Don’t know why but I’m thinking concrete today…I know, crazy Nena!  On my stroll and photo documentation of South Michigan Avenue, I became fascinated with ornamental concrete. How that will relate to today’s recipe is really a stretch, but I think you are getting use to my way of thinking!!! At least I hope so.

I first came upon two fragments semi-buried in the grass just North of Roosevelt Road and East of Michigan Avenue.  What on earth, no pun intended, were they?  One of the wonderful things about our Street Art is that most, if not all, are labeled and many have prominent Chicagoans giving you a description/history of the pieces…amazing! Since these were the first pieces I came upon I didn’t think to capture the information but with the help of the internet I found out what they were/are.

imageFront of piece

imageSide of piece

These stunning pieces, which are actually granite, are almost entirely what is left from Chicago’s famous Central Station sculpted in 1893 by Bradford L.Gilbert.  These pieces were installed in Grant Park in 2004.  The Station, which stood at the Southwest corner of Grant Park was demolished in the 1970’s.  The Station served the Illinois Central Railroad Company.  These fragments were part of the arch that passengers passed through when arriving or departing Chicago.

Moving up the Avenue I came upon the 8th Street Fountain (I will do an entire post on fountains in the future) and behind it at the base of the lighting structures are these interesting scrollworks…can you even imagine the cost of doing this today, totally prohibited…more the pity.



When visiting a country estate I found more fragments, these from English Country Houses, that the owner collects and places against brick walls….I think quite stunning and if you have a large space big pieces fit perfectly and I adore anything, especially art and I consider these pieces art, displayed against a raw brick wall.



All photos in this post taken by Nena on her iPhone

Now for the strange connection to a recipe from my box…Nena’s Meatloaf!  I know, most people think of meatloaf as “concrete” not so with mine.  Whenever I serve it, my guests want the recipe, so here is it along with suggested sides and, of course, wine!!!!

From Nena’s Recipe Box

Nena’s Meatloaf

Serves 4

2 lbs ground round steak, not too lean

2 eggs

1 teaspoon garlic (I use jarred garlic)

1 1/2 Tablespoon chopped parsley, I use dried

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon celery salt

1 Tablespoon sugar

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (I use an Italian grated natural cheese mix)

1/2 cup catsup

A little more than 3/4 cup good red wine…can be Chianti Classico or other red wine but what you will be serving with dinner

1 cup dried bread crumbs (again I use an Italian mix of packaged bread crumbs)

1 can cream of tomato soup (I use Campbell’s tomato bisque, I like the chunks)

3 strips of bacon

Combine all ingredients except soup and bacon.

Mix well, don’t over work, clean hands, and form into a large loaf or two smaller loaves (that is what I do)

Place in a baking pan, pour soup over loaf, spread over sides, like you are icing a cake, lay strips of bacon over top.

Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.  Be sure it is cooked well but not overcooked.

(I make two loaves, cook both and freeze one to be reheated later or don’t freeze and have sandwiches next day, really good!  Be prepared that your guests and yourself will probably want more than one serving. If freezing, freeze after cooking. Defrost in refrigerator and reheat in 350 oven for approximately 1 hour or until heated through, add more soup if needed.)


Mashed potatoes (I use Bob Evans mashed potatoes with sour cream prepared as directed and really load them up with butter and lots of prepared horseradish, everyone thinks that I have peeled, boiled and mashed the potatoes…seriously!!  Why would I when these are really, really good.)

Fresh green beans, lightly dressed with butter, ground pepper, and salt

Side salad if you like (I will share a sensational vinegarette soon if I can talk the “owner” out of the recipe!)

Perhaps a poached pear, not a heavy dessert

Wine either a Chianti Classico, a Malbec or a red blend


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