Category Archives: Week of Indulgence

Liquids

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Whew…the surgery is done. It was a success (as far as we know at this point in time) and the patient is doing well (although he is getting a little stir crazy, just as I predicted…I will be doling out chores this afternoon). The Week of Indulgence seems like a lifetime ago…

Our neighbor-friend Brett came down with some pureed potato and leek soup for Naoto. (They are pictured above…and yes, Naoto is wearing his Trader Joe’s sweatshirt–complete with name tag.) Between the soup, broth, jello, yogurt, pudding, Italian ice and water, Naoto has been eating like a soft foods king. And best of all–he can have coffee! When the nurse told us this, we both had a little celebration dance in the hospital room.

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He’s starting out slowly, with a tiny cup, but it made him ridiculously happy…it is the little things that make life great, isn’t it?

We got a few inches of snow last night, so I think this afternoon we will make time for a walk…it will feel good for both of us to keep the cabin fever at bay and breathe in some snowy air (and maybe stop for a coffee on the way home!)

Thanks, everyone, for your thoughts and good wishes! Naoto & I are very appreciative!

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#WeekofIndulgence: Gaetano’s

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Gaetano’s is a little Italian restaurant here in Forest Park. If no one had told us about it, we would have never noticed it because it is so removed from the other restaurants on Madison Street. To say it’s Italian probably conjures up images of meatballs and red sauce, but Gaetano doesn’t do Italian like that…his cooking is full of interesting combinations, fresh flavors and gorgeous presentation. The next time we go, I want to get the risotto because it comes out in a foil swan! This article explains it better than I can (and for the record, those chorizo-stuffed dates in coconut tomato sauce…incredible!)

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Naoto decided this was the perfect place for his last indulgence. We shared the tuna carpaccio, Naoto enjoyed a seafood pasta (pictured above with the cheerful indulger) and I had butternut squash gnocchi with mushrooms and beef short ribs. Of course, I couldn’t finish my dish, so Naoto willingly ate the rest.

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We finished with coffee and dessert, Creme Brule Napoleon con le Peche–“carmelized phyllo dough layered with custard and peaches with caramel sauce*”. Just like the pie at the Little Goat, I’ve been thinking about this dessert since the first bite. I’m kind of hoping Naoto will take me here while he’s on his soft foods diet…he can have the custard and caramel sauce, while I “take one for the team” and eat the peaches and phyllo!

After dinner, we headed back to FitzGerald’s to meet up with our neighbor friend for a cocktail and a little bit of music before we headed home for the night. I can’t think of a more perfect end to the #WeekofIndulgence than that!

Now that we are rolling into the “restricted diet zone”, our focus has moved to “fun pureed food” research and party planning for April when Naoto can join the living again and eat and drink with the rest of us! It’s always good to have something to look forward to–even if it’s something as simple as a beer and a Spam musubi!

*from Gaetano’s menu

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#WeekofIndulgence: Bluebird & Fitzgerald’s Club

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On Wednesday night Naoto and I attended a little cocktail party at The Bluebird in Bucktown. We had a great time munching on mini sandwiches, drinking old fashioneds (mine is pictured above with my fawn clutch, a Valentine gift from long ago) and catching up with our realtor friend, Nancy.

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Since the party ended at 7 and it is the Week of Indulgence we decided to hit FitzGerald’s on the way home to catch a little Jazz concert. FitzGerald’s is a little gem of a nightclub in our “neighborhood” that we don’t take advantage of often enough. On Wednesday nights in the Sidebar (a smaller bar to the side of the main club) they have acoustic jazz and serve classic cocktails.

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It wasn’t overly crowded and the music was good and the drink was delicious. I had the 20th Century–gin, lillet blanc, creme de cacao and lemon. There are about a dozen more cocktails on the list that I want to try, so hopefully we’ll make it out again as soon as Naoto is feeling better (or sooner, because I have a built-in designated driver for the next eight weeks!)

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#WeekofIndulgence: The Little Goat Diner

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Last night, as part of the Week of Indulgence, we took a little trip to the Chicago’s West Loop and ate at the Little Goat Diner. Naoto loves diners, and we’ve both heard really good things about Chef Stephanie Izard’s other restaurant, The Girl & the Goat, so once I heard that the Little Goat was opening, it’s been on my radar as a “must try” place. We invited our neighbor-friend, Karen, who took one look at the menu and decided she was “in” for the Week of Indulgence adventure.

