Yes, after what seemed to be an interminable cold spell, we've finally arrived at summertime! Although the season is finally official, I'm still not totally used to Chicago weather -- I'm used to "summer" just automatically being hot. In Austin, when you go outside on a late June day, you can be certain that shorts and a t-shirt will work. Whereas here, I'm never quite sure... the first day of summer we woke up to 60 degrees. Rick wrapped his hands around a hot cup of coffee that morning and proclaimed the day "too chilly," but it eventually warmed up into the 80s. We've also had some interesting storms the last few weeks -- including a bizarre little pop-up storm that was so insignificant it never showed up on the Chicago weather radar... but it still managed four flashes of lightning with their accompanying peals of thunder.
With the advent of warmer weather, Rick began reminiscing about our days in the suburbs when we always had a grill on the back porch. We had a pretty big charcoal grill that we sold as soon as we moved up here -- charcoal grills aren't allowed in most apartment or condo buildings, even if you have a big porch or balcony. We have a decent-sized balcony -- it's not huge, but it would be big enough for a small table and a few chairs (if we had any :)). Which means it's also big enough for a grill. So on Saturday Rick and I drove to Costco -- Rick had a membership there about a zillion years ago... he even still had his old Costco card (with a picture... where he had hair... that's how long ago it was ;)). But it had been so long since he'd been there that he had to sign up again and get a new card. But we finally walked out with a new, appropriately sized, gas grill. Along with a few other things... that Costco place is dangerous. Why yes, I DO need an inordinate amount of mayonnaise, thank you for asking:
(I didn't actually buy any mayonnaise -- I just took that picture for Eric, because I know how much he loooooooves mayo. :))
Rick spent yesterday morning assembling the grill in the living room (and was very happy to have "accomplished something before noon" :)), and then we moved it out to the balcony:
So of course we had to test it out last night. We bought some filets at Whole Foods... Faisal even braved the inevitability of severe cat allergies and joined us. (He also brought me an Indian movie AND burfi! Actually, I made jam-filled shortbread bars and traded him shortbread for burfi. Totally worth it. We made a pact to continue trading sugary carb for sugary carb on a regular basis... I think it's going to work out great. We're not addicts or anything.) Rick's team at work had an event at a cooking class a few weeks ago where they made steaks and potatoes and salad, so Rick got all Wolfgang Puck in the kitchen and showed me what he learned. And I have to admit, the steaks DID turn out pretty good (especially after experiencing a particularly disappointing visit to Fleming's Steakhouse last weekend).
So I think we'll get plenty of use out of the grill this summer -- at least if the weather will stop being unseasonably chilly. And since Rick is so good at preparing steaks now, I can just sit on the couch and watch baseball while he does all the work. Right? Right. :)