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.
The world is pretty fucked up right now. Because I’m a lib, this means that certain ideas like arming children don’t really resonate with me. But, maybe you are different. Maybe you are mad because Purdue pharma worked really hard to misrepresent the safety of certain opiates, and you’re stuck in a vicious cycle of fear and loathing that you’ve channeled in to a crippling and destructive fear of the other. Either way, for both of us, the world is not working the way we expected.
God bless aimlessness. Without it, there may have been no Calumet Fisheries, at least not the current incarnation of the incredible fish shack located in Chicago’s South Deering neighborhood. “My grandfather [Sam Toll] purchased it for my uncle [Len Toll] and my dad [Sid Kotlick],” said second-generation owner Mark Kotlick. “They didn’t have any career path, and my grandfather thought, ‘You need something to take care of your families.’ “
I once ate about 15 pounds of fried shrimp in a single day. It was, as most of my digestive system-threatening binges are, an occupational hazard. I was in search of Chicago’s best fried shrimp, and I found it at The Southside Shrimp House in Bridgeport. But that was before the White Sox had a championship and just a couple of years after the Cubs has squandered a chance at one. In 2007, the Shrimp House folded.
Though it wasn’t exactly Cape Cod, Chicago did alright in the fresh-catch business. Prior to World War II, it was one of the largest seafood shipping points in the country with twenty-two large wholesalers operating on the banks of the Chicago and Calumet Rivers. In the thirties and forties, Lake Michigan trout used to be more abundant than long lines at Apple stores on iPhone launch day. On April 6, 1951, a fishing tug named the Iva T hauled in 2,000 pounds of perch and dropped them off at the Lawrence Schweig’s Fish Company located at 2120 South Canal. Restaurant barges and, during prohibition, speakeasies served thirsty fisherman and lumber and ore haulers on Lake Michigan.