Popping and Pop-Tarts

Yes, I know, Bright-Yellow seems to have been on a bit of a hiatus. Those who know me in person know that there is a reason… baby Bright-Yellow is on his way (yep, it’s a boy) in October and my mind has been pretty occupied with trying to learn about the big changes in store for us! This, combined with my inability to drink, eat large portions of food, and sleep, has made me kind of boring and not full of “you must check this out” items (unless you count my new constant reading of “Baby Bargains”).

My few pregnancy cravings have included grapefruit, potatoes, and… Pop Tarts! The Pop Tarts craving, though, was more a result of the power of suggestion after my friend, Deb, told me that she ate the best thing ever – a home-made Pop Tart! From there, it has been Pop Tarts on the brain almost every day.  I have only indulged in the store-bought version once (thanks to the office vending machine). Then, a few weeks ago, when we visited our friends James and Jeanne in Washington, DC,  I got to taste the version that Deb had and now nothing else will do!

These fabulous creations come from a small bakery/restaurant called Ted’s Bulletin in the Capitol Hill area of DC. They are A-MAZING! I stuck to classic strawberry but husband Jeff (and friend James) also enjoyed the peanut butter and bacon version. These pop tarts are not overly sweet like the store-bought kind and the pastry part melts in your mouth and tastes kind of like yellow cake. Truly fantastic!

Deb came across a recipe from Smitten Kitchen for making pop tarts.  Neither of us have tried making them yet and, honestly, Deb is a better baker so I’m waiting for her to try the recipe. Hurry up Deb! 🙂

Has anyone else made pop tarts? What about other home-made version of classic store-bought products?

Thanks Capitol Spice for letting me use your photo of the awesome Ted’s Bulletin pop-tarts and thanks to you for reading Bright-Yellow!


Chicago Eats – Freebies and Almost Freebies

In case you missed it, today (Tuesday) is FREE PASTRY DAY at Starbucks! Just purchase a handcrafted, brewed, or iced beverage (read: buy a cup of coffee) and with the coupon, get a free pastry! The offer is only good until 10:30AM so hurry hurry hurry!  To get the coupon, just click here.

Now that you have breakfast locked up, it’s time for lunch and dinner!  This week (March 22-28), it’s Chicago Chef Week!  For just $20 at lunch and $30 at dinner, you can enjoy a fabulous three-course prix fixe menu at one of 34 wonderful Chicago restaurants.  Boka? Check.  Publican? Check.  The Gage? Check.  And many more!  For a list of all of the participating restaurants, just click here.  Even better, if you’re on Open Table (and if you’re not, get on it), all reservations are booked through Open Table – bring on the points!  Really, if you can swing it, this is a great way to try some of Chicago’s chef-centric restaurants.

Thanks for reading Bright-Yellow!

The Drink Deck – 52 Ways to Sample Chicago Drinking Establishments

Remember my love of a la Card Chicago?  Well, Jeff and I are enjoying checking out new places (yes, we just got to Smoque) and old favorites (yummy Big Jones).  We can’t figure out how two people will be able to spend $25 at Hot Doug’s but we’re up for the challenge!

I just discovered the unofficial companion deck to a la Card Chicago – the Drink Deck!  Jeff, the beer man husband, should be happy when he reads about this!  Like a la Card Chicago, the Drink Deck puts 52 establishments on a deck of cards and encourages you to “play” Chicago!  The Drink Deck divides the watering holes by a number of categories including wine bar, beer bar, music venue, dive bar, hip hangout (don’t worry those of us over 25 – these places are hip but not so hip that we have never heard of them!) and more.

The Drink Deck is only $30 and each card gives you $10 off of your tab ($30 minimum before tax and tip).  You can order a Drink Deck by clicking here.  Remember – outdoor drinking in Chicago is just around the corner…

Thanks for reading Bright-Yellow!

Dine For Less – Restaurant Week

I love Restaurant Week.  Practically every large city has one (or two or three) to encourage diners to break diets but not banks and support the local restaurant industry.  Restaurant Week is a great way to explore a new restaurant (or an old favorite) without feeling like your entire paycheck is going toward one meal!

