17 August 2004

Chicago Day Two

Wow, so much to catch up on. let's see....

Day two began with a lovely breakfast at heartland cafe. happily, i arrived to find mintwaster working behind the bar, so abbey and i plopped ourselves down there rather than taking a table. we both went with the chili avocado omelette--abbey's with rice and toast; mine with potatoes and cornbread. okay, in all honesty, the cornbread was burnt to a crisp on the bottom, but everything else was fantastic. given the long day of food ahead of me, i had to be reasonable and didn't finish the omelette. i think it was a brave act of maturity and grace. after our leisurely lunch, full of talk about the olympics and secret happenings in the university of michigan library (shhh!!! big news that cannot be divulged!), mintwaster suggested a cocktail, so abbey got a bloody mary and i got a caipirinha. that mintwaster character sure does make a mean cocktail. everyone should go to heartland, order a cocktail at the bar and tip big.

after breakfast, i slowly made my way down to greektown, where i met my mom, jen and cindy for a mid-day snack. we dined on spanikopita, feta pies and greek coffee at the Panhellenic Pastry Shop, which is honestly divine. we walked by it a few times, since it has been totally redone on the inside since i was last here. what used to be a sort of dingy, white-walled room with florescent lights, is now a lovely shade of dark yellow with lots of wood shelves, and warm lighting. how pleasant. the elderly greek man seemed quite pleased to see us...he brought over our coffee and chatted for a bit, asking where we were from, etc.

after greektown, jen, cindy and i headed to wicker park for drinks. we found a lovely seat outdoors at Salud, a tequila bar on Milwaukee. that part of town gets fancier and fancier every time i come for a visit. i've never seen so many restaurants with one word, mostly single syllable names. after two mojitos, i started to get hungry (oh! the curse of the strong drink on the empty stomach! after drink one, i'd pretty much stopped talking, content to sip my beverage and listen to jen and cindy.) so we headed over to The Handlebar, on North.

The Handlebar is a restaurant that opened shortly after my departure from the city. it's a "mostly vegetarian" bicycle-themed place that got a lot of talk-up among bike folks that i know. i must say that i wasn't expecting greatness. and well, it was no charlie trotters but i was fairly impressed. i got the portabello mushroom tacos, which were perfect--light, flavorful and pretty inline with the tacos i get at taquerias. not that i'm some expert on tacos, but they did me good. cindy got the fish version of the same dish and found it to be lacking in flavor. jen's eggplant sandwich was good but not extraordinary. and, uh, while we were originally seated outside, we had to move in because our table was a foot or so away from a dumpster and, frankly, it stank. it wasn't too classy like that. but a cute place, clever bike art and general bike tie-in. i wonder how many of the employees bike to work.


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