Re: A Blowhard In The Windy City

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I'll have one day to myself (which will have to be interrupted to pick my brother up from the airport) and then two days with him (he's 15). The problem is that there's so much I want to see and I don't know which ones to pick! I want to go to the Museum of Science and Industry, the Field Museum, the Art Institute, Millenium Park, one of those architecture boat tours and so! much! more! Help me choose!


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 6:59 AM
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You could take Kotsko's virginity.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:00 AM
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And restaurant recommendations would be nice, if you've got some, especially ones somewhat near the touristy things we'll be seeing or within a hikeable distance from where we'll be staying (nearish to Northwestern University). Thanks!

Also: Chicago? Not the easiest for public transit, it seems. Every other city's guidebook lists the nearest metro stop for each attraction. The guidebooks for Chicago seem to just throw up their hands.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:04 AM
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What should I do?

Try changing your ticket?


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:06 AM
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And I've heard that, if you're going to go to the top of one of the tall buildings, the John Hancock building is preferable to the Sears Tower. Correct?


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:06 AM
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Come to the Southwest, instead. It's sunnier, and I need someone to take care of my kids.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:09 AM
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Ahem:
Chicago Transit Authority trip planner


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:14 AM
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Also, you should totally go see the giant Bahai temple in Evanston, seeing as how you're staying there and all.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:15 AM
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I'm going to steal the thunder of Catherine and Tom, who comment around here, but here's the advice they gave me when I was faced with the same problem:

Tom: A cocktail at the top of the Hancock Building is always a nice idea. And it's right on the Miracle Mile, so you could stroll up from there and see the river. If you've got the whole day, catching a Cubs game would probably be pretty great -- be sure to grab a drink in a Wrigleyville bar before the first pitch.

Catherine: it's actually the magnificent mile (officially michigan ave.). anyway, i second the cocktail at the top of the hancock building, especially if it's clear. it's so great because tickets to the observation deck cost like $12 - but head to the bar just a couple of floors below the observation deck, and pay $12 for a cocktail, and get both the view and a drink.

at the other end of michigan ave. is millennium park, which is fun for a stroll (the bean, the gehry auditorium, those enormous LED sculpture fountains...).

you should get a hot dog, too! portillo's is good. they are in river north, a bit away from the loop. but good.

if you've got the time, my guests have always enjoyed the shoreline sightseeing river architecture tours.

if you've got even more time, i suggest wandering around either lakeview/wrigleyville (my old neighborhood) or wicker park, and if it's nice, finding an outdoor patio and having a beer and people watching.

and of course, there is the enormous american girl place on chicago ave. a must-see.

have fun! it's an amazing city.


Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:17 AM
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Oops - I'm not staying in Evanston. I'm staying near the Northwestern campus in the city - near Michigan Ave and Chicago Ave.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:19 AM
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Obviously some of that works better when the Cubbies are actually playing. My one piece of advice is whatch out for the weather - the two days I was there, it was sunny & 70 the first, and then driving snow and 40 the following morning. Also, the Chicago Art Institute - of Ferris Bueller fame - is totally worth it.


Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:19 AM
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The Sci Industry museum is best accessed by bus. The main displays are TOO FRIGGING LOUD but the u-boat is awesome. Most of the rest of the stuff you mentioned is all clumped in the same area by the lakefront and in easy walking distance of each other.

Also: the Chicago Reader is the local free weekly w/arts, concert, etc listings.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:20 AM
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Hook up with Steve Albini!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:25 AM
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Do you have dietary restrictions? Twin Anchors on North Sedgwick in Old Town has the best ribs I've had. It's about a half-mile walk west from where you're staying, a nice walk to and around the area.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:26 AM
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Any opportunity to meet those of us who haven't met you yet?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:27 AM
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Also, if you're there on a Friday, the Art Institute is free on Friday afternoon/evenings (I'm not sure starting exactly when).


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:28 AM
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I'll have one day to myself (which will have to be interrupted to pick my brother up from the airport) and then two days with him (he's 15).

This is the martial arts expert, right? Have a costume made for him (and yourself, if you'd like). When he gets in, you can set him lose to clean up the South Side. You should probably check with him on colors, first.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:30 AM
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I'd love to have a meetup but, sadly, I'm not going to have the time. I don't feel like I could take my little brother. Maybe if I was traveling with the older one but the younger one would be totally WTF?


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:30 AM
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If you bother making it down to Hyde Park to go to the Museum of Science and Industry, you really should stop in to the Oriental Institute as well. It kicks ass--really worth the trip alone. Plus you could stop into some of the bookstores in the neighborhood, so good they almost make me miss Chicago. The U of C's Smart Museum of Art isn't worth the bother, sad to say.

