It’s still muggy enough that my sake won’t stay cold for more than a sip. It refreshes regardless, so here are a few notes.

1) La Crêperie closed. No date was formally announced at the time – just “at the end of August” – so I decided that I’d like to have birthday dinner there. Order extra snails. Down a whole bottle of Le Mont Sancerre. Stagger down Belmont to La Boulangerie for dessert and coffee. The day came. It was a beautiful summer night. The hostess handed us our menus as we were seated on the back patio. I only noted at the time that single page copies didn’t bode well as I was slightly put off by the squealing toddler not three feet away. After mustering some focus, I saw it. The menu was cut down to a shadow of itself. No snails. No salad niçoise. The crêpes featured “what was left” because they stopped ordering food. I looked around to see a bustling patio business tended by a skeleton crew. The toddler shrieked again. The Gentleman Scholar and I met eyes and decided to go. We crossed paths with my favorite waitress carrying a tray of wine to a table.

“Oh you’re going? Is everything okay?” she murmured in her adorable French accent.

“Yes. There is nothing left on the menu.” I said.

“What did you want? We might still have it?”

“Snails and la boeuf bourguignon?”

(shrugs) “They stopped ordering because we are closing.”

“Yes, I know. Thank you though. Bonne chance.”

And that was that.

I tried not to cry in the cab, but it truly felt like the end of an era or like seeing a former lover who has aged poorly. The restaurant defined Chicago for me in so many ways. Even if Chicago generally lacks enough je ne sais quois to be properly transformative, La Crêperie was a magical haven. It was especially comforting after I finally went to Paris and needed to go back without paying air fare. We don’t regret leaving like we did though. My last meal at La Crêperie was with my mother and the Gentleman Scholar. He drank a bit more wine than usual (two glasses!) and she laughed like a schoolgirl at his stories of growing up in Calcutta. The meal was delicious and the service was excellent as always. Sometimes it’s better to just walk away while things are still good.

2) There is a new project on the horizon. It involves a few of my favorite things: food, writing, photography, and Mom. Estimated start time: January 2014. (Jesus Christ, it’s going to be 2014.)

3) Get yourself down to SP Kebab, located at 6808 N Sheridan, Chicago IL 60626. This isn’t your average Middle Eastern kebab. This guy is doing European style meat in bread with fries (highly recommend the Cajun fries) – the kind you eat after falling out of a pub in London – for a blisteringly reasonable price. Somehow we end up eating there at least once a week, which is probably why even my “fat day” skirt is a little tight around the thighs and the owner has ceased to alert us that the #11 is all meat. SP Kebab also serves Mexicoke. Do eeeet.