Family Fun at Frato’s!

Summer is officially over for my kids and their friends. And with the end of summer comes the end of planning play dates at water parks & outdoor playgrounds. Some days when trying to make plans, I give up because indoor activities can get either played out (indoor bounce “zones” only last so long before someone gets sick or hurt) or expensive. And then I still have to find places for them to EAT – and let’s face it. Kids can get picky. And picky eaters get cranky way too quickly for the parents to truly relax and enjoy their meal.

Enter our saving grace: Frato’s Pizza & Catering in Schaumburg.

20170827_130133

I used to think of Frato’s as just take-out/delivery pizza. Then one day I decided to take my family with me to just eat there (I’ll be honest: it’s so that I wouldn’t have to clean up after everyone. Which is A HUGE deal for a tired, over-worked mom). I realized this is a place I could make a regular outing.

20170827_122710

And what a PERFECT opportunity this past weekend. My 1st grader & her friends all went separate ways for school this year, so the parents and I wanted to meet up for an “end of the year” lunch. So we decided to take the risk of bringing not 1-2 kids, but 6 KIDS AND A BABY with us, 4 poor old souls (3 moms & 1 dad) and eat at Frato’s.

[Drool-worthy pictures after the jump!]

Continue reading

Meal-Prep Monday: Chicken Adobo (Filipino Style)

Hi There!

The Filipino Chicken Adobo that I grew up with was a stew made with chicken, beef or pork that we placed on steamed rice.  The best part for me was mixing the stew liquid with my rice (at one point, I was convinced that I could live just off of that).

If you were to ask three different Filipinos how they make adobo, you will get three different answers.  Even if you were to go to the Philippines and asked three different people in the same village, you will get three different answers.   It’s kind of like mole with Mexicans – you ask three different people how they make their mole, you will get three different answers.

When I was (trying) to learn how to make this dish, my Mom would adjust amounts by taste – she never knew if it was 1 cup of this and 2 teaspoons of that.  At one point I did measure out everything, but can’t seem to find the recipe that I made out.  Even now, I season to taste (which probably doesn’t help my fellow readers much!)  Fear not, I found a recipe that was close to the ratios of the ingredients that I used (see below).  However, the way I was taught to make it was slightly different.

You will need:

Chicken drumsticks, thighs and/or wings (I used a package of 4 thighs and drumsticks each)

4 cloves Garlic

1 sliced or chopped onion

Whole Peppercorn

3 Bay Leaves

White or Apple Cider Vinegar (there is debate on which to use among Filipinos, I hear!)

Soy Sauce

Water

Sugar (brown or regular, again, up to debate)

Fresh ground salt/pepper to taste

Steamed Rice for Serving

Gathered all the ingredients first, of course

This dish can be made on a stove top, slow cooker or pressure cooker.  Today, I went old-school and made it on my stove top.

A lot of recipes will state to let the chicken sit in the soy sauce/vingar marinade for 1 to 3 hours.  However, this recipe seems so forgiving that, if you just put everything in the pot, it would still come out delicious!

In fact, that is what I did – I just threw everything in the pot, from the liquids (soy sauce, vinegar and water) in a 1:2:1 ratio (for example, 1 cup soy sauce, 2 cups vinegar, 1 cup water) into my stock pot.  Then added the garlic, onion, peppercorn and bay leaves.


Followed by the meat.


Allow to come to a boil, then cover and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes until cooked through.

Serve on top of freshly steamed rice, with vegetables of choice, such as steamed green beans or asparagus.

No, I didn’t eat the bay leaf…


Disclaimer: I sometimes forget the peppercorn when I make this.  However, because this dish is so forgiving (at least for me), it still tastes great with just the fresh ground pepper on top.

There you have it!  Have you made Filipino Adobo too?  What did you think of it?  Please leave your comments in the box below!

Until next time!

