The Cubs are in the World Series!! That’s crazy! It’s amazing! I’m not even a sports fan, but I am so happy for them! Yey Cubbies!
It’s been more than two years since I left Chicago for the 2nd time. And you know…I feel bad about this but I don’t really miss it. Then again, you can’t make yourself feel something you don’t feel so I shouldn’t feel bad about this but I still do. People ask me all the time “Don’t you miss Chicago?” And I have to think about it for a bit because I know my answer won’t really make them happy. It’s not that I dislike Chicago or anything — I just feel pretty neutral about it. Let’s just say…it’s a nice place to visit.
To be fair, I am not a native Chicagoan or Midwesterner. I was born in Queens and raised in Long Island, New York. I moved to Chicago after university because I got a job in Chicago and well, I kinda like change and I figured “Hey, why not.” But during my first visit to the Windy City, I was so used to Manhattan that my immediate reaction was something like “Uh, is this it? It’s just one street. Where’s the rest of the city?”
But well, I did live in Chicago for 12 years in total — eight years the first time and four years the second time — so I must have had a nice time there. There are a few things I still think about now and then. In an effort to placate, here is what I do miss…in no particular order…
Cheap manicures and pedicures: Ah, how I miss you. $35 for the set, if I was lucky. Although I have found at least one new favorite place in London — Modern Touch Nails in Islington — Chicago made it just so very easy to be well-groomed.
The Pittsfield: I love, love, love this old diner off Michigan Avenue in the The Loop. I love the servers, I love the menu. I love the brass elevators as you enter the building and the gorgeous wood ceilings. I love the chopped salad too. (Second favorite diner? Beef and Brandy on Michigan. I love an old school place.)
The Blues: If I can thank Chicago for something, it’s for my love of the blues. WXRT has a Monday night Blues program at 9 pm that I used to listen to on my way home from The Gleacher Center at the University of Chicago. Always the greatest. I love Memphis Slim the best.
The WGN TV Morning Show: These guys still crack me up. Sometimes, they even get a little international attention. I mean, if you want to see a group of people who really seem to love their jobs, it’s these guys. British morning television just doesn’t compare.
The Tamale Guys: Sometimes it’s 2 a.m. and you’re in a bar somewhere and you think to yourself, “Boy am I hungry” and then all of a sudden, there’s a guy there with a cooler full of tamales. So that’s amazing.
Tacos: I was so grateful for London Mexican food when it arrived here way back when. But a few years back in Chicago made it clear: London Mexican food is shit. (This is a sweeping generalization but it’s mostly true.) I do not like steamed tortillas.
Whole Foods: OK, not very exciting but the Whole Foods salad bar downtown fed me pretty much every night once I moved downtown. Love that place. I was just in the Whole Foods Piccadilly Circus the other day for the first time and I honestly felt like I was back at the Whole Foods on Huron. I just need to get to Piccadilly more often.
Red Rooster #1: I must have walked by this place in Ukrainian Village 50 times before I finally figured out it was a shop and went in. I love this store. I want to move in. The cabinet work alone is worth a visit.
Zombie Dust: The unicorn of beers. I love you, Zombie Dust. Robust, spicy, hoppy perfection.
As always, I’m sure there are other things I will remember that I miss in the days and weeks and months after this post goes up. I miss my friends in Chicago most of all, of course. xoxo