There may be no better reward for enduring one of Chicago’s hard winters than a boozy alfresco afternoon. Put away the juleps, the Daiquiris and the Margaritas, though, because there’s a new sipper in the city.
A couple of nights ago I drank away some of my recessionary angst at the new Humboldt Park watering hole, Rootstock (954 N. California). The tiny little wine bar is a joint venture from Webster’s Wine Bar vets Jamie McClennan, Tonya Pyatt, and Johnny Hap. It is a totally idiosyncratic spot that like the best places honors the whims of its owners and operators. The night I was there, both Hap and Pyatt were super-gracious, with Pyatt even pulling up a chair to hang with me and my friend for a spell and dish on the wonders of our other local fave beer joint, Archie’s bar (2600 W. Iowa).
I actually have an appointment to eat Beijing duck on Monday, which makes it kind of absurd that tonight I was struck by the desire to replicate a quick version at home, but matters of the palate, just as matters of the heart, don’t always make much sense. Anyways, I made a trip to Richwell Market (1835 S. Canal) picked up some Beijing style pancakes for a couple of bucks and a bunch of scallions for $.49, then headed over to Fox and Obel for four 8 oz duck legs ($14). I was pretty psyched with what turned out. The photo above is my actual plate. Recipe follows:
While I abhor Cosmopolitans, the one thing I do love about those ladies from “Sex and the City” is their camaraderie. I suspect their daily meetings, however, are nothing but TV mythology. There’s no way anyone with a real job and life has time to meet with their friends so often. Still, their gatherings duly represent my aspirations of whiling away endless afternoons over drinks, food and banter to celebrate life. And so I do. Since I moved to Chicago, my best friend Aamir and I have made it a pretty regular habit to decompress at various downtown establishments after work.
Watch out Col. Sanders. General Tso is ready for battle. Fried chicken, once the exclusive domain of Southern gentleman and grandmothers hunched over cast-iron skillets, has a new international face.