Monthly Archive: August 2013

Wednesday

21

August 2013

7

COMMENTS

Blackbird

Written by , Posted in Chicago, Restaurants

Last Thursday I turned the big 3-0. For dinner that night Mike surprised me with a reservation at Blackbird, a spot that has been on my Chicago restaurant hit list for quite some time now. The food was fantastic, as expected, the service was great, and I loved the clean, modern decor.

Blackbird Chicago

Blackbird Chicago

Blackbird Chicago

After a round of cocktails we ordered 3 appetizers, because we just couldn’t decide on 2! We had crispy suckling pig, fried frog legs, and a salad of endives and crispy potatoes topped with a poached egg. The suckling pig was very tasty and I loved the bright components of the boneless frog legs dish, but my favorite was definitely the salad of endives. The presentation is beautiful (they cut it up for you table side), the flavors are fresh and everything works together perfectly!

Blackbird Chicago

Crispy suckling pig with zucchini, fig molasses, summer truffle, and pistachio

Blackbird Chicago

Fried frog’s legs with sugar snap peas, avocado, lily bulbs, jalapeño, and vanilla

Blackbird Chicago

Salad of endives with crispy potatoes, basil, dijon, pancetta, and poached egg

Blackbird Chicago

For mains Mike ordered the striploin and I ordered the lamb saddle. The striploin was served with a seaweed pesto that made the dish very unique and the lamb was just all-around delicious.

Blackbird Chicago

Dry-aged striploin with roasted chanterelles, pocha beans, apricot, and seaweed pesto

Blackbird Chicago

Roasted lamb saddle with caramelized cabbage, cherries, smoked ricotta, and lovage

At this point we were pretty stuffed but of course there’s always room for dessert! We ordered the dark chocolate brownie that was insanely good and they also brought out a small plate of of birthday cake ice cream with chocolate and caramel and a little candle for my birthday.  It was the perfect sweet ending to a fantastic dinner and a great start to this new decade of life!

Blackbird Chicago

Dark chocolate brownie, cherry pit ice cream, preserved walnut, poached cherries, oats

Blackbird Chicago

Birthday cake ice cream with chocolate and caramel

 

Monday

19

August 2013

1

COMMENTS

Jimbaran Fish Market

Written by , Posted in Travel

On our last day on Bali we woke up early to take in one last bit of Balinese culture at the Jimbaran Fish Market. We took a taxi from the resort and hired the driver to hang around for an hour and bring us back because at this time of day it’s almost entirely locals and taxis are hard to come by.  We arrived around 8:30am and headed out to the beach…

Jimbaran Fish Market

By this time in the morning most of the fish have already been unloaded and put on display in the market but we still had a chance to see all the boats along the shore and up on the sand. The deep blues of the water and the bright, colorful boats made for an incredibly beautiful view.

Jimbaran Fish Market

After snapping a million pictures of the boats we headed into the market which doesn’t look like much from the outside…

Jimbaran Fish Market

Jimbaran Fish Market

…but inside it was ripe with activity. Fish and other sea creatures of every shape, size and color were piled onto tables or in laundry baskets or styrofoam coolers filled with ice. It didn’t seem to be the most sanitary of places but the fish was definitely fresh! We walked up an down each row, stopping at almost every stall so I could snap a few pictures. I had no idea what most of the fish were but I wanted pictures of everything! We were the only non-locals in the market for the 30 or so minutes that we were inside and besides a few people motioning and commenting about how tall I was, nobody paid us much attention as I snapped away. It was very hard to narrow it down but I picked some of my favorites to share….

Jimbaran Fish Market

Jimbaran Fish Market

Jimbaran Fish Market

Jimbaran Fish Market

Jimbaran Fish Market

Jimbaran Fish Market

Jimbaran Fish Market

Jimbaran Fish Market

Jimbaran Fish Market

Jimbaran Fish Market

Jimbaran Fish Market

Jimbaran Fish Market

Jimbaran Fish Market

Jimbaran Fish Market squid

Jimbaran Fish Market

Visiting this fish market was such a cool, interesting experience and I would highly recommend it to anyone visiting Bali. Even if you’re not in the Jimbaran area you can easily hire a taxi from anywhere on the island for very little and they can get you there and bring you home. Jimbaran Beach is also a very popular spot for tourists to catch a picture perfect sunset while dining on the fresh catches of the day. We were told that the restaurants along the beach charge a bit of a premium but if you just go straight to the beach and buy from someone there or in the market it is much cheaper. Not sure how that works but something to keep in mind if you have a little sticker shock upon arrival.

