First off, thank you all SO much for stumbling along with me last week – I’m sorry I didn’t respond to your lovely comments but I leapt into mah vee-hickle to get to Chicago….
…and therein lies a tale..
So..I go pick up my lovely friend E, who’d flown in from Toronto…she’d done the Downtown Thing before..so I decided to drag her through a couple of neighborhoods. Chicago is like most cities – the tourist part is fab – but if you know them, the neighborhoods can be way fabber! Lincoln Square, home of the original Merz Apothecary ..Merrrz. First thing you need to know about Merz: go in with a voided bladder because they have about 300 bazillion fabulous homeopathic treatments, beauty and fragrance items to explore – and they do not have a public bathroom. So armed (or disarmed) thusly, we entered into the 138-yr old World of Merz. Three Hours Later: we groaned out of there, laden with beautifully scented Eiwit Zeep…and the not-so-beautifully scented (but ever so effective) Cuticura, for my menopausal face. I suspect we could’ve spent even more time there but parathas awaited!
So it was off to Devon Avenue. I rarely drive to Chicago, so getting to the neighborhoods for groceries essential to my wellbeing is a bit of a challenge. So you just KNOW I lost mah nachul MIND..took the cooler and loaded up on parathas, curry leaves, ginger/garlic sauce – and E gave me some tips on how to cook new stuff(for me), like bitter melon – her bff is Tamil so I’m all up in her cooking bidness! But first, I have to go burn a paratha. I loveloveLOVE parathas. It’s what I really want to do to a croissant, but haven’t the nerve!
Saree! So….3 Queens Walk Into a Sari Palace. Only in The Neighborhoods. I love sari material. In LA, Miss Portia Turbo ROCKED a sari coat…so I was inspired….we’re in this fabric shop on Devon…and suddenly the International Drag Queen contingent walzes in…Black, Asian, Hispanic – I am not joking – it really was like that old chestnut. And totally, totally dragalicious! Interesting cultural clash. The ladies at the fabric store were fine with them being drag queens – but what they couldn’t wrap their heads around was the mixing of gender fashions (the men’s mojaris with a sari…omg! the look on the lady’s face..) …and the notion of adding a veil to a non-bridal sari was mystifying to them. I’m probably going straight to PC Hell but I gotta say, it was a hoot watching these ‘more girls than girls are’ trying to explain what they wanted to achieve to these women for whom this is everyday, workaday gender-specific wear. The sari lady did show them how to properly wrap a sari, though…and then it was AWN! We were treated to a swirling, twirling fashion show of fuchsia and turquoise silk and lawn! They whirled off to match size 12 mojaris and I silently thanked Floyd for The Neighborhoods!
I wasn’t nearly as fabulous of course, though I did get some fabulous material, royal blue, with gold elephants, for $10. Portia! Hellllp!
Tea and chow: E is a foodie – not in a pretentious way. She has a genuine love of well-prepared food, whether it’s a burger or haute cuisine. I love eating with folks who love to eat good food – they inspire me to not lapse back into my regular chow. E and I went to Salpicon, where I so desperately wanted the squash blossoms, which are just coming into season – but I didn’t know if she would…ha! HA! Those squash blossoms came, stuffed with epazote and goat cheese and we fell on them like starving wolverines! So you just know I’m going to yank some blossoms out of my garden and stuff the livin’ daylights out of them, right? Of course! The mole is another thing altogether. I think I’ll leave that to Chef Priscilla – her mole poblano is the stuff of dreams! And I am a lazy dog. Oooh! Before we greased at Salpicon, we walked over to this cute little tea shop, Porte Rouge. For you tea junkies, this is a little slice of heaven. Mariage Freres by the bagsful, Kusmi tea (I have no idea if the BB Detox works but it smells so damn PRETTY, just smelling it detoxes my Very Last Nerve)… I’m not a tea connoisseur (hey! I spelled that right on the first try!) but I think I sort of ‘get’ it now…sort of.
Oooh! Can’t leave without telling you about the Merida candle, Carlos Huber’s collaboration with Cire Trudon. My wonky sinuses say ‘oh, HELLZ naw’ to the average candle and I admit to not having been a huge fan of Cire Trudon…until Merida. It’s guava – but it’s the flipside of Calyx, which is my barometer for All Scents Guava. In Merida, the entire tree is incorporated in the scent, with notes of cinnamon and mahogany – where Calyx is sparkling, Merida candle is lush and sensuous. It’s supposed to evoke a scent memory of the Empress Carlota, upon a visit to Yucatan. I can definitely smell the connection, with the lush ripeness balanced by the strong woods. Andy, my stalwart Barneys SA, was stunned to find that he liked it as well; he’s got even worse sinuses than I do! And …oooh! OOOH! when I get my nose mojo back, I’ll tell you all about the new Le Labo Lys 41. I admit to having little truck with the Labo schtick – but I am willing to get over it, just for this sparkling beauty.
But that tale is for another time!
And thanks for hanging with me, as I fight my way through crop dusting time. My eyes are like boiled eggs and my nose…oh, Itchy McItcherson! Perfume is torture right now, which is why you get the travelogues! It’ll get better soon, I promise!