Here in Chicago (and, again, in many other cities) we have multiple Restaurant Weeks and the first starts this week!  The Local Tourist (featured in an earlier Bright-Yellow) hosts its first Restaurant Week this week (January 8-15).  Each of the participating restaurants is offering three course meals for only $25 for lunch and $35 for dinner – PLUS 10% of each meal goes to Endure To Cure, which raises money for pediatric cancer research, treatment and care.  For a list of Local Tourist Restaurant Week restaurants, please click here.

Not every city has The Local Tourist but every city does have a chamber of commerce and/or tourism bureau and many of them, like Chicago, put together a restaurant week.  Chicago’s big Restaurant Week is just around the corner – February 19-28 – yippeee!  These tables book quickly so reserve yours now – lunch is only $22 and dinner $32.  You can see the complete list of participating restaurants here and, if you’re on Open Table (and if you’re not on Open Table, get on it!), make your reservation here.  Don’t worry, I’ll remind you of Chicago Restaurant Week again when it starts.

Looking ahead, Yelp! also hosts a Restaurant Week in June.  Last year’s event was June 1-7 so look for that to happen again this summer.

In these tough times, I know going out is not easy on the old pocketbook.  However, we have to all help each other out and Restaurant Week makes it a bit easier to support local business.

Thanks for reading Bright-Yellow!  Please leave a comment or two (including ideas for future posts!).

Gifts that Do Good – Part 3 (for foodies)

So, now you have something for the musician, something for the jewelry lover/search for inner peace recipient, now it’s time for something for the foodie.

For those of you who have followed Bright-Yellow since the beginning, please excuse the repeat.  I just love this gift, though.  A La Card Chicago (if you don’t live in Chicago, don’t worry – I do and I’d like this gift so get it for me! Just kidding – really, there are many similar programs in other cities) is a deck of 52 cards for food lovers.  Each card features a different restaurant including a $10 gift certificate to that restaurant. And we’re not talking that random so-so restaurant on the corner. No, we’re talking some of Chicago’s favorites like The Bristol, Katsu, Naha, and Hot Doug’s.

As for the doing good – $1 from each A La Card Chicago deck goes to Common Threads and it’s a great gift that won’t break your budget – each deck is only $30!

Thanks for reading Bright-Yellow. Don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the comments section and tell others about Bright-Yellow!

Lunch and Dinner Inspirations

Normally I like to keep these posts to one topic but today I have two. First. thank you to everyone who sends me links and ideas – keep ’em coming! Kerry posted in the comments about the site Laptop Lunches. The site is built to sell bento box lunch boxes (which look super cute and are much better for the environment than a zillion baggies!) but they also do a weekly suggestion for what to put in those bento boxes. You can sign up to receive a weekly email (click here) or just check the site for this week’s (and past weeks’) recipes. Lunch can get super boring and Laptop Lunches helps out just a bit!

Next, I think I have made my love of dining out perfectly clear. I can’t remember how I stumbled upon these but I love a la card Chicago! Remember the 52 fabulous whatever decks (fun things to do in insert city, wedding ideas, valentines, etc.)? Well, a la card Chicago takes that concept and makes it better! For $30 (oh now I remember where I heard of this! Twitter! They had a promo that if you used promo code Twitter you could buy these for $20. It may still work!), you purchase a deck of 52 cards. Each card describes a restaurant in Chicago – and gives you a $10 off coupon to use at that restaurant! Just visit three (or maybe two?) restaurants, and the deck has paid for itself! Now, the cards do expire 12/31/09 so I suggest hopping on and purchasing a deck soon. The deck has restaurants ranging from Hot Doug’s (for non-Chicagoans – this is a fantastic hot dog joint) to David Burke’s Primehouse. Oh, and you know I love charity – $1 from every deck goes to Common Threads, a charity that educates children about nutrition.

Thanks for reading Bright-Yellow – keep reading and keep the suggestions coming!