Vevey Pt. 1: The Market

After a busy week at work, we decided that the focus of the weekend needed to be on relaxing

(and eating...but we'll get to that in a moment).

Vevey is about a fifteen minute train journey from Lausanne and with a similar oldness-to quaintness ratio as that of Montreaux.

After departing the train, we followed the crowds to an incredible open air market. 

Even though I had just eaten breakfast, I began immediately counting down the minutes until lunch. I mean, cheese, bread, meat, chocolate, vegetables, cheese...the stalls were endless.

Cured meats: my New Favorite Thing in the Entire Universe. I never thought I would get excited about tubes o' meat but well, apparently people can change.

The man we bought this cheese from had eyebrows that were reminiscent of wild, hairy butterflies trying to free themselves from his forehead. 

What he lacked in facial hair restraint he made up for in spades with his wheels of magnificent dairy goodness. I have a chunk of that yellow beast above sitting in the fridge right now and had to stuff my face with chocolate to stop thinking about it.

As we hunted and gathered our way through the stalls, I decided that we needed to pay a silly amount of money for the two morsels pictured above. It was worth it though. SO worth it. I should probably learn to make them though so I don't go broke from an addiction to pretentious (and oh-so-tasty) desserts.

When we had achieved success in the four most important European food groups, we found a bench near the lake and delved into our spoils. Anthony got us some wine from a nearby restaurant and we enjoyed one of the best lunches I have ever had in my life. 

Tomorrow: photos from the town.

Aaaannnddd we're back!

A particularly lovely sunset from my bedroom window.

It's been a whirlwind the past two weeks as we left for Chicago on the 29th to get our visas. All we knew about the process was that it involved loads of paperwork, cash money, some poor quality Walgreen's headshots and could take anywhere from three days to a week. So, we packed our bags, bid our little apartment adieu (French!) and headed back to our former stomping grounds.

It was pretty strange being back in Chicago after a very definitive parting of the ways in December. In the span of six weeks, it seemed like everything had changed and yet our old haunts were comfortably unchanged. As we went to grab a bite to eat at a favorite restaurant it would hit me - I thought we already said goodbye to this place and we are. Then I came to my senses and decided to stop philosophizing about the delicious pizza that was awaiting my consumption. At times like this, it is helpful to have such an insistent stomach as it helps a girl keep her priorities in order.

It was all in all a busy but emotionally fulfilling ten days. Between work, I got to see these guys and watch a rehearsal for this as well as get a surprise visit from my family. I stored up a lot of good conversations and time well spent with all the people I love that will hopefully last until I see them next.

As our last day in Chicago drew to a close and we still had heard nothing regarding our visas, we began to get anxious about our chances of making our flight back that very night. At the last minute, they came through, we raced to the embassy and jumped on a plane.

Now we're back

(and legal)

. Let the adventures begin!

Oh, the things we ate...

Friends, Romans, etc.

After leaving Chicago a few weeks ago, I have been thinking a lot about the many wonderful memories I have experienced there and began to notice a common theme that also relates to one of my favorite hobbies: eating. During the three and a half years I spent in Chicago, I have had the pleasure of literally eating my way through the city and in doing so have discovered a number of delectable establishments that will haunt my dreams for years to come. As a farewell of sorts to my most recent home, I wanted to share these with you should you ever happen upon Chicago with an empty stomach.

hands down, my favorite restaurant in Chicago (conveniently located right around the corner from our apartment). Not terribly expensive, Gilt Bar has amazing hand-made pastas and ice cream and a great selection of interesting cocktails. Full disclosure, I have, single-handed, eaten gallons of their mint chocolate chip ice cream. I may or may not have also dreamed about it. Also, the trufflepastaohmygod.

Guys, listen to me, deep dish pizza is disgusting. I'm sorry, it just is. Cheap ingredients, an inch and a half of low-quality mozzarella smothered in tomato sauce from a can. Gross. SO, if you are in Chicago and looking for some amazing pizza (and a variety of other delicious items), La Madia should be your number one destination. They have a bad-ass wood fired oven and out of it comes the most incredible creations (triple pepperoni with TRUFFLE OIL anyone?) Our last night in Chicago, we made our best attempt to eat our way through the entire menu in order to implant it in our minds for all time.

Spectacular Vietnamese food in the gold coast. Good for a fancy date night (you will need reservations, but it's worth it). The atmosphere at Le Colonial is akin to that of a turn of the century hotel, and the dishes are light, fresh and spectacular.

A great place for drinks and small plates after work with friends. Maud's has a dark, moody and very prohibition style atmosphere (among the waitstaff, ironic facial hair and vests abound). You have to try the smoky violet smash. Easily one of the best drinks I have ever had in my life. Warning: more than one smash will leave you kersmashed (but in the most delicious possible way!)

If you have a special occasion to celebrate, Nightwood is your spot. Located in Pilsen (read: you need a cab or a car to get there from downtown), this restaurant serves all locally grown and sourced items with a menu that changes daily depending on what is available. Everything they serve is spectacular. You simply cannot order badly (unless you are vegetarian and order some of their scrumtrulescent pork dishes...). It is pricey and requires travel, so it's better for a special occasion.

Our go-to rainy day lunch spot. This little hole in the wall in downtown Chicago serves a great lunch menu. Ginza is perfect for those frigid winter days where the only thing that will make you forget the sun sets at 4 PM is a bowl of miso soup, green tea and gossip with good friends.

