Saturday, July 18, 2009

Can every day be "Val Day"?

First of all, I would like to give a huge thanks to Burt and Zorinne Lindner for giving a generous donation to Ceasefire, my marathon charity! Thanks, Burt and Zo! :)

If you are interested in contributing, please check out the left side of my blog's front page!


Today was the inaugeral Val Day!!!! It was quite a success :-)

For those of you who missed last Saturday's "Mike Day" posting, I got this idea when I studied family therapy during grad school. It is supposed to focus couples on each other in a selfless way... however, I just think it is a fun thing to do!

Today I started my wonderful day - how else? - by having a fabulous, early morning run. Today was a "cut back week" - every 3 weeks we cut back our long run distance - so we only ran 7 miles today. The weather was cool and absolutely perfect, the pace felt great, and I had one of those glorious, ideal runs that felt completely effortless! LOVE that!!

I was given a bite-size version of my new favorite flavor of larabar for a post-run snack!

My sister and her friend had to eat breakfast in a hurry before catching a train home, so we headed a few feet away down the street to eat at Cafe Society. This place serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and although Chicago's Mayer Daley is known to frequent the restaurant, it looks like a complete hole in the wall.
For whatever reason I was craving something savory but didn't want eggs, so I had a Greek salad. Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhh. This salad was pretty lame, to say the least. I did munch on some of my sister's Mexican rice and beans though (yes my sibling and I are weird, we both ordered lunch food and it was not even 8:30 in the morning yet!!!)
I didn't eat the toast that came with the salad (don't like white bread), but the idea of bread did sound good to me so I went home and had 2 pieces of 'Zeke bread with Earth Balance on top. Yummo! I felt SO full after having about 4 things to eat before 9am lol...........
After breakfast, Mike and I kicked off Val Day by heading to Best Buy where the dear Geek Squad guys fixed my camera/computer. Love those geeks ;)
Then, we went to Chicago's Old Town where I had a gift card for a shoe store. Sadly, the store had gone out of business!! I felt badly for myself for a brief moment, and then got over that quickly when I realized that two women lost their business. So tragic when that happens, hope they are doing ok!
A couple blocks from the shoe store was our next stop: Fleet Feet. Although my camera ate the pictures I took at this store, Fleet Feet is THE place to go if you are a runner in the greater Chicagoland area. I ended up getting the same type of shoes I've been using for years - the Brooks Adrenaline - but I really wanted Mike to get fitted properly by the "experts", so they had him run on their fancy schmany treadmill do-dad that monitors your gait and tells you whether you pronate or not and what type of shoe would work best for your feet.
I ended up buying the Brooks, Mike got a pair of New Balance shoes, and I picked up a couple of Luna moons which I have never tried before - do you guys like these? I LOVE the Sports Jelly Bellies but have been unable to find them anywhere!!
Next up was Food Inc. I was SO excited to see this movie - which, oddly enough, is only playing in one theatre in ALL of Chicago - that I had Mike drop me off while he parked so that I could get tickets before they sold out. This was unnecessary worrying on my part haha, as the theatre was nearly empty.
I won't bore you with a review since SO many other bloggers have already seen and reviewed this film, but I will say that I am extremely glad I saw it and that it validates how I feel about my diet and reinforces that I am making the right choices for me, for the food industry workers who are often mistreated, and the animals, and for our environment.
Even Mike, who was pretty skeptical going in, agreed that if he was "assured" that food that is labeled as "organic" truly is organic, that he would want us to buy that all of the time.
The last stop of the night was equally as exciting as the movie: The Chicago Diner!!! I have been pining away after this place for YEARS. Basically this is the mecca of all true, simple, delicious, hippie vegan food.

It looks like a hold in the wall, but don't let looks deceive you. Let me just say that my bar was set VERY high going in, but that The Chicago Diner completely met and surpassed all of my expectations!!!
Sorry I cut off the date - I think it says "since 1983"
Check out this menu - I wanted to try EVERYTHING!!!
We started - at Mike's choosing - with the "raw vegan nachos". We were both VERY impressed. The raw "tortillas" were made with flax and rocked! I can't wait to make these for Mike soon. That's raw vegan 'sour cream' on top - love it!
For some reason, the picture of my plate didn't turn out well, but I got the sweet potato and vegan cheese quesadillas in a spinach tortilla. It was faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahbulous. So, so, so good.
Perhaps even better was: the vegan reuben!!!!!
I have been hearing how awesome the reuben is for years now, and I'm so glad that Mike decided to order it. It was beyond words AMAZING, down to the vegan 1000 island dressing.

Dessert was a perfect ending to the night: vegan cookie dough cake!
This cake was hands-down one of the top 3 cakes I have had in my life - I might even rank it above my wedding cake. Seriously.......... this was just undescribably good.
Mike and I both agreed that:
1) vegan food is fabulous and I dare any naysayer to try their food - neither of us felt at ALL deprived
2) if we had a Chicago Diner in the South Loop we would literally go there every week!!
3) I need to crack open Sarma's book soon to start making more of her fabulous raw recipes!
We weren't hungry again until late tonight, when I had a mini salad with spinach, tomatoes, and Sabra hummus. Dessert wasn't very aesthetically pleasing so I didn't take a picture, but it was basically just almond butter, some raisins, and some Nu Naturals cocoa extrac thrown in for good measure. Filled me up!
Oh yeah, and I had this larabar too. The flavor was just "ok" - maybe a C+? It wasn't my favorite, but I would certainly eat it again. I'm not exactly a picky eater in case you haven't noticed ;)
Now I'm EXHAUSTED and am off to bed in about 5 seconds.....
Since Val Day isn't quite over yet, I was wondering: If you had "______ Day" and you could do whatever you wanted, what would YOU do? It's so fun to think about! :)


  1. Looks like a fun Val Day! I felt the same way after the movie..glad with the diet I already had :) Are you talking about the Sports Jelly Beans? The Jelly Bean brand?? My boyfriend is able to eat dinner-style food for breakfast, I don't know how he does it!

  2. Val Day trumps Mike Day. Don't tell him I said that. :P Sounds like a really perfect day.

  3. Ooooh! I would go trail running/hiking, horseback riding, and eat out 3 times that day!! I wish I had known about The Chicago Diner!! I've been to Chicago twice in the last few months. How far is it from O'Hare?

  4. i would LOVE to eat there!
    looks like an amazing val day :D

  5. I would wake up and volunteer, then spend a ton of time outside walking/hiking/swimming. Lunch would be a picnic with all sorts of gourmet stuff: cheese, olives, baguettes, fruit, wine etc. Then I would have a nap and have dinner somewhere by the waterfront.
    Your day sounds great! I LOVE sport jelly beans. They were great during my marathin training except when it got REALLY cold and they froze :) Doubt you will have that problem.

  6. Val Day sounds awesome :) I like that you and your sister got lunch early in the morning...Jamie and I totally did the same after our run ha! Sometimes you just need to :)

    Is Fleet Feet a franchise? The mayor of DC's parents own a Fleet Feet in Adams Morgan so just curious. Haven't tried the Luna Moons, but we sell them at our store (and the Sport Beans so let me know if you ever want me to send some your way!) and they're pretty popular. Also popular - Gu Chomps. Have you checked them out?

    Not going to lie, I'm drooling at your nachos right now.