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Lukewarm is no good.

Right now I am enthusiastic about: Friday. A new writing project I am taking on. Friday. The books I downloaded after intense recommendations from the friends I had sushi and cava with last night. Friday. The nap I am going to take tomorrow afternoon because Saturday.

Lukewarm is no good. I love this quote so much.

Totally Worth It

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It’s worth nothing that something good came from the jalapeno burn of Sunday night: this Grilled Corn Salad. I will be making it again this weekend and probably every week after, that is how good this salad is. After creeping out of bed last night at 11:30pm for a few more spoonfuls, I realized mid-bit that I griped about the jalapenos without even mentioning what they went into. So here you go- summer in a bowl, ladies and gentlemen. Fire up the grill, toss on the corn and peppers, boil quinoa and you’re on your way.

But maybe skip the jalapenos for a few dashes of crushed red pepper.

Stay safe, friends.

{image via CupofJo}

A Cautionary Tale About Jalapenos

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I spent about an hour last night with butter on, in and around my nose.

Public Service Announcement: do not scrape the seeds from the inside of a jalapeno with your bare hands.

Bonus tip: if you do, do not rub or itch your nose. Under any circumstances.

Like an idiot, I went to town on those jalapeno seeds with my fingers, did not wash my hands or even think about it. Heading outside to kick on the grill, I noticed that my nose felt prickly. Then warm. Then really, really hot. Then burning. Flat out burning.

It was at this moment I realized that this was probably jalapeno related.

I washed my face and tried to rub the burn off to no avail; it got worse and worse so I googled “What do you do when you get jalapeno on your face?”. Every single post started with the sentence “When cutting jalapenos, be sure to wear gloves.”

Bro. I would not be googling this had I worn gloves. Lay off me.

We don’t drink milk so the only dairy product on hand was butter so butter it was. And butter it stayed for an hour, aka when the burning began to calm down. My husband walks in the door to find me trying to finish dinner with one hand and with a stick of butter on my face in the other. It worked, eventually, but my goodness. Hot and bothered is the only way I can describe it and not in the good way.

In conclusion: be far more careful around hot peppers than I was last night and have butter on hand in case of an emergency.


Weekend Recipe: Citrus Margaritas

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Citrus Margarita Ingredients

Raise your hand and repeat after me: “I will not let summer get in the way of summer.”

I know. It makes no sense. The same way it makes no sense that there hasn’t been a solitary hot day yet this month. But it is technically summer which (usually) screams for grilling and sunscreen and…margaritas.

Poor margaritas have gotten a bad rap from all of those lame articles titled things like “Worst Cocktails to Order at a Bar” as being “bad for you” and I never understood why. 1) It’s a cocktail, relax, do whatever you want and 2) What the hell is in those “bad” margaritas? I checked and fair enough, those pre-made bottles from ChiChi’s at the grocery store have an ingredient list that basically reads sugar and more sugar and preservatives. So whatever, we will make them at home and they will be fresh and easy, just like summer should be.

1 shot(ish) of Tequila, 1 shot of orange liqueur, squeeze half of a lime, 5 ounces of the citrus juice of your choice. Shake vigorously (because it’s fun and can be your arm workout for the day) and pour over a salted glass with ice.


I used fresh grapefruit-orange juice from Mariano’s but I think any citrus mix would be fantastic. And you know those uber hip juice bars that cold press juice meant to make you instantaneously healthier and more wise after even just one sip? Here’s a secret: 9/10 times I think about great much better it would be with some tequila or gin. So…options.

And with any luck, we will be able to enjoy our margs outside with some sun in our faces this weekend.

Citrus Margarita with Salt

Disclaimer: you may be sipping this on your porch wearing a sweater and/or holding an umbrella this weekend. I cannot make any promises on weather. But at least you’ll have something delicious in hand, amiright?


A Review: Momotaro

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Every time I ask anyone if they have been to Momotaro, I get the same reaction: Make a reservation, go as soon as you can. I don’t take culinary dares lightly so a reservation was procured and a month later, our table was ready.

They were so right.

And you know who else was right? Our server. Thank goodness for her expert guidance because the Momotaro menu is extensive. We pointed out a few things we knew we wanted (raw tuna anything, short ribs) but for the most part, we opted for more of an omakase approach: respectfully leaving to another to decide what’s best (i.e. the faroe islands salmon, the bbq eel rice, and heaven help me if that piece of squid nigiri wasn’t the best thing on earth).

