One Last Chicago Post

I promise.

I feel like I’ve been dragging this out forever, but mostly it’s because I’ve been swamped with welcome-back-to-school hullabaloo (which included 45 minutes of class in which the professor never showed up. WELCOME BACK, am I right?!)

Since there was a Chicago Food post and a Chicago Beer post, I figured this one could pick up all the leftover bits and pieces. So, sorry if it’s long. But there are some pretty pictures!

Sweat. I know I’ve been less focused on this in my blog, but that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten it in my life. And, since no trip would be complete without breaking a bit of a sweat (whether in the gym or on the dance floor), my buddy Caitlin and I hit up a Werq dance fitness class. I didn’t take any pictures of the class, but I can describe it as a super-hyped Zumba without a focus on any type of Latino music really. It’s some of the most current music I’ve ever had in a fitness class, and in addition to knowing all the words to all the songs, I couldn’t stop shaking it the entire time. Great moves, high energy, if you’re into that kinda thing (and you find a class near you, I found that they might not have trickled heavily over to the East coast yet), I’d totally suggest you hit it up.

For the Vegans, look no further than Native Foods.  With locations in Boulder, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, San Diego, and Chicago, this vegan sensation makes some fantastic dishes that make you say “Lacto-Ovo WHO?! Meat WHAT?”

Fountain Drinks!

Fountain Drinks!

Instead of soda, they offer these tasty fountain options. Katie preferred her tea-lavender-lemonade combo with a bit of slapped mint.

Gotta slap it for flavor.

Gotta slap it for flavor.

In addition to the INCREDIBLE sweet potato fries that I split with Katie, I went with the Ensalada Azteca.

Si, Papi.

Si, Papi.

Fresh avocado, cucumber, and jicama salsa with romaine, currants, toasted pumpkin seeds, and cilantro atop quinoa and served with Mango-Lime vinaigrette. So good. So, so good.

We later hit up Piece Brewery and Pizzeria for a little bit of the two things they do best.

Ben, going in for the kill.

Ben, going in for the kill.



We went with Plain: traditional New Haven pizza, a generous amount of red sauce topped with garlic, extra parmesan, and EVOO. This mozzarella-less pizza was fresh to death, and the two of us demolished it. Katie went with something a little different.  White with CLAMS! I tried a bite, but it was not my cup of tea. Or my shell of clam.

Served with lemon wedges! She said it tasted like Clam linguini.

Served with lemon wedges! She said it tasted like Clam linguini.

The beers from Piece were solid, not great.

After Piece, we moved onto my favorite part of the night. Emporium Arcade Bar. Two words.

X-Men (that’s one word, right?) Pinball.

Pinball Wizard

Pinball Wizard

I basically love this concept, and will be hastening to Philly’s own barcade stat to enjoy beer and arcade games STAT.

Three Aces was how we spent Saturday brunch. Burger and Soup to keep us warm. But not just any burger.

Come to me!

Come to me!

I present the Ace Burger: aged cheddar, trimmings, bacon jam, aioli, fries, garlic and hops pickle (which we mostly avoided). The fries were incredible, the burger…. NEXT LEVEL. PRETZEL ROLL, PEOPLE!

And, though I enjoyed the HELL out of some sushi from Coast on Friday night with my buddies Caitlin and Sierra, the lighting was not amenable to blog pics.

Just enjoy this tipsy pic of us all, and know that Chicago is a glorious place to be, whether you’re eating, drinking, dancing your face off, or visiting lady (or gentlemen) friends!

I surround myself with total babes all the time.

I surround myself with total babes all the time.

Next stop: Boston. My bus leaves on Thursday night, I’ve gotta whip up an itinerary!!

Any recommendations?

Two Pizzas Are Better Than One: Buffalo Shrimp and BBQ Chicken

Here’s the honest truth: I’m a sauce boss.

At any point in time, in my refrigerator, there are enough products that could be used as sauce, marinade, dressing, and the like, it makes you wonder where I put it all. I guaranteed have more sauces than I do foods to cover with the sweet, liquid toppings, but that never seems to stop me from buying new ones.

I like my fries to be the side of my ketchup.

My pancakes should be able to swim in syrup.

My chips nearly drown in the salsa.

But here’s the clutch part of this story. Until Sunday evening, the only sauce I’d been using on my pizza…. is pizza sauce.  Occasionally in the form of marinara or Sockarooni (the favorite sauce of the Sugar Coated Sisters) but, honestly, I wasn’t getting too creative, pizza-wise.

Enter: Game Changers 1 and 2.

Big thanks to Ray and Ken

Two dinners made special thanks to Sweet Baby Ray’s and Ken’s Buffalo Wing Sauce.  Oh, and a special Harris Teeter deal on Whole Wheat Pizza Dough!

Single Girl Realization: One pizza dough ball = 2 beautiful pizzas for one!

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and get ready for some pie!  Add some parchment paper to your pan so you don’t need to clean up later (trust me on this one).

First up, a buffalo shrimp pizza.

Not my best photography... But one of my best pizzas.

I rolled out that dough the best as I could. Unfortunately, on night one, that means an oddly shaped pie.

Up next, I put a thin (THIN being the key word here) layer of the buffalo sauce on this doughy wonder. In the meantime, I took some pink shrimp and tossed it in some cajun spices and olive oil, to give it a little flavor. Chances are, I dramatically overcooked it. I wouldn’t recommend that step, but I’m new at this whole seafood-cooking thing.

Up next, I tossed the cooked shrimp in some buffalo sauce. I covered the sauce and dough in a thin layer of cheese, then added some sauteed spinach and tomato slices to the pie. Add the shrimp and a bit more cheese. Cook in the oven for… jeez, I’m not even sure. 12 minutes?  Just watch it carefully.


When the cheese is melted and the crust is golden, you’re ready for eating action.

Maybe shrimp and buffalo sauce isn’t your poison?

I got this.

Roll out dough ball number two. Chances are, you did a better job this time. I know I did.

That looks much more pizza-like!

Keep that oven preheated to 400, and hit up your chopping block to cut up some red onion (I guess another onion would be good. But I prefer red.) Chop this bad boy thin, try not to cry, and sautee it in some olive oil.  Wait until the pieces get all soft and tasty. This is the best way to enjoy an onion.

Add some more spinach (gotta keep it green), and, if you have some cooked chicken, add it. I happened to have had a can of chicken on me, and I added this.  It worked perfectly. The chicken sweated on the onions and the spinach soaked it all up. It was a romantic little get together.

Take that BBQ sauce and add a thin layer to the dough.

The BIGGEST recommendation I can give about ALL homemade pizzas is to push the toppings out to the very edge of the ‘za. I can’t stress this enough.

So make that sauce reach every last nook and cranny of your crust. Sprinkle some cheese, add the spinachonionchicken mix to the pie, and spread a bit more cheese over with a drizzle of BBQ sauce.

Cook it in the oven!! Follow the same instructions as the first one (i.e. no real instructions… just watch it carefully.)

Perfect pie!

Serve it on a plate in the shape of a slice of pizza.

That’s probably the most important instruction of all.

Wait. Don't eat the plate.

What’s your favorite dream pizza topping?

How about the sauce you use the most?