big batch and parse out the portions over a couple of days. It’s also really easy to jazz up to create a different couscous salad every other day if you want to.


Imagefrom my instagram

We spent less than a handful of days in Boston, which may explain why I’ve only got 6 pictures to show for it. But in truth, we were too busy having fun to document more than what you see above. I know that in the blogging world, if there’s not a picture, it didn’t happen, but I can’t make myself wish I had taken more. Sometimes you’ve got to stop recording the moment and just be in the moment, you know? So a quick run-down of what I did manage to snap:

one |on the way to meeting friends in Harvard Square, I took a quick turn around Anthropologie and found these coupes. so pretty. after trying to decide if they could possibly make it back to Chicago without breaking, I took a peek at the price… and walked away. at $20 a pop, I’m going to mull over these a little longer. (am I the only one who goes to Anthropologie not for the clothes but for housewares/decor?)

two | my shopping haul from the trip, all courtesy of the Davis Square CVS. sometimes all you need is a little drugstore spree. more to come on this pile of goodies.

three |we had drinks and food at Charlie’s Kitchen with friends to celebrate James’ birthday and watch the Red Sox. I went with the calamari. so much good salty seafood goodness for only $7. if only the night hadn’t ended with an obstruction call…but they won in the end, so it wasn’t so bad after all.

four |I drank so many bottles of this. what can I say? fall is the perfect time for hard cider.

five | lobster rolls and clam chowder. I get this every time I visit.

six |chicken milanese torta from the painted burro. crispy bread, tender chicken, garlic mayo. amazing.

I have to say, fall in New England is pretty amazing. This was my first time, and I was thrilled to see so many colorful leaves. It was also a first for me to be sitting in a bar with friends rooting for a team in the World Series. As a Cubs fan, I haven’t ever been able to do that with friends here in Chicago, so it was really nice to be in the middle of it all.

We’re already scouting tickets for a trip around Christmastime. Let’s see if I take more pictures that time around.