Tag Archives: road trip

Chicago: Day One

They could be playing "Stormy Weather" all night...

The weather on Friday was a dance between cold, wet, colder, and wetter. Every time we stepped outside the conditions seemed to have changed for the worse without somehow changing very much at all. We were colder with every new trip, or the rain struck us harder.

This did not make ideal weather conditions for taking photographs, but that’s alright with me. To tell the truth, I’m not much of a picture-taker when on vacation. I wish I was. I envy people who come back from long trips with a mile of photos glorifying their travels. They have pictures of everything they did, everywhere they went, everyone they saw. Drank a pint with friends? It’s in the pictures. Car got stuck in the mud? It’s in the pictures. Ate an amazing dinner at a famous four star restaurant?… Well, it would be in my pictures as well. But you get the idea.

As a result of the crappy weather and how it restrained us to our hosting neighborhood- Lincoln Park – and the surrounding territory, I don’t have much photographic record to share. The picture above was taken a few doors down from one of my favorite stores in Chicago, Shake Rattle and Read, on Broadway in Uptown. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the Green Mill Jazz Club is a famous Chicago venue, opening in 1910 as a roadhouse complete with indoor and outdoor dining and dancing areas. In the twenties, Jack “Machine Gun” McGurn, henchman of Al Capone, took over a large percentage of the club’s ownership, and the place became a favorite mob hangout. The story of McGurn’s takeover is best described in the historical summary on the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge website:

“Manager Danny Cohen had given McGurn the 25% stake to “persuade” comedian/singer Joe E. Lewis from moving his act south to the New Rendezvous Café at Clark and Diversey. McGurn managed to convince Lewis by slitting his throat and cutting off his tongue. Miraculously, Lewis recovered, but his songs never regained their lush sound.”

Ah, isn’t history wonderful, kids? I’d love to be a school child on a walking tour of jazz clubs in the city. Way more blood, booze, and broads than an average Pittsburgh field trip to the zoo.

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Chi-CA-go, My Kind of Town!

 

It would be awfully nice if history didn't repeat itself while we were in town.

 

Forked! is heading on the road this weekend. Starting tonight, I’ll be headed to beautiful, windy, and probably still unseasonably cold Chicago for a three-day trip that should include miles of walking their wondrously flat streets, admiring many items that I can’t afford in stores that I should not go into (ie, record stores), and generally going every which way that offers the most interest for the least dollars.

Me and my partner are doing this on a shoestring, so this trip is strictly no-frills. We’re limiting ourselves to eating out once a day, so we’re bringing dry goods and any groceries that will last a seven hour car trip. I also saw that our hostel offers a free pasta dinner on Saturday for visiting guests, so as long as the sauce is not cheese or meat based, we’re going to get our grub on for free. Otherwise, I’m envisioning a weekend of peanut butter sandwiches, granola bars, and whatever else is tasty and road-worthy.

Of course, there’s a limit to my thriftiness. I will be dining out in Chicago. Cheaply, yes, but dining out nonetheless. A trip to the Chicago Diner is already planned, so I ask you, my fellow eaters: If you’re from Chicago or have been there, what are some great places to try out?

I will try to post a bit on my travels this weekend. I look forward to sharing the experience with all of you. I promise that it won’t just be pictures of us eating out of a dumpster behind Whole Foods or stealing ketchup and mustard packets from hot dog stands. Although that isn’t a terribly bad idea….