Or The Wily Temptress does Chicago with a gang young enough to be her children. Oh, wait, they are her children:
The female chatter in the car helped the drive to the windy city pass quickly. All the way from Detroit in 3 1/2 hours to sitting on the freeway for 35 minutes only 5 miles from our destination. The secret to doing a quick weekend away is to leave by noon and arrive in time to settle in and prepare to get the most out of your 2 nights away.
That means food and your pre-night on the town cocktails. Being the practical woman I am, I had drug all of the ingredients for dinner in my cooler. It wasn't mommy benevolence that motivated me to plan ahead. I didn't need ESP to know my daughter would slink in from a week of travel for work and need to be revived if she were to be any good to us at all.
Chicken breasts were thrown on the grill and pasta was quickly made with an overpriced but yummy jar of Williams-Sonama's Creamy Florentine Sauce. Some of those good old North Carolina tomatoes were sliced up, seasoned and we had a fantastic meal to go along with our our sassy margaritas. We sipped and people watched from the second floor balcony fabricating stories about the people passing by.
Feeling refreshed we spilled out onto the sidewalk in the cool night air and off we went to find fun in the Fulton Market District. And I assure you there is plenty of fun to be found there. We ventured deeper into the Meat Packing district to the children's favorite low key hang out, The Fulton Lounge.
Justin, a gorgeous young man welcomed us at the door and asked for ID. "Surely you don't need mine young man." I do believe he was flirting with me when he said, "Missy, that most definitely means you too." He said it in such a sincere way that I took a liking to him right there on the spot. He smoothly chatted us to the perfect area in the lounge for our group of 6.
The lounge is situated in a hundred year old building, a former book binding factory just a few blocks north of restaurant row on Randolph making it a perfect place for before or after dinner drinks. Even though the space is urban and expansive it's thoughtfully furnished to provide a low key vibe, totally sophisticated but not pretentious in any way. Music plays in an unobtrusive way and the staff is attentive without taking over the show.
I like a place that knows it's mission and sticks to it. I'd surmise there objective is to have an environment that's conducive to intimate conversation and cocktailing within the community. I had a hard time choosing from their unique martini menu but I went with the Fulton Essence. It was made with Sky Melon Vodka, watermelon elixir, home made sour and fresh lime. The night was off to a great start.
I was reluctant to leave as soon as we did but I had given control of our travels over to the locals. Next thing I knew they popped us all in a Taxi to head over to the River North District's hot spot of the evening, Zed 451. I moaned a bit about not staying in their neighborhood so we could walk around instead of paying cab fare and they were all, "don't worry mom we'll get the Zed bus to take us home." I know when my leg is being pulled but I just let it go because I was determined to milk every drop of enjoyment out of the evening.
When I'm wrong I say I'm wrong. Zed 451 had a wonderful mojo going on. It was energizing but not overwhelming with a constant flow of different groups coming and going on their way to somewhere else.We ordered up a plate of Spicy Chicken Empanadas with dipping sauce. They were a great taste bud tease arriving piping hot and crispy.
The bartenders know how to handle themselves and keep things moving which really is a feat when you observe them making their specialty cocktails.
They have a a juicer built into the bar where as quick as a wink they'll have whatever fresh juice needed for your selection squeezed into their magic mix and served up in a perfectly chilled glass.
I was sorely tempted by our friendly bartender to try the Blueberry Thyme martini, but I had already committed to trying the Kiwi Basil Martini. As he chatted with my daughter I realized he was retelling the incident that had occurred the weekend before when another visitor of my daughters got involved in some loud drama with her jerky boyfriend.
We piled back out into the lovely summer night air and was about to suggest we do a little city strolling. But what to my wondering eyes does appear? There really is a Zed bus, willing and able to drive us back to the apartment. It felt totally decadent to be carted home in our very own bus.
We offered to bring our driver down some freshly baked banana bread and a couple of North Carolina tomatoes but he thought I was just being polite. I guess he doesn't read Sasstown or he'd know I don't say things I don't mean and I really appreciated the Free Ride.
Which led me to think about that old Edgar Winter song, Free Ride. Click hear to see the psychedelic You Tube of the official 70's party song. We were a little delirious by this time since we had all been up since dawn to make this trip happen to celebrate my sister in law's 65th birthday. The night was topped off at home with a crazy little dance party. A week later and I'm still recovering.