A day of extremes.
Spoonful of Caesar salad on a spoon, frozen in dry ice; sushi cartoon with bluefin tuna, an inkjet picture printed on nori, with carbonated grapes that sizzle on your tongue; champagne and king crab, a little exclamation mark of seafood; French onion soup with a frozen-hot crouton, with liquid nitrogen added, it sizzles mad-scientist style in your bowl; Lobster with freshly-squeezed orange soda, also carbonated; artichoke, hundred-year-old balsamic vinegar; French-fry potatoes, cut by hand into an impossible but true chain link; bass cooked on the table in four-hundred-degree miniature glass tandoori; dry-aged beef with braised pizza ingredients in a remoulade; doughnut soup — the ingredients of doughnut glaze in a cream base soup; and chocolate mousse with liquid center with hot ice cream. All this came with the Moto wine progression: the Duval-Leroy Brut Champagne, Mount Langi Ghiran Riesling, Echeverria “Unwooded” Chardonnay, Vyes Breussin Vouvray Reserve, Vlackenberg Gewurtztraminer, J. Palacios, Petalos del Bierzo from Galecia, C.G. Di Arie Syrah, De Bortoli “Noble One” Botrytis Semillon from New South Wales.
And (as it deserves a line all by itself) the Jaques Puffeney “Cuvee Sacha” Arbois.
A day of extremes. Last night I took the Japanese to Moto Restaurant, an uber-tony restaurant in the old industrial section of Chicago. As a restaurant, Moto is somewhere between Trader Vic’s, Benihana and Cirque du Soleil. Every dish — and in the standard meal, there are ten of them — has a chemical or physical trick straight out of Beakman’s World.
After dinner I towed everyone over to the House of Blues in downtown Chicago for a Steve Vai concert. Steve Vai is the evil dark guitar badass from Crossroads, the heir apparent to American noteheads like Frank Zappa. He put on the most bombastic rock show I have ever attended. Smoke, lasers, costumes, LED-bejeweled guitars, gratuitous leather, and twelve-minute self-indulgent guitar odysseys. It was far past camp, and it was the perfect sensory second course to the gastronomic thunderstorm of Moto. It was a vast two-hour evacuation from deep within the constipated bowels of rock.
A day of extremes. I received a call from Mandy. Her father’s father, having survived open-heart surgery, has been on life support for weeks. Yesterday, he apparently he informed Mandy’s dad that he no longer wants to live.
Independently of this, yesterday, Mandy’s mother’s father has come down with a serious case of pneumonia. While in the hospital, his tests indicated that he has cancer, and the cancer has metastasized into his liver.
Mandy’s mother and father are taking turns at nighttime bedside vigils for him.
Mandy told me all this and then we made a decision.
I walked out of a customer meeting two hours ago, leaving the Japanese engineers behind. Mandy will come from San Francisco, but I will fly direct from Chicago. Our goal is to provide whatever assistance and comfort we can to the step-parents. A day of extremes. The flight leaves in half an hour.