Wednesday, May 11, 2016

My Kind of Town?

This past weekend, Alexis and I took a truly whirlwind trip to Chicago.  The reason?  Fish Eye Fun, of course!  I had a wedding to work and dragged Alexis along to keep me company on the 5 hour drive.

Now, it's been possibly five years since the last time I was in Chicago.  If there's been a more recent trip, I can't remember it.  Five years with no Giordano's.  No Gene and Jude's.  No Portillo's.  No Sub-T's.  And even though Mark and I will be going for a whole weekend in July, I wanted to take advantage of my brief time there and get some food.  I was, needless to say, excited about the prospect.

We drove up Saturday morning, leaving time to spare for dinner.  I decided that we should go to Mickey's Gyros, so that I could hit up one of my favorite Chicago food places.  It would be perfect.  We'd have at least an hour to get food.

Or so we thought.

We were cruising along down Harlem when disaster struck.  Well, maybe not disaster.  Maybe more like a train.  And it didn't strike anything.  Instead, it just... stopped.  We stuck around for 20 minutes before I decided to try to find a way around it.  Because surely that wouldn't be so hard.




Alas, we were wrong once again.  We headed off to try to find an underpass or overpass or any kind of pass at all.  What we found was the front of the train, stopped a few hundred feet before a road.

A road!  It was right there, tantalizingly close.  I could almost smell the gyros.  There were just a few cars between us and a straight shot to dinner.

And then?  Then the train started to move.

And we started screaming profanities.

(Honestly, I wish there was video of this.  Never underestimate the fury of two hungry girls who have been in a car for five hours straight and suddenly had their chance for delicious, hot food run over by a goddamned train.)

By the time we found an actual underpass, we were so far away from where we needed to be that we gave up and just headed towards the venue.  Through Chicago traffic.  So.  Much.  Chicago.  Traffic.

At this point, I'm not just hungry.  I'm full out hangry.  I hate that train.  I hate all the people in all the traffic.  I hate the person trying to merge in front of me even though the merge lane ended a good while back.  At this point, I hate Chicago.

As I said, it's been five years since I was in Chicago.  I really had nothing but fond memories of the city.  I loved the skyline, the food, the sights, the people, the food...

Not anymore.  At that moment, I was regretting the fact that I already had tickets bought for our July Chicago trip.  Why would I want to come back to this god-forsaken place with no food and toll roads and too many trains and ridiculous traffic?  This whole experience was surely some kind of sign, like Mufasa whispering to Simba, "Go away never come back."  Chicago had it out for me.

Or I was just really hungry.

One of those.

Anyway.  We got to the venue, unloaded, set up, and Alexis went to find food before I strangled a bridesmaid or something.  We were in such a ritzy neighborhood that the McDonald's didn't even have a drive-through.  I know this because that's what we ate for our big Chicago dinner.  McDonald's.

It wasn't what I had in mind, but it was food and it kept me from murder.

And, overall, it was a great Fish Eye Fun event, in spite of all the reasons it might not have been.  Any wedding where I manage to get the bride and all the bridesmaids in one place for pictures can be considered a success.  For this wedding?  Nine bridesmaids.  And I got them all.

And, at the end of the night?  A food truck came to the venue and I got myself a Chicago-style hot dog.

So all was not lost.

We stayed the night with Anne and Jeff and in the morning they graciously made us brunch.  And Anne let me steal some of her books.  Add to this the fact that she let us in her house at 1 in the morning the night before and it's obvious that she's a wonderful human being and a great friend to boot.

In the end, was it a bad trip?  No.  It wasn't the best, naturally, but anything that ends with a homemade brunch and mimosas can't be all bad.  And, thanks to Chubby Wieners (yes, that's the name of the food truck), I got to eat Chicago food after all.

I guess I'll go back for another attempt in July.  I mean, I already bought the train tickets after all.

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