Girl and the Goat


I think most Chicagoans probably went to Girl and the Goat when it opened seven years ago, but I was a Washingtonian at the time, so I only had the pleasure of visiting for the first time last week.  And it was, wow.

Two dear friends of mine gifted me a gift certificate to Girl and the Goat before I left DC and I tried and tried to get a reservation, but they seemed to be fully booked in perpetuity.  Last Thursday, on a whim, I decided to try for a Friday night (fat chance, or so I thought)–lo and behold, there was a lone reservation for 5:15pm.  Now, this is a little earlier than I like to eat, but I have a 10pm bedtime, so I jumped on it.  (The waitress said that’s how a lot of folks end up getting a reservation–so, if you’re in town or just want a last minute reservation–try OpenTable a day or two ahead of time, you may get lucky!)


The restaurant is on Randolph Street in the West Loop (when I was growing up there was very little in the West Loop, now it’s the epicenter of Chicago’s trendiest restaurants).  David and I were seated at the chef’s table, so we had a view right into the kitchen (it was a little toasty, but well worth it) and to see delicious dishes as they were prepared.


We ordered the goat carpaccio, roasted beets, oysters, grilled cuttlefish, and–the real show stopper–the sauteed green beans with cashews (in a fish sauce vinaigrette that was both amazing and indescribable).

Obviously, I highly recommend this restaurant.  Just what the Internet needed, another review of Girl and the Goat.

Goodbye for meow.

 

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

img_2343I’m really proud of this one because I’ve been making variations of this recipe for months and I finally found one that is truly delicious.  The secret was adding a little bit (well, like, a half cup, actually) of brown sugar–without it, it’s just too bitter for me.  If you like really dark chocolate, maybe you can pass on the brown sugar.  I made this over the weekend when my dad came over for dinner (I made this super easy eggplant Parmesan recipe) and even he liked it, and he’s not really a dessert guy.

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  • 2 avocados
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk (I used an unsweetened vanilla flavor, which I recommend)
  • crushed pecans for topping (optional)

Blend it all together, let it chill in the refrigerator for a half hour or so, and serve!

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Goodbye for meow.

5 Things Friday

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Workin’ for the weekend!  Am I right?!  Well, I didn’t do a lot of ‘work’ this week per se, but I’m still ready for the weekend.  A few items from my first full week back in Chicago:


Library Card.  I got my library card at the historic Harold Washington Library this morning!  I used my library card in DC all the time and I was inordinately happy to get my card this morning.  I really don’t like reading books (or magazines for that matter) on my iPad–it strains my eyes (I’ll be 85 and a half in July, thanks for asking!).  I also don’t really like having books around after I’ve read them, they take up a lot of space.  Thus, the library is a very happy place for me.  Also, in case you’re wondering, I’ve never witnessed anyone doing anything indecent at the public computer terminals.  I’ve seen folks napping or talking loudly to themselves, but nothing more disruptive than that.



The DMV.  I also got my Illinois Driver’s License.  That was a much less exciting experience, but it meant that I was able to get my Chicago library card so, ya know, you take the good with the bad.


Sweetgreen.  In DC, I ate a lot of Sweetgreen.  I visited the Sweetgreen in River North this week and the quality of the end product and consistency of dressing allocation left a lot to be desired.  First, the bread was totally different–it tasted fine, but it was very thin. In DC, they have a very delicious, hearty buckwheat bread.  In Chicago, I don’t even know what the bread is, but it isn’t good.  Second, the employees (salad artists?) have a very different interpretation of light, medium, or heavy dressing than I am accustomed to.  Even so, the salads are still delicious, so I’ll be back.  I’ll always be back.


The El. So, I’ve only ridden the el (Chicago’s subway system, its called the el because most of the stations are above ground and the tracks are elevated–hence, the el) a few times this week and I wish I could say I vastly preferred it to the DC metro, I can’t.  I do like that it’s above ground so I don’t feel like a mole person journeying five stories down to the center of the earth to board it.  However, I don’t like that the stations don’t have escalators (this makes me sound lazy and I’m ok with that).  It runs about as frequently as the metro. That is, I waited 12 minutes for the el at Randolph and Wabash in the middle of the day.



Massage.  I got my first massage in over a month this afternoon and, oh boy, was it awesome!  I’m a big advocate for people getting massages–I know they’re not for everybody, but I love them.  I had a 40% coupon from the health club that David and I joined and it only took me two days to use it.  It’s reasonably priced at $75 for an hour-long massage, but even at that price I can’t make it a weekly habit.


