Midwest Food at John Mackey's Blog

December 21, 2008

Midwest Food

I’m back from a busy four days at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago. I saw lots of friends, drank a few too many cocktails, had some great food, and tried not to get into too much trouble. Let’s focus on the food.

Tuesday night — my first night there — was low-key (as opposed to Loki) with dinner at the Hilton. The weather was awful outside (it took nearly 3 hours to get from O’Hare Airport to the hotel by cab), so I decided not to brave the elements. Fish & Chips at Kitty O’Sheas it was. No pictures of that, though. Just imagine dimly-lit shiny fish, and you’ll get the idea.

Wednesday night, it was the annual dinner with Rick Clary and Jonathan Newman. This year we went to Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse, where you’re given your pick of cuts of meat.  (This photo could also be called “How to Horrify AEJ’s Vegetarian Brother.”)

Newman ponders his meat.

Dinner was fun and tasty, but admittedly not very photogenic. (Beef never looks like much, unless you’re talkin’ about me — ZING!) Dessert, though, was one of Harry Caray’s Sweaty Balls. (I may not have that exactly right; my memory is a little hazy.)

Friday dinner was at MK, a nice, quiet, out-of-the-way restaurant (relative to the convention).

For dinner, I had the scallop special.

The bison looked pretty spectacular, though.

Desserts were pretty, and mighty tasty.

And who can resist banana bread pudding?!

On Wednesday, I was fortunate to be invited to the University of Texas staff dinner. I insisted that I would only attend if I were driven by limo. I initially demanded a rickshaw, but the weather prevented that, so I agreed to this compromise. It’s the holidays, after all, so I was willing to sacrifice. I’m really very Christlike that way (at least that’s what people tell me).

Traveling by stretch limo always feels like an indulgent joke, kind of like eatable gold. The neon lights don’t help.

Dinner was at Joe’s Prime Steak and Stone Crab.

This place was niiiiice. Cocktails were served before we sat down, and when I was asked, “would you like red or white wine?” I couldn’t help but feel a little like it was a test. If I picked white, would I forever be shunned? I opted for a vodka tonic.

Every course was over-the-top incredible, starting with the crab (of course, with “crab” being part of the restaurant’s name)…

… and moving on to a bright-tasting (with a perfect amount of tang) chopped salad.

For my entrée, I had the “steak and tails,” a small Filet Mignon and broiled lobster tail. The steak was mighty good, but the lobster was the best I’ve ever had. What the hell was that crust on top? My best guess: crack.

Steve Bryant (who just won the Revelli Award for the second year in a row — congratulations, Steve!) had the 16-ounce bone-in filet. Yes, the bone in — ’cause that’s how she likes it! ZING!

Then there was the dessert. I had the peanut butter pie, which, if you like peanut butter like I do, was a whipped peanutty heaven.

I loved it, but I couldn’t finish it. (I’m also not sure that vodka tonic is the perfect pairing for peanut butter.)

Verena — who is now All-But-Dissertation (congratulations, Verena!) — had chocolate fudge pie. AEJ thinks that this looks like a muddy polar bear on a dirty rock, reaching to eat something on the right. AEJ sees animals everywhere she looks, which explains her design sensibilities.

As I was taking pictures of this dinner, I thought this blog entry would serve as a great recruitment tool for the UT Music School. If you’re on the UT staff (or, like me, you have dirt on a staff member — kidding), this is how you eat. In all seriousness, thank you to the UT staff (and particularly to Dr. B. Glenn Chandler, Director of the UT School of Music) for making me feel like a member of their family. I’m still full.

When I got home on Saturday morning, there was a note from AEJ waiting for me on my monitor. (She always writes me a welcome-home note when I return from a trip.) The note said, among other sweet festive things, “Santa says you need to put on your PJs and practice yelling “He came! He came!” – but not in a dirty way.
Midwest is over, so get your mind out of the gutter.” Consider it noted.

Merry Christmas!

3 Comments

3 Comments to “Midwest Food”  

    1
  1. At 2:19 pm on December 21, 2008
    Steve Says:

    Good lord, those UT dinner pics make me hungry all over again. I could eat that meal 6 nights a week (I’d take a night off – I’m not gluttonous)…

  2. 2
  3. At 1:36 am on December 22, 2008
    Kevin Howlett Says:

    Steve, would you really want to end up looking like I do?

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  5. At 11:56 am on December 24, 2008
    Ricky Lopez Says:

    “Steve Bryant (who just won the Revelli Award for the second year in a row — congratulations, Steve!) had the 16-ounce bone-in filet. Yes, the bone in — ’cause that’s how she likes it! ZING!”

    FREAKIN’ HILARIOUS!!! Made me laugh out loud at work!

    I also enjoyed the comment you got at the Midwest Clinic in your newest blog. “I like your blog, but I can’t send my students there because the content isn’t always G-rated.” This is a PERFECT example! HAHA!!!

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