Happy Monday! Weekend Recap 5/2-5/4

Happy Monday! I hope you had a wonderful weekend and a good week ahead! This was an especially busy weekend for me. Once the month of May hits, life goes into overdrive with lots of celebrating going on. I've been having fun capturing my weekend through Instagram so here's a quick photo summary of what the last few days has been like...

1. For my birthday this past Thursday, May 1st, the Baron got me these beautiful diamond earrings. I love them because they are exactly the type of earrings I'm known to wear and they came at the perfect time since I lost a similar earring due to a loose backing.

2. To continue with my birthday dinner, my boys took me to The Vine, a local place that reminds me of places I miss going to in the city. We had a delicious buffalo potato chip appetizer and I enjoyed my grilled pork chop with gorgonzola cream sauce over mashed potatoes & broccolini.

3. Friday was a special day at work. I helped host a 'May Day Celebration' in a luau theme. I organized a potluck and to ensure my fellow colleagues got a taste of the islands, I prepared a tropical feast the night before. Granted, I was up until 2:30am the night of my birthday preparing several dishes to feed folks, but I enjoyed myself. It was made even more worthwhile knowing colleagues really appreciated the effort put in towards the celebration. For the luau, I prepared several trays of the following:
- Kahlua Porkk Sliders with a Mango & Pineapple Salsa
- Chicken Shoyu (soy sauce chicken)
- Pancit Canton (Filipino stir fried noodles with vegetables)
- Island Fried Rice
- Hawaiian Sweet & Sour Meatballs
- Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
- Mandarin orange, Pineapple & Strawberry Spring Greens Salad

4. Although I barely got 4 hours of sleep Thursday night/Friday morning, I managed to get caffeinated so I could do a restaurant review and celebrate my birthday downtown in Chicago with my friend Melissa. We visited Freestyle Food+Drink and had an amazing experience. We kicked the night off with several cocktails (as shown above) and a slew of dishes, sushi maki and desserts. Three hours later we left smiling, laughing and had a night of much needed girl time!

5. Saturday morning rolls around and I was so happy to sleep in! We had a lazy morning and then my boys and I headed out for lunch to do a restaurant review of RA Sushi. I loved how wonderful the staff was and how they helped cater to Joel. The new hand rolls and soups on their seasonal menu were especially good, as was their most popular maki roll - the Viva Las Vegas. This roll had Kani kama crab and cream cheese rolled in rice and seaweed, lightly tempura battered and topped with spicy tuna, kani kama crab mix and sliced lotus root, finished with a sweet eel sauce and spinach tempura bits (shown above).

6. After lunch, we had a Kentucky Derby Party to attend! Our friends hosted their annual Derby Party and it was so much fun. I was rooting for horse #3, Uncle Sigh, who had the lead for most of the race but soon tired at the last leg and eventually fell behind. So much for winning a bet! At least the food was delicious and I had plenty of Mint Juleps to ease the pain of losing...

7. Sunday morning, we had breakfast out at another local place,Whitney Street Cafe. I liked how cozy and comfortable this place was. Everyone was so friendly and the food was really good. Joel especially loved his french toast breakfast. I look forward to coming here again!

8. After our weekly grocery shopping trip following breakfast, I taught a sushi maki class at our local park district. It was a great class with fun students. They did a wonderful job making sushi maki and left with some new found sushi making skills! I'm looking forward to the future culinary classes I'll be teaching through our park district in the coming months.

9. Lastly, to end our weekend, I hosted another family style dinner. My brother and his partner came over where I prepared an Argentinian inspired meal consisting of a rubbed pork roast (shown roasting above), served with chimichurri roasted potatoes, a fresh tomato salad and chocolate dulce de leche ice cream bars for dessert. I love Sunday dinners when the table is full of mouths to feed and empty plates after all is said and done!

That was pretty much my food filled weekend and I cannot wait until next weekend! We've got another busy weekend ahead with Joel's birthday party and Mother's Day to celebrate. But before that, stay tuned this week for recipes from the surf and turf dinner I prepared. Have a wonderful week!

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