Have a terrific weekend!  Goodbye for meow.

Newly Discovered Snacks


I don’t love to cook–I have high hopes for developing my repertoire of recipes, but this post isn’t about cooking, it’s about snacks.  I love snacks.  Since moving to Chicago, I’ve discovered a number of delicious, healthy-ish snacks.  Here are three of my favorites and one honorable mention:


Emmy’s Coconut Vanilla Macaroons.  These aren’t macaroons as I know them–the French kind or the American kind (at least, I think of that version as distinctly American), but they are delicious.  100 calories per macaroon ans 6 grams of sugar.  I’ve really been trying to watch my sugar intake these last few months.  I can never just cut it out, I’m only human, but I do try to limit my sugar to no more than 20 grams a day.  I limit myself to no more than two macaroons in one sitting (yeah, usually…).  You can order them online or it appears Emmy’s are sold at most Starbucks and a select number of Whole Foods.



I Heart Keenwah Dark Chocolate Puffs.  I’m in the minority, but I really don’t like dark chocolate.  It’s too bitter.  There, I said it.  I Heart Keenwah Dark Puffs (with Pink Himalayan salt) are so good though–after Lake Shore Lady recommended them, I decided to give them a try.  While I don’t like dark chocolate, I do love quinoa, so I was intrigued at the idea of putting them together.  The quinoa is puffed up to be quite large and dipped in chocolate. 140 calories and 6 grams of sugar per serving (serving size is 1 oz).


Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter.  I’m really late to the party on this one, I know.  Sitting here, studying the nutrition label and it’s not exactly unhealthy, but I can’t, in good conscience, say it’s healthy either.  Even so, have I been eating it by the spoonful every six hours or so since purchasing it?  Yes, definitely.  Having a Trader Joe’s in walking distance of my new apartment will be dangerous.


Tera’s Sustained Energy Blend.  This may come as a shock to those of you who know me, but I love Muscle Milk.  Feeling a little sluggish before a yoga class?  Drink half a Muscle Milk.  Feeling depleted after a particularly tough, say, yoga class?  Drink half a Muscle Milk.  Tera’s Sustained Energy Blend is not Muscle Milk.  I’m including it here mostly because I feel good after i drink it and I know it’s really good for me.  It is by no means a tasty treat.  I’m sorry if you feel misled.  I felt misled too, but that’s my mistake.  I mean, I bought this concoction at the health club I just joined, what was I really expecting?  I don’t know, I thought it would taste more like Jamba Juice.



Goodbye for meow.

5 Things Friday

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5 Things Friday.  Hopefully you’re spending your weekend doing something much more exciting than packing.


5. Children Invade Dad’s TV Spot.  Children are, I’m told, a blessing.  This video of a guy talking about the South Korean President’s impeachment while his kids disrupt him is too good not to share.  I love how the daughter marches into the room, followed immediately by the baby who rolls on in.


4. Lululemon Align Pants. By far my favorite yoga pants–they have a very light compression so you feel ‘held in’ rather than ‘sucked in.’  Be careful with the lighter colors though, they do show sweat.  And that’s all I’ll say on the matter.  Athleta appears to have a similar style pant, the Salutation Pant, for $20 less that I’d like to give a try.


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3. Relationship Status: Cats.  My new errand running bag and I couldn’t be happier.  I walked around the apartment last night, wearing the bag, and telling David we were no longer married because my relationship status is CATS.  I’m delightful and not at all annoying to live with.


2. Rose’s Luxury.  For my final dinner out in DC, my friends and I are going to the Michelin starred restaurant, Rose’s Luxury.  They don’t take reservations so my dear, dear friends are going to wait in line and I’ll join them once David and I are done packing for the day.  Given that people pay $25-50 for a professional line-waiter at this restaurant, not having to wait in said line is a tremendous going away gift.


1. Girl and the Goat.  One more restaurant to round things out.  My friend and my co-worker got my a gift certificate to Girl and the Goat as a going away gift.  If you live in Chicago, you’ve definitely heard of this restaurant and, even if you don’t live in Chicago you may have heard of it.  I’ve never been and based on their Open Table availability, I’ll have to wait a little while.  Items like bleu cheese sweet potato pierogies and escargot ravioli have me pretty jazzed about trying this Chicago hot spot.

Goodbye for meow.

Super Easy Vegan Oat ‘n’ Junk Cookies

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Calling these ‘cookies’ is maybe a little generous, but calling them oat clusters seems uncharitable to their deliciousness.

