A Little Day Trip

Posse!  I (finally!) took A Little Day Trip to Chicago.  I promised TGirl that I wouldn’t moulder, that I would get out and DO STUFF that I hadn’t done since she’d become so infirm-yet-still-lethal (hard to get just anybody to ‘stop in and check on her’, y’know?  Apex Predators look upon that as ‘lunch’).  So I planned a quick shop and lunch with my prima and hied on up to Chi-town.

Well.  Lemmetellya.  First impressions:  Chicago’s got a bit of a Body Snatchers vibe to it right now (remember how QUIET San Francisco got? Nobody on the streets?  Yeah, like that.).  Pedestrian traffic is halved, even on Boul Mich (I first wrote ‘pedestrians are halved’ which conjured some really gross imagery!).  It was a glorious 75F day and I could’ve launched an ICBM and probably not hit anybody.  My sole stop, pre-lunch, was Neiman-Marcus to say hi to Andy, try the new Synthetic Jungle and buy something (because Andy.  He’s been my SA bae for 20 years and in my darkest days he kept me in fun stuff and bottles of water and hugs.  I’mo buy somethin’, you betcha!).  Agraria Citrus Lily (refill) to make my house smell divine!

Synthetic Jungle is All The Things.  Everything Patty said here.  It’s got that Jacomo Silences/Private Collection (oooh-rah!!)/Charms and Leaves/Cristalle vibe, updated. Elegantly smooth yet going all the way to Eleven.

I didn’t have a lot of time (or energy) to sniff perfume but I was beguiled by the gorgeous newer Kilian collection – my favorite amongst them is Apple Brandy on the Rocks, which smells like a grownup fruit-infused rum/cognac cocktail (NO umbrella), sipped while sitting in a well-worn and well cared-for leather chair in an elegant private club.  I’m projecting like a lima bean, aren’t I?  You can tell I’m missing urban life somethin’ awful.  It smells like I imagine Kilian Hennessey’s life smells like, which is pretty luxe (though I do wish he’d button his shirt).  But! I’m not sure this is a comfortable wear for me (and I say that because I feel it’s designed to be comfortable-luxe; this isn’t a challenging perfume).  I’d like to wear this out somewhere, see if others enjoy it on me.  We’ll see.Apple Brandy on the Rocks Fragrance | Nordstrom in 2021 | Apple brandy, Brandy, Spicy fragrance

Lunch.  I’ve heard so many low-level horror stories of Dining in Variant Days, tales of food that is just ‘eh’ and sometimes nearly awful in flavor and presentation.  To combat this, I chose an Old Standby, Shaw’s Crab House.  I was a Shaw’s customer for 20 years because the food and service were always topnotch.  It’s not groundbreaking, nor does it position itself so – but I have never had a substandard meal at Shaw’s – and this lunch was no exception.  Great food, excellent service.


But the cherry on that lunch sundae was the table near us.  3 visitors from Mexico City, lunching late but with an elan rarely seen here.  This was a delight to witness.    This trio… they didn’t eat.  They dined.  Wave after wave of appetizers, mains, cocktails, coffees… conversation with our server, Francisco, in Spanish about each sauce or condiment……. I nearly wept with joy.  And envy.  Yes, I am a sinner.  But it was such a glorious thing to witness.   For awhile now food has mostly been basic sustenance for me.  To once again see eating elevated to art (not in gluttony, just elegant enjoyment) – sublime.  Throughout the meal I was trying to figure out what it reminded me of.  Then it hit me – there’s a film wherein a group of Japanese businessmen are lunching at a vaunted 5-star restaurant.  Alas, the CEO sets the tone for lunch by ordering some bland whitefish and some steamed veg.  All follow suit.  Except one very young, very junior executive.  He looks at the menu, realizes he’s in Food Heaven and orders ALL The Fabulous Things.  The chef is delighted and the entire staff turns out to watch him indulge.  I have no idea what film that scene is attached to but I’ve never forgotten the scene itself.  Hedonism at its erotically innocent best.


All too soon it was back to the train.  Sigh.  But.  Y’know…. it’s okay.  If we don’t get clobbered by Variants there’s a good chance travel will resume in the not too distant future.  When that happens I’ll be thrilled to leave Hoots and go to Civilization.  And, after awhile, I’ll probably be just as glad to return here.


We’ll see.

  • Sue RH says:

    Thank you for sharing a wonderful excursion. I definitely miss city life and am going to watch Tampopo soon!

  • Jennifer S says:

    Glad to hear you had some ‘me’ time and ventured out. Sounds like you made the most of every little thing while you were out and about!

  • Patty says:

    I still remember watching a guy eat lunch in Milan. We were drinking pretty heavily, so our lunch took as long as his. He went through like 7 courses for lunch, one after the other, each one enjoyed and relished. Watching someone eat for that long with that much gusto and happiness really is a joyous experience. I wont’ do it, I’d burst! Glad you got a day out and away, it is good for the soul. I need to do that, just take off and spend a day in kansas City, have lunch and be girlie.

