Madrigal Dinner

Kat was in the madrigal singers at Wheeling High School. We went to the last of her dinners in the school cafeteria. They used to be at Chevy Chase Golf Club, which is a beautiful place for a madrigal dinner, as it looks just like a castle. The cafeteria is a little less overwhelming.

The kids sang great of course. The food was miserable. I have never had catered food as bad. The Chicken Vesuvio was cold, chopped unidentifiable meat in a juice of unknown origins. Cold beans, cold potato chunks.

I wish I remembered the caterer so I could rant on about them. Something Pasta Mobile. Better try a different caterer next year, kids.

Catch Thirty-Five

Pulled up, early, couldn’t find the valet. Called, went around the block. He came right out.

Early, went in for a drink. Cool place. High ceilings, huge window areas over the bar. Cool light sculpture over a performance area. Had a good IPA, Bette a wine. Chellie came, the bartender ignored her, so we went to be seated instead of another drink.

Beautiful dining rooms. We were up high.

Good sourdough bread for snack. Chellie and I were going to split a $52 bottle of the featured red (a Pinot Noir) but he mixed up the order, and I repeated it wrong. So we had 3 $13 glasses instead. Bette had the usual Seven Terraces Sauvignon Blanc.

Dinner. Bette & I split Maytag bleu cheese salad, Chellie had Hearts of Palm salad. All good.

Chellie and I both had the Seared Tuna, done perfectly with asparagus, two onion rings, and some other veggies. Bette had a large, but not too large, bowl of Green Curry. Not too spicy, either, she liked.

Dessert. Chellie ordered the apple pie – HUGE. We split it. We also split a very unusual bread pudding, flat, but Bette said it was one of the best she has had.

The service started out ok, but we felt forgot about. We also had to wait quite a bit for coffee and water and bread refills. Not what I would expect for a place like this. He also neglected to remind us of the $10 discount for valet parking, and we had to negotiate with the manager after the fact.

We did not do the prix fixe menu, probably would have been cheaper, but was not very interesting. We liked what we had.

I did tip the valet quite a bit. He was working his a** off in the rain. Nice guy, too.

Catch Thirty-Five
35 W Wacker Dr, Chicago

This American Life – Live

Drove down to the Chicago Theatre on Sunday. Traffic not too bad inbound, horrible outbound. Lucky.

We paid top dollar ($50.50 ea) for these seats on the main floor, about 15 rows back to the left. We could see Ira at his desk perfectly.

Mike Birbiglia told a good story. Several movies, one with David Rakoff and Dave Hill which was fun, but would have been funnier if we ever watched CSI. A very Felix-the-Cat-ish (or maybe Steamboat Willie-ish) cartoon by Chris Ware. I loved the post-it note illustration of Starlee Kine’s story. Joss Whedon (yes, him) did a song from his musical DVD director’s commentary track. Interesting and funny.

Dan Savage came out to tell a very moving story about his mom. They showed home movies of an early TAL live show where both Ira’s and Dan’s mothers, now both deceased, are talking real dirty. It was very neat.

The preview of the DVD looked real good too – no Showtime here, so have not seen it yet.

I just love the show. This show is the best thing on the radio today. Fun. Now go see it at the HD theaters. And buy the t-shirt. Support them! My only complaint was the audio – sometimes it was hard to hear. The HD version might be better.

This American Life

Mai Thai

Bette and I were out delivering Grace to her new digs in Wheaton, and saw an interesting restaurant on a corner in downtown Wheaton. We went back and went in.

The place was packed – most of the tables were pushed together in the center for a big birthday party – but a gentleman on the window left about this time and we had his table.

No booze, but they do have wine glasses for BYO. We had Thai iced coffees instead.

The woks are behind a big wall off of the dining room, and you can hear the guy cook.

Bette had the Red Curry with chicken, medium spice. It was too hot for her, she should have gotten the mild. It had a good flavor, though, and had lots of veggies, including eggplant and tofu cubes. I had the Hot and Spicy Curry, which was hot and spicy with similar veggie loading and beef. I was tearing and my nose was nice and clear. Both the curries were tasty but surprisingly watery. I just had the leftovers today, and it was still good.

Fun place, casual, not fancy, dinerish. Good food, fast, fresh. Friendly staff. Reasonable prices ($7-$10 for entrees). Small, so might be a wait.

Mai Thai Cafe, 140 N Main St. (at Wesley), Wheaton, IL (630) 510-3680

Sanibel Spring Break 2009 – Saturday & Sunday

On Saturday we went to the Twins game. The spring training park is in Ft Myers at the home of the Miracles, Hammond Stadium, and Sam had obtained tickets. We headed over early sans Bette who was still feeling sick. We parked on the ball fields ringing the stadium, and crawled over the tailgaters who must have arrived sometime last night.

The tickets were a reasonable $21, seats in 203-5-3, with a great view of the field. I love small parks. We briefly considered selling the extra ticket, but thought the extra space might be nice too.

I was waiting in line in the right field bar/concession area, and after a subliminal crack, a foul ball bounced off of a garbage can not 4 feet from me. If the garbage can was not there, I would have a) made a spectacular grab, or b) been killed. I prefer not to know how it would have ended.

Premium Beer Served: Lots to choose. Started with a Land Shark, but switched to Dominican Republic Presidente beer, which had a nice color and taste. Plus, very fitting for a baseball game.

We spent Sunday sand castling. Sam & I dug, Bette snoozed, and Karin sat in the beach chair for moral support.

We headed out to dinner to Il Tesoro, located in the old Twilight Cafe location. This translates to “The treasure”, but all we treasured was finally leaving.

Sam and I split a bottle of Colle De Duca for $30. Was good. We decided on the Grilled Calamari for an appetizer for $9. We had never had grilled Calamari before, and it was quite good. I miss the oily part though.

We had various salads; Arugula and the Tesoro Spin Salad. Ok.

I had Pollo Fiorentia ($19), a chicken breast folder over some filling. We also had Lobster Ravioli ($28), Pollo Fiorentia ($19), and Pescatora Risotto ($24).

The sad thing was, the food was good. It just took over an hour to see it, and the waiter (coded AJ on our receipt, but since the head chef is A.J. Black, probably not correct) was a condescending jerk. He would run over once every 20 minutes and say, “it looks like it is up next” and then scuttle up to the counter to bring food to another table. Other tables came and went before we got our salads. We had to ask for bread brought automatically to other tables. I like to dawdle over dinner, but come on. Finally the preggers Karin blew up at him and he pretended to care. No offer of free entree, no offer of free dessert, no apology. He got a bad tip, and I will never go back. Never.

Il Tesoro, 751 Tarpon Bay Rd, Sanibel. (Zagat Review from yours truly)