Monthly Archives: August 2012

Black Orpheus


Pierce and Via had an end of summer barbecue. We brought banana cream pie and they met Hilary. I ate hotdogs with Serbian red pepper sauce.

tomato summer frontera grill rooftop salsa 3rdarm

For most yucatecan dishes, I would recommend the Muga reserva 2007. It’s a classic Rioja with the aroma of sawdust, leather and dill. The taste is juicy cranberries, pomegranates, black currants with a little vanilla sweetness from oak, and a dry peppery finish. Perfect for any meat rubbed with achiote- an earthy blend of annato seeds and spice.

Chongos Zamoranos

la plaza paleteria cicero ave chicago 3rdarm chongos zamoranos

I went to La Plaza Paleterian and there were many different cream and fruit based pops. I asked what flavor changos zamoranos was and the guy told me it was the first milk that comes out of a cows tit. “Sounds creamy,” Etta said. Later i googled chango zamoranos and that’s not what it was at all. Reads like maybe it’s the original pop with cream and sweet spices. But that sounds similar to other flavor like rompope (Mexican eggnog) and gansito (Mexican Twinkie). That would be bad ass if it was the first milk of the squeeze. I got oreo and melon. The Oreo included two whole halves of a cookie. The melon had chunks of melon.

Canal Origins Park

concrete mural canal origins park 3rdarm chicago

I drove all the way to xni-pec because it was hot out and i wanted yucatecan food because its good for that but it was closed due to an air conditioning problem. I went to sol de Mexico instead for oaxacan. We got the entremes for two- ceviche, quesadillas, taquitos, and we got the sopes filled with plantain, chicken in red mole, aguacate, chorizo. Maybe too much for starters- the cheese was filling. I liked the entremes and sopes, both of which are similar to Frontera grill apps, but a different take. For dinner I got the pork chop in manchananteles (table cloth stainer) with pineapple plantains and potatoes (mashed). The sauce was really good- I can taste now just thinking about it. Etta got carne asada- really good flavor on the steak. We took most of the entrees home because we were so full. I’m thinking about making more tacos now. The drinks were a highlight. Etta got a guava and a jalapeño margarita- both balanced and fresh ingredients. I got a tart limonada, sweet horchata and bittersweet Jamaica. I noticed the Mexican beers were all four dollars. Afterwards I walked the half block to La Plaza Paleteria for an ice pop.

praire grass 3rdarm

I was looking for a location to photograph with the late August sun and found canal origins park. It’s the place where the Missippi river first connected to the great lakes- the reason Chicago exists as a great city. It lives across from the sun times complex at about 29th street on Ashland avenue. The park gives fishermen a chance at the water front. There is a long mural in concrete depicting the history of the water ways. Walking paths through native prairie flowers and grasses.

Nichols Farm

chef hector frontera grill 3rdarm nichols farm

I visited Nichols Farm with chefs from Frontera Grill. Lloyd and his son Nick took us out on a tour. We rode through fields of corn, apples, tomatoes, melons, okra, brussels sprouts, squash, sweet potato, and got to taste along the way. Lloyd showed us wild mushrooms- a chicken of the woods. Frontera chefs brought ribeye, skirt steak, chicken, poc chuc and shrimp for the grill. Nick shared a keg of watermelon beer from Goose Island. Thank you to Nichols Farm- inspiring to see great care you take to grow great variety of produce.

lloyd nichols farm sweet corn frontera grill 3rdarm

Dreams- I was surfing in Mexico. The dream was in real time I was out in the water for hours. I was riding my bike up and down an Italian restaurant- the dining room was like the Chicago street. I rode my bike up to a house tagged with blue spray paint. I started taking photos with my iPhone. A van pulled up and three Mexican guys came out aggressively towards me. One pulled a handgun from his waistband and demanded to know what I was doing. They put me in the back of the van and drove me to a building. There were other hostages, including cats and apes. One of the apes had a torture collar on. It made the noise of a car engine.

Melon Meeting

Field chiles 3rdarm nichols farm frontera grill

More texts with Effie-

Me: Let me tell you a story called the living rose- While the cable guy a giant six foot five silent bald man with massive earrings who my aunt and I both guessed was a pot guy than a beer guy was installing the cable modem I was looking at the photos and reading segments particularly the last chapters of ted kennedy autobiography and teared up over the story of his ten year old grandson Ted the third winning most improved sailor but the best part was called the living rose. We both felt on gut level the cable guy was more of a pot smoker than a beer drinker. Although I wondered if already naturally quiet how introverted he got on pot. My aunt had been living with dial up speed for months thinking it was ok. The living rose is an ancient legend Ted Kennedy conveys about a poetry contest in old times. The third place got a silver rose, the second place a gold rose, and the winner a living rose. Ted Kennedy asks- who amongst us wouldn’t take the living rose? I wonder how many folks read that and tear up and how many read that and think gimme the gold rose bitch.

Effie: I would take the living rose.

blistered chiles 3rdarm frontera nichols farm

Me: No I had smoked the last of the weed by then and had this whole thought process because I wanted buy weed from the cable guy. In the fantasy he had a pound of pot in the van. I also read this essay about how Mary Kay saleswomen get a rose gift at a particular level of sales and the stem represents other women- sister saleswomen who will support them. The thorns represent the obstacles and set backs they will face. The flower is the pink Cadillac they get when they sell a ton of Mary Kay makeup. Sweet smell of success.

