Memorial Day Weekend, Tacos at Big Star + Upcoming Travel Plans!

Going “back to work” after a long weekend is kind of weird when you’re a freelancer – mainly because you never quite feel like you’re out of the office in the first place. I took it easy last weekend weekend (minus some minor freelance applications and social media maintenance) but only because most of my clients were away from their computers. If they hadn’t been, I wonder how I would’ve been able to give myself permission to take the weekend off.

As a new freelancer, I’m still getting used to the swing of things. If a client emails me at 8 p.m. on a Friday, is it reasonable not to reply until Monday morning? When life and work are so intertwined, keeping someone waiting so long seems lazy or rude. On the other hand, of course I want to give myself weekends off (most of the time anyway). Once I get into a good rhythm, I’ll try to share some tips for maintaining a work/life balance when you’re a full-time freelancer and blogger. The lines definitely get blurry.

However, my Memorial Day weekend was pretty chill. I saw X-Men Apocalypse on Friday (I thought it was way better than critics gave it credit for) night and took it easy on Saturday. I also re-watched one of my favorite movies, Before Sunrise  … I swear I will never get tired of the Before trilogy. Exercise-wise, I ran 3 miles both days and also did a little bit of yoga.

Sunday was a little more exciting. Two of my good friends are moving to San Francisco at the end of the month (uh, jealous) so they had a Memorial Day/birthday/going away party at their house in Humboldt Park.

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Logan and I headed into the city early to get lunch at Big Star. Just like Paris, Big Star is always a good idea. The place has a fabulous patio and is right in the heart of Wicker Park (and they serve damn good tacos), so there’s usually a fairly long line to get in. Luckily, we were seated within about 20 minutes. Logan got the Taco al Pastor (pork shoulder, pineapple, onion and cilantro), Taco de Pollo (chicken thigh, pickled chayote, queso fresco, pepita, sesame and cilantro), and Taco de Chorizo Cordero (lamb and pork chorizo, spring onion crema, radish and cilantro).

As you may know, I’ve been flirting with going back to vegetarianism lately. Though I haven’t sworn off meat yet, I’ve definitely been making an effort to reduce my meat consumption. I probably eat it about three times a week, and I’m trying to switch over to fish when I do eat meat. I got two vegetarian tacos and one pescatarian taco at Big Star.

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The Taco de Zanahorias (literally “carrot taco”) was, as you may’ve guessed, carrot-based. I never thought a carrot taco could taste so freakin’ good. The carrots were cooked in a mole sauce with just a touch of spice, tossed with radishes and cilantro, and topped with chipotle date yogurt, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds. The dates in the yogurt brought out the sweetness of the carrots, while the chipotle gave it a smoky element that was further enhanced by the seeds. The seeds also gave it the perfect bite of crunch. SO GOOD. This was my favorite of the tree tacos I ordered.

I also got the Taco de Papas con Rajas, which was filled with potatoes and topped with rajas chipotle, queso cotija, onion and cilantro. Though this was also delicious, it was a little too cheesy for my personal taste. Cheese-lovers would adore it though.

Finally, I got the Taco de Pescado (you know, fish taco). Super good, though not particularly healthy, as the fish was beer-battered and fried. The texture of the fish was absolutely perfect though – tender, flaky and substantial (this wasn’t a flimsy little tilapia fillet, it was quite meaty and took up all the space on the tortilla) and perfectly complemented by chipotle mayo, cabbage, lime and cilantro.

We may also have split a pitcher of margaritas before proceeding to amble around my favorite bookstore, Myopic Books.

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After our buzzed literary foray, we headed over to my friends’ party, and then caught the train back to Wisconsin around 9. It was a long day, but super fun. Monday was full of picnicking, relaxing and catching up on Game of Thrones. All in all, it was a great weekend. I anticipate many trips into Chicago this summer – I just can’t stay away, I’m a city girl at heart.

Speaking of cities, I’m excited to announce that I’m going to be spending some time in one of my favorite cities in the world – New York – in July! Re-watchng Sex and the City and reading Vogue has really gotten me itching to explore New York. I’ve only been to NYC once, for a three-day trip back in 2012. That was a pretty crazy weekend … maybe I’ll tell you guys about it in a future post. Three hints as to the events that transpired: dry cleaning, hurricanes, and Halloween.

I’ll be staying in an artist loft in Williamsburg for one week, and plan on wearing glasses, rocking my fedora and working from cafes (among other things). Bet you wish you were as hip as me. Get ready for an adventure!

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