Where to Dine in Chicago: Maude’s Liquor Bar

I live right outside Chicago, but I went to school at Loyola, so I’m familiar with downtown dining and entertainment! Chicago is such an amazing place. The people are friendly, the steaks are good, the lake is beautiful, and the weather… well… we can work on the weather. :)

I go into the city a few times a month, and I try to discover a new dining option each time. Tons of my friends who visit The Windy City ask me where they should eat, so I’m going to share a few restaurants on the blog for those who may live here, who may plan to visit, or who just plain enjoy hearing about good food! Let’s start with Maude’s…

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Steak Tartarte topped with an egg and served with homemade horseradish.

Restaurant: Maude’s Liquor Bar

Area of Town: West Loop

It’s Been Described As: A “rustic, rough, Frenchy divey bar

Perfect For: Romantic date night

What to Get: I had two favorites here. The French Onion Fondue ($12) was served with a piping hot baguette and was quite possibly one of the best dishes I have EVER eaten. It was absolutely incredible. For my meal, I picked right again with the Steak Tartare ($18). It was so full of flavor and so filling, I don’t think I spoke a word the entire time I ate it. I’m telling you, unbelievably delicious.

Rating: No question, Maude’s gets 5/5 peppermints. This place is restaurant heaven. It’s French-ish dishes are unique, flavorful, and the ambiance has almost a perfect retro/garage-y feel! The owner also claims the ever-successul Au Cheval (my favorite burger joint), Gilt Bar, and Bavette’s, so he’s definitely doing something right. Maude’s is a MUST try!

French Onion Fondue

French Onion Fondue

Sister Tip: The house bottle of red or white wine is a steal for only $20, and the red was fantastic. I left tipsy, full, and oh so happy. Plus the French pressed coffee was a perfect after meal drink!

Maude's

5 out of 5

Maude’s Liquor Bar is located at 840 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607 

My Favorite ‘Wear it Anytime’ V-Neck (and it’s under $10!)

My Favorite Tee

Sometimes, the best things in life are… cheap! Every girl is in search of the PERFECT tee shirt. Versatile, good sleeve length, fits well, and comfortable. I would also add ‘perfect price’ to that list, and lucky for us, I found the ultimate tee shirt, and I now own six of them, and will be buying more! It’s ideal for every season, especially fall. The greatest part about this tee is that it’s only $7.99 right now from my favorite deal haven, Kohl’s, and the funniest part is that I get it from the junior’s section!

I spend money on certain things when I need to, but a casual, lightweight v-neck is not one of those areas. I rarely will spend more than 10 bucks for a v-neck tee, come on. They last me a couple of years, when I’ll want to get a fresh one anyways, so this junior’s Kohl’s pick is really the perfect purchase! (I order them online so I’m not embarrassed shopping with all the pre-teens in the store..)

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These tees run pretty true to size. I wear a small because I like it to hang down a little further, and be prepared, it’s on the sheer side. But that’s what makes it trendy! I air dry it just to be safe. :)

SISTER TIP: Kohl’s offers free shipping on orders over $50, but if you just want to snag a couple of these cheap tees, go into a Kohl’s and order it through the online kiosks throughout the store! It will provide free shipping on any order, and there’s usually a promo code to take an additional percent off.

How to Fake a Delicious Mediterranean Meal

Oh how I wish I could cook traditional Mediterranean food. The Mediterranean diet has been revered as one of the healthiest in the world, and definitely one of the most delicious. I absolutely DIE for couscous, hummus, pita, pasta, and vegetables, but alas, I am not the planet’s greatest chef, and I certainly don’t have the time or ability to create gourmet Mediterranean dishes! But when I’m craving this style of food, this is how I do it. :)

Mediterranean Meal

1) Marinate Chicken Breasts

I use this recipe from Budget Bytes to marinate my Mediterranean chicken overnight. It’s super inexpensive and simple, and you probably have most of the ingredients at home already.

2) Grab Mediterranean Frozen Veggies

Target has an awesome selection of frozen fruits and vegetables. It’s where I buy almost all of my frozen foods. These Mediterranean-style veggies and quinoa blend from Archer Farms are $2 each, and the perfect addition to any faux Mediterranean dish! Nuke them in the microwave for 6 minutes, and you’re good to go.IMG_8021

3) Make Toum

Huh? Yes, TOUM! Toum is a thick, creamy garlic sauce that can be used for dips or sauces on meats and pastas. The process is a little complicated, but if I can do it, so can you. If you really don’t want to make it, just head up to your nearest Mediterranean grocery store and buy some pre-made, it’s delicious!! Grab the recipe I used here. I used my Vitamix and it turned out perfectly!

Benefits of a Mediterranean Diet

This is such an easy, delicious meal, and your guests will think you’ve been cooking Mediterranean all your life. :) Add some medjool dates as a sweet side dish. Let me know if you try it tonight!

A Rare Teaching Post… My First Day in the Classroom!

I rarely blog about my actual day job, which is that I am a fourth grade teacher! I absolutely LOVE my career choice, and this is my seventh year in the classroom. I have met some amazing kids, worked with some unforgettable colleagues, and learned just as much from my students as they have learned from me. I thought I’d write a few posts here and there about neat and unique things I do in the classroom this year. If you’re a teacher, you’ll be able to appreciate the hard work I put into our first day, and if you’re not a teacher, maybe the pictures will be nostalgic to your days as a student! Either way, here’s what I did on our first day of school yesterday! :)

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We all wore our new school pride t-shirts, but I was determined to still make it fashionable haha. ;)

We have a jungle safari theme in our class this year! This daily schedule is a perfect addition to an otherwise dull filing cabinet in the front of the room.

Left: We have a jungle safari theme in our class! Right: This daily schedule is a perfect addition to an otherwise dull (and enormous) filing cabinet when you enter the room.

I greeted students with a friendly neon pencil, and I hung a laminated sign with fishing wire, so I can erase and change the books in the book basic based on topics we're learning about.

Left: I greeted students with a friendly neon pencil ($1 per pack at WalMart) by sticking two labels together. Right: I hung a laminated sign with fishing wire with a black line, so I can erase and change the books in the basket based on topics we’re learning about. And that chubby little dolphin was given to me as a gift by a student last year. :)

Top: My two favorite picture books to start the year that are appropriate for any age group!  Bottom: 3 posters that help begin my reading unit and teach students to bridge connections in their learning.

Top: My two favorite picture books to start the year that are appropriate for any age!
Bottom: 3 posters that help begin my reading unit and teach students to bridge connections in their learning. We use this language consistently in the classroom. “I have a text-to-self connection to what we just read.”

I pose these questions to the students, then have them write their answer on a post-it and stick it on the poster. We then look for patterns, and use these answers to develop our class constitution.

I posed these questions to the students, then had them write their answer on a post-it and stick it on the poster. We then look for patterns, and use these answers to develop our ‘class constitution’.

Another two questions. And my favorite response :)

Another two questions. And my favorite student response. :)

I use Class Dojo, which is an online program that keeps track of points for good behavior in class. We also followed my first day tradition of creating our "face wall" using only construction paper. They turned out so cute!

I use Class Dojo, which is an online program that keeps track of points for good behavior in class. Some of the possible rewards are listed. We also followed my first day tradition of creating our “face wall” using only construction paper to show how unique and diverse our class is! They turned out so cute!

I hope you enjoyed my first day! Have a wonderful week!