Sunday, January 22, 2006

French Toast with Eggs, Heavy Cream, Vanilla, Cinnamon and Orange Zest

I live about twenty-five miles from downtown Chicago. Today I decided to meet two friends in the city for a late morning breakfast at a neighborhood spot I had never been to, but wanted to try.

Ann Sather's is famous on the northside of Chicago for its wonderful breakfasts and homemade sticky buns. Ann herself is memorialized in a large painting that is hung in an ornate frame over the fireplace at her original restaurant. On weekends there are people waiting in lines that go out the front door and wind around into the parking lot.

Having said that, the place we went to was better.

I got there first and the maitress d' in the pink sweatshirt and turquoise eye shadow served me a small cup of fresh squeezed orange juice, while I waited for my friends to show up. I'm a whore for fresh sqoozed o.j. so I drained the first cup and whined for a second. No deal. I had to wait until I could order more at the table.

While looking out the window for my friends, several pairs of handsome, thirty-something men set off my gaydar as they came and went in matching black leather jackets with studs or cashmere sweaters and suede vests. This place must have really good food I thought. Not that gay people are the only ones who frequent good restaurants. But it sure is a good sign when they do. 

Unexpectedly, a gregarious lesbian couple struck up a conversation with me, probably because I was in polar fleece, workout pants and wearing my Merrells. Our flirtation came to a screeching halt when my tall, attractive male friend came in and joined me to wait for our pal to find a parking spot.

The breakfast was tasty, as was the charming fifty something server who had the raspy voice of a smoker and worked a second job as a pharmacy tech. My friends ordered eggs, sliced tomato and English muffins. I wanted to try the signature French Toast with fresh strawberries and whipped cream, with a side order of sausage links. Eggs are pretty much just eggs. But fabulous French toast is forever. They were going to have to roll me into my car when it was over.

The aisles were filling with people waiting for a table, so we decided to continue our conversation after driving to a nearby Starbuck's a few blocks away. I had never been in this part of Chicago before, although my kids had lived in a nearby neighborhood at one time. As we walked into Starbuck's I said, for no particular reason, "I bet I run into someone I know."

The place was crowded. Sunday does that to Starbuck's, especially in a city neighborhood. No two of them are ever quite the same, but there is always a certain familiarity. Coffee and high prices. I stood for a bit until a table opened up and I went over to save it. 

As I began to sit down, someone said my name. There, at the very next table, calling to me to get my attention was . . .of all people. . .my next door neighbor -- the neighbor who lives about twenty feet away from me on the other side of her driveway, in our typical American suburb, almost twenty-five miles away.

What are the chances of running into her like that? What are the chances that I would also have the sense that I was going to run into someone I knew? And said as much out loud?

What is the reason for these odd juxtapositions of people we know appearing in places we've never been, the two converging far away from home?

One of my friends pointed out that he would never cheat on his wife by sneaking off to spend a secret weekend across the ocean in South Africa on a mountain in a secluded village. Because the next morning he would step outside to discover that a bus tour had arrived with four of his wife's best friends who had just put film in their cameras.

I guess the farther away you think you are, the more likely you are to meet someone you know.


suzypwr said...

I was on a Caribbean cruise, just starting a step class, when someone tapped me on my shoulder from behind. The couple behind me work out in my gym. Yeah, you can run, but you can't hide!


ksquester said...

Gee, I hope it wasn't the neighbor who pooped in your yard. I'm more of a waffle person myself, but good french toast is hard to resist.  Anne

jevanslink said...

Just so you know, because I can't tell -- the entry about someone pooping on my lawn was a METAPHOR for the ads AOL was posting on our journals, not a REAL event.  Mrs. L

rollinghillsides said...

Oh my gosh, that just 'tickled' me so ... the whole entry, but especially your friend's comment about 'sneaking off to Africa'!  lololol ... thanks for the laughter.  Judy

elleme2 said...

Just the title of this entry is enough to make one salivate.  I tasted vicariously and it was scrumptious!  As for the neighbor at Starbucks experience, I've had some similar ones with people turning up at odd times and in odd places.  Almost makes you wonder if those things are simply coincidence or there is some sort of Plan.

ally123130585918 said...

Good Friends Good food - what more could anyone ask for....Odd about bumping into your neighbour, these things happen so often....loved your friends remark about not cheating on his wife..too funny... but probably true I'm sad to say. lol...Ally

fogspinner said...

We were hours from home....4 as a matter of fact, in another state, in Walmart of all places, when we ran into half the town we live in. I stoped counting after the 6th couple.

Why were they all in that state? I know they wern't there for the same reason I was (goat show).... ok so ONE of them was.

I blame in on the fact that that is almost the closest Walmart to us.

bosoxblue6993w said...

compared to my usual black coffee and cigarette ... your breakfast kind of puts mine to shame.

gaboatman said...

Mrs. L
The last time we drove from Savannah, Georgia to upstate New York to visit my wife's relatives, we were six hours out of town at a combo gas station/convenience store/Subway Sandwich shop and two states away. As I held the door open for Paulette to go in, out walks a customer of my marina that I see every other day.  You just never know!

mombzbe said...

I agree..eggs are eggs, pancakes are pancakes, but good French toast will bring me back every time.

sunnyside46 said...

just goes to show, you should live as if everything you do will one day be known.