Don’t just read about good deals – get them yourself! Find of-the-moment updates by liking Chicago Cheap Ass on Facebook.
Don’t just read about good deals – get them yourself! Find of-the-moment updates by liking Chicago Cheap Ass on Facebook.
If there was one theme to summarize this week for me, it would be: delicious food. This week was about an equal split between having awesome food out at restaurants, and spending time in my own kitchen, executing delicious recipes.
7/6 – #Foodiechats and #BetterBurgerProject at Frontier
I’ve been lucky to become an active part of the #Foodiechats community. About a month ago, I took a trip to Aurora’s Two Brothers Roundhouse for a live event. This week, I was invited to an event at Frontier, sponsored by the Better Burger Project, which is a contest offered through the James Beard Foundation. Look for a dedicated #Foodiechats post soon. I had an awesome time and met some amazing Chicago foodies! Can’t wait until the next event 🙂
7/7 – Farmer’s Fridge on Spring Rewards and Roasted Tomato & Garlic Soup
I bought a credit on Spring Rewards for Farmer’s Fridge that was $2 for $5 and bought myself a Buffalo Chicken Salad for lunch ($8 total). As you guys have probably already figured out, I love Farmer’s Fridge, and even featured them on a post about Best Salads in the Loop.
For dinner, I made one of my favorite soups, Roasted tomato and garlic (with garbanzo beans). Look for a how-to coming soon on the blog!
7/8 – RPM Steak on Uber Eats and Weezer at the Taste of Chicago
One of my favorite restaurant groups, Lettuce Entertain You was featured on Uber Eats this week. They have so many awesome restaurants, including my favorite Chicago restaurant – Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba. I ordered the Mediterranean Salad from RPM Steak using a free promo code (that you could’ve gotten if you were following me on Twitter!). Even if you didn’t take advantage of the savings this week, you should sign up for LEYE’s scratch off booklet.
After work, I headed over to Grant Park for the Taste of Chicago. I can already see a bunch of you rolling your eyes, but hear me out. Don’t go for the food. It’s over-priced and the portions are way too small. The most unique item there was rattlesnake sausage, but I wouldn’t want to eat that anyways (though my boyfriend did). Purchase natural sausage casings to store them properly. But the Taste of Chicago tends to attract big music acts, and you get to see them FOR FREE (unless you’re one of those person who HAS to be up close and personal and wants to shell out $25 for that privilege). So we snacked on some over-priced food, but got to see a big-name act, Weezer, for free. I had some bad-ass “Papas Bravas” from the Bruges Brothers food truck, which were reminiscent of spanish patatas bravas, but also had chorizo slathered all over them.
And look at these cute wine cans I found!
7/9 – Client Breakfast
Today was an interesting day at work. A couple members of the Social Media Beast team made their way to Burr Ridge. I used my Zipcar connection to secure our transportation, and had an awesome omelette once I got there. That was probably the highlight of my day… I took it easy that night. Everyone needs a break every once in awhile!
7/10 – Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup, Chicken Enchiladas and 1000 Followers on Twitter!
Today was a big cooking day for me. I made some delicious Lemon Chicken Orzo soup after defrosting about three pounds worth of chicken. Here’s the recipe I used, if you’re curious. I love this kind of soup and made enough for a couple meals. Big batches are the key to taking care of a lot of meals with a proportionately low level of effort.
Because I had so much chicken, I made chicken enchiladas for dinner. I modified this recipe, which was pretty easy to follow, but be careful with the oven instructions. I was past-due for some homemade enchiladas, and made some cilantro-lime rice to go with it. I’m so happy to have moved to a place with a functional kitchen! It makes creating all this delicious food so much more enjoyable than in my old studio.
Finally, a personal goal was accomplished today when I hit the 1,000 follower mark on Twitter. Follow me if you’re interested in digital marketing news and (obviously) Chicago events and deals.
