14 February 2012

The Way to a Man's Heart

Uncharacteristically, I am up before the sun and prepare a special breakfast for my Valentine: his own personal-sized Dutch Baby and brown sugar bacon; along with fresh orange juice and espresso.

By all measures CA should be extremely overweight. God bless his fantastic metabolism. Actually, he takes great care of himself and eats far less than ever in the years I've know him, but the man cannot resist good food. And, today is all about food.

Soon, my great friend LL and I head to Chicago for another of our food adventures. First stop is Jarosch in Elk Grove Village for butter cookies and brownies. We've plans to redistribute the wealth--sharing the edible goodies with friends and family. Jarosch Bakery's been a northwest Chicago suburban mainstay for over 50 years. Hope it never goes away.

Speaking of going away--in past years these edible adventures have typically included Ana, Ida and Me, Ricci's and Company, and Garrett Popcorn Shops, which have (sadly) gone out of business.

So today, we're mapping new destinations beginning with Jarosch, which LL has never visited.

After touring LL's sister DV's beautiful 4-story West Loop townhouse, we drive to the newish French Market for a long-awaited experience. FYI: The first hour of parking at the Metra Parking lot is complimentary when you spend $20 and present the required punch card.

This is an European market experience (extremely small Naschmarkt) and an immediate delight. I quickly find some rose-colored sea salt from Bolivia, our favorite tortillas, baguettes, Niçoise olives, and fresh ginger. LL opts for French-style macarons and croissants, while DV finds some gorgeous veal chops.

Miraculously, we pounce upon on-street parking just outside Club Lago for a fun Italian lunch. DV's delightful daughter works just across Superior and joins us. We laugh, tell stories, gossip, and relax into the experience. Lovely.

LL and DV conspire to shock me with a visit to Peoria Packing Butcher Shop--my first ever visit and I love it. The variety and freshness of the meat is unprecedented. I'll come back with CA someday with a cooler and ice.

A fine adventure--a day filled with wonderful food and fun friends.

(I decided not to share the photos I took as I realize they will be offensive to some. Although, I was dazzled by the details and overall experience. I'll just say that no single part of any critter raised for consumption was overlooked. Fantastic.)

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