cafe orchid


MEAT MEAL #13: Back in the Habit

Peter, Joey, Sarah, and I met up early at Peter’s condo.  While hanging out and generally being dumb, we fell upon the decision to start watching Sister Act 2.  I really don’t feel like any further explanation is needed.  That sounds very much like the entirety of my friendship with them.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

We walked a couple blocks to Cafe Orchid, a small, quiet Turkish restaurant.  We grabbed a table outside and Ian (now on his fourth meaty meal, taking the lead) joined us there.  What a delight this place was.  It was a beautiful summer night and we were about to be served gourmet food without a gourmet price tag.

Our shared appetizers were the meat pie and the fried liver and onions.  I have no idea how these were supposed to be appetizers.  Each of them could have been a whole meal and I would have walked away very satisfied.  Then my main course arrived - Lamb Iskender.  It is difficult for me to understand why every meal ever made isn’t this meal.  It is so simple - lamb, garlic bread, yogurt.  Mix it all up and love the next 15-20 minutes of your life.  Perhaps it was because it was a Wednesday night, but this place was relatively empty and I just can’t understand it.  For your next date night, especially a first date, this place is perfect.

Speaking of perfect, we all walked back to Peter’s to finish the last 1/3 of Sister Act 2.  Some of my most favorite nights in Chicago are the nights I do nothing at Peter’s.  Perhaps that is because he and Sarah are my grandparents.

I should explain.

About a year ago, due to a series of horrible snafus, I was left without an apartment.  Long story short, at the end of a 12-hour day of moving out of my old apartment, finding out I didn’t have an apartment to move into, looking for a new apartment last-minute, and then moving into a storage unit, I called Peter to see if I could crash with him until I figured things out.  He didn’t hesitate.  He told me to come over right away.

I arrived at his door with only a small backpack of clothes and I was greeted, as usual, by one of the best dogs in the world, Harper.  Upon entering, sweaty and exhausted, Pete was just finishing inflating what I can only describe as a luxury air mattress.  Truly, this thing was as good as a real bed, maybe even better.  Then I looked to my right, into the kitchen.  Sarah had made baked macaroni and cheese.  I nearly cried.  This was a beautiful oasis in the middle of the huge pile of poo I had been walking through all day.  I wolfed down so much food that evening and slept comfortably - I was being pampered in a way that only grandparents are capable of.  Ever since then, every time I’m in that condo, I feel very similarly to how I felt as a kid spending the weekend with my grandparents.  Comfortable, well-fed, separated from anything stressful.  With the simple act of being there to help me out during an awful experience, these two defined what Chicago will mean to me for the rest of my life.



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     In my eyes the ultimate balance between work and play is doing both at the same time, so that the work seems less dull and the fun never ends. And don’t let business magazines convince you otherwise: you certainly don’t have to be a Google employee to enjoy what you do (although free “massage credits1” would be nice). Why, just look at Ellen…

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