Weekend Update

Right now we seem to be suspended in that weird limbo between winter and spring.

Last week when the sun was shining high and the snow was rapidly melting away, I bought myself these pretty flowers from Trader Joe’s to celebrate the much-anticipated transition to spring (my second favorite season, next to fall):


And YET as I walked to dinner this very night, snow was still hastily drifting down.  “Spring forward” suddenly became “Spring Back.”  I think winter is trying to make a point that it is still “officially” around for another week or so.

Luckily there have been plenty of distractions lately to keep my mind off of the nagging winter chill.

Last weekend, for example, Kelli and I took a 3-hour long calligraphy class at Paper Source (their Southport location).

While I initially struggled with my serifs and angles (particularly trying to make my b’s look less like 6’s), Kelli caught on fast.  I snapped a quick photo of her practice letters (which were significantly neater than mine):


Eventually after some practice, I think I started to get the hang of it, too.


(“Tongsang” means “younger sibling” in Korean and is also my nickname for Mikala).

Our instructor makes a living off of this and has an entire binder filled with various writing styles and samples.  She currently has two weddings in the works, addressing over 200 envelopes!  Too bad I didn’t pick this skill up before my wedding…  Although I think it’s safe to say the printed labels we ultimately used were a bit more economical and time-saving.

Following our class, Kelli suggested a late lunch at Julius Meinl just down the street.  Though they are known for their coffee, Julius Meinl (an international coffee company based in Vienna, Austria) also has three coffee shops in the U.S. – all located in Chicago.

Their beverages are served on these fancy silver platters and come with a complimentary biscuit.


They are known for their traditional Viennese pastries and their decor is such that you walk in and feel as though you have been transported to Europe.

I was pretty much famished and ordered their roast beef sandwich with apple-horseradish cream on pretzel bread.


The sandwich was delicious and has inspired me to try to make a version of my own at home – luckily they sell pretzel bread at Trader Joe’s!

For Sunday brunch the following morning, I met up with Jessica (my ever-so-talented co-writer on Edible Prose!) and Ryan, whom I hadn’t seen since my wedding.  I chose Mindy’s Hot Chocolate because it’s been on my Chicago bucket list since I arrived here, and they were kind enough to oblige me.


Both Jessica and Ryan used to live in Chicago, but have since moved away – Ryan is currently in San Francisco and Jessica is in Ann Arbor.  Lucky for me, they both happened to be visiting Chicago during the same weekend.


Though there was a whole menu of tempting hot chocolates to choose from, we all opted for the Mexican hot chocolate, which is made up of 2/3 dark chocolate and 1/3 milk chocolate with a hint of cayenne pepper and cinnamon.  It was also served with a house-made marshmallow.


I also ordered the Veggie Scramble, which featured roasted sunchokes, Tuscan kale, red onion, parmesan, breakfast potatoes, grilled house-made challah bread.  I was intrigued by the presence of the sunchoke which I hadn’t heard of before, but later discovered it’s the same thing as a Jerusalem artichoke which I had tried for the first time at work a few months ago.  In the scramble, it tasted a bit like a mushroom.  I think it’s my new favorite vegetable.


Our brunch was short, but sweet (maybe it had something to do with the hot chocolate).  Hopefully I will get to see these two again soon!

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Later that night when struggling with what to prepare for dinner, I decided to entice Patrick with a trip to Epic Burger.  I knew the only way to get him away from his studies was to lure him with burgers and the plan worked perfectly 🙂

Epic Burger sits on the outskirts of the Old Orchard Mall and has been in our sights for awhile.


After just one meal there, I think this place is fast becoming my favorite burger joint.  Not only was their food delicious, but their ingredients are high quality.  Their beef is grass-fed, their eggs are cage-free, their milkshakes are made with organic ingredients, and they offer a whole wheat bun.  Win, win, win.

Patrick ordered the epic burger with grilled onions and a fried egg.


I ordered the turkey burger.  They also offer a chicken sandwich and a portabella burger that I want to try.


And did I mention their fries are fresh-cut and seasoned with pure sea salt?


I don’t know about you but I could really go for a burger right now…

Enjoy the last few days of winter, everyone!

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7 thoughts on “Weekend Update

  1. Kelli says:

    You are too kind, Monica. I’m looking forward to practicing our calligraphy again very soon! And now I’m anxious to try our Hot Chocolate! I could really go for a cup right now!

  2. What a weekend! I wish I could have come with you and Kelli to that calligraphy class – it looks so cool and both of you did an amazing job! I like the sound of that Viennese coffee shop and you can’t go wrong with Mexican hot chocolate, either. As if that weren’t enough deliciousness, you also ate at my favorite burger place! We miss Epic Burger and their yummy, wholesome ingredients. 🙂

    • Monica says:

      Yes, I love Epic Burger! I should’ve known that it was one of your favorites 🙂 We wish you could have come to our calligraphy class, too… we’re already thinking about how to utilize our new skill – like perhaps menu signs at the next Pinterest party? 🙂

  3. Mikala says:

    Of all the words for you to be practicing your calligraphy with…I think I should be flattered?

    Also, I’m jealous! I want a Ry Ry & J reunion.

  4. Susan says:

    I’m so jealous! Calligraphy class is my definition of an awesome day. Oh, and a burger too. 🙂

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