Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Tru Love

Most of us in the knitting blogosphere would call knitting their passion; I, too, am a passionate knitter. But I do have other passions that do creep into this blog, passions that pre-date the knitting.

Scroll down for knit-content.

Food. Travel. College Basketball. These are passions Mr S and I share.

Men's NCAA basketball is a true passion of mine. I watch it obsessively, regardless of the team, although I do have certain familial or geographic loyalties. I attend about a dozen games each season, and considered the Big Five a serious pro to my move to Philadelphia. I have a pretty good knowledge of the sport, its players, history and personalities, and have an uncanny memory for very specific games and plays. I am only a casual observer of other sports, and will cheer my local teams, but when it comes to basketball, I am one of the guys.

Mr S and I are coming upon 10 happy years of marriage, and 6 years of parenthood. And as any married parent can tell you, it is important to reconnect periodically as a couple. We need to spend time together outside of our roles as parents and enjoy our shared passions and to participate in activities not considered child-friendly: serious gourmet indulgences, 12 hours straight of basketball viewing, hours of strolling through art museums, sleeping late and various enthusiasms enjoyed shamelessly by married parents staying in hotels.

Our annual tradition is to choose one of the host cities for the March Madness Tournament. We have two amazing days of basketball, and get to play tourist in a big city on our off days. This year, we chose Chicago.


We had the good luck to be in Chicago on Saint Patrick's Day, the day they turn the Chicago River green. This also happens to be the day that the streets of downtown Chicago teem with drunken masses sporting shamrocks and green mardi gras beads. It was amazing people watching as we ate breakfast at Mary's Cafe, strolled through Millenium Park, and stood in line at the Art Institute. We also had the good luck to eat at one of Chicago's best restaurants, Tru.

Mr S and I have had some pretty amazing meals in the last dozen or so years, and Tru certainly takes its place among the best. The service was absolutely 5-star, but without the slightest whiff of pretension. And the food was truly exquisite. Who knew that foams and gelees could be so scrumptious? Tru's claim to fame is their top-notch pastry chef, Gale Gand, and dessert did not disappoint. You have your regular dessert (and since Mr S was having trouble deciding, our server simply brought him both). Then you choose from the candy cart, with homemade root beer lollipops and various barks and candies. Then, they bring you the truffle tray where all the chocolates made in-house are presented. And on your way out the door, they present you with mini-loaves of the moistest banana bread known to man. Simply amazing.

And yes, we did see some great basketball, even though our favorite team went out in the first round. And because this trip is about Mr S and I, I do try to keep the knitting to a minimum. He is so supportive of my knitting in our every day life, it seems the least I can do to not make him stand around a yarn shop while I swoon and fondle on our romantic weekend. We do not visit yarn shops or search out fellow bloggers. But when you just happen to stumble upon the Stitching Salon, what choice does a knitter have?

The Stitching Salon is the centerpiece of Chicago's Winter Delights program, a city-sponsored interactive space that exhibits various fiber crafts and has lots of opportunities for new knitters to learn and experienced knitters to participate. I knew I loved the city of Chicago, but when it encourages knitting as a civic event? My kind of town, Chicago is!







We showed up just before closing, long enough for me to contribute one lone row of knit stitches to the amazing free-form dress being knit by Chicago area knitters. And Mr S indulged me by taking a few photos.







We happily returned home yesterday to some pretty fragile children and an icy driveway, with sated appetites for gourmet dining and basketball. We have been renewed as a couple and have a newfound love for the Windy City.

18 comments:

knittingphilistine said...

Yay, awesome trips!

Ashley said...

Gasp! So. Jealous. Going to the tourney is pretty high up on my 100 Things To Do Before I Die list; how awesome that you guys go every year! My team went out in the first round too,, so I feel ya, but there was some GOOD ball to be watched in Chicago this weekend!

And I'm so glad you njoyed Chi oo--isn't it a great city? It's up there with Philly for me in terms of accessibility, livability, etc. Big without being overwhelming. Plus, green river! :)

nova said...

Yay for getting away with just the spouse!! I have yet to earn the honor.... I am supposed to trek out to Chicago for a conference later this year and now I can't wait! And I too am a college basektball fiend...love it (but not so much when my team goes out in the first round...sigh).

Maggi said...

I ate at Tru in 2000, my last visit to Chicago (other than thru O'Hare) ~ it was amazing. Did you have the caviar staircase?
As a Duke fan, this has been an OK year for me to nearly miss the season altogether due to new Betsy. but, dang, I didn't like their losing to my other alma mater in the first round!

Susan said...

What a great idea for a trip. I remember being in Hawaii with my then-boyfriend in 1996 and having him glued to the TV when I wanted to be out, out, out, not stuck inside with March Madness. I married him the next year, and in this year, also our 10th anniversary year, I'm anxiously watching my brackets. (It's not so hard to do with all the snow on the ground.) I'm glad you had a great time!

Sally said...

Sounds like you had a tremendous weekend. I hope I get to hear more about it tonight! Love the pictures of you and Mr. S in front of the river.

shizzknits said...

LOoks like fun! Love the photo of you two together- you like like you're really enjoying yourselves!

Mo said...

You two look so happy! Plus, look at your long hair!

tiennie said...

Good for you!! Glad you guys got away!

Madge said...

What a grand yearly tradition you have with Mr. S! Glad to hear you had such a great time.

Ann said...

You guys are the best! That restaurant sounds incredible!

iSeL said...

Very jealous over here. Art museums, eating, hanging out, looking happy...sounds like the perfect trip to me!

Anonymous said...

I may have been born in philly, but my "second home" is chicagoland. minus those damn wind chills.

what - no billy goat tavern, home of the "cheeburger, cheeburger" of SNL fame? gourmet dining at its finest, don'tcha know!

AND there is a "green river soda", available all year round there. it's lime flavored.

you guys rock!

anne marie in philly

Mighty Momogus said...

That sounds like the perfect getaway!!! I wish I could have gone too......but I guess that would have put a damper on your couple time......

Julie said...

Sounds like an awesome trip!

knitnzu said...

Whoa!!! So wonderful! Time alone as a couple? I am jealous too. good for you for making that time for yourselves. And the stiching spot? Very cool.

Dorothy said...

That sounds wonderful. A grown up trip with grown up events and still a bit of knitting in the romance.

They turn the Chicago River green? How do they do that?

Mintyfresh said...

You guys are so cute! Thanks for the review of Tru--sounds AMAZING. I should email you a review of Felidia, where I ate on Monday. The best part of the meal was that Katie Couric was seated behind me :) (The food was good, don't get me wrong!)