Saturday, September 5, 2009


I'm trying really hard to not just write about food, but I suspect that's going to be a primary focus of this blog. Because, DUDE, the food in this city is amazing. I remarked to a couple of people yesterday that I cannot believe how lucky I am. I live in a city where I don't ever have to eat at the same place twice, unless I want to. Considering where I came from, that realization is liberating.

BUT. I'm not going to write just about food in this entry. Even though I am eating some incredible pastry thing from one of the bakeries on Clark St. in Rogers Park. It will be difficult, but I plan to be strong.

The plan for today was to write about the Chicago Jazz Festival, which I attended with friends on Friday evening. But I didn't listen to the music much (SHAME on me!), for which two factors are primarily responsible:

1) I went with friends who are such interesting people that we mostly ate and chatted and used the music as a really nice background.

2) The music didn't move me as much as I expected it to. Which is shocking, considering we're talking about jazz.

The Trio was playing when we got there, and I really, really, really don't like free jazz, much as I try to. It simply leaves me cold. So talking was less painful for me than trying to focus on what the artists were doing.

Then Madeline Peyroux was up. And while I liked her sound, I'm not particularly into female vocalists. In any genre. There are a few I like, Peyroux is well on her way to becoming one, but for the most part, I just don't enjoy hearing female voices sing. I'm not even sure that's something I can train myself out of. It's a fairly visceral response. So once again, talking was the preferable option.

So that by the time the people I was excited about seeing--the Gonzalo Rubalcaba Quintet--hit the stage, I was fully in conversation mode. Plus, I was talking about the show I'm working on, which is always going to be more interesting to me than anything else going on in my vicinity except food and perhaps naked people, and it was too chilly for the latter last night.

I intended to provide photographs from the evening, because I took my camera and everything, only I forgot to take pictures until it was too dark for the little digital point and shoot to handle. Which made me sad, because the full moon rising on one side of Grant Park and the gorgeous lit skyline on the other side were well worth photographing in the clear air we had Friday night.

But I will say this. The fact that Chicago has a free three-day outdoor jazz festival--playing on three stages at once, mind you--blows me away. It's a beautiful thing. How lucky are we to live here?

Now, about the food. What? You didn't think I was going to be able to refrain, did you? Not a chance, when these pastries are so good.

These wonderful things are from Panaderia Ayutla on N. Clark St. Oh. My. God. I set out to find the best pastries in the neighborhood, and even though this is the first bakery I've hit, they are already a strong contender. Because the pastries are amazing. And, this plateful was LESS THAN TWO DOLLARS. I now have visions of throwing a BYOB--bring your own breakfast--potluck brunch and making this my contribution. Because. So. Good.

Pastry. It's what's for dinner.

So there you are. Jazz and food. And friends. Really, what more does a person need to be happy?


  1. Sally, I started reading you a while back in your other blog. You've almost made me want to go to Chicago just because. I've always been mostly a coastal girl - but if you keep talking about good food, good music... well then! Thanks for all your wonderful sharing!

    Beth in Redmond, WA

  2. I can almost hear the music and taste the pastry. This is going to be such a fun blog!

    I like jazz, but only at night. I have no idea why that is.