Thursday, May 31, 2007

A more complete recounting of Thursday, May 24:

After a lovely and rather responsible (I was in bed by midnight) last night in Chicago. I woke up at 6:45 in the morning and packed up my car. I put Zul in his carrying case and we were off. Not without Zul meowing a lot but I expected that. I had hoped to get him tranquilizers but one vet had no open appointments and the other said that I shouldn't sedate the cat in the first place. That second vet was extremely wrong. Or, rather, their receptionist was extremely wrong. I left the apartment around eight and drove to a gas station to fill up my tank enough to get me to a gas station in Indiana where gas would be cheaper. So far, so good. Except that Zul was not only meowing but breathing hard and with his mouth open. The open mouth breathing was exactly what Meow Cat did hours before she died…I freaked out. I drove to the closest animal hospital and said something along the lines of: I'm about to go on a nine hour trip and I think my cat's in respiratory distress and no I don't have an appointment and no I have never been here before. The Uptown Animal Hospital's staff was amazing. They managed to fit me in to their schedule within twenty minutes. The vet Zul and I met with determined that Zul was not dying. That as long as his ribs weren't heaving the open mouthed panting was okay, as was the yowling. She then wrote Zul a prescription for sedatives and gave him one right then and there. I was thankful. We were out of the vet's office by 9. I positioned Zul's carrying case on the passenger's seat, facing me so I could keep tabs on him. And then I started driving in earnest. Zul settled a bit but he was still doing that open mouthed thing that I couldn't help but think meant he was going to die any second. It didn't help that my car doesn't have air conditioning. The windows were down and I had fashioned a tent of sorts over Zul's cage that lessened the amount of sun but still allowed plenty of air to circulate. Then, as often happens on long car trips in my car, something went wrong. I was driving and thinking it was about time to get gas, some water for me and some ice water for Zul when every single maintenance light in my dashboard lit up. According to them my brakes had failed, all my lights were out, my fluid needed to be checked, my parking brake was on etc etc. I knew this couldn't be good so I got off I-65 and went to the closest gas station. I filled the car up with gas. Brought Zul with me as I used the restroom and got water for the both of us. Oh! I forgot that after I filled the gas tank I noticed a green liquid pooling under my car and trickling out onto the pavement. This concerned me. I asked the cashier what it might mean and he said probably my radiator was leaking anti-freeze (or I think that's what he said). Meanwhile some dude at the pump next to mine (he wasn't really a 'dude' as much as an older gentleman) had noticed the fluid leaking out of my car and was circling my vehicle with an appraising eye.

I admit it: part of me seriously considered ignoring the green fluid and getting back on the highway. Zul, though sedated, wasn't looking all that thrilled and I couldn't fathom stopping the drive only three hours into it. Unfortunately (fortunately, really) the older gentleman insisted that I was not to get on the highway under any circumstances. This was said even more vehemently when he looked under my hood and saw that my fan belt was no longer in operation. The gentleman was nice but kind of weird. Weird in that friendly/helpful/authoritarian way that never sits quite right with me. I did need the help and input but his tone niggled. So we went back inside and got the number of a mechanic. The older gentleman wished me well and insisted, one last time, that I not go anywhere until my car was fixed. The mechanic I called said that he wouldn't have the part my car needed since Frankfort, Indiana (that was the closest town) wasn't really a Volvo kind of place. So I called AAA for referrals to mechanics. I called two. The first guy was nice but said similar things about the availability of parts and suggested I might have to spend the night. The second place was equally unsure of their ability to fix the problem. I decided to go with the guy who sounded nice so I called him back and asked for directions to his garage. He gave them to me (turn right out of the gas station, turn left at the second light in town, go through the square, cross the railroad tracks and we're the second building on the right) and off Zul and I went. I pulled in about fifteen minutes later. And a woman came up and asked me what I needed. I said I spoke to someone on the phone about a blown fan belt. She said I probably spoke to Richard. Suddenly she and two other men were looking under my hood. One, Richard, said that it wasn't just that I lost my fan belt it was that my alternator had seized/stopped working. It was agreed. Richard said I probably had spoken to Gerry. They all seemed happy to work on the car but none of them seemed to remember speaking to me. I brought Zul inside their office and smoked cigarettes with the woman while the parts needed were ordered. I then asked her if she thought I'd have to spend the night. She looked at me like I was crazy and said no. The parts arrived within half an hour and then the guys (Gerry and Richard) got right to work fixing my car. Eventually we figured out that I hadn't spoken to anyone at the garage that I was actually in the wrong place. I missed a building after the railroad tracks and had overshot my original destination by one street. I can only imagine what the guy I did speak to thought if he looked out his window and saw his competition working on a Volvo. But then again they all said that he would have charged me double or more and would have taken a day to do it. In the end it was a two or so hour stopover in Frankfort, Indiana that ended in me having to take $230 in cash out of the ATM (they didn't take credit cards) to pay for my new alternator, fan belt and labor. Then we were off again.

