Sunday, July 9, 2017

VT: 1

Its kind of amazing how music, or a song can become such a deep part of you. When I lived in Chicago, I had put Sufjan Stevens, "Come on Feel the Illinoise" on my iPhone on a whim. Before this - I didn't know anything about Sufjan Stevens. I didn't even really listen to music much apart from what my girlfriend had on her iPod and listened to in the car. --This is actually why I put this album on my iPhone... I was desperately trying to find something new to listen to that appealed to the both of us - ahead of taking a 12 + hour drive to Chicago with her. I simply could not listen to her playlist for another 12 hours. As usual, I procrastinated and didn't try to figure this out until the morning we were supposed to leave. I previewed a few songs on amazon and downloaded it.

I don't think we actually listened to the album at all on the drive - but that is beside the point. Once I was living in Chicago I had a 30 - 45 minute commute on the train every morning and afternoon - and the only possibility I had to completely avoid human contact was by having head phones in. The first few weeks I was there I listened to every This American Life episode (this was before I discovered Radio Lab - which I strongly prefer to TAL). After I was through with those I desperately needed something else to listen to and remembered I had that album too. For the rest of my time in Chicago I listened to it every time I stepped foot on the L. At least a few times every single day. 

The way this music imprinted in me is really quite remarkable. I can feel the morning light flickering on me. I can hear the violent rattling of the trains running on the track. I see the faces I saw every morning. Its as if I am on the train every time I hear these songs.

While we were unpacking in Vermont J asked me to put some music on. After getting out network up and running I opened up amazon music on our TV and didn't really know what to put on. I selected my music and the first album that popped up was Illinoise. I'm not sure why - I cannot remember the last time I listened to it - but there it was. 

The feelings associated with these songs are so clear. So potent. I feel a pit in my chest. Like the first time you kiss someone you're falling in love with. Like when you take a step down and theres no ground to stop your foot. Its such a raw, unfiltered type of emotion. Its why I am writing at this very moment. 

My last day at Clark House was 6/29. It was really an amazing few years. I had only been back in town for a few weeks when I saw an article on Table Hopping (FUCK, I am glad to not feel the need to read that blog any more) about a new restaurant opening that was going to be food forward and very progressive with its approach to...well...everything. It piqued my interest, but it wasn't until a friend of mine asked me what I was up to now that I was back in town that I was put on a path to what would be probably the most important and fulfilling thing I have done professionally. 

I remember sitting in the still unfinished dining room with Nick and Matt, talking about food and restaurants we liked - places I went to while in Chicago, mutual friends, etc.. and having this sense of awe that these guys were just like me. Food was all they cared about. It was an obsession for them. And I soon came to realize that was true with everyone who was involved with Peck's Arcade. When I asked for fresh horseradish for a dessert - nobody batted a lash.

For what seemed to be well over a year - I oogled a dish set I saw every time I went to the Treasure Chest on Hamilton St. Every time I stepped foot in the place, I would immediately go to the dish room and see if the set was still there - and every time I was shocked that it was.

One day I wound up there when they were having a clearance sale on dishes. After agonizing over it - I decided to just go for it. Hell, I had been admiring it for over a year at that point. There is nothing remarkable about these plates - but that is what makes them so special. The way they curve. The bell of the bowls and the way reflecting light curves along them. Every detail is perfect.

J and I were in San Francisco staying with my Aunt. One morning while sipping coffee and trying to plan out our day ahead I noticed something. I had been in this kitchen a hundred times - but never saw this until this particular morning. It was the creamer for the same dish set I had bought at the Treasure Chest. I immediately picked it up and asked my Aunt about it. 

When she was a teenager, she was at a department store with her grandmother and saw this plate set. She said it was the most beautiful plate set she had ever seen. Her grandmother - my great grandmother, Grandma Kirk - was taken by this. She wound up returning to the department store later - where she bought the creamer that she then gave to my Aunt with a note saying, 'Here is the first piece, to start your collection'. Linda never bought the rest of the set - but still has the creamer. The exact same creamer that I have.

Few things make me more (irrationally) annoyed than when people write "chantilly cream" or "creme chantilly" on their menus.

Magic happens when you add champagne vinegar to mayonnaise.

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