Author Archives: vegetariantourist

What A Great Day!

I’d like to say the stars must have aligned on this particular day because it truly turned out to be a special one.

The first exciting thing that happened was getting to experience Arun’s Thai, a fine-dining restaurant here in Chicago that has literally been on my bucket list for over 15 years (crazy, I know). I’ve always wanted to save the experience of Arun’s Thai for a special occasion, but for one reason or another, it just had not happened yet. I was so incredibly lucky to be invited to dine at Arun’s Thai and I no joke read the email like 12 times because I could not believe my eyes. Seriously, a dream come true!

Arun’s Thai is definitely some of the best Thai food I’ve ever had along with some of the coolest and most artistically presented dishes I’ve ever seen. The details and sheer creativity were on a level I have never encountered before, and for that, I am still in awe. What I also absolutely loved about our meal service was how accommodating the chef and staff were to me being vegetarian. All of my dishes were plated exactly the same as the meat-eaters and it was nice to feel inclusive of the meal where my vegetarian dishes didn’t always look different from the rest of the table.

I’m sharing a few pictures of the gorgeous and delicious dinner I had so you can get an idea of what might be in store when you go (the menu changes daily based on seasonality, chef’s choice and obviously accommodating any dietary restrictions):

Even The Non-Alcohoic Drinks Are Stunning

Even The Non-Alcohoic Drinks Are Stunning

Amazing Appetizers

Amazing Appetizers

Arun's Thai Vegetarian Panang Curry

Arun’s Thai Vegetarian Panang Curry

What Looks Like Nemo Is Created From A Carrot

What Looks Like Nemo Is Created From A Carrot

Thai Inspired Sangria

Thai Inspired Sangria

Mango Sticky Rice With Hand Painted Koi Fish

Mango Sticky Rice With Hand Painted Koi Fish

The other cool thing on this day was I officially hit 10,000 followers on my Instagram account. A fun milestone that reminds me to keep enjoying the ride and all the great people and experiences that have come from this social media platform. Thanks for your continued support and following along on my journey.

 

Please Note: While I was invited to dine at Arun’s Thai, all opinions are my own.

Some Fun “Holidays” In May

I think it is funny how almost every single day has become some random “holiday”; like National Pizza Day, National Donut Day, National Mac and Cheese Day, etc. It’s fun to follow along and get involved by sharing photos on social media.

Postmates (make sure you download the app) is bringing some awesome deals for upcoming holidays so you can do more than just share photos. National Today is the site that celebrates quirky holidays and is keeping us up-to-date on some upcoming days in the month of May. Check out some of these great specials:

1. Cinco de Mayo (May 5)

Did you know this holiday actually celebrates Mexico’s victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla? You can learn more about Cinco de Mayo at https://nationaltoday.com/us/cinco-de-mayo/.

POSTMATES DEAL: Get one free burrito with code CINCODEMAYO at checkout. http://springboard.postmates.com/cincodemayo

2. Have a Coke Day (May 8)

34% of Americans like their Coke from a glass bottle, while 24% like it from a can. How do you like your Coke? Check out more about National Have a Coke Day at https://nationaltoday.com/us/have-a-coke-day/.

POSTMATES DEAL: Get your favorite Coke product (Mexican Coke, Diet Coke, or Coke) free with code COKELICIOUS at checkout. http://springboard.postmates.com/COKELICIOUS

3. Eat What You Want Day (May 11)

It’s time to treat yo’self! This is the day to go wild—have ice cream for breakfast and a veggie burger for dessert. Learn more about Eat What You Want Day at https://nationaltoday.com/us/national-eat-what-you-want-day/.

POSTMATES DEAL: Get a free cupcake with code EATWHATEVER at checkout. http://springboard.postmates.com/EATWHATEVER

4. Mother’s Day (May 14)

Our mothers have given us everything. Today’s the day to pamper her in return. Read more about Mother’s Day at https://nationaltoday.com/us/mothers-day/.