7/11 – Tour de Fat and Cafe Gaudi
I forced myself out of bed bright and early for New Belgium Brewing’s Tour de Fat. My boyfriend somehow managed to break his bike (#spokeproblems), so we both decided to rent Divvys in case we got too drunk to bike home. That’s what I love about Divvy versus bringing your own bike everywhere. Sometimes you’re going to want to make one way trips, and you can’t do that with your own bike. We took part in the bike “parade” with a lot of crazy bikers and bikers. Next year we’ll have to come in costume! We had a few beers afterwards at the carnival. There was a silly “fashion show” featuring event attendees and free style rappers, describing each participant. We tried some of New Belgium Brewing’s small batch beers including their Hop Tart (yum!) and Pear Ginger (meh) beers. We listened to a couple bands, got some Curry Wurst from the Donermen food truck, and called it a day. At least for the Tour de Fat.
We had a Groupon to spend at Cafe Gaudi, but stopped first at one of my boyfriend’s old haunts – Quencher’s. I hadn’t previously been to the bar and was anxious to try it out. They had my favorite shitty beer (does that even make sense?) from when I studied abroad in Barcelona – Estrella Damm.
After Quenchers, we took the blue line to Cafe Guadi for some tapas. It was anything but authentic Spanish, but it hit the spot. We got patatas bravas, croquettas, bacon wrapped dates, and a few other “tapas” with a pitcher of sangria. Then we officially called it a night.
7/12 – Awesome Breakfast, Awesome Dinner and Apartment Organization
One of my favorite weekend traditions is making a big, bad breakfast. I realized that today was the first time since moving that I actually went through with it! The boyfriend and I cooked up potatoes, eggs, and bacon for a perfect start to the day.
We woke up really early after passing out really early, so I spent the rest of the afternoon organizing my apartment and running some errands. I love days that I can devote completely to these activities. I also had a chance to work on some freelance projects, which is a weight off my shoulders.
Finally, I curled up on the couch to watch the end of Shark Week, and made a bad-ass bacon chicken pasta bake.
What a great week.
Don’t just read about good deals – get them yourself! Find of-the-moment updates by liking Chicago Cheap Ass on Facebook.
This week was action packed – guest TA-ing a class for General Assembly, Volunteering for Chicago Cares, and representing Zipcar in Pride!
6/22 – #BrandChat and Solar Charger
Today was an interesting day for me.
Let’s start with one of my favorite Twitter Chats – #Brandchat. It’s Wednesdays at 10am CST, and last week I won a participation reward. The physical representation was a branded hat. Although it doesn’t seem like a big deal, I’m becoming more and more recognized for having some expertise in the Twitter Chat community. This is a huge part of my Twitter growth strategy, especially as it relates to growing the Chicago Cheap Ass brand. On that note, a post I wrote for Social Media Beast got picked up by Business2Community and has been shared 160+ times and counting! Kind of a big deal.
As far as future blog posts go, I received a solar charger in the mail from Verizon, so look forward to a post about that in the near future! I’d like to give it a full test at a music or neighborhood festival before revealing my opinions 🙂
6/23 – #Foodiechats and Professional Development Considerations
The most exciting news of the day was being invited to another #Foodiechats event. This one is the Monday after the Fourth of July Weekend, at Frontier in Chicago. I’m looking forward to it! I owe you all a play-by-play of the last event I went to… But look forward to that and a lot of other posts in the next week 🙂
Also, a lot of friends have been reaching out to me for help with their resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and Twitter handles. Rob is taking the lead on networking events, but are you interested in seeing more professional development-related content? Although this website is Chicago Cheap Ass… I want there to be some aspirational elements. Basically, we all have to start somewhere… but it’s good to have goals. And it’s important to have a roadmap for how to achieve them. I’m happy to throw together some posts/ebooks/how-to guides if you guys would be into that and get some use out of them 🙂
6/24 – General Assembly Possibilities
Let’s start with lunch. I got it for free at Fresha Place, which I’ve been DYING to check out. It’s all nutritious ingredients that are well-balanced so you stay full throughout the day. But I’m sure you’re wondering how I got it for free. Well, first I’d suggest following them on Instagram… they giveaway freebies all the time, no funny business necessary. But I’d also recommend you download the Freebie app and connect your social accounts. Your connections may be worth tons of free meals!
