Sifu Mohr once said that we needed to strive to improve all our lives. We looked at him uncomprehendingly, eventually we would age and fail. In the senior instructor’s class our goal was always to train harder, be fiercer, stronger, more powerful. Master Mohr taught us that there is the hard and the soft, the perfect positioning of the arm for a block, flawless footwork, unshakable balance, anticipation and flow. The hard skills will always wane in time, but the soft skills can be honed as long as we are willing.
It’s been a lifetime since I was a martial artist and this is a lesson which took decades to learn. Where else can I better my mind, my spirit, my body, for when we cease to grow, we start to die. While part of me diminishes, I can continue to strive for wisdom, to love better.
There are doors in life that I would have bashed down that I now knock and ask permission to enter. Is that not improvement ?
My dad enjoyed his cups. But every year for one month he would abstain from drink. Of course he always chose February, the shortest month. I suppose leap years were an extra trial. Therefore I will return in March to the blogging world. Hope to see you in a bit.
It’s funny how pecking order works at a business lunch. The waitress approaches the end of the table and asks the junior member what he prefers for a beverage. He hesitates, then blurts out iced tea. Around the seats she goes, and lemonade, Arnold Palmer ( a Chicago drink of 1/2 lemonade 1/2 iced tea ) , water, coke join the list until she comes to the leader. He looks around, says “I’ll have a glass of wine,” and immediately seven other orders get changed.
Restaurants grow and change, and this one continues to grow and gets better and better.
Cooper’s Hawk has a big wine list as they are a vintner, I took a taste of a Meritage ( a blend which should drink like a Bordeaux ), but it was a bit lite so I settled on a nice oakey chardonnay.
Of course a larger group means more appetizers — the Mexican egg rolls and calamari were fun, the potstickers outstanding. I even tried the crab-cake, and found it full of crab meat which retained the feel and light flavor crab is so famous for. This was a great warm up.
Then the cheese plate and pretzel bread. I suspect that if I were Super-man, pretzel bread might have qualities of kryptonite.
One thing I admire at Cooper’s Hawk is that they really offer good lunch selections with smaller portion size. I chose the pork medallions, mashed potatoes and asparagus. It was Estafee ( a reference to H. Beam Piper’s Fuzzy Papers for Sci-fi fans, which translates to essential and great )
Then it was time for dessert. I was up for something different, and tried their home-made ice-cream sandwich. Thin slices of banana, a wafer with a crisp toasted texture delicious ice-cream and a very light subtly sweep syrup. Each bite was a delight of texture, balanced flavor, subtly sweet wrapped around the richness of ice cream. This is one of the best desserts I have chanced across.
Of course then it’s the expresso ( the smallest amount of coffee possible ) to get through the afternoon.
Great meals are always enhanced by conversation and company. The people and sharing are what makes dining fine.
“You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us” – Robert Louis Stevenson
I seem to have known more great dogs than people, most of that fault I am sure is mine. Still, to love fully and live always in the moment are admirable traits. Farewell Teddi, I suppose we will call you our “dog in law”, you served my sister well.
When it was bedtime for my youngest a lifetime ago, I would stop in and we would sing a short song, then I would place my hand on her forehead and give her a blessing.
One night I must have been distracted, and as I was leaving, she said “Dad” in an exasperated tone then took my hand and placed it on her forehead.
I Learned that night, never withhold a blessing.
Of course, this is the same child who received a hard cure for bad dreams.
Expense accounts are Sirens, urging us to abandon restraint and indulge the senses…. Oh the calories…. On the other hand I suppose we must help out the economy…. This has been a week of lunching out as the merger rolls on and local vendors stop by for one last visit.
When you dine at White Chocolate in Naperville if you can eat on the patio ( not feasible when the temperature is 8 degrees ) or in the small room the experience is the best. The big room is too loud for my taste as it makes conversation difficult. But when it comes to the table, only good words come to mind.
Start with the Ahi tuna sushi
Then move to the soup, a tomato gin soup with mushrooms and a hint of bacon. It’s a bit salty but rich and creamy. It was perfect for dipping the pretzel bread which came with honeyed butter.
Their French Dip sandwich and fresh roasted beet salad. The prime-rib is thinly sliced and so tender that it really does melt in your mouth. Their home made creamy horse radish makes the perfect compliment to this wonderful sandwich.
For dessert, a desert with one extra “S” we tried the banana creme pie. It has a thick crumbly graham cracker crust, filling and white chocolate swirls. It is very good. A little espresso to try to keep me awake in the afternoon.
I always enjoy visits here, too bad with the merger this might be the last one…
How to celebrate ? Call ahead to your favorite chef and ask them to do a foie gras. It’s not on the menu, but if you’re lucky….
Start with a sweet white, it adds perfectly to the rich taste of the foie gras.
Foie gras, on a roasted lady apple with mushrooms and a heavenly sauce.
Next the big red which opened up wonderfully as we dined.
For dessert, a cheese plate…
A wine infused fig, Amish blue cheese, Bellavitano with a wine rind, pistachios, local cheeses and a drizzle of caramel, organic honey, cranberry jam
Another great meal from Chef Amaury.
When we have lived with anger for a long time it’s hard to let it go. It leaves a void in us, one to be filled by hope or despair. It seems more difficult to open to hope. Perhaps that’s why we cling so to anger, the alternative seems much more frightening.
May you be brave enough to let go of your anger and dare to hope.