Friday Things

1. You guys. I have seen the sunshine for FOUR CONSECUTIVE DAYS. It was sunny all morning on Monday, I briefly saw sun Tuesday afternoon, and then there was MORE sun on Wednesday! Considering that, on Jan. 26, we had only had five days with sun for the entire month of January, this is not a small deal.


January was such a strange winter weather month. I don’t really have high hopes for sun during the winter in Chicago, so the cloudiness didn’t surprise me, but the temperatures and lack of snow most certainly did. We haven’t had measurable snow yet this entire year, and while we had a couple of bitterly cold days, for the most part it was somewhere between the mid-30s and mid-40s for all of January (right on the razor edge of which winter coat I need to wear to feel comfortable, of course. I don’t think I’ve ever switched between my pea coat and parka so many times before!). Obviously we still have all of February, and last year it snowed in April, so I don’t think we can really label this the winter that wasn’t quite yet. It sure feels like it’s heading in that direction, though. I suppose I don’t mind the lack of snow–it makes running outside a lot simpler–and the temperatures haven’t been terribly uncomfortable, but if we’re going to have a non-winter winter, I wish it could at least be sunny more often.

2. I got a couple more punches in my Chicagoan card this week. On Monday, I caught a Chicago unicorn, by which I mean I and two coworkers walked into Au Cheval and immediately got a table (granted, it was like 11:15 on a Monday in January, but let’s not split hairs here.). Au Cheval, allegedly, has the best burgers in the entire city of Chicago, and I’d have to say I agree with that assessment after having their cheeseburger (I have a working theory that Au Cheval’s burgers are the best in town because they come with cheese by default, not by special request, and I will always believe that putting cheese on a burger instantly ups its deliciousness by at least 10 fold). I can’t imagine that the cheeseburger and fries, which are made in pork fat, did my already borderline high cholesterol any favors, but you know, #yolo.

Then on Wednesday, after years of thinking, “I should go out to eat during Restaurant Week” and then coming up with every single excuse under the sun to not go out to eat during Restaurant Week, I finally had a Restaurant Week dinner at Bistro Campagne. I end up Lincoln Square every couple of months or so and have walked past Bistro Campagne plenty of times, so I was excited to finally try it out.

I’m not exaggerating when I say it was one of the best meals I’ve ever had in my life.

Over 300 restaurants participate in Restaurant Week, and since I was not particularly interested in doing the leg work to comb through all of those to find the best bang for my buck myself, I left that task to the RedEye and Chicagoist. I whittled down a short list from the places listed in the articles, and from that short list, only one restaurant appeared on both: Bistro Campagne. I expected a good meal, but I never dreamed it’d be as fantastic as it turned out to be.

I had the Soupe du Jour for my first course, which last Wednesday was butternut squash soup. It was absolutely perfect: so smooth, so flavorful, and just the right size to start my meal. For my main course, I chose the Poulet Rôti Forestière, a chicken dish with fried onions and mushrooms, and it was simply to die for. I eat a lot (A. LOT.) of chicken, and this was seasoned and cooked to perfection. Unsurprisingly, I put a high priority on dessert when looking at restaurants, and the Pot-de-Crème au Chocolat (basically the best chocolate pudding you could ever hope for) MORE than met my expectations. Seriously, I cannot get over how incredible this entire meal was from start to finish. AND on top of all of that, it only cost $33 (pre tax, tip, etc.). The chicken entree alone normally costs $27, so to get two additional courses for only $6 more blows my mind. Restaurant Week continues through Feb. 9, so if you’re in town and have a free night, I cannot recommend Bistro Campagne enough.

3. I came down with a cold on Monday, which is an annoyance in and of itself, but my discomfort has been enormously compounded by the fact that it is so freaking dry in my office. I have been a sneezing machine since they turned the heat on a few months ago, and this week has taken my nose woes to new heights. We have an online suggestion box where employees can submit ideas to improve the company either from a business perspective or a culture perspective, and someone else requested humidifiers in the office due to the dryness (so I’m not the only one who’s noticed this). We can’t install humidifiers because of lease restrictions, but someone recommended a personal desk humidifier instead. Has anyone ever used something like that? Growing up, we had a humidifier my parents would put in our bedrooms when we got sick, but obviously I don’t need something that powerful to cut down on the Saharan qualities of my cube. If anyone has experience with a personal desk humidifier, I’d love to hear if it works or not! Anything to stop the constant nose irritation and sneezing 😦

Have you ever participated in Restaurant Week, either in Chicago or elsewhere?
Do you have a desk humidifier? How do you like it?

8 thoughts on “Friday Things

  1. I’m doing restaurant week in D.C. tomorrow night! I’m a vegetarian and don’t often eat dessert, so I usually think restaurant week is a rip off. But I am so excited for the place we are going tomorrow. Looking like I’ll be having some lasagna and some cannoli!

  2. That link about the five days of sunshine in January was interesting! I appreciated that it explained how the amount of sunshine is related to the air temp!

    I hope you feel better asap! And that if you get a desk humidifier, it works out (that might be against your building rules too – a lot of them don’t allow personal equipment like that on desks).

    • I thought the part about temperature and sunshine was really interesting, too! It makes sense, since dry air holds so much less moisture, but I had never really considered the implications until I read the article.

      The person in charge of responding to the idea-sharing website suggested the desk humidifier, so I assume it’s okay to have one. I am feeling much better now, though, so now I’m less inclined to buy one haha.

  3. Gahhh that weather is exactly why I told my manager I will NOT be flying to Chicago until spring. I was thinking April (this is my heads up to you that I’ll be in Chicago) but I don’t want to go then if it’s going to snow… I want it to be nice!

  4. The only time I’ve been able to walk into Au Cheval (and Kuma’s) and get seated immediately is when showing up for lunch, around the time they open, during a weekday. It’s a good strategy. The “open-faced ham & cheese” at Au Cheval is also amazing. Everyone only talks about their burgers. But their ham & cheese is made with fondue cheese, helllllooooooo.

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