Uneventful drive from Des Moines to Chicago today on Interstate 80, which is the way I like it although it was strange to think that dirck was flying above me somewhere near on a flight to Chicago and then frankfort and Warsaw. The highlight of the drive was cheap gas at Sapp Brothers ($1.93 a gallon) just west of the bigger Peru exit where the gas was $2.24.
MAT, emma, Rocket and I had dinner at L.Woods in Lincoln woods, just west of the Edgewater neighborhood. The place looked like a real Wisconsin backwoods lodge with piney wood walls, rugged decor, outdoorsmen gear, dim lighting, leather but beyond the kitsch the food was good and yes, hearty. Excellent western style brisket, ribs and fried walleye. MAT liked table 133 (I think) in a less crowded rear room where it was easier to hear our conversation.
I finally got to the real Manny’s in Chicago (as opposed to the mini-Manny’s at Midway Airport) with Noah and Jill. It was a treat. Excellent kreplach soup, corned beef, pastrami, tuna sandwiches, latkes; great atmosphere (reminded me a bit of the Katz’s in NYC’s Lower East Side with its big open dining room). The cafeteria line moved quickly at 12 and all was right with the world! I’ll be back.
Filed under chicago, Dining
Written last night (before safely arriving, an hour late in Des Moines):
There may be a thief among us, here on the Megabus bumping along Interstate 80 in rural Iowa on a dark December night, but you have to wonder why someone on this bus would leave his diamond ring and watch in his coat pocket and then leave said coat unattended during a rest stop near Peru, Illinois. As the theft, or whatever it is was, was duly reported, my fellow passengers looked aghast. Now we had to wait for the police and a possible search of the bus and us (or so one rumor went) and our 7 hour bus ride (from Chicago to DSM, which should normally take 6 hours tops) suddenly threatened to get a lot longer.
Fortunately the police arrived fairly quickly (who knew police drive White Ford 150 pickups?), talked briefly to the alleged victim and the driver and we were on the road again after a 1/2 hour delay. It was a reminder of the downside of taking the megabus (along with yakking passengers and the overpowering smell, in close quarters, of McDonald’s cheeseburgers) but there are upsides too — including the affordability ($41 for this ride) and easy on-and-off – and so I am sad to see megabus service between Chicago and Omaha end, which it reportedly will as of early January.
THe Middle eastern Bakery, Andersonville
The weather got colder, as expected, but the wind didn’t pick up and this is Chicago in late December so can’t complain. We had excellent middle eastern food at a restaurant in Andersonville that recently opened up in the front of a bakery/market.retail I strongly recommend the shawafel sandwich, a mashup of chicken shawarma and falafel (you guessed it) in a wrap with bits of pickle. THe sampler plate with tabouli, hummus, babaganus, falafel was also tasty. The meat in the beef shawarma sandwich was reportedly tough. If I wasn’t taking a 7 hour bus ride back to DSM I would load up an all kinds of hard to find middle eastern goodies in the bakery/market.
near the middle eastern bakery
Next stop the art institute which is always a treat. I’ve never been in Chicago at Christmas and all the skyscrapers looked Big City Magical, all lit up with holiday lights. I bumped into my first cousin in the members lounge, which was an unexpected treat. We also got some excellent free coffee (my stepdaughter and her husband are members). Learned about the Bauhaus design movement in Germany,Europe, and Chicago at the Moholy-Nagy exhibit.
So glad I didn’t spend this gorgeous day in the car driving home to Des Moines. Instead I got a long awaited swim in a lake, which I have been longing to do all summer. Better late than never and had a great swim in Lake Michigan at Hollywood Beach, a pleasant stretch of sand a short walk from where Emma and Rocket live in Edgewater — another great thing about their neighborhood!
Later we went to a funky place called the Rodgers park social club and made our own at the excellent Bloody Mary bar, which came with a chaser of beer or cider. Explored the neighborhood a little- a food store with lots of Midwestern products (and a shopkeeper from royal oak, Michigan …my hometown area; a little sculpture garden. Tonight we had a great dinner at Shaw’s where I tried a new dish that was as good as my aunt said it was – fresh grilled tuna in a soy ginger sauce with crispy thin sliced potatoes and chives.
Great to see our longtime family friend from Pennsylvania, Marjorie V., after so long.