A Semi-Foodie, Semi-Mathy Adventure

Hello friends!  It's finally summer, and I'm remembering what it feels like to have time to relax, hang out with NES, keep up with dishes and cook!  I have even baked a little, but hopefully more will come soon!  GWS, PLS and ZNS brought me rhubarb that became rhubarb coffee cake!  I've already made two batches!

Last month I was at a conference with fellow grad student WL and her advisor DH, so the last couple weeks have really felt like the beginning of summer!

Now, when I say this was a semi-foodie, semi-mathy adventure, I should probably clarify and say that it was a mostly-mathy adventure, and the semi-foodie part came from the fact that college towns tend to have good food.  And lots of food!  Just stepping out of the math building led us to a street with lots of quick (but also lots of good) food!

Before I arrived, I decided to sample the "local" bubble tea at the Chicago airport!
First of all, upon arriving at the conference, I headed in the direction in which I had been told the math building stood.  I was taking pictures of the big, fancy building, complete with chime tower!, right in front of me.  Then Google told me that's where I was heading.  Um, woah.  It was a pretty spectacular building.  Granted, by the end of the week, I could definitely feel the pains of being in an old building all the time, but it was still cool to look at!

When I arrived inside the aforementioned building, there were boxes of giant cookies for us to choose from.  Whatever the caramel and cinnamon sugar ones were, they were amazing.  Little did I know that we'd be treated to Einstein Bros cookies during every afternoon break throughout the conference.  That's a lot of cookies.
DH, WL and I wandered out of the math building looking for dinner, and I apparently was put in charge of choosing dinner.  There was a Korean place across the street, and (thanks to TK), I love Korean food, so I decided that's where we would go!  I got beef bibimbap, and it was so good!  It was even enough for two meals!
Every morning of the conference, we were greeted with Einstein Bros. bagels and coffee.  Their bagels were pretty good, and I can be kind of a bagel snob!  There were also pastries and even yogurt parfaits by the end of the week!

After the first day, we went for a walk and found dinner downtown.  I tried grilled stuffed pasta, which was basically pasta rolled with goat cheese, parmesan, artichokes, tomatoes and all sorts of other Mediterranean goodies, then grilled!  It was interesting, and I'm glad I tried it!

And then we ordered a pound of chocolate cake.  And three of us couldn't finish it.

On Tuesday for lunch, we went to a Shwerma (that's how they spelled it) place.  It was pretty good, but not as good as our regular place here!

For dinner, we did hot pot!  I had never done it before, and it was a cool experience!  There was so much food!  I also tried chrysanthemum tea for the first time, and it was really good.  This is what I get for going to a hot pot place with a fellow Chinese student and professors who have been to China!

On Wednesday for lunch, WL and I found a quick pizza place for lunch.  I tried their pesto tortellini, but it was just ok.  However, the avocado quesadilla pizza was pretty awesome.  It was Mexican veggies topped with cheddar and crumbled tortilla chips.  Technically I took that slice home with me and ate it on Friday for breakfast, but still.  It counts.

Wednesday dinner was a buffet at a fancy hotel.  Our table was the first one up to go through the buffet -- I don't think that had ever happened to me before!  However, after the buffet, there was no dessert.  It was a bit anticlimactic. So, a big group of us went to Insomnia  cookies for warm cookies and ice cream.  I got a peanut butter cup cookie with moose tracks ice cream.  It was pretty awesome.  And a much more memorable evening than a dessert at the reception!

Thursday lunch was taken up mainly by a trip up to the top of the chime tower to see the bells and her the concert!

Climbing the crazy ladder was terrifying, but it was so cool.  This was easily a highlight of the whole trip!

So I grabbed a quick salad and headed back to the conference for the day.

I also snuck in a quick trip to visit DS and JS while I was halfway across the country!  It was great to see them and catch up,  and they made me homemade food!

And then I headed home.  There was lots of math to be had in midst of all that, and I even presented!
Did I mention the campus was gorgeous?

Also, while I was there, JS introduced me to the joyfulness that is homemade mango salsa.  It's so good.  I already made it and served it with grilled lime-dressing-marinated chicken for Memorial day.

If you're looking for me this summer, I'll be making salsa with all the mangoes and peaches I can find this summer and eating it straight from the bowl with a spoon.

Peach/Mango Salsa
adapted from Big Girls Small Kitchen via JS

4 peaches or 2 large mangoes, diced in 1/4" pieces
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
pinch red pepper flakes
3 tbsp fresh herbs, chopped: cilantro, basil, mint or a mix (I prefer mint!)
a generous grind of black pepper

Combine all the ingredients and stir to combine.

Refrigerate, covered, for at least an hour.  Add more lemon juice, sugar and salt to taste!

Great as a salsa or on grilled meat!


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