I had the most epic Memorial Day weekend!
First and foremost, my good friend — talented author Jeffrey Ricker — came to spend the weekend with me. I have known Jeff for about 15 years but we haven’t seen each other in 5 or 6 years, which is far too long. I enjoyed hosting him and his partner, Michael. We drank some wine (okay, a lot of wine). We ate some food (okay, a lot of food). Jeff, Mike and I all had a great time reconnecting.
Jeff and Mike arrived on Friday evening and we high-tailed it to my favorite neighborhood bar (Elixir) and then out for my favorite neighborhood sushi (Ora Sushi). We returned to my place with some wine, but we didn’t get very far — after a drink or two we were all ready for sleep. And that’s a good thing — I didn’t want to be tired or hungover for the next day.
We tried a new place for brunch and if you haven’t been to The Gage, I highly recommend it. They may have the best Eggs Benedict I’ve ever had and the cinnamon roll that Mike ordered looked incredible. The decor is gorgeous (I want to host an event in the basement bar) and the staff is helpful and attentive. I can’t recommend this place highly enough. I want to come back for dinner.
After brunch we went to the market at the International Mr. Leather competition — a staple of Memorial Day weekend in Chicago. I’ve never gone to IML before. Leather is not my scene and I always expected that I’d be a little bit out of my comfort zone here, and so I stayed away. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I thought the market was interesting and the men in attendance were unusually nice. It was also good to run into familiar faces here — friends from Chicago, from Indianapolis and elsewhere.
After IML, my friend Harry joined us and we decided to take Jeff and Mike to Cerise on the top of the Virgin Hotel for a drink. This patio offers one of the best views in Chicago, I could literally sit here for hours. I love the chill music that plays in the background and the patrons are always interesting (a combination of the hob-nobbing hip crowd and tourists). The drinks are good here too — that’s what really counts.
That night, we met some of Jeff and Mike’s friends for a late dinner in Boystown and then we went to a bar (The North End) for more drinks. I had a good time and I met a guy. He was visiting from Lafayette and he’s super sweet. He may have changed my perspective on a thing or two, but more on that in a future post.
On Sunday, we went to Big Jones, my favorite brunch place in my neighborhood. They have the best Bloody Marys and the biscuits and gravy are ridiculously delicious. I like the complimentary plate of beignets that come to each table. But it’s the greens that bring me back here — I could eat voodoo greens from Big Jones every day.
Next, we went to the Museum of Contemporary Art for a run though (almost literally, half the galleries were closed for installation) and then for another drink with a view at The Signature Room on the 96th floor of the John Hancock Center. This is becoming a staple event when I have visitors.
We went back to my place for a rest. Brian came over and he and I introduced Jeff and Mike to the joy that is RuPaul’s Drag Race. We decided we were craving Italian food and so we walked to Calo for dinner and called it an early night.
On Memorial Day, my new friend Paddy and his husband Matt invited us to brunch at their place. We brunched alfresco and enjoyed fun, artistic conversation. Paddy created the most luscious food, as evidenced by the empty plates below.
Jeff and Mike had to leave, but I returned to Andersonville to have a light lunch and wander the neighborhood with another visiting friend — this one from college. Nancy lives in Denver but was in the area visiting family. I have known her for over 30 years, which is incredible to think about.
I went home and enjoyed a couple hours of quiet time and then Brian came over with wine and dinner (barbecued ribs, corn bread and brownies). He said he missed me this weekend because we didn’t hang out as much as usual — Brian is so sweet. And so we finished the weekend with more episodes of RuPaul. I’m going to watch the entire Katya/Violet Chachki/Pearl/Trixie Mattel/Ginger Minj season.
I couldn’t be more exhausted today, but it was all worth it!