Driving That Train, High on Beignet

People often focus on the downside of drinking, like how it makes some people crash their cars into buildings, or how you feel a kinship with death during the morning hangover. However, inebriation also has its delights. There’s the giddiness and belief in all possibility that grips your brain somewhere after the third libation. Drink is also responsible for the glory of the early morning fourth meal, which, as long as there is any decent measure of grease, sugar, and salt involved, tastes like the greatest thing you have ever eaten. There are whole institutions, the $2 slice joint, dirty water hot dogs, and here in Chicago, Flash Taco, that would not exist without liquor-induced palate goggles. Advertisements

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Doctor, My Eyes

Thomas was a third-grade thug. He was the kid who got paddled by the principal monthly for infractions ranging from taking nips of art class mucilage from Elmer’s rubber orange nipple, to contorting his face grotesquely and eliciting guffaws from fellow classmates behind the teacher’s back.

California Knows How to Party

The King of Spain was not waiting in the bar tonight. But, if he were, I know I would have been seated first. I cannot blame the King of Spain for not yet dining at Pacific Standard Time (PST), the new restaurant from the partnership of One Off Hospitality (Paul Kahan, Donnie Madia, et al.) and Underscore Hospitality (Erling Wu-Bower, Joshua Tilden). Like me, he probably heard the name of the restaurant and shook his head. Which is to say, it feels a little weird to have a restaurant that is an homage to California produce and “California coast soul” (sadly, Marvin Gaye is not involved) named after a Western time zone open in Chicago. I suppose I’m being provincial, but if you opened a restaurant named Central Standard Time in Los Angeles serving Italian beef and tater tot hot dish, Jonathan Gold might just resurrect the LA Times rating system just to award no stars at all. 

Consider the Red Lobster

Sometimes it’s hard to tell if Beyoncé is being literal or figurative. For example it’s abundantly clear that she is not really riding an actual surfboard in “Drunk in Love”. Skittle candies are also not being eaten in “Blow”. However, in “Formation” when she says, “When he fuck me good, I take his ass to Red Lobster, ’cause I slay”, I think she really means she’s taking Jay Z to Red Lobster after sex.

Chicago’s Food Future is in Los Angeles

In 2005, Homaro Cantu ate a menu on the cover of Gourmet magazine and Ruth Reichl dubbed Alinea the best restaurant in America. John Mariani, allegedly pissed that his food reviewing rider demands weren’t met, ignored both Alinea and Moto and dubbed Ryan Poli’s Butter one of Esquire’s best restaurants in America. The Chicago food scene was king.

Love Nest

I felt like I’d walked into the secret love nest of Hugh Hefner and a crazy old bird lady. I know that sounds crazy. Like why would Hefner shack up with a bird lady?  But, the dude loved quaaludes, so anything is possible. And even if he never did, Bellemore restaurant’s interior design looks like what would have happened if he had.

The South in Your Mouth

Well my home’s in the delta, Way out on that farmer’s road. Now you know I’m living in Chicago, And people, I sure do hate to go. -Muddy Waters, My Home is in the Delta That lyric from Waters is a bit of an idle threat. It was recorded in 1963 at Chicago’s Tel Mar recording studios for one of the greatest records of all time, “Folksinger”. But, Muddy stayed in Chicagoland, dying in his Westmont, Illinois home in 1983.

The Fat Elvis Burger

Elvis died early, but, he made the most of his short life. He wore glittery jumpsuits, hung out with Nixon, had a private jet with a state of the art eight track player and his own super-estate, aka Graceland. Culinarily speaking, he totally didn’t GAF. I mean the guy’s favorite sandwich was reportedly peanut butter, bacon and banana on white bread, maybe, sometimes deep fried.

Au Cheval Killer

If the dudes from “American Pickers,” Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, opened a burger joint, it would probably look a lot like Flip Burger in West Town. The dining room behind the kitchen is a junk collector’s paradise, featuring a vintage Coke machine, a communal table ringed with reclaimed tulip-style diner stools and a vintage parking meter. “I’m like a ‘Sanford and Son’ garbage collector. I like to go through the back roads in Indiana, finding stuff in small shops and old barns,” owner Felipe Caro said.

The Rise of Dad Food

In the last few years, “dad rock” has been used as pejorative shorthand for critics to dismiss bands or music of a certain ilk. Such music is usually plaintive, nostalgic, seemingly simplistic, maudlin or sometimes just fringe complex and weird.