Thursday, January 27, 2011

Maude's Liquor Bar.

Maude's Liquor Bar finally opened! I've been following the progress of this place getting ready to open their doors for a few months now on their blog. The pictures they've taken on the blog, of both the food and atmosphere, are so much better than what I was able to capture here... you should definitely take a look if you're interested in such things. Watching the place evolve from bare bones in August to a fully functioning restaurant today is also very cool. My Dinner Club went tonight.

I think to say the place was hoppin' is a bit of an understatement. It was packed. Great vibe and plenty to look at... and we never even saw the bar upstairs. I kinda can't believe I didn't make the effort, but it's a great reason to go back. We started with that dish above, the French Onion Fondue (carmelized onion and gruyere) and basically devoured it as a starter.

Then we ate, all sharing, Steamed Mussels, Escargot, Faux Gras Torchon, Lyonnaisse Salad, Pomme Frites, Blackened Brussel Sprouts, fresh bread, and the Shaved Vegetable Salad. You can view the whole menu here.

I'm a sucker for atmosphere, and I loved the whole look and feel of this place, down to the bathroom lighting above. I seriously think I'm developing an affinity for the chandelier!

I'm not necessarily a big fan of creme brulee, but this one was great. And huge. Of course we finished the entire dish full. (Also worth noting, if you get coffee at the end of the meal, it comes in your own individual-serving French press!). I want to go back for sure and try some more off the menu, but I will probably never skip the Brussel sprouts or that onion fondue. Amazing. Can't wait for the next time, and to maybe belly-up at the bar.

Book Club.

I just started An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin for my book club. Looking forward to reading something different!

I finally, finally finished A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole on Tuesday morning. FINALLY. I hate to say I didn't really like this book at all. But oddly I did like the last 40 or so pages.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New Kitty.

It's been a while since all my rugs looked like this.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Northern Lights.

Have you ever seen the Aurora Borealis in person?

I did once in Canada, near Red Lake, Ontario. By accident on a beer run to the main lodge at Stormer. I think it was a rock-paper-scissors situation who was to run from our cabin to the main lodge to replenish our stash. The main fear was an accidental run-in with the bears that frequented the property. So we never expected to see the beautiful lights that shone down from the sky.

Yelling to the rest of the poker players to come out and take a look, we all just stood on the dock and stared at what was appearing over the lake. Northern Lights. Another reason I so love being in the middle of nowhere, fishing with my Dad in Canada. It was so surprising and so beautiful. This was a great night. I didn't get good pics myself, but these show a good interpretation of what we saw. I mean, it really is something if you ever happen to see it. You will never forget.

These pics were forwarded to me by my Dad, originally from another friend of his on a recent trip. (I think?)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Random Field Trip.

On my way to the movies the other night, I happened to notice windows full of chandeliers. It was dark at the time, and full stories of the building were lit up and it just glowed with these ornate hanging light crystals. So I decided to walk by the place (it's like 3 blocks from my office). It's open to the public. The space is huge. I want to say there were four floors filled with these hanging light fixtures.

I'm not really a chandelier-kinda girl, but something about seeing rows and rows of them struck me as really beautiful. Then once I was inside, I had to wonder, Who's in the market for these? How do they choose one over another? There were at least 8 people working in there with no customers?

It was funny to notice how some were really amazing. Even the small ones could be intimate and beautiful. I have a new appreciation... but I may have to go back to take a shot of my initial view from the street at night because actually, that's where the real glowing magic happened for me.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Speaking of 2012...

I've started planning for the future. My brother is finishing his basement. I figure we're all better off as a unit (tribe)... and the mountains seem like a good place to be. But, we're really going to have to define and hone our individual skill sets to establish a truly cohesive unit.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year's Plunge.

I ganked this pic off a friend of mine's friend's FB page. I don't know if that's inappropriate or what but I think it's fantastic! Mostly because of how crisp the water drops are but also because I think it's in freezing cold water somewhere in the Midwest. Nice.

UPDATE: After flipping thru pics, I think it's outside Chuck's. Maybe I'm just dreaming but...

Happy New Year: The 2011 Version.

I've spent the last week or so thinking of goals for 2011. Thanks to sitting in seminars taught to me by Bob T. during age group swimming, I definitely recognize the importance of verbalizing, writing and visualizing goals in order to accomplish them. You may recognize some of these from previous lists, but I think 2011 has a lot going for it for seeing some of this stuff happen.

Ok, so here's a few things* I have been thinking about lately:

1. Rent a cottage on Geneva Lake for a week this summer. I miss it and love it and can't imagine how I'd feel to have a week off spent on the lake. Pure heaven.

2. SAVE some cash. I mean really. For once.

3. Remodel my bathroom. Also includes a week-long staycation so I can "help". I have folders of images saved but with ALL the options out there, it's so hard for me to make firm decisions. I have narrowed it down to black & white with green accents. I desperately want a tub I can take a bath in without freezing to death. And I want some intricate, small floor tiles.

4. Re-learn print-making. I definitely did this in art classes at school but I haven't done it since. I really enjoyed making those linoleum block prints. And I remember liking a lot the process of carving them, the way that material felt... And most? The smell! It may also facilitate my deep desire to put some paste ups around the city when I am feeling really adventurous and bold. (I'm dying to do this!) Watch the first artist Swoon in the documentary Our City Dreams.

5. New York! I missed NY in 2010 and it's just not acceptable not to get there once a year. Along these lines, I need to get to Philadelphia at some point. Both easy to do if I just plan a long weekend... But in direct conflict with goal #2.

6. The Gym. I'd like to break this goal into 1/4'ers. Like shoot for 3x/week January – March. I think it will help to have some things planned along the way, like signing up for the Shamrock Shuffle. I'd really like to get into a couple of yoga classes as well.

7. My yard. I basically spent a day or two on it at the beginning of this past summer and then just let it fall apart. I'd like to plant a tree. Then expand the border to make it more organic in shape. I'd like to create a green wall around my backyard that will eventually overflow with leaves for some privacy. I'd love to start the development of a really surprising hidden wonderland.

8. Field Trips. I am still dying, DYING to get a tour of that quarry in my neighborhood. In the winter running errands, I have the most amazing views of it through the empty trees and I don't know why, but I think it's SO COOL. I am also completely fascinated with the Illinois Brick operation I drive past on my way to work. I don't know what it is I find so soothing about the enormous piles of cement chunks-turned-to-cement rocks-turned-to-cement pebbles-to cement powder... And then when it all runs along conveyor belts and gets put onto train train cars or river barges... I am obsessed with watching the whole operation.

*This is a work in progress.

Image of a bathroom at The Soho Grand in NYC designed by William Sofield, 1996.