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CheapWeek,

CheapWeek: Fourth of July Shenanigans

6/29 – Noodles & Company for Lunch

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: SIGN UP FOR NOODLES & COMPANY’S EMAIL UPDATES. Follow this link for several other emails you should sign up for in order to score some free or half-priced meals. I bring it up because I had a BOGO entree coupon about to expire and used it for lunch today and tomorrow. $18 worth of quality food for $9? I’ll take it.

My boyfriend and I went to his parents’ place for dinner. They are some pretty fantastic chefs, and tonight was no exception. I’m dying to repeat their garlic roasted potatoes recipe. Also Brooke, my boyfriend’s brother’s fiance brought me an incredibly thoughtful housewarming gift bag. How cute are these towels??

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6/30 – Social Media Day and Articles I Wrote for Choose Chicago and Social Media Beast

So I’ll start off by linking to two articles that I wrote and were published today:

Barcocina: A Refreshing Bar and Restaurant Experience in Lakeview

Earlier in June I went to Barcocina and had the opportunity to taste a lot of different parts of their menu. This article for Choose Chicago reviews my experience. Spoiler Alert: If you live in Lakeview, you definitely need to check it out.

The other article is about all the different elements that go into a social post. Yeah, yeah I know it’s not about CHICAGO, but it is about one of my other passions: digital marketing. Check it out here if you’re interested.

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I reached out to the guy behind BackPackChicago, another awesome Chicago blog with a focus on finding unique destinations and educating tourists and locals alike about the beautiful city that is Chicago. We had a lovely lunch at Ramen-san – my first time there. We both chose the “express ramen lunch” (featured above). It included a half bowl of ramen, rice with a choice of meat, and a side salad. It was nice to connect with another blogger just getting started in a similar niche. Look forward to some collaborations between the two of us in the future!

Finally, I spent my evening chatting with friends new and old at Social Media Day at Rockit. There were a lot of great speakers lined up, including some I’ve had the opportunity to speak with/learn from before like Choose Chicago’s Nycole Hampton and #Foodiechat’s Steve Green and several other notables of the Chicago scene. One problem – it was all but impossible to hear them and focus on what they were saying. Apparently Social Media Day is hosted in the same venue every year. Maybe next year they’ll provide more seating and better acoustics… Regardless, I had a blast and would go again next year if only for the networking. The sliders with aioli tater tots weren’t too bad, either.

7/1 – Townhouse Round Two

Last week, my boyfriend and I went to Townhouse Wine Bar. He had bought two Gilt City deals that were about to expire, so we made our way back for round two this week! We tried new things – Nachos with a really delicious jalapeno cream cheese drizzled over it, the Townhouse Burger (you had me at pretzel bun and tomato chutney), and got more tacos – soy-braised pulled pork this time. The food was still amazing, and if I have another reason to go back – I will. They have a lot of great daily specials and the cocktails are divine. Again, we got $90 worth of food for $45!

7/2 – Vegetarian Restaurant Focus Group and Furious Spoon

So I’m not sure if I’m sworn to secrecy on this or not, but I’m not going to ruin my chances of a similar experience. I’m talking about a focus group I was invited to be a part of at a vegetarian chain in the Loop, with locations all around Chicago and in other states. If you can figure out what it is based on that, you win a prize. Anyways, I got to try some pretty incredible food, give my opinion on different perceptions based on the interior of the restaurant, the menu, etc, AND they gave me a $25 gift card to come back. Without giving away too much information – they had a blueberry LAVENDER lemonade and perfectly-creamy frosted carrot cupcake that I will be coming back for. Dreaming about my return visit.

Trying to find a link for you guys to sign up for focus groups like this… I will keep you posted!