Off again into, almost immediately, stupid awful traffic. Zul still wasn't drinking any water and continued to look like he was on his way out. This was, of course, mainly paranoia on my part. It led me to stop yet again for more ice for his water and more delay. I had gone a total of, maybe, four hours in the seven hours since I left Chicago with about five more to go before getting home. I considered stopping. What with the cat worries and car troubles and the fact that I wouldn't be getting in at six as much as ten o'clock. And I should have stopped. I should have paid attention to my feeling that nothing was going right and that it would be better just to start over the next day. But I didn't do that. Instead I kept driving. I kept driving and I sholdn't have because what ended up happening is this:

Worried, again, that Zul needed to drink water I attempted to push his water bowl closer to him in his cage. This action took about twenty seconds or so. And in those twenty seconds my car, which was traveling at about 75 miles per hour in the left lane, veered to the left when I looked up feeling that something was wrong the car was barreling along the grassy median. I wasn't in complete control and the car started fishtailing its way towards the oncoming traffic. I can't quite recall exactly what I did or what my logic was. I assume I was braking and I know I was trying to steer the car away from either side of the road. I may have been cursing. Then I hit something or jerked the wheel too much and I felt the car get airborne. What I thought: well, shit there's nothing I can do now. I think I counted three big bumps. But in actuality there must have been five. The car flipped onto the drivers side, onto the top, onto the passenger's side, back to where it should have been and then back onto the drivers side. So that when all the motion stopped I was in my seat, parallel to the ground. Like, if I looked out my window all I saw was grass. I realized pretty quickly that I was okay. I could wiggle my toes and move my arms. Well, one arm, the other arm was kind of pinned up against the window my Zul's carrying case. It was awful seeing Zul looking at me, his body sort of a cat boomerang, his back feet and front feet much closer to each other than usual. The engine was still running and I didn't know if turning it off was the smartest thing or if leaving it on was. I definitely yelled for help. Mainly because I couldn't get out without someone taking the cat off my arm. Also because it was scary. As soon as someone came, though, I calmed down and started thinking about how this really mussed up my travel plans. I also considered how upset my parents would be. And that I would be delayed in getting to Georgia thus having a day fewer of seeing him alone before his sister, her boyfriend and their father arrived. And I was terrified that Zul was broken. Zul was my major concern and any time any one asked me if I was okay I'd say yes but that I wasn't sure about the cat. They asked me a few questions like: "where are you" and I answered "on the median on interstate 65". Eventually firemen, police officers, EMT people and tow trucks all gathered around. They braced the car and the passenger's door so that I could climb out without potentially tipping over the car. Someone took the cat (I yelled that they had to make sure he didn't escape since the cage door had broken). I kind of wish someone had taken a photograph of me emerging out of the car…but no one did.

