Thursday, July 30, 2009


We went to Colorado last weekend for a friend's wedding. It was the 2nd of 3 reunions this summer for all my college roommates. Plus The Husband had just gotten his brand new fancy camera and couldn't wait to try it out on some scenery.

We flew into Denver early Friday. Denver has a fantastic airport. It also looks like a circus tent.

Then we started off to Colorado Springs. We were staying at the Colorado Springs Marriott. The hotel was pretty nice. Unfortunately there was nothing in the area. If you're going to stay in Colorado Springs I'd recommend staying downtown. I saw a Hilton that looked nice.

We started off with some lunch and beers at Phantom Canyon Brewing Company.

Then we were off for the hottest day ever. It's barely broken 80 in Chicago this summer and here it almost hit 100. Plus the two beers at lunch didn't help. Nor did the greasy food.

We first headed to the Air Force Academy Chapel. There was a wedding going on in the main chapel so we didn't get to peek in. Very cool looking. I didn't enjoy the rest of the architecture around the campus. Too 60s/70s.

Second was off to Garden of the Gods. Very beautiful.

Then back to the hotel to get ready for the rehearsal dinner.The rehearsal dinner was held at a country club-ish place overlooking the Garden of the Gods. It was a beautiful setting.

Saturday started by loading our caravan up and setting out for Pikes Peak. It was a beautiful drive up there and there were some stunning views. The Husband stopped the car at every one of them. We decided we enjoyed the drive up more than if we'd taken the train.

The air was definitely thinner at the top and after being up there for a while several of our group got a little dizzy. Plus the temperature up there was 48 degrees.

Some crazy people in our group thought they wanted to hike it. I convinced them otherwise considering two of them are not in the best shape (ahem Husband I'm talking to you) and one of them has asthma and has a hard enough time breathing. Oh and from the website I consulted you're supposed to start at dawn (ummm not happening after our boozefest the night before) and it takes 6 to 10 hours to get up to the top, let alone come down.

Since it was looking fairly ominous when we got back we had to skip the pool and we headed out for lunch at Salsa Brava. This place was heaven. It was happy hour and margaritas were only $3.50.

Then we rushed back to the hotel to get ready for the wedding.

The last day a whole group of us including the bride and the groom went to the Coors Brewery in Golden, Colorado for a tour. The tour was really good and they give you three glasses of beer at the end.

We had hoped to stop in Boulder but were running low on time. So we headed into Denver for a quick lunch at the 16th Street Mall. We ate a very late lunch at Marlowe's.

We'd love to return to Colorado sometime and hit some of the little ski towns in the summer in the future.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Date Night

On Friday night The Husband proposed a date night for Saturday. He wanted to go see Rod Blagojevich Superstar. So we decided we needed to go to dinner as well and chose Shaw's Crab House.

We had quite a bit of time between our reservation and the time the show started so we managed to go through two bottles of a wonderful sauvignon blanc from Chile.

We started with the crab and shrimp fritters. They were very light and were wonderful.

Then we each had a bowl of lobster bisque. It was good although we've had better at David Burke's Primehouse and N9NE. We didn't like the big pieces of carrot in the soup.

For dinner I had the 1.5 lbs of king crab. The Husband had the lobster, brie, and penne pasta. We'd been to Shaw's about 3 years ago when we first moved to Chicago. I remember being the lobster, brie, and penne being much better that time. It was quite disappointing the second time around although maybe our expectations were too high. The king crab was fabulous. I'd been craving some for a while so it really hit the spot.

We headed over to the tourist attraction of Navy Pier. I've lived in Chicago for 3.5 years and have only been to Navy Pier twice. Once I walked over during the day from our condo. Another time my office took a boat ride that started off Navy Pier. In general you do not want to eat or drink at Navy Pier. Very expensive and much better food elsewhere in the city. The Shakespeare Theater was very nice though and the Cirque Shanghai performance looked pretty cool.

Rod Blagojevich Superstar is put on by Chicago's famed Second City comedy troupe. Alumni include Tina Fey, Steve Carell, and Chris Farley. The musical is a spoof on Jesus Christ Superstar and also has songs based on other Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals. Unfortunately 2 days later and I can't get the song Rod Blagojevich Superstar out of my head. I highly recommend the show. It was hilarious. Those who aren't from Illinois and don't have much political knowledge might not get it though.

At the end of the show they did about 20 minutes of Improv based on suggestions of the audience too.

After the show we decided we needed to ride the Ferris Wheel. It was pretty cool being able to look out at the city. I only wish we had the good camera with us.

De Cero Taqueria

We ate at De Cero Taqueria a few weekends ago. It was excellent and I highly recommend it.

We started with some delicious drinks. I had several raspberry basil daiquiris. They were so good that I may come back just for the drinks. Very fresh and refreshing. Not too strong but not too sweet either. The Husband had the De Cero margarita. He liked it as well.

Then we moved on to guacamole. This was one of the best guacamoles we have had in town. And the chips were great too.

We shared a tamale to compare De Cero's tamales to those of the Tamale Man. Not surprisingly De Cero's wins since theirs aren't served out of a cooler to drunk people in dive bars.

