Hello friends!

Chicago’s weather has been record-setting-ly gorgeous lately with this past weekend feeling much more like Mid-Summer than Mid-March.  I had a really wonderful weekend, and thanks to inspiration from Laura’s “Day in the Life of…” and Lindsay’sThis Weekend I…” posts, I thought it would be fun to share my weekend highlights.


These delicious Sweet Potato – Black Bean – Chipotle Tacos were waiting for me on Friday Night when I returned home from a business trip (thanks, Mike!).

No Shamrock Shakes for us! In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, Saturday started off with Happy Herbivore’s Apple Jack Smoothies.  Later, we shared a second green juice at Earth’s Healing Cafe.


We lunched at First Slice cafe, inside the Lill Street Art Center building.  It was our first time there and this sunny cafe earned a spot in my heart.  I loved the art-shop setting, the tasty menu and beautiful selection of pies.  Most of all, I loved the cause – the restaurant focuses on raising money to feed the hungry!

(pictured below Butternut Squash Soup and a salad combo of half Southwestern Lentil Salad and half Mango Jicama Salad.)


We spent some quality time relaxing in the park, while browsing the (cook)books I picked up from the Chicago Public Library across the street.

I granted Mike’s wish and I played a video game with him.  The critically acclaimed game Journey sort of reminded me of the movie Wall-E,  journeying through ruins, wordlessly communicating with other players.  It was actually really beautiful, though I’m still not a video game convert like he was hoping I’d be.

I did quite a bit of cooking:  

  • Potato Pancakes, Sauerkraut, & Baked Apples 

  • Pineapple-Banana Breakfast Barley (which I’m packing for breakfast at work Mon – Fri)



And most exciting of all… after 9 months of tweeting, commenting, and emailing – I finally met Aparna of Not a Leaf!  We connected online last summer when she saw my blog posts about my visit to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she lives, and we instantly became virtual friends.  Lucky for me, her sister lives less than a mile away from me, so when Aparna came to visit her sister this weekend, we met up.

On paper, our blogs are quite similar, with a mix of vegetarian recipes, restaurants, and travel stories (though her recipes and photos are far better than mine!), and our personalities meshed even better in person :-)

Aparna, her sister Shar, and I met for brunch at Cafe Selmarie in Lincoln Square.  The conversation flowed naturally (as did the Iced Green Tea!) and the food was tasty, but my favorite part of the afternoon was our leisurely stroll around the neighborhood afterwards. 

We had a blast browsing the Library, Timeless Toys, Gene’s Deli, and The Chopping Block, and I didn’t leave any of the shops empty handed.


Shar also introduced us to her favorite used book store, Ravenswood Used Books which was incredible.  I loved walking through the narrow aisles of books, stacked up to the ceiling.  This place is truly a Chicago gem.

I’m so glad we were finally able to meet, and I’m looking forward to seeing Aparna again on my next trip to Ann Arbor, or her next visit to Chicago, whichever comes first :-)

For more photos & details about our meet-up, check-out Aparna’s recap here

 I’d love to hear from you!

What ‘hidden gems’ have you recently discovered where you live?