The other night we went to a wonderful pop-up dinner held by Tuesday Night Dinner – this one at the No Sandbox gallery here in Chicago. I had never been in that gallery before. It’s on the 4th floor of a tall old rehabbed building on Racine street, and when you climb all the way upstairs, at the far side of the gallery, through the crowd, you see a few little stairs and a small door. Tuesday, it was warm enough to go up those little stairs and outside, without a coat!, to the rooftop deck, and take in this unobstructed view of the Loop all cloaked in rainclouds. Every single person there said the same thing I did: I want to live here.
Some underground, secret, traveling restaurants are dull – the food is refined and beautifully made, but the menus are pretty much stuff you could get at, well, non-secret, immobile restaurants. Tuesday Night Dinner always is unique. This latest one paid homage to Chicago immigrants. “Czech me out” boar loin with red cabbage; Hen of the Woods Vesuvio, everything sourced from some of the more obscure ethnic markets around town and then put together in fascinating ways. The smash hit for me was “desi tacos”- little roti served taco-style with a zippy, intense chana chaat and shards of lamb breast.
Standing in that beautiful open space, surrounded by great conversationalists and good art, meeting new people and enjoying precise, excellent food, I felt wrapped up in a wonderful sense of sheer well being. Life is beautiful if you know where to look.