I’m baaaack.

I really don’t quite know what I want to do with a personal blog so instead of actually doing much, I just keep starting new ones.  I think this is going to have to be the one that ‘sticks’.

I was just sitting here thinking about how a Chicago restaurant messed up Don’s birthday–at least for me.  I took him out thinking that any restaurant Roland Liccioni was a partner in should be really wonderful.  NOT.  Here’s a copy of the letter I am sending.

Mr. Liccioni,

 

On Saturday, June 28, I took my husband out for a birthday dinner. He chose Old Town Brasserie for several reasons. He liked the review in Chicago magazine and we’ve eaten at Le Francaise and Le Nomade when you were chef (both times that you were at Le Francaise) and the dinners we had were fantastic. Unfortunately, this was not to be the case here.

We were seated promptly and given menus. Our waiter #41, Mark, asked us if we’d like a drink. We hadn’t had time to open the wine list yet but we looked quickly and ordered a glass of wine each. He got the wine, brought it back and immediately asked if we were ready to order. Uhhh…we still haven’t got our menus open yet, so no, give us a minute or 10. My husband asked about specials and was told that they were listed in the middle of the menu. There was no explanation of anything, just that they were listed. He did then eventually ask us if we had any questions.

We placed our order and looked at the wine list for a bottle for dinner. We were almost finished with out appetizers before Mark ever came back to see if we needed anything to actually drink with those appetizers. My husband asked him if he could tell him about one of the wines we were thinking of ordering. I am still astounded at his answer. He told my husband that because he didn’t drink wine, he didn’t know anything about them. And then he stood there waiting for us to order. My husband asked him several times if he could possibly get someone who DID know something about wine to come and help us. He finally, reluctantly, asked someone for advice but never really seemed to have a clue about the wine, and the description offered was minimal at best. Fortunately we were given a bottle of wine that we liked, no thanks to him.

I was disappointed in my appetizer. I got the lobster ravioli and it was so over spiced that all I could taste was the spice and the lemongrass. The lobster got lost somewhere in all of that. My husband loved his fois gras even though he was never offered a glass of sauterne with it. He got the veal loin special and also enjoyed that, although it was closer to ‘medium’ rather than the requested ‘medium-rare’. I ate most of the sweetbreads and thought they were wonderful. I got the tournedos and was disappointed again. I asked for the meat to be cooked medium and it was well. I would assume that medallions would be cut against the grain into little rounds but this was just a hunk of meat on the plate cut with the grain so it was dry and stringy. The rest of the food on the plate was perfect and delicious. By the time our waiter returned to see how things were, I just decided I wouldn’t say anything. My mistake.

We normally share desert but since it was a special occasion (or at least supposed to be one) we decided to get two deserts. My husband got the profiteroles and I got the crème brulee. The profiteroles were wonderful. The crème brulee was the worst I’ve ever had. I took one bite and it tasted of raw egg yolks. I sent that back.

We finished with coffee, which was delicious. I love your coffee cups! I asked for a second cup of coffee. There was only about ½ cup left and Mark never returned to give me any more.

It was also very hot and muggy with the windows open in the front and no air movement in the back of the restaurant.

I was very, very disappointed in the service that we received. I was also pretty unhappy with the food. We went here to celebrate a special occasion and instead not only got nothing special, but also got something that came nowhere near our expectations. I just can’t believe that someone who ran Le Francaise and Le Nomade with such perfection can tolerate this. I find it hard to find anything positive to say about Old Town Brasserie.

If I had to sum up the service that we had at your restaurant in one word, it could only be ‘indifferent.’

Sincerely,

Can you tell I wasn’t happy.  I mean for a few hundred bucks it should be a little better than that!

Tonight will be yummm though.  I am making a bit pot of pinto beans and tacos carne asada.  The meat is marianating right now.  It’s a really odd color green marinade but is sure tastes good anyway.  I’m so going to regret this whole week when I go to Weight Watcher’s tomorrow.

I finally convinced Don that I need a torch here.  I’m not going to start me set up in the basement until I fulfill my part of the deal I made with him but I’m going to use the Hot Head out on the deck.  He seems to think that I’m going to have a fabulously wonderful time torching with a HH on a windy deck.  LOL  Shows what he knows about it.  Maybe a few times of that will speed up my end of the bargain.

Is anyone else feeling like the summer is going by too fast?  There are so many things I want to get done and just don’t seem to finish any of it.  Hell, I don’t even get most of it started.  Menopause is turning my brain to mush, I think.

Off to stir the beans.  Hope everyone is having a great day so far!

 

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Mid April

It was fabulous out on Friday.  Warm, sunny…just beautiful, until the afternoon when it got cloudy and just started getting colder and colder.  Yesterday sucked.  Clouds, rain…blech.  Today is totally sunny and 37 degrees.  What the hell is wrong with spring in Chicago this year???  Am I asking for too much?  Sunny and upper 60s for a few days in a row would be nice.

I forgot to do an update on Fuzz.  Sharon (a friend down the street) and I got him neutered, shot, etc.  He recuperated very well in her fixed up basement and as he was doing so well, we decided to find him a home.  Well, mostly Sharon decided to find him a home.  LOL  I was having a really hard time with thinking of him not around here but glad he’d have a good life…you know how that is.  Her friend Kari was looking for a kitty as hers had died several months before.  Mr. Fuzz is spoiled rotten!  He has a ton of toys and actually plays with them!  He eats like a prince (which he is). She has a huge tree in her condo and he sleeps in the dirt of the tree.  Hehehe.  He used to always sleep in one of the windoboxes we have outside so I guess he feels right at home.  She couldn’t find him one day and there he was…totally sacked out in the ‘shade’ of the tree.  He likes to dig in it (no potty issues though), roll in the dirt, pull branches off of it.  It’s his connection to outside.  He loves to be groomed.  He’s just in kitty heaven.  I can’t think of anyone who deserves it more.

