I was all ready to have some pancakes for Pancake Tuesday when Elisa asked me to join her for dinner at Primebar Chicago. Primebar was doing a preview, a practice night in anticipation of their opening which hopefully should be soon. As I like free food and, even better, free food with Elisa two blocks away from my office, I was totally in.
Primebar is huge, a big open space with a gigantic rectangular bar. Elisa and I were the first to arrive, and we were seated right away. It felt casual but elegant, all dark wood and filament bulbs (I love filament bulbs) shining from oversized light fixtures. We were handed menus to inspect while what we would eat for the practice service was written on paper slips in an envelope next to my place setting. There’s no liquor license yet so we had ginger ales while we ate:
- tomato flat bread
- seafood chowder
- crispy calamari
- beet lollipops
- deviled eggs
- macaroni & cheese
- dessert trio!
- flourless chocolate cake with whipped cream
- berry parfait
- pistachio blondie sundae with pistachio brittle — AMAZING
Pretty basic, you might think, but oh so tasty. The lollipops, deviled eggs, and mac n’ cheese weren’t in our envelope, but we got the hook-up care of Kelly, Maurel and Elisa’s friend who is a chef for Bar Louie (which owns the Primebar chain). Yay Kelly! Yay free food! Our waiter was Sam, a charming Atlanta native who has a degree in archeology? anthropology? When he’s not at Primebar, he volunteers at the Field Museum. That is awesome.
When we weren’t stuffing our faces, we talked about what we did for Valentine’s Day, and what we were not giving up for Lent. Being awesome is at the top of my list for that.
So today is Ash Wednesday and as is my tradition, I went with Cynthia and we “got our ash on”, so to speak, at St. Peter’s in the Loop. For lunch, Filet-O-Fish sandwiches from McDonald’s. I exercised some restraint in that I did not get a Shamrock Shake. Because, you know, it’s Lent and all.
I must confess, though, that I didn’t leave the ashes on all day. I wiped them off before I left work for the day. I was reminded of last year’s Ash Wednesday, when I went to dinner at C-House and then a play (Our Town at the Lookingglas Theatre) with my ashes still on my forehead. I felt pretty inconspicuous at the restaurant but as the play was staged in the round, and I was front row sitting thisclose to David Schwimmer and company for the better part of three hours, so I wanted to avoid any weird eye contact issues this time around.