Musings of a Chicago-Born New Yorker

Ele, Eme, Enye

If you speak Spanish, then you are properly reading the title of this post. Otherwise, it’s just me spelling out the pronunciation of the letters L, M, and N (with a tielde) in Spanish.

I know I just went through the long explanation of apartment hunting in Brooklyn and Manhattan for my big move to New York City. But now I’m going back to before I left. Go back in time with me.

There are a couple of great places in Chicago I never got around to talking about because I was neglecting this blog. What can I say? I was so busy being a new supervisor at work that I simply didn’t have the time.

After this post, I’ll update the What’s Hot page with the information about this place I’m going to tell you about.

It’s called Enye. That’s the name of this great restaurant/bar/club joint in Chicago. Google doesn’t easily link to their website, so you have to go through yelp. But then you can get there.

The husband and I ended up there totally on accident one Tuesday night. So here’s what happened.

With the supervisor job at my old job upended again (new director), I had a weird schedule. It was great though because that meant I was less likely to accidentally work a 60 hour week. And I got a lot more say in how my schedule turned out each week. You know how that goes, or maybe you don’t, but I’m gonna tell you.

Wednesday was meeting day usually, so I adjusted my schedule so I didn’t have to be at work on Wednesdays until after 10:00 most days. That meant Tuesday night was open for a little socializing.

This was perfect for the husband because he had a Tuesday night gig at Dolphin (formerly The Green Dolphin) most of these nights. I was feeling energetic enough to not go straight home, so I headed to the Dolphin after work one Tuesday.

He was playing with some people. I honestly can’t remember who we was playing with for the most part. Could’ve been a trio, could’ve been a quartet. All I know is there was a bass player I’d never seen before. And he was good. I mean really good. And it didn’t hurt that he was pretty good looking as well.

The main reason I noticed him is because there aren’t many really good upright bass players in Chicago. Not who play jazz really well. This is not coming from my vast knowledge; it’s just something the husband and his musician friends talked about. Whenever someone needed a bass player for a band or a gig, there were never a lot of options.

The second the gig was done, I inquired of the husband who this man was. He gave me this look that indicated he could totally tell I found the man attractive, but just chuckled at me and took me over to introduce us.

The guy was pretty nice and not all put off (that I could tell) by my effusive praise of his skills. During the course of our conversation, he mentions that he’s on his way to another gig right at that moment and invited us out. The husband and I are used to these impromptu invites and promptly accepted. I really am more fun when I’m with the husband. I never make new friends so easily when I’m by myself, but that’s a concern for another time.

The bass player’s gig was at Enye. We finished our drinks at Dolphin, then headed over. The husband had been there before and thought this place was great. I expressed my doubt about its greatness because he’d never mentioned it before.

When we pulled up, it looked authentic. By authentic I mean the patrons were majority Hispanic with only a few non-Hispanic looking people mixed in. The husband is half-Honduran so he counted. I’m 100% African-American, but people always think I’m something else. The bouncer gave us a look for only a second like we might not belong, but gave us the pass likely because the husband was carrying his saxophone.

Don’t get me wrong, they weren’t going to refuse us entry or anything. But you know how it is when you walk into a spot and people just give you the curious looks. They’re wondering how you even heard about the place let alone decided to come check it out.

So we walked in and we’re immediately immersed in Spanish. Spanish food, Spanish music, Spanish speaking. I really want to become fluent in Spanish to I can help my kids hold on to their heritage, but that’s again a concern for another time.

I was getting into the music and dancing my way through the crowd as I followed the husband to the back, pas the restaurant area. There a live band playing amazing music in the back, including the bass player. Except now he traded out the upright bass for an electric bass.

The husband immediately pulled out his saxophone and started playing along. I love that he knows so much music that he can walk into a club and just join in no matter what the song is. I joined in dancing with everyone around me.

The people were packed in tight and no one seemed to mind. If someone bumped into you while they turned, people just absorbed it and kept dancing. Next thing I know, I’ve taken off my jacket and put up my hair, and I’m sweating along to the music with everyone else.

The husband is playing and having a good time. I’m dancing and having a good time. Out of nowhere, this totally random woman comes up to me and throws her arms around me, hugging me tight.

This is why I don’t make friends easily y’all. I gave her this look that indicated she had about five seconds to explain herself or I was starting in with my patented karate chop on that ass. In spite of my unfriendly face, she continued to smile brightly, but she did quickly explain herself.

It turns out she was the wife of the bass player.

So my from-the-hood-who-is-this-bitch look immediately turned to from-the-hood-we-have-connections-so-hey-girl look. Once he got a break in his playing, the husband came over and hugged her too, The fact that he already knew her helped further explain her extra familiarity with me.

People who I meet through the husband tend to act as if they know me. Apparently, he regales them with stories (or forces stories upon them) about me and us and so they feel like they already know me by the time we meet. This woman was no exception.

So we were dancing and talking and enjoying the music. I decided I liked her. Even though she was extra familiar, but not familiar enough to know I’m not a hugger, I liked her. At this point, I knew we were headed to New York sooner rather than later, and I was genuinely sad that I might not be able to hang with her again.

After a while, the husband put down his horn. He came over and danced with us. We were having a really good time, but unfortunately, we had to leave not too long after that. I did have to be at work in the morning, even if it was later in the morning.

Oh, I forgot, I danced with this other man before I met the bass player’s wife. It was the totally random man who came up to me and started dancing with me. I was trying to follow his steps and only doing an okay job. Mostly, he just spun me around a lot. Even though I don’t really consider myself a friendly person, I really do appreciate it when other people, especially strangers, are friendly to me.

We had so much fun at Enye, we went back again the next time I went to the Dolphin for the Tuesday gig. This time, we had a ton of friends with us. There were three or four other couples that joined us, as well as a bunch of the musicians who were playing at Dolphin.

This time, I got to try the food, and it was pretty good. They make chorizo at the restaurant and it was delicious!

I didn’t try any of the drinks because I had quite enough to drink at Dolphin. But I’m looking forward to trying some drinks there whenever we’re back in Chicago with the time to head up there.

So if you’re in Chicago and you can make your way up to the north side, go to Enye. Dancing, great live music, and amazing food awaits.

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