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Sunday, October 18, 2009

a chill memory

the more things change, the more they remain the same. this is not so very true and yet it is. i have been kickin at my house this weekend, cooking, reading, listening to music, and just being. i have things that need to be done, have worked on a few, but have also just laid back a bit.

i am falling in love all over again with cooking. too bad cleaning up doesn't come along with that, but i can't have everything. (or maybe i really do) this business of chillin has it's advantages. i took a power nap. i saw a couple of films i had been wanting to see. i spoke with a couple of friends. and i am making stuffed squash. i haven't had it in years. it reminds me entirely of my friend nunzio.

nunzio was a character, at the very least. he was smart. he was funny. he was driven and entrepreneurial. he came from a restaurant family in detroit and had moved to chicago in 79 or 80. when we met, he was a barista in an afterhours espresso bar on broadway in chicago. that was a very new idea back then, and he fit in perfectly. he then opened a little cafe further north on broadway called "nunzio's." this is the first place i had his stuffed squash. i had miso for the 1st time there as well. he made great easy food and was able to network like very few people i ever met.

to continue with his saga, he hooked up with my friend medusa and opened a bar a few blocks further on broadway called "the orbit room".(defnitely check these pics out). it was a modern tavern. nunzio  had even driven to michigan to retreive a huge retro neon sign that he had known about to use at that club. it was very 60's, very identifiable, and very urban chic. the sign (and the bar) became so trendy that they were used for a scene in "miami vice" or some other michael mann production.

nunzio then paired up with cal fortis and opened a more upscale restaurant called "angelina." it was in the same space that cafe nunzio had been. it became a huge north shore hotspot and planted him even further on the map. it still stands i believe and is still going strong and a portrait of nunzio's grandmother hangs in the dining room. but a very  sad piece of this tale is that his hiv infection was spreading and was gettting the best of him. i don't believe he was really in a position to enjoy the fruits of his labors. but then again, i don't think that's why he labored. i think he was truly a marketing artist. he loved what he did. and he did what he loved. and i loved him the whole time i knew him. and i never forget his spectacular food that he made. 

Nunzio's Stuffed Acorn Squash (by memory only)

1 squash sliced in half, de-seeded, and  baked at 350 for 40 minutes.
sautee mushrooms, onion, garlic, and zucchini slices in olive oil until al dente.
season to taste with salt, pepper, italian seasoning, red pepper or cayenne..
toss veggie mixture with parmesan and stuff squash.
serve heated (or great for re-heating for lunch, etc)

today's sound choice is yello with "to the sea"



Java said...

I used to like to cook, but over the past few years I lost that drive. I hope it returns, perhaps when some of my current stresses smooth out. I know that life will always have stress, but I really hope that in a few years the stress will be of a happier sort, and not as sad and scary as it is now.

Perhaps I'll show this recipe to Superman. He's the cook now, and he particularly likes squash. It's a good time of year for this dish.

Sheria said...

A very nice remembrance of your friend Nunzio. I checked out the Orbit Room slide show, a very inviting look about it. The slides of it in disrepair were so sad.

I love just chillin on the weekends. I read, listen to music and if I'm feeling really inspired, I cook. I will try the stuffed squash recipe; it looks delicious. I also don't like cleaning up the kitchen. My solution is to invite over a guest or two and then graciously accept when they offer to clean up the kitchen after the meal.

Was your friend's given name Medusa? I think it would be such fun to be named Medusa.

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