Tuesday, September 30, 2008


This weekend, Dorie and I visited my sister in Chicago. I got an aisle seat but Dorie traveled in baggage with tomatoes, chard, basil and arugula from my garden. Adding more weight were a super-sized zucchini and my Dimply Plum Cake. The plan: 1) I'd cook a fabulous dinner for my sister & her husband, 2) we'd eat the DP Cake, and 3) we'd bake a TWD recipe together.

We did all the fun things sisters do. We had morning coffee with pumpkin bread, took a bike ride, shopped at Nordstrom's Rack, had pedicures at a fancy salon (the best foot massage I've ever had), walked & talked. We took a mini-tour of downtown Chicago on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon & checked out niece Emily's apartment with views of the city & nephew Mike's (& Steph's) cool loft-style space in a converted pencil factory.

We did our share of eating, including dinner at Cafe Ba Ba Reeba http://www.cafebabareeba.com/), a bustling paella - tapas bistro in downtown Chicago. Great service - our waitress was attentive & other servers hovered about our table bringing endless tapas & signature dishes of chicken paella plus calderos, a rustic soup-like stew of rice & mushrooms.

Did I eat too much? Sure. This was a two-handed dining experience. White sangria in one hand and tapas in the other. Tapas of note: calamari, riojo short ribs, eggplant with goat cheese. I did not think I could eat another bite, but a real baker wouldn't pass up a slice of birthday cake from Dinkel's. Dinkels has been a Chicago institution since 1922 & is still run by the same family (with computers now). This was a deep dark chocolate experience with alternating layers of chocolate cake, thick fudge and whipped cream with strawberries.

This being Chicago, we watched sports with my brother-in-law. But, what were they thinking when they built that saucer-like stadium inside Soldiers' Field? We also watched the 1st Presidential debate, candidate interviews (real and fake), and all the bad news on the financial crisis. When the news became too depressing, we made apple cake and rugelach.

Rugelach (p.150) is a family tradition. My grandmother made hers with yeast dough & apricot filling. Dorie's cookies are smaller so you can eat more and equally tasty. We made a double recipe and 2 kinds of fillings: a) chocolate/walnut/rasberry jam filling, and b) chocolate/gourmet nut-fruit mix/apricot jam filling. I was surprised that we all preferred the apricot version. Seems that Grandma had it right all along!


Cathy said...

Sounds like the perfect weekend, and your rugelach looks heavenly! I would have assumed that I'd prefer raspberry, but now I'll have to be sure to try the apricot, too. I totally want to make these for a family trip we're taking in a couple of weeks. You are right -- baking is a great way to get our minds off all of the depressing and unsettling things happening in the world.

Cathy said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog. I clerked in NYC during law school, but followed a boy down south and now practice in Birmingham, Alabama. I have read many of Judge Brozman's decisions over the years, and some of my partners have appeared before her in different cases. She had a top-notch reputation as a bankruptcy judge, and from what I have heard she was an equally wonderful human being. I am sorry for the tragic, untimely loss for your family.

Baking is definitely better than practicing law - so great call there.

Rachel said...

I LOVE how you brought Dorie in your suitcase!

Joanna said...

I love Cafe Babareeba - good choice. Next time I recommend Cafe 28 for Cuban food and mojitos!
And now my criticism: the Cubs play in historic Wrigley Field. The flying saucer is Soldier Field, where the Chicago Bears play football.