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Birthday 47: Primo Pizza and Pointless Pondering

Thai and Creole!

The top half is Thai-inspired. The bottom half is Creole-esque. All of it is coated in smoked Gouda with no objection from me.

It’s that time again! This week I turned 47 without entering true Midlife Crisis mode yet, and managed not to whine about it. Much. Not out loud, anyway. The more I stare at our recent convention photos, the more gray hairs I see taunting me and trying to convince me I am, in fact, an old adult and not a mature teenager.

Fun useless trivia: I share my birthday with Dennis Hopper, Bill Paxton, Trent Reznor, Sugar Ray Leonard, Craig Ferguson, Howard Ashman, Bob Saget, Jordan Knight, and Dave Sim. Yet we never get together and combine parties. Sure, two of my birth-twins are no longer among the living, but still.

For the past several years my wife and I have made a tradition of going somewhere new for each of our birthdays. One-day road trips and events such as last year’s Garfield Quest give me the gift of new experiences and distracts me from the physical decay at hand. As it happens, we’ll spending my birthday weekend helping a relative move, which means we’ve had to postpone my official birthday outing till next weekend. I’m grown-up enough to handle delayed gratification, and am at peace with the notion of serving others this weekend instead of indulging myself.

In the meantime, today had its happy distractions, mostly in the form of food. Friends and family kept my mind off the aging process for most, if not all, of the day.

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Yet Another Convention Epilogue Starring Chicago

Chicago Nighttime!

The early-evening view from our hotel room during Star Wars Celebration. That’s the north face of Two Prudential Plaza, with Michigan Avenue lit up and trailing back and to the left. Rather like Coruscant minus flying cars.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: my wife Anne and I attended our second Chicago entertainment convention of 2019, a scant three weeks after the last one. Before and after each day’s festivities we found a few opportunities to see more of the Windy City that we hadn’t checked out on our last several trips. Convention centers may capture our attention for most of our Chicago trips, but if we can sneak in better food and light art for extra credit, so much the better.

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One Friday Morning at Chicago’s Nutella Cafe

Nutella waffle!

Nutella waffle with strawberries and fresh hazelnuts. Oh, yeah.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: my wife Anne and I attended our second Chicago entertainment convention of 2019, a scant three weeks after the last one. Before and after each day’s festivities we found a few opportunities to see more of the Windy City that we hadn’t checked out on our last several trips. One restaurant in particular proved exactly the breakfast wonderland we needed.

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Another C2E2 Epilogue Starring Chicago

Do-Rite Donuts!

Sunday morning breakfast at Do-Rite Donuts and Chicken. Clockwise from top left: cream cheese Danish, blueberry, cinnamon crumble, red velvet coconut, old-fashioned chocolate, and maple bacon glaze.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: Anne and I attended the tenth annual C2E2 entertainment convention a few miles from downtown Chicago. When time permitted before and after the show, once again we wandered the Windy City and took photos, preferably of places and things we didn’t already see on our last several Chicago comic cons. Y’all know me — any excuse for a travel photo gallery.

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Our 2019 Super Bowl Deserted Restaurant Getaway

Cuban Creme Brulee!

I’m a grown-up and I can skip to the dessert photo if I wanna. Behold the Cuban Creme Brûlée — espresso custard topped with caramelized sugar, Chantilly cream, shaved chocolate, and raspberries. 11/10 would gladly eat first next time.

Each year our family has indulged in our own special Super Bowl tradition: while the rest of the world is watching football and swapping snacks and beers with best friends and chatting about The Sports, we have dinner at a fancy restaurant. Between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., anyplace without a large-screen TV is usually empty and totally ours for the taking.

Usually we’ll try someplace we’ve never been elsewhere in town, but this year we stuck to Indianapolis’ west side and head up the road to Rick’s Cafe Boatyard, where my son and I hadn’t been in many, many years. Once known as Rick’s Café Americain Restaurant, it’s located on the shore of sometimes scenic Eagle Creek Reservoir. Over half their menu is seafood, but they also offer chicken specialties, artisan pizzas, and fancy sandwiches to pacify any fish-haters or tag-along allergic diners.

As expected, only a few other families were on the premises. For lack of competing tables, service was speedy and friendly. We did our best to ignore the half-dozen TVs hanging from the ceiling and threatening to keep us in the loop on a sport none of us follows. We did catch a glimpse of Gladys Knight singing the National Anthem, but otherwise focused on fun conversation and mostly fine food.

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Our 2018 Road Trip, Part 50: The Last Roads Home

country fried steak!

We know it’s time to go home when we start craving good ol’ home cookin’ or corporate simulations of it,

The last day. The final hours. The way home.

Pittsburgh to Indianapolis is a six-hour drive. Two detours for Presidential burial sites in Ohio made six feel like twenty.

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