Chicago Chicago – That Doddlin’ Town

Top Ten Good, Bad and Ugly Chicago Events for the Final Week of April 2012

10. United Flight 3708 from RIC to ORD was nearly 3 hours late departing from Richmond.  The weather was beautiful and a reason was never given.

9.  Thanks to an airport conversation with a super Lake Forest woman, we learned we could get on a slightly earlier flight.  We did, and we got to Chicago only 3 hours later than our original flight was supposed to get in.  The original flight got in 4 hours late.

8.  Our condo was hot and stuffy when we arrived because it had been a warm, sunny day.  The air conditioner was not working.  Every time we arrive, something is wrong.  Once it was the alarm system beeping for no reason.  Another time, the washing machine suddenly stopped working in the middle of a load.  There is always a sense of dread each time we open the door.  This time we had to replace the fan motor in the AC system on the roof.

7.  Mariano’s grocery store has kept its customer service at just about the same excellent level as it did for its grand opening last year.  (Unlike Martin’s in Richmond.)  Mariano’s is as close to our old, beloved Ukrop’s as it gets!  Plus Mariano’s has decent produce.  I did, however, lose a battle when I was sandwiched between a grocery basket and an aggressive produce stocker.  I have an ugly multicolored bruise on my kneecap.

6.  Longman and Eagle in Logan Square still puts out some wonderful food, and I got my spring vegetable groove on with a small plate of English Pea Agnolotti, Roasted Trumpet Royal Mushrooms with Grana Padano and Black Truffle Vinaigrette.  My big plate rocked Pan Roasted Skate Wing, Black Trumpets and Baby Spring Vegetables in a Saffron Broth.  I am currently obsessed with fresh English peas and well-prepared skate wing.  Okay, I am the Non-Snooty Foodie.  Yum.

5. One of my top ten foods of all time are the warm Gruyere doughnuts at Longman and Eagle.  Large doughnut holes are made with a rich batter mixed with shredded gruyere and then deep-fried, stacked like cannon balls, drizzled with wild flower honey, and presented with a dollop of marscapone.  BUT they have toyed with the recipe and the doughnuts are now looser blobs swimming in fig jam.  Yuck.  I hope they bring back the original.

4.  We celebrated husband’s birthday at his favorite Topolobampo.  We eat here about every 3 years which is about how long it takes to get a reservation.  My favorite?  The blue agave margarita.  There were more fresh English peas in our ceviche and more well-prepared fish dishes.  We chose our own wine, since we know what we like and since we are old and wise.  The sommelier who came to collect our bottle at the end brought good feelings by telling us how well we chose.

3. We did lots of cleaning, cooking, toilet repairing, laundry and other sundry chores, none of which were terribly exciting.  Weather was mild enough to keep heat from coming on.  It was so warm in Chicago in March, things in our condo degraded in the heat.  Natural, clear pump hand soap turned brown.  Ew.

2. As part of husband’s birthday celebration, we saw one of his favorite bands, the Cowboy Junkies, at the Old Town School of Folk Music.  He likes women singers who sing of death, depression and “done wrong” like Margo Timmins and Lucinda Williams.  It must be a diversion from my happy, upbeat demeanor.  Hah!  It was a good show.

1. Margo Timmins made references to liking Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones.  I was excited by this revelation.  Spoiler Alert: Lady Edith Crawley gets married in Season 3.  Still no word if Fred Armisen will steal the part of Lady Edith as he does on Jimmy Fallon’s version of Downtown Abbey.

How’s that for the good, the bad and the ugly?

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