Bronte+Sydney's Chicago Adventures

IMG_1085 This is my friend, Bronte. I've known her for...nine years. Wait, NINE YEARS!? That can't be right. (holy moly, it IS right!) The first time I ever met her was when she came for a school visit the year earlier, and I did everything in my power to get her attention. After all, she was English, had an affinity for Tim Burton movies, had a super cool haircut, and, most importantly, she was NEW. I LOVE new kids. Back when I couldn't bake anything to save my life, I used to use a little self-deprecating humor to get attention. Nowadays, I shove a baked good in their face, and we go from there.

Bronte and I became fast friends. We're often on the same wave length, and like almost all the same things. It's hard to find true connections with people in this world, so when you've found one, you must hold on to it. Though Bronte has since moved back to England, we've never lost contact, and she's shown up in the Midwest several times since then.

When the stars align and I find myself in Chicago, I usually have a plan. It's usually a 2+ page list of activities to ensure that I don't squander even a minute of the opportunity to take a day trip to one of the greatest cities in America. I can also pick up a few harder-to-find baking ingredients whilst I'm in a bigger city, and I generally don't waste those opportunities either.

But this visit was a little different. There was no plan, really, other than when I was to arrive, and when I was to board the commuter train home. This time we had hours and hours to simply wander around the city, pop into shops and bakeries whenever we pleased, and just enjoy each other's company.

Bronte Chicago

We walked around, gabbed about old classmates, grabbed cupcakes and cake samples from Magnolia Bakery, went in search of sunglasses (Bronte), and lamented over the sudden disappearance of curls thanks to some powerful Chicago fog (Sydney).

Walking and continuous laughter can make a couple of gal pals awfully peckish. Since it was the middle of the dreaded lunch hour, and seeing as we were right in the heart of many, many businesses full of hungry office-dwellers, we decided that there was no chance we'd get seats in a restaurant. The best thing to do was grab some bangin' burgers from Good Stuff Eateryand have an impromptu picnic on the steps of the Art Institute. Bronte did a fabulous job of documenting that in the picture above.^^^


So, OKAY, I fibbed a little. I did have a little bit of a plan: absolutely no matter what else happened, it was essential that Bronte and I find ourselves in the pie garden of Bang Bang Pie Shop. No matter what happens, if my feet are touching the streets of Chicago, those feet must jump on the blue line to Logan Square to get a piece of pie, or else.

And, I will say, I was NOT disappointed. When we arrived, I vowed to get something new; I tend to just venture back to things I like because I know I'll like them. And as I stared at the giant chalkboard filled with new possibilities, I'd made a decision to pick the first thing that sounded good to me. That is, until I noticed that the French Silk Pie was on the menu for the day. As much as I loved it, I just couldn't order it again. I HAD to get out of my comfort zone. But then, I noticed something different: that classic French Silk Pie had been given a Mexican twist. That was new enough for me!

Get this: Chocolate mousse and Ancho Reyes Chili Liqueur, topped with whipped cream and a little lime zest. PHENOMENAL. Now I'm going to have to figure out how to replicate it at home!

We rode the train home in comfortable silence, quite content with our relaxed day of adventures (and quite sleepy as well).

Thanks for a good day, Chicago. I'm going to live in you one day.

Address Me as "Your Majesty"

I'm the Birthday Princess! Today was such a simple, such a LOVELY day.

You know how people say that as they get older, they don't really care about doing it big for birthdays anymore? All they really care about is being with the ones they love? I get that. For some reason, there's all this pressure to have a good time on your birthday, making it incredible, and that's too much to live up to. I'd rather be close to the ones that I cherish, eat some good comfort food, then eat again. And take lots of pictures. So that's what I did. I took pictures, ate, laughed, ate, took more pictures, went in search of more food. And it was the best birthday yet.

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I feel like Gourmet Dumpling House is one of Boston's best kept secrets. Tucked away in the heart of Chinatown, you'll pass by a lot of delicious options before you find this place. But there's a reason that the line runs out the door most nights. I can say without a doubt that those are the best dumplings in Boston. HANDS DOWN. And I have had many, many dumplings. I don't know what they do, but they do it well. It has been a staple dinner place in my friend group for many years, and those I take there know how sacred it is. And don't you dare leave until you've had an order of scallion pancakes. Good gracious, now I want some.

I also brought a disposable camera that I picked up from the pharmacy. I miss the days of using film, so I'm trying to get myself back into it. So far so good. Anna was kind enough to put up with me taking "artistic" shots from the crosswalk.

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I know I'm so late to the macaron trend, but I can't believe how much one of these can change my entire day. We went in search of the Cameo Macaron truck and found it parked by Prudential. I memorized the walk because I think I'll be making it rather often this summer. We ate our cookies by the water and waxed nostalgic about how much we've grown and changed in seven years. She's graduating and going home soon, so being with her today made this  birthday so much better.

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What am I going to do without my beautiful best friend? Ah well, we'll manage. We always do.


It's my birthday, and I'm drinking a mini bottle of Pink Moscato bubbly. This is the life.


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