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These treats couldn’t have been any easier.  To make the basic version of these bad boys:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, line a baking sheet with tin foil
  • Mash up two ripe bananas (I used a potato masher, but you could use a fork too)
  • Mix in 1 cup of rolled oats–let them sit for 5-10 minutes (the mashed ‘naners soften up the oats)
  • This step is totally optional, but I mixed in just a tiny drop of almond extract, a shake of cinnamon, a spoonful of chia seeds, a handful of sliced almonds, and a handful of dried cranberries.  Repeat mixing.
  • Plop the dollops on the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or so.  (This recipe makes about a dozen small/medium cookies)

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Blam-o, you’re done!  Now, kick back and wait for the compliments to roll in on your baking abilities…

Goodbye for meow.

5 Things Friday

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Happy Friday, everybody!   Working for the weekend, am I right?!?  At any rate, here’s some stuff…

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  1. Kind Bars.  Specifically, the maple glazed pecan and seat salt flavor.  I really have nothing more to say other than these are absolutely delicious and they only have 5 grams of sugar (which really isn’t that much, all things considered).  I eat one every day as a mid-afternoon snack.  I eat a lot of snacks.  It’s normal.

    PORTRAITS OF COURAGE A COMMANDER IN CHIEFS TRIBUTE TO AMERICAS WARRIORS, (HC)

  2. Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors by George W. Bush.  I really want this book. Look, I get that he might not be everyone’s most favorite president and that’s OK, but he was on Ellen and it was terrific and proceeds from the book go to helping post-9/11 veterans.  Can’t think of a better thing to spend $35 on.

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  3. My cat is weird.  David figured out that every time one of us turns on the stove, Burrito immediately jumps up to the top of the cupboards and it’s at least 15 degrees warmer up there.  She has her own personal steam room.  And, even better, she has cognition!  My cat is both weird and very, very smart.

  4. Relief. Such relief that my blog got a decent reception after I let my social media friends know that it existed.  Everyone was really nice and no trolls so far (I think you only get trolls once you actually have a readership…so, ya know, something to work toward).

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  5. Pilates.  As I’ve talked about (extensively), I love yoga.  But, I also love Pilates and I think the two really complement one another.  One a typical week, I do yoga 5-6 days a week and a Pilates Reformer class once a week.  Granted I’ve only been to one studio, but I think Fuse Pilates in DC is, hands down, the best.  Their Reformer classes  are awesome–it’s a great work out, but it’s not exhausting.  That said, you will definitely feel it the next day.

Goodbye for meow.

The Leap Begins

Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Elaine and my cat’s name is Burrito.  We (and my husband, David) are moving to Chicago from Washington, DC in exactly three weeks.  David and I are both from Chicago (Burrito, as a rescue cat, is from the Washington DC-area, I presume), but I’ve lived in DC for nearly 8 years.  I moved here to work on Capitol Hill in 2009 and, for the last two years, have worked at a foreign policy think tank.  Come March, we’re loading up a moving truck (with some help from my dad) and making the 11 hour drive to the Windy City!  Our families are both in Chicago, but it will still be a huge adjustment.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m beyond excited–David and I have been wanting to move back basically since we got married (in 2015) and the time finally feels right!

I plan to use this blog to chronicle that move and beyond, but also share some things I love, which include:

  • Cats, obviously (see: blog title). Specifically, my cat, Burrito.  A stunning Russian Blue-mix.  (I’m, like, 95% sure she’s a mix and not a full Russian Blue.  Any cat experts out there, please leave a comment as to what you think her breed origins are.)
  • Yoga. For about two and half years I’ve been an avid yogi.  My preferred style is a hatha-based yoga called yogahour.  Sadly, there are no studios in Chicago that offer yogahour, so I look forward to trying out many studios and settling on a new yoga home. I’ve taken a few classes at The Lab in the West Loop and have been really impressed.  I highly recommend!  (If you’re in DC, you can take yogahour classes at Capitol Hill Yoga.  It’s an amazing studio and I’ll miss it dearly when we move.)
  • Food. I mean, I’m not a foodie per se, but I do like a good restaurant and make a pretty decent eggplant Parmesan.  I don’t know, I’ll write about good restaurants and stuff.  David will provide some content on food as he is a much more voracious eater and views every meal as a competition with a clear winner and loser: him or the food.

Shopping/Buying things.  I haven’t had much time recently to go shopping, but it’s truly a passion.  I like a good deal, especially at retail stores that are constantly having sales (looking at you Ann Taylor, J. Crew, Gap, and Banana Republic).

Ok, I think that’s a decent intro.  Goodbye for meow.