Let’s be real, most of our sight-seeing around Chicago has been to fill time in between all the eating… but I dragged us to the International Museum of Surgical Science to get scared by exhibits of medieval doctors amputating limbs without the use of anesthesia… or cleanliness. What I didn’t expect to see was a statue of Imhotep, honoring the first known physician.

image

Um hello…. do the museum curators not realize what Imhotep became?!

image

Every year, in the period between the year end busy season and the first mini-busy project of the new year, I plan some sort of vacation to recuperate before doing it all over again. And this year was no different. Except for the fact that instead of seeing family, a never before visited locale, or a theme park, we planned a vacation purely around eating. Eating at Grant Achatz’s Next Restaurant to be exact, but more on that later other than the fact that hard earned reservations spawned an entire trip to Chicago and a dinner on our first night at Tru Restaurant. I’ve wanted to eat at Tru ever since I bought Rick Trumonto’s Amuse Bouche recipe book (due to a Tumblr recommendation years ago). Even though Rick apparently severed ties with Tru since then in order to make his way down to New Orleans, I was still interested in visiting his former home, especially after my dad had proclaimed Tru to be the best restaurant that he’s ever eaten at in the US.

And I do have to say, when it was all said and done, our dinner was pretty legen-wait for it-dary. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

We opted for the menu with the most food on it (it was called something much more elegant than that, but the name escapes me right now) and were quickly onslaught with 16 dishes, all of which fortunately were manageable because (1) I can eat a lot and (2) except for the main fish and beef plates, the dishes were each only a couple of bites, stemming from the Thomas Keller school of thought about providing small bites to leave the customer wanting more.

And while the food itself focused on showcasing how well they could cook wagyu beef and salmon and less on the gimmicks of molecular gastronomy, the serving platters took on a modern flair as they changed from glow in the dark bowls and split logs to a huge cocoa bean on a cocoa bean leaf. The service was outstanding and yet relaxed at the same time, something I personally appreciate because it makes me feel less like an impostor dressing up in her mother’s clothes. This one poor girl had me cracking up the entire night. Cute, short and blond, she must have been low man on the totem pole as her job was to lug out every dish from the kitchen, including the heavy logs of meat, while the muscular guys (albeit top-notch waiters whom clearly earned their way to their seniority status)* waited patiently for her to make her way towards them before raising a finger. At one of her exasperated rolling-of-eyes and sighs I couldn’t help myself, I burst at laughing at her distress (wow, that sounds horrible – really my heart was going out to her!). But much to my chagrin, my laughter brought the attention of the higher-ups down on her – and they did not look pleased. I hope I didn’t get her in trouble, since I found the entire situation enchanting. The whole night was!

*Dude, I stood up from the table and a waiter took one look at me and started walking ahead of me… escorting me to the ladies room.

I do have one negative comment, purely on another customer, and added only as an anecdote The party next to us responded to the, “how did you enjoy your dinner?” generic question with a tirade about how the truffles were not needed in the soup and blah blah blah (I tuned out the rest of what she said for fear of getting nauseous). She didn’t see why you couldn’t just pour a teaspoon of truffle oil into the soup and call it a night. Really? Really?! Miss high-and-mighty had a problem with fresh truffles. And she wasn’t done. She commented that she knew her truffles because she was [redacted nationality]. Ma’am, I don’t care if you are Italian (she wasn’t), if you aren’t the 1%** of the nation taking your pigs or dogs into the back-country forests to forage for the wonderful tartufo – keep your annoying mouth shut. And being the bitch that I am, as I walked by her (and the respectful waiter nodding and trying not to look pained) on my way out the door, I turned to Ryan and MAYBE stated loudly, “well, I certainly had a wonderful night, but maybe that’s because I am knowledgeable and classy enough to know that sake can be served both hot AND cold” which was in reference to what first brought the Queen of Truffles to my attention earlier in the night when she protested over being brought cold sake as part of the alcohol pairing option because, “sake is only served hot.” To his credit, Ryan looked annoyed with me over my comment as he usually does when I decide to be obnoxious.

**made up number

I don’t want to end on a bad note, so to summarize: if you get the chance, eat at Tru. It really is phenomenal.









My dad is my biggest champion

  • Dad:What are you doing this weekend?
  • Me:I’m doing a 5K run in Hartford for the Sandy Hook Victim’s Fund.
  • Dad:Isn’t that far away?
  • Me:Yeah, it was originally only an hour from my house but it became so popular that they moved it to Hartford.
  • Dad:So you are driving 4 hours round trip to run for 20 minutes?
  • Me:Uhh… No… It’s a 5K…
  • Dad:But you run a mile in under 7 minutes.
  • Me:I was 12 when that happened. I’m praying I can do this in 40 minutes!
  • Dad:40 minutes for 3 miles?!
  • Me:Yes! It’ll probably be more like 45 minutes.
  • (Awkward pause)
  • Dad:That’s really great!

