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Translated in English as "Day of the Dead," this holiday is celebrated in Mexico and through-out the world in other cultures to remember friends & family members that have died. It normally takes place Oct 31st-Nov 2nd, overlapping Holloween, America's version of the holiday. I received a call mid-week, that the Negra Modelo beer brand needed an MC for an event to take place at Kendall College, near my apartment. Fortunately, I had another event that same evening that didn't start til later, so I was able to accept the offer. The featured guest was celebrity Chef Rick Bayless, who was to do a book signing, and cooking demonstration for invited guests. I happen to be a huge fan of the guy, and had previously proclaimed the Ahogada Torta, from his restaurant Xoco -one my favorite sandwiches in Chicago. Pictured below, it's served on artisan bread known as briote, with pork carnitas, black beans, pickled onions, in a seasoned to order -spicy arbol chile -tomato broth. The sauce is so good, you can drink it.
All the evenings activities were extremely well-orchestrated, from the time Chef Bayless arrived, to when he left. And the event staff were great to work with. Ultimately, I got paid to make the announcements, and hand Chef Bayless a beer. The hardest part about the gig...was seeing all the delicious food being served, and ice cold beer flowing, and not being able to try any of it, since I was on the clock working. It was bittersweet - imagine if you were in the dessert without food/drinks, but everyone else around you was indulging like it was the Last Supper. To top off the evening, I had another gig at the Old Oak Tap, also close-by, for a surprise birthday party. I did some customized jokes at the beginning, than entertained them for over an hour. That was the icing, on an otherwise unedible cake. They were a fantastic group, and it went as well as it could have. If you read my last blog, you'd know that my car got towed from the Walgreens parking lot last month. Well, I made some well-placed phone calls, and yesterday I received a check in the mail for the amount of $200. That would be the cherry. Life has a way of coming full-circle sometimes.