It was confusing after that. I always assumed that being the victim of an accident would put you in center stage. That people would be asking you questions while someone else took your pulse etc etc. But that's not exactly what happened. A police officer asked for my insurance information and asked me how I felt. I said pretty good, moving all my limbs to show that nothing was broken. He then said that if I wanted to get checked out I should head on over to the ambulance. But no one was at the ambulance so I didn't understand why I had to do that. I started in that direction but realized I'd rather get my camera and take some photographs before they flipped the car back over. They asked me again if I wanted to be checked out. I said here? They said, no at the hospital. And I didn't like that so much (my insurance situation is iffy). Then I called my parents and told them that I'd need to be picked up. They asked me where I was, I asked the officer where I was. Where was I? I was in between Scottsburg and Austin Indiana. I have decided that, though pretty in places, Indiana is an awful place. My parents and I agreed that they would come up the next morning and get me.

Then there was the question of how I was going to get off the median and into town. I had assumed the policeman would give me a ride but something he said made me doubt it. This doubt then festered until I pictured all these emergency vehicles driving away leaving me and Zul sitting with a pile of my stuff in the center of the median, waiting until morning for my parents to pick me up. I didn't really like that image and was happy to learn that actually the tow truck driver would be giving me a ride into town. His cab was air conditioned which felt good on my skin and I know Zul liked it too. Because of all the flipping there was dirt in my hair, in my ears and on my skin. And it was a hot day so it was dirt and sweat. Yick. He listed a bunch of hotels in town and I (half jokingly/half not) asked if any of them had a pool. He said that one did so we went there. There was a line for registering and it took about ten or fifteen minutes to get to the counter. Once there I made the mistake of saying I had a cat. The woman said, a bit apologetically, that they didn't take pets. This was when I teared up a little. I hadn't cried at the accident site nor in the truck but hearing I wouldn't be allowed to use the lovely pool got to me a little. But just a little. Just a few tears, no sobbing or inability to speak. So we moved on to the Super 8. The Super 8 was more expensive, had no pool and was definitely dirtier than the Mariann Inn. But it had cable, air conditioning and free wireless. My parents had changed their minds and had started to head up the interstate to get me. I got Zul out of his cage and he quickly hid under the bed. I worried that he had broken something but wasn't going to let me see it. This, also, made me cry a bit. Amazingly, the 1.75 liter of Johnnie Walker Red I was bringing to Tennessee didn't break. So I had a finger full of that and did some blogging. I had a few bruises already making themselves felt. One on my left calf, two on my left arm, one on my left shoulder and one on my left temple. I also had a small cut on my nose and another one on my right eyebrow. And my head felt funny. I spoke to the boyfriend for awhile. Then watched MTV cribs and posted the photographs of the crash. I also ordered pizza. My parents arrived in time for the Daily Show (funny). And that's it.

The thing is that I really could have died. As the boyfriend said: any time a car flips there's a definite chance of dying. And yet I got off with some bruises, a limp for two days and an especially sore shoulder (still sore today but less so). But I didn't die and I didn't feel any different. I was definitely glad to be alive but I wasn't overwhelmed with the beauty of life or the beauty of my survival. I was simply confronted with logistical problems like: how was I going to get to the boyfriend in Georgia? How was I going to get back to Tennessee or Chicago from Georgia and if I did get the Key West job where was I going to be coming from?

The boyfriend and I returned from a quick camping excursion on the Gulf Coast yesterday. I wrote all the above this morning and have not spell checked it or fact checked it. I am currently blogging in a hotel parking lot (they have unprotected wireless, the sillies) and feel a bit rushed and suspicious. I'll only become more so since I'll be back in the coming days. There is so much food and ocean to show but not today. I got a John Dudley stopping by and I'm not sure the directions I gave him made any sense.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Guess What Happened To Me & Zul Today

Yup. I'm fine but I think I'll get some pretty killer bruises. In fact they've already started showing themselves. I think Zul's fine...he's hiding underneath the bed. I pet him but he doesn't want to come out and I feel like he's had a pretty rough day. The things that happened before the above photographs were pretty crappy too (vet trip/mechanics/traffic).

