Author: Joseph Hernandez

Finding center

I’m not a gym person and I hate joining groups, but for the first time since moving back to Chicago (when I was at my heaviest, 250 lbs.), I’ve plateaued. With that in mind, I finally motivated myself to do something I’ve always wanted to do but was scared to: Signed up for a hip hop dance class, where I’ll hopefully twerk off the 15 pounds to get me back to an arbitrary number I’ve dangled like a carrot for myself.   At my heaviest, my breathing was shallow and I felt awful, all of the time. I barely moved my body outside of walking to and from public transportation, while eating at all hours of the day, not to mention drinking casually because wine was always around. Surprisingly, in moving back, I dropped nearly 20 pounds in what I now believe was stress weight from living in NYC, from commuting 5 hours a day, from daily drinking 7 cups of coffee laden with sugar, from drinking wine on the Metro North train home because …

Summer + Brown butter-poached peaches

A few weeks ago, a friend of Ian’s sent him a care package of a dozen Georgia peaches. Wrapped in thin, crinkly sheafs of white paper, nestled in individual foam nooks, the bounty of summer fruit looked just like the emoji, sun-gold, fragrant and chipper in their little homes. Upon opening the package, I couldn’t help myself. In a moment of animal lust, I grabbed one of the plump, floral-perfumed fruit and devoured it over the sink, sticky sweet juice dripping slowly down my chin and neck. Was it peach season then? Is it peach season now? A month ago, Kim Severson of the New York Times wrote a delightful piece on a debate among Southerners and writers about the perfect time to eat a peach: “Kathleen Purvis, the Southern food writer most likely to let you know when you have something wrong, made a peach declaration on Facebook a couple of weeks ago. Peaches, she said, should never be eaten before the Fourth of July.” I love the charm of this easy-to-remember rule, even …

Sipping October

This article was originally published in the Chicago Tribune. One of my best friends was in town for the first time, so I was showing her my sleepy little corner of Ravenswood Manor. “There are a few breweries nearby,” I offered after we’d walked enough to work up a thirst. “Show me!” she said. We set out east on Wilson Avenue, taking us through Lincoln Square into Ravenswood proper. We stumbled upon Dovetail Brewery and Begyle Brewing Company, which were jointly hosting a cheery little block party. As families and Cubs-clad 30-somethings mingled, we nibbled on golden pretzels and sipped golden ale, happy with our discovery. We could have stopped there, but I’m glad we didn’t. Our glasses empty, I suggested we leave behind the jolly crowd for quieter confines, heading a few blocks north to Band of Bohemia, the brewery-meets-beautiful-restaurant opened last year by two Alinea veterans: former head sommelier Craig Sindelar and former baker Michael Carroll, who has turned his talents toward brewing. Settling in at the bar, we ordered more snacks and a …