Wednesday, June 27, 2012

we have lunch with our girlfriends

yesterday we went to Frank 'n Dawgs- the most fabulous place in town for gourmet style encased meats...and truffle fries -  I had the brunch dog- pork sausage with over easy egg and bacon and a maple mayo in a toasted New England style lobster roll bun...

Phil had the double ducker (confit and duck sausage) one of our girlfriends (the older one- LOL) had the kimchi dog which had beef sausage with short rib and kimchi--- and our other girlfriend had the plain dog no fries and no bun (and no, she isn't a skinny blonde who refuses to eat - she is 14 months old...LOL)

we made a thorough mess of all of our dogs - they are very tasty and quite messy...

then we headed out for ice cream (Phil pandering to Alix) and Alix didn't really like that it was cold but once she got the taste of it- she was happy to keep eating despite that weird cold thing...

here are a few photos:

then later for dinner we met other buddies too- Sheil & Mary and Arno joined Laure and we had a lovely meal at Anteprima-

here were our starter wines- both bubbly and both showing well- and since we were sitting outside- these were the last I have decent photos of due to fading daylight... but it was a nice cool summer evening to enjoy with friends before Laure & Arno return to NYC with Alix this morning-

didn't get anhy of the food in the fading light but did manage the bread-- and you can see it is worthy!

so today - Phil went off to the ball game with his buddy Vicki and I am relaxing... tomorrow - back to school... did I mention we go to class on Thursdays at Northwestern University? I think I did... more on that later...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

last year

on this date we were in Zambia and we saw our leopard in the wild- he was magnificent and he came bounding right up along beside our land rover out of the dark- and it became the symbol of our tenth anniversary....

my photo of him is almost like seeing double as the exposure was long and he was fast.... but here he is - our leopard anniversary leopard-

Happy now 11th Anniversary honey! I love you and treasure our life together! Thanks for finding me....

Monday, June 25, 2012

a week of lots

of things to do- the Sunday after our return from Denver I began the final blog entries for Greece- put together my photo book - posted on facebook along the way -and generally got caught up with paperwork...

on Tuesday night we had dinner with Neil at Kiki's Bistro- one of the wines - the other was a wonderful Mersault

 on the way home we picked up two wines Neil was bringing to Saturday night dinner a 1976 Corton Bressandes and a 1978 Corton Bressandes from Tollot-Beaut et Fils.  these were chosen because our guests of honor were born in those years. LOL - yes we actually have friends born in the late 70s!

the next night we went to a Chicago Gourmet event near our house at Ceres Table- on Clark Street. here is the excellent menu - everything was well prepared and very yummy- I especially liked the salad course it was just right for the warm weather we had been having... but each and every course was first rate!

so on Thursday we went to our first class of the six week summer session at Northwestern - on forgotten US presidents.  the place was jammed with seniors with white hair and hearing aids and I thought a riot would break out when they said the handicap parking would be limited- LOL- seriously this is a rough crowd - don't mess with those old folks... they can be ruthless-

then in the evening we went to see Bang the Drum Slowly at the Raven theater. it was an excellent production of the baseball classic about a star pitcher and a dying catcher that the pitcher shepherds through the dying kid's final season as their team heads towards the world series.... wonderful acting and good script - an enjoyable evening -

and then Friday Laure and Arno arrived from NYC for a visit and they brought the world's cutest (now) toddler with them Alix!  here she is in Sheila's garden smelling flowers....

a group of ten of us had the duck and piglet at Sun Wah in the neighborhood and I came home to finish up food prep for Saturday night when Dick & Ali and Laure & Arno & Alix and Neil came for dinner-

we had starters of duck rillettes and four kinds of french cheeses on baguettes from Florian on Webster- then a tenderloin on the grill with side of mushroom bread pudding, a corn and tomato salad in cilantro dressing, chilled asparagus in a cranberry vinaigrette with blue cheese crumbles and sliced almonds and sesame marinated snap peas... Ali brought desserts from Florian and Neil brought a bottle of Cristal (96) in addition to the two burgs- Dick brought an 86 Margaux and an 82 Leoville Las Cases.  we ended the evening with an 1988 Y'quem and I think a good time was had by all...

the week is rounding to a close but we had one more dinner on the calendar and it was a winner-

a Chicago Gourmet event at Courtright's in Willow Springs (where? LOL) it was convenient on Sunday night - there in 40 minutes or so and back in a little less-

the menu was fabulous and the place was lovely - we even purchased some house branded (made at their son-in law's Greece located olive grove) olive oil!

here is the menu and some photos of the food:

(sorry photos were taken with my phone so they are not that great but the food was!)

a place worth the drive for sure - so we will be back when we get an opening on the social schedule - LOL - that happens all the time- NOT!

anyway- so here we are up to today again  - finally caught up with busy busy - tomorrow our farewell to Laure & Arno dinner with Sheila & Mary - then Saturday is Sheila's 50th birthday party and we have our Thursday class - and who knows what else will show up... time flies - as I keep saying thank god I am retired since I don't have time to work these days!

we come home and go out

to a concert - of The Once - a cute as they could be folkish group from Newfoundland Canada... but first we met friends for dinner at Sarajevo and then heard the music-

they have been getting a lot of well deserved excellent media attention-


highly recommended- these are real people having real fun just singing and playing... they completely WOWWWED the audience at WFMT that night of the radio concert....

