When people dine, they are usually in a relaxed state of mind. This is where they can enjoy their meals as they converse or they can become easily upset, if they are in the wrong company. Our stomachs are sensitive by nature and it is important to carefully choose those with whom we dine. As the old saying goes, “Don’t break bread with the enemy.” Traditionally, breaking bread is an honor to be shared with friends.
In my first novella, A Golden Leaf in Time Revised, Trey is eating at an Ethiopian Restaurant. Some of the dishes are wrapped in the Injera or specialized Ethiopian bread. Preparing each bite is a ritual within itself. Trey has just lost his mother and is in a vulnerable state. As he is deeply engaged in rolling the bread with its stuffing, a woman he does not know comes to his table. Flora is forward as she introduces herself and asks to join him. Though she is quite attractive, he is caught off guard. He is not quite sure how to handle her aggressiveness. She succinctly places herself at his table and ultimately in his life. Things do not turn out well.
Eateries are places where people are partaking in one of the basic necessities of life. Chicago is known for its great food.It is a place where most dates go for good eating, ambience and flowing conversations. My two characters, Tyre and Phoenix get to know each other in several of these settings.
In the sequel, Warm Intrigues, Tyre (Trey’s real name) lives in Evanston on Chicago’s North Shore. Phoenix, on the other hand, lives in the South Suburbs. As they are becoming acquainted, they meet at a variety of restaurants in the city itself, on the North Shore and others places of dining in the South Suburbs.
Their initial date is at an eatery called Leona’s in the heart of Chicago on Taylor Street. It is known for its outstanding lasagna, seasoned bread and other Italian food choices. The music videos are captivating and they add to the warmth of the place. Though Leona’s was their first stop, they continue to expose each other to good dining places throughout Chicagoland.
In route to a Bulls game, they go to Wishbone’s on West Washington. It is close to Oprah’s old Harpo Studios in the West Loop. It is known for its grits with shrimp and special hot muffins. During another date, they go to R.J. Grunts in Lincoln Park. It is a couple’s dream with its bountiful salad bar and 70’s music as a backdrop.
In Evanston, they go to Dixie Kitchen which is known for its fried green tomatoes and blackened catfish. In the South Suburbs, they eat at Hamada of Japan in Tinley Park, which specializes in Japanese food. There, the chefs cook the guests’ selections on the grills at the tables. They also enjoy Aurelio’s Pizza, a well-seasoned thin crust pizza place out in Homewood. Almost anywhere that Tyre and Phoenix go is okay because they enjoy each other’s company and conversations.
Though eating is an everyday function, it is a great place to test the waters when making a selection for a mate. One can get a feel for the other’s manners, eating habits and appreciation for diverse foods. If in the right company, the serenade continues to flow, but in the wrong company, all can come to a screeching halt and everything begins to sound like noise. Restaurants can be a great setting for characters as they decide whether they should take immediate flight or settle in with a true keeper!
Lynn M. July 8, 2015