Demented Ramblings life is too short to refrain from eating jam out of the jar

21Jul/080

Exhausted and hungry pays off for Ysha

You know I love to chronicle my food adventures when I am out of town. For one thing, it makes Mimi drool and call me bad names. *giggle* Plus, I'm all alone and therefore must turn to LJ for company.

Today didn't seem that it was going to be a good day. I had a mild headache start in at about midnight saturday. As of this morning, it was still hanging with me. That didn't bode well for the first day of a PeopleSoft class. I crammed a couple of Aleve down my throat and went on. Oracle University is pretty much catty-corner across the river from here, so it was a nice short walk.

There's a big drawback to aleve, it makes me sleepy. However, it's the only thing that seems to work on my headaches, so I still take it. Or maybe the headaches just make me sleepy? Doesn't matter, it all goes together. By lunchtime, I thought I was going to have to come back to the hotel and forget the afternoon class. However, I'd missed breakfast and was super hungry, so I thought I'd better go get lunch.

I have the same silly flighty instructor for this class that I had for my last class in Atlanta. She's fun. She listed off several places nearby where we could get lunch and I headed off to find some. I decided to just solo it and not try to find anyone from class to have lunch with, I didn't feel very social. Amy had mentioned a Dim Sum place nearby, but she'd also mentioned 42 other places right after that, so I was a bit confused. I set off to sort of looking for the dim sum and ... oh, hey, sushi! That would be lovely. A little sushi/grill right down on the river walk - Diosa. I had the veggie spring rolls and a spicy ebi roll(shrimp). The spring rolls were absolutely terrific and were served on some pile of green stuff. It was about the consistency of slightly al dente glass noodles, yet was vibrant green. I asked my server what it was - seaweed salad. TERRIFIC!

I headed back to class, figuring I could tough it out and if I couldn't then "home" was a block away. As soon as class was over, I hightailed it back here and FELL RIGHT OUT! I slept for the next four hours and when I awoke, I seriously considered just going back to sleep. However, I figured that if I didn't get some dinner, I'd wake up at midnight and absolutely ravage the minibar. I've done enough damage to that thing without going all insane! Honestly though, I'm better off with $5 peanuts than when I stay in a residence inn and try to stock enough snacks to suit my constantly changing desires.

I'm hungry, I'm lazy and there's a restaurant downstairs. So, guess what's for dinner? I popped down to check out the South Water Kitchen. Regardless of what the booking agent on the phone said when I reserved my room, there was no need for a reservation there. At least not at 8:30 on a monday night. I was seated immediately.

I opted for the halibut and a glass of Edward Sellers Cognito. I had no idea what to expect with the wine, it was one of their featured summer selections, but I liked it quite a bit. This is something that I love about Chicago - I walk everywhere so I can always have a glass of wine with dinner! The halibut was splendid, seared with an herbed butter on top. It was served with teeny thin green beans and twice baked fingerlings. The fingerlings amused me, as they were split open like a normal sized baked potato and filled with chive creme fraiche. For dessert I had their carrot raisin walnut bourbon bundt cake with homemade caramel sauce. YUMMO!

And now, my darlings - I goes back to bed. Tomorrow night - Wicked, and maybe I'll check out that Garrett's caramel corn place that had people queued all that way down the block on sunday. Assuming the line isn't so long this time.

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21Jul/080

Dinner at Morton’s, in which Ysha is a backward goob

Son, I tell you whut. Being in Chicago turns me into a wide eyed little girl. I walk around gawking at everything in the world and loving this city.

It's been a very long week, and what I really wanted for dinner was a nice glass of pinot noir and a big juicy steak. When I came back from my neighborhood exploration earlier, I inquired of the concierge(Ryan) where to get the best steak closeby - he sent me to Morton's, even made a reservation for me. I could do with a concierge in my life all the time, someone to recommend restaurants and take care of the details.

I popped around the corner and into the restaurant at the appointed time and was immediately seated. But the man seating me didn't provide me with either a menu or a wine list. What the hey? So, I just figured the server would bring it over in a few minutes, but I was still a bit confused.

