Category: Eating

Ode to the strawberry

strawberry strawberry strawberry

Photo by Sanchom

Strawberries– sweet, tart, little red ovoids of joy– have been one of my very favorite fruits ever since I was a tiny kid, so I’m super-happy that they’re coming into season. Now that they’ve been marked as one of the EWG’s Dirty Dozen, I’m only trying to buy organic, but they’re so delicious that I’m more than willing to shell out the big bucks for them.

Boyfriend and I recently plowed our way through 16oz of organic strawberries that were so ripe and fresh that nearly every bite elicited some kind of yelp/exclamation/food-pleasure-noise from us. YES, THEY WERE THAT GOOD.

Fun fact: Strawberries are actually a “false fruit.” I know this because I wrote a research paper on the domestication of the strawberry for a college bio class. You see, a fruit is basically defined as the plant’s ovary (gross, and also a gross oversimplification, but deal with it). An in the case of the strawberry, the delicious squishy red part that we like to eat is actually just a carrier for the true fruit…which is what we see as the strawberry’s seeds. So the seeds are the real fruits. And inside each of the fake seeds/real fruits is a real seed. They’re like matryoshka dolls in fruit form. Damn, strawberries. Why so complicated?

If you don’t believe me, Wikipedia backs me up. Congratulations! Your mind has officially been blown.

And what can you do with this abundance of strawberry goodness? Hell, what can’t you do? Here are a few easy recipes I’m dying to try out this berry season:

Happy berry-eating (and drinking)!

Chicago trip recap : Pilates, Scotch eggs, and a graduation

Sculptures atop the Art Institute

Sculpture installation at the Art Institute

Last Thursday I flew to Chicago with Boyfriend to attend his sister’s graduation from grad school at UIC. We stayed downtown, just north of the river, and in addition to the graduation the two of us enjoyed some amazing food, shopping, the Art Institute of Chicago, and a few high-stakes games of Yahtzee with Boyfriend’s family.

UIC graduation

UIC School of Social Work grads

I bought new shoes, too.

New shoes

I get to wear these on my feet now.

The highlight of the trip, food-wise, was a dinner Boyfriend and I shared on Saturday at The Gage, a gastropub in the Loop. It was by no means healthy, but it was a delicious, special meal.

Our pre-dinner drinks (an Old Fashioned and a St. Germain cocktail) were excellent.

Cocktails

We started the meal with a Scotch egg, one of the restaurant’s most popular appetizers. For the uninitiated, a Scotch egg is a hardboiled egg wrapped in sausage, covered in breadcrumbs, and deep-fried. It unfortunately got demolished before I remembered to take a photo.

Remains of the Scotch egg

A Scotch egg used to be here.

Next, we shared a green salad with cashews and dried cherries. The dried fruit added a nice chewy texture and sweetness to the salad to offset the greens.

Boyfriend’s and my entrées were a venison burger and house-made/local sausages, respectively. His came with a bucket of fries; mine came with crispy potatoes covered in Brie.

Sausage party

I made it through less than half of this pile of meat.

Oy, we were full afterward– so we took a much-needed walk and headed to a nearby Intelligentsia Coffee for some warm beverages. Boyfriend had manual pour-over, single-origin coffee, and I had a super-delicate sencha green tea.

After all of that food, I sure was glad to have worked out earlier that day. I had attended a Pilates mat class in the morning at The Yoga Boutique in Lakeview. This was actually my first mat class since the terrible one I took in college, and I had a fabulous time! The class had only 5 people in it and was taught by the lovely Dana, the studio’s owner and manager. I got a complete, deep workout and the 45 minutes flew by. It also reminded me that I’m super-tight in my hip flexors and that I cannot for the life of me do a Pilates rollup (sob). If I can find another class like this in the city, I’d potentially be willing to part ways with one of my weekly Reformer classes each month. Mat classes are typically far less expensive, after all…