Tuesday morning started with this:
I know, it looks disgusting. Does it taste like it looks? Nope. Tastes like bananas.
Just in case you haven’t seen it before, my swampy smoothie was just a few handfuls of spinach blended first with almond milk (or regular cow’s milk) so that there are zero pieces of spinach, then I just blended in a frozen banana-which, like I’ve obsessed about-makes it so creamy. But the piece de resistance would be the crumbled Alliebar on top! Like Allie told me, the bar forms a perfectly chewy bite that I can’t get over. I would share these bars with everyone who lives near, but the recipe is top secret, as it should be. There’s money to be made with these bad boys!
I can officially say without wigging out, that green is my favorite color. I could never stand those “favorite” questionnaires. What’s your favorite movie? Favorite book? Favorite…? Don’t make me pick just one! I guess the green just speaks to my Irish roots.
After chewing and sipping on my breakfast, I got ready for the day in the city.
Before we took off, I assembled some salads with leftover veggies and pasta & shrimp for the two of us and Joe, who we picked up from work on our way there.
I topped Joe’s and mine with corn chile salsa from Trader Joe’s-which makes an amazing “dressing” by the way, and won’t make it soggy for eating later, which is what we did.
After a car ride through the city, and scoring $4 parking near our dinner reservations, we headed off for Allie’s dream destination which you’ll see soon…let’s be honest, Joe and I were so excited for it too.
I really adore Greektown. I love that it feels less hectic, has a lot of character, and is so close to the Loop but feels much further. Joe and I rode 25 miles through the city at midnight in July with L.A.T.E. ride, along with his dad and sister Anna, and I knew I needed to come back to Greektown soon after pedaling through it at 1 a.m. Lucky for us, that is where our dinner reservations were, thanks to Allie’s wise choice.
Solar and wind energy!
Samples were tasted:
I stared adoringly at these:
Repeat: I don’t need a Blendtec, I don’t need a Blendtec. Really.
And my order was placed:
Chocolate, anyone? I ordered the chocolate truffle kefir with chocolate sauce and chocolate sprinkles.
I absolutely love kefir-which is a cultured dairy drink that has a plethora of probiotics which enhance the immune system and balance digestive health, and Europeans have been drinking it for over 2000 years. I enjoyed this frozen treat, which was actually a little acidic and bubbly in a way, as Allie pointed out, is because of the fermentation with the kefir, (liquid kefir bought in the store is not bubbly, just fyi). However, I think it may have been even better if the freezer machine was kept at a little higher of a temperature (warmer). I’ve heard before that ice cream and soft serve is better when it is kept at a higher freezer temperature because our taste buds can “taste” it more, if that makes sense. My tongue felt a little burned because it was so cold, but I may just be weird like that. Don’t you love it when your ice cream carton gets soft, creamy, and just slightly soupy around the edges? I know I’m not weird about that.
Allie’s looked delicious with the mango chunks.
Mmm mango is definitely one of my favorite fruits-but remember, I can’t pick just one favorite!
Joe got the original and pomegranate swirl as well as Allie, but his was topped with cinnamon toast crunch.
With all that said, I am so glad that I have had the experience of trying frozen kefir! Starfruit also has parfaits and a lot of different smoothie options too, which is what all the other customers were ordering. I ended up making one for Joe and me last night, but that will be another post, another time.
Thanks Allie for leading us here!
After heading out of Starfruit, we walked through a Sephora and after I suggested a spritz of Versace cologne for Joe (he came straight from work :)) Allie laughed once again at my Chicago accent: “Versaaace!” I died laughing because it’s true, you knooow? (Asked in said Chicago accent.) Aunt Sharon, I know you’ll love that-who has been imitating Katie and my voice for YEARS! 🙂
I hope you enjoyed that little story as much as I did.
We then walked about another 1.5 miles to our dinner reservation in Greektown.
One our way, we saw the CBS news being broadcast-fun!
We ate at Karyn’s on Green, a contemporary vegan restaurant and bar. I’m so glad Allie suggested we eat here, because it was so unique and delicious. Even Joe loved it-well his meal anyway, let’s just say he doesn’t like beets…
We were given crusty, seedy whole grain bread to start, with a whipped herb “butter.” Remember, it’s vegan: no animal products of any kind: meat, fish, dairy, eggs, you get the picture.
We all really liked the natural, simple, earthy decor of this place, plus the huge windows were great to sit by, as was the waterfall behind Joe.
Joe ordered the Gumbo, which was absolutely delicious in every way. Joe said it made his impression about the restaurant very positive. He said without ordering that, he probably wouldn’t have enjoyed the vegan fare as a whole.
That sauce was so perfectly spicy. I have a hard time explaining it, but it just hit the back of the tongue in the faintest, most delicate way. I LOVE spicy food, but you know how if you bite into a really spicy jalapeno in a dish, it takes over your mouth? Not like this. I have no clue what was in it, but it was delicious. And the tofu and red quinoa were perfectly prepared. We both want me to buy and cook tofu from now on. I have had some concerns about the consumption of soy before, but I think whole, less processed soy can have more benefits that outweigh certain cons, such as possible hormonal disruptions. Allie and I were talking about it a little, and it is probably more of a problem when soy is heavily processed and added to every other packaged good. I think we are safe with just a few servings of edamame or organic tofu occasionally.
Allie and I split these beautiful plates:
Heirloom Beets citrus beet purée, apple, dill
Maki Roll red beet, avocado, cucumber, jalapeño, carrot, rice, spicy aioli
Chorizo Sliders portabello bacon, frisée, cheddar, chipotle aioli, tomato-pepper jam
Everything was so flavorful, unique, and completely delicious. The chorizo flavor was spot on, and our server told us it was made with seitan (wheat gluten) spices, fennel, etc.)
We had some time before we had to get Allie to her 8:35 flight, so we headed down to the planetarium for some pretty pics of the city while Joe drove around since the cop wouldn’t let him park. Thanks Joe!
It was seriously a wonderful few days with just awesome company! Who knows, I may be in Allie’s neck of the woods someday soon…
I’m so grateful for the blessings of friendships-old and new.
“A friend loves at all times” Proverbs 17:17