Ok, I lied. How about 12 things I love about Chicago and one thing I can’t stand. And I meant to write this last week when I was actually there.
1. The food. Frankly, this is my favorite thing about the whole city. Chicago pizza is a delicacy…thickthickthick crust, lots of cheese, thick chunky tomato sauce, sausage. Mmmm… And the ethnic foods available make my mouth water. While there last week I went for Indian buffet and Dim Sum. Chicago hot dogs are incredible, essentially a hot dog with a salad on top. Yeah, sounds strange, but it’s basically an all-beef hot dog with a tomato, hot peppers, celery salt, yellow mustard, bright green relish, and a pickle on the side. Dang, my mouth is watering. And while we didn’t get to go, I loves me some food, any kind of food, from Kauffman’s Deli. I grew up in Skokie and was pretty much raised on the goodies from that deli. Oh Yum.
2. The lakefront. It was designed to be a park by the lake and it is wonderful. Where in some cities there are homes and buildings right up to the water, Chicago’s lakefront is miles and miles of park.
3. The architecture. After the city burned, everything had to be rebuilt. So there was this wonderful opportunity to build a beautiful city. You can see everything there: high rises, skyscrapers, huge cathedrals. The detail on some of the buildings is astounding. Remember, I live in a fairly new community, so the age and detail of these buildings makes me happy. Oh, and most everything is built out of brick. ; )
4. The museums. I am soooo spoiled when it comes to museums. I once got to spend the night at the Field Museum when I was about 9. Unbelievable, to be able to go into the main hall in the wee hours and see the huge dinosaurs standing guard there. We had a family membership there and I remember getting to go “behind the scenes” once to see the offices and research areas. You wouldn’t believe the amount of stuff they have catalogued there. We were also members of the Museum of Science and Industry when I was growing up. I love that place. It’s so hands-on, and since there wasn’t a children’s museum in Chicago when I was young, it’s the place where my brother and I got to go and play with all the cool exhibits. Getting to walk through the enormous heart is so cool.
5. The zoo. The Lincoln Park Zoo is a Chicagoland treasure. And it’s free. Again, royally spoiled here; I can’t stand to have to pay to get into a zoo. The primate house at the zoo is nationally recognized; actually, many of the primates at the Denver Zoo came from the Lincoln Park Zoo. I once got to go behind the scenes of the zoo in the middle of the night; it’s amazing the great things you can do when you have friends who have friends. ; )
6. The diversity. Denver is pretty low on the diversity scale. Not a complaint (eh, sorta complaining), just stating a fact. Chicagoland is pretty high. My middle school slumber parties looked like the U.N. No joke. I had friends whose parents owned Chinese and Indian restaurants. I’ve been to real Chinese New Year’s parties and more bat/bar mitzvahs than I can count. I can come darned close to accuracy spelling Polish names just by hearing them. I miss that diversity and wish I could have it for my boys.
7. My family. They’re all back there. I’m the black sheep, having moved away. Sorry, folks, I love Chicago, but likely will stay out here.
8. Defensive driving techniques. You learn ’em early. That and parallel parking. Sorry, if you can’t park that thing in three moves or less, get out of there and let me have the darned spot.
9. Taste of Chicago. I haven’t been able to go to Taste for years. I love it. Wait. I love the food, I don’t so much love the crowds. My parents took me and my brother to the very first Taste, way back in the day. Zillions more people than anticipated showed up, so it was very crowded. And it was held on a bridge. Any wonder why Ihatebridges?
(Ok, just have to interject here. WTF died in my kitchen? That can’t possibly be the cantaloupe that needs to be cut up. Sweet mercy, the smell is overpowering the candle I have burning)
10. Jay’s Potato Chips and OkeDoke Popcorn. Yeah, these could have been included in the food section, but they’re so good they deserve their own recognition. I prefer the cheese OkeDoke, but the butter flavor widened my butt on the trip home, so it’s pretty good too.
11. Friends. I have friends back in Chicago. Do I ever get to see them? No, but it’s good to know they’re there.
12. IKEA. Sorry, had to throw that in there. There’s no IKEA here, makes me sad, and I’ll stop whining about it already.
And now, last and definitely least, #13…the thing about Chicago I canNOT stand.
13. The weather. Sweet mother of all things good and decent in this world… I hate the weather in Chicago. It was so humid when we were there last week it was inhuman. Yeah, I grew up with that, but it doesn’t mean I’m not now a weather wimp! I fully embrace the fact I’m a weather wimp! I used to do band camps in 90 degree temps with 90% humidity, and have to go back to a dorm room or apartment with no a/c! I did my time! And the winters! (See, I only get to go back in the heat of the summer or the chill of the winter). A temp of 20 degrees with a wind chill of -30 is not right! It’s just not right! Bad weather, bad!
So there ya have it. My Chicago list.