As a child, learning to ride a bike came easily, the boundaries were finite (driveway to stop sign and back), and my dad handled all routine maintenance, from streamer installation to training wheel removal. Taking up bicycling after a hiatus from age fourteen- i.e., the age at which I began to have friends with cars- until last summer, I thought it wise to keep my goals equally simple. My grandpa gave me his vintage cruiser, and I checked off my to-do list: #1- immediately install an enormous basket on the back; #2- learn to ride in the street. This year, I plan to master left turns and simple bike repairs. So far, I am pleased to report that I am officially capable of inflating my tires as needed.
Yesterday, the first summer-like day in Chicago in recent memory, I set out to run errands by bicycle (yay!) for the first time this year, with high hopes and a superior attitude towards all the cars stuck in traffic heading to the beach. One hour and a not-very-interesting story later, I learned that, shockingly, after a winter of basement storage, the need for a tire pump was immediate. The point of all this being that, when I made my grocery list, I was full of ambition- heads of napa cabbage, organic carrots, a whole Amish chicken! By the time I arrived at Whole Foods sweaty and thirsty and found they were out of several requisite produce items, I scaled back my plans on the fly to a meal befitting the end of a holiday weekend. Coleslaw in a bag, shredded carrots- a lazy lady version, if you will.
It’s an open secret among everyone who has been there that my family’s cottage in West Michigan is the happiest place on earth. As we head into our twelfth summer season, the dock and boat are officially in the water, I’ve called dibs on a weekend for the debauchery of Cottage Weekend ’11 with my friends, and plane tickets have been purchased for my bestie to join in the annual Fourth of July celebration. It’s going to be a golden three months.
I could look at this all day...
Among the many pleasures of the cottage, up there, food and drink are blissfully simple. If you run out of beer (and shame on you for your poor planning), just drive the boat down to the public beach, and wade in across the park to the store. There is a winery, a honey farm, a working dairy with an ice cream shop, and two excellent butchers, where you have to drive past fields of grazing cattle to reach the retail store- all within a 15 mile radius. But, even amongst that bounty, the produce really is king. Whether you prefer your sour cherries with a side of country-cute tchotchkes and homemade pie at a three-walled farmstand, or like me, shop old school at a plywood bench in someone’s yard with an honor-system lockbox, what to make for dinner is primarily determined by what you can pick up on the drive home from breakfast.
A huge thank you to everyone who came to the Whole Foods presentation last week! As promised, here are the details on some of my favorite restaurants, bars, and tasting rooms in Buenos Aires and Mendoza.
El Drugstore, Colonia- mediocre food, idyllic setting
At the moment, I have a recipe recommendation, and I have some charming photos, but unfortunately, the two do not correspond. However, both are worth sharing, so there you go….
But first, some exciting news! As you may have gathered from the somewhat obscene steak photography, I recently returned from a South American vacation. This Wednesday, I am going to be the guest speaker at the South Loop Whole Foods’ Taste and Travel Series on Argentina. After they yank the microphone out of my hands while I scream, “but I have more pictures!”, there will be a cooking demo featuring Argentine cuisine. Details are available here, and tickets here.