TBG likes to say that America, like Americans, is fat around the middle. At the risk of offending a reader or two who might actually inhabit the 500 miles of Kansas, Wyoming, Texas, Nebraska, Iowa... you know, those square states which are on the way to but not quite really there.... it's kind of extra. After a week in Chicago, one of the all time great towns for those who like to eat, I'm thinking that I ought to stop repeating his joke. It feels just a little too close for comfort. I'm hiking tomorrow and my favorite shorts won't snap.
How did this happen? Well, for starters there was breakfast at Ann Sather's. I've been eating there, at one location or another, since I was a graduate student 35 years ago. We used to go for the apple pancakes, waiting in line on Sunday mornings in the snow, knowing we'd be warm, inside and out, once they were on the table before us. There's a branch around the corner from the kids' apartment, and it was empty at 11 o'clock last Friday morning. How could we resist?
I wanted orange juice, but I couldn't resist ordering the SOB Juice, just for the chance to say the name. Strawberry, orange and banana frothing in front of me.... this is what was left after I put it down the first time:
I wasn't that thirsty; it was just that good.
In the mood for protein, I ordered an omelet with tomatoes and chose the sweet roll over the toast.
Are you starting to see how the week was going to progress? That is not 2 rolls.... it's one roll. And they brought us an extra serving by mistake and laughed and told us to take it home. There were potatoes next to the eggs, but by the time I finished half my roll I was wasted.
I spent the rest of the afternoon licking melted sugary syrupy glaze off my fingers, inner arm, camera and cell phone. Everybody wanted to get into the act.
We ate three meals a day, every day, and at none of them did I consider the health benefits of the food. Chicago hot dogs only exist in Chicago ... how could I turn them down? Greek Islands makes saganaki better than anyplace I've ever eaten
We had to ask for another loaf or two of the sesame bread .... there was taramosalata to be wiped up, too. After appetizers and salads our dinners were superfluous. I was grateful that I'd left G'ma in Tucson. Had she been there, she would have ordered baklava and my destruction would have been complete.
In Michigan City on Monday night, we ate at Rodini's ... ok, I'll be honest, we gorged at Rodini's. It sounded Italian to me, but the decor was Greek and the food was steak and fish. We tried to refuse the appetizer plate, but the waitress wouldn't hear of it. After garlic bread, meatballs, fried chicken livers and fried zucchini I was ready to go home. But there was salad, a loaf of fresh baked bread, and filet mignon covered in bleu cheese and mushrooms to be devoured. I made it about half way through before surrendering. I almost cried when she asked if we wanted desert.
And then there was the alcohol. I'm not a big drinker when I'm out on the town, but every meal was a celebration which demanded a toast. We had Botox Bubblies and Bellini Gone Wilde at Wilde, where all things Oscar are celebrated. Seret and Mr. DreamyCakes were downtown for an appointment, and when they caught up with us it was time to toast again. There was no abuse of alcoholic substances, but there was certainly consumption. At Rodini's I was served a water tumbler filled with clear liquid in response to Stoli on the rocks. Had she added water? Nope, it was all vodka. I've never left half of my one and only drink in the glass before.
It was the Killer Margaritas at Cesars (http://killermargaritas.com.... seriously... that's the url) that finally did me in. The kids had been talking about them all week, so off we went to celebrate my departure. This is a large and powerful potion; it took me the better part of 2 hours to finish it. The fresh night air felt good, and then there we were, at Phoebe's Cupcakes. Yes, of course they had one with yellow cake and white frosting for me. There were sprinkles on top and inside and it's making me smile just to think about it. There was Death by Chocolate and Pineapple Right Side Up and then there was the one SIR decided to try... the one with crispy bacon on top.
Yes, bacon on a cupcake. It was definitely time for me to go home. I left the kids with the leftovers; they won't be grocery shopping any time soon.