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That Toddlin' Town

A few years ago now, I made a bet with Neil that I could build him a helicopter that wouldn't crash. I lost. Thankfully, Neil survived the disaster, and ever since then I have owed him dinner at Alinea. It turns out that he will be at some big book thing (American Library Association? I think that might be it) in Chicago this weekend, and I'm not busy, so I am flying to Chicago to pay off my bet. I'm greatly looking forward to seeing Neil and eating at Alinea again, but aside from that other little trip to Chicago when we were still in post-K exile, just to see civilization again, this will be my first trip outside Louisiana/Mississippi since 2005. I'm certain I'll have a good time once I get there, but I'm also certain that the only thing that will compel me to get on that plane will be the thought of my dear friend's disappointment if I don't show up. Scared. I'm really doing it and I am flat-out dead-eye Jesus-praying scared, even though I'm only staying overnight. Oh well, it will be good practice for the Amsterdam trip in November ...

(By the way, anyone who wants to see an actual display of courage, as opposed to my whining about a four-hour jaunt, should go to Alinea's press page and read the second story from the top, "Burned" from Chicago Magazine. It's a grueling and fascinating account of 33-year-old Chef Grant Achatz's battle with stage 4 cancer of the tongue, of all things, his insistence on individualized treatment, how the experience has changed his already complex food theories, and his journey back to taste, which is still in progress. May God and all the saints bless him.)


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 7th, 2009 03:39 am (UTC)
Oh, have a wonderful time. Alinea is one restaurant I'm thinking of making a trip for.
Jul. 7th, 2009 03:41 am (UTC)
We did just that in 2005, along with Moto and Tru. The first two were worth it for the food, the third for the comedy mileage.
Jul. 7th, 2009 03:42 am (UTC)
very cool

if you're ever in Boston...
Jul. 7th, 2009 04:18 am (UTC)
I am jealous, because I want to go to Alinea. I do hope that this signals that you'll be traveling more since there are places on this coast I have targeted for dining with you.

I'll be back in New Orleans soon, in any event. I'll know more after Friday about that.
Jul. 7th, 2009 01:48 pm (UTC)
Isn't it the Newberry Award he's getting? *Very* cool for him!
And lucky you! Alinea is an awesome restaurant. One of my favourites in the city.
BTW, Chicago is looking gorgeous these days....very fitting to the motto "Urbus en horto".
If you're inclined to make a trip just a bit west of the city, I can send you home with some kitties...
Jul. 7th, 2009 06:57 pm (UTC)
Somehow I don't think even The Fabulous Lorraine (Neil's assistant who is making the travel arrangements) would be her usual cheerful and patient self if I told her I needed to bring 3 or 4 cats on my return flight. In fact, she'd probably have about the same expression as Marcel in my icon.

Yes, Neil did win the Newberry Medal, which is the only award anyone I know has gotten that actually impressed me. Most awards are popularity contests, but that one really means something.
Jul. 7th, 2009 07:00 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the Newberry *is* impressive!
Don't you think it might be worth bringing those kitties home just to see a human make the same face as Marcel?
Jul. 7th, 2009 07:03 pm (UTC)
I am currently finding 19 (+ one semi-feral under the house) a very manageable number, thank you very much. ;-)
Jul. 7th, 2009 07:14 pm (UTC)
I'd be *thrilled* to get down to 19! We currently have 28, plus six 8-week-old kittens, plus two on our waiting list!
Of course that includes one that hates humans (she's the one that some assmonkey chopped her tail off because she wouldn't use a filthy litterbox), and a mamacat and two older kittens that just don't think humans are worth bothering with. Hard to find homes for kitties like that....
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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