–Maeven

Recipe:

https://www.kawalingpinoy.com/chicken-adobo/

 

 

 

 

 

Supper Club Saturday: Kanela Breakfast Club (Andersonville)

Kanela Breakfast Club

5413 N Clark Street

Chicago, IL 60640

773.594.2874

http://www.kanelabreakfastclub.com/

“Breakfast is the important meal of the day” is how the saying goes (though, this may be up for debate to some).  For me, I can have breakfast any time of the day and still feel satiated, especially from Kanela Breakfast Club.

They pride themselves on using fresh and local produce whenever possible, with dishes reminiscent of what Mom used to make with a twist (to ad-lib from their website).

They have dishes that are very healthy and light as well as those that are savory and have a comfort feel to them.  I had a pretty stressful week, so I was aiming for one of their more comfort food type of breakfast.

Some of their (adult) drinks that we have tried include:  Kanela Mimosa, Sofiemosa, Bloody Mary, and Cinnamon Toast Brunch.

They also offer fresh squeezed juices and blended smoothies, as well as fresh brewed coffee from La Colombe.

At first glance of the menu, I was thinking, “I could eat ALL of this!” because they all looked so good!  From what we were able to try, we were not disappointed at all!

Lemon Blueberry Pancakes

Corned Beef Hash

Pork Belly Benedict with a side of Fruit

Chicken & Waffles

California Benedict with Peppered Bacon

Kanela French Toast
A couple of times when we were there, we sat at the bar.  There was a tv above it where movies would show (that day it was “Rogue One,” with captions) and the music would play overhead.  The two bartenders that were there were very friendly and kept wanting to give me more coffee (not a bad thing!)  We discussed the movie and our thoughts on the entire Star Wars movie franchise. On the overhead, the song “Africa” from Toto was playing.  When the part of the song go to the chorus, the wait staff broke into song and harmonized (beautifully, I might add):

Its gonna take a lot to take me away from you/  There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do/ I bless the rains down in Africa/ Gonna take some time to do the things we never had…

In fact some of the patrons sang/hummed along (like me…and you too! – don’t deny it), because really, how can you NOT sing along to Toto’s “Africa?”

Then, I found myself looking around, feeling almost nostalgic.

I had grown up in this neighborhood – my first job was literally kitty-corner from this place (R.I.P. The Swedish Bakery!)  Looking around at the tables at the men, women and children – a white man and a black woman, a trans couple, a family, a multi-racial group of friends (or couples double-dating?), and then at my show-toony, coffee-pushing bartenders, I felt such happiness and such pride.  Grateful and lucky to be witness to the openness and acceptance of this space and this neighborhood.  I sat, breathed in, and appreciated the moment.

I mentioned earlier about my stressful week.  Well, my time at Kanela ended that and left me with my hands full of Joe (thanks again to my legal caffeine pushers!), my belly filled with yumminess, and my heart overflowing with love.

Kanela Breakfast Club has five other locations, in addition to the one in Andersonville. Thats SIX places to choose from to enjoy their food and feel the love!

Have you been there as well?  What was your experience like?  Please leave your comments in the box below!

–Maeven

Wanderlust Wednesday: Washington, D.C. (Part 3)

We started off at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  I felt that it is one of the many places to visit while in D.C.  The Holocaust was just an unspeakable and horrible period in the World’s history, yet it is also something that should be reflected and learned about so it is not repeated.

You may think that you know all there is about the Holocaust, but I learned some new things while at the museum – either that or I learned about it, forgot about it then re-learned it again.   For example, other than incarcerating Jews, the Germans also sent Jehovah’s Witnesses, political prisoners (aka anyone who spoke up against Hitler and the Nazis), scientists and homosexuals.  At one point, the amount of countries that were controlled by the Nazis were so far and vast, those trying to escape them, really had no where to go.  Then, once the war was over, because there was so much destruction, especially in the Allied countries, those that were able to return, couldn’t.

