|Thursday, October 17th, 2002|
9:37p - Cook Forest
I am behind on journal entries. As usual.
Over the weekend, we went off to Cook Forest to stay at the Cook Homestead Bed and Breakfast.
The B&B has been a delightful tradition for us; we've gone up there to see the autumn leaves every year for quite some time. Denny and Barbara always make us feel very welcome and appreciated.
Two of the couples who were there were folks we had met there before. They both decided to reserve for next year for the same weekend we reserved for, so there will be a lot of familiar faces there.
This year, I had taken Friday off to give us more time there. On Thursday night, I considered our finances, and decided that we could afford another night there. Lori was delighted by this spontaneous decision.
I sent mail to my boss Mark Thursday night asking if it was okay to stay another day. On Friday morning, he sent me e-mail, called our house, and even tracked down the phone number of the B&B to call there to say that it was okay. That was very sweet of him.
It turned out to be a really good idea, because Friday and Saturday were cloudy and Sunday was rainy, but Monday was stunningly clear and beautiful.
It also helped me rest more. By Sunday I was just starting to unwind and rest enough to wake up in the morning; the third night there really helped.
We didn't do as much hiking as we usually do because of concerns about my bum ankle, but we made up for this by going to more craft festivals and craft shops.
This sort of shopping is always a strain on me and Lori. There are three big problems:
- Lori enjoys shopping much more than I do. I get tired.
- Lori quite likes crafty decorations, and I quite dislike them.
- I'm a miserly cheapskate compared to Lori.
This year's shopping was much more pleasant than previous years' had been, because I would have a book handy and go read when I had seen everything that was for sale. Even so, there did come a time when my fundamental penury kicked in, and that became unpleasant.
Breakfasts were lovely as always.
Saturday: cinnamon rolls, spinach and egg casserole, bacon, ...
Sunday: toast, quiche with ham and pepper jack cheese in a hash brown crust, quiche with spinach and sausage, ...
Monday: there were only two couples staying there that night, so we were served eggs Benedict, nut bread, and broiled grapefruit. Mmm...
Lunch and dinner were not quite so consistently good, unfortunately. In particular, I had a lot of trouble finding foods I liked.
Friday night: Mama Doe's, part of a strongly Christian-themed motel/campground/lodge. I had a very lackluster steak salad, Lori had somewhat better baked ziti.
Saturday lunch: We had brought up a cooler with lunch fixings, so we had a very nice picnic lunch of sandwiches with hard salami and cheese. The cheese sticks we had bought at McGinnis Sisters turned out to be unimpressive except in their novelty.
Saturday dinner: we had a late reservation at the Wayside Inn, which is an out-of-the-way hard-to-find restaurant that has apparently been in business since it was founded in the 1800's. This was a good meal; I had good prime rib (though I was somewhat disappointed by the asparagus with hollandaise sauce), and Lori had some nice crab cakes that were a bit too spicy for her stomach. We were too full to finish the chocolate pate that we got for dessert.
Sunday lunch: Trail's End. It appears to be mandatory that we go here at least once on each visit to Cook Forest, though the food doesn't justify it in my opinion. I was not satisfied with my hamburger and home-made potato chips.
Sunday dinner: It turns out that in the off-season of October, few places are open at 8pm on a Sunday night. The Burning Embers was closed, as was the Vowinckel Hotel, the Cook Forest Lodge, and Americo's. We ended up at the Trail's End again. I had a tasty soup called "pig's ear soup" (so named for the thick triangular noodles; I detected no pork) that I would love to get a recipe for to share with others. (Sadly, Google fails to help me find a recipe.) The fried chicken, though, was not so good as to be memorable.
Monday lunch: We returned to the Vowinckel Hotel. I had the specialty Winckel Burger, which again was not particularly distinguished. Lori was pleased with her meatball hoagie, though.
On Monday, before we left, we tried to visit a flower farm called Forever Flowers. It had closed for the season, but the lady there allowed us to walk around the gardens.
Lori was quickly approached by a small black cat with one blind eye that dearly craved affection. Lori felt very tempted to take it home and shower her love upon it, but she was dissuaded by concern for the diseases it might have.
It seems to be a late fall this year. A majority of the trees were still green. But there were still beautiful flame-colored maples lighting up the forest. Beautiful.
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10:54p - Birthday at the 1889 Cafe
Yesterday evening, we celebrated Lori's father's birthday with dinner at the 1889 Cafe on the South Side.
Dinner was really good, at a reasonable price. I had "Chicken breast stuffed with sausage and Granny Smiths, served with a brandy and sage demiglaze" with rice pilaf. The dinner tasted completely wonderful, so much so that I saved my rice to pour into the leftover demiglaze and soak up all the yummy goodness there. And this dinner was just $13.75.
(For those who care, they also had an extensive and nice seafood selection.)
Lori had made and brought a low-fat chocolate cake, and the staff was very obliging about letting her store it in the kitchen during dinner. After we had all been served, she offered slices to the staff, who all accepted it appreciatively. She even got to hear one of the staff say "the chef sends his compliments". That's a nice reversal on the usual phrase. :)
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