In the darkness the trees are full of starlight (henwy) wrote,
In the darkness the trees are full of starlight

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Chicago/Gencon Recap: Day 2

My second day in Chicago started with a tradition that's been around for 3 years. At some point during these visits, John, Melissa, and I, always make a trip down to Hot Doug's. As you might recall from past recaps, it's not your average hot dog joint. It makes a point of serving some of the more unusual meats, things that often don't make it to your dinner table. If you take a look at their menu for this week, for example, you'll see that kangaroo made the list. That wasn't one of the choices I had to pick from when we went, and I have to admit I'm a little disappointed. I am a little curious what Kanga tastes like. In addition to the slightly exotic in terms of meat offerings, Hot Doug's also has Duck Fries on Friday's and Saturday's. These are normal french fries but cooked in duck fat instead of vegetable oil.

So, anyway, that morning John and I swung around in the rental and picked up Melissa from her place and headed on over. The line at Hot Doug's was out the door. This is not an uncommon sight. In fact, it'd be far more startling to not see a line pouring out the front. On this particular day, the line was a good 30 feet long and seemed to be growing at a good clip. We spent most of the time on the line discussing musicals as I recall. I also somehow managed to offend some feminazi standing in front of us at one point. I don't remember exactly the circumstances so maybe john will chime in and add his two cents but the basic lowdown is I made some offhanded remark about how chick flicks were stupid or something and the cow was offended. She glared for a while and then made some angry mooing noises. Frankly, the statement was so mild considering what could have popped out of my mouth in the course of normal conversation that I couldn't figure out what she had even gotten upset about at first.

The line dragged on and on and on. I wasn't having the best of days. It was swap day for the fentanyl patch and I was having some pain management problems, so the standing around was less fun than it would normally be. We finally made it into the door though and made our orders. I decided to go with one exotic item and a couple of traditional favorites. I got the duck sausage with foie gras, a couple of corndogs, and an order of tatter tots. John and Melissa picked up some of the other exotic entries and then we went to snag a table.

Here's John showing off the Dick's Deli sign that he contributed to the decor of the place. You can see it fits right in along with all the rest of the hotdog and sausage memorabilia.

While at the table, I took the opportunity to shoot some video with the flip.

Here's a closeup shot of the hotdog. It looks a bit extra scary thanks to the whiteout from the flash. I guess my main problem is that I never thought of foie gras as something that should be served in disks like it came out of a giant tube of toothpaste. That sort of gave me the willies.

In the end, it didn't taste all that bad. It wasn't exactly great either, which is sort of disappointing. The duck sausage was fine, but I was just expecting more from the foie gras itself. I mean, this is something that people get into fights over and is supposed to be all fru-fru. I just thought it should taste...well...better. Then again, it cost $7 and was on a fucking glorified hotdog. God knows what the hell I'm bitching about anyway.

Oh, and in case you didn't get the fine comment from the video, Chicago's city counsel banned the serving for foie gras a while back. It was deemed to be cruel and inhuman treatment to the ducks which are force fed in order to produce it. Hell, that doesn't sound all that bad to me. Anyway, the hippies won that round and restaurant owners threw a fit. A lot of them ignored the ban at first and then tried sneaky means to get around it when the city made grumbly noises. Some restaurants would 'give away' the foie gras, so that they weren't technically selling it with a meal. Others served it as a free amuse bush. Doug was the only person who ended up ever getting fined for breaking the ordinance, presumably for the duck sausage combo I tried. His customers took up a collection to pay the fine for him and eventually the entire ban was reversed anyway.

After lunch, we dropped Melissa off and John wanted to run a few errands. One of the stops took us to Paulina Meat Market.

Here you can see their innovative numbered ticket dispensing system. I've never actually been to any place with a real butcher before. I'm sure the supermarkets I visit have people who chop up meat and the like, but it's not exactly the same as having a real butcher who can hack you off a chunk of whatever you happen to want. At first, I was sorted tempted to just buy a quart of pig's blood. I had no real use for it in mind, but I figured that with a vat of pig's blood, the possibilities would be endless. Here was my first run through the place.

I ended up buying a couple different types of smoked cheeses. They didn't have gouda which is good-a, but there were a few others. John also picked up some meat sliced thinly that looked a lot like prosciutto. I also snagged a little plastic container full of multi-colored gummy butterflies.

After the errands, we went back to John's place for a while before it was time to head off to see Melissa again. She was going to cook dinner and we were just going to loaf at her place for the night. When we got there we broke out the earlier purchases.

Here is a plate of those smoked cheeses and meat and crackers.

I have no clue what point I'm trying to make here but it might be something like, stay away from my food. At least that seems like it could be what I was trying to express. Who knows.

Here's John playing with his food.

And of course once he started, I more or less had to follow suit.

All this time, of course, Melissa is busy churning away in the kitchen as we goof off out in the living room. At one point I noticed through her open bedroom door that she had a bra hanging on her bedpost. This, of course, immediately became a photo moment.

Here's John giving the ol' thumbs up at the discovery.

Eventually, Melissa's new boyfriend also popped over. I won't say that he's a kill joy exactly, but some of the general merriment seemed to go out of the room. After all, I don't know the guy, and he certainly doesn't know me. Add the fact that he doesn't seem to be the most outgoing of individuals and things certainly slowed down a bit. Also, after days of little sleep, I was also quite tired. At one point, I just sprawled out on the floor in front of the chair I had been sitting in and made like it was hibernation time. I ended up sleeping through the meal and the post-dinner tv watching as well. It wasn't until it was time to go that I got poked awake and John and I made our way back to his place.
Tags: chicago, food, video

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