Cubs Weekend With The Fam

Recently the family minus sister Tiffany was able to come visit my new digs in Chicago.  My parents had helped me move in, but for my brother it was a first time visit to the estate.  The last couple of months were spent getting my bachelor pad up to snuff.  Some posters, speakers, and plenty of lava lamps have pretty much ensured that it’s looking right.

Once they arrived, we head over to Schaumburg, where they had booked a hotel for the night.  Food was first on the agenda, and for that we went to The Beer Market, which has over 500 varieties.  We ordered some burritos to go with the drinks, which rather inconveniently meant walking on over to the restaurant next door for take out.  From there we did a little shopping, checked the family into their Schaumburg hotel and then got in a quick lifting session.  Parker and I were throwing up some pretty intense reps.  I dragged them back to Palatine before bed to snag some curds at my favorite German brauhaus.

The next morning they picked me up at my place, and then together we made the drive downtown to our hotel.  We wanted to do something a little bit special, so we stayed in the slightly swanky Sax Hotel, ideally situated right downtown and adjacent to the House of Blues.  We amused ourselves with the posh bar decor.  Here be a dapper man of the world.

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We made our way down the Magnificent Mile, but ignored most of the shops.  Eventually we hopped onto bus # 151 that would be taking us north.  While it would have taken us all the way to Wrigleyville, I had the crew hop off at the Wiener’s Circle for lunch.  This place offers delicious brats and burgers, and rather abrasive customer service.  I was hoping to blindside my parents with this avant garde form of service, but our conservative appearance and the time of day probably had them take it easy on us.   For a better and more entertaining example, have a gander at this.  (Moderate Language)

From there we had a half hour walk down to Wrigleyville, where we arrived at exactly the time I had tasked myself with.  Unfortunately my fantastic planning and time management was three hours earlier than we needed to be there.  We rallied quickly and set ourselves up at an open air bar filled with TVs where we were able to nurse a couple drinks throughout the Germany Ghana World Cup match.  This was an entertaining game, and with the outcome relevant to America’s hope for an elimination round bid, the bar crowd was really getting into it.  While walking around Parker and I were identified by a PACSUN employee as ‘cool’ and invited to be a part of some extravagant marketing campaign.  I’ve never shopped their clothes before, but the two of us had the ‘look’ and after completing some hashtagging and social media tasks were given free rooftop tickets.  To their chagrin, we insisted the parents be able to join us as well.

IMG_3375An hour before the start of the game we were granted access to our private party, along with the open bar and taco buffet privileges that came with it.  Food and drink are not so cheap at Wrigley, so I’m sure my dad was pleased to be off the hook for our veracious appetites.  45 minutes before game time, a small army of people ran out to cover the field on account of impending rain.  There had been no sign of it prior to that, but Doppler didn’t disappoint.  The rain pounded down on all those plebs stuck outside, while we sat up in our towers and feasted.
IMG_3377We couldn’t come all this way only to see the stadium from the outside, so around the 4th inning we walked across the street to test out the seats we had already paid for.  This was good, though we left sometime around the 7th.  These were the Cubs of course, so there was no victory in sight.  We paused on the way out to snag a group photo, and then took the L back to our River North room.

10488206_894515451815_7026071127924079042_nThe next morning we did a bit more strolling down the Mag Mile, popped into Banana Republic, and were drawn by the nose into Garret’s.  They produce the world’s finest flavored popping corn and no trip to Chicago would be complete without it.  While waiting in line, there was a little photo booth that we had some fun with.  Om nom nom.
10489967_894515087545_657175194051437217_nWe spent some time walking the length of Navy Pier, but were all a bit underwhelmed by its offerings.  Eventually I was dropped off at the train station and we each went our own ways.  T’was a good weekend and definitely an opportunity to experience some more of my new Chicago locale.

