04 October 2010

Korean food

It's true that you can find adventure in your own backyard. On our last trip to Chicago, I was surprised by an unusual dinner in a hidden but well known Korean restaurant, San Soo Gab San at 5247 North Western Avenue, Chicago, IL

I was in for a treat as we ate a traditional BBQ!

Look at all those little side dishes! Who knows what each is called and for sure there were several that were not recognizable! If you like something, you have to leave a little bit in the dish so you can ask that more be brought to you as it would be impossible to explain what it was.

This is not any barbecue you've experienced.. the fire is brought to your table and they use actual wood charcoal. If it burns low, they bring you another fire! It was cold I remember and it was great having a little fire to keep us warm. I would not have had any idea on what to order, but my friend knew exactly. It's hard to tell from the menu, but you'll want the BBQ at your table.

If you're ever in Chicago and are feeling adventurous, here is a short video of the place to tempt you more :)` parking is difficult, just so you know! ..and the area so-so, leave no valuables in sight, or in the car at all really.

11 September 2010

the next place

Great acoustic version of Outsiders by Needtobreath, found on Walter Naeslund's blog.

Lately I've been thinking about my next travel adventure. It's time. I follow four marketers on line, Seth Godin, Naomi from IttyBiz, Chris Goegan, and Walter Naeslund from Stockholm, Sweden. Every time I visit Walter's blog it makes me think of visiting Sweden and well, that whole northern territory. Visions of Stockholm -as googled below -remind me of Amsterdam with their tall narrow old buildings and water throughout the city. It's so vibrant and progressive in photos and in the words of Walter's blogging. I've also been watching several films from Sweden lately via Netflix. Goofy to be sure, but an interesting cue to their culture and what's funny.

I've also long desired to kayak in the fjord's of Norway's waters taking in the grand quiet and gorgeous mountains exploring small old towns. Does this not look like a piece of heaven to you?

As autumn grasps a firm hold in the northern midwest, I'm sure it must be equally if not colder in these regions I'm dreaming of. Perhaps these are vacations better left for July 2011. Stay tuned :)~

26 February 2010

up the river without a paddle

It started simply enough. We were going to test the new engine and see if the boat would float. It was an older boat purchased for the simple pleasures of fishing and sunsets then to reap the reward of rebuilding and restoring at the end of the season.

Of course you've already guessed the end of the story lest you'd never be reading this at the moment, though less confidence was had in the thick of it.

We launched the boat into the water at the city dock as easily as one could without a rope and were delighted it didn't sink to the bottom. "It floats!" we chided each other.

holding the boat to the dock, we turned the key, but the engine didn't turn. The battery was not charged enough. Not to be discouraged, we swapped the battery with our car and it fired right up.

If you've already thought about it, yes, this did make for a rather tricky departure from the dock as both the boat and the car needed a battery then..

Out into the bay we motored, the engine while not completely trouble free provided reasonable speeds and acceleration. We ventured to the gulf to witness a most amazing sunset and toured through the mangrove maze endless with thickets, small islands, and passage ways.

We had only a tourist map of the mangrove but loved the old signs faded and overgrown with thicket announcing our unknown location. We recognized easily the tall buildings on Marco Island as we grew close.

It was getting late though and the light was fading fast.

We sped into a large bay only to circle a small island covered with many birds likely roosting for the night before we decided to turn home.

As the boat was steered a little too close to the shore, I became concerned for the shallow water and fading light. Sure enough, the muffled struggle of our propeller hitting the bottom was heard then verified by the churning of mud to the surface. Turning back to the middle of the bay offered no relief as even gunning the engine provided no progress in moving forward more than an three inches. We were in water less then three feet deep the tide going out likely upon our entrance to this bay.

We had no paddles on board and darkness was closing in. It was even more chilly since the sun had disappeared, my bathing suit never exposed but hiding under jeans, a sweater, and a light down jacket since our start. Philippe jumped in the water and pushed the boat at least 1/8 of a mile until it was just deep enough to clear the propeller.

It wasn't until after Philippe jumped back into the boat that I remembered reading about crocodiles in southwest Florida.. and became especially grateful that my offers of helping to push the boat were refused.

Thinking the worst was over, we picked our way back through the mangrove finding our way through memorized turns and trees avoiding running into the many channel markers. Closer to civilization however, we saw smoke coming out from under the engine cover!

Luckily it was just steam, the engine gauge showing too hot for our liking.

We stopped the boat every few hundred yards to let it cool, the yardage getting shorter and shorter with each jaunt, the engine growing hotter faster which each turn.

Conserving our battery while letting the engine cool and trying to avoid the current from pushing us onto a rocky shore, into a channel marker, or grounding us in shallow water, made our stalls a little stressful. Of course, at least I wasn't the one trying to fix the engine in this darkness and cold.

Two screws.

Two loose screws were the culprit of our overheating engine allowing water to stream at will outside of the engine. I'm simply amazed that these were discovered.

Clearly I was boating with a genius; albeit two smarty pants without a GPS, map, floodlight, paddles, blanket, radio, rope, nor tide charts!

Adventures don't always come to the most prepared!

25 January 2010

away from home for the holidays


My image of a perfect holiday is that of dining at home with your closest or favorite family then relaxing in the living room all together with a drink in hand concocted ideally of egg nog and dark rum complimented perhaps with a few pfeffernusse cookies or special cakes sipping and laughing the evening away with no rush to escape.

I am lucky to spend my Christmases mostly this way. Thanksgivings too.

Sometimes they can get a little stressful though. If I am hosting the dinner, I worry about getting everything just perfect. I am usually trying out new recipes for all my dinner parties actually and I’m quite sure this adds to my madness. I also tend to wait and finish special gifts on the day and also wait to wrap them. I like to look at the gift and savor how perfect I think it is and think about how much they might like it. Although not as elaborate as I used to be, I like to pick out wrapping paper and detail the present exteriors to heighten the delight of receiving them.

Why are the holidays so stressful for most? For sure I bring upon myself the stress of gift giving, dinner preparation, and the like. There have been a few holidays where I joined my extended family without my parents and I think about the boyfriend that I’ve taken to my parents. It’s not comfortable. You are a guest and stranger to their customs as well as not a part of their intimacy. In these cases, I felt like an outsider and not welcome in spite of their efforts.

I like to include friends in my holiday celebrations because I know how it feels to be alone on a holiday and not to be invited for those special days. Of course having invitations and being able to turn them down for the comfortable solace in your own space feels just as good!

This holiday season I was away from home. I was invited by a special aunt for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. I brought with me my boyfriend and a friend of ours both far away from their own families. I know they weren’t happy to join me feeling perhaps an obligatory invite only because of me. Still, we had a lovely dinner in a very comfortable home, and my extended family poured out the love and giggles making it a very special day.

And like always, I finished their gifts in the minutes before we departed for their home.