I’m still FULL from our trip to Chicago, and it’s been over 24 hours since I got home. I felt full the entire time we were IN Chicago, but kept running blithely from restaurant to restaurant, eating the smorgasbord of awesome that spews effortlessly from each and every storefront, including (somehow) the non-food-related ones. Did you know Ralph Lauren makes spicy pork bao? Yeah…he doesn’t. But he does have a store called “Rugby,” which I’ve never seen before, and you can go in and customize your own rugby shirts, including one with pink stripes. It’s on the corner of North and Clybourn, which is basically the center of the universe, and also about one block away from where we were lucky enough to stay.
So I’m going to go through our eating day by day, which means you will have to wait a few posts to hear about Alinea, but don’t think I’m not working on it. It’s just a lot of work to put together that kind of descriptiveness without overusing the word “orgasm.”
So, day one:
Our flight was at 6:30 (the a.m. version), and I took two mg of alprazolam (xanax), so I slept through both our initial flight, AND the connecting. This is a Very Good Thing, because of how much I loathe flying. I have ever in my life stayed awake and loudly panicked with a grand total of 2 mg ambien, 2 mg of klonopin, and a glass of wine in my system. That should be enough to send me the way of Michael Jackson, but all it does for me is dull my alarm-barking about our pending plane crash. We’ve found xanax works the best, and when it’s coupled with an early a.m. flight and an ambien the night before, I can zonk out enough to avoid crying. Yay me.
So, phew, landed safely in Chicago. I had slept enough on the plane that I was able to drink a Red Bull and pull my shit together once we landed, giving us a full day of fun and games before we had to head to the airport to pick up my brother, Erik. He’d opted for the flight that went from Denver to Chicago via Minnesota, and landed during the witching hour, very nearly decapitating the BFG (Dahl reference, so I apologize to those of you whose parents didn’t love you enough to get you Dahl books from the library when you were children). What to do with our free hours?
First, we went to Argo tea. I am extraordinarily fond of Argo tea, and drink it at every possible opportunity when we’re in Chicago. This amounts to at least once a day. This trip we had it so frequently that I earned TWO free drinks on our last day. I would have been ashamed if I hadn’t been busily slurping down Argo coconut bubble tea. If you don’t live in Chicago, Argo is a tea store that is *like* a big Starbucks devoted only to cool mixed tea drinks. Like the mojitea (a green tea, non-alcoholic mojito), or the chocolate mint (nilgiri black tea with chocolate and mint milk). Their bubble tea, though, is earth-shattering. Probably because of two things: a) they use correctly-brewed tea of excellent quality and b) they use little, square, caramelized coconut jellies instead of traditional tapioca. They have a very pleasant squish-crunch-snap when bitten, and they positively RIDDLE the drink with them. Copious quantities make every slurp like Christmas day in your mouth. I miss Argo. So much. If you live in Chicago, as I know some of you do, may I gently say, “f*&# you.”
We sipped our drinks and got on a bus to the Museum of Science and Industry, where we saw a very special exhibit that was so cool I almost peed in my denim skirt a little bit.. NO! It wasn’t the farm exhibit! We played for a while on the farm exhibit while we waited. We weren’t allowed to take pictures in the actual exhibit, which was the Harry Potter extravaganza. All Harry Potter things, from every film, every set, everything. All of the outfits and props and books and flying cars
this was outside the exhibit itself, so pictures were allowed. I made Chris pose with it because boys and cars go together like peas and cars
And I got sorted, by the ACTUAL SORTING HAT from the movies. It was Ravenclaw, in case you were curious. I knew it wouldn’t be Gryffindor, because I’m afraid of everything, but I was definitely worried about Slytherin. Existential self-questioning, I guess. Anyway, the exhibit was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen, getting sorted was a dream come true, and I got some souvenirs that include a giant puzzle and a golden snitch. Looks like the library is going to be redecorated into Hogwarts. Oh, and Bex? I got your Christmas present there. You’ll get it if I can avoid opening it for that long.
Then we toddled around for a bit and headed home to change for dinner. I wanted to go to Trotter’s-To-Go, which is Charlie Trotter’s takeout deli/store. I was excited. I was revved. I was walking as fast as my legs could carry me. But it turns out it closes exactly five minutes after we got there. Po, po me! Instead we went to the Gaslight pub and had a decent snack of honey-mustard chicken sammich and chimichurri-soaked fries. At least, that’s what I had. I don’t remember what Chris had, except that I had to keep smacking his hand away from my chimichurri fries. Here is a small and truly hideous picture of the fries, which I am sorry for, but it’s the only food picture I took that first day. Better ones a’comin’. What was extra-great about the fries (aside from the fact that they were violently, unapologetically green) is that they were still crispy. For some reason, most fries that have toppings get soggy and repulsive, and these managed to stay crunchy and crispity and joyfully ignorant of their rich topping of Argentinian slurry. Chimichurri, for those who haven’t had it, is basically Argentinian/Uruguaian steak sauce, but has the consistency of pesto. It’s made from parsley, cilantro, garlic, sherry vinegar, olive oil, red pepper flakes, and a touch of salt, then blended up like a pesto would be. They put it on everything in sight, when they’re not busy having bank scandals.
After the Gaslight, which is located near DePaul University, we trudged back to the house, got the car, and fetched Erik. We were all so tired that we went straight to sleep, with visions of Topolabampo dancing in our heads…