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When I eat at a diner, I am often overwhelmed by the choices…sweet breakfast like pancakes or waffles? Savory breakfast like an omelette? Lunch plate or lunch sandwich? I found the well-edited (but still quite plentiful!) choices on the Little Goat menu to be as overwhelming as the twenty page corner diner menus. So many choices, and each one as intriguing as the next! I wanted a little bit of everything, plus I already knew I was going to have the Blood Orange Meringue Pie!

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I also knew I wanted a latte–the Little Goat serves Stumptown Coffee, which I haven’t tasted since Naoto & I went to Portland back in 2002!! So good! My dining companions had beer & cider. (If good coffee is offered, I don’t mind being the designated driver!)

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Naoto got the Smoked Corn Beef Hash with Eggs. It was a huge portion (perfectly sized for the Week of Indulgence!) which he polished off with ease.

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Karen & I both got the Tomato Apple Soup with the Yay Toast, which was a gjetost cheese and cheddar pancake…the soup was amazing–it was smooth and packed with flavor and it had a bit of spice and the pancake was perfect for dipping–it was a grown-up tomato soup and grilled cheese pair (but way better–the cheese was so interesting!).

Karen got the Fried Pickles & Onion rings to share and I got the Tempura Mashed Potatoes to share. The fried pickles & onion rings were so sinfully tasty, especially the dipping sauces–a ranch and a curry sauce. And my potatoes were the best mix of tempura-fried, crispy goodness hugging creamy mashed potatoes. They were served on Asian barbeque and ranch sauces.

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As soon as I pointed out that there was a Choco Taco on the dessert menu, Naoto was on it. Choco Tacos are his favorite summer snack, and this one (inspired by the original) was served in a parfait glass with candied pumpkin seeds (I think?) on top. Karen & I each had a couple of bites, but Mr. Indulgence polished off every chocolatey bit. I was too full to eat dessert at the restaurant, but I ordered the Blood Orange Meringue pie to go. (And then I forgot it on the table resulting in a trip back to the restaurant to retrieve my forgotten treat!)

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Look at that perfectly baked meringue! This pie is the perfect balance of tart and sweet…and I would drive back a hundred times for it! If you go, get the pie! Get the pie!

Since the Little Goat is open until 2AM, I hope Naoto & I can make an occasional late-night trip into the city for a little bite together when he gets done at Trader Joes (once he’s better, of course!) They also have a bakery with all sorts of intriguing bread and scone options (so maybe an early morning trip should be next?)

I think Little Goat juuuust might end up being the highlight of the Week of Indulgence…just a hunch.

P.S. Get the pie!

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#WeekofIndulgence

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Next Tuesday Naoto is having a little surgery to repair the cause of his chronic acid reflux. I’ll spare you the details, because acid reflux is not romantic (it is Valentine week, after all!)

After the surgery, Naoto will be on a strict diet for the next two months, slowly adding foods back into his diet as he heals. For the first two weeks, he can only eat broth, strained soups, pudding, milk, gelatin, yogurt, cottage cheese and well-cooked & pureed vegetables. Weeks 3-7 get a little bit better because we can add in tofu, white rice, eggs, fish and some other solid, substantial foods. But the real kicker is that it isn’t until Week 8 that he can have fresh fruits & vegetables, citrus, bread, meats, alcohol and caffeine. So basically, since eating and drinking are Naoto’s favorite hobbies, it’s going to be a rough two months. I’ve made my share of jokes about this change in lifestyle (my favorite: BYOB—Bring Your Own Broth) but in all seriousness, I feel really bad for him, and neither of us are looking forward to what this is going to mean for our social lives for the next two months.

So, in an effort to prepare for the upcoming diet, I’ve deemed this week The Week of Indulgence: a week of excessive eating and drinking adventures. We are going to pack in all of the foodie fun we can before Monday night when Naoto turns into a sad pumpkin who can’t eat anything at all before the surgery. We kicked things off this weekend with lunch at Sankyu (Naoto’s bento box is pictured above) and we are planning a few more food adventures, including two city spots we’ve been meaning to try. And, we are planning a little “Welcome Back to the Eating” party for when Naoto returns to a “normal” diet…so much to look forward to!

I’ve started using #weekofindulgence on Twitter and Instagram to track our food adventures…so be prepared for more food & drink posts than normal over there.

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