POSTMATES DEAL: Deliver the perfect Mother’s Day meal for free from all her favorite restaurants. She doesn’t have to lift a finger, and you don’t either. Use coupon code MOMSDAY at checkout. http://springboard.postmates.com/MOMSDAY

5. National No Dirty Dishes Day (May 18)

Washing dishes is the worst (#amIright?). There is such a thing as National No Dirty Dishes Day: https://nationaltoday.com/us/national-no-dirty-dishes-day/.

POSTMATES DEAL: Get free pizza or chicken wings (no dishes or utensils required!) with code DISHVACAY at checkout. http://springboard.postmates.com/DISHVACAY

Hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about some of these special days and more so, I hope you can enjoy some great deals through Postmates!! Let me know if you do.

 

Please Note: This post is in partnership with Postmates and National Today. 

It’s All About The Journey

I’d say my fitness journey throughout my life has been sort of wax-on, wax-off. There were times when I was really dedicated and into a great groove, and then I would have those times that I just could not motivate myself. I know most people go through this.

The thing I’ve come to learn about exercise is that it truly is a journey; there’s not really a destination per se. It’s about constantly evolving and pushing yourself outside your own boundaries and limits, but also having fun and finding enjoyment in what you are doing.

For me, in order to stick to something rather than it being the next exercise fad I abandon (hello Insanity), finding a supportive community and like-minded individuals who encourage me along my own personal fitness path is exactly what I need to stay motivated and accountable. And, let’s be honest, I need to find something close to my home because if it’s too far, I’m just not going to go. I’m happy to report that I’ve found the perfect place. It’s called Studio Three.

Studio Three Chicago

Studio Three Chicago

Studio Three is a beautiful, boutique fitness destination in the heart of River North in Chicago. There are three levels, where each floor is a dedicated space for yoga, cycling or interval training. What I absolutely love is that I can mix up my workouts and be trained by the most elite fitness instructors in Chicago. It’s called #winning in my book.

Interval Studio photo credit: Studio Three

Interval Studio photo credit: Studio Three

Peloton Cycling Studio photo credit: Studio Three

Peloton Cycling Studio photo credit: Studio Three

Yoga Studio photo credit: Studio Three

Yoga Studio photo credit: Studio Three

Studio Three Class Options

Studio Three Class Options

Inside Studio Three

Inside Studio Three

Not only that, Studio Three has the best service I have ever experienced at a fitness studio. For example, there is a staff member present in the cycling studio throughout the entire class for any potential issues you may have; you grabbed the wrong weights for the arm workout segment, you accidentally drop your towel on the floor mid class, you can’t clip out of your bike at the end of class (ahem, I may or may not be speaking from experience on these).

I could go on and on about all the ways I love Studio Three, but honestly, the most important for me is that I absolutely love the great network of people it has brought into my life. I have made so many new friends who I see regularly at classes, I’m always encouraging anyone that will listen to come join me at a class and I’ve also become great friends with many of the instructors and staff members at Studio Three. For that, I’m eternally grateful.

Studio Three Instructors photo credit: Studio Three

Studio Three Instructors photo credit: Studio Three

Peloton Cycling With Friends

Peloton Cycling With Friends

Yoga Class At Studio Three

Yoga Class At Studio Three

And just so you know, I’ve been going consistently at least a few times every week since Studio Three opened in November of 2015. No fad exercise regimen here; dedication at its best. I heart you Studio Three.

 

Please Note: This post is in partnership with Studio Three. All opinions are my own.

Unexpectedly Blown Away

When I saw the invite for VIP tickets to the traveling show Cavalia Odysseo, I was intrigued, but not exactly sure what it really was. I felt like I had heard of the show before, but clearly did not know much about it. After watching the trailer and reading up a bit on it, I was definitely in.

Cavalia is a live performance with 65 horses and 48 artists performing on a stage bigger than the United Center’s ice rink. I kind of describe it like Cirque du Soleil with horses and let me just tell you, it’s truly a feast for the eyes.