The mystical, magical, boobaliciousical Spa Castle

Not to brag (any more than usual on a blog about me, myself, and I) but I had the most wonderful Friday last week. Ryan had to burn through a PTO day that he would lose after this past week and I was sitting on a couple unused holidays so we took off the day and made our way to Spa Castle in Queens.

new-york-spa-castle

photo via tripadvisor.com

Time Out New York always recommends Spa Castle in their things to do section but I was pretty hesitant about a huge bathhouse in Queens with naked (non-coed) sections and little kids running around that may or may not be potty-trained. But at my last hair cut my hair dresser could not stop raving about Spa Castle and as I’ve previously mentioned, one should always listen to Miss Oh-I-hang-out-VIP-style-with-Jay-Z.

Our adventure started with free valet parking (what what!), something they do not loudly advertise, hence us driving around and around looking for street parking before finally giving up. We didn’t even know it was free until they handed us our keys back at the end of the day and moved on to the next customer. Score!

Now, when you check in ($35/person on the weekdays and $45/person on the weekends for full access to the pools, saunas, and resting rooms) you get a watch-looking devise that works as your locker key and your money. While it definitely made for an extremely relaxing and hassle-free day, I was worried about just how much a hassle-free day would cost me. Not that the prices for food and drinks weren’t really easy to see, but buying that last mudslide was a lot easier when it was just a flip of my wrist versus pulling out cash.

yelp

photo via yelp.com

Once you’ve got your wrist band (and additional 21+alcohol band) all situated, it is time to enter into Disneyland for exhibitionists, otherwise known as the locker rooms. This is where I found out that despite the fact that I capped off my senior year in college by streaking through lower campus in just snow boots during a snowstorm, I am a HUGE prude. Everywhere I looked there were girls, either air drying themselves by lying out on the locker room benches in all their glory, or blow drying their hair sans…. anything. I was the only one scampering around in a towel I brought from home (because the towels they lend you are the size of a washcloth.

But Ryan tells me I’m the weirdo / prude / ridiculous one, so don’t listen to me and just go and enjoy yourself in all your nakedness. But just know that your bare buns are not the only ones that have touched the locker room benches.

For those of you inclined to be clothed (and I applaud you!), they issue you uniforms for your time at the spa. Really comfortable uniforms, although not quite the height of fashion, and in predictable pink for girls and blue for boys.

Heading up the stairs from naked narnia you come to what I like to call The World of Saunas (pronounced sow-na’s apparently – the more you know!).

Spa3

photo via mslk.com

It was fantastic, there were seven themed saunas in all, from the very hot, never less than 185 degree sauna to the cold, never above 25 degrees sauna, and all the ones in between, which included infrared saunas, gold saunas, and jeweled saunas.

Spa2

And then there were the pools. The outdoor pools were heated and open year-round and the water was absolutely balmy and pleasant. Getting out of the pool into 25 degree weather after being soaking wet however, was not. But not to fear, there was also a sauna right next to the outdoor pools that I scampered into to drip dry in.

Spa1

photo via lookadooinnewyork.blogspot.com

One of the indoor pools also came with a swim up / walk up bar which I used to inhale the aforementioned and delicious (anti-diet) mudslide. They seemed pretty strict on alcohol consumption, as you are limited to 3 per person. So I would suggest you finagling your non-drinking cohort into getting a wristband so you can move on to drinking his allotted 3 drinks once you are finished with your own. You’re welcome.

Spa4

photo via lipstickandluxury.com

And last but not least there was the food. There were nachos, corn dogs, dumplings, pizza, salad, you name it. But my favorite was the korean plates up on the top level. Yum.

Spa5

photo via blondieandbrownie.com

Our last stop of the day before heading out to Fu Run for dinner was hanging out in the “resting” room, basically a room full of reclining chairs, where Ryan promptly passed out and I caught up on my tumblr dashboard and inadvertently would punch Ryan in the shoulder when his snoring got too loud.

And after all that, at the end of the day I collapsed into my bed completely exhausted. Man, it’s hard to be a lady of leisure!

March madness

It’s that time again. The time honored tradition of gambling away your hard earned money on a sport (and teams) you never pay attention to outside of March and April. Or maybe that’s just me.

In past years, brackets have been created while Ryan poured over pages and pages of statistics and while I poured over Wikipedia pages looking up mascots and school colors. But this year we both got busy and before we knew it – game day had arrived. So I sat in my 9 AM meeting today not-so-secretly filling out my bracket based on gut instinct. Ryan on the other hand just printed out and submitted the President’s bracket. Let the games begin! And let the money start rolling in.

Stopping to watch a gun control protest after my first SoulCycle class (more on the latter later)

  • Stranger:What are they protesting?

  • Me:Enforcing stricter gun controls.

  • Stranger:That doesn't make any sense, English is English.

  • Me:(confused look)

  • Stranger:Everyone uses words. Why protest it? Words are words.

  • I swear I thought I was in that House episode where the sick patient keeps saying polar bear and doesn't realize he is getting the words wrong.