Chicago, That Toddlin’ Town. Part One

I just returned last night from Chi-town, and I am one stuffed bird. Seriously, where is my little lonely gym membership card? The trip was fantastic, and I must boast a 100% success rate when it came to completing my restaurant list despite torrential downpours, time constraints and some brief yet explosive gastrointestinal issues. I am a warrior. Unfortunately, my stomach has been stretched to three times its normal size, evident by the fact that I have already eaten three meals today. It is 3:27pm. Help.

I had such a great time on Friday and Sunday. Saturday was renamed why-did-I-wear-flip-flops-when-it-is-pouring-down-freezing-cold-rain-we-look-like-drowned-rat-tourists day. Most of the day was characterized by this look on my face.

Did you all know that Chicago is in the midst of a huge drought? Apparently, it had not rained for months in the windy city until this weekend. What superb timing I have. It literally poured on Saturday. In fact, the monsoon began as my husband and I stood outside of my very favorite brunch spot for AN HOUR waiting for a table. Good times. It’s cool though- we warriors can handle trivial diversions such as soaking wet clothes and walking pneumonia, and the wait was sooo worth it. By the way, for those of you who were interested in the list, here you go.

*Bongo Room – the site of the monsoon. My very favorite place ever. Wiping the drool off my keyboard.
Toast – mascarpone-stuffed french toast. mmmmmm.
Hot Chocolate – new place, very tasty.

*Potbelly sandwiches – quite frankly, the best sandwich on the planet. I guess they are located in about 5 states, so not a true Chicago exclusive. Sue me.
*Piece – brewery with highly addictive thin crust pizza. I know, I know- you’re supposed to eat Chicago-style pizza. I am telling you, this pizza is amazing. In fact, I told the waitress that I dreamt of this pizza on occasion. She looked at me funny and gave me a nervous giggle. Whatever beaaatch, do you KNOW how good this pizza is?! Jeez, take a compliment. Oh, also their Top Heavy hefeweizen is great.
Sultan’s Market – tiny Middle Eastern place. Their falafel is excellent.
Milk and Honey – cute little place, yummy sandwiches.

*Club Lucky – Italian supper club. Atmosphere is super lively, and the best part is their Always Lucky martini. Ketel One vodka straight up with blue cheese stuffed olives. Hell yes.
*Spring – very romantic. Has won multiple culinary awards.
Le Colonial – Great location in the Gold coast. Ask to sit on the patio.
*Gibson’s – the quintessential Chicago steak house. You really haven’t experienced Chicago if you haven’t eaten there.
Meritage – Pretty pricey, but worth it.
Café Iberico – tapas and seriously good sangria.

*my very fave places

More on the trip very soon. I’m hungry.


My Kind of Town

This is the view I will be gazing at for the next four days. Chicago! Chi-town! The Windy City! My husband has been working in Chicago this week, and I am flying up to meet him tomorrow. I can’t even describe how excited I am, considering we moved to California from Chicago less than two years ago. Wow, I can’t believe it has already been that long!

If I had to choose between the two places, I definitely would choose California. Nothing beats living by the ocean, and don’t even get me started about horrible Chicago winters. However, I really miss the brisk pace of living in downtown Chicago. Restaurants open 24 hours, fun pubs on every corner, being able to WALK to places. Nobody walks anywhere in Southern California. Ever. Doesn’t matter if the destination is within 3 blocks. No walking. Seriously, you probably would get arrested unless of course your sole purpose is to exercise. Then walking is strongly encouraged because you better be in skinny-ninny shape if you think you are going to live around here, plus you better have perfect makeup and hair AND be wearing a Juicy Couture velour tracksuit while you’re at it. Barf. Anyway, we have so much to accomplish in the next four days! Catching up with old friends, checking out Millennium Park, and most importantly, eating massive amounts of food. Of course, in true whoorl fashion, I have created a list of all the restaurants we must eat at while there. If my calculations are correct, we will have to eat every 3.2 hours to complete my list and I am not fooling around. This is serious shit. Chicago has some of the best food anywhere and I am totally prepared to put on a couple of pounds. Don’t worry though; I’ll be sure to walk it off when I get home. But I’m NOT wearing a Juicy Couture velour tracksuit, thank you very much.

