chicago

My (internal) Confrontation Waiting to Happen – Again

I’ve had ‘confrontations’ with myself for years now, simply because I know I should be doing things that continuously make myself better.

And by better, I mean refocusing my efforts to live life to the fullest – being a better friend, brother, son, uncle, employee; working out a little more; drinking a little less; traveling more, etc. I’m happy about the experiences I’ve had to date but there’s still this innate desire to do more.

Yet, I am my own worst critic. I always wonder, “Could I be doing something bigger and better to truly make a difference?”  (Some of you know this, but I served in the armed forces and worked in a hospital for quite a while. Defending freedom and saving lives are two professions that set the bar of achieving “something more” pretty high.)

I could argue that I don’t have the discipline to – day after day – make the proper decisions. That would be an excuse because discipline is a learned quality, a function of habit. I could say, simply, that change is hard. Everyone knows this. But, again, an excuse.

  • What would you do to make a difference in the lives of others?
  • How do you achieve your level of discipline?

One time I was told, “Don’t judge your insides by somebody else’s outsides.” This held two meanings for me. Everyone has their own set of problems. As hard as you try, you will never be able to read another person’s mind and the demons they deal with on a daily basis. You should look at your own ‘insides’ and realize that change comes from within.

Maybe it’s time to have another deep confrontation with myself.

Oh, and here’s the inspiration for this post: Seth’s Blog: The confrontation waiting to happen.

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Kanela Offers Local Ingredients Served Up Right

4.0 out of 5        http://www.kanelacafe.com/

Two posts this week. With organic and local ingredients, combined with tasty Julius Meinl coffee, this place rates as one of the best for breakfast.

Atmosphere is upscale casual, with simple lines and a comfortable space. The noise level does tend to get a bit loud but you can still hear the people sitting across from you. The Lakeview crowd, east and west, come to enjoy. We arrived pretty early so didn’t have to wait, but the place fills up quickly – and not sure if they take reservations. New parents beware – it’s not really stroller friendly.

The menu offers a selection of sweet and savory, mixing things like the loukoumades (a fried fritter with lemon-honey syrup and walnuts) and banana split crepes to a spicy feta omelette or chorizo and eggs. (I’ve only had breakfast here but the lunch items look pretty damn tasty. Either way, it’s a win-win).  The best part is that they’ve just started serving dinner!

The staff was great too. Pretty attentive and pleasant, despite the business of the place. Southport Grocery better watch themselves. They’ve got some serious competition. 😉

Kanela
3231 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 248-1622
http://www.kanelacafe.com/

Lichtenstein at the Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago has one of the largest impressionist galleries in the world. It also currently plays host to the largest exhibit of Roy Lichtenstein pieces of all time. Unfortunately, since some of the most famous pieces are borrowed from private collections, photos were not permitted. I took what I could.  The museum is so large that I only wondered into two other wings while there.  Some of the photos are of the more famous works.  If you get to Chicago, this is a MUST!

Frankie’s Dishes Up Pizza, Pasta and some Pizzaz

Overall 3.5 out of 5.   http://www.frankieschicago.com/

I frequent Frankie’s Fifth Floor mainly because my office is in the same building.  This Lettuce Entertain You Italian locale offers a nice variety of quick, affordable lunches to a wide audience of locals, tourists and business consumers.  They also offer a decent selection of full entrees, including pasta, meats and salads.  Smaller style pizzas (10 inches, I think) are also available.

A marghertia pizza and small ceasar salad is a perfect lunch that will definitely leave you feeling full!  The chopped salad is also a winner.  I would, however, avoid the caprese salad.  The last two times I’ve ordered it, the mozzarella comes out extremely “wet”.  I know buffalo mozz is packed in water but the cheese has been lacking its creamy flavor and you end up with a plate full of water.  Not good.

The restaurant is basically a two-in-one offering.  You can sit “outside” (Frankie’s Fifth Floor Pizzaria) in the main area of the mall, which is nice due to the large window overlooking Michigan Avenue.  Frankie’s Scallopine (or “Inside”) offers a slightly more upscale and intimate aesthetic, sans pizza.  Either way, the food is quite good and you’ll be fine.

Be sure to check out happy hour on Friday’s, with martinis, select wines and small appetizers for $5!

See if Kevin’s working.  He’s the most considerate, attentive waiter I’ve experienced in a long time.  We always grab his section.

Bourbon and Burgers with Personality, Charm

Overall 3.5  out of 5.   http://www.rocksbargroup.com/lakeview/

This neighborhood bar, about a year into their expansion, offers a solid menu and great atmosphere.  It’s perfect for watching a game – day or night.  They feature a long list of whiskeys and have a great rotating beer selection on tap.  Be sure to check out their monthly drink specials and week night food deals.  (And some of the staff is VERY easy on the eye).

This restaurant is part of two. The sister restaurant is in Lincoln Park but, in my mind, this location has a lot more personality. Be sure to sit with Trista or Joyce.  They’re the best.  Start off with mac and cheese wedges with BBQ dipping sauce.  If you’re in the mood for a burger, you can’t go wrong with their BBBest BBBurger, which is topped with bacon, blue cheese and buffalo sauce.  Tots are a must.  For the more health conscious, the goat cheese salad topped with chicken is also a winner.

Best hangover sandwich in the universe – the Leroy Brown!  Take macaroni and cheese, top it with pulled pork and onion strings, and put it between two thick slices of Texas toast.  After a long night out, eating this will make you feel right as rain.

If you’re eating Sunday brunch, don’t expect a quick “in and out” experience.  Food orders take some time when crowded, due to overwhelming demand and their small kitchen.  This is also the reason they stop serving breakfast items at noon.

Lakeview locals frequent the place, as well as an occasional softball team on the weekends.  You’ll always find a variety of college fans (although not dedicated to one team) which brings in a great mix of straight/gay/families all the way around.

Seating tip: During the summer, sit outside on the side of the building, rather than the front.  The side street offers a little more shade on hot days.  There are NO trees on Broadway to break the pounding heat.  The best alternative is to sit inside next to an open window.  Either way, you can’t lose.

 

Review: Lux Bar Chicago

Decided to hit up Lux Bar for lunch. They must be known for their crab dishes since the multi-legged crustacean was scattered throughout the menu. Try the club sandwich with tangy mayo and avocado. The ingredients gave the sandwich unique flavor, not to mention they cut the crust off all the bread!

And, who does bottled Coke any more? Delicious.

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Lux Bar
18 E Bellevue Pl
Chicago, IL 60611