Thursday September 23rd, 2010 00:28 Chicago, Part Deux

I arrived at my brother’s house and got started on my laundry as soon as possible just to get it out of the way. When I had gotten everything folded, I made my way to the Lincoln Park Whole Foods Market. For those who’ve never been here, its enormous! On top of a grocery store, it features two bars (one beer, one wine) and a couple restaurants! Jay and Erin awaited me at the beer bar with a cart full of groceries, apparently they’re making me dinner. Score! I had a Pale Ale and took my sweet time picking out a bottle of wine.

Monday Night Football was on and I found myself spending more time in front of the TV than in the kitchen watching as Jay and Erin cook. They made me a three course meal, starting with a yam and spinach salad with a ginger dressing, following by baked ziti with meat sauce and then followed up with a dutch apple cheesecake. I sure do like it when my friends spoil me. When I was finished with dinner, I was spent, so I made my way to the closest Brown Line station and strolled through and eerily quiet Chicago to my brother’s house.

The next morning, I decided to skip breakfast and go straight to lunch at a Chicago food destination I had yet to make it over to; Kuma’s Corner. I get this feeling like this trip is partially like my own personal travel channel show. Watch out Zimmern and Richman, here comes Ayzenberg! Anyways, I met Jay and Erin once again and we jetted down Belmont Street to Kuma’s. With hot tattooed girls and burgers name after (mostly) metal bands, I was definitely digging the atmosphere. The burger I had was called the Black Oak Arkansas which was a 10oz patty with aged white cheddar, homemade red wine barbecue sauce and fried shallots. The burger came with waffle fries and good god was this thing amazing.

During my lunchtime feast, I got a text message with some bad news. My friend Melissa was laid off today and was sitting at home upset. Hopping on two of the CTA’s finest buses, I eventually got to the Ukrainian Village neighborhood where Melissa lived. Melissa and I took a walk around the neighborhood and ended up at Stella’s, which was a pretty solid dive bar with a great jukebox and an even better Guns’N'Roses pinball machine. After several hours at Stella’s, We grabbed a slice of pizza then I walked Melissa home so she could take a much needed nap, I hung out for a moment and chatted with her roommate then headed back to my brother’s for the night.

I got up way too early the next morning, so I fell back asleep for a bit but it really didn’t have much of an effect. After a cup of coffee, I packed my bag up and began to waste time online. My brother proposed the idea of getting some lunch before I took off so we ended up at Green Tea Japanese Restaurant for some sushi. Afterwards, We went back to pick up my luggage and then he drove me over to the Blue Line and I was headed back to O’Hare.

The line to get through TSA was ridiculously long, but luckily I had gotten there early enough that it didn’t matter. I had forked over an extra $35 to be upgraded to JetBlue’s “Even More Legroom” seating which is essentially a slight upgrade of the already great coach seating. For that long of a flight it was nice to have the extra leg room. The highlight of the ride was listening to this old woman behind me tell the girl sitting next to her how dangerous Logan Square was/”still is” and that she still walks with her keys in her hand in dangerous neighborhoods because the only way to take a threatening man out is to stab him in the eye with a key!  :)

I peered out the window several times throughout the trip and although it was mostly cloudy, there were some incredible sights. Over Kansas, the land looked like a patchwork quilt of different flat terrain and farmland. Over the Rockies, you could all the chasm and canyons that had eroded over time. Over Arizona, there was this red color to the earth that really brilliant. Lastly, as we got ready to land at Long Beach Airport, you could see the entire LA area and it was a giant sea of lights.

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