Salad Nicoise is a dish you don’t see on menus too often these days. I really like a Salad Nicoise… especially when the eggs are perfect like the ones in this photo. Even at nice restaurants cooks often overcook the eggs which really bugs me cause if they just set a timer the eggs could always be perfect. Overcooked eggs are just a problem the world doesn’t need to have.

At any rate, whenever I eat Salad Nicoise I’m reminded of the first time I ever had one. It was around this time of year and it was one of those perfect summer nights. Clear skies, not too hot, a little breeze blowing. I was dating this girl and I have to admit, I was kind of falling for her. She was one of those girls who just brought the whole energy up when she walked into the room. She was always doing cool stuff and bursting with great ideas.

Well, on this perfect summer night her great idea was to jump on her motorcycle (yeah, she had a motorcycle) and ride to Chicago. So off we went and pretty soon I find myself blasting up Lake Shore Drive on this perfect summer night riding a cool old motorcycle with this girl I’m kind of falling for on the back.  The city lights are blazing on the left and the waves on Lake Michigan are crashing up over the breakwall on the right as I downshift and lean into the hairpin turn at Oak Street, taking it fast so she has to squeeze me just a little tighter.

We exit Belmont, shoot over to Clark St. and turn south. The city is everything you want a city to be on a perfect summer night. It’s all colorful lights and that beautiful downtown cacophony of engines and horns and distant sirens and music. There’re tons of people out and the restaurants and bars are packed, their patrons spilling out onto the sidewalks and mulling around talking because no one wants to go home on a perfect summer night in Chicago.

It’s great to be on a motorcycle in the city cause you can see, hear, smell and even taste everything the city’s dishing up… plus it’s way easier to find a place to park. So we back into a little spot right in front of Jerome’s (you guys remember Jerome’s, right?) and even though it’s packed somehow we magically get a table on the patio that looks right out over Clark Street.

I’d never heard of Salad Nicoise but fortunately this girl I’m kind of falling for knows all about it and she orders one so I get one too. We sit there on the patio at Jerome’s and watch the people and talk and eat our Salad Nicoises on a perfect summer night and I’m still buzzing from the thrill of the motorcycle ride and at some point it just hits me that man, this is IT. This girl is THE ONE. I want to eat Salad Nicoise with this girl forever. Within a year of that perfect summer night we were married and that was 24 years ago. We’ve shared a lot of meals and I still love sitting across a table from her. She’s still brimming with energy and bursting with great ideas. And when she boils the eggs, she gets them perfect every time.

~ By Matt


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