So one of the great nerd loves of my life is Front End Web Development. I was talking to a General Assembly staff member at a Zipcar event last week and inquired as to the teaching side of things. On Wednesday I attended a class as a guest TA to get an idea of how classes are run. I’m going to look into it further as an after-work activity to get back in the game! I’ve been taking more freelance clients lately so it would be great to teach or assist in teaching the subject to refresh my own knowledge.
Do you have extensive digital or technical experience? Do you like sharing ideas and teaching beginners? You should look into working part or full-time for General Assembly.
Because one thing is never enough to fill up my day after work, I also attended a networking event at ParadigmNEXT for Techweek Chicago. I met a lot of interesting entrepreneurs, Chicago Chamber of Commerce members, and even saw and old buddy from high school at the Graffiti Lounge! Small world. It was a free event, like many at Techweek, so there’s no excuse not to check out these things!
6/25 – Chicago Techweek
I left work a little early today to check out Techweek Chicago with Social Media Beast’s Director of Content. We checked out panels as diverse as “Think Before You Tweet” – general legal considerations for posting on social media and a panel on dating in the digital world. I’ve got to say – I was not as impressed with Techweek as I had been last year. It seemed a lot less claustrophobic on the main floor last year… not to mention more and better panel discussions. It was also incredibly difficult to figure out just what and when the panels were. The schedule on the website and the app were not very user friendly. Definitely a disappointment that prevented me from coming back the next day. Although I did get a cute little Nalgene bottle from Mira if that counts for anything. I’d say in the future… if you can get a free media pass – check out the Thursday speakers and see what you think. But not something I would’ve paid out of pocket for.
One awesome thing that happened today was our Graphic Designer Drew traced a picture I sent him and made me a nifty new profile picture. Check it out!
6/26 – Townhouse and Jurassic World
One easy way to feel classy is by purchasing upscale dining deals on Gilt City. I just bought a sweet lunch deal for Tippling Hall. My boyfriend had bought one (well two actually…) for Townhouse Restaurant and Wine Bar. For $45, we had $90 to spend, which was enough for two appetizers, two entrees, and four drinks. Now that’s a steal. The food was great, and the perfect pregame to the latter part of our evening. We saw Jurassic World FINALLY after waiting for awhile to have the time. GO SEE IT. It’s crazy. It’s action packed. And it’s a great date night movie.
6/27 – Chicago Cares and Weird Al
My mom somehow managed to convince me to wake up at 7am for a charity event (Serve-A-Thon) through Chicago Cares. Honestly, one of the greatest joys in my life revolves around volunteering and getting involved with different charities. Chicago Cares is a well-oiled machine that involves itself in many service projects at different Chicago institutions, notably schools. About 5,000 people gave their Saturdays to make a difference. My mom, myself, and her friend were sent to Edward Burke Elementary School and got to exercise our creative muscles painting a quote on the wall. Chicago Cares costed a $10 registration fee with the expectation that you raise an additional $50 (although they don’t really enforce it). In exchange, you get breakfast, lunch, and early dinner (or a late lunch depending on how you look at it?), not to mention a t-shirt, drawstring bag, and Gatorade water bottle my boyfriend was pretty jealous about. I mean… don’t do it for the fringe benefits, but know that there are some good ones. It all ends in a big party in Daley Square complete with free beer, hotdogs, and a live band. I’m definitely doing it again next year – especially if it means I have a whole day to spend with my mom who I never get to see.