TB and I take to the hills

while late night Phil slept TB and I got up and out of the house by 7:30 - we ate in the car on the road - drive through food - and headed out of town -

after hitting two hot places for dinner the prior two nights we were seeking some cool - so we headed north of 14,000 feet and the road on Mt Evans- up past the tree line - up to the area of cute furry butt marmots and hairy mountain goats we climbed and climbed in our little rental car...

we knew we were in the right place when we got to the point in the road where a dozen photographers with humongous long lenses (overcompensating for something I am sure- LOL) were all pointed in one direction - at a couple of mountain goats --- LOL (I am ready for my close up Mr. DeMille)

we kept going to the top and got out for some bracing natural air conditioning and a pit stop- we also got a chance to see a couple of teenage goats up close and personal up there at what was once a "castle" on the top of the mountain...

after driving back into town in time to pick up Phil for lunch we headed out to Tavern in the old Lowry base development.  then went off to the new historical museum - mixed reviews - good for kids - mediocre for adults and if you wanted to learn about Colorado history (settlement, statehood, development etc...) this is definitely not the place- no unsinkable Molly Brown - no X state admitted to the Union in 18XX - none of that boring history for these folks- but hey they do have a lego exhibit and a fake train town and a fake mine... so if you are 3-12 certainly GO- but if you want actual state history there must be another place for that - this certainly is not IT....

dinner at a fab family owned green chile Mex place El Tejado where we met TB's other travel buddy Patty Calhoun (owner/publisher/author and celebrity) for dinner.

finally the next morning we were up for breakfast lunch at Breakfast Inn Dinner Too... then off to the airport for our two and a half hour delayed flight- we got home Friday night at 11 PM... but had a superb trip with all our buddies out there... so the delay was only a slight inconvenience...

a drum roll for the final photos from Denver-

we see western art and continue eating

the next day TB and I had a leisurely breakfast at some place with a name like Eggs Gone Wild (no disrobing beach bunnies here) big food and quite the starter for the day.  then we picked up Phil and met Jen for a tour of the Anschutz Collection at the Museum of the American West- tours two time a day on two days a week- it is tres exclusive and lovely. we lucked into a guide that was pretty relaxed about how much time we actually wanted to spend with him and gave us fairly good access to walk around on our own (closely observed by three other "security" type folks for the group of about 30 folks or so)

no photos inside so here a two of the outside of the location where the collection is on display- there were several things I really loved and a lot of cliched (if well executed) western art - in particular I liked two pieces that were not the usual wide open plains buffalo and Indians and cowboy type stuff- I liked a painting of a church done in a very stark style on the landing between the second and third floors and I liked a painting tucked back in the corner on the main gallery floor of a cliff dweller village with the peppers hanging on pueblo structures and smoke from fires rising out of the misty canyon... both as far away from western art cliches as you could find-

afterward we took Phil to lunch (he was starving - having not gone to the big breakfast place) at Trinity next door- he had a burger he thought was fab! TB and I had wedge salads which were worthy as well- and were quite the nice accompaniment to our cocktails at happy hour.

then we said farewell to Jen and headed home- later we went out to Cafe-Bar another hot spot for dinner...LOL where I couldn't finish my lovely risotto because of the heat in the inside dining room...LOL I see a trend here... but no worried we skipped the offer of free dessert to go for ice cream but found everyone else had the same idea and so we did them one better...rather than wait in line, we went to King Sooper's and picked up two pints of Graeter's famous French Pot ice cream in chipped flavors of black raspberry and chocolate... relaxed at home with the best ice cream in the world and made a plan for the following day.

wherein we become famous foodies LOL

LOL so we headed over to TB's to "check in" to our new digs in his "lower level" and cool off for an hour or so before heading over to Jen's for Cuban style drinks- excellent daiquiris! - as a memento of the recent foray Jen and I made to Cuba (excellent trip recited in excruciating details in April and May entries here on the blog...

then on to a dinner place nearby - one of the hottest places in town - LOL- little did we know they want the rep to be literal as well as figurative and here is how we became famous Chicago foodies...LOL

this was published on the Westword blog right after we left town... the meal was exciting... food was good too... but it was seriously hot in the small dining room where we were seated- it was cooler in the other but they refused to move us in there... oh well- as TB said- not Denver's finest hour... and things kept up the heat as we spent the next few days not all that far from a forest fire that is still raging out of control more than a week later....

catching up

so three days after we got back from Greece we were off to Denver to visit friends.  we have three separate "groups" of friends there- connected in different ways to us...

first we spent time with Duke and Cathie who we know because Duke and I were co-road warriors for ten years... I can order dinner and breakfast for him and he can for me as well- and luckily for us our spouses get along great as well so we are always very very happy when we get to relax and spend time together. we arrived Sunday mid afternoon and they cooked on Sunday night- as fabulous salmon (brined and slow cooked on a low heat grill) along with a superb watermelon salad and a dessert we had enjoyed at their place before made of crushed heath bars and strawberries (what's not to like)

the next day we took a drive to red rocks just to get out and about and then had a wonderful dinner at YaYa's in the Tech Center... the first iPad based wine list we have encountered brought incredible choices (especially in the grower champagnes) and reasonable mark ups----

the following day we had lunch at a famous old place in Colorado Springs the Golden Bee- excellent pub grub and infamous "beer cheese" made it a very worthy drive.

so here are a few photos:

LOL- so I thought I was taking a picture of Duke and Cathie and Phil and ended up with a video (couldn't see the phone screen in the sun's glare)

at the Broadmoor (where the Golden Bee was located)

and then on to our next stop - dinner with Jennifer (Danger Zone travel buddy) and her significant other Dave along with our friend and next host Tom better known to me as TB (and another of my travel buddies - see Canada trip blog entries from last August)