Tegan & Sara / City & Colour / Visit to the Chicago Diner

Wow... I know I am far behind on posts, but I didnt realize this far. I have to inform everyone about the Tegan & Sara / City & Colour concert I attended on October 9th, 2008. I had planned on going to the show, staying at my sister's condo, and heading back to school. Well my luck I got a massive fever. When I mean massive, I had a fever of 104-5 earlier in the week. I kept nursing it at home and hoping that it would die down without a doctor's visit. I was so close to not making it, but I would never miss a chance to see one of my favorite band's perform (City and Colour). It was Dallas Green's (get it, city...colour, BAM!) first time in Chicago for his solo project. I have seen him before with Alexisonfire, where he plays guitar and sings. I am completely infatuated by his voice in all aspects. It just gives me chills. So you can imagine no fever was gonna put me down. I decided to leave school Thursday after my morning classes and stay home that weekend to get to the doctor and just be in my own bed.

Well, I didn't just go in to see the show, I also got to see some of my friends that I have made through another favorite singer of mine...SIA! Sia who is a brilliant singer herself has a very active online community through her website. Well, we all get together for shows and it's really great being with a group of people that enjoy her music so much. Especially since we always are waiting in line for hours so we can be at the front of shows ;) Anyways, the 'Chicago Posse' as we have dubbed ourselves tries to get together when there are no Sia tours in the area. This was a great opportunity to get together. As two of the members are vegan and one is semi-vegetarian, we all decided to go to the Chicago Diner.

I will always jump a chance to dine there, it is just such a good experience every time and the staff and environment are all so welcoming. So what did I have? Like I said in my last post about the Chicago Diner, I was looovin the Reuben. I have never really been a fan of saukraut, but for some reason I absolutely adore theirs, but who wouldn't love home-made saurkraut. You could just tell it wasn't from some store bought jar concotion. It still had a bit of a crunch and a flavor that was not overwhelmed by the pickling. The seitan meat was again perfection. Sliced so thinly and looking just like a true corned beef. Their thousand island dressing should be bottled, it is sweet and sour and creamy and pretty much a perfect dressing for anyone. Even our omni friends loved the dressing. Now, you all know my dilemma with mac and cheese. I have tried three or four recipes now and still have had no luck finding one that will satisfy that processed cheese deliciousness that I had grown accostum to in my vegetarian days. Well, after having such good experiences the last time I was at the Diner...I decided to trust them. I ordered their vegan mac and cheese. And HOLEY (get it, holes...cheese, it's okay to groan!) MOLEY I was so glad I did. I couldn't believe how good it was, it was creamy with a very soft texture and that delicious cheese taste that I have been waiting to taste. I got so excited, I wish I could figure out what their recipe is. This is what I was waiting for. Oh my, I can still taste it...yes, 4 months later. Anyone who is planning to go to the Diner, try their mac and cheese! You will not be disappointed.

Now our bellies were all quite filled with vegetarian and vegan goodness. Two of us got the reuben with mac and cheese, another of us got grilled cheese, and another got potato skins, if I can remember correctly. But, who could resist their desert menu. We were too full to get a cake or a pie, but we opted on a shake. Our waiter said that he could split the shake into four servings, so we went ahead and got a Peanut Butter Chocolate Shake. This picture does not do this shake justice. Even the presentation is gorgeous, drizzled chocolate and peanut butter all over the glass and on top with crushed peanuts and cocoa powder. This was to die for! It was so rich and full of creamy peanut butter. I couldn't even imagine having gotten a full serving, the fourth of the serving was enough for me. We all savored the moment and enjoyed our company. And when the shake was all gone, we knew it was time to hit the venue and get ready for a fun night.

When we got the venue, there was already a lot of people there. But, we were fine with our back half of the main floor views. Plus, we all were fed with delicious, compassionate food. The first act was an all girl band named A Girl In Coma. Now, if anyone is a fan of them, Im sorry for saying this, but I really wanted to rip my ears off. They were pretty much just screaming bloody murder the entire time, and Im actually a fan of screamo and hardcore, but not their brand. I did enjoy their facial expressions, they ranged from eyes bulging out of their face to almost eating the mic. We all got a laugh from that. But, still power to them. A lot of kids were dancing and having a good time. I might have just been so anxiously awaiting City and Colour that I could not enjoy them. While and like promised, City and Colour came out on stage. I pretty much just lost it. I coooould not believe he was on stage and in Chicago. The only sad bit is that the crowd was AWFUL. They talked the entire time, they pushed and squished, and were just so rude to him. He did an entire acostic set, so the fact that there was chatter echoing in the hall probably was not welcoming. But, I still found the set absolutely brilliant, he tried to not let it get to him, and he played some pretty amazing songs. I did get a few small recordings of the show. Which are located here and here. His set was extremely short, but I was still glad I didnt wimp out and go home. No illness would stop me from seeing Dallas.

