Friday, July 8, 2016

why we live here

As you likely know by now - we are lucky enough to be able to come and go as we please and split our time between two different communities over the course of a year. We live six months a year in the Sarasota-Bradenton area (lots of culture and great dining for a small city) and aside from travel time, the rest of the year in Chicago- a large city with millions of people and a top notch theater and dining scene on top of world class museums and a stunning lakefront location.

And last night we were reminded yet again about why we live here in the summer.... and this reminder is called 42 grams.  No matter where we have eaten around the world, including amazing places in Brussels (Comme Chez Soi; La Maison du Cygne) Amsterdam (Bord' Eau; Vermeer; Bridges) Paris and Lyon in France and Rome, Bologna, and Florence in Italy... yet we always come home and when we dine at our favorites here in Chicago we appreciate what we have here just as much if not more for the ease of access to the highest level of dining experiences.

The menu (most of which was new to us) held to the same exactingly high standards we know from Jake and the presentation of the courses by Alexa was even more informative than we have had before.

Here is the incredible menu with photos - an all out terrific meal that made us snap into action and book it for when Steve & Suzanne come to town next month.

these were the wines we brought to go with the fabulous food- the Sigrid was terrific and the Panther Creek showed well but not quite as well the last time we opened one-

this meal was so good I could go back tonight- except I will wait until next month when we can go back with S&S.... tonight's plans - with a new buddy of Phil's from his Ireland trip last month - we are meeting at a Tapas place- getting hungry LOL... then we have dinner planned at Restaurant Michael on Sunday with Sheila and next week gets even crazier with social plans - theater - goosefoot - several dinners out and a party here and then weekend company from out of town... never a dull moment around here.....

another night at the theater

This most recent foray was to lookingglass theater at Water Tower in the old pumping station.  We have seen a number of excellent productions there and loved some of them.  Actually among my all time favorite plays is the North China Lover which we saw here a few years back and I also found Title & Deed a terrific and thought provoking play.

This time we were there to see Thaddeus & Slocum and I would say it was overall a positive review with a some criticism.  The performances were fabulous all around- a terrifically talented cast.

"Thaddeus and Slocum: A Vaudeville Adventure tells the story of two friends, one black and one white, who are Vaudeville street performers trying to make it to the “big time” in segregated 1908 Chicago.

"It’s 1908 and Chicago’s Majestic Theatre is the jewel of the vaudeville circuit. The only thing stopping Thaddeus and Slocum from becoming the next great stage act is as simple – and complicated – as black and white. Will laughter triumph and friendship endure as racial boundaries threaten to destroy their dreams of making the “big time?”

"Lookingglass dives deep into the divided heart of American culture and show biz for a daring cavalcade of slapstick, song and dance, and burlesque as two best friends risk everything to make it to the top together."  Here is a link to an article about early African-American theater in Chicago-

of course from the point of view of 2016 there was much that was disturbing in the play surrounding the issue of race- wish we could say it was all ancient history but it is just less obvious now-

the characters of Thaddeus and of Isabella are both wonderfully portrayed by the actors and extremely sympathetic and on that basis alone I would recommend seeing the play (before 7/17- when the current Isabella leaves and is replaced).  I found the ending logical (if somewhat abrupt) but Phil found it completely jarring.

Overall - a mild thumbs up - enthusiastic for the actors but less so for the structure of the play.  Next up - a post on one of the reasons we will always be Chicagoans - if only for part of the year...