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


The day before a long drive and extended stay away from home is always a bit bustling. At least it is for me. There are last minute things you need to do like: get an oil change, buy a bathing suit, get the car washed, buy vitamins for the boyfriend, but chorizo for the boyfriend, get replacement bulbs for burned out brake light, get car washed. Then there's packing.

But first an explanation of the photograph above. See my car, whose name (though I hardly ever say it out loud) is Lola, has had this strange sappy film on it since I drove it up in January. Sticky stuff that doesn't come off without a fight. Add to that the fact that my parking space is under a large pine tree that likes to drop needles onto the sap and also houses birds who like to poop indiscrimanately onto the sap and you've got yourself a dirty car. Yesterday (or maybe the day before) both of my parents called to ask me about my itinerary and both also found a way to ask if I was going to clean my car. I said no. But then, in the end, I went to a car wash and spent 8 dollars to get Lola clean. Problem is (and this is a problem I have known about in the past but forgotten) is that my car has a rather simple sunroof...the kind where you crank a thingy and the top slides back. It's very nice on hot days but it's not so nice when you're going through a car wash and forget that it's not sealed very well and then suddenly water is dripping liberally down on your head, seats, borrowed book, wallet, crotch, back and ipod. Thus the photograph...I googled 'drenched cc' and this came up. The girl's expression, though blurry, mirrors my own when the water started coming in.

And the kicker? Though the car is a bit cleaner the sap hasn't really gone away and now my car smells like car wash chemicals.

Also. If you'd like to see a very edited video of the media smack down go here. Our jokes were often longer than what you see and (somehow at the time anyway) funnier.


To read about how Mark Bittman makes coffee cake muffins go here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


So I've kept my immense sadness over the news that Veronica Mars was cancelled on the down low but I just watched the "season finale" and I think it's absolutely awful. The two hour 'finale' was just the last two episodes, it seems, they filmed, complete with beginning and end credits. Oh and complete with being stupid. If a show's cancelled it shouldn't end of a cliff hanger. It should end with bows and ribbons and someone driving off somewhere nice. The lack of resolution of any kind and the knowledge that there never will be is entirely unacceptable to me. And though I could easily write the episode I'd like to see conclude the series, well, that takes the fun out of watching. I don't want to know for sure that things will work out to my writing the damn thing is out. And I'm not somebody who signs petitions generally always ends up with me getting a lot more mail and address labels.

This also extremely limits the possibility of any publication being interested in my Veronica Mars essay. She was never really a recognizable part of pop culture in the first place but being cancelled won't make any thing better. Not one thing.

Stupid cancellers of Veronica Mars.

Graduation Sushi c/o Indie Cafe

On Sunday I took myself out to sushi at Indie Cafe. I started with a seaweed salad that was decent and definitely generous. No padding on the bottom with cucumbers, this was pure seaweed.
Next came the Crunchy roll: yellowtail, scallion and asparagus roll "lightly deepfried" and topped with barbeque sauce. I somehow overlooked the asparagus part and wasn't all that glad to see it. But there was at least one green bean as well.
And, call me crazy, but it looks like there is definitely some tuna in that there maki. It was good when warm but kind of not. This is, for me, the problem with all this new fangled (and totally inauthentic) fried maki. It's a novelty to eat it warm but then it feels very wrong (morally).
I also ordered white tuna, wasabi tobbiko and a salmon skin roll. The wasabi tobbiko lacked wasabi (this happened to me at Hama Matsu the last time I dined there as well...I think they all have the same supplier and not enough people ever call them out on the fact that the itty bitty eggs just don't have any kick). White tuna was good as always. The salmon skin was good, slightly loose in its rolling and I could have done with less sauce...but good. And the waitress was good about my tobbiko complaint and took it off the bill.
Lastly I had the Rainbow Roll: California maki topped with tuna, salmon, yellowtail, avocado, squid and shrimp. I'm not a fan of squid so I didn't really eat the piece that had a lot of it. Actually, I like squid just fine when it's cooked. It's the sushi kind of squid that I can't get into...believe me I've tried but every time it makes me feel sick. It makes me feel what some rabid vegetarian would feel about eating a bit of cooked meat of any kind. Mainly it makes me feel icky.
I may be going through some sort of malaise when it comes to sushi (and perhaps even other aspects of my life) and because of this I didn't find any of the dishes all that wonderful. Filling and satisfying without a question none of it made me go 'wow'. The dining experience was nice nonetheless. I listened to an ipod episode of Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me and found myself chuckling a few times. It's weird to go to a restaurant and eat alone. Less weird for lunch than for dinner. I always have to decide whether I care what my server will think of me...both for being alone and for listening to an ipod during my meal. But the ipod, in many ways, is far more subtle than the solitary diner's usual prop: the book.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Graduation Day

