So Eliza Frye’s in town and we spent the day tromping around Chicago, taking her fabulous book to a bunch of comic book stores. After hitting Alleycat, we were feeling a little hungry and in need of a rest.
“There’s an Algerian crepe restaurant on the corner,” I told Eliza.
“How do you remember where all of these restaurants are?” she asked. I… I don’t know. The same way my little brother remembered every dinosaur’s Latin name when he was nine, I guess. This is the information that’s important to me, the stuff that sticks in my head.
Anyway, I’d gotten takeout from Icosium once, and I remembered liking it, but it was nothing compared to eating in the restaurant. It’s a sweet, intimate little place, very charming, ornate but not intimidating, and super friendly. The vegetable soup – I was told it had butternut squash, potato, sweet potato, onions and garlic and other things in it – was absolutely perfect, much milder than I was expecting from an Algerian place, and delicately spiced. It was just pureed vegetables and spices, they said, no cream or anything, and it really didn’t need it. The crepe came out decorated with pomegranate seeds, pear and melon and orange slices. The merguez – that’s a special kind of spicy lamb sausage from North Africa – was distinct and powerful without being overwhelming, and the sweetness of the caramelized onions and pomegranate offset it perfectly. The fresh mint leaves on everything was a really nice touch, too. Highly recommend!
If you’re in Chicago, we’ll be at Challengers Comics on Friday, Dec 30! Eliza will be signing copies of her book Regalia, and she’ll have a lot of prints and other little goodies as well. Come on down and say hi!
This is how easy it is to make me really giddily happy: Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout. It’s at least another month before I’ll get to have any of this season’s batch, but Parker, a saint among bartenders, had some of last year’s batch squirreled away and just cold GAVE it to me, because he knows I like it. Okay, maybe “like” isn’t a strong enough modifier: Cappuccino Stout is very probably my favorite beer ever, I look forward to it all winter long.
Of course it’s all gone already. We drank it on Christmas with some Canadian Breakfast Stout and Pumpking, among other delicious beers. Je ne regrette rien!
All right! I’m feeling much better now, but between hammering away at the Shuteye book, getting sick, and the general chaos of the holidays, I took a little unscheduled break there, sorry about that. Here’s the delicious (if non traditional) holiday dinner we had last night. My friend Randi made the biscuits and skillet cornbread, I made a giant pot of vegetarian chili (and was complimented multiple times on balancing the spices so well), and Niles put together these weird but amazingly delicious little lobster pizza things. We all cleaned out the dark heavy beers we’d been saving, and we even had a Buche de Noel cake! I think I’ll devote an entire comic to that thing.
Anyway, I’m still moving too slow to do the food diary bits, but I promise we’ll be back to normal by Wednesday’s comic. Happy holidays!
This will be a brief one, because I’m feeling under the weather, and I’m cheating a little bit because I drew this a while ago and just never uploaded it. But it’s double-sized, to make up for it! The only thing that makes this almost vegetarian is the Worcestershire sauce, which few people ever seem to remember contains anchovies. I love this recipe, because this is the type of cooking that I’m best at – throwing a bunch of things in a pot, improvising with amounts and ingredients and spices until you get it juuuuust right. But I especially love this recipe in the winter time, because it’s so hearty and good for you. Vegetables galore! Three types of beans! And if you add portobello mushroom, chopped super, super fine, it even tastes like it’s got meat in it.
Okay. If I can manage to fight this cold off for the holiday, this will be our Christmas dinner, along with skillet cornbread and a Buche de Noël. And now I’m going to sleep and cross my fingers that this virus doesn’t decide to stay with me for very long.
We walked out of Stanley’s tonight with arms weighed down with heavy bags, and I asked Niles: “what was the damage?”
23.01. I can’t believe it. The onions alone – and there are seven or so giant ones – were 90 cents. I’d be at Stanley’s a lot more often if it wasn’t a train and a bus away.
