Its an exciting vacation where we will see Neil's cousin get married just north of the City this Saturday. Before that, I will take him around the place I used to live and visit friends I miss so much it hurts. After the wedding, we go with his family to the neighbor state of Michigan and kick it by the lake for a few days.
As we head off to the windy city my head is swimming with all the things I want to fit into such a short time.
When you go back to a place you love do you ever feel like you need to re-visit places (parks, restaurants, train stops, etc) as well as people?
Don't those well worn sites feel like friends too?
I find myself booking us for way more meals than we will know how to eat! And franticly trying to decide the most perfect location to watch the NBA draft (in a city that actually has an NBA team!)
I'm just going to keep posting photos of flirty Chicago (that minx) because it's making me so happy.
And I'll tell you some places I love to go when I'm there. Like Sultan's Market for lentil soup and falafel that's so tasty it will make you late for work and not care (at least that's been true for me).
and Smoke Daddy's for 'hot damn that's good' barbeque and live blues and jazz every night (no cover).
and Dunlay's on the Square for really good brunch and really really good bloody mary's
and they serve a cookie in a skillet with ice cream on top. amen.
my favorite vegetarian place, Handlebar (where Andrew Bird eats)
as for the chicago staples...
Hot Dog: when I was eating meat it was Hot Doug's all the way (or the Wiener Circle)
Pizza: I'm not big on the deep dish - I know its against all things mid-western - but when I need a true Italian style, wood fired, thin crust pie, I go to frasca.
I love going to the cocktail lounge on the almost top floor of the Hancock Building and paying way too much for a drink but not as much as you pay for the observation deck one story higher.
I love the burritos at a little place in my old neighborhood, Lawndale. It's called Spicy and it was small and hot and the horchata was churning in a machine by the door. It was always packed with people. It was were I would linger to watch world cup matches on a fuzzy tv with about 50 of my neighbors. They put avocado chunks on everything. *Spicy's does not have a website.
The coffee shop, Cafe Mestizo, in Pilsen is legit. Get the Mexican Hot Chocolate. I don't care if its July.
I also have a thing for Efebos, which is right down the street.
And the bars - DOC wine bar for atmosphere. Map Room if you want all the beer ever. Guthries if you want board games! Dark Horse if you want The Steelers. and Goose Island if you want local brew and better nachos than you can begin to imagine.
Then the nightlife - Peace has live band karaoke so you can be a bit more terrible and its okay. The Green Mill has jazz. The Subterranean has reggae night (oh does it ever!) Funky Buddha Lounge has dancing.
But alas, we have less than 48 hours with my old pal Chicago
and I should stop before this goes on and on.
maybe next visit will be long.
although honestly - even years wasn't long enough.