Tuesday, December 16, 2008

December in Chicago

After a slight fight delay out of Newark and being uncomfortably surrounded by middle aged suits in cattle class, I landed in surprisingly sunny Chicago for a 2 day business trip. The sunshine and blue skies misled me to believe that it was warmer than it actually was…Chicago isn't called the Windy City for no reason and you have not felt cold if you've only spent winters in New York City and Washington DC. I began to wonder if I brought enough cold weather gear…

First order or business after getting to my hotel which was right off Michigan Avenue…lunch. When in Chicago, my thought is eat real American food and just pig out. So my travel companions and I headed to a local joint for some fatten you up food. We were not disappointed: buffalo wings the size of my fist, mozzarella sticks piled high in a basket, burgers that are large enough to feed a small village. In typical fashion, I devoured all of it and felt ill all afternoon. But it was worth it. After lunch, took a stroll around up and down Michigan Avenue…the decorations for the holidays are out and made everything very festive. But after 4 blocks, frostbite started to set into my feet so I headed back to the hotel.

First evening's dinner was Chicago deep dish from Giordano's. We enjoyed it in dark rooms while watching a focus group of people discuss our business ideas. We way over ordered: spinach and parmesan and sausage, onions, mushroom. The crust was perfectly crusty and chewy and so thick that we only each had one slice and took the rest home for breakfast. Nothing like cold pizza in the morning...

Second day was all about working but we managed to get out for lunch at some steaks at Gibsons. This is a well known old school steak joint right off the north end of Michigan Avenue. We ordered a variety of meat types: 10 oz filet mignons, medium rare. NY strip 10 oz which was the small size, rare. Starters included Bookbinders Soup which is a delicious tomato based soup with white fish and vegatables. Highlight besides the tasty steaks was spotting Bill Rancic from the very first Apprentice having a nice business lunch with a few folks.

Dinner for our last night at the focus groups was Chicago style dogs from Portillo's. For those who are not well versed, a Chicago Style Hot Dog is a steamed all beef Hot Dog topped with yellow mustard, bright green relish, onions, tomato wedges, pickle spear or slice, sport peppers and a dash of celery salt served in the all-important steamed poppyseed bun. Yes, heartburn city. After trying it the verdict is in: I like the New York style hot dog better: mustard, plain and simple!

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