I'd consider the Art Institute a must, but I understand you have limited time. Still, the best collection of modern art outside of New York (and better installed, too) plus a first rate collection of painting from the late medieval/Renaissance to the 19th century? It's like the Met and MoMA had a baby, except the ancient collection is weak and the Asian, while good, is nothing like what you can see in the east (or heck, elsewhere in the midwest.) I would think it a shame to be in Chicago and miss one of the country's top art museums.


Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:32 AM
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17 - oh, yeah, like you don't know what happens to female relatives and friends of costumed heroes


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:32 AM
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Of the things you list in 1, I'd say the Art Institute and Millenium Park are the ones to definitely do, and the boat tour would be great, but only if the weather is good. And that's already a lot to do in one day, and it seems like more fun to try to enjoy the day than to do many things.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:38 AM
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Are you going to be there this weekend, Becks? Sir Kraab and I will be, attending some guy's wedding. I think his name is Ulrich or Hans or something (Sir Kraab takes care of all these social details for me).

We haven't suggested a meet-up with anyone because we're afraid nobody would show upwe're just there Friday to Sunday and won't have much time outside of wedding/meeting-SK's-old-friends related program activities.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:40 AM
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Can a girl go anywhere anymore without meeting up?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:42 AM
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And the Art Institute is festooned with bas-relief cow skulls, for that stockyard glamor.

This is an afternoon all by itself, but if you can find a walking architecture tour, they're great. Chicago is where Louis Sullivan developed the skyscraper, and wandering around looking at them is awesome.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:42 AM
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22 - Bummer! Not this weekend but next weekend.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:43 AM
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Home of the City Beautiful movement, too.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:44 AM
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22: What part of town are you going to be in? I'd like to try meeting up. I'm going to keep trying until I either beat my unable-to-meet jynx or discover that I have some magical powers of repulsion, which could be exploited.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:50 AM
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The Art Institute is, hands down, the museum to visit in Chicago. One of the finest collections of impressionist art in the world, and a quite good collection of European and American paintings aside from that. The Oriental Institute is nice as well, if you're into those huge Assyrian sphinxes and whatnot. One nice place to kill an hour or two is the Shedd Aquarium (which also is a nice vantage point for looking at the city skyline). Skip the Field Museum and the MSI, unless you have a deep and abiding love for dinosaurs or U-boats, respectively.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:51 AM
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The River boat cruise is amazing, but make sure to do the one offered by the Chicago Architecture Foundation - I think about 1.5 hours. Great great great way to see the city and get a serious appreciation for the architecture. The Art Institute has reinstalled some of it's collections right now because of the construction, but some of the most amazing Mary Cassatt's (and works generally from that era). Also the cafe in the museum is also really nice. A fun place to go for brunch in the Loop is Orange, but the Bongo Room in Wicker Park is even better, and makes good brunch cocktails.
Not sure if Second City is for over 18 only, but they are really funny.


Posted by: Margot | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:54 AM
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I'm going to keep trying until I either beat my unable-to-meet jynx or discover that I have some magical powers of repulsion

You're not the email writer from yesterday's Arse and the Real Girl posting, are you?


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:56 AM
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Oh come now, MSI is more than just the Uboat exhibit. Current attractions include something related to Star Wars, a new planet earth atmospheric exhibit thing, and an Omnimax movie about Sea Monsters. I'm not selling this very well, but it's always been one of my favorite museums.

http://www.msichicago.org/

I'll also add support to the drink atop the Hancock idea and the walking architectural tour. I love the boat tour on a warm sunny day. If it winds up being cold and drizzly and miserable an otherwise intolerable, the walking tour is alot easier to just ditch. Millenium Park and the Art Institute are, of course, two great tastes that go great together.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:59 AM
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... Uboat exhibit ... something related to Star Wars, a new planet earth atmospheric exhibit thing, and an Omnimax movie about Sea Monsters. I'm not selling this very well

Sorry, I'm supposed to prefer some late 19th century French paintings over this?


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:02 AM
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What is this news conference at 10:45 presumably about? CNN seems to think it's TOP YELLOW importance.


Posted by: Counterfly | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:04 AM
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What is this news conference at 10:45 presumably about? CNN seems to think it's TOP YELLOW importance.

Preemptive war on Turkey?

Or possibly Bush is going to announce an end to the Navy's whale-killing sonar program. "Sometimes you just have to do what's right", he will say.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:06 AM
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What does Top Yellow mean?


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:09 AM
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That U-boat was the coolest thing ever when I was five. Probably still is.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:13 AM
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"Breaking" "news" on CNN gets thrown to the top of the page and made yellow. Sometimes it's like "TIM MCGRAW HAS ISSUES WITH SEAFOOD" or some shit but sometime is "WE LAUNCH STRIKES ON MARS."


