Choosing Figs | Neurotic as Hell | A Travel, Lifestyle, and Life List Blog

Hands, touching hands, reaching out…

Last week was a whole lot of awesome food, awesome drinks, awesome people…and very little photo taking. I went out three nights in a row and took not one photo…despite eating awesome food and drinking awesome drinks and hanging out with awesome people. Or maybe because of it. Or maybe because most of the people I hung out with were either complete strangers or people I’ve only ever met before online or people I rarely see out of work.

On Wednesday I headed out to ROOF on theWit, a swank little rooftop hotel bar, for the Chicago TBEX chapter meet up. TBEX, or Travel Blog Exchange, is a website for networking between travel blogs. And I have a travel blog, remember that? It was funny though because people kept asking if my blog is my job and I laughed because I’ve never made a single cent from blogging. Of course, I’ve never really tried to. Blogging for me is just fun to do.

I got a few free drinks and some appetizers and met up with some great people I only know from Twitter, like Shanna and Joey.

Afterwards we headed down the block to Rossi’s Liquors, had some beer, talked some more. It was a great night, especially from a socially-awkward girl like me.

But if you think that would have been hard for me, Thursday night was really pushing it.

I had first heard of Grubwithus this summer, I think they followed me on twitter. The concept sounded interesting: social dining. They post restaurant events and you reserve a seat at a table for twelve. Well…I like to eat and try new restaurants, and I want to meet new people… Of course, it kind of stayed as one of those things I forgot about and remembered every so often and then thought about signing up for and then would chicken out. One of those things. And then about a month ago Shanna was posting about her first event and it renewed my interest and I decided to go for it and sign up.

So I showed up at Cafe Laguardia, a Cuban restaurant in Bucktown, for my first meal. I was early, of course. And sat alone at a table for twelve for a few minutes until others started showing up. I downed some Caipirinhas, we shared some appetizers, some flank steak, some pork, some chicken, some beans, some white rice, some yellow rice and topped it all off with rice pudding and flan. We shared good conversation, I reminisced about shark bowls, we watched a crazy entertainer, held hands and sang Sweet Caroline, watched the AARP rock out…it was a really great night and I met some really great people. And I’d highly recommend it if you like people and food. And, I mean, who doesn’t?

If I didn’t have enough good food and drink the nights before, on Friday my boss took a few of us out to dinner. We went to Mercat a la Planxa, Iron Chef Jose Garces’s tapas restaurant. Man was the food amazingly good. We had everything from garlic shrimp to seafood meatballs to brussels sprouts with bacon to short rib pizza to butternut squash dumplings with lamb ragu to roasted spinach and pine nuts to wild mushrooms to charred onions…

And a pitcher of sangria. And two bottles of wine. And a round of tequila.

Everything was amazingly delicious.

Afterward we headed to South Loop Club and had a few more drinks. Including a jagerbomb that I took by sipping from the two cups separately. (I didn’t want to throw up…)

Let’s just say I was pretty drunk.

We left around 11 and I didn’t feel like going home to Heather’s guests (her sister and brother in law and their toddler and two dogs who were spending a few nights in our living room…) so I headed over to Mat’s place and we watched some TV and had some pizza (not like I was hungry) and fell asleep.

And in the whole three nights I took not one photo. None of the people. None of the drinks. None of my food.

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Hi, I'm Val. I spent most of my 20s in a standstill, unable to pick which path in life I wanted to take. I wanted the nomadic life of a traveler but also wanted the husband, the condo, and the kitten. Unable to decide which life I wanted more, I did nothing. When I turned 30 I’d had enough of putting my life on hold and decided to start “choosing my figs.” So, I quit my job, bought a one-way ticket to Europe, and traveled for three years. Now I'm back in Chicago, decorating my apartment in all the teal, petting my cats, and planning my next adventure.

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