Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Neighborhood News Bites

A literal bite of birthday bouillabaisse: My next door neighbor celebrated her 21st birthday on Sunday with a dozen red roses from her hubby and a fantastic cauldron of seafood soup to share with the neighbors. Hubby is in the restaurant biz--he was at Mod, the upscale sushi place in Wicker Park, last I knew, but I don't know if he cooks or waits tables or what--so he got a line on seafood through a friend. Wow! I didn't know Mexicans made bouillabaisse, but that's pretty much what this was: a tomato-based broth with shrimp, clams, lobster and swordfish! Whew! It was a little spicy and had corn and squash in it, so that makes it a New World dish, not European, but still I think any French person would have called it at least a cousin to their seafood soup. I just called it "que rico!"

Bite 2 snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. A young friend of mine from church got picked up for biking while Latino last month and had his court appearance today. When he first told me about it he still had his arrest record, but today he only had his bond receipt which didn't even tell us what he'd been officially accused of. It didn't matter. The judge threw it out instantly--we spent less than half an hour in the courthouse at 51st and Wentworth. The arrest really freaked him and his parents out--he's a good kid, not in a gang, no trouble before. Plus, he's undocumented, so if it had gone to trial it could have really thrown him for a loop, like a deportation. The thing that kills me is, he himself didn't do anything wrong--he was walking down the street with an old friend of his he hadn't seen in years, and the friend is now a known gang member the police picked up while looking for suspects in a neighborhood shooting. Classic guilt by association. Then they throw it out so they don't look bad. Great.

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