Everything last detail of Momotaro is meticulous, from the plating to the decor to how they prepare the food. There are several kitchens: one for wood-fired dishes, and the sushi bar that is the centerpiece of the dining room, letting you see the chefs at work. The hallway to the restroom features a mural with close to a million ink strokes. And back to the food- if serving steak on it’s own personal grill atop a banana leaf isn’t detail oriented, I don’t know what is.

momotaro steak

Let’s just say this wagyu striploin officially made me someone who enjoys red meat. Cooked to perfection, just under the medium rare we requested, allowing for it to cook just a teeny bit further on the charcoal grill it arrived on.

Beyond being one of the best meals we have ever eaten, the entire evening was an experience and really, a whole lot of fun. It wasn’t a special occasion but by the time we left (2+ hours later!) it felt like it had been.

Momotaro Kitchen

UberEATS Chicago

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Yesterday was a blur. I had a new intern start (who positively rocks), I was finishing a presentation for my boss and, well, I work for a startup, every day is jammed. I knew lunch was going to mean trail mix at my desk…but then I got an email from UberEATS and lunch took a dramatic turn.

The same way you order a black car or cab from Uber, UberEATS allows you to order lunch from some really great restaurants. Lettuce Entertain You is taking it over this week so RPM Italian‘s Mediteranean Chicken was my selection and just as I can see how close my cab is, I got to watch the little car on my iPhone screen get closer and closer until my lunch arrived. It is pretty genius when you think about it- just because you need lunch on the go doesn’t mean you have to eat something packaged or take the time to run out.

Sorta related: who would have ever thought to order a salad at RPM?! My picks are always very pasta specifc but this salad was beyond good, pulled chicken with grains, cilantro and the lightest dressing. Note to self, you don’t have to carbo load at RPM.

If you want to try it, UberEATS is offering $10 off lunch this week. Open your Uber app and enter code “LETTUCEUBER” after you pick your meal and lunch will be on it’s way. If you feel like telling everyone like I did on Twitter, you can #LettuceUber and @Uber_CHI.

Bon Appetit!

{Full disclosure: Uber & Lettuce Entertain You paid for my oh-so-delicious lunch but all opinions are my own and I am sharing the $10 off so you can try the Shrimp Roll from Shaw’s tomorrow. Or the Turkey Sandwich from Summer House.)

Riverwalk Dance Party

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Chicago Riverwalk


I left the office wearing my trench coat this evening because, apparently, July is coat season. I decided to walk off my schlumpy mood on the River and, of course, happened upon this band that was just starting a little concert. Because Chicago is a magical unicorn angel.

Fact: a GREAT mood is the only mood when you’re tapping your feet and shimmying along with strangers.

Riverwalk Chicago

I danced and clapped and watched other people dancing and clapping for the better part of 40 minutes. It started to rain so I started to head home. I had zero regard for the falling water because I was so happy so I walked along the new Riverwalk and my goodness, high five City of Chicago because you did something really well with this. Gorgeous, well lit…and THERE IS WINE. A City Winery pop-up is tucked into one of the stone arches and I will not be foolish and not know this again.




Red, White and Grateful

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Wrigley Field Fireworks

I made myself a promise at the beginning of last week: don’t make any plans for the holiday.

I have a tendency to over plan. I don’t so much jam-pack things in as much as I assign so much meaning to everysingledetail that it ends up being…a little over the top. I’ve really never met a holiday I didn’t adore. But I knew that we didn’t need a weekend filled to the brim with plans or details to be excited about. We needed a weekend with…space to be excited about whatever we happened to be doing.

And it turns out, no plans were just as good as big plans. We chose every single thing we did and as a result, we loved every single thing that we did. I drank an almond milk latte at my favorite coffee shop and read the Wall Street Journal. The real, live, paper one. I saw a photo on Instagram of raviolo (aka BIG ravioli) so I spent a portion of Friday making fresh pasta, rolling it out and stuffing it with lobster and shrimp. My husband golfed. We bought the cat a harness and leash and hung out until late on our back porch. All 3 of us. We walked 12 miles, to spots across the city we like being and met up with friends for the most patriotic Cubs game ever. We napped. We grilled. There was more golf. There was wine.

It was glorious.

It meant that little patriotic details I infused in the weekend were that- details. Details that I enjoyed, that added some festivity but the real holiday was being together, enjoying our home, our city.

4th of July alfresco

Oh, how I love the red, white and blue and the country is represents. Grateful for our freedoms, including the freedom to make our lives what we need them to be in order to live them fully.