Posted by: Counterfly | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:13 AM
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I really like the sculpture called "The Bean" or whatever near the Miracle Mile. I took pictures of it for two hours.


Posted by: Counterfly | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:14 AM
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What part of town are you going to be in? I'd like to try meeting up.

I'll have to ask the Kraab. I've never been to Chicago (except the airport) and so am not familiar with it, plus I have the annoying habit of leaving all the details of our schedule to her.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:15 AM
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U-505 is an amazing thing, the last Type IXC in existence. It's the biggest of the German boats, and when you see it, remember all of the American boats were bigger, and more powerful. Most of the German boats, Type VIIs, were appreciably smaller.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:20 AM
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This post is more than an hour old, right? Becks, go get the Crisco.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:22 AM
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I'd pick up the Illinois Central at the Randolph Street station downtown and take it to 57th street. Walk across Jackson park and see the U-505 and the coal mine and all the other cool exhibits at the MSI. They may still have the sliced up lady in the stairwell. Then walk west on Midway to remember the Columbian Exposition and then north to 57th and hope that Eduardo's is still there and have the spinach pizza. Then walk few blocks further west and tip your hat to where the west stands of Stagg Field used to be, pat the Henry Moore scuplture, and think about the birth of the atomic age. Then go poison something in Botany pond.

Check the IC schedule, it doesn't run very often.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:33 AM
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If you're in Hyde Park, walking around the U of C and mocking the faux-Gothic architecture is fun. Points for finding the gargoyle taking a phone call, and the gothic phone booth. (Not near each other.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:38 AM
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From the friend who's getting married this weekend:

If the weather is nice, you should check out the view from the top of the Hancock building on North Michigan. It's the one that looks kind of like the Sears Building. It's not quite as tall but the view is just as good, or better, because it's so near Lake Michigan. Don't bother paying to go up the "observation deck". Instead go to the Signature Lounge bar on the 96 th floor. www.signatureroom.com It's especially nice around sunset.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:48 AM
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I'm not sure about the contemporary scene, but for a long time the Chicago jazz scene was the strongest and most creative in the U.S. -- not just nostalgia and classicism like Marsalis. David Murray, Lester Bowie, and The Art Ensemble of Chicago were some names -- some is mainstream and some more avant-garde. If that's still true it would be worth a look even if that's not your favorite music, because it's something that's hardly found anywhere else in the U.S. (though it survives in Europe).


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:52 AM
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IDP, we're staying downtown at the Essex. We're still figuring out the schedule for apologizing for introducing M/tch to various of my friends, but we'll get back with you. Friday happy hour is the most likely time, I think.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:52 AM
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Not cheap, but very delicious: http://www.lulacafe.com


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:01 AM
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I always recommend Hot Doug's (and now Kuma's Corner), but they're in Roscoe Village, which I think is completely across town from you. You or your brother might think eating an insanely good giant hamburger in a metal bar is totally rocking and worth the trip, though.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:03 AM
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I'm not sure about the contemporary scene, but for a long time the Chicago jazz scene was the strongest and most creative in the U.S.

It still is, the scene around Craig Tabourn and Ken Vandermark (spelling on both?) is pretty thriving these days, and there's the occasional random 15-person band that'll play free-jazz-inspired music in tiny bars.

Sadly, Becks, the modern art wing of the Art Institute is out of commission at the moment. They're building a fancy-pants new wing which will finally hold their collection (which is much much larger than their old space). My dream is that they'll share the huge new space with the Museum of Contemporary Art, which also has far too large of a collection to display in its relatively small building.

May I also recommend Lincoln Park Zoo? I know it's not much for you new yorker types, but it's free, it's in the middle of a beautiful park that may even still have leaves by the time you get here, it's right by a very nice neighborhood with good restaurants, and you'll probably get to see the two baby Takins that were born this year. It's well worth the hour or so stroll around.

As for restaurants, just let me know what kind of food and/or price range you're looking at. There are some amazing places in town.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:07 AM
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That Sir Kraab, such an enabler!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:07 AM
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46: Great!

