Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Notes From a Perfect Weekend

Well, near-perfect, anyway. Getting towed on Friday evening was the only sour note, but I think that if that hadn't happened I might have had to kill myself. Because of the perfection of my weekend in Chicago and all and the impossibility of ever topping it, you understand.

There was shopping. There was great food. There was more shopping. And more great food. And great company throughout.

Had lunch on Friday at Tamarind in the south loop with Howard from Columbia College Chicago. Highlight was when one of the bamboo pieces adorning the wall fell off and hit Howard in the head (not to worry, no admissions personnel were harmed during the course of the meal). Then saw the new ceramics exhibition at the Cultural Center, "People of the Mud, II (in which I just happen to be close personal friends with one of the artists).

Got together with some other folks from Columbia College on Friday evening (too busy gabbing to take any pictures, though there was a moment when we all got out our cell phones and showed each other pictures of our pets). Great to catch up with everybody. FYI: the Pomegranate Marguerita at Bar Louie is much better than the Black Cherry Cosmo.

Got towed from Wabash and Balbo, though I swear I read every sign and even got out of the car to check. Unplanned expense, but surprisingly minor hassle - took me about half an hour to get the car back, and had the pleasure of being entertained by one of the guys working the desk at the impound lot with stories of animals encountered in towed cars (including two doberman pinschers, a thirty foot boa constrictor, and fifty rabbits). Picked up my dear friend Jason (the aforementioned artist, who always lets me stay with him in his fabulous condo on the Drive) and headed to Blind Faith Cafe in Evanston for some vegetarian Bibimbop (as good as I remembered it).

Went to Mitsuwa Market ( in Arlington Heights in the morning on Saturday (had a few things to pick up for Art Is... Japan, a program I run at the Richmond Art Museum that starts in less than two weeks). Then Jason had the brilliant idea to go to American Science and Surplus ( Looked up the address on Google with my Treo, then went to mapquest and we were off. More shoppping ensued.

Found a really great place for dinner and drinks that night. The Violet Hour, in Wicker Park. Who would ever have thought to make curried rice krispie bars? Sounds terrible but they were fantastic. Followed those with the deep fried bread and butter pickles with chipotle aioli (also fantastic). Cocktail wise: the 41 Jane Does was better than the Yellow Rose of Texas, but they were both terrific. Then we ordered the eggnog and achieved Perfect Happiness.

Way over the top and delicious breakfast at Tweet Let's Eat on Sunday (we had the vegetarian biscuits and gravy as an appetizer, let's just leave it there). Very cold but lots of sunshine on the way back to Richmond. Made good enough time to be able to stop at Trader Joe's in Indianapolis. Warm welcome from Brian, Violet, and Morty.

View from the gallery in the Cultural Center.

Very Scary Person of the Mud.

Too dark to photograph anything else with the Treo in the Violet Hour.

A view of Lake Shore Drive at Belmont on a very cold day. Steam rising off the water, very beautiful.