saturday night: dinner at arun with the folks. see Chicago Chefs for pretty pictures of the food. arun is located in the middle of nowhere on kedzie, just west of lincoln square (nearby lutz's, it turns out, where i found sue picking up a birthday cake for her roommate!). i love these tucked away restaurants. even though its been featured in chicago magazine, on chicago tonight and in various other places and, therefore, is by no means a secret, there's still something about its unassuming location that makes me feel like i've hit upon a wonderful discovery. i arrived before my parents and waited in the small bar with a dirty martini (my new favorite drink!), sitting in front of the glass "bubble fall" wall that would have been maybe a little cooler if it weren't for the fact that it looks just like the front window of Pleasure Chest. tasting menu only and i requested a vegetarian meal. wowsers, was it fantastic and so much food i could barely stand up after dinner. so, where to begin? well, too many dishes to remember all of them, but they basically used mushrooms where meat would have been (my parents both got the regular tasting menus which offered an interesting comparison). all different kinds of mushrooms that i hadn't heard of and can't remember anymore but they were wonderful. some interesting takes on what i typically see on thai menus (lard nar sitting in one deep fried noodle with ends sealed together to form a little pot, topped with one spinach leaf, mushrooms and a pea pod), a cabbage eggplant green curry, a curry mushroom pot pie, an amazing papaya salad, sticky rice dessert and wonderful coconut sorbet. i'm so used to tasting menus that focus on french or that trendy fusion-whatever cuisine that it was really nice to have a tasting menu that featured a different culinary tradition. that i happen to love thai food certainly made it better. so i'd highly recommend Arun, and if you're going to splurge, its a good splurge.
the next night, sara came over to make dinner. as it happened, barb and don were both home. stephanie decided to stop by and introduce her out-of-town buddy to me before they headed out and stuck around rather than going to the movie they had planned to see. and what with ticky living all of two feet away from me, i decided to give her a call. so, what was going to be a little dinner with sara turned into a impromptu dinner party. we had bernie's sourdough bread, asparagus soup, artichoke dip, lettuce-less salad (chick peas, fresh mozzerella, kohlrabi, jicama, red peppers, carrots, lemon mint dressing) and for dessert chocolate covered strawberries and bananas. oh, and wine. lots of wine. given the fact that most people were meeting for the first time, it was an absolutely lovely evening. the dinner was fantastic, the company was divine and, best of all, by the time everyone left, the kitchen was sparklingly clean! like we hadn't just spent the past several hours cooking in it. i love having people over for dinner and particularly enjoyed the spontaneity of sunday night. a group of people sitting around that front table lends such a feeling of warmth to my already wonderful apartment. sigh. i'm going to miss chicago.
p.s. i love that i'm "used to tasting menus." how bourgeouis. eh. perhaps i should refer now to the two meals i've eaten at charlie trotters, the caviar staircase at tru and the divine meal my mother and i shared at le bernadine in new york. yes, just lovely. puh puh.