Windy City Wackiness

As I write, gentle reader, I am almost horizontal on the 30something-th floor of the building that holds Poppy's way-mod pad-a-terre in Chicago's left ventricle.

Wife and I came up for--ostensibly--business but, in reality we came to loiter with Poppy. On Thursday, we flew up from Miami and 4 hours later we were attired in rich apparel, grooving mightily at a gala of which Poppy was the chairwoman. Even though an appalling percentage of her committee--marginally useless before their names are enshrined in print on the event's program and monumentally useless thereafter--had ditched, leaving Poppy to face the vagaries of gala chairpersonship solo ("High Noon"-ishly), the thing went off nary a hitch...or without a hitch if you choose to disregard the smoked trout custard and the green tea ice cream. Afterwards, an intimate and ridiculously excellent concert of, among other things, Schubert and Cole Porter and Mozart followed.

I think she may have stopped brooding about the custard and the ice cream by now.

Anyway, rather than having us spend a few bucks to crash in a nearby hotel, Poppy very kindly offered her way-mod pad-a-terre in Chicago's left ventricle, to serve as our base of operations for the weekend. One thing you must know, gentle reader, is that it is freezing-ass cold in Chicago. Yes, it's practically May, and yet it was snowing today. Sideways. It is also appallingly non-humid. I cannot recall ever having had so much water, as my throat is parched shut all through the night. The city has eleventy gazillion people and I, for one have no idea why.

But the shopping, prior to our second gala in about as many days, was excellent as always. This weekend we managed to put a serious dent into the inventory at the Polo store, VanCleef & Arpels*, Crate & Barrel, some women's Italian shoe place, Crane's papermakers, etc. The 2nd gala was a far splashier affair, and while the hors d'ouvres were extra yummy, dinner was merely so-so and the event was, franly, too crammed with people to be all that much fun. Poppy was seated to my right and I had to scream myself hoarse just to converse w. her. I suspect she underwent a similarly rasping experience.

Anyway, all this gala-activity made us just stay in and hang out. We bought a buncha grub at Whole Foods and I commandeered the Poppy kitchen and made some very Miami-ish stuff (cumin crusted roast por loin w. roast onions & garlic and a lime-garlic jus, avocado & tomato salad, that sorta thing) which, even though the taste profile was tamed somewhat for those not accustomed to the loud riot of flavors, seemed to have gone over well. On the other hand, if teh riot of lime and garlic and onion was was far over teh top, this will cure them of any notion of having me come over to cook for them again. (A nefarious win-win situation if I've ever saw one.) The cannellini dip with carte di musica flatbread vaporized when it was presented for consumption and, I must say, seemed to pair particularly well with tumblerfuls of Ricard on ice (w. a splash).

I have known Poppy for seven years and this is the 1st time all we did was "hang out" nibbling and drinking and talking. It made me redouble my efforts to get a beach house to do precisely this with all my pals way more often. The fact we retired at midnight CST is even more surprising when one takes into accound half of the adults present were my wife and her husband, both of whom are raging, aggressive, in-your-face narcoleptics. To remain awake until midnight is riotous praise to the company.

-J.

* This was due to the fact TFBIM took her lovely white gold VC&A watch--a Christmas 2003 present--to the drugstore to get the battery changed and the idiot thereat lost the-unique to-VC&A-screws, which caused the back to flop around and made the battery lose contact and we had to rig a solution using mismatched eyeglass screws. The battery-changing episode of frugality will probably cost ~$200 to remedy.

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