Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Eating Chicago

Well, astonishingly, there was no pizza consumption in Chicago. But that’s okay; I’ve had it before (though if you haven’t, I recommend fixing that stat). But there was a lot of consumption of other delights during my whirlwind, 4-day visit.

My friends live in different parts of the North Side of Chicago. We didn’t venture into the South (though I really wanted to know where the old Stock Yards are and no one could tell me for sure) and didn’t eat that much inside of the Loop (expensive!). But I went to many parts of Rogers Park and Logan Square and other places that I don’t know the names for. Chicago, let me say here and now, is beautiful. I haven’t been in such a planned city in a long time; many of the wide streets and parks were built after the massive fire in 1871 (I think). It has a very soothing effect on me (much like the area around the Art Museum here in Philly).

So what did I eat in Chicago? I ate vegetarian Indian food (paneer makhani) that was cheap and so good, instant mashed potatoes at 3 am to counteract the ‘drunchies’, a sesame bagel sandwich with sharp cheddar, bacon, and tomato, rigatoni Bolognese with braised pork and veal, homemade pasta and chicken, diner food (Chicago seems to be the land of diners), and the biggest burrito I swear I’ve ever had. And that’s just what I remember off the top of my head.

Oh, there was also the Chicago hot dog, which, in my opinion, is the best version of a hot dog to be had. It has hot peppers on it. Who doesn’t want that? It also has onions, relish, spicy mustard, and pickles. No ketchup, however, which I know is a travesty and a sin in some people’s books. It was delicious! I was so full after this hot dog that I couldn’t finish my fries. When was the last time that happened? (maybe never)

I know that Chicago is just as much a foodie city as New York and, dare I say, Philadelphia, and I’m pretty sure that time and money didn’t allow me to explore it as much as I wanted to. But, as for now…I’m definitely willing to give Chicago an interim 2 thumbs up. You know, until I’ve visited enough to give a final decision!

Oh, P.S. Did you know that Chicago is the home of McDonald’s? I had no idea.

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