Saturday, October 25, 2014

an intricate thriller

Last night's theater outing was a good one and gets a solid "thumbs up" from me... we saw Danny Casolaro Died for You at the Timeline theater.  Terrific performances- really first rate! There were three truly outstanding performances, with a fourth one in the running for that appellation as well...

The actors who played the characters of Danny and Vacarro and Nichols were all amazingly evocative of a full gamut of personality profiles and emotional range.  And in the "just one step down" category of accolades was the actor who portrayed the character of  Riconoscuito.  Half of the six actors portray numerous characters and yet make each one distinct in voice and manner...


This play is complex- as were the issues Danny was investigating that he called "The Octopus" - these included the Iran Contra affair and the BCCI banking scandal and CIA covert operations at an Indian Reservation in Indio California - various murders (up to and including his own...) - and when I read the background materials online before the play I was thinking two things 1. this is an awful lot of material to keep straight and 2. this may end up being more of a newspaper article than engrossing theater.  I am very happy to be able to say that neither worry was realized.  This play is a complex character study with "thriller" underpinnings and it is fraught with the sense of wrongdoing bordering on downright evil.

there are many levels to this story and the best way to enjoy it is to buy tickets and see it for yourself...

Friday, October 24, 2014

I'll have another please!

So I was home about two hours when off we went to 42 grams for dinner... we had jumped into action a few months back and gotten tickets to the chef's counter for Thursday night because it was going to be the later seating.  Normally the chef's counter is the earlier seating and the communal table is the later seating but we really prefer the combination of the counter (where you can see things being prepared) and the later time frame (closer to the hours we keep) -

so off we went to the fall menu (for our second time) we found with the spring summer menu that we enjoyed it even more when we got a "second helping" because so many more of the nuances came forward when you weren't so overwhelmed by the big picture magical amazing over the top incredible food you were tasting for the very first time....

and the reason we knew there would be a later chef's counter on this date was because Chicago Gourmets had booked the communal table for the earlier seating... so we went by a tiny bit early to say hi to Don and Jim and Judy (all of whom were there for the Chicago Gourmets event, along with Manfred and his wife - whom we had met at the El Ideas) You can see the post of that dinner with guest chef Jason Carlisle from Ardent in Milwaukee at this location:

anyway- we exchanged pleasantries with the group members we knew as they were departing - of course raving about the meal... and then settled in to our own experience of the autumn menu (redux) because we wanted a "second helping" of the fabulous fare that Jake (and now Andrew assisting him) prepared for us...

without further ado- other than to say we had excellent seat mates at the counter this evening- here goes the food and wine...

the "bread" we broke for the start of the meal- above as part of the table decor and below deconstructed on to my place mat for better viewing-

hard at work- prepping the newest course of amberjack sashimi-

then one of my personal favorite the air dried tuna (tuna "iberico")

no they aren't almonds - they are apricot pits and really crunchy- and no it isn't pistachio ice cream it is peas- and no it isn't ham it is tuna... and YES it is marvelous!

flavors of the sea (Ode to Charlie Trotter)

riff on Thai curry- crispy chicken skin gives a magnificent texture to the dish...

this was my biggest surprise for our evening of second time around fare- this fabulous salmon dish had an absolutely incredibly flavorful and crisp toast/crouton underneath that I just completely focused in on this time in a way I hadn't last... this is why you cannot go too often!

another favorite the porridge (LOL) the fairy tale characters never got to eat porridge like this!

a Phil favorite - sweetbreads and foie gras - oh yum!

best course ever- anytime- anywhere- and it still is... this is a heaven that the kobe beef cattle aspire to.... there is no greater calling for them than this dish- absolutely exquisite flavor of the essence of beef and reinforced with the bone marrow

green tea never tasted more like dessert than this---

a wonderfully tart palate cleanser

and canelles to die for- with just the right amount of banana and hyssop to balance the hazelnut

and to end it - a "cup of joe" -  not really-  a fabulous mousse like espuma of their very own blend of coffee beans - a perfect way to send us home completely sated!

our wines worked very well with the  menu and we didn't need to go to the backups - always a positive thing with older wines---

so this showed up in the group of photos from last night- and I thought it an appropriate ending photo- your head will spin at such sensory overload but a second time around helps make a little bit more grounded memories of such fabulous food- thanks so much again Jake and Alexa (and Andrew)
- we had another lovely evening with you!

and now back to Italy and posts about Venice- Da Fiore, Da Ivo and Ai Mercanti and then on to Bologna... and the mortadella fest! stay tuned!

a couple of interuptions

I had gotten off to a good start with the Italy posts when I found myself interrupted by life...LOL- it happens...

first we had friends over for dinner (shrimp & mango salad, sea bass, roasted broccoli, and potato kugel and a trifle for dessert) then we had dinner at friends (along with a visit with their almost three year old) and then dinner with friends (out at a restaurant-LOL) and then I went to Florida to get the condo ready for winter...scheduled the pressure washing guy, the cleaning woman and the pest guy for the three days I was there...

I was lucky enough to enjoy a few lunches outside while I was there- the first lunch was at Star Fish - and i also took home stone crab claws for dinner- from the market there---

the next morning I had my toast on the porch and here was my lovely view-

the UPS boxes arrived and I unpacked my newest little mermaid - and she joins the other gals in the kitchen of the Florida condo-

I hung a couple of small palm trees in our "hall of palms" (LOL)

hung a couple of more paintings in the "lanai" the former screened porch that is now glassed in and serves as the Phil office location-

then I just got the furniture out of storage and into the courtyard and on the porch - so we can use it upon arrival...

then because the day was too beautiful to stay in, I went to the beach to have lunch at the Beach House (grouper tacos)

it was really not at all crowded- just wait - season is coming!

you can see what a fabulous day it was-

then yesterday I flew home to Chicago - arriving about 5:30 PM in time to head out to 42 grams for dinner... separate post on the meal but here is the menu to entice you to read on....

so come on back... no only do we have 42 grams, we have next:Trio 2004 and goosefoot also coming up in the next few days and the Italy posting will return with Venice and Bologna as well!