And so, for those who have been following along, I’ve finally reached the end of our 10 days on Bali. 🙁 I hope you’ve enjoyed my posts and for those considering a visit to this beautiful island, feel free to email me with any questions! As I’m sure you can tell we had a fantastic time and I’d love to share my experiences with anyone who wants to listen!

Thursday

15

August 2013

2

COMMENTS

Ayana Resort & Spa, Bali

Written by , Posted in Travel

After 5 fairly active days in Ubud, Mike and I were ready to spend the last 5 days of our honeymoon relaxing and doing absolutely nothing! Enter: AYANA Resort and Spa in Jimbaran. Obviously we had looked at plenty of pictures of Ayana online while planning our trip, but none of them prepared us for the insane beauty we saw when we finally arrived. I could easily write several posts on all the amazing things about Ayana, but I decided I’d rather just wrap it up into one (giant) post instead. That being said, I guess I should get started…

Ayana Resort, Spa, Bali

Ayana Resort, Spa, Bali

The image above is the view we had from the Club Lounge when we first arrived…crazy, right?!? As if that wasn’t enough to take in, the woman checking us in informed us that we had been upgraded (for free) from our Club Suite to a private Pool Villa AND that villa came a personal butler (!!!) who would drive us around the resort in a golf cart whenever we needed to go anywhere. Whoa and whoa! We stayed in a pool villa in Ubud that was beautiful in it’s own right, but the villa here at Ayana was 3200 square feet of pure, peaceful luxury.

Ayana Resort, Spa, Bali, Villa

Ayana Resort, Spa, Bali, Private Pool, Villa

The grounds at Ayana are expansive and the views from nearly everywhere on the property are breathtaking. The resort is built along a cliff and faces west so in addition to the lush vegetation you also get amazing views of the sparkling blue ocean and a front row seat to some truly epic sunsets.

Ayana Resort, Spa, Bali

Ayana Resort, Spa, Bali, Sunset

Ayana Resort, Spa, Bali

They have multiple pools, each unique and impressive in their own right, a world-class spa, some of the best restaurants on Bali, and their cliffside Rock Bar draws visitors from all over the island. Thanks to an awesome wedding gift from my brother and his girlfriend,  Mike and I spent an entire morning enjoying scrubs and massages at the spa so I can say from personal experience that it is well worth a visit!

Ayana Resort, Spa, Bali

Ayana Resort, Spa, Bali

Ayana Resort, Spa, Bali, Pool

The Rock Bar is definitely one of the coolest bars I will ever visit in my entire life-you have to take an inclinator to get down the side of the cliff to the bar and the line before sunset is crazy long…luckily they have a VIP line for Ayana guests so we felt super cool every time we were escorted to the front of the line. They have delicious bar snacks, fun cocktails, and sunset views that are hard to top.

Ayana Resort, Spa, Bali, View

Ayana Resort, Spa, Bali, Sunset

Ayana Resort, Spa, Bali, Rock Bar, Food

Ayana Resort, Spa, Bali

Ayana Resort, Spa, Bali, Sunset, Rock Bar

I did have one day in the middle of our stay here that I got pretty sick with Bali Belly, but I was prepared with drugs from home and luckily it was only really bad for less than a day. Other than that it was obviously an all-around fabulous time! We spent whole days lounging at the pools, we watched the sun set from a different spot each night, we enjoyed complimentary food, beer, and wine in the Club Lounge, and we dined on delicious fresh seafood at Kisik and beautiful modern French cuisine at Dava. Ayana was the perfect spot to end our crazy wedding/honeymoon adventure; we’re still counting our lucky stars that we somehow ended up at this beautiful place with each other.

Ayana Resort, Spa, Bali, Sunset

Ayana Resort, Spa, Bali, Pool

Ayana Resort, Spa, Bali, Pool

Ayana Resort, Spa, Bali

Ayana Resort, Spa, Bali, Dava, Food

Ayana Resort, Spa, Bali, Kisik

Ayana Resort, Spa, Bali, Kisik

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