Chicago: Day 2

Six of the seven days I’m down here are going to suck but today, the second, is the hell-day. We wake up long before the sun comes up, we get going long before the morning traffic is remotely an issue, and we bust our fucking asses. It’s getting supplies for the rest of the week, boxing and moving shit from one location to another, cleaning, assembling, lifting, organizing, trashing, showcasing, setting up electronics, more boxing, more cleaning.

The goal is to fit about 26 hours of work into 14, or one day. Today. We know that if we don’t stop moving, that if we’re efficient as fucking hell, every hour we kill today means one less we have to work tomorrow. Every year the goal is to be done by Friday at noon (making it the one day that doesn’t suck). Because of today’s work, and we worked our asses off, I’ll be surprised if we aren’t done by 10:00 am if we get up at that same crack of dawn. We were awesome.

I’m tired. Every muscle in my lower body hurts. My knees are a joke and my hands are loaded with cuts.

I only bring this up because my two meals today made it entirely worth it.

Lunch

Where: Eleven City Diner
Kind: Jewish deli, on steroids
Crowd: Mid-20s, business crowd
Atmosphere: Perfect. Place was huge, big bar, friendly staff.
Food: Half corned beef on rye, bowl of tomato basil
Drink: Bloody Mary
Verdict: Place is amazing. The portions are huge and the prices are fine. The staff acts like an upscale restaurant would but the setting is relaxing as hell. They make everything in house so the meats, cheeses, matzoh, bread…it’s all fresh. My food selections were alright. The corn beef was stacked huge and the bread was great. I make better soup. Many would like the bloody mary, I wouldn’t have finished it if there wasn’t vodka in it. I like mine Clamato based, this was a house mix.

While we were eating they got a call and a vallet immediately got up and cleared a bunch of space in front of the place. A few minutes later three attractive young women pulled up and settled into a booth next to our table. I didn’t recognized any, but the owner was constantly asking for fashion tips because he was apparently going to be on a food nextwork special that day.

Dinner

Where: RPM (on Tuesday Lady Gaga ate here. Last night the First Lady was enjoying a meal
Kind: Upscale, trendy Italian
Crowd: Dressy, young, trendy, rich.
Atmosphere: The group liked it, it wasn’t for me.
Food: In order: Lobster Caprese, 600 day old Prosciutto, Sea Bass Crudo in Olive Oil and Fennel, Warm Bread with fresh Ricotta and Semolina Toast, Spicy King Crab with Squid Ink Spaghetti
Drink: Taylor Street Manhattan
Verdict: It’s tough to say this about what might have been the best meal of my life, but I feel like I could have made what I ate tonight. The thing about everything on the plates that came out is the chef let the ingredients speak for themselves, and the ingredients were awesome. So the dishes were relatively simple but holy shit every last thing was perfect. And now I definitely have a new way of making my Caprese this summer.

The drink was just a manhattan. Good, not as good as my Jim Beam Rye Old Fashioned’s , hella more expensive.

Chicago: Day 1

Filing this one under FOOD! because here’s where I’m gonna keep track of what it is I’m shoveling into my face over the next seven days. I promise you it won’t be interesting, but it’ll go a long ways to helping me remember what I loved and where I ate it. I didn’t do this last year and I’m killing myself because I had a goat-sausage risotto that made me see the face of God and I have no idea where I ate it.

This is simultaneously my favorite and least favorite week of the year. The room I’m shacked up in is awesome. The food and drinks I’ll put down are amazing, and I see a lot of co-workers I don’t get to catch up with regularly. I’m gonna meet a lot of great celebrity chefs and eat some of their food (last two years I can remember Michael Symon, Chris Cosentino, Guy Fieri, Paula Dean, Morimoto and I kinda stalked Kat Cora and Mario Battali for like five minutes. There were others, I can’t remember). The work on the other-hand is exhausting, the days are long and I’m constantly around people. Inevitably, my favorite time of the day will be the end, when I’m alone in my room on top of Chicago.

We got in today and the weather was shitty. I had three hours to myself, which I used to iron a week’s worth of clothes, go shopping for some extra clothes and suite supplies: cheep red wine, vodka, limes and almonds. This, and some sleep meds, are what I’ll be relying on when I get “home” at 9:00 pm each night. That doesn’t seem like it would be late to a guy with the freedom to do whatever he wants in a city he’s unfamiliar with. Maybe others could muster the energy to go back out after an exhausting day at the expense of calling it an experience, something to do in a new city; out my window are lines of people trying to get into a half dozen clubs, restaurants or bars. I can’t. I’m in my sweats, a glass of wine is poured and ESPN is on in 30 seconds.

Anyway, I love it all, even the work. It’s just so fucking exhausting.

Where: Bub City
Kind: BBQ, let-us-entertain-you, joint.
Crowd: Holy shit, young as hell. Surprised us all.
Atmosphere: Awesome. Totally relaxing.
Food: Lobster roll, corn off the cob.
Drink: Wild Turkey 101, double, neat
Verdict: Loved it. Every aspect. Everyone loved their food and my lobster roll was the best I’ve ever had. Over the last two years I’ve day dreamed of the lobster roll up the block at the Hubbard Inn, and this one blew it the hell away. Grilled corn is my favorite staple of summer so I knew I’d love this side. It had cilantro, diced tomatoes, olive oil and lime juice. Absolutely perfect.

I’d heard the Wild Turkey 101 bourbon was good, but it was a lot better than I anticipated. It’s better than Four Roses Single Barrel, and hell, I might switch from Makers. Gonna need a lot more sampling.

You should be watching Archer

If you made your way here via my Twitter feed you already know Archer is probably my favorite thing on TV. It’s brilliant, profane, offensive and the funniest thing on television, and it’s not close.

I was late to Archer. I didn’t start watching on a week to week basis until season three when the first two hit Netflix. I think I watched every episode in two days.

Anyway, I bring this up for two reasons:

1 – A new episode of Archer is on right now, I can’t watch it until later, and my Twitter timeline is blowing up. I closed it to write this post.

2 – Youtube suggested I’d like a video, “Archer – The Best of Pam Pt. 1”. Some national hero went through the first three seasons of Archer and made compilation videos for the best of Pam and Cheryl, two of the show’s best characters (they’re all amazing).

Here’s the 2nd of the three videos. I chose it instead of the 1st because by this time Pam’s become a fully fleshed out character. There’s some spoilerish stuff but it doesn’t matter because all you’ll remember is that Archer is hilarious and you need to watch it.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCG6xGGMEwc&w=560&h=315]