Looking forward, I've a goal of meeting Unfogged people more than once. So far Michael and Adam, near neighbors of mine, are the only ones on that list.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:08 AM
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I always recommend Hot Doug's (and now Kuma's Corner), but they're in Roscoe Village

I always want to go there, but it's open so few hours and nowhere near mass transit. Grrr.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:08 AM
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50: If I left things up to you, honey, our only outings would be to farmer's markets. Not that there's anything wrong with that . . . lifestyle.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:11 AM
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If you have a limited time, I would walk around the loop & the magnificent mile & millennium park & see the art institute. Possible additions:
--architecture tour (I've been on the boat tour, & was slightly disappointed by the extent to which they would ONLY talk about things on the river, many of which are amazing, but some are more like: "this is a gym, dating from the mid 1970s". I was like, what about all those cool skyscrapers a block away from the water? So a walking tour might be better for learning about architecture--on the other hand, it's nice sitting on a boat, & there's probably no tour that takes you to every great building).
--if the weather's warm enough & not too windy renting bikes at Navy Pier & biking along the lake.
--Lincoln Park zoo (a little north of downtown) is free, & has cute baby gorillas.

Restaurants:
--Cafe Spiaggia is very close to your hotel. It's the cheaper cafe attached to some fancy schmancy Italian place I've never been to. Very good pastas for $16-17. (The entrees are more expensive & I've never had them).
--Avec may be my favorite restaurant but it's further away, 615 W Randolph, & doesn't take reservations
--most of the cheaper stuff I know of is north or south of you. The Fox & Obel cafe, on Illinois, is good cheap yuppie food (sandwiches, salads, etc.)


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:12 AM
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Hot Doug's is a frigging zoo during lunch hours.

Today's specials: The Game of the Week Bacon and Cheddar Elk Sausage with Sweet Hot Mustard and Stripey Jack Cheese

The Casey Blake (Today's Celebrity Sausage)
Spicy Jerk Pork Sausage with Strawberry-Mint Sauce and Crispy Fried Onions

The Atomic Bomb Spicy Pork Sausage with Spicy Passion Fruit-Mango Mayonnaise and Almond-Coated Goat Cheese

Calvados-Infused Duck Sausage with Blood Orange Mustard and St. Pete's Blue Cheese drizzled with Honey

Spinach and Feta Chicken Sausage with Tapenade Aioli and Feta Cheese

Green Pepper and Mozzarella Chicken Sausage with Spicy Pepper Mustard Sauce, Smoked Mozzarella Cheese and Pomodoraccio

Ribeye Steak Sausage with Chimichurri Sauce

It's a hard place for a vegetarian to visit.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:16 AM
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55 - OMG that looks good. Mostly when it comes to restaurants I like places that are unique to the city or give you a feel for the place. Like, I of course plan to try Chicago-style pizza and a Chicago-style hot dog. And I'm a big fan of trying new types of ethnic cuisine, or eating them in cities well known for it. And I'm not looking for anything super-fancy -- just casual eateries that would give the flavor of the city.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:22 AM
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Lula Cafe is indeed good and when I lived in Chicago was totally reasonably priced. Go to the Matchbox. The contemporary Chicago jazz scene is going strong; go here for listings. (I've never used that site but apparently it's what's replaced or is trying to replace the late Malachi Ritscher's CRAP listings, which ruled.) The concert at the Hideout tonight looks good. Don't go to the MSI.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:22 AM
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I've several times given up on Hot Doug's having already waited in line for twenty minutes or so.

I think the best thing is to plan your outing around standing in line. It's actually a good, reasonably quiet place to talk. On a nice day, with coffee you remembered to bring, it could be a fun experience.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:25 AM
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Actually all of the concerts tonight look at least interesting. You could probably go to the one at the cultural center (also extremely worthwhile in appearance) and the one at the Hideout.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:25 AM
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Have breakfast at the Original Pancake House.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:26 AM
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I think the best thing is to plan your outing around standing in line.

Definitely. Also go early, and on a weekday, if you can.

Kuma's Corner is seriously super great, too. NOM NOM NOM.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:27 AM
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I'm looking at that list of hotdogs in 55 and not really seeing one that doesn't look disgusting.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:30 AM
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I'm going to Chicago! What should I do?

Well, obviously, if someone pulls a knife, you should pull a gun. And if he puts one of yours in the hospital, you put one of his in the morgue.

Other than that, I have no real ideas.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:31 AM
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I'm looking at that list of hotdogs in 55 and not really seeing one that doesn't look disgusting.

It's okay, they'll deep-fry them for Scottish customers.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:33 AM
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re: 63

Said in a Dublinborough accent.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:33 AM
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re: 64

The sausages all sound nice, but the addition of so much cheese and sweet dressings ... eech.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:34 AM
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ttaM is right, that ain't Chicago. You want a regular dog, Chicago style, or some Polish sausage or bratwurst with kraut and mustard. Strawberry mint sauce? In Chicago? I'm so glad I moved somewhere that isn't so wussy.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:36 AM
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You don't actually have to have the toppings, oh ye of weak spirit.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:36 AM
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56: it is impressive the extent to which fast food hasn't penetrated here. Instead there are hot dog, hamburger, & assorted other meat stands everywhere.

