Thursday, May 21, 2009

Walking Chicago- The Search for Abe Froman

Picked a great day to do a walking tour of Chicago! The temperature had dropped to the mid 40's, and rain was intermittently falling throughout the day. But bad weather cannot keep Abqbeergeek from... clothes shopping???

The not-so Magnificent Mile was our first stop; a stretch of Michigan Ave. that holds all the mall stores I never want to shop in along with all the super premium stores I can't afford to shop in. Jenn, on the other hand, has already worn all of her work outfits once and decided it was time for new ones. So I spent the first hour of the day in a Borders down the street from the H&M she was emptying, reading magazines and thinking that I may as well be at ABQ Uptown. I know there must be a cool old urban bookstore in Chicago with warped hardwood floors, dusty shelves with books scattered all around and cats sleeping on top of them, but in this weather I settled for Borders. I did find some windows that overlooked the famous Water Tower, and we don't get that view at Uptown. Not until some Chicago fun-style eatery chain moves in, that is.

On to the usual tourist stops. we hit that giant Jelly Belly over at Millennium Park, walked down to Lake Michigan, and headed over to Greektown. I don't know if there was something I missed, but I only noticed like six Greek restaurants in the few blocks we covered in the area. Heck, we have Olympia Cafe, Gyros, and Sahara in the same span here. Maybe we can rename the university area.

I did get to have my first authentic Italian Beef sandwich. The first supposedly Italian Beef sandwich I tried was at a "Chicago Style" place in South Carolina years ago. It tasted like Arby's. This one still had the roast beef, but that is part of what an Italian Beef sandwich is, and it was real roast beef. One feature of the sandwich is that you can order it "dipped", where they dunk the entire sandwich in au jus. Another feature is the giardeneria, a mix of pickled, hot-spiced vegetables that tops the sandwich. We ordered a few of these during the trip but the first was the best of the bunch. Ever try that place Top Dog? They were a Chicago style restaurant. I tried to go there the other day, but it seems they have closed down.

The rain had really started to pick up by then, so of course we chose that time to go to the top of the Sears Tower, not really thinking that the rain was coming from the clouds, which were hanging out around the top of the tower. We circumvented the part in line where they put you in front of a Chicago backdrop and take your picture in hopes of selling it to you later, and got yelled at by the people at the ticket office. "You HAVE to go through that part!" "Sell it to the Japanese families lady, I'm already paying 12 bucks for an elevator ride!". The clouds had parted somewhat, giving us a good view of the city. I could almost see things as far away as our hotel, which was going to be fun to walk back to in the downpour.

No rain walking back though- the sun came out and beat down on us like it was getting revenge for something. It got so humid, the streets were covered in steam and so were we. By the time we got back to the hotel we didn't even want to go to a bar. We decided to hit up Sam's, a famous Chicago liquor store. What you see in the picture, thankfully, is not Sam's. We picked up a couple of beers from Sam's to drink in the room, most notably Shimkoe's Simcoe Double IPA from Flossmoor Station. The picture shows the beer selection at the Whole Foods down the block from Sam's. Have you ever seen anything so pathetic as this cooler? I wanted to become its sponsor like you can be for one of those kids from Africa. It turns out that they are moving into a new location in June and are keeping stock at a minimum. Still it was hard to look at and we rushed back to the room to drink the vision away.

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