I have always been a food lover/foodie - whatever you call it. This weekend was no different. Chicago has definitely a lot to offer aside from the usual deep dish pizza, hotdogs, and Italian beef. It also boasts of cuisines from various cultures and Chi-town had surely spawned so many other "towns" - Chinatown, Greektown, Korean Town, Viet Town, Little Italy and the list goes on... So there's this annual "Restaurant Week" that takes place right after V-Day wherein restaurants offer their best dishes in pre-fixed menus at lower prices. In my last few years being in Chicago, this was the first time I've heard of it and thanks to a good friend, I'm so glad I got to try it in a wonderful place called "Sunda". It's a restaurant featuring "modern Asian" cuisine - somewhat a fusion or a more exciting way of preparing traditional Asian favorites. What intrigued me was actually their "Braised Pork Belly Adobo" because it's pinoy of course, which is so rare to find in downtown! It's like pan fried adobo, so tender and flavorful melt-in-your mouth goodness. I will definitely come back before I head home...
Saturday morning, we went to Lincoln Park to try another brunch place called "Toast". It was a 5 minute train ride and 10 minute walk. Place was quite small and I read is usually packed, but since we were early, we're lucky enough to grab a table without having to wait. From the reviews, people were raving about their "Stuffed French Toast" which is a combination of three flavors - strawberry, mexican chocolate, and mascarpone cheese. It was also quite photogenic! And as our waitress placed it on our table, I was definitely impressed. However, after two bites, it felt short of my expectation as I was imagining a more decadent flavor - similar to the "Chocolate Tower French Toast" I had at Bongo Room (see last post). Even felt like they had to put in 3 flavors to guarantee at least one will be good. Anyway, their pesto omelette and coffee were good - plus, the staff was very friendly.
In the evening, after watching "The Vow" with hubby and friends, we all decided to try "The Slurping Turtle" for dinner. A casual Japanese Ramen restaurant which has apparently been creating some buzz... We came in at around 7PM, and the place was crowded - we would've come in earlier if not for our 2-hour shopping spree at Forever 21. :-) As we were all so hungry and could not wait for another 1&1/2 hours, we went to the perpetually reliable Star of Siam. Great ambiance, amazing Thai Iced Tea, and absolutely affordable. We had our usual fare (Pad See Ew, Basil Chicken, Curry, Crab Rangoon), but I was introduced to a new appetizer - Fish Cakes. It's like fish/squidball which you'll deep in a vinegar, peanut, lemongrass, chili, cucumber concoction, and it definitely tastes so good. Hubby even had to keep a piece after the plate was taken so he could eat it along with the main course, with rice of course! Definitely something worth adding to the "usual fare" list.
Because I've started having "that Sunday afternoon feeling" today, after mass, we went to Whole Foods to grab a few ingredients for our weekly meal. Aside from grocery shopping, their lunch options never fail to cheer me up - because there's just so many and you just pick what you like, buffet-style, and they'll weigh it, price it, and you're good to go. I had a weird selection, but it was definitely yummy - I got some sort of cold Chinese pasta salad and Mexican chicken with rice. It was so good, I didn't care if their flavors clashed. :-) These buffet-type eateries give you the best of both worlds!
I usually cook 2-3 dishes during the weekend so we can just heat them up during the week. I planned for Chicken Curry, and I wanted to put a little twist by adding lemongrass, but unfortunately Whole Foods didn't have it. Also, I found mung beans sleeping in our pantry, so I had to get some spinach and tomatoes to go with it. This time, I again put a little twist and mixed in bacon instead of the usual pork and shrimp - this style I've actually learned from my Mom. It turned out really good. We'll have this tonight with Daing na Bangus (milkfish).
Great food, great weekend... can't wait for the next!