The lovely Miss Jenn brought me the wine list and asked my preference for the "water service". *snicker* Source Municipal (as Waiter would say) is just fine for me thanks. Jenn told me that her co-server Angela would be over in just a moment for the "menu presentation".

The what?

My wine comes and a nice busser drops me a fresh baked loaf of onion bread. Still, no menu. Angela passes by and tells me that she will return momentarily for the "menu presentation".

At this point, I am expecting a musical number to accompany this presentation. Is a huge dancing bear going to come out of the kitchen and hand me my menu? Are streamers going to float from the ceiling as it touches my dainty hand? This is some serious buildup for a menu, no doubt.

I didn't have to wonder for much longer. Angela comes over wheeling a cart of food. I say to her, "honey, that's not a menu! That's the whole kitchen!"

She laughed and began her presentation. On this cart were several trays of food covered in cling film. She listed off each menu item (they weren't ALL on the cart) and displayed the various cuts of beef for me. All of the steaks she showed me were huge and promised to be delivered in that size. Then she starts talking about the seafood selections and brandishes a plastic lobster at me.

WAIT ONE DAMNED MINUTE HERE!! THAT'S NOT A PLASTIC LOBSTER!!

Yes, babies and darlings, it was a live lobster. She picked him up and he wiggled at me. I expressed my mild disdain (with a "oh my god! That's a live lobster!") and then she finished the presentation. Luckily for those of us with a rather short attention span, she then left me with a hard copy of the menu so that I could consider my choices.

I had already eyeballed them online and knew that I wanted to try their "legendary" chocolate lava cake, so I didn't go wild on dinner. I ordered the single cut filet (smaller portion) and the garlic green beans. Dinner was scrumptious.

Dessert was damn near perfect, BUT for their signature dessert I expected more. Oh, it was large enough and it was fresh from the oven (I'd had to order it before my meal came since it takes 30 minutes to make). It was nicely oozy in the middle and served with a very good quality vanilla ice cream. But, I dunno, the chocolatey flavor was a wee bit ..... flat. Like maybe it could have used a teeny smidge of salt in the batter.

WHAT? I never denied being a food snob.

Anyway, dinner was terrific and I managed to only act like I just fell off the turnip truck a few times. We won't talk about the price though - just know that I stopped at the 7-11 across the street and bought a BOTTLE of pinot noir for the same amount I paid for a GLASS at the restaurant.

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12Jul/080

3 days of yummy dinners

Let's talk bellyfiller. You know, one of my favorite subjects - food.

On Thursday night, I stopped to pick up some hamburger so that we could grill out. Kroger had some lovely avacados and I thought I'd be sweet to my adorable boyfriend. So, I came home and mixed up some guacamole that he could then slather on his burger (pressing some bacon bits and jalapeno slices into the pile of guacamole. Ysha says yuk, but Sparks loves it.) With the burgers we had fried potatoes (I don't recommend trying to fry new potatoes, they don't brown. But it's what I had on hand.) and sauteed zucchini.

Last night, the boyfriend was working and I was craving Indian food. Big mistake, allowing myself into Tandoor all alone and hungry. I spent $40 on take out and came home for a feast of paneer pakora, papdums, onion chutney, vegetable korma, chicken mahkani, and garlic naan. I barely made a dent in the Vegetable Korma (my favorite) or Chicken Makhani (it looked rather like the "butter chicken" that I'd just watched the recipe for) but they were so yummy. Sparks had some for dinner when he got home around midnight. We've got a ton of leftovers, so I could probably eat it for lunches/dinners for several days. But I'd better not get burned out on it, I'm supposed to go back over there with some friends late in the week.

Tonight, I marinated a couple of tuna steaks in a combination of old bay and lime juice, then Sparks grilled them. I also threw together a corn and bean salad and a small bit of couscous. We topped the tuna steaks with the leftover guacamole. This was the best idea I've had for a while. It adds a bit of moisture to an otherwise dry fish but tastes better with tuna than tartar sauce. Sparks sat around rubbing his tummy and telling me what a wonderful dinner that was for a full hour after we'd finished eating it.