Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day one in Chicago

We're in Chicago for a Bread Bakers Guild class on Midwestern Baking....and we're spending a bit of off time exploring the city where Larry was born -- and lived -- until he was in seventh grade .... a long, long, long (yes, it was) time ago. Our plane was held up in Seattle 2.75 hours by weather delays in Chicago...and blustery weather continued Wednesday. As I write this, it's snowing... We bought a seven-day transit pass and are taking L-trains and busses all over. Our place --- the Affinia Hotel --- is two blocks from the Chicago Water Tower (and four blocks from Lake Michigan).

Low clouds present a gray view from our room.

The "L" Red line train is elevated in much of the city but underground in the Loop

Many, many years ago Mary Ellen (my sister) and I and our mom and dad lived in this small place on Kostner Avenue --- across the street from the Milwaukee Road railway --- now a Metra train route.

Big chocolate bar at the Hershey's Store nearby. We didn't buy it (or any!)

The line-up was halfway down the block and two cars deep as downtown customers waited in line for drive-through service at Portillo's Hot Dogs. Half a dozen car hops handed out menus to speed service as the lines continued during the busy hours.

We haven't found any Seattle's Best Coffee Shops, but they must be around because there sure are a lot of billboards advertising them. This one was across the street from this the biggest McDonald's we've ever seen. Get a load of those (above, below)

We hadn't planned to go, but we were near Ed Debevic's about lunch-time and so we stopped in for a delicious Midwest meal: Gerry had a hot dog and fries. I had a cheeseburger and fries...and we shared a greasy side of onion rings. Food was okay but the show was great --- sassy (you might even say rude) waitresses sashayed around the place taking orders and insulting guests with gusto. Our waitress delivered our plates and said "don't bother me any more...After all, I don't go to your place of business and inerrupt you while you're working." Quite a place.

L tracks run above city streets. Stations are a maze of lines.

And, of course, the city's filled with great architecture....old, new and re-newed buildings line every street.

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