Chicago – Catching up with friends

Amanda instigated this trip to Chicago when she told me she was going with her family and asked if I wanted to join in the fun.  I wanted to see the city again, and I always enjoy travelin with her and hanging out with her family, so I accepted the invitation.  But I also wanted to catch up with a couple of other friends who live in the city, and who I hadn’t seen in far too long. 

On Friday I broke off from the group and met up with Jennifer, a girl I met when I was in law school in New York.  Her real job was at one of the big investment banks, doing something currency-related, but I knew her as the spinning instructor at the NYU student center.  She’s vivacious and smart and tons of fun, and she’s been living and working as a yoga instructor in Chicago for the past few years (because that’s what you do when your bank implodes during the economic crisis and you’re dating a hot yogi who owns a studio in Chicago).  We met up at Milk and Honey Cafe and caught up over a tasty late lunch.

Lentil and quinoa burger with hummus garlic spread, tomato, romaine and provolone
on a pretzel roll, with homemade potato chips

On Saturday (after the disastrous visit to the aquarium), I met Vanessa and Stephen for lunch at Chicago Q.  The barbecue was fantastic (we were informed upon arrival that the chef was a “competitive barbecuer” and had “won the throw-down”) and it was great to catch up.  I first met Vanessa and Stephen ten years ago in Rennes (she was a student at the IEP and took me under her wing; he was her American boyfriend-now-husband).  We talked about work (Stephen’s a lawyer, too) and Vanessa’s and my upcoming trip to Vietnam.  And all the while we ate and ate and ate.  By the time we left, I was so full of succulent pulled chicken and cornbread I nearly burst!

Pulled pork sandwich with honey-butter cornbread
The sauces (from left):  The spicy one, the mustardy one, the one that actually tasted
like traditional barbecue sauce, and some sort of vinaigre

(Just think — the next time I see Vanessa we’ll be in the airport in Seoul, Korea, en route to Hanoi!  can’t wait.)

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