The Siberian American

Monday, August 22, 2016

What Is the Best Deep Dish Pizza Place in Chicago?

A few months after moving to Chicago, I started getting emails asking me for restaurant suggestions, and deep dish pizza was always on top of the list! I made it my mission to try the “big three” deep dish pizza, so I could report back to y’all. It’s the kind of research I really don’t mind!

Gino’s East

What I Thought:
I know a lot of people like Gino’s East, but it was by far my least favorite of the three. The tomato to cheese ratio was off. They did have some great appetizers, though. We enjoyed the Bavarian soft pretzels and the cheesy pizza bread.

Go Here If:
You want a lot of toppings on your deep dish pizza. Gino’s East has the largest list of topping options. Also, Gino’s East has started to build franchises outside of the Midwest. There are even several in Texas!


What I Thought:
I love Giordano’s, but I always throw in a caveat when I recommend it: it is not “traditional” Chicago deep dish pizza. It’s actually a stuffed deep dish pizza, which just might make it even more delicious. I definitely miss having pepperoni stuffed deep dish pizza whenever I want it.

Go Here If:
You don’t care if you are eating traditional deep dish pizza and just want some delicious food!

Lou Malnati’s

What I Thought:
Lou Malnati’s wins the deep dish battle hands down for me thanks to its Buttercrust™. I’m one of those people who doesn’t usually eat the crust of the pizza, and I absolutely love Lou Malnati’s Buttercrust™. Plus, Lou Malnati’s brother Rudy Malnati is said to have invented deep dish pizza, so this is as authentic as it gets! You won’t find a lot of options for toppings, but it doesn’t matter because the choices they have are all great. Plus, Lou Malnati’s makes one of the best tiramisus I’ve ever had in my life. I may or may not have asked Chris to pick it up on his way home from work several times during our year in Chicago.

Go Here If:
You want the best! Just be prepared to wait. Since deep dish pizza takes 45 minutes to cook, you can order your pizza while you wait, and they will start cooking it for you before you get a table!

Have you been to Chicago? What is your favorite deep dish pizza place?

Friday, August 19, 2016

Health Update: A Minor Setback

I almost didn’t want to write on the blog today because I’m pretty upset about how yesterday went, but I figured it’s all part of the story. Yesterday, I headed to the urologist hopeful I would be getting my stent out. Because of the stent, I have been dealing with major lower back pain lately. On Sunday, it got so bad I almost blacked out during a walk.

My appointment was at 3:15 p.m., and the doctor didn’t see me till 5 p.m. As a wife of a resident, I understand doctors getting behind schedule (especially if they are called into a surgery), but it was still a little unpleasant. Then the doctor proceeded to tell me he doesn’t think it’s time to take my stent out just yet and that he wants to wait two more weeks. At that point, I’m wondering why I just waited almost two hours (and paid a $50 copay) just to be told I can’t get the stent removed yet. Couldn’t I have gotten that kind of information just as easily in a phone call?

The doctor did confirm to me the pain I have been experiencing is because of the stent, so it’s a bummer that I have to deal with it for two more weeks. The one silver lining is that I get to have the procedure done on September 2 under conscious sedation, so I don’t have to experience the pain of the procedure.

I am trying to remain positive, and I’m truly glad I only have two weeks left to deal with this pain, but I have to admit I’m super disappointed I have to wait even longer before I can really move forward. Here’s hoping the next two weeks pass as quickly as possible!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Lake Michigan Circle Tour: Big Sable Point Lighthouse in Ludington, Michigan

I don’t usually like to pick favorites, but if I had to choose, I would pick the Big Sable Point Light as my favorite lighthouse on our Lake Michigan Circle Tour. I just love the red roof of the house combined with the black and white light. It also probably had to do with the perfect weather we had that day, compared to the rainy and windy weather we experienced when we visited South Haven, Holland, and Grand Haven.

Built in 1867, the Big Sable Point Lighthouse stands at 112 feet tall and is one of the tallest lighthouses in Michigan. In 1949, it became the last lighthouse on the Great Lakes to get electricity. The easiest way to get to the Big Sable Point Lighthouse is with an easy two-mile hike on mostly paved roads.

The Big Sable Point Light was also Christopher’s favorite lighthouse because he got to go to the top. Since we had Skyler with us, one of us had to stay with her, and I knew he wanted to go to the top more than I did. It costs $5 and you have to go up 130 winding steps, but the view of Lake Michigan from the top are worth it! Of course, I had Chris take several photos so we could share with y’all. I had fun walking by the lake with Skyler and taking photos of Chris on top of the lighthouse.

Catch up on our Lake Michigan Circle Tour Road Trip:

Friday, August 12, 2016

Friday Favorites: Random Post-Surgery Updates

Happy Friday, friends! I haven’t done a Friday favorites post since July 1 (what?!), so I thought it’s about time I share some random life updates.

I’m feeling better and stronger every day. I still have a hard time getting out of the house (the Texas heat is awful for recovery), but I am going to try to go out to eat with friends twice this weekend and see how I do! I am definitely getting to the point where I am tired of being in the house and am ready for new adventures. Now I just need my body to catch up to that!