 

A Kei Stay

As mentioned in the camping update, Japanese friend and fraternal brother Kei was in town and staying with me for the better part of a week.  I snuck out of the office a couple minutes early on Friday to go collect him from the airport, and then we got settled into a fine Palatine evening.  Throughout most of his stay we spent our evenings at home; I was still obliged to work while he spent the days either tidying up the house or else out exploring Chicago.  Of course we had our little camping trip as the highlight, but we did find a couple other opportunities to have some fun, mostly pertaining to food.  This was his first American meal in a while, so I made it count.

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There were a few guys unable to take part in our camping excursion but nevertheless wanted to connect with Kei for the first time in nearly four years.  For this we planned a dinner outing that took us to On The Border for some Mexican eats.  While the quality is only barely above that of Taco Bell, it is certainly more authentic than what’s available in Japan.  We were happy with the endless taco option, and their bottomless chips and fantastic salsa assured us that we left satisfied, or at least full.  They really need to include photography training for all servers, so otherwise happy customers don’t get stuck with blurry duckfaces and peace signs..

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One other meal that Kei and I did was at home and involved going to the store to buy whatever fit the mood.  What we settled on were massive burgers with all the fixings.  It took an unhinged jaw to eat, or knife and fork in the case of Kei, but was absolutely fantastic.  We had a third one that we had to offer to a happy roommate, as there was just no more room to pack another down either of our gullets.  I opted for tsukimi burgers, in honor of Kei.

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The six days that he spent over at mine passed quickly.  Of course it was great to spend some time with a friend I don’t see all that often, but his presence was the impetus for some good times with friends that I wouldn’t likely have enjoyed otherwise.  My midweeks can be a bit tame and anything that makes them even somewhat memorable is much appreciated.  I’m sure some of these same faces will pile into a car and visit him a few months on down the road.

Chicagoland Camping Action

Recently a longtime Japanese friend and fraternity brother made a return to the states to start grad school.  Aside from those of us who went over to Japan and saw him there, this was the first time that most people were going to see him in nearly four years.  While Kei provided the impetus, getting people excited about gathering together for some quality bro time was not a hard sell.  I did a little research online, and in the end decided that a KOA Kampground 45 minutes away was our best bet.  Kei and I did some shopping beforehand to meet the meat mandate.

food We caravanned on over and despite our best efforts could not manage to portray a group of mild-mannered men.  I don’t think we did anything wrong, but they just assumed that a bunch of young adults were bound to be trouble.  To be fair though, why else would we go to some campground for a single night…?  They insisted rather obnoxiously that it wasn’t a party campground; we of course had no intention of engaging in disruptively rambunctious behavior.  I had reserved us some cabins, which meant that we didn’t need to mess around with tents and had all the facilities set up and awaiting our arrival.

No one wanted to stand at the helm of the grill, so I shouldered the burden.  This is a culinary medium that I’ve only rarely done well, and it’ll take a lot more practice before I’m properly seasoned.  Once I got the coals lit, the call came in to go pick up a late arrival at the train station.  I had to forfeit the task to a bunch of fools who squandered the perfectly tuned heat of the grill and left me with a bin of soot by the time of my return.  I tried to salvage it by feeding in a few more coals, but eventually gave up and had to start from scratch.  These were a bit slower to take, but I with hookah tongs in hand tweezed and turned the meat to perfection.  Abe mustered mustard.

10443083_10204007681612253_5969977017320626688_oOnce all had supped their fill, we spent the rest of the evening simply reveling in each other’s company.  There were some of our Chicago based friends not of the fraternity that came and brought a much needed gender balance to the event too.  We had some pong and horseshoes going, and I must admit that once gathered together we are quite an interesting bunch.  Conversations carried easily, but we suspended them briefly to take some group photos at the behest of honorable Kei.  We are all very respectful of his culture.

10457673_10204007686532376_3649315539333783500_oTime marched on and the only things that really changed were the levels of ambient light and our volume.  We tried not to flout the warning given by one of the workers, and in the end all made it to bed without causing any [known] issues for our neighbors.  At the very least no one complained.  The next morning we cleaned up what was a surprisingly small mess and got ourselves right back on the road to return to our real lives.  One review described it as ‘the best post-graduation event thus far’, which I as host felt pretty good about.  My sincere thanks go to all that made an investment of their time and money, I trust it was worth both your while and repeating.

