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My New Favorite Place for Food, Drink and Jazz

Family friends recently opened a lovely jazz club on the Northwest Side of Chicago, featuring great food and live jazz Wednesday through Saturday. They’re closed on Sundays except for private parties.

The Playroom is located at 7958 W. Belmont, across from Guerin Prep High School, between Harlem and Cumberland Avenues. It’s a beautiful long room, with a bar along one side, tables and high tops along the other wall, and a small stage in the back. The decor is subdued, tasteful and comfortable. The service is neighborhood friendly and efficient.

Among my favorites are the pasta dishes, especially Pasta Josephine, named after the wife of one of the co-owners. They make a great pizza, wonderful appetizers, and filet of beef sliders that are to die for (excuse the pun from a dying chef).

Best of all, it’s a great place to hang out for middle-aged adults who appreciate good food, drink and music.  One no longer needs to deal with traffic and the Gen-Xers at the hot spots in Lincoln Park, Bucktown, Lakeview, Old Town and Rush Street.


Food, Glorious Food

Well, my appetite is slowly returning and I’m starting to enjoy food again. Not sure how long it will last.

The doctor doesn’t care what I eat, as long as I’m consuming calories. Fat without guilt! That’s true joy.

Leukemia, Chemotherapy and Food

I knew this was gonna be a rough ride about three days into the first chemo treatment. Almost everything began to taste metallic. For a food lover, it’s very disappointing. Imagine your favorite foods tasting like aluminum foil.

But as a chef, it’s one of the most unnerving things I’ve had to deal with. No matter what I put in my mouth, it didn’t taste like it was supposed to. Luckily I discovered that honey-roasted peanuts, Italian bread and mozzarella cheese tasted just fine. Fortunately, this episode lasted only six weeks and I manage to lose 18 pounds.

Now that the chemo is done, the medications I take to stave off infection (my likely killer) make me queasy. The anti-nausea meds help, but after 51 years, I’ve finally lost my appetite.

I tried watching cooking shows, reading food blogs, eating my mother’s homemade cookies, paging through cooking magazines, and using herbal appetite enhancers. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.