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Apparently Chicago is prone to hurricanes. First Gustav and then Ike, with a vengeance. With all the flooded roads between here and Argonne it took at least an hour each way in the car. I guess I’ll bike again tomorrow since that’s a shorter-feeling 90 minutes. The one downside: the stench of mildew and sewage at certain points along the way.
In other news…not much going on! Postdoc is humming along well I guess and I’m still cooking a lot. Although I’m dreading the demise of the farmer’s market in October. Andrea is spending about 14 hours a day on her sewing machine, so I guess that was a good b-day present on my part. Honestly, I haven’t felt much urge to update this l’il website since she’s been out here, but I’ll try to once in a while.
Here are some pictures I found on the camera…explanations below.
(working across) nanoprobe, taken downstream; my peach b-day cake; new, nappable couch with our heroes; new, nappable couch with Andrea and Nubia (not exactly chopped liver); Andrea’s homemade beer cozies (get yours now!); a flock of Fisters; four pictures from a fancy dinner I made (local cheeses from down the street, beet salad, corn flan, scallops and roasted cipollini, shrimp with toasted cumin, ricotta/marscapone/lemoncurd/berry tart); Lester and his new, homemade cat toy; a bunch of tomatoes prior to getting sauced.
It’s been a bit busy lately–we went to Seattle and have been ushering a lot. (seriously, yesterday’s play, which I liked, and the transportation to and from it basically tanked our day). Andrea‘s astounding picassa show was up way before my lazy ass could post this pile of words! up later, but in the meantime here’s a foodcentric rundown of last weekend:
- Broke fast at tilth, wonderful tilth (our waiter’s tourette’s led to about 30 dollars worth of heirloom bloody mary’s)
- At a new ice-cream place in Wallingford, I attempted to eat the strangest sundae ever: chocolate ice cream, bergamot-infused olive oil, sea salt, and whipped cream. Will stick to the basics next time.
- For a bus tour of Seattle, bought some lemonade, tequila, and sunglasses. One should never ride a hot bus in Seattle without a thermos of faux margaritas.
- Arrived at the Madison Park beach in the mid to upper 80’s, which inspired Andrea to jump in the lake.
- Landed at Green Leaf, a terrific new Vietnamese place in the ID. Andrea doesn’t like Vietnamese food usually, but she dug Green Leaf (maybe it was the blood cube in her soup).
- Watched Mariner’s beat the Pods, danced with the little one, and had one more beer at the best bar on Phinney ridge.
- Woke up, shook off hangover, walked to Senor Moose and ate some fancy beans.
- Hit the Ballard farmer’s market and walked away with some frozen blueberries, four pounds of rhubarb, and lot of green garlic, mint, and #2 heirlooms.
- Had a leisurely afternoon making a prosecco sangria (with mangos, canteloupe, grapefruit and the rest of that pomegranate lemonade), blue-cheese/chipotle turkey burgers, roasted potato/garlic salad, a big green salad with the market’s bounty, and a giant rhubarb/blueberry crisp.
- Proceeded to feed a lot of people this food. Had a contest with Natty to see who could expand their belly the most. Unexpectedly, I lost.
- Luckily, this boring list comes to life in Andrea’s pictures!
- Retired to Silver Cloud stadium, which had been billed as ‘close to pike’s place market’ on Hotwire. I noticed afterward that the highlighted portion of the map had a small strip that extended several miles south to include this place. Did Tom DeLay end up working for hotwire?
- Met with folks at UW, did a little work.
- Dinner at Jerry’s where I got to meet Ida, who is so cute that she makes buttons look like shit.
- Post-dinner at Micah’s. Had such a good time talking I never even thought about getting out their wii.
- The next day, after several aborted meetings, we went to Salumi. It’s a Seattle institution that I’ve never paid my respects too. It’s sort of like being the only guy to have not seen Star Wars, but for foodies. (that’s a little more tasteful than the ‘lost my meat virginity’ phrase that I was originally going to toss out)
- Attended the department’s awards banquet which had a nice spread and the vundervul Andreas handling mike duties. Andrea was a little overwhelmed by the sea of nerds. Fortunately Paul C. lightened the mood with tails of dropping stuff (beds, etc) on people when he was at the top of one of Columbia’s student towers.
- Andrea stayed out way late with her ‘reans. I was not invited to their karaoke party at China Gate Great Wall, but should’ve crashed it in retrospect. I guess calling and asking if a “group of Koreans” are at the asian restaurant is a version of crashing. Andrea also apologized for getting carried away and making me worry which I appreciated. What a sweetie!
