Sunday, January 31, 2010

January 31 - Camp Jorn Pancake Breakfast

Sometimes breakfast isn't about food at all. Today we had a breakfast that left us feeling really, really good.
Cost: $5 each. Value: Priceless.
We had pancakes and sausage at the YMCA in Waukegan. My nephew Matt is very invovled in Camp Jorn, a summer camp in northern Wisconsin for kids of all ages, backgrounds, nationalities, races, and diverse economic status. This was one of their big fundraisers. The organization meant a lot to him as a kid, and now he has a chance to give back.

Matt and his girlfriend Tina were in charge of frying and serving the sausage. This breakfast was a huge success. I am guessing at least a 1,000 people attended.

Kate and I were joined by our very close friends Bob and Nancy Ryan, Larry and Mary Schutz, and their son Jeff Schutz and family: Sara, Nicholas and Ryan.

Volunteers included kids of all ages, adults active in Camp Jorn, parents, and even a few politicians running for office (and they didn't miss the chance to let you know while they poured you coffee). The coffee was not very hot, the pancakes plain, and the sausage was, well...sausage. But who cares!? A thousand smiling faces, a great cause. If you ever want to leave breakfast feeling really good, try ordinary pancakes at your favorite charity pancake breakfast.

January 24 - Catching up

Sometimes breakfast is just for catching up.
Left to right: Janet, Kate, Pat and Pat

Kate headed off to Starved Rock (40 miles west of Naperville) for her annual brunch with her girlfriends. They do this once a year, usually in December. It's their time talk and talk and talk, and and talk and talk and and talk and talk and eat. For hours.

I went to a little restaurant in Lincoln Park called Toast, with my nephew Brian, who just moved to Chicago from San Fransisco with his girlfriend, Carolyn. While Brian is looking for a job, Carolyn is getting ready to head for Namibia, South Africa, for a two-year stint with the Peace Corps. Brian is a talented, but starving musician. He needs to find work while he pursues his love of art and theater.

Later in the evening, Kate and I were able to catch up on all the catching up.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Humboldt Park

When: Sunday, January 17, 2010
Neighborhood: Humboldt Park
Restaurant: Flying Saucer
Church: Saint Mary's of the Angels
What we listened to on the way: nothing
Where did we walk: all around Humboldt Park
We had breakfast with: Matt and Tina

Best part of today: Sharing it with Matt and Tina... and Whiskey (their dog)

Today we started the morning with 8am mass at Saint Mary's of the Angels, an impressive 1,200 seat Cathedral on the northwest side near Armitage and Heritage. If you're into ultra conservative this is the place for you. Managed by the priests of Opus Dei, it's about as close to pre-Vatican II as we have found. You will be awestruck by the incredible artwork throughout. I ran into old friends from DePaul after mass. And got hustled for money by an attractive couple in the church parking lot. We were all hungry. It was really cold so I dropped Kate off at the door of Flying Saucer. In the nearly empty restaurant Kate asked if she should just take a table, but the hostess told her that the whole party must be there before she can be seated. We all thought that was pretty funny. An old brick wall is adorned with pedestrian art which, in this case, is a reasonable complement to the little linoleum topped tables and chromed legged squeaky chairs.

Matt had the Lime Breakfast Bowl, brown rice topped black beans, two eggs and Chihauhau cheese, sour cream and pico de gallo served with warm tortillas, for $7.95. He added the organic steak for additional $2.50. Tina had Corn Beef Hash Skillet, home fries topped with homemade corned beef hash, topped with cheddar cheese and toast for $10.95. Kate had a combination of Quiche (garlic, mushroom, spinach and feta), and pumkin pancakes.

Tim had the Black Bean Cakes: two black bean cakes with two eggs and smothered with roasted red pepper sauce served with mixed greens, cheesy grits and dark rye toast…$8.95.
Most of the food was very good. Kate’s quiche was “ok.” Coffee was extra strong, no decaf avaiable for Kate (big minus for us). Then somehow the bill was much higher than we expected. Total bill including tax and tip was $70. Yikes! (could that be right?).
Wrapped up our outing with a long walk around Humboldt Park.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday January 10, 2010

Restaurant: M. Henry's, 5707 N. Clark St., Chicago
Neighborhood:  Andersonville
Church: St. Gregory's
Music on the way:  enjoyed Krogan's radio show with his guest, the director of the 125 year old auditorium

It was 8 BELOW 0 when Kate and I left Naperville this morning at 7:50am for our adventure to the Swedish Chicago neighborhood.  I drove this time.  It took a little over an hour to get to M. Henry's which is in the heart of Andersonville.  It was definitely worth the trip.  Although we just barely beat the crowd.  We strongly advise getting there before 9 unless you don't mind waiting.  We loved the decor and atmosphere as much as the food.   Everything on the menu sounded absolutely delicious and their presentations rival fine dinner dining.  We stuck with the recommendations of readers.  For something sweet we shared the creamy vanilla and egg custard brioche bread pudding, topped with warm peaches and blackberries (you've got to try this).  Along with this we shared a popular Sunday brunch item: lemon crab & shrimp cake benedict; two toasted brioche rounds topped with sauteed garlic spinach, creme friache, two crab and shrimp cakes, poached eggs and lemon hollandaise served with a parmesan crisp and lime dressed greens salad.  It was breakfast, lunch and dessert all at the same time.  The coffee is strong and hot.   Total bill, including tax and tip was about $30.

After seeing the home on Eddy Street where Kate spent many years of her childhood, we headed over to mass at St. Gregory the Great Church, 5545 North Paulina Street, Chicago.  This cathedral like church is one of the finest examples of Gothic Revival architecture in the midwest.  Classified as Northern Gothic, St. Gregory is rich in art that reflects the classical architectural influences of ancient Rome and Greece.  Before mass started the priest added a nice touch by of welcoming everyone, especially visitors.