  • Dina C. says:

    Loved reading about your marvelous day out, Anita! It sounded great! Reminds me of that old saying: a change is as good as a rest. So envious you got to sniff Synthetic Jungle. It’s on the top of my to-be-sniffed list. Actually envious that you did any sniffing at all. Your lunch sounded like it was a “wow” too. No drive-thru McDonald’s on that day, and good for you! Eating a lovely meal is self care, pleasure, and good nutrition all rolled up in one. My favorite food movie is “Babette’s Feast” — have you seen it? A lovely film.

    • Musette says:

      LOL! my guts just GURGLED! at the notion of a McD’s drive-thru.

      Omg. “Babette’s Feast” I haven’t seen that in AGES!!! xoxoxo

  • March says:

    This sounds absolutely delightful, and I too would have been enjoying watching those folks really ENJOYING their meal. So glad NM (and Andy) are still there … I figure after awhile here, I too will be pining for those emporiums of the civilized world, lol. Fingers crossed we get back to something that resembles normal, in Chicago and elsewhere. I’m not a big green meanie fan so much myself, but I bet Synthetic Jungle smells amazing on you.

  • rosarita says:

    Ms A that sounds wonderful! Too long since we have visited Chicago. Love your lunch description 🙂 We have eaten out exactly twice, during that heady two weeks in June when Fauci said that the vaccinated could meet without masks. Then the variants squashed everything. I’m so glad you were able to get away. And I agree, Synthetic Jungle is All the Things!

  • Kathleen says:

    So glad to read about your joy in Chicago, no doubt TGirl was with you in spirit. I dream of going to a fragrance boutique or department to smell new things! In the meantime, I’m taking the opportunity to explore the classics and gorgeous from the past.

  • Fernando says:

    The movie is called Tampopo, which I like to describe as a “noodles western” movie. Genius!

    I just spent a weekend in Boston. Similar feeling, except that everything seemed busy as usual. I even dared to enter a Dior boutique to get my wife a bottle of New Look 1947.

    • Musette says:

      Your wife is a lucky woman!!! I wish I had a husband who would stop at Graff and get me an 11-cwt emerald-cut diamond ring…. let me know if you have any of those just hanging around 😉


  • cinnamon says:

    A trip! A change is definitely as good as a rest. And food someone else cooked — in the comfort of a restaurant. Glad you had fun. Haven’t been to Chicago in decades. What I remember from the couple of trips is the best Thai food I have ever had and the glory of snow in mid-winter.

  • Alityke says:

    Ahh Musette people watching…. One of the true joys of urban life!
    In the U.K. it appears we MAY have plateaued in daily new case numbers. Yet many, me included, are still reticent to resume the old normal life. I did go for lunch with an old work friend yesterday, she’s vegan & I eat gluten free (no one wants to be in the vicinity if I don’t) so our choices of places to go are limited. We had hoped to eat outside but the weather devils spoilt that!
    I opted not to visit the Boutique nearby for sniffage. I don’t even want to sniff things costing in access if £200 a bottle anymore!
    Glad you’re keeping your promise to TGirl!

    • Musette says:

      it is getting ridiculous, isn’t it, perfume prices! Since I wasn’t buying actual perfume (I have enough to last the entire town a lifetime and it seems the more I de-accession the more just… shows up) it was an easy try. The Kilian was charming (and I’m going to test it out today out in the wild) but I’ve yet to find a K that is FB worthy. If I had what Bogart called ‘fuck you money’ I would buy the Synthetic Jungle and spray it on my sheets!


  • Portia says:

    Woo Hoo! A day in CHICAGO Musette! My personal heaven. Happy memories of our time there too.
    So glad you had a wonderful day.
    Portia xx

  • Maya says:

    I’m glad you enjoyed yourself. Green perfumes are iffy for me and the early Killians were too sweet so I haven’t tried any since. I recently tried Guerlain Ylang & Vanille. It’s mainly carnation on me so I like it a lot.
    Your lunch sounds like it was great and a lot of fun! Did your cousin enjoy it as much as you did?
    TGirl would be pleased.

    • Musette says:

      My cousin lives there so it wasn’t Drama for her – but I hope she enjoyed my company as much as I enjoyed hers! TGirl was pleased, I think. She was a very generous-hearted pooch and wouldn’t want her mom to be adrift.


  • Tara C says:

    I hear you on missing urban life!! Sigh. Next summer I vow to rectify that. I was super excited about Apple Brandy but it was just meh on me. Synthetic Jungle was a big no (greens are not my friend). But I’m very much enjoying the new Guerlains, Rose Cherie and Santal Pao Rosa.

    • Musette says:

      oh, dang! on Synthetic Jungle. I was stunned at how much I love it. The Apple Brandy Rocks is… well, I’m going out today so I think I’ll wear it, see how it carries itself.


  • Georgina says:

    Loved this post, Musette! Is that scene from Tampopo?

    • Musette says:

      According to you and Fernando, it is. And while I know of the film I have NO recollection of it, which is insane since it has the amazingly fabulous (and fabulously HAWT) Ken Watanabe in it! I’m going to find and rewatch sometime this week! xoxoxo

      • March says:

        Yep, pretty sure it’s Tampopo! Weird thing is, I watched some snippets on YouTube to confirm, and I KNOW I saw that movie, and I don’t remember it either! I’mo rewatch as well.