So, far we have quickly destroyed it each time we visit and even hung our bath towels to dry on the edges of James' electric drums-- but James and Ariel have been very good sports.
So good in fact, that when I suggested we check out an underground supper club in town, they were not only agreeable, but excited. Chicago's version is called Clandestino, and the ring leader, Efrian, got his start with the much publicized Ghetto Gourmet interviewed in the first link. The dinner we attended was in the loft office of a mortgage company.
Well, everyone keeps asking, How was it?
It was cool. It was way cool. The vibe was awesome, the people were great, and the sense of community was visible. The food was delicious, meticulously planned and exuded soul and spirit. Menu was as follows:
Chips and 2 salsas
Flautas w/ lamb chorizo and potato
Spanish Mackerel ceviche, cured w/ lime and grapefruit
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Birria de Chivo, served in roasted poblano
Tres Leches Torte
The winners, in my opinion, were the chicken tortilla soup and the Birria, which is goat. The soup, especially, was subtle and salty and deep without being rich.
The goat though. It was my first goat-eating experience, and it was infinitely better than my over-all first goat experience, which occurred at the tender age of three at the Detroit Zoo when a goat snatched my zoo-map right out of my chubby hands and had the nerve to chew it apart it in front of me.
This goat course was sublime. It was sort of shredded, and stuffed in a pepper with a little rice and topped with a little cheese. It was tender but chewy, and I ate it quicker than I wanted to, because, well, I couldn't help it. It came with what seemed to be roasted root veggies and smear of some sort of barbecue-like sauce that, I swear, with the squash, was one of the best sauces I have tasted.
Afterward, we went to the Signature Room for a drink, which is the bar at the top of the Hancock building with spectacular, hard to photograph and easy to be awestruck by views. My scotch on the rocks was $13, and so was Ariel's amaretto and James' Bloody Mary, which was, coencidentally, too spicy to drink. It was nice though, and we were dressed for it.
On the way home, we had the cabbie take us to a liquor store and the boys went in and bought bought some beer while Ariel and I held the cab.
We may have gone to bed a little late, and may have woken up a little hungover. So in the early afternoon, we meandered through the radiant sunshine to ye old Zagat-rated corner breakfast spot, Nookie's.
It was so good I didn't even finish my eggs, and I love eggs over easy. The coffee was free and Jason had buckwheat pancakes and after, we took a train downtown and spent the afternoon in one of my very favorite places on earth (so far), the Art Institute of Chicago, which not only has some of my favorite Toulouse-Lautrec and Monet's haystacks, but American Gothic, which I find in even more surreal to be in the same room with than Surat's monster.
Did I mention that James recently graduated from the Chicago Le Cordon Bleu institute? Right.
So, Sunday James made us a fantastic pork tenderloin dinner that every bit reflected his formal education and love of food.
That night we played a make shift version of cranium and watched The King of Kong, which, was ridiculous and I recommend highly.
In the morning, Jason and I picked up a little bit and crept out, long after James had left for work at the fish market, while Ariel slept and Stan chased water around the bath tub.