Thursday, November 15, 2012

my mother's 2012 travels

the other day I went to lunch with a neighbor.  we got to talking about travel and of course I mentioned that my mother and her father were big travelers and that the gene was passed along to me---

my mother first left North America in 1983- she was 53 years old.  she and her dad had traveled all over the US from when she was a kid.  during the war they would save their ration coupons for gas for a trip in the summer across the country to take my great grandmother's sister to California in Aunt Fan's own car - then they would drive back and she would spend a couple of months with one of her other sisters.

here is a photo of my mother's grandmother (my great grandmother) and her three sisters- my great grandmother, Minnie, is the one on the left and my mom's great aunt Fan is the second from the right- the others are Lilly and "Teensie"
so as I said, my mom started traveling very early-  here are a few shots of her earliest trips away from her hometown of Cincinnati:
In the thirties in New Jersey at the shore... my mother was tall for her generation- she stood 5'8" at high school graduation...

the Boardwalk at Atlantic City:

a trip to Washington D.C.

then as a teenager- at the Grand Canyon, in California at the beach with a cousin and then with her great aunt, Fan (owner of the car that transported my mom and her dad back and forth across the country.)

and why am I telling you this - perhaps you even remember some of it from earlier posts right after her death nearly two years ago...
this is just a bit of background - my mother LOVED to travel and so as you may recall - as she was nearing the end of her life we made a pact that I would scatter some of her ashes in any country where I traveled that she had not been to...
so this is a report on my mother's 2012 travels:
1) she went to Cuba (stopping in Havana and Cienfuegos and Trinidad)
2) she went to Bolivia (the Island of the Sun in Lake Titicaca and the Valley of the Moon outside of La Paz)
3) she went to Colombia (with stops in Bogota on Monserrate and in Tayrona National Park and in Cartegena on La Popa Hill)
4) she also went to Helsinki (the Waterfront) and Stockholm (under the chestnut tree in Gamla Stan)
5) she is packed and ready to go to New Zealand and Sydney, Australia next month...
places I went in 2012 that she (and I) had already been to included Istanbul, Greece (including Athens, Delphi and the main islands) and Copenhagen... she was very well traveled for a person of her generation who was not born into wealth and who started traveling outside the country at the age of 53.  Did I mention that her first trip to Europe in 1983 (the year she got a passport) was as part of the US Olympic boxing team? LOL - but that is another story altogether....
so on we go- next year she is going to Peru and Ecuador for sure--- and who knows what else might show up... bon voyage!

we go to lunch

so I think I failed to mention to you that I whine every time Phil gets gyros here in Chicago because I do not like lamb... and when we were in Athens I was able to have pork and chicken gyros in the Plaka at a table outdoors and under the vines...

so when we were in Greece last May/June I did get pork gyros but when we returned home I started on my sad tale of woe yet again...LOL

recently we found an article about a place in Wicker Park that served pork and chicken and lamb and beef gyros in an assembly line style place where there was no table service but they sliced and assembled as you requested with a choice of four spits for the protein and then a choice of add ons and sauces - along with a couple of sides or dips...

and also recently Phil has agreed to take off Wednesdays in his quest to be semifree like me- well to be more accurate - he occasionally takes off Wednesday lunch and I am more than semifree at this point - but hey who is that technical?

so off we went to Covo Gyro Market yesterday for lunch...and - well - it was cute and clean and did have everything as "advertised" in the article and reviews we had read but it wasn't that great.  Now maybe this is just because I wasn't eating outside under vines in the Plaka but maybe not--- at any rate we will not be back anytime soon. 

so as you can see - it was a nicely designed space- if not quite Plaka-like... LOL- I think next time we will end up at Greek Islands as I know they are open for lunch and while they don't have pork gyro they do have a kick butt taramousalata!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

too late!

my husband says I have perfect timing- but here is clear evidence he is deluded by love for me- LOL - I wanted to be gone to the southern hemisphere long before we saw this white stuff in late 2012.... that didn't happen- we had snow last night November 12th!!!!
oh I admit I had already put away the deck furniture and it was ready for winter but I expected that the first snow would not come until we were "down under" in New Zealand or Australia... but nooooooo!

so this has just pushed us further along the path heading south - next year we may be gone by this date and extend our time in warmer climes - this is just plain TOO EARLY!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

le cordon bleu chicago

the LCBC competition cooking team prepared an outstanding meal for the Chicago Gourmets club on Saturday night - my cousin Michele was supposed to accompany us but when her trip was canceled due to flight difficulties we asked our friend Nan to join us to take her ticket for the event. 

The event was planned as a fund raiser for the expenses incurred by the competition team to go for the gold medal - first at the state level and then in the nationals

here is the menu:

and the food -


but among the extra treats we were granted was access to the prep area for some demos of how some of our ingredients were prepared - including in order below - two shots of-  cracker making; the season like a chef station where you could try your hand at seasoning bechamel sauce; the tuile making station; and a place for foaming carrots- LOL.  There was also a spot for the veggie carving and the mousseline preparation!


out in front- we had lovely table settings with place cards and flowers from Don Newcomb's garden:

the team shown below-  delightful evening!

the event raised 4,000 for the support of the competition team- which was not even halfway to the total amount they need to compete- but I am sure this talented group will find a way to get the rest of the 10,000 raised.  GOOD LUCK! LCBC Competition Team...GO FOR THE GOLD!

catching up

with me--- other than the Nordic Capitals posts the last post I did about day to day life was for the October 31st dinner at Goosefoot.  So since that time - we went to see the accountants to find out how much more money we need to make in tax deposits in order to not pay penalties for the 2012 tax year--- aaaaccckkk (could have been worse though -)

we had lunch with the accountants at Pappadeaux in Oak Brook- near their offices.  I am not generally a fan of corporate restaurants but this is one place I look forward to visiting once a year because I love their chopped salad with the fried crayfish. 

I snapped a couple of pics with my phone while waiting for Phil -

the following day I played a responsible adult to drive Phil home after he had Lasik surgery - then we spent a quiet weekend with no plans so he could "recover" LOL

I had Lasik in 2000 (12 years ago in August) and told him it would not be a bid deal but he didn't know until he went through it how much of a deal it wasn't - now nine days later he remarks about what a non-event it was....

so when we went back into social circulation the following week, Mick and I had lunch at Hamburger Mary's - and on the walk home I took a few shots I had been meaning to capture of our neighborhood pie place. 

then our social schedule went off the rails a bit- our Wednesday plans for dinner with friends got canceled due to one of them getting the flu- and the weekend plans were waylaid by a mechanical problem for the plane my cousin Michele was going to fly on from south Florida to Chicago so she got her money back but her visit was canceled.

sometimes life works out that way- roll with it...

so we used the time to start making packing lists for our upcoming trips and getting out all the paperwork to ensure the details for New Zealand the next immediate trip was all ready to go- made a couple of last minute bookings (Auckland hotel and South Island car rental) and then last night we attended an event that was fund raising for the competition cooking team at Le Cordon Bleu Chicago.

the meal was fantastic and we got to observe some of the prep as well.  the next post will be dedicated to the evening - but let me say before we go on- that I was the lucky "winner" of the auction for the private dinner for ten in my home that was being auction by the competition cooking team- we will do it some time next spring and it should be really fun- our wine- their cooking and they do the dishes!