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Posts Tagged ‘chicago’

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Xoco By Rick Bayless

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

Naph’s Aunt Lizette was visiting Chicago last week on business for a few days. She is an incredible woman who had not yet met her little great niece so we took a couple days to hang out with her when she wasn’t in meetings and it was a splendid time.

(This is the only picture I got of us all)

I love family meeting Amelie for the first time and how delighted they get in her little cuteness. So in order to spend a little bit more time with Tia Lisi, as we like to call her, we went to a recommended restaurant called Xoco. It’s in the same space as Frontera which is also by Rick Bayless but it’s much more casual. And you can still go in and sit at one of their super cute tables. They also community tables seating and then some great seating outside which is where plopped ourselves.

Xoco is a Mexican style food with some awesome flare. Generally you have tortas – which are sandwiches, tortas y caldo – which are sandwiches served in a broth, and then plates of food. There are also amazing desserts and lots of local beers and wines. This place only seats 40 people so if you plan on going make sure you adjust for timing but chances are that as long as you’re in line (which is about a 20 minute shuffle) the host will make sure you get a place to eat. Plus if you just want to order To Go you stand in a different shorter line for that or you can even call in. We went on a Tuesday night and this place was still hopping!

First you stand in line to order.

While on your way to the register you can have a very clear presentation of what you’ll be filling your belly with. It’s always great knowing what you’re about to eat and having a restaurant be upfront about where they source.

You can get your free water at this station, still or sparkling. In Ecuador you always get sparkling water and have to ask for bottled still so it was another bit of latin flare that I loved.

I got the Chipotle Chicken Torta. It was amazing which is to be expected. It was served with a super spice red sauce that was perfect for this sandwhich.

Tia Lisi got a sandwhich that also had a super spicey lime sauce. I’ve never tasted anything so hot but so refreshing.

I saw that one of the dessert options was Tres Leches so I obviously had to get some of that. But this was no ordinary Tres Leches. It is mint Tres Leches with merengue and raspberry sugar. It. Was. Perfect.

This place was quite impressive. And incredibly affordable! Each sandwhich was under $8, the sandwich and broth was about $10 and the dessert was $5. I think Naph’s beer might have been $5 too. The service was amazing. We had the host tracking us all the way through the line and when a table opened up he let us know. They tell you what table you’ll be seating at and when you order your food you give them the table number and they bring the food out to you there. By the time you’re done ordering the host is back around to show you where you sit.

The restaurant itself has a rustic/colorful feel. Wood tables, metal chairs with bright blue lights and tiled walls accenting the place. Outside seating is high skinny wooden tables with comfy bar chairs under beer slogan umbrellas on streets lined with geraniums.

AAAAAAHHH. Such a wonderful experience! And now I’m ready to go back.

I hope you’re hungry.


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A Year And A Day

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

One year and a day ago we found out we were pregnant.

I actually never officially told you bloggers until way later one. So much was swimming through my mind. You can read a bit about how we found out here.

Then as I was perusing my older posts I found this one. This is just so crazy. I wrote this blog on the way to Cornerstone Festival last year, just three days before finding out I was preggers and posted it a bit later. Perhaps the major raging hormones were the reason for my pensiveness but it’s so interesting to look back and see where life was at.  Here is an excerpt (with a little spell check of my own) from my train ride to Macomb, IL where I met up with Naph:

” Sometimes in the city I’m reminded how even in this one middle American state of Illinois there is so much history mingled with so much modern and futuristic movement. The city is so hip and jive, but retains its happiness and friendliness of small towns, where locals have held onto their trust in humankind and ease of conversation with passersby that can never be dominated. It’s admirable and beautiful and makes it hard for me to take all at the same time. I’m at a cross roads in life right now where I’m told it’s time to think about me. What do I want, where do I want to go and who do I want to be? Do I have a supporting spouse who will let me follow these things? Will we be OK if I do pursue something I want to do with my whole heart for once? Life is an adventure. Right now It’s in the more perilous straights. It’s topsy turvy, it’s reciting the verse :BE ANXIOUS FOR NOTHING, IN ALL THINGS TRUST THE LORD: and recognizing that as truth.

My train is arriving any minute now, my brain will turn off, I will see my hubs and my people and my friends and my family and I will cry a little because I’m so very thankful to be with people who matter to me, who make my world continue day by day, and I’m so excited to be with people who live grace continually and outwardly. I need that right now. I need a little hope and this vacation is meant for just that. God is so good to me that in my trivial humbug moments, he still cares and still provides. He is my hope.”

Amazing to think that all this was going on in my head and all the while Amelie was in there, growing, becoming, slowly changing my life forever. And how selfish I was to think of myself. But I remember this time so vividly. This trip was going to be my final “vacation” before I went back and quit my job and started to live a little instead of try and control so many things.

Then this moment happened. I met her. I saw her face. The nine months of turmoil, unease, unhappiness, excitement, nervousness all fizzled away at the first glimpse of this little gorgeous face.

And now this is what I get. For life. God truly is my hope. Since the day I met Amelie face to face I have forced myself to truly be anxious for nothing and to live a life full of love and trust so that Amelie can know a godly mom. And He is giving me an amazing strength and grace each day, with each moment. I’ve had harder more stressful times just in these past four months than I ever that possible but I feel stronger, more purposeful and happier; truly happier.

My what a year it’s been.

Momma loves you forever sweet baby. Thank you for existing.

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Summer Reading List

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Please forgive me if this sounds boring, or conversely like it could be super exciting.

I think it’s sort of neither. It’s a bit more educational than all that.

Here is my list of current/pending because my library is ill equipped and therefore I’m having to have them sent from far and along away:

This one is because Amelie has only had her Hep B vaccines as we’ve been between doctors and insurances. But I am about to make her an appointment for her 4 month check up and don’t have any clue as to what I feel about vaccines. I do believe in the positive powers of modern medicine. I also know that we are planning on moving to another country in the next several years and I want her to be prepared for that. But I also don’t want to stint her development and charge her little body with so much that it can’t protect itself from these immunizations.

This one is because my sister said that it’s super helpful and we are really needing a sleeping schedule.

Like really really need some help with sleep.

Can you sense the theme/my desperation for consistency? Amelie is generally sleeping well at night but it’s our day’s that are killing us. If she goes to bed even slightly too early or too late she gets up at 4:30 in the morning. Today was special. She got up at 3:30 and 4:30am. Thanks daughter!

This is because I’ve always wanted to read it, I love the movie and I find Dumas a great writer. I’m already well into it and hooked.

This is because my library is pathetically equipped and it’s largest section is the mystery section. Which I love, but then again, they didn’t even have a good Agatha Christie section. For Shame. But the colorfulness of this book caught my eye and I’ve seen some acclaim for it online so I’m giving it a go. Plus the new neighborhood we live in is super religiously diverse and I think it may be a good insight for me. Maybe not…don’t know it.

Amelie and I are reading this for her bedtime. We’re actually almost done. I’ve never really read all these stories before. They’re fantastic! And the illustrations are swell.

So this is how I will be spending the literary part of my summer…if I can get a page in edgewise. We’ll see. But I plan on giving you a good synopsis after each book to help out if you are wanting to possibly read/purchase these books for your future reading extravaganzas.

Alright, baby is down so Dante’s is calling my name.

Can you keep a secret? I like to read my books in accents in my head. And sometimes when no one is around I read them in accents aloud. I can’t help it. It’s how my brain works. I know a book isn’t good if I can’t find an accent for that character. What does that say about me?



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