Wednesday, November 07, 2007
"Just okay" in Chicago
Just blew in (ha ha) from the Windy City. Interestingly, two people told me recently that the city was nicknamed that not for the genuine windiness of the weather, but for the political hot air that used to circulate there. Hm. Every day is a school day!
Chicago is known for being a foodie town -- deep dish pizza, hot dogs on a poppy seed roll, meat meat and more meat. I was looking forward to the food. But strangely, I didn't eat one really mind-blowing meal there. Oh well, maybe next time I blow off the hotel/business circuit and then set out to find the best hot dog of the year. We stayed at the Westin River North (shout out to the Westin people...LOVE your hotels), which was in a great location downtown so I had lots of choices.
First meal was at a trendy restaurant, Vermilion, which had splashy articles about itself posted all over the foyer. Big space devoted to Oprah's raves (forgot it was her hometown). This place was a unique fusion of Indian and Latin-style tapas. Sounds great, right? It was just "eh". I'm glad I didn't wait for an hour to get a table, but had dinner in the bar since I was by myself. The app was artichoke pakoras, and the entree was tandoori skirt steak (served whole) on a bed of plantain chips, reco'd by the server. Shockingly just okay.
Next morning I popped out of the hotel to get into a diner, and hit the jackpot. Around the corner from hotel-land was Ohio House, one of those shoebox-style joints built in the 70s and the formica never replaced. Chicken-fried steak (my fave, even though it's not completely allergy-free), hash browns, teensiest nibble of the biscuit and tons of coffee. Breakfast of champions.
Obscenely large $12 Polish sausage (didn't eat the bun) for lunch at McCormick convention center. Just okay.
The fancy client dinner was at an Italian place called Gioco, formerly a speakeasy. Dinner was gi-normous scallops on a bed of rapini. Eh. Just okay.
Steak dinner at Harry Carey's with my pal Timmers, it was so dark in there I didn't get a chance to take a picture, but it was a pretty damned good filet mignon. It was expensive, so it was just what I expected.
The last breakfast at a different greasy spoon diner. The round things are sausages, although they look like UFOs. For some reason, I enjoyed my diner meals more there than the fancy places. Hm. Oh well, it's good to be home in La La Land.