- Took a bus to the airport and returned to Chicago. As a reminder to the fact that we were, indeed, back in Chicago, there was a gang-related shooting about 30 feet from our apartment. Yee haw.
Ok, kids, I was going to wax on about my new garden at Argonne, but apparently I’ve rambled too long so I’m waxing off.
Last night was a good time. We ended up driving for what seemed like hours to get to this little all-night Korean restaurant, Hai Woon Dae that had gotten good reviews. Andrea decided against reason to take the long route from the Kennedy to some city streets…or maybe it was her Asian radar leading her to Lawerence street in Albany Park where there were a ton of Korean restaurants, bakeries, churches, and things. We scuttled up California street to Hai Woon Dae and were not dissapointed: the place is similar to most Korean BBQ joints, but better, with actual coal-fired tabletop grilling and 15 (!) types of banchan. Had we known that there was going to be enough food for us with just the banchan, we wouldn’t have ordered three entrees.
Stumbling out afterward, in a full blown meat-sweat (thx) we drove dropped in Cary’s, a little bar on the eastside of Devon where the air was literally thick with the smell of curry. Cary’s has several things going for it: (1) Free pool with a good table and cues (2) Real dart boards (3) No tv’s/fratty boys (4) good, plentiful beer (5) What looked like a homemade jukebox, ala the Monkey (7) Live country music, which goes down nice after a few (6) hand’s down, the friendliest set of regulars in Chicago (Fabian, Don, Geraldo, Valter!). I got a $4 Hoegaarden that got poured into what appeared to be a half-gallon juice glass that required two hands and a lemon. Carefully signing up for pool led to one of the regs (Fabian ‘natch) yelling out something like, ‘Hey everyone, it’s Tim and his white man’s 40’. Two hours of pool and trash talking later and I wish Cary’s was closer to home.
Due to the inattention this blog has been getting from our flaxen-haired hero, I will interject from time to time to make sure that you, the fair reader, is properly apprised of our Tim’s activities. Where shall I begin? Shall we talk about the dos-carnes-fajitas with cucumber lemonade that Tim prepared last night? Or, the near-identity theft that befell our hero until the bank error in his favor, collect $1000 (oh wait, that was his) was discovered?
Let’s go a little further back to a few weekends ago, when we ventured to Tennessee. Why go to that god-worshipped-yet-foresaken land, you ask? I ask my parents that very question almost daily as an adult looking back on an embittered childhood, to which they mumble something about a pension and food. Turns out, my dear Amy was getting married to Brian, which warranted a trip to the country of rolling hills and pudgy bellies. Tim caught up on his sweettea drinking and grits eating. Here’s a shot of me with Susan and Jennie with our Amy, taken by Tova, the wedding photographer:
The second picture features Tim’s mom and sister who both happened to converge upon Chicago this past weekend because of two separate and very different conferences. Those stories are not really mine to share. Going through old pictures of our Tim brings hearty laughter to many, especially remembering the “fancy clothes period” where our Tim insisted on wearing sweater vests around the streets of St. Peter.
Otherwise, our hero has been in good spirits. In this update, it would be remiss of me not to mention our hero’s new workout regimen guided by his new personal Y trainer, “Tracy.” Previously, I often found him red-faced and grunting at the sit-up machine trying to build the biggest stomach muscle ever by piling on the most weights. Hopefully, some professional guidance will help direct his efforts more productively.
I had some folks over last night for some fake Spanish food. When I went to the grocery store, I wasn’t sure what dessert I wanted to make…then I saw that blood oranges were on sale and looked great, so I got a half dozen. I ended up making a blood-orange lavender bread pudding.
Bread pudding’s easy: just dump some eggs (mostly yolks), milk (whole works well, but anything’s fine) and a bunch of sugar and cover up a bunch of cubed bread. My challah from last week works great for this, since it’s already got a ton of eggs in it (and was stale by now). To give it an intense lavender flavor, I threw a bunch of lavender flowers in the milk while it was cooking with the sugar and then let it sit for about an hour till it was like a strong tea. Oh yeah, I also put in the zest of three blood oranges. Filter out the lavender with a sieve, add the eggs, and douse the cut up bread in some sort of ceramic dish. The whole thing cooks a little over an hour in a 350 deg. oven. To really make it special I added some whipped cream (with vanilla) and a blood orange caramel sauce (melt some butter, add sugar and cook till caramalized, juice the three blood oranges with the caramel and cook down till its really thick and syrupy and add some heavy cream to taste). We had Diane’s bottle of champage with it, which was a good accompaniment.
