Monday, July 26, 2010

Violet Hour

This is the violet hour, the hour of hush and
wonder, when the affections glow again and valor is reborn, when the shadows
deepen magically along the edge of the forest and we believe that, if we watch
carefully, at any moment we may see the unicorn.
- Bernard DeVoto "The Hour"

Ahh, Chicago! Technically, I'm in the Chicago suburbs as I write this, but whatever.

It's been a whirlwind. I arrived at Union Station at 4 on Saturday and negotiated a drive-by pickup with Brenda via text message. Success! And I didn't get lost, either. Did you know the Caribou Coffee adjacent to Union Station is closed on the weekends? I didn't, either.

Brenda and I headed for Wicker Park, a neat neighborhood north (I think!) of downtown for the evening. After waking up with some caffeine and chatting in velvet chairs at Starbucks, we headed out in search of the Violet Hour. One of Brenda's former co-workers recommended the place--there's apparently a sister bar in Minneapolis. We knew the address and walked down Damen Avenue. And kept on walking. The bar was so well-disguised we walked past it once!

And then we went in. This place was Awesome. They said it did not open until 6 p.m., and thinking we were losers for being there early, we slunk in at 6:10, hoping we weren't the first people there. We weren't--the bar seating was half full, and the seating area had several people settled in already.

Not that we could see. Once you enter the bar, you go through sets of curtains and it feels like you're in a dark abyss because it is so dim. We could not see where we were going, so I was super-careful NOT to knock over a candlelit table as I tried to stumble after the hostess. Both B and I had to "feel around" for our seats--which turned out to be really comfortable high-back, padded chairs.

Once our eyes adjusted, we could see each other and the drink menus just fine. The Violet Hour is a Prohibition-style place, place and they handcraft their own bitters and several house items. I had a Moscow Mule with Tito's vodka, lime and ginger syrup. Heavenly. And strong!

After mellowing out with our pre-dinner drinks, we cabbed it over to our dinner party destination. OMG, was the food good. Cold avocado soup, jumbo grilled shrimp, pork shoulder, and some other Cuban delicacies. And some fantastic company.

I could get used to evenings like this!

Next time: Why I was running through Brenda's neighborhood yelling "HOOCH!!!!!"

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