Wanderlust Wednesday: Seville, Spain

Passageway in Seville, Spain
Passageway in Seville, Spain

Seville, Spain is where I spent my Thanksgiving holiday in 2008. I was living in London at the time so no turkey and dressing (not to be confused with stuffing) for me. Instead, my mom joined me in London and we hopped on a cheap flight to Seville. Because we could. Because getting anywhere in Europe when you’re based in London is cheap and usually relatively easy, thanks to the countless low-cost airlines.

I decided Seville would be nice because we’d enjoy some relatively warm weather. Or, they could have one of their coldest late Novembers on record. Mother Nature: 1, Jacquelyn: 0.

Getting to Seville was no small feat. Okay, maybe I’m being slightly dramatic, but our flight from London was delayed and my mom got sick en route. This sometimes happens with her. I vividly remember a trip to the Cotswolds where, thank god we had bought something in a gift shop because that bag came in handy.

Anyway, my not-so-limited Spanish skills and the cab driver from the airport got us to our hotel, Hotel Alminar, pretty easily. I chose this hotel predominately because it was the #1 hotel in Seville on TripAdvisor, which is where I worked at the time so it was gospel to me. (I just checked and it’s currently #12 of 171 hotels in Seville, which is still pretty darn good.)


The manager at the hotel was sweet. He certainly humored me and my desire to speak Spanish; I remember telling him that my mom was enferma when he asked if we needed dinner recommendations. Still, he offered some recommendations and we took his advice and went to a local tapas place. The food was good, but I always have a hard time with smoking in restaurants in Europe. Yuck.


One thing that you see all over Seville are orange trees. They’re everywhere. And in late November, they were overflowing with bright orange fruit. We spent a lot of time just walking around and taking in the pretty scenery, even though it was a little chilly.


We spent an afternoon exploring Alcazar, the royal palace, and its grounds were overflowing with orange trees, too.

100_1046You could easily spend a full day at Alcazar, but our time was limited so we had to pack a lot into a little time. So after Alcazar, we went to the Seville Cathedral.

We walked the many stairs and ramps to get to the top of La Giralda, the bell tower.


The views of Seville from La Giralda were postcard perfect.


We also saw the somewhat controversial tomb of Christopher Columbus… or is it his brother, Diego?


Friday Faves: November 22, 2013

Tomorrow marks Nora’s sixth month, which is just mind boggling to me. Cliche to say, but it really does go so fast. So today one of our favorite photographers is coming over to capture a few moments of her at this stage. I’m already anxious to see the results.

This weekend we prep for next week’s travels to Scranton, Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving. That means getting the car serviced (because we’re driving!) and last minute shopping for random odds and ends. Oh yeah, and celebrating Kalyana’s birthday on Saturday night at the always delicious Piccolo Sogno.

While I peruse that mouthwatering menu and think about what to order, you enjoy these links.


What historical events would’ve looked like if there were Instagram at the time.


Kudos, Chicago! Both airports make the worst delays list.


Did you know you can get free airport parking by renting out your car? Me, neither. Not sure I’d ever do this; would you?


I can’t seem to go a full day without my iPhone needing to be charged. I must need to adjust some settings. Or I could just get this.


Illinois was hit with some disastrous weather this past Sunday. But I love these sweet stories of dogs being reunited with their owners in the aftermath.

Friday Faves: November 15, 2013

First snow
First snow!

Chicago go its first snowfall of the season this past Monday. It was the perfect day for me to not wear a coat to work… Though it was downright balmy when I left for work that morning.

Looking forward to getting out of the city this weekend and going to my parents’. It will only be the second time Nora has been, so we’ll see how long the typically four and a half hour drive takes us this time… since last time it took more like six hours, but in Nora’s defense, she was barely two months old and we had to stop for lunch and other non-baby things.

Enjoy whatever you have on tap for the weekend! Here are some of my favorite links from the week.


Though this week’s snow was just a dusting, it’s stayed pretty damn cold. And that means it will soon snow again–and more–and Daisy will have to start wearing her Pawz, which, apparently like most other dogs, she abhors.


And another note on snow. My silly little photo taken with my iPhone on the back porch certainly pales in comparison to these amazing images depicting that, in fact, no two snowflakes are alike.


Naked Blue Machine

Have you had this stuff? In my quest to get a little healthier day by day, I gave it a shot. I tried the green machine first and I’ve got the blue machine waiting for me in the fridge. The green had apple and kale and pineapple and a bunch of other good things in it, and it was so delicious, although I could’ve done without the garlic — I could definitely taste it. Not the most Weight Watchers point-friendly, but it’s certainly better than points from leftover Halloween candy…


Chicago’s latest Michelin list is out – a few key takeaways. So happy to see North Pond on here, one of my favorites! And this furthers my desire to check out Grace.


I’ve been a huge fan of roasted broccoli lately, but this is a cauliflower version with bacon and parmesan cheese. Yes, please!


I thought it was bad when Starbucks was open last year on Thanksgiving, but the number of stores that plan to be open this year is disgusting. Bravo to those that aren’t. You couldn’t pay me to step foot into a store on Black Friday, much less Thanksgiving Day.


