After a busy weekend filled with a Wes Anderson themed surprise birthday party for the Chef and a First Communion for the boy we found ourselves waking up at dawn on Sunday to pack the car in preparation for our trip to Chicago for The James Beard Awards. The Chef and I were rolling solo, no minis in tow. With the car packed we headed west towards the Windy City.
The drive was boring, both of us were tired from the weekends chaos and the book we choose to listen to on tape was a snoozer. Avoid the book Big Little Lies. Unless of course you like hearing stories about boring ass suburban parents. Snooze.
We arrived in Chicago around noon and checked into The Godfrey Hotel. There were a couple Beard parties on the docket so we showered, fancied up, and headed out the door. We stopped in to our favorite ninja's amazing house of curiosities and delicacies Rare Tea Cellar. Rod was hosting a tea party along side Farmer Lee Jones and The Chef's Garden. We sipped on some tea and enjoyed some canapés like the proper people we are. Ha!
After that we headed to the Soho House for the official James Beard Awards Welcome Party. The place was jam packed and luckily we ran into some of our favorite people including our dear friends Paul Kahan, Jonathan Waxman, and Alon Shaya. The Chef and I, still recovering from the drive, shared a cocktail made a few rounds, took some pictures, and headed out. We had a dinner date at Grace and both of us wanted to chill before we ate at Curtis Duffy's Michelin starred restaurant.
7pm rolled around and we found ourselves in the uber cool basement of Grace Restaurant sipping champagne and talking shop. Curtis and his partner Michael gave us the grand tour before dinner which was a nice wind down after the chaotic afternoon. We were seated and a beautiful chorus of dishes came our way. The Chef and I often find ourselves enjoying "date night" when we travel. Sometimes it's just easier to take a night for ourselves and skip the parties and hoopla for time together. Dinner was wonderful and Curtis was a gracious host.
After dinner we stopped into Chef's Night Out, the big precursor to The James Beard Awards. We briefly ran into our friend Josh Ozersky and even if it were just for a moment I am so glad we did. The next day of course we would be saddened by his untimely passing. RIP Josh.
We got to the hotel at a decent hour and went to bed relatively early. We planned to get up, run by the lake, and have lunch somewhere fabulous. However none of the worked out because at 3 am I woke up the sickness.
When I say sickness you say die!
When I say sickness you say die!
From 3 am to almost 4 pm I was in bed writhing with stomach pain. It was not pretty and I forced The Chef to leave me. No one needs to see the horror that was happening to me. He went on a three hour bike ride and upon his return he said "you can't go tonight can you?" Peeling myself from the depths of hell I got up and got moving. I forced myself into my dress which I would later substitute due to sickness restrictions and kept a mantra of I can do this! I can do this! I can do this! Even though in my head I really didn't think I could do it.
But somehow I did.
And thank god I did, because missing my man win a mother fucking James Beard Award is just completely unacceptable!
The night is a blur. Hearing Jonathon's name was a blur. Listening to his speech. Blur. But that moment we met in the press room and I say the joy on his face. EVERYTHING.
Words cannot express how proud I am. To watch the man you love continuously make his dreams become a reality is inspiring and life changing. The Chef calls me his muse, but really he is in fact mine.