Anyway! Much of this is going to be Christmas dinner – I think we’re going to make a giant mammoth bowl of vegetarian chili. Or, almost-vegetarian chili. It’s based on a recipe my older brother made up, which I have improved upon (shut up Jeff it’s totally improved), and maybe I’ll post the recipe later this week. Chili can be tricky – everyone has their own particular way of making it, and people can get really picky, but Jeff’s Chili (improved by Sarah) is pretty great no matter what kind of chili you like. And there are so many veggies in it, it’s practically a superfood! So more on that later.
Ok guys!! By the time this comic posts, the Kickstarter will be pretty much done! In the last few weeks (and probably for the next several weeks) every free moment that I’m not working on Sauceome is spent working on the Shuteye book. Comics all the time, comics forever! Semper Comics!
So, I’m pretty sure the other night I had my first proper bowl of ramen. I mean, besides the 20 cent Maruchan packets we all ate in college, right? This was a big bowl of spicy broth, with tender noodles, tons of roasted garlic, sprouts, bamboo shoots, tender pork cheek, piles of scallions, topped off with a delicious soft-boiled egg. Now I’m kind of sad for all the meals I’ve had that weren’t this bowl of ramen.
Okay, maybe I’m prone to hyperbole. But seriously, this was absolutely delicious. Perfect for a chilly rainy evening, like a big warm garlicky hug in a bowl. I got this at Wasabi on Milwaukee. We kind of wrote this place off at first – we went there when they first opened, and their menu was kind of small. But now the menu’s packed with tons of different types of noodle bowls and yakitori, as well as a crazy amount of sushi. とても おいしい です！
Oh man, you guys; there are only TWO DAYS left on the Kickstarter! Thank you thank you thank you to everyone who’s contributed, you guys are the best. I’m working diligently on cover design and page layouts, and I’ve just finished putting the finishing touches on writing the epilogue. I am SO EXCITED for this book.
I was going to do a comic comparing Glühwein to Glögg but honestly, they’re just way too similar.
When I first moved to Chicago, I lived in Andersonville, a historically Swedish neighborhood on the north side. By the time I lived there, it wasn’t THAT Swedish anymore – sure, there were a few Swedish delis (there’s only one left now), and a handful of Swedish restaurants and the Swedish-American museum; but as far as I could tell there were more Turkish restaurants and gay bars than Swedish things. Still, the residual Scandinavian-ness is strong – once winter hits, every bar, every liquor store, every restaurant (even the Turkish ones) sells Glögg. You can have it with dinner, you can get it fresh and piping hot at Simon’s, you can but it pre-mixed at the liquor store on the corner.
But if you don’t have a sizeable Swedish population in your town, you can also MAKE Glögg. This is Niles’s typical recipe when he makes it for me, but Glögg is kind of like sangria or chili or stew – there are LOTS of different ways to throw a bunch of delicious things in a pot. Some recipes call for vodka or aquavit. Some call for cooking it on high for only 15 minutes. Some call for just as much port and brandy as wine! Some toss raisins and almonds in the cup for snacking on after you finish your drink. The important thing is: HOT MULLED WINE. Wrap yourself in a blanket and ladle it into a mug, it will get you through the long dark winter nights.
One of my last few plugs for this: The Kickstarter is almost over!! Only a few days left to get in on it!
Niles and I went to the Christkindl market this weekend! It had been at least a few years since I’d been – I don’t live or work near downtown, so I rarely get a chance to wander around downtown Chicago. But it’s gorgeous down there in December, all lit up and festive. And the whole Christkindl Market smells like sausage and donuts and potato pancakes and schnitzel and chocolate and spicy mulled wine, it’s heavenly. Unfortunately I wasn’t all that hungry when we were there, but we did enjoy some little ceramic boots of delicious glühwein.
Hey, there’s less than a week to go on the Kickstarter! I’m funded (hooray!), so I don’t really need any more pledges, but pledging IS the best way to get the book at $5.00 off the eventual cover price, so that’s a nice deal.