On (and at) the Market

Look out world. Guess who is back on the market? That’s right. I am single again. Let me tell you, the only thing worse than being 30 and single is being 30 and in the wrong relationship. It has been just over a month but I am determined to avoid the online dating path, so I am going strictly with reputable set-ups for as long as I can. Know anyone? Send them my way. I only have three requirements.

1. Impeccable dental hygiene

2. Must hate cats

3. Must hate people that like cats.

He’s out there somewhere. I know it. He is likely flossing at this very minute.

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I have been meaning to visit Plum Market since it opened a few months ago but I finally made my debut appearance this Sunday. As you might imagine, there was a thunderous applause when I entered the produce section.

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As a person who grew up in the Detroit suburbs, I was excited that the market from Michigan had finally arrived in Chicago. Below are my notes.

Pros

-Immaculately clean. I would readily eat dinner off the Plum Market floor, without any fear of attaining hepatitis.

-I want to clear the store’s inventory. The wine selection, bakery with goods from Zingerman’s and salad bar crafted by a person with OCD, all make me want to curl up in a sleeping bag near the artisan cheeses.

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-It is a monopoly. There is really no other market like Plum in Chicago. It seems that it has taken the best elements of Whole Foods, Mariano’s and local co-ops and made it its own entity.

-There is an attached parking structure that is free for up to two hours. I don’t have a car, but I parked my unicycle in one of the reserved spots.

Con, singular

-Holy sticker shock. The prices are insane. I am normally not one who notices prices, but a six-pack of soda for nine dollars? There better be Veuve somewhere in those cans.

Though there is only one con, it is certainly a major one and until I get my Christmas bonus (Jelly of the Month Club), you can find me in the aisles at Trader Joe’s. I’ll save Plum Market for special occasions only.

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Sunday, Bloody Sunday

You know that rare feeling when you walk into a restaurant and everything just works? The ambiance, the decor, the service and the food all meld together perfectly and just being there puts you in a better mood? This was yesterday for me. A crazy torrential storm on a Sunday makes most people, myself included, unmotivated and tempted to stay in all day. Luckily, I bypassed that mentality and made my way to Trenchermen, my new favorite restaurant. The minute I walked in, I was a fan. White subway tiles, candles, a dark mahogany bar and vintage white curtains adorn the cozy and classically cool space.

I started with an epic Bloody Mary garnished with pickled vegetables and salami. I am pretty sure that I can’t pull off using the word epic but I am trying to be as cool as Trenchermen.

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My counterpart and I split the pretzel cinnamon roll as an appetizer. Initially, I was a bit disappointed that the cinnamon roll was not adorned with the gooey white icing that makes a cinnamon roll a cinnamon roll, however, upon tasting it, I quickly changed my mind. I haven’t tasted the infamous cronut yet, but I felt that this cinnamon roll was a better version of one. Light, flaky, decadent. Amazing. Have you ever tasted anything with a streusel topping that was not epic? Am I pulling it off yet?

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The waitress recommended the corned beef benedict, which made her the best waitress in the world. I am not typically a benedict person but consider me converted. Remember earlier when I mentioned everything melding together perfectly? This dish was case in point. I typically attribute corned beef to a sandwich at a Jewish deli on rye bread. This corned beef was more tender than my arm after a flu shot and it was adorned by perfectly poached eggs, a sauce that was hollandaise’s sophisticated older brother and roasted pieces of eggplant instead of hash browns. I will be dreaming about this benedict for years to come, or at least until next weekend when I plan on going for brunch and dinner on the same day.

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More Egg Sauce

If you are Jewish and from Highland Park, as most people who are reading this blog are, you are likely part of the cult that has spent the majority of their birthdays and Christmases at Ron of Japan or as you like to call it, Ron Jon’s. I am still confused where the Jon’s came from. Anyone? The really intense followers cut off the Jon and go solely with Ron’s. They are on a first name basis with this chain that is in my opinion, the definition of an oxymoron.

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The fire that makes onion and butter seep into your clothes

A few weeks back, one of my friends, who happens to be from Highland Park, was craving Ron’s and asked me to go with her. She is a particularly loyal follower. For those of you who have never heard of Ron of Japan, let me back up. Ron of Japan is a hibachi style Japanese restaurant. You sit in a half circle sometimes with strangers, sometimes with friends and slowly feel the waistband of your pants expand as you are served chicken noodle soup, ginger salad, shrimp with egg sauce, fried rice and for dessert, meat and vegetables. The chef makes a vegetable volcano, sometimes he turns the fried rice into the shape of a heart, he flips the shrimp tails with his spatula. You leave smelling like you took a jacuzzi in onions and your stomach churns like a chainsaw for two days afterward.

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The beginning of the end

The appeal? Right. Getting there. I briefly touched on the egg sauce when I summarized the typical meal at “Ron’s”. The egg sauce is reason enough to go to Ron of Japan. It is also reason enough to not go. Imagine an egg yolk, solidified, and made to taste like a relative of truffle butter. It tastes so good going down that you ask for egg sauce not only for your shrimp, as is standard protocol, but also for your fried rice. That’s right. Fried rice. With egg yolk on top. Do not get your cholesterol checked after a night at Ron of Japan.

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Fried rice topped with egg sauce. Oh yeah!

Then there is the aftermath. If you do not feel sufficiently sick after you leave, then you did something wrong.

Bottom Line: If you want to taste great egg sauce and feel intense shooting pains afterward, go to Ron of Japan.