Saturday morning, I shot in the studio with Bill. It was a makeup shoot for a DJ group out of Texas. They’re actually really popular in some circles. You can read more about them here.
On Saturday night, Tina and I worked an amazing event. It was photography and video for a fundraiser in a high-end appliance showroom. A local chef donated his time to cook in a fully functioning kitchen made from appliances you can install in your home.
You, being the people that make so much money that buying a Porche and a Lamborghini in the same day would be like picking up a slushy at 7/11.
Some of the things we shoot, Tina and I stand there and pinch ourselves. We feel so honored to be a part, and due to our social standing, we may never have had the opportunity to rub elbows with this level of people.
The chef was preparing food for about 40 people. All of them paid about $300 to get in, plus they donate often to this cause. We were able to sample the dishes while we were working. We were able to listen to the chef fielding questions about why and what he was doing.
He made seven courses including appetizers, four dinner courses and dessert. He cooked lamb, duck, cow, and scallops. The place smelled heavenly.
Hot tips straight from the chef’s mouth
Some of the hot tips he gave were:
Why you let meat rest. Cutting into meat that is just off the grill is like cutting into a person who has just run a marathon. They will bleed all over. Let the juices do their thing for four to five minutes.
Why aging meat is fine. One person asked about the idea that you shouldn’t eat at a seafood restaurant on Monday or Tuesday, because the meat is from Saturday. The chef explained that it’s not a bad thing. Meat needs time to settle and the muscles to relax. Eating fresh kill would be too tough.
Pat your steaks dry. Why? Because it encourages caramelization, which locks in moisture. I knew this, but didn’t know why.
Salt your food more if your grilling rather than pan frying. Salting meat for the grill means lots will fall off between the grates.
There was also a sommelier there who was explaining the wines that were coupled with each dish.
I hope you can understand how humbled and honored we were to not only be hired to be there, but allowed to taste and take part. It was awesome.
SUNDAY, SUNDAY, SUNDAY!!!
Sunday, we were supposed to be in the studio in the afternoon, but the gig was postponed.
It worked out, because Tina and I walked and played with Talulah. And we spent some quality time with my brothers-in-law Michael and his partner Jason.
Lately, we haven’t been able to get together every Sunday as often as we have in the past. Our schedules tend to conflict more often. Michael and Jason run a record store together. And Tina and I get more work on Sundays.
For those of you who don’t know, we have a standing Sunday date with the guys to shop and either cook or eat out together.
We picked up Michael and Jason around 4:30. We shopped at Whole Foods. The place was jampacked. There were more people there than I’d ever seen. It’s in a good neighborhood, so the people watching is great. There are women in coverups from the beach. Dudes in leather. Or in their workout clothes from the gym. You get trannys, alt kids, punks, hotties and not-so hotties. Or the people are dressed up from church. And everything in between.
We bought some squid and skirt steak, with loads of veggies. If we cook, rather than go out, Michael cooks. Once in a while, I help out or cook one dish. But primarily Michael does it.
Driving in the city on the weekends is nuts. Don’t do it!
The thing about Chicago on weekends is everyone is trying to get somewhere. It’s neighborhood rush hour … all afternoon. During the warm months, it’s the worst. I’m an obnoxious yeller out the window. It’s both funny and annoying at the same time. If you’re on your phone or texting, I give all kinds of hell. But yesterday, the tables were turned.
When I pulled out of Whole Foods parking lot, a little red car let me in front of him. Great. I waved. I had to stop in traffic for a traffic light.
I had to turn left at the light, and I put on my signal. When the light turned, we all inched forward. I stopped at the light to wait for traffic, and the guy behind me honked at me and screamed out his window (with the funniest, ugly face you’ve ever seen), “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?”
“Driving!” I screamed. We all laughed. When this happens, you have to ask yourself, “What did I do wrong? What did he see me do that was wrong?” I offended him somehow, but I was oblivious.
For the rest of the ride, I kept yelling out the window, “What are you doing!?!”
Oh, it was fun.
Then we got to a green light and the car in front of me stopped and waved some pedestrians in front of her car. I honked at her and screamed, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!? GO. You have a green light!”
The girl finally went. The pedestrians yelled at me, something like, “Chill out, mother fucker.”
And I said, “Relax, I wasn’t yelling at you. You’re the assholes who can’t wait for a walk sign.”
“Jeremy, shut up!” yelled Tina. “Don’t you know they could have guns?!?”
“What are they going to do? Shoot at our moving car in the daytime? That’d be reasonable.”
If you ever find yourself with a Balinese menu in your hands, or a Balinese section at an Asian restaurant, I strongly recommend ordering Nasi Goreng, which is a Indonesian fried rice. Make sure to order it with an egg or two on the side, too.
The eggs seal the deal.
There’s also a noodle version of the dish, called Mei Goreng, which is equally great.
I had Nasi Goreng three times for breakfast during our nine days in paradise. It was so gee to the dee good.
We found two Balinese restaurants in Chicago that we’re going to try soon.
The above shot was from the most expensive hotel/villa we stayed in, which is why the presentation is about as classy as if my name were Bill Gates or Newt Gingrich or something.
Lately, I haven’t had a chance to dip into any new dishes, so photos of dinners have been dead around here. Dinners have still been great, but when I’m busy, I tend to stick to what I know rather than trying new recipes.
Here’s a new one from last night: Chicken breast stuffed with katamala olive tapenade and Feta cheese on a bed of fresh homemade salsa slightly sautéed with spinach. Topped with a lemon squeeze and capers.
It was sooo good.
Here’s my brother in law’s dish from last Sunday. It was a variety of veggies (onion, garlic, peppers, crimini mushrooms) sautéed with a mixture of arugula and spinach. He placed tilapia on the spinach and arugla and covered to steam. That was served with four-cheese raviolis and there was grilled eggplant and squash.
And you were wondering why the hell I call it “le Café Witteveen.”