So. Saturday was my graduation. I am officially a graduate. I can now say 'back when I was in graduate school' and 'I have a terminal degree'. I actually didn't attend the event. I just wasn't feeling the sitting and listening and sitting and listening and sun and sitting and listening. But a bunch of other people did and when they were done they came and sat and listened on my front porch. They also brought tasty food and wine. I felt celeberatory without having to leave my house!
This is a photograph of just some of the people who were on the porch. Others were also present. It was a really warm nice few hours. The next day was kind of cold and windy and it wouldn't have been half as nice. Ah the graduation weather gods, so much they do for us, so much.

Today I'm pulling some loose strings together and preparing myself (and Zul the cat) for our epic road trip to Tennessee...then my epic road trip to Georgia...then the boyfriend's and my slightly-less-than-epic road trip to the Gulf Coast of Florida...where we will camp on an island and eat fish and shrimp and things. Today I'm also writing up to sample blurbs for a job I've been interviewed for...which happens to be in Key West. So. Well. That's what I"m doing. Of course first I'll probably do another blog post.

Insult Media Smack Down

This past Friday I participated (albeit reluctantly) in a media smack down insult type thing at Gallery Caberet bar. It was hosted by the funny folks of Schadenfreude. What it was, exactly, could be described as 8 mile for Chicago's alternative media sources...kind of...minus sex with Brittany Murphy (or anyone else for that matter). I didn't write any of the insults that was all Justin but I did get to say a few of them (one even had a your mom reference).
We came in second...losing out to The Chicago Reader...but everyone says we were robbed. In fact, I'll say it myself, we were robbed. I really wanted that big plastic monstrosity of a trophy. Oh well. What can you do. This is team Chicagoist after the event.
You can go here to read more about it.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Spontaneous Sandwich

On Thursday I went over to a SAICER who used to have black checks and white paper. We'll call her an OSU fan. Anywho we both missed watching Lost on Wednesday because we were participating in what will probably be my last SAIC Innertown booze and pizza (I took a picture of the pizza but it isn't very appealing...nor was the pizza) night. So OSU fan was nice enough to let me come watch with her the next day (I simply do not belong to the world of TIVO or DVRing). I was hungry for a sandwich and a little early so I went to Treasure Island and got a sandwich.This was my first Island visit. Probably not really the best place to get a sandwich...though the portions of meat and cheese were definitely generous. Bread not so special. Actually generous to the point of being too much. It was hard to fit the sandwich in my mouth and it fell apart quickly. Good episode of Lost though.