Later in the night, after hanging out with some friends who also did Chicago Cares, my boyfriend and I went to go see Weird Al. Everyone thinks we’re ridiculous, but it was one of my favorite concerts to date. The tickets are among some of the most expensive I’ve bought recently, but TOTALLY worth it!
6/28 – Zipcar at the Pride Parade
One of the reasons I love working part-time for Zipcar is because they’ve got their fingers on the pulse of what’s going on in the city. We had a “float” (really a decorated car with speakers, but who’s judging) in the Pride Parade, and had a ton of cool swag to give out to parade-goers. I’ve participated on both sides – on the sidelines and in the parade. I have to say – I absolutely love being a part of the parade and interacting with everyone along the route. Definitely get involved if you get a chance! Ask friends what their doing or see if your company or any organizations you’re a part of are doing something!
6/1 – CelebriTEA and Noodles & Company
Last week I hit “CelebriTEA” status at Argo Tea. I’m kind of in love with the place, and they love their customers back with a pretty awesome loyalty program. After 25 visits, I’ve earned $1 off all purchases before 9am (perfect for right before work), a free birthday drink, $5 in credit after every 10 visits, and a free looseleaf tea gift. The perks are all pretty awesome, but I wish I had more of a choice over which looseleaf tea I got to choose. I ended up picking the oolong formosa, which was one of the four options. Stay tuned for a post featuring Argo Tea and some other awesome tea spots in Chicago!
Also, a couple of weeks back, I was participating in a twitter chat with Noodles & Company Just for tweeting at them, they sent me two free entree coupons. I’d encourage you to follow your favorite companies on Twitter… they tend to offer exclusive social media promotions. I once got a free pair of shorts from American Eagle by following their tweets and checking in on Foursquare. Here’s a very basic Twitter list I’ve compiled of companies to follow.
6/2 – Barcocina
Today I checked out a new Lakeview restaurant – Barcocina. It opened up just as I was moving out of the neighborhood! But a good excuse to come back at any rate.
It’s got a cool vibe and is an excellent bar to check out now that summer’s happening in full force (garage-door openings for the win). If you like upscale Mexican cuisine and inventive cocktails, you’ll love Barcocina. Look out for a post on Choose Chicago’s blog soon.
6/3 – Breakroom Brewery
One of my best friends from high school was in town this week and we decided it would be awesome if a reunion included a trip to a brewery and a Blackhawks game. Breakroom Brewery is about a mile down the street from my boyfriend and just opened fairly recently. It has a garage door front (similar to Barcocina) and a plenty of TVs and a projector to enjoy the Blackhawks game. The beer was delicious – I tried three different varieties. The food was also pretty scrumptious. We tried the scotch egg, which was a first for me. The burgers and beer-soaked fries hit the spot.
6/4 – RCN Event
Today I went to one of my favorite speaker events to date. RCN hosted speaker Patrick Schwerdtfeger for the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce. This event was an incredible value at $20. First of all – amazing buffet breakfast. Then a book Schwerdtfeger wrote called Marketing Shortcuts for the Self-Employed. I’m almost done with it and have gotten so many good ideas for promoting and updating the blog! But before reading the book, I was inspired by the talk and met some interesting people. RCN gave some other cool freebies away – a USB hub, a portable computer mouse, and an external battery charger. I’ll be on the lookout for more events like this. If your company is awesome and invests in your professional development (or you’re looking for a great networking opportunity), you need to be on the lookout for events like this. I talked to a friend today about writing such a feature, so look forward to some networking event roundups in the near future!
6/5 – Protein Bar Party and Annoyance Improv Show
As a follow up to a post I wrote about Salads in the Loop, I was invited to Protein Bar’s VIP summer sampling party. Basically, they let us test new menu items and created some ridiculously good cocktails with their favorite ingredients that you wouldn’t normally be able to get. I tasted some new BBQ chicken entrees and finally tried the Avo-Matcha smoothie (the perfect afternoon pick-me-up), and even met one of Protein Bar’s investors! He actually just wrote a post for me about credit card rewards after we struck up a camaraderie.
