Saturday, October 09, 2010

Friday: Glower At The Tower

Day the first! (Plus a little bit of day the minus one)

So here's a disclaimer before I go on. It is twofold. 1. I ain't going down the route of "I did this and I saw this and I did this" because a) that's kind of boring and b) I am not very good at sightseeing. I look at things, sure - I see the sight - but I then don't have the capacity to form an opinion of it apart from "Huh. Building" or "Huh. View" or "Huh. President Obama" (we were quite excited to discover that the Bar-O-Bam was in town...well, one of our party was more "utterly terrified" as she found out about the President's arrival as she was in a plane which got within 10 feet of the Chicago runway tarmac before abruptly taking off again like a panicked albatross, because Air Force One pushed in in front on her plane. Big bully. Anyway, he was only in town for three hours, so we've missed him. Never mind)

And 2. (remember? Twofold) This will mostly be about food. Because, generally, I am mostly about food. I'm going to photograph every meal I have. You'll see it - you won't be able to un-see it!

And here is the first, day-minus-one meal:

It's meatloaf. And tater tots. What am I, in the lunchroom in the Simpsons?! No I'm not! I'm in Chicago! Have you not been paying attention? Anyway, stop passing notes and listen: turns out meatloaf is kind of like meatballs but for some reason flat, and tater tots are crispy potato croquette thingies. Both are utterly delicious. There you go: US culinary edumacation up your slunge.

So to the first day. And straight on to meal 2, in a diner that we trekked past twelve million Dunkin' Donuts to find. Seriously: Dunkin' Donuts is to Chicago what Sam Smiths pubs are to Soho. Do a comprehensive crawl of either and you'd be dead within 800 metres of your starting point. Course, with Sam Smiths you probably would have picked up some interesting Estonian swearwords and (unrelatedly - don't sue me, Estonia) exotic sexual maladies along the way, which is reason 46 why Britain is slightly better than America. Of course, there's about twelve million reasons in the other direction and only half of those are branches of Dunkin' Donuts, so I won't dwell on that train of thought.

There's bacon...baked INTO THE WAFFLE! Tomorrow I hope to eat a muffin with sausage injected into the blueberries.

Hypocritical travelogue moment: we went up the Willis formally Sears Tower (I didn't ask, I just assume it's just gone through a painful tower divorce. It's certainly got a chipper new haircut and reeks of gin) to gaze across the majesty of Illinois into the majesty of Wisconsin and Michigen and somewhere else. Huh. View. There was one of those see-through plastic boxes stuck to the side of the viewing platform to enable you to stand and look directly downwards onto the street 110 floors below and darkly fantasise about flinging yourself off a building or being Spiderman, depending on inclination. Weird sensation: I was kind of OK with walking onto the ledge, but when I gingerly reached down to try and touch the transparent floor, my brain - who'd clearly been idling away somewhere else, probably idly singing that bloody Go Compare advert again - suddenly realised what was going on and screamed "NO TERROR FALL DEATH NO", leading me to yelp incontrollably and skitter out to the safety of the back wall, much to the amusement of a couple of Indian teenagers who were literally lying face-down on the plastic ledge as if they were on a Hawaiian beach.

Dinner. (Skipped lunch, shamefully, but did have a Slurpee which was the colour of ADHD and tasted like freezing, acidic, fizzy diabetes. Amazing) And one of Chicago's most famous foodstuffs, the deep dish pizza.

They put the cheese on the bottom, and put the tomato sauce on top, which is genius beyond compare because by GOD you can get more cheese in that way! ACTION SHOT!

(Ignore the Japanese cutie in the background: she's just an affectation I have, she follows me around like Gwen Stefani had a few years ago. I'm so retro.*)

Remember that advert for Pizza Hut, possibly, in the Eighties, where the pizza slice was lifted from its base station and the stretched cheese would spell out PIZZA HUT? Well, this was kind of the same deal, only it spelt out YOU FAT BASTARD. Which in itself was odd, seeing as that's a peculiarly British phrase, but what can I say: they're just damn good at intuitive pizza.

Two random thoughts to leave you with.

1. In tannoy announcements on the L train in Chicago, passengers are refered to as riders. As in, "Please allow other riders off the train first." Riders? How very cool and Knightmare is that?! I keep wanting the driver to say "Caution, Riders! I sense danger ahead! The signals seem to be failing! The wise Rider will transfer at Belmont onto the Brown line and then DESTINY!"

2. Spent last night talking to someone who bartended through college: she made $500 a night in tips. Undeclared income. Her friend was once left with $90,000 a year in cash at the end of the year, stashed in a big safe like a gangster. The myth is true. WHY ARE WE ALL STILL LIVING IN ENGLAND, FOR GOD'S SAKE?!

Anyway, I must away. My presence is being missed somewhere. Hasta manana as they don't say here...

*She's Mr JRME's brother's girlfriend and very lovely she is too

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