Top 5 Places to Eat in Chicago

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If you know me in real life, or if you’ve been following along on the ‘gram, then you probably know about my love of good food. I also happen to think that Chicago offers some of the best bites in the country, which is why today on the blog I’m talking about my top 5 fave places to eat around town. (You won’t be surprised to find that more than half my picks are Asian–but none of that fusion stuff or bad Chinese takeout–I’m talking the kind of mouth-watering, authentic goodness like your favorite Asian grandma makes (hi, mom!).

Whenever I am in the city, I make it a point to hit up one of these spots–go check it out if you can!

Ba Le (5014 N. Broadway St.)
Get the BBQ Pork Banh Mi – this traditional Vietnamese sandwich has thinly sliced grilled pork flavored with lemongrass and lemon fish sauce! I’ve been eating here with my entire family since I was a kid.

Hon Kee (1064 W. Argyle St.)
You’ll want to order a roast duck–you know, one of the ones that hang in the window. Personally, I think they have THE best Chinese BB-Q in all of Chicago. And try the fresh dumplings that they make by hand. Asians always say the thinner the dumpling skin, the better–and Hon Kee dumplings are paper-thin, you can almost see the insides! Another place I’ve been eating at since I was a little girl. So much I know everyone there including the owners!

Little Goat Diner (820 W. Randolph St.)
Okay, seriously. This diner is owned by Top Chef Stephanie Izard and it is the cutest. (I mean, just look at their rad website, for starters!) I love taking the kids here on weekends. For brekkie, I like the Bi Bim Bop Breakfast Bowl; lunch, get the Pork Belly Pancake; and dinner, always the Pork Belly Ramen. Trust me!

Luella’s Southern Kitchen (4609 N. Lincoln Ave.)
When I’m not fixing for Asian flavors, Luella’s is a tried and true, oldie but goodie! Featuring Southern flavors and classic comfort foods, you can’t go wrong with the Fried Chicken and Collard Greens or the Braised Short Rib Mac and Cheese.

Saigon Bistro (6242-44 N. California Ave.)
I basically always order 5lbs of the frozen crawfish–and that’s just for myself! Their secret sauce is seriously made by the food gods themselves!

Happy eating! If you try any of these places above, be sure to leave me a comment about what you think!

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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Me

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Trying something a little different with today’s post and sharing 10 things I bet you didn’t know about me! One of my goals for the next few months is to be a bit more personal here on the blog. I know that some of you may have only started following along the past few months, so I thought we should get to know each other better. I love finding new friends in this little corner of the web, so drop me a comment about yourself and let’s connect! (Oh, and this perfect halter neck jumpsuit is just what you need for spring/summer. Its cropped pant leg is perfect for petites. Get it while it’s in stock!)

1. My last meal would be Bun Rieu, a Vietnamese crab soup.

2. I met my husband, who I call The Giant, at a fashion show in Chicago! I spotted his height across the runway so I made a bet with my friend about how tall he is. I walked across the room to find out, tapped him on the shoulders, and found myself face to face with a HAWT guy. Now ordinarily I’m not a shy person but this one here got me tongue-tied. The rest is history.

3. I have three boys. My favorite is my middle child, Rhys. He’s certainly not the most well-behaved of all my children, but he’s the most like me – a space cadet, emotional, and a social butterfly.

4. I was a competitive salsa dancer for four years. I won most of the local competitions that I participated in. When I was a kid, I always wanted to be a ballerina, so this is the closest I came to fulfilling my dream.

5. One thing I can’t live without … my kids… okay, and fake eyelashes. Not necessarily in that order!

6. Something I struggled with in the past is letting go of anger. I used to hold on to so much anger towards my family, but then I read some self-help type of book about 15 years ago that helped teach me how to let go of grudges. And just like that, like a light switch, I let it all go. I felt so free. I wish I could remember the name of that book!

7. If I could steal a celebrity’s wardrobe, it would be J.Lo.

8. On a whim one day, I decided to give out Free Hugs to people in Chicago. It was the most fulfilling experience I’ve ever had in my life. I rallied two of my friends and we stood on a street corner in the heart of the city with handmade signs, reading “FREE HUGS HERE!” Strangers approached me and said, “I needed that hug today” and “This made my week!”

9. My biggest fashion mistake was probably the teasing of my hair in the 80’s. Or maybe the skunk-like hair streaks? Gosh, I have so many regrets…

10. The most interesting stranger I ever met was this Greek man named Gus that I encountered on a bus in Chicago. He was old and lonely. We exchanged numbers and started chatting on the phone. He invited me over to his place, so I went! He lived in a retirement home and was so lonely. He said that me befriending him was the best thing that’s happened to him in years. He treated me like a daughter and even cooked me Greek meals! Unfortunately, over the years we lost touch.
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