After everything that has gone on in 2016 so far, Chris and I are in serious need of a vacation. We can’t go on a big trip this year because of surgery costs, but we are hoping to do a fun road trip in October. You all know how much I love fall color, and I really want a trip that includes hiking since I haven’t been able to move much this year, so the current idea is to drive to the Smoky Mountains. (If anyone has been to Gatlinburg or anywhere close by, I’d love to hear from you!) We are still in the early planning stages (and a lot of it depends on if Chris can switch a weekend with someone else in his program), but I’m excited to start thinking about vacation again.

Does anyone else crave seafood in the summer? Poor Chris has had to take over kitchen duties while I recover (though my mom did come every day for the first two weeks to cook and clean for us, and we received a lot of restaurant gift cards from friends), and our favorite recipe lately is this honey garlic shrimp. It’s super easy to make and seriously delicious.

If I have to stay at home, at least it’s during the Olympics. I’ve loved being able to see the daytime coverage, and I’ve been live streaming the gymnastics coverage. I always cheer for the United States first and Russia second, so it’s been exciting to watch them win the gold and silver medals!

I rarely talk about books as I’m reading them since I do a book post every month, but y’all, Swear on This Life by Renee Carlino is so good. It’s one of those books where I want to stop everything I’m doing and read it until I’m finished. I obviously don’t know how it ends yet, but I know Kristen liked it, so I bet it’s great.

I also wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who guest posted for me while I was recovering! I’m so thankful for all the great posts they wrote. In case you missed one, here they are:

Island Exploring: What to Do in Nantucket

Linking up with AmandaKarli, and the High Five for Friday girls.

Hope y'all have a wonderful weekend! 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Island Exploring: What to Do in Nantucket

Hey, friends! I am almost ready to come back to this space of mine (I've missed y'all so much!), but first I have one more treat. Audrey Louise at Life at Louise is sharing what to do in Nantucket. I really looked forward to her post because it's an area of the country I would love to explore! I will definitely be pinning her guide to use in the future. Thank you so much for sharing it with us, Audrey Louise!

I am so excited to spend some time here in Olya's world with her lovely readers while she recovers from her surgery. (A quick prayer & good vibes to you, Miss Olya!) Since she is the Travel/Food/Fun Queen I decided to steer things in an adventurous direction and take notes from my most recent vacation! Earlier this month I traveled to the Cape Cod region with my husband & my parents for a week-long vacation. While we were there we took a ferry ride across the Nantucket Sound (Atlantic Ocean) to Nantucket.

Before we were engaged or married, nearly six years ago, my husband Kyle and I attended a wedding on the island of Nantucket for his childhood friend (whose family just happens to have a summer home there). If it weren't for that wedding, I doubt we'd ever have looked at Nantucket as an agreeable vacation destination. I know islands can seem boring or intimidating (or ritzy), but Nantucket is a wonderful place to visit (or stay) if you find yourself along the upper East Coast! The small size (only 14 miles wide!) is what adds to the friendly, laid back nature of this little community.


Here are some must-see and must-do things while on Nantucket!

Rent a bike! If you take the ferry to the island you will encounter three bike shops within minutes of stepping onto the pier. Bike rentals typically cost about $30 for the entire day & you receive a bike & basket, helmet, bike lock, and map of the island. You can get anywhere on the island via bike! During our trips to the island we rent bikes as our main source of transportation.

Get some ice cream at The Juice Bar. K and I were so excited to return to our favorite shop on the island- the local ice cream shop! After our 18 mile bike ride (I'm still sore thinking about it) ice cream was a necessity. We have a particular fondness for their cookies & cream and cake batter flavors!


A trip to the 'tucket isn't complete without taking in some lighthouses. Here's a funny story... During our first trip to the island K and I biked to a small beach to check out the ocean and the lighthouse there. We sat on the rocks for a half hour and walked back up the beach hand-in-hand until a man stopped us and excitedly asked if we'd just gotten engaged! We hadn't and we awkwardly told him so. He apologized and said that tons of men bring their girlfriends to that lighthouse to propose.


The Whaling Museum. In the middle of town, just across from The Juice Bar, is the Nantucket Whaling Museum. To be totally honest, K and I have tried to go during our trips to the island but we've never actually been there! (So much to do, so little time!) We've heard wonderful things about it so you'll have to report back to me once you've gone. It's on our to-do list!

Go sailing or whaling! During our last trip to the Cape we went whale watching out of Provincetown, MA and it was an insane experience. Seeing an animal in the wild- especially one as large and majestic as a whale- is so incredible! I believe that taking a tour out of a mainland city is much less expensive than taking one from Nantucket but regardless this is something you should do!

Check out the shopping and food. For only being 47 square miles of land (and a lot of that being beaches, homes, and foliage), the island has a ton of shops and restaurants. Ranging from beach casual to country club formal, there are so many food options. Nantucket is accessible via ferry or plane- neither of which is too agonizing or expensive. I know we'll be heading back as soon as we can; I hope I've sparked a little interest in you, too!


A huge thanks to Olya for inviting me into her corner of the internet today! Hoping you feel 100% soon, girl! I hope to see the rest of you over at Life as Louise in the near future! Let's chat about travel!