Winery Event and Girls' Spa Day

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It was a weekend for the books, you guys. We started out by driving up to my parents' house on Friday night for a Bon Voyage dinner for my sister, who left for Spain the next day. She will be gone all semester, home for a few weeks, and then gone again for the next semester. I set up a blog for her, so feel free to check it out: Ailie Abroad.

When we arrived, the steaks were seasoned and just aching to be put on the grill. My husband is the official grillmaster, and the steaks were perfect.

We toasted my sister's impending adventure and spent some time helping her pack. Okay, I mostly just watched her pack instead of helping, but at least I was there for moral support.

The next morning, we came back to Chicago. After a full afternoon, we started getting ready for the night's event. Our landlord is a co-owner of Grand Avenue Winery, a small winery in Chicago, and he invited us to their annual event. 

It was a truly impressive affair! It was wonderful to taste so many of their wines. They had a white sangria that people seemed to be loving, but we stuck with reds and tried to go from light to heavy as the night progressed.

There was also no shortage of food. With most (if not all) of the winery owners being Italian, there was a plethora of delicious pizzas, and plenty of italian sausages, cheeses, and breads.

We had a great time and ended up buying a few bottles to take home or give as gifts. The proceeds went to charity, so we were more than happy to make a few purchases!

The next morning, my husband and I took a Bodypump class at the gym and then spent a few hours relaxing and cleaning. In the early afternoon, my mom arrived for our date! I wanted to do something special to thank her for all the time and effort she contributed to my wedding, so I decided to take her to Red Square, a Russian/Turkish bathhouse and spa in Wicker Park, for the afternoon.

It's kind of hard to explain how this place is set up. Basically, below ground they have a whole area of saunas, steam rooms, hot tubs, etc, where you can spend the day relaxing and detoxing (also known as SWEATING). Upstairs, they have a whole spa, as well as a restaurant and bar.

The best thing about this place? You can order anything from the restaurant or bar from anywhere. There are black phones placed throughout the wood paneled relaxation rooms (where you relax in between using the saunas, steam rooms, and tubs). 

All you had to do was pick up the phone... and order champagne. Unfortunately, there is no glass allowed, so we couldn't be as glamorous as we might have liked. That said, having champagne while getting pampered is pretty much ideal. I'll take it.

After enjoying the saunas for a while, we went upstairs because we had spa appointments. We both had a 75 minute Swedish Massage and Foot Reflexology.

It was pretty wonderful. My mom said she had such a great experience with her masseuse, Gie, that it even worked out some injuries she had in her back. Way to go, Gie!

After our pampering, we went back downstairs for some more relaxation. We spent about 30 minutes in the Turkish Wet Sauna, and it was so hot that we sat in there with our feet in buckets full of cold water. We eventually got out, ordered some Moscow Mules (when in Rome... I mean Russia), and drank them in one of the hot tubs.

When 6pm rolled around, we finally showered all of the oil and sweat off of our bodies and got ready for dinner. They do have a full restaurant at Red Square, but we had our eyes set on a vegan restaurant down the street called Mana Food Bar.

We started with cucumber and lime cocktails with sake. It was so light and refreshing, and we couldn't believe that there was no alcohol flavor at all. Pure deliciousness!

I truly cannot even describe how amazing this meal was. We were both feeling a bit tired from the heat at the bathhouse and we weren't particularly hungry, so we wanted something light, and this meal hit the spot big time.

We started with a sampler platter of three dishes: A Pear and Spinach Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette (top), a toasted Quinoa salad (middle), and an Avocado, Arugula, and Tomato Salad (bottom). All three dishes were phenomenal, but the Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing was by far the star of the show.

Next, we had creamy, cheesy polenta (top right and bottom), as well as a Sweet Pea filled Ravioli with almond-mint pesto. Both were, as you might expect based on their descriptions, pretty much to die for. We left completely satisfied - feeling full, but not stuffed!

What About You?
  • Any fun plans over this past weekend?
  • Have you tried any vegan restaurants? Do you like them?
  • Have you ever been to a bath house?

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