Thursday, May 3, 2012

Dinner w/ (The Parents of) the US Ambassador to Israel.. No Big Deal

God, I love being staffed in town. A couple of weeks ago, my director graced me with the most delightful of news... I could work from Chicago for the entire month.

That's right... the ENTIRE month.

Yes. You heard right. E-N-T-I-R-E.

In case you can't tell, I'm still on cloud nine with the news. But I can't help it! I just love my apartment, I love Chicago, I love my life in Chicago... so you better believe I am taking FULL advantage of this month in Chicago. Who knows how long this'll last, really?

So, last night, I ended up doing one of my favorite things in Chicago, that I haven't done in MONTHS because I haven't been in town (darn travel). I'm part of Columbia's Chicago alumni group and they host an alumni dinner at a different restaurant every month or so... the host of this "dinner club" of sorts is le-git- the places he picks are always SPOT. ON.

Granted, the last few times I went (months and months ago), it was totally hit or miss what the turnout was going to be like. I mean, attendance was so skimpy for a few of the dinners that they were thinking of ending the "epicurean circle" for good. So, needless to say, when I sauntered in just a FEW minutes late (darn traffic) to our Turkish dinner at Turquoise (in Roscoe Village), I was a little blindsided with the turnout...

There were literally NO empty spots... but thankfully, one of the group's leaders offered me his chair while he... well, kind of sat in a corner. Sigh... oh well.

I figured it was going to be pretty hard to go wrong with this dinner pick- Mediterranean/Turkish cuisine is, after all, my FAVORITE type of cooking. And boy, was I right. This was one of the BEST dinners I've had in quite some time... from the appetizers to the main course(s) to dessert- you really couldn't go wrong. And boy, did we get our money's worth...

Complete with our very own speaker, guiding us through each dish and various Turkish fun facts throughout the evening...

To, of course, the food...

So. Much. Food.

And, of course, no meal would be complete without...

God bless dessert. Whoever invented the concept really does deserve a gold star.

But it wasn't JUST the food that was so delightful... with 40+ people crammed into a private dining room in the restaurant, you can be guaranteed it was surely one big family style meal. Let's just say I got to know my neighbors VERY well...

God, the Shapiros. They are only the most adorable couple... quite possibly ever. I actually lucked out, being able to sit next to them last evening. As soon as we started chitchatting, my memory just clicked and I TOTALLY remember having sat by them at another dinner over a year ago. They just have such a cool history, have such interesting travel stories, and have SUCH an interesting family. I specifically remembered them from last time, because they were telling me about how their youngest daughter had just gotten married to some guy she met because they were stuck together in a broken down vehicle during some group vacation of sorts. And now they are expecting their first baby and everything! Isn't that SUCH AN INTERESTING STORY?!?!?! Sigh. Well, it was to me. It was certainly touching enough for me to remember it over a year later... which is saying a LOT considering how bad of a memory I have. 

Anyway, as if that weren't enough... get this- their son used to work for like the Department of Defense under Obama last time I had spoken with this couple... and now?

Well, now, their son just happens to be... that's right, the US Ambassador to Israel.

You know, no big deal.

Come ON. An AMBASSADOR?? You have to admit, that's pretty awesome. (That, along with being an author and/or a news anchor and/or a talk show host, was another dream job of mine... clearly, I dream big... and random.) In any event, you better believe I snagged a picture with the Shapiros.

Shamelessness has no bounds, after all....

All in all, such a delightful evening. I love adorable people... I love meeting (parents of) famous people... I love trying new restaurants... and oh, who am I kidding?

I. Love. Chicago. 

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