30 September 2009

A foodie interlude — Chicago (part one)

Although I love to cook, and frequently do, I don't make dinner every single night. Sometimes, I like to go out, and let a professional handle the cooking duties. As I said in the first couple of entries of this blog, there are some fantastic restaurants around, in my hometown and elsewhere, and I'd be crazy if I didn't take advantage of opportunities to visit them.

And despite what the Princess and my family might tell you, I am not, I assure you, crazy. Not completely, anyway. (Okay, hush.)

Naturally, being a foodie, when I have a memorable restaurant experience, I am consumed with the desire to talk about it with anyone who will listen. If you have a foodie in your life, you already know this; after their first visit to New York, for example, they spend the next several days, or weeks, totally failing to shut up about how amazing the city's pizza joints are, the difference made by the super-hot coal-fired ovens, the unique crunchy-chewy texture of the crust, and on and on, until you just want to hit them in the face with a hammer. I'm not that bad (I hope), because I at least try to confirm interest in my listener before I start babbling, but I definitely do have the impulse.

And that includes here, on the blog. I have a platform to discuss food, so when I have some food to discuss, it's unsurprising that I'd want to write a little something here about my experience. The tricky bit is, "Cooking the Food of Love" has a clear mission, and a narrowly defined subject. I don't want to just blather on, regardless of how interesting the restaurant might have been (and in this case, I think it's very interesting). Yes, I want to talk about the adventure, but I also, ideally, will relate it to what I'm doing here. A tall order, given the agenda at hand, as you will soon see — but I've given it my best shot.

So if you're looking for another piece of the New Food of Life puzzle, an actual recipe formally dissected and presented, I'm sorry to disappoint you. I'll get back to that routine shortly. As noted above, this series won't be entirely devoid of Persian-food content, but it won't be the usual. I hope you enjoy it anyway.

Because I certainly did. Unreservedly and enthusiastically.

The context is this: The Princess and I just shared a birthday milestone. In one of those odd life coincidences, we discovered, shortly after we met, that our birthdays are exactly four weeks apart. And not just the date, either, but also the year: She was born literally twenty-eight days after I was. (Yeah, I know. I'm robbin' the cradle, here. Dirty old man, dirty old man.) We came into the world on opposite sides of it, her in Tehran, me half an hour outside of Los Angeles. It's funny, isn't it, how life can bring two people together after such a circuitous journey.

We've been celebrating our combined birthday milestone in lots of ways. Our families have been exceptionally generous with party arrangements and gifts, and we've gotten to see, and hear from, many friends over the last month. The absolute highlight, though, came from the Princess: Her present to me was a restaurant crawl in Chicago. Four days, three nights, all about the food, in one of the greatest restaurant cities in the world.

Yeah, I know. You don't have to say it. Believe me, I say it to myself many times every single day: I'm a lucky, lucky bastard.

And now, I'm going to tell you all about it.

Tomorrow: Restaurant number one.


  1. Hmmm... now that you mention it. I think when my wife and I returned from New York we never shut up about our restaurant adventures... at least I never took a hammer in the face :)

  2. @AYotG - Yeah, she's amazing, but she's mine, and you can't have her. :)

    @TMC - But you know somebody WANTED to. :)

  3. Come to think of it, when my husband and I returned from New Orleans we couldn't shut up about the food. Lord help us when we return from New York.....one of these days.