I drive a long way for dinner.
I don’t mean across town. I mean Chicago.
I’ll take a step outside my farm-to-table qualifier for just a moment because of the notoriety of the restaurant I had dinner at last night. To set the stage, I need only the slightest nudge to think about driving out-of-city for a food event. So, in truth, I had planned to come to Chicago for an annual dinner party hosted by some of my dearest friends, Cindy and Nabih. Accentuating my anticipation for the event was the arrival of author-friend Mara Purl and her husband, Larry, from Colorado. (They travel a long way for dinner, as well.)
In its essence, a meal is a vessel for acknowledging and communing our connection with others. We introduce ourselves to one another through food. We celebrate one another through food. We live the events of our lives through food. So, the container was set for such a meal as we all met last night in Lake Forest.
Lovell’s of Lake Forest has a name whose significance needs no explanation. James Lovell was commander of Apollo 13, the perilous 1970 lunar mission that successfully concluded with the safe return to Earth of all three astronauts. Jay Lovell, Jim’s son, is the executive chef and co-owner of Lovell’s, a ‘container’ of warmth, comfort and generosity. Throughout the restaurant, touchstones abound of Jim Lovell’s illustrious career and of Apollo 13’s historic adventure.
Regardless of the setting, the ritual and rythm of gathering together to create or further relationship over food is eternal, in this case made all the more memorable in Lovell’s beautiful environment of achievement and creativity.