Gastronomical Utopia At Next Restaurant: One Course At A Time

Gastronomical Utopia At Next Restaurant: One Course At A Time

Next: El Bulli

I am not sure what I would do without my husband, Adam.  Certainly I would not eat nearly as well as I do.  Not only is he a gourmet cook and an impassioned “foodie” but he is also an amazing photographer.  So, if you combine his passion for fine cuisine with his love of photography; well you get some awesome shots of the amazing dinners we have had over the past 10 or so years.

We had tickets to Next Restaurant on May 19th.  Do you know how freaking hard it is to get tickets to this restaurant? If you do, then you also know that Adam was near tears when I told him that there was NO WAY that I could go out for dinner that night.  I had just been diagnosed with strep throat and had an 102 degree temperature.  Unless it involved a heating pad or good drugs, I was not interested.  And despite his best efforts to find someone to go with, Adam recognized that he was not going to enjoy the tastes of El Bulli on Saturday night.  But, he was not derailed and he managed to get last minute tickets on the following Wednesday night.  It was a miracle that he (a) got the tickets and (b) that I was well enough to handle a 29 course meal.

I’ve been asked to share my thoughts and reflects on the meal.  There are few adjectives that do it justice.  With that, and recognizing that you really don’t want to read my prose, here is the video that Adam compiled from his pictures of that evening:

Next Restaurant: El Bulli, A Meal in 29 Stages of Culinary Utopia

To answer the inevitable question: Yes, as a matter of fact, I did gain 10 pounds.  But they were SO worth it!


Jingle Bell Shopping

Ring by Manya & Roumen, LLC

You could call me a “Magpie”; I’ll admit that I am drawn to shiny things.  I love to collect unusual art, paper, jewelry and even yarn.  One of my greatest joys (outside of family, friends, my country and the basics of life etc.) is finding unknown artists and crafters and getting a chance to speak with them about their creative style and passions.

The holiday season is the perfect excuse for me to seek opportunities to fulfill this small pleasure.  Here is a small list of the various fairs and markets that I have visited thus far:

        • A delightful holiday fair at The Grove in Glenview(early November) where I got to know an incredible woman who reuses/recycles old wooden furniture, repairs, paints and resells them.  Thanks to her work, Kayla has a new wooden bed for her American Girl Doll.
        • The annual American Visionary Art Museum’s annual BazaART fair while I was in Baltimore last weekend.
        • The Chicago Toy and Game Fair: I also met Barb Taylor, Chief Operating Officer of American Doll Houses, a mom-made company that uses recycled materials to create doll houses for 18 inch dolls (Like American Girl or Just Like Me dolls). Kayla has been begging me for a house for her American Girls ever since she laid eyes on the samples two weeks ago.

This weekend, Kayla and I are off to the 11th annual One of a Kind Show and Sale Chicago, to buy unique creations and also help Children’s Memorial Hospital; a portion of tickets sales will benefit Children’s Memorial Hospital.  If we make it before the crowds pile in (and I bribe Kayla with enough Hanukkah gelt), I am hoping to get a chance to meet many of the artists to learn the stories behind their work.  With over 600 craftsmen and women representing  a wide range of media and categories including ceramics, clothing, fashion accessories, fiber art, furniture, glass, gourmet, holiday, jewelry, metal, mixed media, painting, photography and wood, I am confident that Kayla and I will find quite a few things to inspire us to add just one more person to our ever growing holiday list.  Don’t worry, this time we have set a spending limit and have promised each other that we will not go above this amount.

If you are interested in meeting up with me or just looking for some place fun to shop that doesn’t include the words: mall, frenzied, toys, no parking, I totally encourage you to check out this alternative to mass marketing shopping.

Here’s the information:
  • DATES AND TIMES: Thursday, December 1; noon -9 p.m. Friday, December 2; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, December 3; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday, December 4; 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • SHOW LOCATION: The Merchandise Mart 8th Floor Chicago, IL 60654 (800) 677-MART (6278)
  • TICKETS: Tickets are $12 for adults. Tickets are available online at
  • A portion of tickets sales will benefit Children’s Memorial Hospital.

Look for me there!  I’ll be the harried mom with the kid on a massive sugar high!