Chicago style pizza: do not go to Giordano's! I've never been to Pizzeria Uno because of line issues. Lou Malnati's, a local chain, is pretty good. My favorite place is actually My Pie, an obscure little hole in the wall in Fullerton which used to be the closest to my apartment--it's a little heavier on the sauce & lighter on the cheese than Lou Malnati's.

My favorite cheap restaurant may be Lao Sze Chuan, in Chinatown, but it's a bit of a schlep.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:36 AM
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Chicago-style pizza

Spinach stuffed pizza is key.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:37 AM
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OH PLEASE. It is too Chicago, it is not a yuppie spot, and those are just the specials. Other offerings include:

The Dog
Chicago-Style Hot Dog with all the trimmings: 'nuff said.
$1.75

The Elvis
Polish Sausage: Smoked and savory - just like the King.
$2.50

The Paul Kelly
Bratwurst: Soaked in Beer - sort of like Paul.
$3.50

The Frankie "Five Angels" Pentangeli
(formerly The Virgil "the Turk" Sollozzo and the Luca Brasi)
Italian Sausage: Keep your friends close, your sausage closer.
$3.00

The Keira Knightley
(formerly the Jennifer Garner and the Britney Spears)
Fire Dog: Mighty hot!
$2.50

The Salma Hayek
(formerly the Madonna, the Raquel Welch and the Ann-Margret)
Andouille Sausage: Mighty, mighty, mighty hot!
$4.00


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:38 AM
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The times I've given up I've gone and got a regular Chicago dog, usually at Wolfy's on Peterson, my best local.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:38 AM
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sorry, My Pie is on CLARK, north of Fullerton. It's not going to change your life or anything, it was just the good local place.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:38 AM
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Everyone, say it with me: Magnificent Mile. (I mean, "Miracle Mile" just sounds stupid.)

The only thing I have to add to this is that the Aquarium is boring as fuck and you shouldn't go.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:40 AM
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OT: Did everyone hear that Cheney and Obama are cousins?

Reacting to the news, Obama's campaign spokesman Bill Burton told CNN's Dana Bash with tongue in cheek, "Obviously, Dick Cheney is sort of the black sheep of the family."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:40 AM
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magnificent mile sounds kind of stupid too, honestly.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:43 AM
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My Pie is good, and has been there for thirty years. I can remember eating there when I was in grad school.

My favorite Chinatown place is the so-called Little Three Happiness, on Cermak across from the fire station. "Little" because there is another "Three Happiness." LTH, as aficionados call it, is just a storefront.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:43 AM
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But anyway, as Snark said, Roscoe Village is not conveniently located.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:43 AM
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Isn't the Miracle Mile in LA, or am I just thinking that because of the surprisingly decent low-budget movie with Dr. Greene and Tasha Yar?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:43 AM
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I just saw a TV show on "banned foods" that mentioned that Hot Doug's was discontinuing their foie gras hot dog.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:46 AM
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foie gras hot dog

it is not a yuppie spot

So, foxytail, do I have to ban you or are you honorably withdrawing from the field of battle?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:48 AM
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It says so right there in the Wikipedia entry!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:53 AM
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Well played, sir.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:56 AM
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81: She was just trolling, ogged.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:56 AM
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Wiki says,

It is not a yuppie spot, it is THE yuppie spot.

It's ok, rfts, we'll retire your jersey and have a little ceremony.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:57 AM
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Was your use of "wiki" there a masterful reference to my previous griping about it, or was that just a happy coincidence?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:58 AM
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As I recall, do not try to go to the cocktail lounge of the Hancock tower on Friday night. The line is quite long. I also do not recommend Navy Pier or its overpriced Ferris wheel.

Another vote for the Art Institute, too. For what it's worth, the front steps of the Field Museum are a wonderful way to take in the Chicago skyline.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:00 AM
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Chicago-style pizza:
-Katherine is right about Lou Malnati's, and there is one very close to where you'll be staying (it's on Wells Street a couple blocks north of the river).
-Uno's, Due's and Gino's East are also pretty good and in the area, though I'd reckon they're inferior.
-My favorite place is fast becoming Art of Pizza near Ashland and Belmont, but that's pretty out of the way and far from mass transit.

Chicago dogs:
-Downtown Dogs is right by you (Chicago and Rush) and does a decent job. Make sure to get a char dog, since it has be run over the grill to be an actual Chicago dog.
-Portillo's (as mentioned by mike d) is a Chicago fast food place better than any other chain I know. There's a location pretty close to you at Ontario and LaSalle, and they not only do good Chicago-style dogs but also make great Italian Beef, which is another Chicago trashy food tradition.
-If you're around Lincoln Park/Boystown area (which is likely, as they're awesome neighborhoods near the lake), Weiner's Circle on Clark is another Chicago classic, particularly known for the class-warfare-in-a-fishbowl feeling of the late night shift, when drunken yuppies from the area get harangued by the pissed off southsiders staffing the joint.