Effie: That would be a weird job.

Watermelon Water

frontera grill watermelon 3rdarm

So me saying why. Yeah bottle wasters. Outta my burrito now i’m home. Try to fashion but they found them again.

cantaloupe melon 3rdarm frontera

Ahhhhhhhh! Yes loud eisenhower re me. Fe only text with the voice dictation text thingy. Hey douglas shut off and then had some pinot grigio. Money’s you back at.

-Effie texting with voice dictation thingy

Chicharron Prensado

frontera grill joe 3rdarm

I made a hair appointment, the next day I got a call a few hours before the hair appointment that asked to bump it up an hour and I said yes, no problem. Backtracking a bit, after work I had discovered my bike had a flat tire and got it changed at Kozy’s in River North that afternoon. On my way to the hair appointment that evening I jumped back on my bike and the tire exploded- so loudly that my apartment building’s Ukrainian handyman thought I had been shot. The question of weight gain from ingesting boxes of Crackle Thin Mints aside, I was so pissed. I called the Kozy bike store- really, I should never have gone to a place that misspells their name with K. They said bring in the bike. I called Barbara&Barbara and told them what happened- they said don’t worry about being late. I’m not going into what happened at the bike store because I don’t do 1 star reviews, but if I did, Kozy’s would get one because they never even asked, on a human to human level, what had happened with the tire blowing out, and never made sure that I was okay.

frontera grill chayote 3rdarm

That never happened. The bros refixed my bike. I drove the bike on my car up the Kennedy Expressway to the hair appointment, and was only 5 or 10 minutes late. Barbara&Barbara relocated and the new space is really open- windows to the treelined neighborhood, diamond shaped door to the color room, wood floors. The hair stylist, Mandy, made me feel less traumatized. “The guy who changed my tube lacked credibility because of his long hippy hair,” I told the stylist, with the creeping realization that this was not the appropriate venue to suggest long hair somehow signals a lack of credibility in regards to bike repairs. At the end when she had shampooed and conditioned and I had finally stopped talking- there had been a healing. And a good haircut.

Grape Focaccia

lula cafe farm Dinner patio monday 3rdarm

On a Monday I read a tweet saying lula cafe bar manager leaving and the farm dinner that night would feature oysters and ribeye. I called lula but no reservations were available but helpful hostess said to come in on the early side and if its not raining the patio tables are first come. Twice in the afternoon it rained with the sun out. We got there at 6 and had a table on the patio- late August sunlight. First course was three raw oysters with sweet watermelon ice (granita) and housemate coppa (chewy salty ham) paired with limonada (me) and a dry champagne (her) that had a lot of lemon notes (maybe it was the limonada). Pickled watermelon rind chaser.

French kiss oysters lula cafe farm dinner monday 3rdarm

Ribeye steak in three slices was the main- tender and caramelized crust. There were baby mushrooms (chanterelles), Brussels sprout leaves, buttery baby leaks (her favorite), yellow mustard pickled cauliflower (the best), small potatoes (new) and miso anchovy butter sauce paired with dry sparkling cuvée rose. The dessert course read Klug Farm Grape Focaccia- lula cafe played on grape nuts. The grape focaccia was toasty, addicting with cream cheesy bavarian and bracing with whipped nectarine meringue. The best part was the crunch- pinenut streusel. The grape sorbet was paired with more grape drink- a grapy dry sparkling rose champagne.

Lula Cafe Farm Dinner

ribeye steak lula cafe farm dinner Monday

Having eaten at lula cafe many times and being a big fan and signing up for the newsletter of both restaurants reminding me many times to give it a shot I finally went to nightwood for Sunday brunch. And I’m glad I did.

Foccacia grape lula cafe 3rdarm farm dinner Monday

The server asked our drink order and if we wanted donuts first thing and I’m glad she did. Having read and reread the handwritten sample menu’s description of donuts for hours and days before the brunch that donut and a cup of coffee were exactly what I wanted. Later I would kick myself for not getting all three kinds because I saw the raspberry chocolate pudding donut and I can’t stop picturing it, always just out of reach at the next table.


Etta had a trout sandwich. The donut we had was bacon butterscotch, the cinnamon roll blueberry cream cheese, the bacon really good but I also got a side of bacon with my queso fresco cherry tomato scramble. The large open windows gave good light onto the leather and wood interior. The only problem was silverware unpolished and the butterfly leathrr chair accentuated my back fat.

Nightwood Brunch

trout sandwich nightwood Pilsen 3rdarm

“Governments can err, presidents do make mistakes, but the immortal Dante tells us that Divine justice weighs the sins of the cold-blooded and the sins of the warm-hearted on different scales.

Better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.

There is a mysterious cycle in human events. To some generations much is given. Of other generations much is expected. This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.

butterscotch bacon donut 3rdarm nightwood pilsen

In this world of our in other lands, there are some people, who, in times past, have lived and fought for freedom, and seem to have grown too weary to carry on the fight. They have sold their heritage of freedom for the illusion of a living. They have yielded their democracy.

I believe in my heart that only our success can stir their ancient hope. They begin to know that here in America we are waging a great and successful war. It is not alone a war against want and destitution and economic demoralization. It is more than that; it is a war for the survival of democracy. We are fighting to save a great and precious form of government for ourselves and for the world.

I accept the commission you have tendered me. I join with you. I am enlisted for the duration of the war.”

—-Franklin D. Roosevelt speech at Democratic convention, 1936