After the party, I went with my best friend Nico to the Annoyance Theater. It was my first time there and I had a blast. Nico’s show Grounded is in the small theater, so it’s a very intimate experience. I hit up the bar afterwards and got a ridiculous amount of chicken nuggets for $5. Two thumbs up from this Cheap Ass.
6/6 – PIQNIQ
Today I attended my first PIQNIQ music festival at Tinley Park. The suburbs are hard to get to if you don’t have a car/want to thoroughly enjoy yourself alcohol-wise at a festival. We took the Metra from the Lasalle Street Station. An $8 weekend pass covers you for the full weekend. Metra prices have been raised exponentially since I commuted last year… and it’s only going to get worse. Save your train travel for the weekend whenever possible. And follow my festival tips for maximizing your experience (and money!).
6/7 – Moving
So this whole week my boyfriend (and his brothers! thank you guys!!) has been helping me move, one carload at a time. Today my parents came up with some of the bigger furniture pieces, kitchen stuff, and childhood memories. I’ve been neglecting Chicago Cheap Ass because this has been taking so much of my time and energy. But it’s finally done! Well… minus organization. I’m so relieved.
5/18 – #BikeLakeview and Zipcar
— Lakeview Chamber (@ThisIsLakeview) May 18, 2015
Today was a good day for freebies. After checking in to Kuma’s Corner using the hashtag “#BikeLakeview,” I won a $25 giftcard to any participating Lakeview Chamber of Commerce store. It pays to know what’s going on in the social world. If you’re on Twitter, you should check out the Chicago lists I made, keeping track of these promotions (or just follow me. I retweet great offers on a regular basis).
In other news, Zipcar will be giving away free passes to a popular Chicago music festival soon. I do work for them as a brand ambassador on the weekends, so I already scored two one-day passes for me and my boyfriend. 🙂
5/19 – Just Salad and Bull & Bear
I came to the office today with a bunch of packages waiting for me. I’ve been using the office as my shipping address because I’m about to move. Two of the packages were some pasta sauces I’ll be reviewing soon (complete with recipes!), as well as a half-priced Graze snack box. The final box was a perk claimed from Klout. If you haven’t heard of Klout before, it’s a platform that aggregates the sum of your influence on all the social channels you’re active on. Every once in awhile, you’re eligible to receive cool “perks” offered by different companies. In the past, I’ve gotten dog treats, fast food gift cards, and more based on the topics I’m an “expert” in. This time it was a free Clinique moisturizing lotion – worth $30!
For lunch, I went to Just Salad, in order to finish my research for the upcoming post about best Salads in the Loop. I got an awesome Buffalo Chicken salad and reusable salad bowl… I’ll explain why you should also get this bowl in the upcoming post 🙂
After work, I hung out with a couple of my old Groupon coworkers. Our original plan was to go to Rockit Bar & Grill, but as part of their re-branding, they neglected to create a daily menu of specials. LAME. So instead we hit up an old favorite, Bull & Bear, where we got half-priced appetizers (bacon cheese fries) and half-priced bottles of wine. We ended the night at Highline, where it was surprisingly easy to get a spacious booth in front of a TV to watch the Blackhawks game.
5/20 – Remington’s and Chicago Craft Beer Week
Today was easily the best day of the week.
It started with getting a free book in the mail after participating in an AMA webinar the previous week. I love business books, so this was a really nice surprise.
Then I headed over to Remington’s with a friend for the best lunch I’ve ever had (especially on a work day). We sampled cocktails, appetizers, soup and two different sandwiches in the name of an upcoming Choose Chicago blog post. I’ll save the details for the upcoming review, but know that it was amazing and you need to try it out for yourself.