For our entree we shared the taco plate with 8 different tacos. We had the ahi tuna, chipotle chicken, chicken mole, tres queso, skirt steak, battered shrimp, chorizo, and al pastor. The only one we didn't like was the chorizo. It tasted more like ground beef then chorizo. My favorites were the chipotle chicken, skirt steak, and battered shrimp. The tacos are pretty big so 8 is plenty for 2 people, especially if you get an appetizer.

Service was only so-so. Our server seemed overwhelmed and was slow to take our order and refill our drinks.

They have a nice outdoor area that you can sit at when it's nice out. Unfortunately we went in July and it was too cold and rainy to sit outside. What the heck is wrong with Chicago's weather?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Itinerary for SE Asia

We have finally solidified our itinerary for Thailand and Cambodia that has changed a million times since we booked our tickets in January. I only wish we had a month because I'd love to add Chiang Mai, Vietnam, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore. I know we can go back but realistically the next time we go to Asia will be a long time from now. There's lots of other continents to see!

We head out right after Christmas and come back 2 weeks later.

Day 1 - leave Chicago
Day 2 - arrive Tokyo, fly Tokyo to Bangkok, arrive very late at night
Day 3 - Bangkok
Day 4 - Bangkok
Day 5 - Bangkok
Day 6 - Bangkok
Day 7 - early flight to Siem Reap/Angkor Wat
Day 8 - Siem Reap/Angkor Wat
Day 9 - Siem Reap/Angkor Wat
Day 10 - early flight to BKK then on to Phuket
Day 11 - Phuket
Day 12 - Phuket
Day 13 - Ko Phi Phi
Day 14 - Ko Phi Phi
Day 15 - flight from Phuket arrives in Bangkok airport at midnight. Spend night in BKK airport for flight at 6:40 am the next day.
Day 16 - flight leaves Bangkok at 6:40 am. We arrive home at 2:30 pm the same day which I think is somehow 2 days later in Bangkok at that point.

We'll be in Bangkok for New Year's Eve so that should be exciting. We just have to find something to do so we're not stuck sitting by ourselves at the hotel bar at midnight!

Sunday, July 12, 2009


The Husband and I continued our tour of Chicago. We selected Chinatown out of our City Walks Chicago deck of cards.

We took the water taxi from Madison Street down the river. We had a coupon for buy one ride get one free so it ended up being less than taking the El to and from Chinatown. It was nice to see the city from a different view. I told The Husband that one sunny day I was going to pay my $6 to ride around on the boat all day, bring my bikini and towel, and pretend I owned an actual boat.

We started with Dim Sum at The Phoenix. It was our first Dim Sum experience. I enjoyed the food immensely, even though some of the things I had no clue what they were. The Husband was not a fan and ended up eating the fried chicken. He tried two things which I guess is a step in the right direction. And just to get him into the restaurant I had to promise that we could get a pizza for dinner. After that we walked around a little bit.

We took the water taxi home as well. On our walk home we saw somebody hit by a cab and fly through the air and over the cab. I thought he was dead. Luckily he started moving and it looked like he was just very bloody and had some serious cuts and scrapes.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Lincoln Karaoke

Lincoln Karaoke is a Korean Karaoke bar up in Lincoln Square. Korean Karaoke means you get a private room with all your friends to do your singing in.

I have nothing but good things to say about this place. Sure, it's quite far from downtown and where I live. But it's worth the $25 cab ride. Or convincing one of your friends to be sober enough to drive. Drinks are reasonable. You do pay a room rental fee per hour but that doesn't end up being too expensive either if there's a large group of you.

They also have a fabulous light-up tambourine that I love to shake.

A not to miss experience in my book.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Fifty/50

We continued my birthday celebration at The Fifty/50. This bar was chosen because it featured several drinks on it's menu made with my favorite raspberry and peach lambics.

The bar is three floors. We were on the first one. Unfortunately they started clearing tables away while we were there to pack more people in. We lost one of our tables. So if you want a table for the night choose one of the booths on the side.

The wild berry shandy was awesome. It was made with bacardi razz with fresh berries and a blast of black cherry, raspberry lambic beers, wheat beer, lemon, and a hint of ginger. There were so many berries in my drink I thought I was being healthy by drinking.

Then for the first time in our lives, we ordered bottle service. We had a bunch of friends in town so we split it between 6 of us. A liter of Grey Goose was only $120 here and it came with all our mixers. Not too bad considering most places charge upwards of $200 and a vodka tonic is approaching $10 anyway. But hey it's my birthday and we're celebrating.

We did have a problem with our waitress. There had originally been another table sitting next to us that The Husband's cousin was sitting at. We knew no one else at that table. When we went to pay the waitress had put their tab with ours. Umm no. I don't think she was happy when we told her we weren't paying for drinks that weren't ours. I generally prefer to go up to the bar and order individual drinks to avoid this problem.

The Fifty/50 also serves a good looking menu including some late night food. I am highly disappointed I missed the cheese fries with bacon at 1 am though we did order some nachos at the next bar.

Enoteca Roma

We started at Enoteca Roma in Wicker Park for my birthday celebration the other week. We got to sit on the great little patio out back. Most of us started with wine flights. They also have an extensive beer selection considering they are known for their wine.