The Boat, Part Two

Here are more photographs of buildings.
This is M.Lady smiling (but thinking to herself something along the lines of: "this tour guide whose schtick is definitely geared towards the 50-years-or-more-tourist-crowd is making me part of his act...yes...I see the trains...I have sunscreen...can I sit down now?) and next to her is our tour guide. I don't remember his name but I think Roger would do nicely.
The Sears Tower is tall.
Our boat returned us to Navy Pier where M. Lady's parents were kind enough to take us out to lunch at Charlie's Ale House.
I had a cheeseburger. It was not the best cheeseburger I've ever had nor was it the worst. I ate most all of it.
Thanks to the M. Lady parents for the tour and the lunch.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Chicago River Boat Tour With M.Lady & Her Parents

Actually this is part one of two. There are a lot of buildings. On Monday M. Lady and her parents were kind enough to allow me to accompany them on their river boat tour of Chicago architecture.
These dudes were duding it up under Lake Shore Drive.
This is the construction site of a new Trump building. It's going to be really really tall. Like seriously.
The black box is the IBM building...maybe? Maybe not. I could take a minute and look it up...but I'm not. And next to it one of two identical towers.
Our guide, a very exuberant man, told us that this site in front of you is the only place in the world where all forms of transportation meet. There's below ground subway, there's boat, there's above ground subway, cars on the bridge, feet on the bridge, hoofs (hooves?) on the bridge, and to the right there are rail road tracks and then it's directly beneath a flight path to O'Hare. He challenged us to find another place. It'd be funny if I found another place then demanded unlimited free Chicago architecture boat tours. Perhaps I could be a tour guide!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Frozen Pizza Test Tasting Results

To read which frozen pizza was rated "best" by a bunch of people I know go here. I think it may be the most poorly written piece I've done for Chicagoist. But the information is there, at least.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Vassarites Attack

After the half pitcher of margaritas and big plate of food I consumed, I was happy to go home and continue my strict regimen of job searching (and getting scared) and television watching. Unfortunately just as I began to settle back in (or maybe I should say fortunately) my phone rang. It was a Vassarite who was hanging out with another Vassarite, waiting for two more Vassarites (and one non-Vassarite) at Nick's Uptown Bar. I had a choice between staying in and going out. I went out because I wanted to see these guys and to not go out would be to strengthen my overwhelming feeling of hermititude. It was a bunch of fun. Free cigarettes were gotten and drinks were drunken. But this other thing happened too. Vassarite in green and I went to the bar to get a drink. It was crowded. I'm talking to him when suddenly I feel someone pinch my ass. This is not all right with me, so I turn around. Some thick-necked, stupid-hair cut dude is sitting on a stool looking at me like I'm confused. Then he points to the girl on the other side of him and says she did it. I ask why. They say because I was sitting in the dude's lap. This is not true. Even if it was true, I would think the better way to deal with it would be to ask me to move not have a girl pinch my ass...the logic being why would I be mad if a girl did it. I was mad, however, and yet they continued acting as if I was crazy. But I'm not crazy. It's simply not all right for any person I don't know (and in some cases even if I do know them) to pinch my ass, or any other part of my body. Is this too much to ask? Have the rules of bars changed so much since I stopped going to them all the time? I think not.

Rellenos and Margaritas at Fiesta Mexicana

Since school ended (this past Thursday) I've been finding myself at a loss. I apply to the occasional job and walk to the occasional store but I haven't done much else. This is fine with me most of the time. Because not much else equals staying at home watching television shows or movies on the internet. It's relaxing and it's free. But then suddenly I'll find myself fed up. This inevitably leads me to call the boyfriend and try to make him entertain me or at least listen to the blatherful blatherings of someone who has just watched seven episodes of 'How I Met Your Mother" in a row (funny show, that). The boyfriend is very patient with me. But, in the end, he can't really play with me let alone accompany me to a restaurant and socialize me. On Friday I had come to just such a turn in the road, having exhausted the boyfriend and myself in a rambling conversation about this, that, the other thing, the thing just like that other thing and then that one thing over there. I hung up the phone. I asked around for people interested in Mexican and lo and behold No Longer Wayward SAICer took me up on it! And to Fiesta Mexicana we went. I have been there twice before. The food isn't blow-your-mind good but it's not I-am-totally-disheartened-and-sick bad either. We ordered a pitcher of margaritas. I had the mariachi combination, which is what I had the last time. Chille relleno, tostada and cheese quesadilla. The guacamole was good, I thought. And Chille relleno still pleased me. I could have taken or left the quesadilla and most of the tostada. I will keep all the margarita, thank you.
Also the last time I posted here I remarked that I thought we got a free shot at the end of our meal and I conjectured it was because I was taking photographs. It seems that I was wrong about that. Most everyone got them with their checks. What do I know? Not much.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Dinner Chez Cotes du Rhone