Our VIP tickets included an open bar, wonderful dinner buffet, dessert buffet during intermission and a behind-the scenes visit to the horse stables and stage after the show. Learning more about the entire production of the show and meeting some of the horses really made it that much more amazing and special to me. I can’t even imagine how they put the 2,000 seat stadium together under the big top white tent, transport all the gear and equipment (in addition to the horses and everything they need) and make everything one, seamless, unbelievable experience.

Not only was the show spectacular, the service and staff were top-notch. It’s yet again one of those things that words just do no justice. Cavalia is only something that can be experienced. With that, use the code SOCIAL to get 15% off your tickets. It’s worth every single penny. The show is running in Chicago until May 14, so you have a little less than two weeks. Go!

Here are some pictures from my experience (no photography was allowed during the show, so all my pictures are from before, during intermission and after):

Cavalia Odysseo Chicago

Cavalia Odysseo Chicago

Cavalia Dinner Buffet

Cavalia Dinner Buffet

Cavalia Inside VIP Tent

Cavalia Inside VIP Tent

Beautiful Art Work Throughout Tent Area

Beautiful Art Work Throughout Tent Area

Cavalia Before Show Begins

Cavalia Before Show Begins

Cavalia Dessert Buffet

Cavalia Dessert Buffet

Meeting A Horse After Show

Meeting A Horse After Show

Up Close and Personal With A Horse

Up Close and Personal With A Horse

Beautifully Braided Hair On A Horse

Beautifully Braided Hair On A Horse

Cavalia Outside Tent After Show

Cavalia Outside Tent After Show

Seriously, if you get the chance, I highly recommend seeing this amazing show. Let me know if you go!

 

Please Note: While I was offered the VIP experience, all opinions are my own.

Trying Something New

You know I always enjoy trying something new, especially if it’s vegetarian and healthy! Cue in Chickapea Pasta that is gluten-free, vegan, organic, GMO-free and is packed with protein. What I really appreciate about Chickapea Pasta is that when you read the ingredients, it’s literally just two; organic chickpea flour and organic red lentil flour. That’s it. How nice not to see a bunch of chemicals or weird additives.

Chickapea Pasta

Chickapea Pasta

Chickapea Pasta Ingredients

Chickapea Pasta Ingredients

I’ve been hearing more and more about pastas made from various kinds of lentils, but I’ve actually never tried any until now. I have to say that I was really impressed and liked how filling this pasta is. I made this vegetarian pasta dish after an evening yoga class and I was shocked at how full I was from such a small amount. Being vegetarian, this huge for me, since regular pasta just doesn’t do the trick and I always find myself hungry an hour later. I’m literally hooked on Chickapea Pasta.

My Vegetarian Pasta Creation

My Vegetarian Pasta Creation

Here’s the recipe for the simple dish I created:

Vegetarian Pasta Dish

  • 1 cup Chickapea Pasta
  • 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped zucchini
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh spinach
  • 1 cup organic marinara sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • optional- grated parmesan to top pasta

– In large skillet, heat oil and add garlic and onions to saute. Once translucent, add green pepper and zucchini and continue to saute on medium heat. Turn heat down to low and add spinach until all water is evaporated. Add marinara sauce, oregano and black pepper and simmer on low heat.

-Bring water to a boil and prepare Chickapea Pasta as noted on box. I personally like my pasta cooked a little well done, so I boiled my pasta for 10 minutes.

-Add drained and rinsed pasta to vegetable sauce and simmer on low for an additional 5 minutes. Add any additional seasonings to taste such as crushed red pepper or garlic powder.

-Top with grated parmesan if desired.

Chickapea Pasta Served With Garlic Bread

Chickapea Pasta Served With Garlic Bread

As you can see, this recipe was super simple and I was able to sneak in quite a few vegetables to make it extra healthy and low-fat. You can keep this dish vegan by omitting the parmesan, but I enjoyed the little added extra treat on top.

Chickapea Pasta Dish Topped With Parmesan

Chickapea Pasta Dish Topped With Parmesan

Try it out and let me know what you think!

 

Please Note: While this post is in partnership with Chickapea Pasta, all opinions are my own.