A charming little reasonably priced French restaurant in the gold coast. The lovely menu is filled with savory items that will fit the bill whether you need a quick refuel during a day of errands or a cozy dinner with your loved ones. Bistrot's prices are reasonable, the atmosphere is casual, and it is within spitting distance of great shopping (Anthropologie!)

A classy 30's style hole in the wall (literally, there is no sign out front - only a painted plywood facade) in Wicker Park that serves delectable and mysterious concoctions in a moody, hushed room with high backed chairs and many little nooks and crannies for cuddling up and sharing secrets.

Violet Hour is the perfect place to take friends who come to visit and want to experience something uniquely Chicago. Also, while they have an extensive menu of interesting cocktails, you can also tell your server what kind of flavors you enjoy in your drink and the bartenders will create something unique!

THE place for steak frites. mmmmmmmmm. This Parisian inspired restaurant has a variety of small-to-large plates for you to choose from. They also have a crazy fancy lounge/club type space upstairs that is occasionally visited by celebrities. I can assure you that my lack of suavity has assured that I will never be let up there.

A slightly more affordable (and low-key) alternative to The Nightwood if you are looking for some wonderful local cuisine in Bucktown. Dinner at The Bristol is served at big farm tables and the restaurant has a great communal feel. A great place to take your friend for dinner who has just let you learn to drive stick shift on his car. (You know, in theory and all)

Extremely Honorable Mentions:

-Uncommon Ground (great locally sourced cuisine a killer drink menu and awesome dessert)

-Avec (délectable plates ranging in size from small to large)

-Julius Meinl (delicious coffee and other beverages, as well as great food. A perfect spot for meeting your best friend for brunch)

-Cocoro (incredible japanese food - we'd usually hit up ginza for lunch and cocoro for dinner, never the other way around...not sure why)

-Spacca Napoli (great thin crust pizza and steps away from Architectural Artifacts, one of our favorite rainy day activities)

-Xoco / Frontera Grill (Rick Bayless's restaurants. The food is wonderful but the wait times are INSANITY. Call ahead or go in when they open and get on the list and then go shop Michigan avenue. It is actually worth the wait.)

And there you have it. My surefire way to ensure that you will never visit Chicago without a decent meal.

There's a change in the weather, a change in the sea...

Back in August I posted this, knowing on the periphery of my mind that 27 had the possibility to be a year of intense change. Nothing was concrete yet, but the inklings of a major shift in the status quo had begun to pass through my day-to-day life. 

Three months later and everything has been aligned, cemented and now November (what's left of it) and December will be filled with preparations for a rather monumental journey.

On December 31, A and I will be moving to Lausanne Switzerland for work, return date unknown. Even as I am typing this, the words are not yet registering in my brain as being true. These kinds of adventures happen to other people, far more interesting and adventurous people than a homebody and bookworm such as myself. But even as I fail to comprehend the realness of it, there is the piece of paper on my desk defying my incredulous reaction to the situation. Girl, you are going. Better start packing those bags.

This process has been long and fraught with anxiety, disappointment and (ultimately)  exhilaration. Even when the conversations began in earnest back in August, it was hard to accept the situation with any sort of finite possibility. I have always been a worst case scenario person, a closet optimist who spends a significant amount of time grappling with the very real possibility of defeat, while a tiny, hope-filled balloon tries to stay afloat in the face of my overbearing pessimism. With the signing of the papers, the tether of worry binding that balloon to the earth was cut free and has started tentatively floating upward, gathering speed and volume and beginning to grasp the infinite possibilities of the future.

A future filled with excitement. Exploration. The most tantalizing unknown experiences.

December 16th is the date I drive out of this beautiful city that I have called home for almost four years. Chicago, we have had such a relationship. I have grown up here and started the foundation of a life that I am so excited to call my own. There are so many nooks and crannies of this city that I will miss dearly. And please let's not talk about the people. Not just yet. The thought of leaving the wonderful people I have had the sheer joy to meet and laugh and play and cry and work with here is too much to handle right now.

Oh, the goodbyes will come. They have to. But not yet.

I can't believe this is happening.


Anthony had to go to Switzerland all last week for work. In between moping and eating lots of candy corn and spending an unspecified number of hours watching embarrassing tv shows, I managed to get some photo editing done and traveled far and wide across Atlanta and South Carolina for a birthday-wedding-family-friend-weekend-extravaganza.

Little trinkets from A's trip have been sprinkled across our apartment since his return home. While the Swiss have a reputation for being reserved, they certainly don't hold back when designing currency. I burst out laughing the first time I saw the wildly colored notes with pictures of such stern looking people on them...they look like monopoly money! And the coins go up to 5 CF...looks like a massive Robin Hood style coin purse is necessary to tote all this around.

Oh yeah, and a tin appeared, filled with lots of little chocolates that come individually wrapped in the most awesome little packages.

This picture is from yesterday. The volume contained within the tin displayed below has diminished greatly since as I performed a series of quality tests to ensure that Swiss chocolate is really all it is cracked up to be.


Translation: happy Wednesday from one whose mouth is filled with chocolate even though it is only breakfast.

on a good looking dude

After our last show on Sunday, fellow Wishbone member Brandon and I headed out to take some photos for an event he is participating in this week.

Brandon heads up most of Wishbone's sketch comedy revues and with good reason - he's a pretty hilarious guy. I think we were able to capture that in the above photo. On a separate note, not many guys could pull off a bright orange shirt and suspenders, but he totally makes it work!