Other restaurants:
- Frontera Grill on Wells is quite tasty, and part of Chicago's awesome upscale-Mexican cuisine scene. If you look to splash out a little more, the attached restaurant Topolobampo is the cheapest four-star place in the whole city.
- Lula Cafe is very reasonably priced (about $15 per person the last couple times I've eaten there, but for light meals) and very nice food. It's just pretty far out of the way (45 min by mass transit or $15-17 taxi ride), the service can be spotty, and it's in a neighborhood that doesn't have too much else to do.
- Katherine's also right about Avec, and I've heard good things about the nearby recently-opened Otom restaurant, but both are the sort of places where you'll easily spend $30-40 per person. For that price range, I'd also highly recommend Green Zebra, which is all delicious vegetarian with some great non-alcoholic drinks made by the chef.

Umm... I could keep going, but this is long enough as is. I'll add something if I think of any other great neighborhood restaurant recommendations.

Oh yeah, and Margot's mention of brunch places (Orange, Bongo Room, Hot Chocolate) was completely right. I also second Original Pancake House, which is always a bit of a trip at the location nearest to your hotel (Bellvue just off State) since it's firmly in the middle of one of America's great centers of enwhitlement.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:00 AM
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Just a happy coincidence, although now I think I remember you saying that using "wiki" for wikipedia annoyed you.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:00 AM
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I was just cajoling.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:00 AM
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Trolling, cajoling, without emoticons, who can tell the difference?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:02 AM
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The Original House of Pancakes on Bellvue is another line-standing opportunity, at least on weekends.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:04 AM
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Also, even though it seems like an idea whose time has come, the Weber Grill restaurant on Michigan (I think? It's very prominently located) serves up disappointingly dry burgers.


Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:07 AM
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Stupid question: Is Pizzeria Uno that same gross stuff they have in the mall or is this some other type of Pizzeria Uno?

(ducks)


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:07 AM
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94: It should be the same, but everybody says the concept doesn't travel well. I've never had it away from here, and in fact it's been years since I've had either Uno or Due. Malnati's for that style.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:10 AM
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If you want pizza, go to Malnati's.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:10 AM
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94: I believe the owners are the same for the terrible mall chain and the two Chicago joints, but the pizza is entirely different. This mystifies me as much as it does you.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:12 AM
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Don't bother, Becks. The fewer people who eat Chicago-style "pizza," the sooner it'll be wiped off the face of the earth. (ducks even lower)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:13 AM
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Chicago style pizza is pretty fucking awful, though.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:14 AM
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But honestly, while the dog and italian beef are definitely worth having because they're yummy, Chicago pizza is (may god forgive me) just a big ball of grease, and not always of the good kind.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:14 AM
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Wow, a strange and beautiful consensus.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:15 AM
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I like thin crust pizza better too.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:18 AM
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The problem isn't acquiring a taste for the stuff, which I have, it's making it a requirement. I hate it when people do that about anything. Lots of first-time eaters love the stuff—it's the only kind my mother will eat—lots of Chicagoans hate it.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:19 AM
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Don't bother, Becks. The fewer people who eat Chicago-style "pizza," the sooner it'll be wiped off the face of the earth.

Chicago style pizza is pretty fucking awful, though.

Chicago pizza is (may god forgive me) just a big ball of grease, and not always of the good kind.

I like thin crust pizza better too.

You people are the reason that state fairs are going under and hard-working mozzarella merchants can't put their kids through college.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:24 AM
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I dunno, observation suggests that midwesterners remain faithful to the consumption of cheese and other assorted forms of grease in quite prodigious quantities.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:31 AM
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For italian beef, there aren't many places convenient to downtown that are worth going to. I'd say the Al's Beef location on Ontario is the best near where you are staying. Unfortunately it's noticeably inferior to Al's on Taylor street and it doesn't hold a candle to Johnny's on North Avenue in Elmwood Park.

it is possible --- and totally awesome --- to tour the Vienna Beef factory that makes the delicious hot dogs essential to a Chicago Style Hot-Dog (TM). Its on Damen and Fullerton.

I'd also suggest drinking alot. Chicago has excellent bars. Check out http://www.chicagobarproject.com/ for great recommendations. My favorites --- especially for out-of-towners --- include Hopleaf, Green Mill, Marie's Riptide Lounge (late night), Woodlawn Tap, and anyplace with an Old Style sign that says Zimne Piwo sign.