After the movie and a bit of regrouping my parents and I went to Cotes de Rhone for our last meal together. My father was jonesing for a more traditional French bistro type meal. At first I thought we'd go to La Tache and I'd have their killer Salade Lyonnaise. But a fellow Chicagoista had recently written a review of Cotes du Rhone and it was favorable so I thought why not go with something new. I am a very good thinker. What did we eat? We had the duck pate purportedly had truffles, but I didn't pick up on them. Still very good, classic presentation (except for the tomatoes).
Also the mussels appetizer. Very plump mussels in a creamalicious sauce.
Then we split two entrees between the three of us. The entrees were both specials. Below is the veal chop which our waiter compared to a veal prime rib. I realize that I love veal. Or that I'm very fond of it at least.
Our other entree was the beef tenderloin which was truly amazing. Cooked medium rare, nice and pink on the inside but nice and brown on the outside. It was a very tender, juicy, yummy piece of meat. The sides were also very good. Neither plate was completely cleared, that's howmuch food they gave us. I would most definitely go back.

And The Winner Is...

So, after a fair amount of searching, I found the best bacon, egg and cheese sandwich in an approximate two block radius of the SAIC Michigan building. The winning sandwich has it all, toasted bread, crispy bacon, oozy cheese and FRIED eggs! Where might you find this delicious sandwich you may ask. Well at G&G restaurant on Adams between State and Wabash! Really, quite good for about three dollars. It's a shame I'm done with school and probably won't find myself in that area half as much.

Lunch at Duck Walk

On Wednesday my parents and I went to Duck Walk on Belmont for lunch. They have a $5.50 lunch special that gives you one appetizer and one noodle dish or entree. We all had the special but added Tom Yum soup into the mix. Unfortunately the soup wasn't very good. It was sweet. Sweet in a very disconcerting and not to my liking kind of way. I dumped a bunch of hot pepper sauce into mine to try to cut it...but it didn't work. Tom Yum to me should definitely have more lemongrass flavor along with a kick.
The fried tofu and sauce was perfectly acceptable.
As was my pad see ew (or however you spell it).
Afterwards we wandered on down to Landmark Century Theater to watch The Namesake. It was pretty faithful to the book but they did make a few changes (like the family's location) that I didn't understand the point of. Kal Pen wasn't all that good as Gogol. But the actor and actress who played the parents were great.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Tru Dat...A Dinner at Tru

