My daughter Ida K. Ansell, who lives and works in New Orleans, was in Chicago for just one day this week so we had to make every minute count. As we move towards a formula for day-long outings that has been working for us in the past few years, so it's time I wrote this down.
Inventory: What do we have, what do we need? Shoes. We have them and need them. Devices? One of us needs an upgrade. Food? We don't have any. We need to get some. Put Destination into the Google Maps app and zero in on Lula Cafe, a few streets over in the Logan Square neighborhood. (Depending on how you look at it, it is either fun or depressing to use the Google Maps locator in Chicago. You get answers like: “3.2 miles, 18 minutes.”)
Lula Cafe is always busy but it's big enough that we have never waited for long. As it turned out a few of Ida's Chicago friends were working at Lula so we got a present, a white chocolate rhubarab scone to start. Ida ordered a supper deluxe Bloody Mary with a smoked oyster on the skewer and I wanted to try the drink of the moment. At Lula Cafe it's called a “Jean Seberg,” but it has basically the same ingredients of St. Germain Elderflower Liquer, grapefruit juice and gin or vodka that Chef Nicole Bissonette made for our South Shore Arts' dinner last week. But Lula had run out of St. Germain and the cocktail. So I skipped onto the main course, ordering an indulgent brunch item: lemon, cornmeal griddle cakes, pineapple compote, cardamon whipped cream, mint, macadamia nut crumble. The dish was actually better than it sounds because of the magically-added lightness. Ida ordered one of the few dishes that cannot be duplicated successfully in New Orleans—tomato slice, goat cheese, slivers of red onion and smoked salmon on top of a large, probabaly house-made bagel half---commonly known as a lox platter.
Ida and I managed to clean our plates in spite of the mightly unslaught of this brunch---one of the beautiful things about Lula is that they serve brunch every day until mid-afternoon. The good thing about having such a luxiourious lunch is that there was no need to concern ourselves about dessert. Instead, we could worry about all the calories we needed to burn while shopping during the rest of the afternoon.
Within a few minutes and about half a mile, Ida and I found out that iPhone 5s are scarce and perhaps non-existent by now, at T-Mobile stores in Chicago. Fortunately we had enough excess carbs stocked up to give us energy for the hunt. Within several hours, I am happy to report, our mission was a success.