Have a great weekend!


Secret Agent Josephine Rocks

SAJ and I walked down to the beach last evening while I wallowed in self-deprecation about my blog with comments like “Why did I force my husband at gunpoint to build this site for me? Why would anyone choose to read this damn thing? CSS blows. No one will ever visit this loser blog.” Don’t I sound fun?

Whoah! Hold your horses, little lady! Keep in mind that I just posted my first entry on August 3rd. Impatience. That’s a trait near and not-so-dear to my heart. I have a history of jumping into new projects with an insane amount of fervor (need! results! now!), only to have it slowly wither away over a couple of weeks or months. One project that immediately comes to mind was my all-consuming search for my family’s genealogy. The Whoorl Genealogy Project. I literally called my parent’s home 20 times a day.

“Dad! Did you know your great great great great grandfather lived in Kentucky?” “

“That’s great, honey.”

Twenty minutes later, “Mom! Did you know that our ancestors lived on a farm in Ballymoney, Ireland?!”

“That’s great, dear.”

Fifteen minutes later, “Dad! Did you know your great great great grandmother had triplets, Anna, Alfred and Angus?”


“Dad, did you just hang up on me?”


You get the picture. Eventually, the only parental voice I heard was the one on the answering machine. However, my ancestry insanity did fade after I realized most of my conversations with my father were similar to this:

Father: Sarah, I think it is really neat that you are trying to attribute your personality traits to someone who lived 300 years ago, but don’t you think you might be taking it a little too far? Maybe you should get some air.

Sarah: But Daaaaaad, I’m Irish. That soooooo explains my love of Guinness beer, my rosacea AND my fair skin, which mind you, has resulted in two moles being surgically removed with stitches involved! Had I known my heritage before, I might have worn a higher sunscreen! Duh.

Other recent projects involved learning to cook items other than Zatarain’s black beans and rice, and my secret incognito-burrito project that must remain under wraps for the time being. Well, I guess I am my father’s daughter- this is the man who dove head first with every ounce of his being into hobbies such as photography, guitars, coin-collecting, scrap gold parts (wtf?) and watch repair. Mind you, he excels at absolutely everything he does, but I don’t hear much about those coins and cameras these days, if ya know what I mean. By the way, this is also the man who would like me to refer to him as Bishop Stu Tu on my blog. Don’t ask.

Back to Queen Josephine. After our walk, I had some dinner and lurked on some of my fave blogs. And then, I saw it. My overly excited face on SAJ’s new entry. She was telling people to check out my blog. Could she BE any cooler or more helpful? I went to sleep with a big smile on my face, knowing that I, whoorly girl, was so lucky to have such a great new friend.

This morning, I poured myself a big cup of decaf. Yes, I drink decaf because caffeine makes me turn into one seriously anxious freak of nature. As my doctor informed me, I am naturally caffeinated. I logged on to my email, and there they were. Comments. Huh? People visited my site? HOLY SHIT! YAY YIPPEE YAY YAY YEE HAW!! I stood up, did a little dance, sat down and then it hit me. Doom. Big Doom. If people visited my site and liked it, then they will probably come back. That means I have to write something witty or funny or something. The pressure! How do you all do it? I was the girl from high school and college who morphed into a sloppy puddle of failure when a teacher mentioned the word “essay”. However, today I made a pact. This will be the project that doesn’t wither. I will continue to ramble on incessantly as long as someone is still reading. Woohoo! By the way, thanks to everyone who commented. I felt like I was 8 years old again shooting the duck at my rocking-roller-rink-fun-skate birthday party.

Oh, and for those of you who haven’t had the chance to meet SAJ in person, she really is THAT creative, inspiring and super cool. Plus, she’s got that whole pregnancy-glow-thing down pat.