As my boyfriend is a homebrewer, we couldn’t get through this week without planning on going to a Chicago Craft Beer Week event. I gave him a list to choose from, and he decided on a Medieval Craft Beer dinner at Cobra Lounge. All Rise Brewing operates out of Cobra Lounge, so for $35, we had unlimited beer and a dinner of spit-roasted pig, turkey, roasted veggies, salad, cheese, fruit, and cake. They even gave us to-go boxes at the end so we could enjoy it again the next day! What a deal. I’m told they’re thinking of doing this more often, so you should follow them on their social channels if that’s something of interest to you!
Everyone needs a day devoid of craziness – this was mine 🙂
5/22 – Pitch Perfect
Today I finally saw Pitch Perfect. The only thing I want to mention here that hasn’t already been said elsewhere on this blog is that if you can get out of the city to see a movie – do it. The further you are away from the city center, the cheaper tickets will be. Instead of paying $12 per person to see Pitch Perfect, it was $12 for two tickets in Forest Park. Probably stating the obvious, but definitely worth mentioning.
5/23 – BLACKHAWKS JERSEY
It was one of my boyfriend’s cousin’s birthday today and again I found myself out in Forest Park. Yes, I know this is CHICAGO Cheap Ass, but Forest Park is accessible via CTA Blue Line. Anyways, we went to O’Sullivan’s Public House and drank while watching the Blackhawks game. They were giving away raffle tickets for an authentic Crawford jersey after the game, and I WON IT. I don’t often win things, so that was pretty awesome.
5/24 – Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival
I ended off the week by inviting my sister to spend the day with me. She and my parents live in the burbs, so I love showing them around downtown when they have the chance to come up. We started the day with shopping, then dinner. We checked out Buena Vista in Lakeview, which is BYOB. BYOB restaurants are the greatest thing, and there are so many in Chicago. I’ll write a post about my picks, soon. After dinner, we checked out the Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival. They had cover bands, snacks, and some good shopping. It was a suggested donation of $5, which is pretty typical of neighborhood festivals. We picked up some delicious donuts and some awesome tank tops from Transit Tees. I spent a good chunk of change today, but a lot of it went towards treating my sister who’s birthday is coming up… money well spent!
4/27 – NYC Bagel and Soupbox
Monday’s are hard. I like to make them better with delicious food. So I started my day at NYC Bagel Deli with a savory bagel and a copious amount of cream cheese for under $3. Although I brought a lunch, I decided I was past due for a visit to Soupbox. Soupbox is awesome because you get generous samples of as many flavors as you want. And you can mix two flavors. Bread comes free on the side!
4/28 – CP Trade Show at Navy Pier
As mentioned in previous posts, I work for an awesome company called Social Media Beast. Our sister company, Concierge Preferred (CP), has a lot of connections in Chicago, and brings them all together for an annual trade show. We all attended the show on Tuesday and had an amazing time connecting with representatives from participating businesses. We even raked in some first-class freebies. Here’s what I walked away with:
-Free “Second City” tickets
-No cover passes to Howl at the Moon (and the dueling pianos at the event played my song request!)
-Free indoor skydiving session in Rosemont
-Free Navy Pier ferris wheel admission
-Free Chicago Segway tour tickets
I’m trying to decide if I should keep these freebies or share them with you, my lovely readers, as giveaways. Let me know if any of the above are of interest to you in the comments 🙂
Besides the above freebies, there was plenty of food and drink from Chicago’s top restaurants. The best part of all? The event is free, so you better make sure to get your Cheap Ass there next year! Just make sure to show some love if a business there impresses you.
4/29 – James Beard event at Mariano’s
The Mariano’s in the West Loop has some pretty cool events, and I’ve been to two in the past month. On Wednesday, I invited a couple of girlfriends to a happy hour featuring Blackbird’s mixologist, Kyle Davidson. Light appetizers (but lots of cheese) were served with unlimited craft cocktails. The event concluded with Blackbird’s mixologist teaching us how to make two specialty cocktails. This was well worth the $20, and was one of the more affordable ways to celebrate the James Beard Awards coming to Chicago.