Monday, July 4, 2016

almost forgot

Oh my - things are quite busy and so I completely missed the Friday night outing for Steppenwolf's production of Constellations and then dinner at a new (to us) place called Oyster Bah....

this play reminded me of a David Ives play called "Sure Thing" on steroids- it started with the same - millions of alternative paths in life and went much much deeper on the scientific and existential levels and explored the relationship between two characters on multiple levels while interweaving some theoretical physics and quantum mechanics as the cocktail they were "stewing" in -

interesting intellectually but I never really related to the female character - a bit more to the male lead but overall I found it a thoughtful play but not one that grabbed me emotionally.  You can by the way see the David Ives play "Sure Thing" in various iterations on You Tube- a short fifteen minute funny film about alternative paths on the route to love... or even a date LOL-

Sure Thing is a short comic play by David Ives featuring a chance meeting of two characters, Betty and Bill, whose conversation is continually reset by the use of a ringing bell, starting over when one of them responds negatively to the other.

after the play we went to the Oyster Bah nearby - for some seafood- had some oysters- some crab legs- some chowder, some ceviche, and fish and chips, along with seafood salad- all quite good-

we brought our own (corkage fee reasonable) and it was perfect- still young and balanced - great with the seafood based menu we chose!

we headed home late and crashed - lots of holiday weekend plans--- so this 1st of July evening was the beginning of our settled in part of the summer in the city - Chicago!

Sunday, July 3, 2016


So because we had been home for about a day and a half - we decided to go visit CBGB in Michigan for a few days.  They had emailed a few weeks back and told us they had tickets for Jackson Browne at Interlochen and could we come over to see/hear him.  They live near Traverse City in the summer and somewhat near us in Florida in the winter and we determined that Chuck and I had known each other since shortly after he and Becky (one of my claims supervisors way back when) had been in trial in OKC on the day of the bombing - which put it at twenty plus years - time flies.  CBGB have been our travel buddies to Argentina and to France (Burgundy barging) and many a wine drinking event......LOL and readers of the blog will recognize GA (the G of CBGB) as my traveling companion in Morocco just a few springs ago... lots of good memories.

so we left town on Monday mid afternoon and arrived in Cadillac in time for a late dinner at Hermann's then we took our time getting to CBGB's luxury log cabin retreat by dawdling in Cadillac for a pizza at the "since 1951" Pizza Plus....

We hung out with Chuck for a while on the deck in the birches and then went off to see a part of the golf tournament that was being played at the golf course below "Bavol North" as their place is named.

Later we met GA at home and had heavy snacky things to eat before heading to the concert.

The concert was FABULOUS! Terrific guitar players and Jackson in fine form for a guy in his late sixties and still looking handsome and youthful and vigorous! Below is the set list and a few photos from the concert - will see if I can load a video clip as well- may have to just link to it...

The Set list:
  • Rock Me on the Water
  • Just Say Yeah
  • Fountain of Sorrow
  • Call It a Loan
  • For a Rocker
  • Cut It Away
  • For Everyman
  • Walls and Doors (Carlos Varela cover)
  • For a Dancer
  • Doctor My Eyes
  • The Birds of St. Marks
  • Your Bright Baby Blues
  • Which Side
  • These Days
  • Somebody's Baby
  • Boulevard
  • Redneck Friend
  • That Girl Could Sing
  • The Barricades of Heaven
  • Sky Blue and Black
  • The Pretender
  • Running on Empty
  • Take It Easy
  • Our Lady of the Well
maybe a video? we'll see- 

if not here is a link to a different and longer one-

and then we all went home singing!  It was an amazingly great concert from an outstanding singer songwriter- terrific (as you could see) set list! Many many many favorites!

the next day we ate and drank and ate and drank and shopped a little bit- we had lunch with wine along a lake and then went to a dairy farm for ice cream and then went to cherry republic to buy Phil some cherry things and then for another drink (Aperol spritzes) and then to dinner at Fou Fou (with our own wine) and then home to sit at the giant outside fireplace at Bavol North and drink Sauternes and sing some more LOL--- what's not to sing about when you are having so much fun with such good friends of so many years???

the next day we had a lovely lunch outside at the club in the Crystal Mountain resort and headed back home for the 4th of July holiday. Home, where we have been hanging out with friends - Sheila & Mary yesterday (at their place for ribs! YUM YUM) and today with Mick at our place for a cook out and champagne (DP!) and tomorrow we are off to visit friend John and then back to "work" on the things we have on our to- do lists... LOL - mine includes finishing up the Canada photos and blog posts and photo books... so stay tuned!