Finally the headliners, Tegan and Sara, made their way to the stage. They played an entirely energetic set with a HUGE mix of old and new songs. They always seem to have the funniest stories to tell you and as sister's their chemistry on stage is hiliarous. Apparently Tegan was moody that day and Sara made sure to tell the world. It was a very, very clausterphobic show. I felt like if I moved an inch 20 bodies would be plastered up to mine. Even the girls asked the crowd to step back a bit as the front row was looking like they were having a hard time even breathing. So, the crowd was extremely hostile. It's sad, especially since we are representing our great city. I have had a few bad experiences at that venue, so it could just be the location, but man was the crowd crazy. I did have a wonderful time and am so glad I got to see my Sia posse. We even took pictures with all of us and the hats that were made to represent our 'crew.'

Sia Represent!


French Toast & Szechuan Tofu

I exist! A belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Hopefully your new year is full a joy and love and all the good stuff. So far, I have yet to make my resolution. I just want to continue to be healthy and happy.

I'm sorry I didnt really update, if anyone missed me. At home, I really don't go on the computer. Either I am with friends or spending time with the family...oh and don't forget dumb 'ol work. I feel like I spent my winter holiday in a clothing store. I really wonder how many pieces of clothes I rang up. Im not doubting 2,000 or more.

I did have a great Christmas. It was the first year EVER that we stayed at home with just my parents and sister. It was really nice and relaxing. I hope we do it more often. I got a lot of great gifts, including the cookbook Sinful Vegan. Yum! Everything looks so good. My sister also donated a BedKit in my name. It is an organization by the name of "Sleeping Children Around the World" (scaw) which goes to countries in need, buys the supplies for the kits in that nation, and give them to children who are in need of common necessities. Each kit is a 35 dollar donation, which constists of: a mat or mattress, pillow, sheet, blanket, mosquito net (if applicable), clothes outfit, towel and school supplies. All of the money reaches the kids, as the volunteers pay for their own travel expenses. My entire family was really excited about it. We are now planning on holding back on gifts and donating to a cause in each of our names. My big gift of the year was a good chunk of change. I ended up buying a Wii and games with the money. Now all I can say is my search was HORRIBLE. It took 2 weeks of me calling 20-30 stores each morning after their shipments. By the end of the journey, I knew some of the employees just by their voice, some knew me, and I had all the shipments down by heart. I freaked out when one store finally said "We have one left." I rushed out the door and was giggling the entire way to the store. I absolutely love it. I have wanted one for awhile. I got 4 games (Animal Crossing, Harvest Moon, Super Mario Galaxy, and Cooking Mama) and so far I love them all.

I also had a great New Years Eve. I spent it with some friends downtown at a comedy show. It was a bunch of comedians and also a comedy sketch group. It was great fun, though some of the comedians were a bit too rounchy for my taste. The sketch group was really great. They are called Big Dog Eat Child. If you are ever in the Chicagoland area, you should check these guys out. At midnight they had a complementary champagne toast. And what was even greater was public transportation was free all night.

So here I am, back at school. Hoping that all of my books arrive in time. I ordered only a week ago, so Im guessing they will be a bit late. I start school on Monday. Genetics and lab, Physics and lab, Criminology, and Forensic Science. Im quite excited about the last two. I hate Physics. And am nervous about the workload of genetics. It's going to be tough, but atleast I am doing what I am passionate about.

Long update, I mean I was gone for a full month! So on to the goods.

First up is mouth-watering french toast. This was a really late dinner. I think I started cooking around 11pm? I used Vegan for the People's recipe. I looked at Isa's, but it was just too many ingredients and a few I didnt have. So this one was quite simple with spices, flour, nooch, and soy milk. I used an older loaf of french bread that needed to be eaten quickly. I got a bit impatient with the soaking process, so a few of the pieces didnt get the 'full drench' effect. It was amazingly delicious and the whole apartment was full of the aroma. My roommate came in wondering what smelled so good, she always gets so surprised when vegan food tastes good. I was really excited to pair this feast with tons and tons of fruit that I just bought the day before. I had bought fresh strawberries, kiwi, plums, raspberries, AND nectarine. Yeah I went crazy. So I cut up most of the other fruits. I got to the strawberries...they were all horribly moldy. I bought them the day before. I was so frustrated, but it is such a hassel to go to the market that I wasn't about to turn around and return them. So I haven't bought any berries since. But Im always stocked with kiwi, pears, and apples. yum!

And what do we have here, Szechuan Tofu, and why yes? Another Vegan Dad recipe. Added to his recipe, I added celery, onion, and bean sprouts. It was sooo damn delicious. I roasted the peanuts first, so the flavor from the peanuts were so fulfilling. Im also glad I added the celery as the crunch from the nut and celery was the perfect combination with the softness of the pepper and tofu. The szechuan sauce I bought was absolutely hot! I really wasn't expecting it so I piled on my normal amount of asian chili sauce. Word of advice to myself, only a tbsp next time...please? I ate every bite and more, but I also had to nurse my mouth every few bites. I paired it with some cous cous. This was definitely a great dish that I will be making sometime in the future. Yum.

Enjoy your week. I will be back, much sooner than the last.