Friday Faves: November 8, 2013

Fall is here in full force. I was reminded of that on a recent walk through our neighborhood where most streets are draped in colorful canopies of leaves. I think fall just might be becoming my favorite season.

So this week was a real doozy. Mercury is in retrograde, after all — maybe that’s why? There was all kinds of drama at work, the weather in Chicago was rainy and gross, a friend’s dog and a family member’s dog both had to be put to sleep… oh yeah, and Charlie Trotter died. Feeling very TGIF.


Chicago lost one of our finest this week, with the passing of Charlie Trotter. My husband and I were fortunate enough to dine at his restaurant before it closed last year.


In happier news, Illinois finally passed marriage equality!


We’re road tripping for Thanksgiving this year. Maybe we’ll employ some of these road trip hacks on our 12-hour drive to Pennsylvania.


… that said, we’re not hosting Thanksgiving this year, but I kind of wish we were. Decorating the table is one of my favorite parts.


Sephora gave me a sample of Korres Greek Yoghurt Advanced Nourishing Sleeping Facial, and while I’m not crazy about the scent (think old lady perfume), I woke up the next morning with skin as soft as my baby girl’s — and I’m not exaggerating.


I just so happened to catch Barefoot Contessa the other day, and she made this French apple tart. I’m not typically a fan of apple desserts, but this looked divine… not to mention, surprisingly easy to make.


Cute dog stuff gets me every time.

Little Goat Diner

Breakfast at Chicago’s Little Goat Diner

It seems that anything Stephanie Izard touches turns to gold. Just try to get a reservation at The Girl and the Goat any time before 10 p.m. three months from today. It’s definitely worth the wait (and the late seating), but I was so happy when she opened Little Goat across the street. Little Goat Diner doesn’t take reservations, because it is, after all, a diner. However, friends have gone recently and all said the wait wasn’t so bad, so we decided to check it out one recent Sunday morning.

Here’s where it becomes very convenient to have a five-month old daughter who wakes up at o’dark-thirty. You can easily beat the (hungover) brunch crowd and have breakfast before they’ve even climbed out of bed. Oh, and yes, Little Goat is very kid and baby-friendly.

Little Goat DinerWe did have a little bit of a wait when we arrived. Not too bad, though, only about 15 minutes at most. But it was busy. And there were lots of families. The interior reminded me a little bit of an “upscale” diner I went to in London, Bob Bob Ricard (though it seems that they have morphed into truly high-end per a recent visit to their website). There are the typical diner booths, but beautiful wallpaper and a funky, modern light fixture orbits above. It’s loud and buzzy; again, perfect for kids.

Per the menu, you have to get the ooey gooey cinnabun early, before they’re all gone, so I made the executive decision to share one to start. This is no mall food court cinnabun, but the real deal.

Ooey Gooey CinnabunOur main dishes were even more impressive than the cinnabun. My husband had the bull’s eye french toast, which was made with sweet onion brioche, topped with crispy chicken, barbecue maple syrup and strawberries. Oh, and there was a fried egg hiding underneath all that.

Bull's Eye French ToastBeing more of a savory breakfast person, I had the brandade and belly, which consisted of brandade, porky belly, a big flaky biscuit, kimchi and of course, a fried egg. There was even a bit of kale in the mix, you know, to even things out and make it a little healthier.

Brandade & BellyIt’s a good thing Little Goat isn’t in our neighborhood, or I could easily see it becoming a regular weekend haunt. There are just too many yummy things on the menu that I feel compelled to try… fat Elvis waffles, parathas burrito… not to mention some pretty ridiculous sounding supper and snack items.

Good to Know

  • Baby and kid-friendly! But leave the stroller at home as there really isn’t any place to store it. Booths are big enough to accommodate the car seat, though, and they have something called a car seat sling, I guess to hold it? We didn’t use one.
  • There will be a wait, even if you go early in the morning. But even this line-hater takes no issue with it; it isn’t a very long wait.
  • Parking is pretty simple on weekend mornings, but Little Goat is alongside many, many other restaurants on Randolph St., so you might have to valet at nighttime.
  • A bakery and coffee bar is connected to the restaurant if you just need a quick pick-me-up to-go.

Friday Faves: November 1, 2013

Happy November! Here I am with two full bags of Halloween candy leftover, thanks to the lackluster trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood last night. Not a one! I suppose I could have worse problems.

While I ponder what to do with all this candy, you enjoy these links.


Our friends at the FAA are letting us keep our iPads, Kindles and other electronics on during takeoff and landing now. Hooray! Now if they could just get rid of that pesky 3-1-1 rule.


So many useful travel tips. However, I don’t know how #3 is humanly possible. And a better alternative to #24 is to use the free plastic laundry bag found in the hotel closet.


I can’t imagine Nora ever napping long enough for me to concoct something this cool.


My love for any and all pumpkin desserts is no secret. Plentiful Pantry’s cobbler is a favorite not only because it’s so yummy, but also so easy. But no, not from scratch…


I just ordered monogrammed stockings for the family from Ballard Designs. I think they’re just adorable (and currently 15% off).


We’ve been thinking of reviving our annual Christmas party this year (sorry, Christmas on the brain!). And this is how it would go (the thirtysomething version, of course).


If only people would actually follow air-travel etiquette… but if nuns can’t even do it, then I have little hope for the rest of the world.