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FoodLog: Dinner at Chambers Kitchen


Lisa and I had our first date in months this past weekend, consisting of dinner and an excellent little movie known as WALL-E. (I’ll get to the movie some other time.) Following our decision to see the movie at Block E, I set about finding someplace downtown for us to eat, and, for some reason that escapes me now, settled on Chambers Kitchen.

It wouldn’t be fair to say our dinner was a complete waste–the service was decent and the atmosphere was kind of interesting–but the food was completely and totally forgettable. I tried the striped bass in a sweet and sour broth, and quickly found the only way I knew I was eating bass was because the menu said so. Blegh. Lisa’s crispy tofu was even more disappointing. We both know people who can make tofu better than what we were served at Chambers (incidentally, those people may very well include Lisa), and when you’re paying $110 for your meal, you’re right to expect something a bit better than what you can whip up in your own kitchen.

Lisa got a side of veggies in green curry, which was OK, although it delivered more in the heat department than it did taste. Our shared appetizer of asparagus and goat cheese was OK as well, although nothing to write home about. My side of ginger fried rice was completely not worth any cholesterol I gained from it.

If there’s a bright side to Chambers (and, really, I’m trying here), it’s that the drink selection is pretty good. The cucumber mint cocktail in particular is tasty, and has a nice little kick to it. That’s important, as if you’re going to enjoy a meal at Chambers Kitchen, you probably need to be wasted.

Not recommended.

~ ~ ~

Looking at my archives, it appears I’m more likely to review a restaurant when we have a bad or mediocre experience than when we have a good one. There’s no real mention of the wonderful meals we’ve had at Masa and jP. Meanwhile, I have not one but two reviews of Duplex. I’m going to have to try to be a bit more level about that in the future.

Since I’ve mentioned Masa and jP, it’s worth noting that our good experiences at both restaurants weren’t just one-time flukes. We’ve been to each multiple times, and have never have come away with anything less than wonderful experiences. If you haven’t tried either one of them, you really should.

Posted in FoodLog at 11:24 pm

Journal for 23 Jan 2008: Birthdays, Cancer and Mini Golf


My dad emailed this afternoon to let me know my mom had gone in for unexpected surgery today related to her cancer. After a number of failed attempts I was able to get a hold of him this evening, and it sounds like she’s doing OK. I’m not going to go into the details, but it appears her surgery today was actually to fix some scaring the had resulted from another surgery a few years back. One positive side effect of the surgery is the doctor was able to directly check in on her cancer, and from all indications it has pretty much stayed as it was a few years ago.

So, considering the situation, things are about as good as they can be, I guess.

~ ~ ~

Mathias had his first official birthday party on Saturday, and it went pretty well. We had a good crowd–about 25 adults and rambunctious kids–although we ended up completely overstocked in the cupcake department. (Forgetting how freakin’ huge Lund’s cupcakes are, we figured about 1.5 cupcakes per person. Instead, people were cutting them in half.) Mathias seemed to have a good time, too. For the first 30 minutes or so he was kind of like “who the heck are all these people,” but eventually he seemed to get into the chaos.

We let Mathias have at two cupcakes. Result: Lots of laughter, and one extremely wired baby. It proved to be a stupid-parent move in more ways than one, though: One of the cupcakes had chocolate in it, which is a no-no for a child of his age.

Anyway, it was fun, and Lisa did a good job organizing. Photos should be up on Flickr soon.

~ ~ ~

After the birthday crowd had cleared out Lisa and I walked Mathias downtown via the Walker. Rock The Garden was in full effect, and the land on which Ralph Rapson’s wonderful old Guthrie Theater once stood was filled by spectators. I wonder how many of them realized that in their arc they were mimicking the seating of the old theater.

Despite active attempts on my part, it may be a while before I get over the demolition. What we had then: The most innovative U.S. theater design of the 20th Century. What we have now: Mini golf.


Posted in BabyLog,Journal at 10:20 pm

BabyLog: One Year Ago Today


At about this time last year, I went to bed, kissed my wife good night, and wished her a happy due date. Five minutes later, her water broke.

Our little boy Mathias turns one today.

Posted in BabyLog,Journal at 1:55 am

Journal for 15 June 2008: Father’s Day and Other Items


My first father’s day was pleasant and relatively low-key. Lisa and Mathias were off visiting one of her friends in the morning while I worked on an application for one of the Carlson School’s international seminars. In the afternoon we wandered down to Lake Calhoun for lunch and ice cream at the Tin Fish, which provided decent food at the cost of an unreasonable wait. Mathias, despite missing his afternoon nap, remained chipper for most of the afternoon, too, making it a nice day in general.

~ ~ ~

Mathias has been going through some pretty big changes lately. After a couple of extremely long nights, his top two front teeth made their way through his gums last week, an event strangely timed with his new habit of flipping over in his crib. It’s great that he’s finally figured out how to turn onto his stomach without much effort, although for a few days it was a bit of a problem as he’d turn over, decide he didn’t want to be on his stomach, fail at getting back on his side, and subsequently flip the fuck out. He eventually learned to fall asleep on his tummy, though, and with that brought a new, and much welcomed habit: Sleeping through the night!

It’s difficult to state how great of a development sleeping through the night is… Both Lisa and I have benefited, although admittedly more Lisa than me.

I’m planning on dropping his bed in his crib this week. He’s close to standing on his own–he’s already pulled himself up on a few of his more sturdy toys–so it’s only a matter of time before he tries standing in his crib. If he managed to do that, it wouldn’t take much for him to flip himself over the side.

I don’t know what else to say, the little guy is amazing. It blows my mind that he’ll be one year old in a week!

~ ~ ~

The next few weeks will be plenty busy. As of this week I’m back in school for the summer session, taking a class on corporate venturing. We’ll be heading down to Madison on the weekend of the fourth for a joint dedication ceremony with Dwight and Michele’s daughter, Nora, and also have a weekend date (for the opening of WALL-E) mixed in as well. That may not sound like much, but, you know, there’s a baby to take care of.

And with that, I still have some work to do on my seminar application, so this will have to be it for now. (Like with most things in life, I waited until the last minute to complete it. Deadline for submission is, uh, tomorrow.) More later.

Posted in BabyLog,Journal at 6:59 pm

BabyLog: Three Words and Counting


You know the typical warm-fuzzy TV show or movie that features the little baby saying his first word? The first word, with lots of clarity around what it was and when it happened? Yeah, it doesn’t work that way. At least, it hasn’t worked that way with Mathias. He’s been quite proficient at pumping out the baby babble for some time now, including “da da da da” and “ma ma ma ma,” but assuming he knows what those sounds mean has always required a bit of a leap of faith on the part of Lisa and I.

As of today, there seems to be sufficient evidence that he has grasped “da da,” “ma ma” and a new one, “a da.” “A da,” which translates into adult-speak as “all done,” appears to count as his first multi-word statement as well. After weeks of “all done” from Lisa at the end of each of Mathias’ meals, Mathias has started dropping “a da” when he’s done eating.

Tonight I came home just a few minutes before Mathias was to go down for the night. Lisa, hearing me enter, asked Mathias “Do you want to see da da?” The response was clear and distinct, even from outside his room and down the hall: “DA DA!” And, true enough, he was looking for me as Lisa carried him out of his room.

Growing up, I never imagined myself as a parent. And now here I am, having little things like this melt my heart.

Posted in BabyLog at 10:25 pm

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