(special bonus food picture: chili and skillet corn bread, my lunch for the rest of the week)
I had kind of an insane christmas:
driving to Minnesota with Lester
visiting family and friends
playing tons of cards
eating tons of ‘pean food
flying to San Diego on christmas day in the snow
meeting Andrea and her family
eating tons of ‘rean food
[sort of] deep sea fishing
hiking in the desert
hiking on the coast
meeting Cynthia, Elaine, and Tony and [sad attempts on my part] dancing
flying home/drive back to Chicago with Lester
facing harsh reality that I didn’t get any work done for the previous couple weeks
So: I took some pictures when I was at home, but I didn’t take any in San Diego since Andrea is better at it than me. Hopefully she’ll put some up in her picasa page. Until then here you go and I’ve included a couple pics of some of the many wonderful presents I got: an Andrea-made toothbrush holder and a handmade rug. (these were all taken in the low light always present in our house that often results in interesting mixture of blurry and still)
I took the train all over yesterday to see some free music and to hang out with some Seattle friends. The free music was at the museum of contemporary art and involved a bunch of locals. I came to see Califone, but got there early enough to catch the 1900s set, which was really infectious. Really cute, poppy songs with tight playing and vocals…and they had some synchronized dance moves. They have a new album coming out, and I’ll probably get it.
Califone was quite a bit different (but still great). Being at the very front, I got to meat Califone’s biggest fans, including a 40-50 year old lady from Indiana…let’s call her Betty. Califone was really extending out their songs–they only got 4 or 5 in the hour set. As Betty put it, ‘it seems like the music is just out of control with so many layers, and then–they just pull it all together!’ Sho-nuff: and yesterday they had an additional horn section courtesy of the Bitter Tears (yes, they do wear wedding gowns at their own shows). One of the guys even brought a wee little bell for one of the songs.
After the show, I checked out the museum, which was very cool, but they didn’t allow pictures. Just go see it for yourself. And then, I met up with the Petersens who introduced me to a few of their good friends in Evanston. Good to see some familiar faces. Okay, I need to get going since I’m getting trained on the new AFM tomorrow, bright and early.
Felt a little like Seattle last night. I got to play pool, in a bar! I decided to contact Diane (friend through Andrea who also lives in the O.P.) to see if she wanted to get a beer last night after having dinner with Julie, Matt, and Charlotte (where we watched this glorious show). Diane eagerly agreed to a beer since she had just arrived home after a long day in the library working with teenagers. We biked down to a bar on Madison where they had a lonely pool table. After playing losing to Diane a few times, some Mexican guys challenged us to a game. We managed to beat them the first time and one of their friends decided to tag in. He was good, but typically muy macho. With all our balls clustered around the eight he managed to lose the game. Several other folks challenged us to a game, people who were actually good, and we still kept eeking out wins despite getting progressively more drunk. At one point, one of the guys at a table next to us came by and said, “ok, I know you guys are hustlers. I found out you’re from out of town from the door guy and you keep missing easy shots while making some crazy shit. But it’s cool–I won’t say anything. What do you guys want to drink?” After that, we couldn’t stop giggling. I guess it’s easy to get hustling and luck confused. Needless to say, we held that pool table down for 5 hours!
Quite the eventful day! Andrea planned out a day stuffed with: an immersion blender, brunch, hours of kayaking around lake union, grabbing crabs at Pike’s Place, eating them on the top of Capital hill, swimming (briefly) at Magnuson Park, eating German chocolate cake, and capping it off with pool and drinks at the College Inn. I only had the camera for the kayaking part. It’s going to be hard to top it for Andrea’s big day tomorrow…
Thought I’d squeeze a post in before I turn the wonderfully symmetric 3^3^3. Things here are a little nuts–I’m trying to finish this class up and several papers while coordinating a move to Chicago. I’ve narrowed down my choices and I’m targeting this neighborhood that is barely close enough to my new job (ok I’ll be working here and a little here too) while being somewhat urban. In two weeks I’m flying out to quickly grab an apartment using a free referral service there. They assure me there are tons of nice vintage apartments that are within my price range..we’ll see. In between is a trip to Canada to see Andrea’s sister and nephews and a secret mystery trip for Andrea’s less symmetric 30th birthday. (well, I guess you could do something like 7+4*4+7, which is symmetric, but clunky)
Ok, I have to go put the final touches on my stat mech midterm. On a related note, my students voted on a take home final–I told them that it would be harder and ultimately more work, but they still went that route. (I guess they figure they can find the answers on wikipedia…) If you have any devious problems that I should put on it, lemme know! (and don’t post them on wikipedia)