What did you do this weekend? I ate.


I look forward to three day weekends the way little kids look forward to Christmas. For weeks and weeks before the actual weekend I dream of what I will do with THREE WHOLE DAYS. "Vacation" is a foreign word around here, so 72 hours without having to see certain attorneys' stupid faces and without freedom-ruining 'sick day' guilt is pretty much the greatest thing ever.

All that said, you might assume that I would do something spectacular with my wonderful happy extra free time. But you would be wrong. Instead I did all of the normal things I like to do (cook and eat and drink), on a much larger scale. Especially 'eat'. Lots of eating happened this weekend. And when people have asked me today, "So what did you do this weekend?", I've had to refrain from telling them I ate my face off. But it's been hard, because this is how I chronicled my three days:

Thursday: Freedom night: Ceviche and horror.
Sat on the patio at Dunlay's (which I found out is a chain). I searched the menu, hoping that if I stared hard enough a calamari dish might appear to satiate my inexplicable craving for fried squid. But to no avail. So instead I ordered me a real nice Bell's Two Hearted Ale and some ceviche. My beer was delicious. The ceviche not so much. I'm pretty sure it was all prepackaged frozen ingredients. Nuff said.

Erin ordered BBQ Pork Wraps. Sounds tasty yes? Barbecue pig in a fried wrapper. Can't go wrong there, you say. But again, you would be wrong. So wrong it hurts. What appeared before Erin was the disgusting love child of Mao Zedong and Sweet Baby Ray, two people never even meant to meet. Accompanying this horror of a dish was two different types of "sauce", one plum and one a mustard based barbecue sauce. Neither one was too offensive on its own, but they didn't do anything for the wrap. And the wrap needed something to be done because the barbecue pork with the Asian cabbage mix was offensive to my taste buds. I didn't even eat the second roll that I was entitled to. And I've eaten things off the floor. My conclusion is that Asia and the American South are on opposite sides of the planet for a reason. They should stay there.

Friday: Fireworks and potluck! But mostly a good reason to cook!
Feeling rather ambitious I chose to make a pasta salad and just make up the recipe as I saw fit. I was dying to roast some red peppers, as it seems so easy and yet so bad ass. It was. So I made a roasted red pepper sauce to go with wilted spinach and bacon(!). Delectable. Or it could have been had there been enough sauce to moisten the 1.5 lbs of pasta I used. The sauce had too much noodle to cover and so most of the flavors disappeared. I was pretty disappointed with the result, but vowed to fix it as soon as I could get my hands on some more roasted red peppers (fresh or jarred, I did not care).

Ms. Erin on the other hand consulted The Yellow Bible and found a recipe for panzanella. What is panzanella? It is perfection. It is Italian bread salad, so basically toasted bread and tomatoes all gettin it on with garlic and oil and onion. Plus did I mention bread and tomatoes? Seriously, I could have eaten the entire bowl. But Erin had a fork weapon.
We also made chocolate chip cookies. With nuts. I never get nuts in my cookies (laugh, laugh). It's such a delightful treat. I ate at least a dozen of them. Shhhh.

Saturday: Megan feels better about her skillz
Saturday I did not leave my block. This made me happy. Instead I did nothing all day but clean up the aftermath of the previous day's cooking extravaganza. I also popped into the Alb (corner store) to find that they did, in fact, carry a jar of roasted red peppers. It appears to be the only jar of them they have ever carried. I had to wipe about a centimeter of dust and dirt off the container to make sure it was really what I wanted.

At home, I tossed a few more red peps into the food processor, some more oil, and this time some spicy garlic chili sauce that burns my taste buds off but always keeps me coming back for more. I doused that dry ass pasta salad from the day before in my new saucy sauce, added a little more Parmesan and put that biatch in the microwave. What came out was a spicy, rich, cheesy scrumptious bowl of pasta that I couldn't get enough of. It wasn't what I started out trying to make, but like Erin said, "it evolved".

Sunday: Yes my stomach hurts because I ate so much.
Sunday I had foods with Ms. Rachel at Farmerie 58 in River North. Known for local, seasonal ingredients, Farmerie 58 is a lovely place for a brunch on a sunny July Sunday. I had the sour cherry french toast topped with hazelnuts and bourbon syrup. It was sweet and tart and a nice change from regular french toast. The crispy little potato pancake on the side pleased me too, as I am a sucker for the sweet/savory contrast. A tasty meal to start the day. Note "start".

Shortly thereafter, I met up with Erin to visit Taste of Chicago. Because, evidently, I needed to eat again. After avoiding The Taste last year, I guess I forgot why. Now I remember: because it's crowded and hot and crowded some more. Overall it's not worth the excursion or the prices, but I had a couple yummy bites. Since most of our tickets went toward assy beer, we were left to choose a few things we could get sample sizes of.

  • Cheese empanada, yum! But there was a cinnamon flavor sometimes present in Mexican food that I can generally do without.
  • Taro root french fries! MMMmm. Taro root is something I have only recently discovered, and let me tell you, I was missing out. Starchy like a potato, but sweet and creamy when cooked, taro root is really good in soups and other fried concoctions (like Chinese dumplings). It was only a matter of time before I met it in its fry form. Yum yum.
  • Cajun meatballs - Spicy as balls. I don't know who was the first person to grind up some meat and put it in sphere form, but I'm glad they did.
Now you've seen it. A weekend the way I see it. Covered in sauces and spices and bacons.

3 Responses on "What did you do this weekend? I ate."

  1. Erin says:

    For the record, I would make a baby with Mao Zedong OR Sweet Baby Ray. But not one that comes in a wonton wrapper.

    Megan says:

    Hmm. I'd rethink my choice on Mao...

    Erin says:

    Would a Mao baby come with dipping sauce? Is that racist? Or cannabilistic?

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