I ended the night by redeeming my BOGO coupon to Noodles & Company for their new Buff Bowls. So glad I did! $9 covered a relatively healthy lunch for the next two days.
4/30 – Haircut at Civello
I’ve been desperately in need of a haircut, and I usually time it out so I can take care of it when I’m home in the suburbs. But, split ends are split ends. I took a chance at a new place. I’m honestly not very high maintenance with my hair – I’m brush and go. As far as haircuts, a simple trim will usually do the job for me, so I decided to check out a beauty school a few blocks away from work – Civello. They happened to be running a Groupon deal for a $15 haircut. I was pleasantly surprised with my experience. The haircut (which was awesome) included an aromatherapy scalp massage, a deep conditioning treatment, and a cut. I ended up buying some product (detangler) because it all smells so damn good. They also gave me some curly hair treatment samples to take home! I made sure to tip my hairstylist well as you ALWAYS should when using a Groupon.
5/1 – Henry’s Swing Club
I recently won a poetry writing contest at Henry’s Swing Club for 5 free sliders, 7 free cocktails, and 5 free giant pretzels. My haiku really captured the spirit of the bar… read it here.
5/2 – Kentucky Derby and Rioja Wine and Tapas Festival
I’m pretty good at betting on horse racing, so I love events like the Kentucky Derby. It’s a good excuse to dress up and get drunk. And maybe win some money.
This particular Kentucky Derby Saturday was especially cool because I received free tickets to the Rioja Wine and Tapas Festival. I expressed an interest in covering the event for Choose Chicago, told the organizer how obsessed I am with Spanish culture, and she hooked up it!
I had an amazing time chatting with the people in charge of the event, drinking delicious Rioja wines (reds I can actually enjoy), and sampling tapas prepared by chefs from all over the United States.
Afterwards, I checked out Joe’s on Weed Street, which was completely blocked off for the Derby. And it was packed. Unfortunately, I was a little late in making my bets, but I still had a good time enjoying the first nice weather we’ve had in a while with a tall, cold one.
I finished the night off at the NFL Draft Town – a free fan festival to complement Chicago hosting the NFL Draft. Chicago is such an amazing city. A lot of great things have been happening here and we all reap the benefits.
5/3 – Relaxing
No major Cheap Ass hustling today. It’s been a long week, and I spent the day sleeping in, making a big breakfast, going to the gym, writing blogs, and eating dinner with the new Game of Thrones. Excited to see what the new week brings in!
Sometimes I do some pretty cool things that don’t necessarily warrant an entire blog post. So, moving forward, #CheapWeek will be a review of the fun things I did and ate in Chicago the previous week. This is your insider’s guide to how a real “Cheap Ass” lives.
4/19 – Chef Week Kickoff Party
People – embrace the power of Twitter, already. I received an invite to a Chef Week Kickoff Party by paying attention to Chicago Chef Week’s Twitter handle (it coincided with my previous post about Chicago Chef Week). I brought my lovely friend Mallory as a plus one, and together we caught up while enjoying quality cocktails, wine, and food at the J. Parker – all for free. The J. Parker is known for its cool retractable rooftop. Unfortunately, it was raining when we went, but regardless, the place had a cool vibe and I’ll definitely be back.
4/21 – Chicago Chef Week at Piccolo Sogno Due and Blog Partnerships
For my first Chicago Chef Week meal, I went to Piccolo Sogno Due, which is just down the street from where I work in River North. I went with a friend who works at the Merchandise Mart and we each took advantage of the $22 menu which included several choices of appetizer, entree, and dessert. Halfway through the entree we were both stuffed, so I took the rest to go for the following day’s lunch. While I would not spend $22 on lunch on a regular basis, Chicago Chef Week is a great opportunity to try an expensive restaurant at a more affordable cost.
