I’ve never been to Chicago. Ever. I am so damn excited. Yes, I want deep-dish pizza, but beyond that, I’m not sure where I should go. When I travel, beyond doing a lot of walking and pointing with my camera, I’m usually focused on the food (the hole in the wall with the best damn whatever). It’s as if I like something more if it comes from a dump of a place. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to go to Alinea or Charlie Trotter’s (I own almost all of his cook books), but I’m traveling alone. I have no one with whom to eat.
I was recently in New York, eating with another couple at L’Impero (I highly recommend it to anyone in NY), and beside us sat a Japanese woman, by herself, blowing out a candle. I clapped and wasn’t sure what to make of spending your birthday alone at a formal restaurant. Yes, we come into this world alone, leave it alone, blah blah. But celebrating it alone? I just don’t know. Yes, we can say it was a lovely birthday because we spent it doing what we love, writing in a cafe, eating a good meal, blah blah. But really, is it special if no one is in your life to watch you blow out the candles? Life is special. Having my health. But it’s not really birthday confetti material. Though if you are traveling alone, it somehow makes it more palatable to celebrate your birthday with linen at a formal restaurant (if fine dining is your thing). So, even though by October 10 my birthday will have passed, why shouldn’t I celebrate something while dining at a fine restaurant in Chicago?
This year is the first time I’ll be celebrating my birthday without my friends or immediate family, aside from Senor Suitor. I’m happy though, despite missing the evites and the drinks and the excuse for us to all get together (I also just saw everyone at the wedding). I might be the woman who eats alone at a restaurant like Alinea, but I’d enjoy it so much more with company. And I’m thankful that I won’t be alone on my birthday (which is this Friday, Sept. 29… not in October when I’ll be on tour).
I would however LOVE to go out for an evening with my Chicago & San Francisco readers. I think it would be nice if, perhaps after the reading and signing, we all go somewhere for adult beverages (yes, blah, blah, we know mine will be of the maternitini variety). Suggestions for a place are welcome (preferably close to the reading), along with anywhere else I simply cannot miss while I’m in town. I’ve been to San Francisco four times, and I adore it. There are certain places I will absolutely hit (like Bell’occhio, my favorite ribbon store!), but I’d love some shopping companions… so just speak up.