Posted by: FTJ | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:43 AM
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And then after you tour the sausage factory, you can visit the Chicago City Council!


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:50 AM
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WOODLAWN TAP is your idea of a good bar?!?!?!


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:50 AM
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Most excitable theologian ever.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:53 AM
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It's a good bar for people stumbling out of Regenstein.

Cary's Lounge, on Devon in my neighborhood, West Rogers Park, is a fine bar, but there must be many others.

The trouble with any visit where authenticity and an unpretentious good time is your goal is you just have to go looking or have a guide.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:55 AM
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Since Becks is visiting with her 15-year-old brother, I doubt bar recommendations are crucial.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:57 AM
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Maybe it's just my recent humorlessness, but haters of chicago-style pizza are no-good assholes without a lick of sense or taste who ought to be strung up by their own guts and be stoned by disrespectful little kids. Christ.

If you go to Hyde Park, eat at Rajun Cajun and Harold's Chicken Shack. Yes, "and".

More good bars: the Long Room and the Map Room (and the Matchbox!). All three are accurately named.

If you want to drop big bucks try to get a seat at Alinea (I've never been but had a fabulous meal at Trio when Achatz was there), but don't try particularly hard to get a seat at Blackbird.

(Is the Woodlawn Tap no longer Jimmy's, even in name?)


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 11:05 AM
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oh, becks, on navigation: you may already know this, but Chicago addresses are standardized throughout the city--basically our own system of longitude and latitude, with Madison St. as the equator & State St. as the prime meridian. So that makes it relatively to find the nearest el stop if you know the address where you're going, though your guide book should still tell you.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 11:05 AM
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is blackbird the one that serves bacon ice cream?


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 11:06 AM
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Maybe it's just my recent humorlessness, but haters of chicago-style pizza are no-good assholes without a lick of sense or taste who ought to be strung up by their own guts and be stoned by disrespectful little kids. Christ.

This is the single most important thing Ben has ever said. Ever.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 11:07 AM
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They didn't any of the times when I ate there, but maybe they started to since then. If so, good for them.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 11:08 AM
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also:
--best coffee I have had in this country: Intelligentsia traditional cappucino, on Broadway near Wellington.
--best margarita I've had: Tarasca's on Clark & Wrightwood. They have a lot of different tequilas to choose from & it turns out that getting the second cheapest makes a big difference. It's a restaurant so it's no problem w/ your brother, though the food's nothing special.

idp, I'd happily do another Chicago locals meetup one of these days. this weekend I'm going to Madison though.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 11:20 AM
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best coffee I have had in this country:

Cuban coffee in South Beach. I dream about that stuff although it's so sweet my teef hurt.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 11:23 AM
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Me too. Priorities beyond just having it would be 1) Place we can genuinely talk and be heard; 2) timing/location that might bring out exotics/migratory creatures/the seldom seen. Of course to me that's everybody.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 11:29 AM
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Maybe it's just my recent humorlessness, but haters of chicago-style pizza are no-good assholes without a lick of sense or taste who ought to be strung up by their own guts and be stoned by disrespectful little kids.

Not just ogged, but the rest of them too?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 11:31 AM
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Woodlawn Tap is called Jimmy's due to a longstanding oral tradition. It hurts my heart every time I refer to Jimmy's and someone says "Oh, do you mean Woodlawn Tap?"

This comment should not be taken to contradict my earlier, excitable comment. Jimmy's is a valuable resource in the context of Hyde Park. The idea of going out of one's way to visit it, however, is baffling to me.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 11:33 AM
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Was Jimmy himself still around, peering through hopeless glasses and trying ineptly to fix chairs, in Ben's day?

I go back a ways.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 11:36 AM
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I always get confused by Chigago pizza discussions. I love the stuffed pizza, although I think of it essentially as a low-noodle lasagna. Deep-dish, on the other hand, either I've never had it good, or it just sucks; soggy bready crust with too much gunk on it. But I'm never sure if these are really meant to be two entirely distinct things, or they're variations on a theme, or what.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 11:36 AM
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Those are two entirely different things and only the former deserves to be called chicago-style as we've discussed here on these webbboards before. Christ on a crutch.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 11:58 AM
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May I again recommend Earl's in Melrose MN for lovers of classic old-time bars (like in the movies)? Last time I went there the WWII-vintage owner wasn't there, and damned if there wasn't a different WWII-vintage bartender filling in. He told me stories about the free Lucky Strikes soldiers were given during WWII.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 12:04 PM
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Earl's is less than 500 miles from Chicago. A must-see.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 12:07 PM
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And then another 500 miles and there's Seib's Sports Bar, 120 North Main Street Elgin, ND, 58533-7106. Phone: (701) 584-3066.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 12:08 PM
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A trip to Hyde Park with one's 15 year old brother would be an ideal time to talk about Mata Hari (who performed on the Midway) and Leopold & Loeb (famous U of C students). There are miportant life lessons there, somewhere, I'm sure.