Oh also… I entered Furious Spoon’s free-style rap battle contest to win free ramen for a year. Witness my humiliation:

7/3 – Door County for the Fourth of July

My company’s floating holiday was today, so I left early with my two best friends to go to my boyfriend’s family’s lake house in Door County, Wisconsin. If this sounds familiar, it’s because I was in Door County just two weeks ago for their Beer Festival. My boyfriend’s parents were gracious enough to have not only us, but their family and more friends of the family. It was a full house. We ended up sleeping in tents to give the adults (I still sit at the kid’s table) the best sleeping facilities. Although it wasn’t the most comfortable sleep of my life, it was an experience I haven’t had before.

7/4 – Second Amendment Rights

Our founding fathers fought for the bill of rights, or whatever, so we spent a good chunk of the Fourth of July shooting off guns at a local shooting range.

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Upon returning to the cabin, I took a nap in a hammock.

And when I woke up, I had a dinner of cheese-filled wieners, cheeseburgers, beans and good Wisconsin beer.

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God bless America.

7/5 – The Weekend is Over

After one last shopping run consisting of more cider, cheese curds, hot sauce, cherry jam, and artisanal olive oil (see below), we began the long drive home.

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On the way back, we stopped at Qdoba, and I’m starting to wonder why I’ve never given it a real chance. For $8, I got a badass quesadilla filled to the max. THEY HAVE AMAZING QUESO.

I fully intended on being productive that night (including writing this post), but I was exhausted from a weekend of fun and friends. Back to the real world!

Don’t just read about good deals – get them yourself! Find of-the-moment updates by liking Chicago Cheap Ass on Facebook.

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Food,

Henry’s Swing Club Gave Me Free Food When I Wrote a Haiku about Balls

My love obsession with DMK’s Restaurants started almost a year ago.

Henry's Swing Club

Best friends “sorta” marathon together.

Right before the Chicago Marathon, DMK started their own “sorta” marathon to capitalize on the buzz and to advertise the opening of their new location – Henry’s Swing Club. The “sorta” marathon started at DMK’s original location, DMK Burger Bar in Lakeview. The idea was that you would run (or walk- your prerogative) to Henry’s Swing Club – about 4 miles in total. It was $10 to register, they gave us some awesome hamburger/Chicago flag tshirts, and all you can drink beer when you got to the final location. Oh, and the bibs had hilarious nicknames instead of numbers. A handful of my friends participated and we had a great time at the finish line.

Henry's Swing Club

Chicago Flag/Burger mashup Tshirt

Fast forward to April. I’ve kept up with DMK because I love their creativity and promotions. I noticed they were having a contest with unique prizes for each location in honor of National Haiku Day. Have you ever noticed how there’s something new to celebrate everyday of the year? It’s a little exhausting. But haikus are easy to write, and I had a great idea. For it to make sense, I just need to explain one thing. At the bottom of the menu of craft cocktails and sliders is an interesting entry. “-$2 testicles.” Yes, Henry’s Swing Club will dock $2 from your bill if you eat their balls. They rotate testicles from different animals as a daily special, so you never know what you’re going to get!

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Food Menu at Henry’s Swing Club… notice the balls at the bottom.

Without further ado, the winning haiku:

lil DMK burgs
River North just got better.
Get paid to eat balls

Truly inspired, I know.

There were actually three chosen to go into the final round. I rallied my friends to get votes, but honestly mine was just the best in general. 😉

Now for the fun part. My winnings –

5 sliders
7 cocktails
5 giant pretzels

Just like a haiku!

I decided to take my boyfriend for a date night since he bugged his friends and family just as much as I bugged mine for votes to win.

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Sliders and a giant pretzel at Henry’s Swing Club

The staff at Henry’s Swing Club hooked it up and treated us well. We tried a cocktail from almost every section of the cocktail menu. And tried a lot of interesting sliders. We still have some big pretzels to redeem the next time we come back! Not to mention my boyfriend still has to complete the ball-eating challenge. 🙂

Henry’s Swing Club is a wonderful fresh face in River North. You can chow down and get drunk on classy cocktails without breaking the bank. Definitely has the Chicago Cheap Ass seal of approval!