They did have stories that I did remember and/or read about.  They had a section on Anne Frank, about her life, when she was captured and when she died.  They also had a section on Auschwitz, how the prisoners were transported by freight cars in extreme conditions.  Then how they were divided up, first by gender, then whether they will continue at the camp undergoing hard labor, or if they will go to the gas chamber.

They also had a room that had written excerpts as well as recordings of those who had survived the Holocaust.  They described how they were brought to the camps, how their life was while living in the barracks, or how it was when they were rescued at the end of the war.  After seeing how everyone was taken, imprisoned and/or put to death, you can’t help but to feel awe for those who had lived through such horror, anger for those who had imprisoned them, and sadness for those who did not survive.

Now, I wish I could have taken more photos around the museum.  However, I also felt that this was such a somber and heavy topic, that I did not want to be snapping photos at every turn.   You can’t help but to feel affected in some way after that.

Next was the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.   Just like the name suggests, this museum chronicles how man got into the air and space by craft.

We saw the plane flown by the Wright Brothers!

The museum gave a nod to women pilots in America, too!

Some military planes and drones…

As well as space craft and satellites…

We even got on one of the simulator rides!

From there we headed towards the White House.  We were only able to take a picture from outside the gates.

Shortly after we returned home, they announced that they were no longer allowing people in that area anymore (good thing we went, then!)

Finally, our last stop was at the State Capitol.  We were able to get a tour after contacting our state representative, Tammy Duckworth.

For a big building, we weren’t allowed into a lot of it.  Even though there were some rooms there for the representatives, they really spend most of their time across the street in either the Rayburn House Office Building or in the Hart Senate Office Building.

By the time we were done with our tour, we were plenty tired!  We would be leaving early the next morning.   I did feel like we covered a lot of ground and we would love to come back!

How about you?  Have you been here as well?  What did you think?  Feel free to share in the comments below!

Until next time,

–Maeven

References:

https://www.ushmm.org/

https://airandspace.si.edu/

https://www.whitehouse.gov/

https://www.visitthecapitol.gov/

CFA’s Favorite NW Suburban Coffee Spots

20170604_120023

The thing about coffee is that there is hardly any breathing room between Starbucks and the closest Dunkin. Shoot, there’s hardly enough breathing room between Starbucks and the next Starbucks! Same goes for Dunkin. And I’ll admit – I have the app for both. Because I’m a sucker for racking up rewards.

But I’d say in the past 2 years, I’ve learned to stop pulling into the convenient drive thrus and pay attention to the quality of the coffee. Quick shout out to my cousin, who happens to be a contributor on atribecalledepicurious – he graciously donated a Moka pot to me, and it fueled my obsession. But more on the world of homemade coffee & caffeine variations another time.

I’m not about to invite you all into my home just yet. We’re not cool like that. I can’t let you see how “human” I truly am. For now, just believe me when I say my kids do not leave their toys ANYWHERE that isn’t a restricted play area, my laundry is always done & folded & put away, and we only use our finest non-plastic china to serve homemade, organic breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I mean, you don’t know me, so you have to just take my word for it. I swear.

Continue reading

Musings on the Getty Center and Museums in General,

Hello, everyone! Jaja the forever tourist is here again!  Today, I wanna share with you guys one of my favorite places to explore in the city, the Getty Center.

A quick history: The Getty Center is one of two campuses of the Getty Museum. The Center is located in Brentwood, Los Angeles, while the Getty Villa is in the neighborhood of Pacific Palisades. The art collection was started by Jean Paul Getty in his home in Palisades. As the collection grew, he added a wing to his home which became the museum area, displaying his extensive collection. As the collection grew in the now-dubbed Getty Villa, he extended his museum by building another campus. The Villa focuses more on the arts and culture of Greece, Rome, and Etruria, while the Center houses collections from pre-20th-century European paintings, drawings, illuminated manuscripts, sculpture, and decorative arts; and 19th- and 20th-century American, Asian, and European photographs.