The Woodlawn Tap has always been known as Jimmy's because of the local reverence for the written word. I'm told it was the last surviving building from a string of jazz clubs along 55th street which the University had razed during the Urban Renewal period.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 12:55 PM
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I don't know anyone who calls it Woodlawn Tap either but its hard for non-HP veterans to find "Jimmy's" as "Jimmy's" is its unofficial name. And maybe my taste is affected by the fact that I spent 1-2 nights a week there for roughly 6 years of my life, but I absolutely consider Jimmy's a great bar.


Posted by: FTJ | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 1:12 PM
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Huh, with this many people who love it, I guess I'll have to check Jimmy's out next time I'm down in Hyde Park. It always looked so unassuming and, well, kinda crappy (though with signs for good beers).

Also, I just realized that any new tourists can look up all these places in Google with the newly-available-for-Chicago Streetview. Awesome!


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 1:47 PM
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Another reason why Alice Waters should be first up against the wall when the revolution comes:

For the record, when I tried to get Waters to join me for one - how do you go to Chicago and not have a hot dog? - she said, ever on task, "Well, I'd just like to see where that hot dog comes from." Um, Vienna? Not gonna happen.


Posted by: Magpie | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 1:49 PM
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Po-Mo, it's a shadow of its former self and is the only bar, not counting The Pub in Ida, anywhere close to U of C's campus, particularly the library. The bars start on the other side of the IC tracks, and even then there aren't many of them.

But Jimmy's is the place in my life I've had the most RL conversations just like the ones we have here, and I can love it without recommending it.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 1:51 PM
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The Tiki lounge is right on the other side of the IC tracks, and has both wicker monkeys and a lax carding policy. (I never entered Jimmy's, having heard that they simply did not serve the underage.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 1:58 PM
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Ah, ok. I'm surprised there weren't coffeehouses that were more filled with this kind of conversation back in your day. I don't know Hyde Park well enough to think of any that would be today, but I'm sure they exist.

Almost all of the ultimate frisbee players at UofC live in a tenement nicknamed "The Peppe/rland" at 57th and Harper. When I crash down there with them before tournaments and the such, we're pretty close to the Woodlawn Tap, so I may have to schlep over there some night and doom my play over the weekend.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:03 PM
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Just chiming in to agree that Lula and Orange are good. (It seems like the Orange location in the Loop was not as good?) Also, basically every place in Chicago's tiny Chinatown is terrible, so really, don't bother with that. Greektown, on the other hand, has some decent cheap food. Red Rooster, on Halsted, has pretty good food and wine at reasonable prices. In the downtown area there is not so much worth eating.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:03 PM
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133: the Tiki lounge is no longer to be referred to in the past tense?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:06 PM
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136: Oh, is it gone? I was back in the early 90s for a comment there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:09 PM
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I've a Jimmy's bar tab from '78 I made a note on to remember as a kind of keepsake. She's a doctor now, has been for over twenty years.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:12 PM
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Becks should take her brother to visit Grove Parc Apartments. I hear they're nice.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:13 PM
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137: when I was around (a few years ago), there was no Tiki bar, but people would talk about it fondly and wish that it would come back.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:15 PM
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I was at the Tiki Lounge (for the first time!) on the last night it was open, which must have been in 2000.


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:18 PM
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I remember Tiki being great --- though my specific memories are bit hazy; the crazy looking hurricanes, girls two-stepping when Garth Brooks was huge, somebody being shot outside, and being sent there when Jimmy's closed at 2 --- aka, "Tiki time." The Falcon Inn is underrated as well.


Posted by: FTJ | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:31 PM
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basically every place in Chicago's tiny Chinatown is terrible, so really, don't bother with that.

Lies. The little mall down by the tracks has some good places.

Another place to go if you're in Hyde Park: Valois! See your food!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:34 PM
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You could take Alice Waters to Valois. If she wanted to know where her sausage came from, you could just point behind the counter and show her.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:34 PM
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I'm wondering if the M/lls–Kraab party's schedule has been at all effected by the rain?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 6:42 AM
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145: I don't know, I don't pay.

But anyway, we're planning on getting a cocktail around sundown at the bar in the Hancock on Friday, and all Mineshafters in the area are encouraged to join us.

Also, there will be no shooting of Alice Waters. She'll just be put on work detail in the garden and/or kitchen. It'll all work out fine.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:17 PM
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