For dinner I had a tray from the bruschetteria. I chose the Emilia (tomato, garlic, basil, prosciutto), Vinnie (carmelized onion and gorgonzola cheese), Piemonte (brie, green apples, and honey), and Napoli (tomato, baby mozzarella, and pesto). All were delicious. The Husband and I also shared a cheese tray. And we split the Pera pasta. The Pera was pear ravioli, walnut-cream sauce, and gorgonzola. Very good as well. The pasta had a bit of a sweat flavor.

Our dinnermates all seemed happy with their meals as well. I was too busy shoving food and drink in my face to really notice what they got except for the polenta. I've never had polenta and it was very good. With all the other things on the menu I probably wouldn't order it next time though.

Service was a bit slow but all in all this was an excellent choice for dinner.

All This Can Be Yours...

...for only $30,0000.

Poseidon Undersea Resort is opening in 2010 in Fiji. They will have 24 underwater suites, 24 overwater bungalows, and 24 private beach bungalows available.

For only $15,000 per person you get 6 nights at the resort including 2 nights in an underwater suite and 4 nights in a bungalow. You also get to learn how to pilot a mini-submarine in the lagoon. I hope no one's piloting results in a crash into the resort. The underwater suites have a button you can push to release food into the water so you can watch the fish and other critters eat. This sounds a tad irresponsible to the fish in the lagoon. I mean who wouldn't want to push that button every 5 minutes?

This sounds like a cool idea if you're loaded with money and looking for something different. The rest of us non-trust fund and non-CEO travelers will be stuck on land though.

Monday, July 6, 2009


The Husband and I are getting ready to spend a pretty penny on some new camera equipment. He wants an SLR camera, the Canon EOS Rebel XSi. Dropping $600+ on a camera makes me very nervous. Maybe because back for our first or second dating anniversary in college, I decided to buy The Husband his first digital camera. A huge expenditure back in the day when I was too poor to drink anything but the crappiest beer. And less than 24 hours after owning it, as The Husband is running across the street on a Saturday night, it either flies out of his pocket or he drops it, brand new, right in the middle of the street. Luckily it was only scratched up. Still it makes me nervous with an expensive camera. And nervous that I'll break it too.

Looks like both of us will be taking some photography lessons soon to figure out how to work all those buttons.

And for me, I will be getting a new point and shoot. My requirements were that it fits into a small purse or my pocket. Other than that I just needed a new camera since mine is from college. These are my two choices:;lst and Both recommended by The Husband.

I really can't wait to take our new cameras on vacation with us.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

All over the place

I've been travelling a lot throughout June but unfortunately nothing too exciting. I've been gone four weekends in a row and I'm exhausted. Columbus and Dayton, Ohio to visit my family, Cleveland, Ohio for a bachelorette party, Ann Arbor and the Detroit area to visit The Husband's family, and out to the suburbs for a wedding.

A couple highlights - The Burgundy Room in Columbus, Ohio. The Burgundy Room is located in the Short North area of Columbus, not far from Ohio State's campus. The Short North is a very vibrant area with lots of shops, people walking on the streets, street performances, and restaurants. The Burgundy Room was a wine bar and tapas restaurant. I took my brother there for dinner and he asked me what a tapa was. Luckily I was able to introduce my college-age brother to the wonders of good tapas. If I ever moved back to Ohio, Columbus is where I'd be. It's a great town.

The next weekend it was on to Cleveland. Saturday night we went to a winery called Perennial Vineyards near Canton, Ohio for part of a bachelorette party. The wine was pretty decent (what can you expect, Ohio isn't exactly known as the Napa of the midwest). But the food was excellent. Really good and creative pizzas.

Weekend three was on to Michigan. We stopped in Ann Arbor on Friday night on the way in to see some old friends. I'd really been looking forward to stopping at Zingerman's Creamery for some cheese on Saturday morning but we got up early and left before it was open. We did have the pleasure of going to the dirtiest, nastiest, undergrad bar on University of Michigan's campus on Friday night. They actually made us pay cover. I boycott places that charge a cover but once in beers were only $1. And The Husband and I were able to get fairly intoxicated on only $16 total. And the bar made me feel extremely old. Pretty sure that me, The Husband, and The Husband's friend were the only ones in the whole place with a wedding ring on.

Last weekend was a wedding on Saturday night. The Marriott resort in Vernon Hills has a restaurant and bar decorated as a pirate ship. Awesome when you've been drinking. Wouldn't actually recommend this hotel to anyone as it seemed extremely outdated. Sunday we headed to the beach in Michigan with two other couples. We headed to Warren Dunes in Sawyer, Michigan which is less than 2 hours from downtown Chicago. I highly recommend heading there as a day trip or even an overnight. We laid on the beach all day, grilled out in the parking lot for lunch, went hiking to find the clay pits, and you can also climb and run down the huge dune if you'd like. We also had dinner at a great local restaurant down the road. There were some wineries nearby too. It really was the perfect summer outing (I write this as I'm sitting here on July 4th, it isn't even 70 degrees out, and it's raining).