Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Ah well, I knew it. I knew I wasn't going to be posting as often as I'd hoped I would. In my defense, I was legitimately busy paper pushing for a while.

Right now, I'm into Blockhead, Shiny Toy Guns, and Blonde Redhead's new "23." Good stuff, all.

I'll spare you some kind of meta-commentary on the anniversary of the day my mother expelled me from her uterus. It kind of came and went, which is exactly how I wanted it to be. It's funny how no matter how many loved ones recognize it and call you and what not, that day always ends up being a letdown, a disappointment, and a reminder of that which you'd hoped you'd be. I began the day with "Let Down," on my iPod, in fact.

Anyway, I was able to go listen to some excellent music at a new venue (Morseland) and get hammered with my best friends and act like an asshole. You can't ask for more. Patrick Bateman took me to Custom House in honor of the day, which was nice, but unfortunately kind of a let down, too. I had high expectations after Frank Bruni's blog post (if it's good enough for the NYTimes's head food critic, it's gotta be good enough for me!), Phil Vettel's review, and the 2006 James Beard award. I think in situations like that though, it's all about expectations. I thought it was going to blow my brains out, and it was just okay.

The dishes were beautifully plated and came out in a well-paced and timely fashion, and the service was impeccable, so I will give them that. The high points were the fennel martini (fennel infused vodka/candied lemon zest), quail (parsnip/onion beignet/caramel), baby beets (mascarpone/pink peppercorns), duck ravioli, sauteed turnips, and summerfield veal breast (stone ground grits/swiss chard/grilled elf mushrooms). I know, I can't believe I ordered veal. It just looked so damn good. Funny too, that the NYTimes had an article in today's Dining section about how veal is coming back because chefs are choosing it more carefully. I'd like to think Shawn McClain is discriminating about choosing animals that have been treated humanely.

Anyway, we didn't order dessert because we were stuffed and the server picked up on the fact that we (well, Patrick) were less than floored by the food, so she gave me a box of cookies to take home to compensate and took our valet ticket to have the car waiting when we were ready to leave, which I thought was a tremendous touch. The cookies were outstanding and made me wish I'd tried the Custom candy bar, at least.

The rest of the weekend was ruined by the awkward client dinner I had to endure on Sunday night. I guess on one hand, it did make me feel like I was all growed up as a paper pusher, but on the other hand, it's not like progressing in the paper pushing field is something I want for my life. All day long on Sunday I thought way too much about useless shit, like what does one wear to a dinner at Morton's with your boss and clients? [nothing remotely sexy or revealing or attractive, really] Does one order wine for the table? Does one abstain from drinking when the boss does? Does one shake the client's hand or give them a hug? How much does one talk about business? [I seriously made a George Costanza list of topics to talk about, including the recent Olympics bid, Chicago politics, hockey, and how the client got into the business in the first place] How does one get around the uncomfortableness that results from being acutely aware that the male client has the propensity to stare at one's chest?

If I had the energy I'd go on a rah rah Lifetime Television for Women diatribe about how different it is for a woman in this kind of situation than it is for a man, but I'll again spare you. It did help that one of the clients is a woman. I'd have felt much more awkward if I was the only female, which is more often than not the case.

I also don't have the time but I will save for a later date a discussion on the first time I've come out of the Christ closet with a friend from college. It was stressful, but liberating, cathartic, intellectually stimulating, and fun. I do have to say this, and I mean no disrespect, but talking to a religious person is like talking to someone with a mental illness. No amount of logic or rationalizing will change their mind.

Finally, I'm so bummed! Apparently someone, a very talented someone, has taken my Chicago-needs-a-haute-cuisine-gastropub-along-the-lines-of-The Spotted-Pig idea! Now what am I going to do?

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