Monday I had my last Jimbo Sweetness class from 1-4. I then met up with my parents at the Hancock Signature Lounge for a drink before dinner at Tru. Tru is fancy. Very fancy. I think it may be the fanciest restaurant and meal I've ever had.
Very fancy. Men required to wear jackets, women not slumming it either. Fancy like fancy. And here's what we had...First off there was a 'canape' of Buffalo mozarella dumpling with green olive emulsion and black olive powder. It was a strange consistency and served on fancy spoons.
We had kir royales (is that even close to how one would spell it) at my father's behest...some kind of French political joke. A very tasty, champagney joke.
There was bread and butter as well. The butter on the right was salted, the left unsalted both from Vermont.
We had the choice of three kinds of bread served to us by a bread man. I went with chapeaux.
Then an amuse bouche of zucchini pea gelèe, Crunchy Zucchini, Orange, Ginger, Spring Vegetable Cream. My parents were interested by the cup this was served in...they'd never seen anything like it. So they asked the woman whose job it was to come to our table each time a course was served and tell us what it was. So one or the other of my parents said something like 'oh is this cup inspired by flying buttresses?' the woman looked very miffed and replied 'they're Versace?' I laughed a little on the inside. She also prounounced gelèe gel-eee as opposed to what I had assumed was the correct form of gel-ay.
My father and I both had their Chef's Collection while my mother had the Spring Collection. Each collection consisted of eleven courses. Below is course number one for me. A selection of sashimi grade fish (fluke, snapper and tuna) served with miso salt, a white soy sauce and a more traditional soy sauce. Fish was good. Very petite.
That shaped thing is daikon and I forget what the other garnish is...the little red sliver on the lime is rhubarb.
Next up was the roasted white asparagus with shallots, parmesan and some sort of foam (the menu they gave us to take home doesn't specify the foam's was my first experience with up-scale, flavored foam.
After that was the 'soup course'. The photograph below is before it became soup.
This is after. The liquid is rabbit consommé and then there is a morel mushroom, pea and lavender emulsion and, shit, I think the last thing, the circular sucker is rabbit...pretty sure. It was so rich and the emulsion was surprising in both its pea flavorfullness and consistency.
After that was whipped salt cod, creamy potato, smoked gelèe and a bit of caviar. This was one of my favorite courses. The smoked gelèe combined with the potato and salt cod noodles was really just lovely. All the textures were surprising and the intesity of the smokiness and saltiness and oh my.
Next up was Tagliolini pasta topped with Peeky toe crab in a uni sauce. Very strong flavors in this one. Or perhaps it was just that the uni had a strong flavor.
After that was the British Columbian King Salmon with red white bouillon and white bean. The thing on top, if I recall correctly, is a red wine crisp...
This next one was another of my favorites. Braised veal shank, sweetbread cappeli, carrots and veal bouillon. I realized that I can only remember one other time in my life that I've had veal and it was in Poughkeepsie, New York at a Spanish restaurant...and it was gross...this veal (center of the plate) was another story entirely. So, so, so, so, so very tender. Oh my goodness!
Then there was the cheese cart. Oh MY GOD the cheese cart. There were four sheep's, cow's and goat's cheeses. We were encouraged to pick three of four to try. Honestly I would go back and just eat all of their cheese. That's if they let me.
I went with a true roquefort, a goat cheese injected with the roquefort strain of penicillin (mold?), a triple creme cow's cheese (name of which I don't remember) and the dirtiest sheep cheese I've ever had in my life (in a really, really awesome way). Apricots, figs, honey and chutney were also served.
Along with fruit nut bread. The dirty sheeps' cheese. Oh my god. I could taste the sheep. Aged and sheepy, it was incredible. It tasted like cheese and dirt and sheep and holiness.
Then we moved into the sweet portion. This is a lemon smoothie with mango drops. The mango drops, which I have no idea how they made them, were like salmon roe...little gelatin like shell with liquidy goodness inside it. Mmm, liquidy goodness.
Dessert was chocolate hazelnut mousse, orange sherbert, cardamom-scented oranges. See that chocoloate shell? Inside it was hazelnutty goodness. The sweet was perfectly pared with the slightly more tart sherbert. The orange slice was very dry but if you allowed it to soak a little in either the sherbert or the mousse it became slightly more pleasurable to eat.

Lastly there was a selection of mignardises and lollipops. I had a caramelized lollipop, toffee and blackberry truffle.

The dining room had very, very high ceilings. It was generally dim but each table had a strong light directed on the center of the tables. Good enough light to not use a flash...which made me very happy. I hate flash. I really do. Even with the tall ceilings it was very quiet. I did feel like our table was an island, the plush carpet between the tables some sort of ocean. If you got up to go to the bathroom, two times out of three any ways, someone would insist on escorting you to it. I tried to walk back to my table at a still-respectable clip to avoid someone feeling the obligation of pulling the seat out for me...usually they still got there, now that's some service.

It was an amazing meal. Thanks to my daddy-o for the experience.