It looked so inviting. Some of the guys who stay at the hotel talked management into getting a gas grill for the patio. The weather has been mild and the days for grilling are upon us. We would sit on the patio after work and savor the fragrance of the meat cooking on the grill.

We decided it was time for us to do it too. We bought a grill brush of our own to clean the community grill. We went to the great market and got some steaks and colorful veggies and a disposable grill basket to roast the veggies and make our meal complete. We cut and sliced, we sprinkled and marinated. We gathered our utensils, olive oil and glasses of wine. We carefully made our way down the three flights of stairs, making sure that we had everything we needed. We wanted to enjoy the ambiance of the experience without being interrupted by an unnecessary hike back up the stairs.

The moment had arrived. The final topping on the Memorial Day weekend. We set up shop. No one else was around. The sun had settled on the other side of the hotel and the conditions were perfect to enjoy each other and the succulent aroma of onions, steaks and potatoes being seared on the fire. But then the worst thing happened. ….the worst thing DIDN’T happen. It couldn’t be! There was no propane left in the tank? Surely the hotel staff had prepared for a moment such as this. Of course they had a back up tank in their utility shed. The shed couldn’t be just for bags of salt and snow shovels. We just KNEW they had another tank of propane in there to assist the unlucky guest that drew the lottery number for their steak to be held up from turning from red to brown. But it was not to be…..the hotel had no other tanks and no one to obtain one. They were sorry but there will be no gas at the OK Corral Hotel tonight.

It was an anticlimactic Memorial evening as we schlepped back up to our room, taking the elevator this time in defeat, and dragging our raw steak and sad vegetables along with us. We argued over which take-out place to call at this now late hour to be eating dinner. We settled on Jimmy Johns Subs. It was a very poor substitute for a ribeye but at least they do deliver “ridiculously fast” as their ads proclaim. So “Cheers” to our “Turkey Tom” sandwich as the last hours of our Memorial Weekend faded away.

A park along the Rock River.


A Stocked Market

A hotel bizspouse introduced me to a new market today. Wow–it has colorful and unusual fruits and vegetables, seafood that includes lots of fins and eyes and a wine selection that goes on for days.

I was surprised by the large deli and several attentive men offering to provide samples of the wide variety of choice meats and cheeses. There were breads galore and many grains and dried nuts and fruits in homespun cellophane packaging.

I’ve been making a conscious effort to try fruits and veggies that I have not been accustomed to eating and eggplant would be one of them. Ruining a great pasta dish with a poor pasta substitute like eggplant just seems wrong to me. This one looked more user friendly and indeed it was. After a few days of enjoying the flying penguin look, I sliced it thin and roasted it with olive oil and garlic and mmmmm crunchy little fried like morsels appeared on the cookie sheet. This market has peppers of every color, size and description! They were plentiful and they were CHEAP!

So thank you Mrs.Bizspouse from Alabama for showing me yet another interesting local find. Adventures come in large AND small packages.  There are so many reasons to embrace being on the road and a penguin eggplant is just another one of them!

Is it just me or does this little eggplant resemble a flying penguin?