Living in this city is kind of like living in a fish bowl. There are great views if you live in a high-rise like I do, and all kinds of cool stuff go on around the city, but you never really discover it unless you’re willing to venture out into the world.
Over the past few days, when not slogging to work, I have left the comfort zone of our immediate neighborhood to see this city from street level. Just today, I walked to Michigan Avenue (not the Magnificent Mile–that doesn’t begin until Wacker Drive) for a haircut. On the way there, I stopped at a pizzeria joint on State that always leaves the door open and always smells good. It reminded me of Fargo’s Spicy Pie with a larger and more expansive menu.
Just on my way from my apartment to the Supercuts on Michigan, I passed several restaurants, Buddy Guy’s Legends Blues Club (which was packed because this weekend is Chicago’s annual Blues Fest, which I’ll be attending) , Harold’s Chicken Shack (best fried chicken in the city, according to M), the Chicago Hilton, and several other very nice hotels. This evening, I rode the Red Line train down to Chinatown (which has always intrigued me) to get really good Chinese food from our favorite Chinese restaurant.
Last night, we rode the Blue Line out to the far northwestern neighborhood of Irving Park for some authentic barbecue at Smoque, which we’ll write about in the food blog. It reminded me of the size and diversity of this city, which continues to amaze me.
I find something new every day, whether it’s just a different view of the skyline, or a building I’ve never seen, or a restaurant I want to try. Some places have unique feels. New Orleans is a state of mind. Detroit has a defiant sense of resilience with a touch of fear that things won’t get better. New York is, well, New York. Chicago is the city that works hard and plays hard. This becomes more apparent to me every day, and it becomes my mentality more ever day.