2017_04_09_00_The_Getty_Center (1)

Tourist guide: It is free to get in both museums, but you do need to pay a parking fee. But here’s the good thing: If you want to visit both museums in one day, just keep your parking ticket as it is valid for both museums on a same-day visit. That’s a $15 parking ticket you pay once for a two-museum visit. On Saturdays, the Center closes later as well, so if you don’t want to rush from one place to another, I suggest visiting the Villa first, and then drive on over to the Center.

PS: Audio tours are free, and they loan you the listening device AND the headphones. Now, I’m sure they clean their headphones, but if you’re a tad germophobic like me, feel free to bring your own headset.

 

Now, I’ve been to the Center a handful of times, and to the Villa zero times. That’s something that needs to be changed. Haha. The reason why I haven’t visited the very beautiful Villa is because I want to view all the collections at the Center. Some exhibits do change which makes multiple trips reasonable.

Once you get out of the parking structure, a tram takes you to the top of the hill where the magnificent structure of the Getty Museum is located. Whenever I step out of that tram, the view never fails to take my breath away. Right in front of the building, you have a wide open area that lets you take in the view from atop that hill. Overlooking the terrace is the valley, the houses and the rolling hills. The facade of the building is simple yet magnanimous. Clear lines, white finish, and a spacious staircase that leads you at the front door. Even before you enter the Center, you are greeted by marvelous sculptures.

2017_04_09_00_The_Getty_Center (7)

To the right of the front door is the audio tour desk. All you have to do is leave a form of identification with them and they will hand you your free audio tour listening device. I highly recommend this audio tour. There is no set tour you have to follow, you just go to whatever exhibit you want to check out and enter the number you see next to the exhibit piece into the listening device.

Oh, and if you are visiting with children and have a lot of stuff, took public transportation, or just have a lot of belongings with you, don’t let that hinder you from exploring the Center comfortably. To the left of the open-air lobby, you can find a check-in counter for your coats, bags, etc.

2017_04_09_00_The_Getty_Center (15)2017_04_09_00_The_Getty_Center (21)

Whenever I visit the Center, I have a little pattern that I follow. Different exhibits are placed in different buildings, a couple are connected to each other by hallways and stairs. I work my way from the exhibits right out front and wok my way back (I follow the map they give out in front). And then I take a break out in the courtyard, have a snack, a drink, get some fresh air, and then resume my tour. I have NEVER completed the exhibits in one day, hence the multiple visits.

When I feel like I’ve satisfied my museum craving, I walk around the expansive and beautiful garden of the Center. After all that, I usually find a shaded area in their grassy area and join the other visitors just chilling on the grass, laying out, doing their think out in the Center garden. Yes, the garden is open to the visitors, even if they visit the Center specifically just to have a picnic there. Outside in the courtyard/garden, you can marvel at the impressive architecture of the Center. Not only that, it offers a wonderful view of the city. I would take this time to just muse on the art pieces that I’ve seen that day. Sometimes, I’d bring my journal or a book with me and just chill the rest of my visit there.

2017_04_09_00_The_Getty_Center (16)2017_04_09_00_The_Getty_Center (49)

I’m one of those people that cherish my solitude from time to time. I’m also part of that group who lavishes on alone time in museums. Whenever I go by myself, I really REALLY take my time and check out each art piece. I stand there and admire the art works, ponder on what the artist had in mind, how it makes me feel, what the impact is in today’s society. It’s an experience of the mind and soul that I feel like I cannot undertake if I’m with another person who does not see museums the way that I do. But hey, don’t get me wrong. I enjoy visiting museums with friends because it is also a shared experience. You and your companions get to share your views with each other, discuss about the art work, and simply just share that experience with each other.

2017_04_09_00_The_Getty_Center (55)

x,
Jaja (IG:@theforevertourist)