Entries Tagged as 'marty'

Celebrating Birthdays at Estrella Negra

October 18th, 2013 · No Comments

estrella_negra_menu

Estrella Negra is located almost exactly one mile from our house and for some reason, we have not been there in the 5 years we’ve lived here. We’ve driven past it a million times, but never have gone in. Until last night. Brian and Mike picked it as a place to celebrate their birthdays. Brian’s birthday was earlier this week and Mike’s is next week (on my due date!).

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I liked this place. The Dia de los Muertos decor was really unique and I liked that they had some things on the menu that were unique to the other local taquerias we frequent. Dallas and I shared an empanada sampler for an appetizer. There were three – goat cheese jalapeno, spinach and artichoke, and chorizo with corn. These were dressed up and a little fancy (compared to something like the empanadas at El Nandu), but we really liked them.

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Dallas also had to try an appetizer called El Diablito Camarones, which was
“nine plutonium-grade spicy grilled shrimp balanced over the edge of a martini glass. No wimps allowed.” Actually, though, everyone said they weren’t really hot at all.

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For his meal, Dallas got the ceviche tostadas. I had a few bites and it was really light and fresh tasting. For my entree I got the tamales, which is a house specialty, and something you can’t usually get at a lot of taquerias (along with empanadas and ceviche, too!). I got one of each of the three tamales available: 1. Cheese (parmesan, romano, & muenster) spinach and artichoke stuffed tamales, topped with salsa verde, muenster cheese, chives, tomatoes and sour cream, 2. Fresh corn kernel tamales topped with the elote man’s favorite toppings: parmesan cheese, mayo, butter and chili, and 3. traditional spicy pork tamales, topped with salsa verde, muenster cheese, chives, tomatoes and sour cream. That’s the order they were listed on the menu and probably the order that I liked them too! I know spinach and artichoke is not traditional in a tamale, but it was soooo good.

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Oh, and for my side I got the house-made bean dip, which was served in a little tortilla cup and garnished with a tortilla star. Loved it.

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We didn’t try dessert, although my coworker Karen said it is good. I baked cookies earlier in the day and gifted them to Brian and Mike for their birthdays and everyone enjoyed them as a sweet treat afterwards. Some at Estrella Negra and some at Quenchers and The Beetle, where people headed afterwards, when I headed home.

estrella_negra

Overall, Dallas and I liked Estrella Negra. I think we’d go back, given its so close to our house too. When we were there for the birthdays, the kitchen seemed to have a bit of a hard time keeping up, but we had 17 (Me, Dallas, Rita, JP, Kelly, Todd, Sara, Brian, Christine, Adam, Vanessa, Damien, Arun, Mike, Todd, Marty, Larry!!) people in our party and it was pretty much like trying to deliver food to half of the entire restaurant all at once. The tables around us seemed to have more consistent food coming out. Also, I really liked our waitress, who was super personable to Dallas and I, since we were the first ones to arrive. Oh, and Estrella Negra is BYOB, so everyone brought their own wine and beer and it helped keep the cost down.

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Fun night. Maybe the last night I’ll see these guys for a while?

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New Places Over the Weekend

January 14th, 2013 · No Comments

city_winery

On Thursday, we had dinner with Adam, Christine, Todd, Kelly, Brian, Sara and Josh at City Winery. None of us had been here before (it’s been open for about 5 months) and our friends are really into wine, so they were definitely interested. City Winery has its house wine on tap and a long list. We drank the tap wine from carafes. Our friends who know said that the list was overpriced. Overall, we thought the food was good, but no one thought any of it was outstanding.

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scofflaw

Scofflaw has been open in Logan Square for about 10 months, but I just made it over for the first time on Friday. I met Paul and Kate and Alden for fancy drinks (I had hot buttered rum) and some great food. I thought it was funny that the cocktail menu had a glossary! Loved the atmosphere, and we got there earlyish so getting a great spot to sit was no problem. Can’t wait to go back.

frasca_bloody_mary

Frasca is not new by any means and I’ve been there many times, but not for a couple years! So, new in my mind recently. On Saturday we met friends for brunch and I ordered a cup of coffee and a small bloody mary and didn’t realize the bloody mary came with a baby beer chaser. I didn’t drink it, but the beverage lineup, along with a glass of water, made it look like I was going to be very hydrated. I also had a great omelette.

market_chicago

Market is not new, but I’d never been there. We went on Thursday before and after dinner at City Winery. The guys discovered that they have ping pong tables there, so we were back after brunch on Saturday to play. On both days, I had hot toddys.

studio25

On Saturday night I met Alden at the new Peruvian sports bar in Logan Square. It’s called Suite 25 and we were there to watch the Packer game. It’s only been open for about a month, so I was excited to check it out. We thought it was fine for the game. Plenty of TVs, one a projector. Lots of seating at the bar, a row of booths, and plenty of high tops. One sort of weird area with cheesy leather couches that look like they were purchased from one of those furniture stores on Milwaukee Ave, but whatever. Some dudes plopped down on it and seemed happy enough. I’d recommend leaving as soon as the game is over, especially if the game is ending at 10pm, because this strange DJ came on and played horrible music and people started coming in dressed like they were at a club. Even though the place was filled with sports fans and 20 TVs were playing Sports Center.

We had to get out of Suite 25, so we headed over to Boiler Room. Ok. This is definitely not new. And not new to me. But it’s where the night and the weekend ended. On Sunday, after visiting all these places all weekend, my butt barely left the couch!

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Todd & Kelly’s New Years Eve Party

January 2nd, 2013 · No Comments

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JP and Damian

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Marty, Todd, Dallas

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Rachelle, Josh, Vanessa, Kelly

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Rita and Mike, Mike and Ella

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Kelly, Liz, Maria, Jessica, Tonya

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Rachelle and Rita

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Todd, Kelly, Liz, Maria, Jeanine, Randy

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Rachelle and Dallas

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Josh

This is the third time we’ve gone to Todd’s house for New Years Eve (NYE 2009, NYE 2011). On NYE 2010, we hung out with this group of friends too, but at Frasca, not at Todd’s house. The last few years our habit has been to go to Jen and Chad’s New Years Eve party early, then head out with these other guys late, but this year, for the first time in about a decade, Jen and Chad didn’t have a New Years Eve party! They extended their Christmas visit in California to go through the new year. It all worked out fine, though. We just headed to Todd’s earlier than usual.

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Kelly and her famous jello shots.

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Simon and Bernie begging for treats!

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Pictionary!

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Pictionary!

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Marty

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Todd drawing.

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Mike, Marty

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Dallas stealing the mic from Katie

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Songbirds

Dallas made his famous Korean short ribs and I made my Irish Car Bomb cupcakes. Kelly had a ton of snacks, some punch and jello shots, and a ton of people brought wine and beer and champagne, so we were all set. So set up. So much delicious food and drinks! I got the new Wii U last week (more on that later) and we brought that over. Sing Party, a karaoke-ish game, was a big hit of the night. We also played a rousing game of Pictionary. We also played a little Left-Right-Center. I lost $6. Boohoo.

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Kelly and Todd trying to get a midnight family photo with Simon.

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It didn’t work!

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Mike and Larry

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Kelly and Marty

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Kissyfaces.

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Liz and Maria

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Rachelle and Josh

I don’t really know what happened after midnight. It’s a blur. We ended up sleeping in Todd’s spare bedroom so we wouldn’t have to drive home or try to get a cab. I went upstairs at about 3:30 am and was getting chastised for it!! I’m not sure how late the few party stragglers were up!

Happy New Year!

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