Time for a change of scenery! Away in Chicago, once again greeted by less-than-welcoming weather conditions here. (C’mon Chicago, what did I ever do to you?)

Was whisked off to a late night dinner at Avec and it must have been the swirl of emotions: relief after a tough work week, a carafe of comforting red wine coupled with a blissful reunion (or we can sum it all up to plain old stupidity), it wasn’t until this morning after I awoke that I realized – I’d abandoned my purse at the restaurant. My only form of ID (they won’t let me on the plane… how would I get home??), all my cash and cards, and most importantly the buttery red quilted Chanel that housed it all… I felt nauseous, and I’m sure it had nothing to do with having dinner at midnight.

After several frantic txt messages and phone calls, and not wanting to have to live through 6 hours of hell waiting for the restaurant to open, I took a brisk walk and headed straight for their kitchen entrance. Sure enough, they had the morning delivery and the kitchen staff handy and I was able to retrieve my precious. Quick pit stop to refuel at the supermarket, and I finally had the appetite for breakfast.

My breakfast of black coffee, biscotti, and grapes.

Thanks to the lovely itinerary set up by the dear bf (sports games, new restaurants to try, dinner at Alinea!) this weekend, I’m giving the kitchen a rest. (Probably should have cleaned up some of those dirty dishes. Can’t wait to check out the mountains of multi-colored mold that will surely greet me the night I arrive home.)

I’m off to bum around for a while now, just got back from a late lunch at XOCO, followed with walking the Magnificent Mile (which really, honestly, pales in comparison when you’ve lived in NYC). XOCO was good; the line was almost comparable to the one at Shake Shack Madison Square Park! I got the ahodaga torta, which I figured would be the best to try since it is the only option they do not allow for take-out. (Yes, I am estimating that in the forseeable future, I will be eating at this place again.)

Image “borrowed” from Yelp.com, because… do you really need me to take and post the 1 millionth picture of this dish that already exists on the web?

A medley of pork, black beans (which I couldn’t find, maybe they were pureed? Couldn’t taste them anyhow), and pickled onions sandwiched between a crusty bread that the angels must’ve made from God’s tears, dough, and yeast. It is a contradiction – a delicious tragedy – that this sandwich sits in a shallow bowl of spicy tomato broth. I prefer my bread crusty (not soggy), but without the spicy kick, it just isn’t “special,”