In blog related news, I responded to a request for bloggers with Choose Chicago, and will soon begin writing for their Chicago Like a Local Blog. Choose Chicago is an awesome organization with a lot of visibility, so it’s a step in the right direction for Chicago Cheap Ass. I also had a fun meeting with Rebecca at Verizon; Rebecca connects bloggers with their products. I checked out the two-level Verizon store on Michigan Avenue and made a wish list of products to test for my “Save or Splurge?” theme. Back in college, I had the opportunity to test Verizon products for my personal blog, so I’m excited to continue this partnership.
4/22 – QBBQ and Instituto Cervantes
QBBQ is right around the corner from me. I had a $5 off coupon that I’d been meaning to use, so I went in and ordered a pulled pork sandwich with two sides for about $4.50. Talk about an awesome deal. I’ve been to their brunch before and it does not disappoint – especially their garlic parmesan fries.
Later that night I met up with a friend to check out an art exhibit called “Los Caprichos” at Instituto Cervantes. The exhibit featured an intersection of work between two Spanish masters – Goya and Dali. Basically, Goya created a series of paintings making fun of Spanish sayings, and then Dali took Goya’s work and made it his own. The exhibit runs through June 10 and is definitely worth a look if you’re interested in seeing the work of Goya and Dali for FREE up-close and personal.
4/23 – Chicago Trolley and Bellwether
I happen to work for a company with many fringe benefits. We spent the afternoon with one of our clients, Chicago Trolley, who took us on a fun tour of Chicago. After the trolley tour, we went to Bellwether, which has the world’s best buffalo chicken spring rolls ($8 during happy hour, $12 regularly) and had a couple rounds of beer. I have never drank so much free beer or ate so much free delicious food as I have with this company.
4/24 – RPM Steak for Chicago Chef Week
I got my first cavity filled today and was worried my mouth would be too numb to properly chew dinner, but luckily I got it together about an hour before my reservation. I went with some co-workers to RPM Steak for the first time in my life. Everyone talks about how RPM (both Italian and Steak) is a must-do. It’s rather pricey, so I would reserve this spot for a special occasion. Luckily, RPM was one of the restaurants participating in Chicago Chef Week and had a 4 course menu with plenty of choices for $44. Done. After realizing that RPM Steak is a Lettuce Entertain You restaurant, I paid using a gift card that was burning a hole in my pocket. This was honestly the best dinner out I’ve ever had, which I can say without even thinking about it. That good. Our waitress (Jennifer) was amazing. AND WE MET GIULIANA AND BILL RANCIC. This could not have been a more perfect night.
4/25 – Birthday at Hubbard Inn
It was a friend’s birthday and we went to Hubbard Inn to celebrate. I have been wanting to go there for a while, so this was the perfect excuse. They have tons of beers on tap and good food (though a little expensive). They even brought my friend two free bottles of champagne for waiting a little longer than expected for a table… now that’s service.
4/26 – Groupon at HALA IN
So I was going to go to C2E2 today, but that’s a frustrating story. Basically, my name was never put on the guest list after winning a contest through the Freebie App. So I altered my plans and checked out Vice District Brewing. Definitely not a Cheap Ass place ($15 for two beers), but it was delicious and a quirky spot. They have board games and popcorn (win). Determined to use some of the Groupons I had purchased for eating out in my current neighborhood (Lakeview) before moving to my new neighborhood (Roscoe Village), my boyfriend and I checked out HALA IN after hitting up the gym. HALA IN has some beautiful-looking Mediterranean food. For $22 we got $40 worth of food – two sides (hummus, falafel), pita bread, an entree with rice, and dessert. Here’s a pro-tip: Groupon frequently has 20-25% off sales on top of their local deals. Try to wait for those deals for ridiculous savings on food.
Check back next week for another roundup of what I did!