i’ve thought long and hard about it and have come to the realization/conclusion that all of my good friends have a real passion for food. i have a theory that there is a linear relationship between how much you enjoy food and how much you enjoy life. i think there’s something to be said about taking real pleasure in something that you absolutely have to do everyday. if you have to eat several times a day, why not make it something that is communal, delicious, and a source of comfort? and if you’re going to host visitors, why not eat yourselves silly while catching up, drinking, and ogling a baby?
our streak of friends in town and lots of eating together continues.
two weekends ago, miss wog extended a work trip by a day so she could hang out and catch up in person. our history of eating together goes back to high school, takes us through college (we went to the same college and ate so SO much mexican food together), trips abroad (where, of course, we ate ourselves silly), to some overlap time spent together in the bay area. we made a promise to each other that if we ever live in the same area, we must eat together once a week. it was pretty impressive during that overlap time - she was in san jose, i was in san francisco - and yet we managed to make the trip to share our weekly meal together.
for her visit, matt, emmett, and i took her out to the trencherman and to chinatown for dim sum and boba. we also had some stan’s donuts and delicious argentinian and german food at a world cup viewing party. somewhere squeezed in there were walks around the neighborhood, dance parties for emmett, and plenty of catching up about all the things that have happened in our lives since the last time we ate together.
then, this past weekend, my oldest friend came to town. my older brother and uncle thid’s older sister went to preschool together which means we’ve known each other since we were younger than one year old. we also went to preschool together, k-8 school together, high school together, and lived together for two years in san francisco. he is relentlessly curious about different foods and is open to eating anything and everything.
we asked uncle thid what he wanted to do while he was here. his answer was - eat disgustingly delicious food, relax, tool around town, hang out with emmett. easy. we basically used food exploration as a means for exploring chicago. we played ping pong/ate fried chicken/drank too much at parson’s, wandered all around maxwell street market sampling all kinds of awesome mexican food, went to not one but two beach bbqs, ate italian food in andersonville, had biscuits and pie at bang bang, ate tacos and chips and guacamole at big star, ate fried chicken pizza and mac and cheese pizza at dimo’s, had stan’s donuts, and even got some good old fashioned red hots in there. it was, in a word, awesome.
emmett is a high-maintenance baby. not in the negative sense of the word, but in the way that he needs constant stimulation and engagement to be entertained. you will never find emmett contentedly playing with toys by himself. no way. but you will find him in a highchair in a packed restaurant having the best time ever staring at the hustle and bustle around him.
this is really nice for a few reasons. first, it’s definitely never boring with emmett around. second, it forces you to fully engage with him rather than having the ability to half attend to him and half attend to something else (like work, for example). now i know that on the days that i’m watching emmett while matt works, it’s full-on-emmett. and we take full advantage - doing our best to get out and have some fun. it’s been forcing me to enjoy this chicago summer instead of slipping away into coffee shops to work all day long like i have the last four summers i’ve lived here. i’ve really been loving it.
8:00am nursing emmett in bed.
9:00am sharing a little breakfast with emmett. i had whole wheat waffles with peanut butter, syrup, strawberries, and white peach and a latte. he had cut up honeydew and mozzarella cheese. we thought we’d start him on purees, then slowly move to having him feed himself small bits of food. but he was not having it with the purees. he’ll put anything and everything in his mouth. but when he sees that spoon coming towards his face, no matter how delicious the thing on the end of the spoon is, he immediately shuts his mouth down extra hard and turns his face away. so cut up pieces of fruit and cheese it is.
10:00am doing some shopping at mariano’s. this is how i know i’m getting old. i was so excited about the gigantic mariano’s opening up right by our house and still get extremely pumped about going. there are so many samples and there’s a trail mix bar and it’s totally awesome.
11:00am chatting with miss b while emmett fought his nap with real conviction in the next room over. if he has any sense that there’s something fun going on without him, he’ll fight sleep with epic effort. he fought this nap for a good hour.
noon checking in on emmett (finally) napping. he’s developed a recent preference for sticking his feet through the crib slots. we need to figure out a way to keep him from hurting himself.
1:00pm picking up iced coffees from red june’s walkup window on the way to the pool.
2:00pm splashing around at the holstein park kiddie pool. we’ve lived in this neighborhood for almost five years and this is the first summer we’ve taken advantage of this pool. crazy. i think emmett and i have been there four times now in the past few weeks. also, look at his thighs and his tiny popsicles swimsuit. i love it.
3:00pm hanging out by the big pool, lounging and chatting.
4:00pm sharing a burger and drinking beers on a patio. miss b and i talked at length about how good it feels to drink a cold beer on a patio on a hot summer day. we also share a strong love of burgers. so we decided, upon leaving the pool, that we needed to eat burgers and drink beers. we felt like we were really really winning at life in that moment (probably because we were).
5:00pm giving emmett a bath after the pool. in this moment, he was winning at life. that boy certainly enjoys his baths.
6:00pm prepping food for dinner. emmett fell asleep after his bath so i figured i should take advantage and get some stuff together for dinner that night. i chopped and fried and baked to get the ingredients together for a speck/cantaloupe/ricotta/basil pasta salad and a blueberry mascarpone tart.
7:00pm trying to get emmett to crawl. we got him this cool 3-d city playmat so he could have a nice squishy surface to practice his crawling on. this is matt and me practicing good parenting - using a flask full of whiskey to tempt emmett.
8:00pm still playing with emmett. a-game came over with roast chicken, tostones, and rice and peas from our favorite puerto rican restaurant so we could have a backyard picnic. we were planning to have a picnic at holstein park while watching moonrise kingdom, but decided that sitting on the soggy ground wouldn’t work for us.
9:00 - 11:00pm backyard picnicing! a-game’s man friend came over with more roast chicken and tostones and we spread out in the backyard. we brought emmett’s high chair out and he got to eat lots of rice, little bits of chicken, some peas, and a couple bites of tostones. we drank white wine, ate a ton, and swapped hilarious stories.
all in all, this was such a wonderful day. i went to sleep exhausted, just a little wine drunk, and so content with everything.