My friend Colleen lives in St Charles, which is F-A-R. I don’t have a car so the only way we see each other is if she drives the hour through ridiculous traffic to Chicago or if I bike/train downtown then hop on a metra for an hour and 15 minutes.
1 hour and 15 minute train ride it is! I brought Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and read over a hundred pages round trip. I’m loving it! It is so funny and violent! And the integrity of the original isn’t lost of made into a joke. It is exactly what I wanted when I imagined one of my favorite books being laced with zombies.
Colleen met me at the train at ten to ten; perfect brunching time! We have a tradition of going to Nosh in Geneva, which is very close to St Charles, apparently. I’m suburb racist (they all look exactly the same to me!), so I never know where we are.
Usually our friend Shawna is with us and the three of us go, but Shawna is summering in Italy. Boy did she miss out on a delicious breakfast! Who would rather be in Italy when you could easily be in Geneva, IL?! Eating at Nosh?!
Certainly not me after I ordered the mushroom, caramelized onion, and herbed goat cheese (man I ate a lot of goat cheese this week) omelet, served with potatoes and multi grain toast. One of the great things about having a place like Nosh you have been to with your girlfriends a million times is that between the three of us I’m pretty sure we have ordered everything on the menu. There is no guessing! Everything is amazing, and this omelet didn’t disappoint. Caramelized onion in an omelet will be making an appearance in my home made omelets very soon.
Colleen ordered something that we always order, the pear polenta, which is always delicious. Nosh has a nice outdoor seating area that we took advantage of, hence Colleen’s hot shades.
Colleen and I, despite the heat, hit up Geneva’s Swedish Days, which was basically a huge sidewalk sale with food stands. Then we walked along the river where we made some new friends.
And we hit up a St Charles staple, Gramps Frozen Custard.
We love Gramps. We love Gramps so much that we walked like two miles in 90+ degree heat there and back.
Gramps always has vanilla, chocolate, and twist, but then they make 4 or 5 special flavors of the day, which Colleen and I took advantage of. Her cookies and cream was amazing, my peppermint was delightful. We ate slowly to put off our steamy walk home.
Cooking with Colleen is like what non-cooks want cooking to be. Every time I make food with this girl I don’t even realize I’m doing it. It’s what I picture Joan Cleaver was like in the kitchen. She chops, she mixes, and out comes an amazing meal.
No kidding, she whipped up this dinner in 10 minutes. That is a strawberry, cranberry, avocado, toasted almond, blue cheese, balsamic vinaigrette-y salad and avocado soup. I’m a cooking dawdler, apparently, because I know that would have taken me half an hour to put together. Colleen mashes some avocados and asks me to chop up some strawberries and I turn around and everything is done! She can whip up a mean pasta dinner in about 7 minutes, too.
We took that salad to town. I could have eaten it straight out of the bowl and never looked back. I make salads and they are chocked full of veggies and for me there is no other option. Strawberries? Duh! Cranberries? Allyson, get it together. Embrace the possibilities!
After dinner I read about zombies while getting very sad Tigers updates (1-8=OUCH) on the train back to the city while watching black clouds roll in. My tummy was full of amazing food, though, so that cut the pain of the Tigers loss and the potentially stormy bike ride back to Logan Square. I made it somehow, dry but for the sweat rolling off my upper lip. I knew a nice Saturday night in was exactly what I needed, so I watched the storms roll in. Me and the zombies.