Ernie Manouse is a newer friend to my cast of characters. He lives in Houston, Texas where he is the host of the highly successful Public Television interview program InnerVIEWS with Ernie Manouse. He lived in Chicago for a number of years prior to his move to TX but feels so at home in Chicago that he visits at least once a year. Ernie is one of those people who, had we met when he first lived here, we'd have become friends right away.
I met him at the start of his visit in 2006. He is a friend of my friend Brian. Brian, Dan and I were out together at Crew, celebrating nothing in particular except perhaps Friday. Ernie arrived with his friend Richard. After the requisite introductions, the pair chatted with Brian and because I'm nosey, I listened to their conversation. Occasional smiles were exchanged (knowing I had been caught evesdropping, I figured I'd smile and try to distract from the fact that I was listening in) and eventually I worked my way into the chat.
A while later, Dan and I left to go back to headquarters (Jackhammer) and soon, Brian, Ernie and Richard followed. At that point, it was non-stop giggles. As the night drew to a close, we decided we'd visit more during his visit.
Here's a little fact about Ernie. He misses Chicago food. He likes to bring some of his favorite things back to Texas when he visits. By the end of his first week, he had devised a list that included pizza (Gino's East, Art of Pizza, Calo), Italian Beef (Scala beef), and candy (Ferrara Pan). This was followed by a trip to Target for a giant duffle bag in which one could shuttle 3 pizzas, 5 pounds of Italian beef, 5 pounds of Italian sausage (spicy!), a gallon size jar of au jus (for the beef), a jar of hot peppers, and assorted boxed candies.
Last Christmas there was an interesting exchange of food. I sent him pizzas packed in dry ice, he sent me a 2-foot tall, 7-pound gourmet chocolate Santa. Yummy x 2!
Ernie came back to Chicago this past summer. The laughs picked up where they left off last year. The theme of this visit was ice cream. I'm told that because it was summer, ice cream has no calories because it melts.
He's a good guy, full of life and laughs and he's talented at his profession. To learn more about Ernie, check out his website http://www.ernieontv.com/.