I’m going out on a limb here and say that I don’t think most of us lost much weight this week. I’m not ashamed of my week, however. It was one of the best food weeks of my life. And, to prove my point about how difficult it is for me to lose weight, I didn’t lose or gain any weight. I’m exactly the same today as I was last Friday, even after a week of celebrating. Perhaps I celebrated more carefully because I’m more aware of what I put in my mouth because I know I’m going to be held publicly accountable.
Let’s get real. I enjoyed every minute of it, and I didn’t think much about the consequences.
First of all, we went to a friend’s 60th birthday party on Saturday night. She is from England originally, so her daughter ordered her favorite Indian food from a local restaurant, Himalayan. It’s hard to find a pretty photo of lamb curry because it just kind of looks like red stew, but here’s a recipe for it if you want to try it at home. For those not quite as adventurous in your cooking, go to Trader Joe’s, buy a bottle of curry sauce and put it in with the lamb.
We had a lot of fun at the party, what with the sixties costumes and the love beads and the dancing — it was really hard to imagine that we would be getting up at the crack of dawn on Sunday morning to go to church. But we did; we had inspirational music, my husband’s brass ensemble played well, and then it was time for another restaurant.
You would never know from the outside that the food at Retro Bistro is so amazing. It’s in a strip mall in a Chicago suburb.
We had the special prix fixe Easter menu which included lamb chops. I have had other items on their regular menu; the crab and shrimp cakes are to die for. This time, instead of dessert, I topped my Easter meal off with escargot in a puff pastry hat. This photo isn’t exactly what I had at the restaurant; Retro Bistro had dishes with little depressions in them for the escargot to lay in the lovely butter and garlic. I got this picture from a blogger that I ran across and will follow from now on. Great recipes! Thanks, Thibeault’s Table.
After two days of eating and having too much fun, I came back to the house, camped out in my chair, and watched three movies on cable! It was a luxury knowing that I did not have to go to work on Easter Monday.
On Monday night, we had Book Club where were served Italian beef and a chopped salad from Buono (the restaurant formerly known as Buono Beef). It was also very good and hit the spot after all the rich food of the last two days. I found this photo of a classic Chicago Italian beef sandwich at Amazing Ribs.com, another blogger who reviewed various Chicago purveyors of Italian beef. Buono didn’t win his taste testing, but it sure was good when we ate it Monday night!
We discussed Winterdance, by Gary Paulsen, which I will review on another post. Good food, good conversation, good friends. What else do you need in life?
And then, unbelievably, we went out AGAIN (and on a school night) on Wednesday night. I drove into Chicago at rush hour in the rain (90 minutes) and met up with my sister-in-law who is in for a convention. We had a family dinner with our daughter and other friends from Washington state and Washington, D.C. at Carnavale.
I have been wanting to go to this restaurant, which specializes in Nuevo Latino cuisine, for quite a while, but was afraid we would be clearly suburbanites coming into the big, bad city for a thrill and treated poorly. That was not the case at all; we had fabulous service and the atmosphere was very welcoming for a mixed group of ages.
We had a cheese flight, with five good size cheese servings, and a ceviche flight of five seafood offerings. They were both outstanding and unique.
Then we shared a lamb chop on polenta special, Mama Mendez’ Arroz Con Mariscos with Sofrito rice, shrimp, mussels, clams, squid, chorizo, peas, chicken, lobster broth, and the daily fish special. All were fabulous! Yelp’s reviews of this restaurant are not all positive, but our experience was excellent.
I didn’t title this “Things I Love” originally, but after reading this hymn to restaurants, the post probably doesn’t belong in the “Losing It” category either. If you’re in Chicago, try these places out. You won’t be disappointed.