Tuesday, June 21, 2022

‘Shall I chew that for you, sir?’

     My gut tells me that light columns of a personal nature are probably both out-of-step with journalistic fashion and not smart, from a self-protection standpoint. Indeed, as I was writing this, I remembered with a shudder that the great Gene Weingarten, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner at the Washington Post, was shown the gate after just such a column, for failure to sufficiently appreciate Indian cuisine. So if it seems like my praise is one twist too strong, that was deliberate, my winking tribute to Gene. 

     I turned 62 last week, and new indignities of age already are rushing at me, with their seltzer bottles and flappy paddles, the calliope of time wheezing derisively in the background. You’d think, at threescore and a pair, I’d expect them by now. But no.
     We caught the 5:22 to Union Station Thursday night to take our younger son out for an elegant birthday dinner — his, not mine; our birthdays are less than a week apart. He chose Rooh, a trendy progressive Indian restaurant on West Randolph Street.
     On the trip downtown, I entertained myself cooking up lame dad puns that I knew later would have to be manfully suppressed. 
     “I hear the chef is opening a French version of this place, called ‘Rue’, serving Paris street food ...”
     “Have you been to his Cajun cafe, ‘Roux’?”
     “The chef has one of these in Australia, too. ‘Roo.’”
     Really, it’s a sickness.
     A pleasant stroll west and north from Union Station. Well, OK, young people did tend to blast up to us, pause as if confused, even slightly offended that we didn’t automatically hop out of their way, then grudging factor our perplexing existence into their navigational systems, then vector around us, picking up speed, like comets slingshotting around a pair of lifeless moons.
     We got to Rooh and joined the knot of supplicants at the front door. Edging to the maître d’ station, we gave our son’s name. The gatekeepers huddled, consulted, glanced at us, disapprovingly. Looked at a screen again, murmured, reluctantly agreed it seemed this couple has a reservation upstairs.

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  1. So if your gut told your that light columns of a personal nature are probably both out-of-step with journalistic fashion and not smart, from a self-protection standpoint, did you rue writing this?

  2. Call me an out-of-touch geezer, but the very thought of paying $71 per person at a "trendy progressive Indian restaurant" is abhorrent to me. I am not now, and never have been, either trendy or a foodie...and I'm not ashamed to admit it..

    My favorite Cleveland "eatery" was the late and lamented Sokolowski's, an eastern European "comfort food" place, heavy on the meat and potatoes. It was killed off by the Plague after almost a century in business. A luxury apartment building, natch, will soon replace it.

    Just got back from three days in the Chicago area. My wife and I could have gone almost anywhere that wasn't utterly unaffordable. Our choices? The Fish Keg, at Howard and Ridge, a Portillo's in the boonies, and Rosita's...a decades-old Mexican place out in DeKalb.

    I'll take an enchilada or fried perch or an Italian beef over any trendy fare, thank you very much. Especially a juicy Chicago-style Italian beef. They're almost nonexistent in northeast Ohio. My wife tells me that Portillo's is going national (they're already in eight states). But by the time they get to Cleveland, I'll probably be using my season tickets for the Angels.

    1. Hey Grizz...loved to see the mention of Rosita's. They opened in one small one room in 1972 when I was at NIU. They are still a family owned place (kids took it over) and have expanded at least twice over the decades. Delicious memories.

    2. I was there, too. But I was a townie. Lived at South 5th and Franklin, right in the neighborhood. It hasn't changed all that much in half-a-century, although my house has been gone for years, along with the rest of the block

      Rosita's was originally a single small storefront, which eventually grew into a whole row of storefronts. The interior has changed drastically, but not the quality of the Mexican food..it's still as good as ever. Whenever we drove up to Minnesota to see my mother and sister, we always stopped for a big meal at Rosita's, which is about halfway between Cleveland and the Twin Cities.

      A great deal of what made early 70s DeKalb a special place has either changed forever, or is gone with the persistent prairie wind.. But not Rosita's.

  3. I love The Fish Keg, been going there for decades & live just a mile & a half away from it.

    1. No more fried smelts, though. Those days are gone forever. Whatta bummer!

  4. I picked up a taste for Indian food living in London, and the last time I visited I stayed in a neighborhood with an Indian or Pakistani restaurant on every corner. Brings to mind an old Punch cartoon showing a couple of blokes sitting at a Mediterranean cafe. The caption read "I'm getting tired pf this foreign grub. Can't wait to get back to the High Street for a nice Tikki Massella. "


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