Way to go Fuzzalator!!!

More snow

It can stop anytime now.  I’m getting really tired of snow.  Really I am.  They are predicting 6-10 inches in Chicago and up to 18 in places in Wisconsin.  Guess maybe I shouldn’t complain quite so much.  We’ve had so much this year so far.  I wanted to go out to breakfast in the morning but I just don’t think it’s gonna happen.

Need to go and check my pizza dough.  I love the smell of those little yeasties as they do their little yeasty farts.  I was hoping that Don would remember to take the Kitchen Aid out for me this morning but he didn’t so I had to kneed it all by hand.  Velcro was fascinated with it.  I guess he’s never seen me make bread or anything like that.  It’s going to be a huge pizza.  Maybe Velcro will enjoy having some of it.  LOL

I’m trying to do bead crochet.  I’m not really a dumb person but I just can’t get it.  Marilyn used to always get the first 4 or 5 rows done for me, not that I ever did that much of it.  She tried to teach me but I usually stopped by after sushi–meaning after a couple of sakes.  It wasn’t the best time to learn something.

DID YOU VOTE???  That is if you are in one of the superTuesday states.  I was amazed when I went at how many people voted in a primary.  I was there at 1130 and there had been 138 people there already and apparently 80 early voters.  There are 500 registered voters in our ‘area’.  That’s really huge to get that many people out.  It’s nice to have a difficult choice to make for a change.  I like having two people that I want to vote for, not having to decide who’s the best of the bad.  Who knows maybe we will actually have someone decent when we get to vote for govenor again.

Brrrrrrrrrrrrr

I can’t get enough r’s on the end of that!  Damn it’s cold in Chicago again.  We went to our neighborhood meeting last night and drove because it might get bad.  We went in and it was cold.  We came out into a blizzard.

Mr. Fuzz was waiting for us when we got home looking like the abominable snowcat.  I decided he had to come in whether he liked it or not to warm up and dry off.  I snatched him up and plopped him down inside…and he sat there.  He usually has a total meltdown inside.  He got dried off by Don.  He ate a few cans of food.  And then he went to sleep.  He never stays in.  Did I say that?  LOL  This was at 9PM and at midnight he was still inside.  Unfortunately, we can’t let him stay inside because he isn’t trustworthy.  He sprays and I’m not sure he wouldn’t have had a little brawl or two either.  I felt so horrible having to put him out in the horrible weather we were having.  I had trouble sleeping–which I think I deserved.  I know he can survive because he’s survived worse than last night but he was just so damn happy inside.  Sharon, who lives down the street, is thinking about trying to take him in.  She spoils him even worse than we do so that could only be a good thing for him.  I hope he realizes what a good deal that would be.  Some of these old male street cats just mellow out when they get a little older and I hope he’s one of them.  He’s so cute and sweet and he deserves to be a pampered kitteh for the rest of his life.  Send a little white light to him that it all works out.

Still brrrrrr!

Damn it’s still cold here today!  I’m trying to be green and not turn up the heat but I’m freezing.  Nutmeg keeps stomping in and giving me these looks.  She likes to sleep on the vent at the bottom of the back stairs and I think she wants me to go and turn up the heat for her.  Don got me a really nice space heater for my studio so when it’s on I’m nice and toasty.  Unfortunately, I don’t have it on so I’m starting to turn blue.

I was eating lunch today and saw this huge pigeon land in a neighbor’s tree.  Only it was a HAWK!!!  We’ve lived here for 17 years and I’ve seen a total of 3 hawks.  It’s just not something we have a lot of on the north side of Chicago.  We have a big bush in the back yard that’s always full of twittering birdies and it was verrrrrry quiet for a while.  Smart birdies.

Fuzz and Mookie were vying(?) for the bowl.  There’s what started as a little pyramid for the cats to sleep in out there.  Fuzz didn’t like being inside it so would always push the top down into the bottom.  It looks like a big cat bowl.  I’ve got polar fleece in it and I can wrap whoever’s in it up like a big burrito.  Fuzz was in it waiting for breakfast and Mookie was on the ‘step’ for it waiting for Fuzz to move.  Mookie can’t do the jump into it anymore so we put the little charcoal storage containers like steps up to it.  Spoiled strays?  Nah…This is Fuzz from last year.  He’s such a cutie pie!  I wish we would’ve found him as a baby because he’d be in with us for sure.  He hates even coming inside to warm his paws now.

Fuzz

Isn’t he a cutie!?  Wish him luck to make it through the winter, OK?

Changes

October was so nice in Chicago.  It was warm.  I spent a lot of my day on the deck doing chainmaille.  It was even nice yesterday.  Then this morning happened.  It’s early winter in Chicago now.  The wind is blowing; the leaves are falling and the squirrels are begging for more peanuts. 

One of the raccoons who comes up to eat has always been a little guy.  Not anymore!  His little butt is now a big butt.  LOL  He’s brought a friend along too–one with an even bigger butt.  I think he must be about 2 feet wide at least.  I hope that doesn’t mean it’s going to be a bad winter.

One of the neighborhood cats, Mookie, has decided to kind of move in with us.  He rarely goes home anymore.  I made him a nice warm box and he’s got a ‘bowl’ on top with polar fleece in it.  I tuck him in.  He gives my hand a little kiss.  He’s so cute.  He’s got to be at least 16 and really is starting to look it.  All I could see from him last time I checked was a paw sticking out.  I spend way too much of my day making sure he’s tucked in.

I started an etsy store.  It’s so easy and I hope it does well.  I need to take more pictures tomorrow and put more things up.  If you want to go and look, I’m debkauz on there.  Wish me luck, OK?