Chris took Monday off, so I did as well - and we had a gloriously decadent weekend. Sure, we did tons of errands and chores and a whole host of those things that generally always need to be (but never are) done. But we didn't let a few must-dos get in the way of some enjoyment of a few days off.
Friday night we kicked off the long weekend by cutting out of work early and going downtown to see "Capote." (We stopped en route to buy ourselves some tickets to see Al Franken next month at the Schnitz, something we're both really looking forward to.) It was a pretty full theatre, and we were bummed to be sitting to close to the screen - but in the end it wasn't the kind of movie for which that's a real detriment. There are no action sequences, and no one moves too quickly, so there's no danger of whiplash. We both enjoyed the movie - it's much more about the process of writing than I'd thought beforehand, which doesn't sound like it would be interesting even though it really is - and ended up talking about it over dinner afterwards at Carafe.
We'd eaten at Carafe before, and we both like it quite a bit. It's casual, with a solid French bistro-type menu. The only drawbacks seem to be its location (it's hard to just be walking by and say, "Oh, let's eat here") and the bathrooms (I know it seems I'm on a bathroom jag here lately, but I'll ignore that if you will) - they're actually outside the restaurant in the parking garage next door, which isn't so much a terrible thing as just really odd for a restaurant as good as Carafe.
This time I had an old favorite from my college trips to Paris - a croque monsieur, which is French for "the best grilled cheese sandwich you've ever had, mostly because it has ham on it, too." It's the kind of sandwich you eat with a knife and fork, and even though it comes with a generous helping of crispy and delicious pommes frites it still feels rather sophisticated. Could be the French name, I'll admit.
Saturday night we met some friends at Le Bouchon for dinner. None of us had ever been there, and we were all pleased with our meals. Every course was spectacular. The recommended monkfish was so buttery it was more like lobster than anything else - and despite the fact that the waiter brought me the wrong thing (he misheard me, I think), I ended up liking what he brought so much (duck confit) that I was actually glad for the mistake. Le Bouchon, like Carafe, positively oozes French bistro chic - Le Bouchon has the leg up, however, if for no other reason than it not only feels like a neighborhood-type place on the inside, it actually looks like one on the outside, too. There's a wonderful counter by the bar where we could easily imagine the locals might come for a quick bite on the way home from work. We could have been in France if not for the distinct lack of cigarette smoke in the air...
With all of my emphasis on Italy lately, it was nice to find myself immersed in another European cuisine for a change. My French cousins would have been proud.