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Traverse City Escape

With my weekend extended a bit by Memorial Day, joining my family up at our Traverse City cottage on tranquil Arbutus Lake was in the cards.  I hadn’t been up there for nearly four years thanks to my taking residence in Japan, but to go as a complete family meant it would probably be a good time.  We piled into the Subaru and hit the road.  Thanks to a highway extension, the drive took a bit less time than I remembered.  Once arrived, we all settled into a sunny, yet chill-filled afternoon.  The dock was not out yet, so kindly suspend your disbelief.

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Most of our day to day plans were unplanned, and I was very satisfied with this.  I showed up with no real agenda, just a desire to laze about and relive a few of those things from days past.  It’s incredible how little things up there have changed.  As is always the case with our family trips, the cribbage board comes along.  There were a couple rounds of Euchre that took place too, but getting four people keen on it wasn’t always as easy as getting just the one necessary for cribbage.  I think I had winning record through the weekend, but this shot was from what went on to be Parker’s 3rd consecutive thrashing.

cribbage action

One of the big happenings that weekend was the Bay Shore Marathon, which Tiffany was going to be taking part in.  It was her first one, so of course we all needed to be there and support.  It did involve us all getting up a little bit earlier than was preferable, but again the skies were clear and the day plenty warm.  There were a couple of spots along the course where we could bus to and cheer for those passingby.  Of course, it wouldn’t have been right to do so without the assistance of some uplifting placards.  Mother outdid herself.  On the left is the Boston qualifying finisher.  Well done Whipper Lips.

runnnnnnnning!As an additional observation, Traverse City’s famous cherry orchards were abloom, which I enjoyed.  I probably wouldn’t have really cared about them the last time I was at the cottage, but thanks to my time in Japan and all their sakura culture, I’ve developed a bit of an appreciation for them.  I’m used to pink, but these white ones we no less a sign of spring.

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There were a number of tasks to be dutifully done up there to get it ready for the new year.  One that I enjoyed a little bit was getting up on the garage to sweep off the autumn debris, but the real work was to take place at the water’s edge.  For the first time ever, my generation was summoned to take part in the ceremony of the dock.  Usually I would let the ‘adults’ do this and then reap the fruits of their labor, but alas my time had come to slosh through the muck.  The whole process was pretty painless and we probably had it wrapped up within a half hour or so.  Wader Joe and Brick Slingin’ Bus paused a moment to revel in the masculinity of this process.
photoIf we are going to take part in some big manly activities, then so too must we partake of some manly food.  For the first time in ages, I was able to eat some of my grandma’s homemade balkenbrij, which is a traditional Dutch liverwurst.  These patties are certainly a treat, as was the unmissable Peegeo’s Pizzas.
IMG_3313Our time there passed quickly, but I was certainly able to get my fill of everything I had hoped for: games, laughs, and revisiting the days of yore.  I’m sure that it wont take me another four years to get back up there, but the reality is that it may not be so soon.  I’m glad to have made the most of my time at the ‘Bussies Gateway’.

Business Tripping: Charlotte, North Carolina

Another work trip was planned to take place in Charlotte, and again I was able to check off another new state.  A college buddy of mine had recently moved there, so I booked my flight to arrive the night before our meetings.  I was whisked away from my house by a taxi and on the way we got slammed by some inclement weather.  After I checking in, I caught a glimpse of the monitors that were starting to fill up with delays.  At first it was just flights heading west, but mine was soon pushed back too, and then again and again.  I was getting a bit fed up with it all, since a was clearly inevitable.  Word came at last, and I was able to return home with plans to fly out that next morning.  I counted my blessings though, as the line of people who needed to figure out their plan B spanned the entire length of the concourse.

When I arrived back at the airport, it was clear that there were massive problems left in the wake of that storm.  O’Hare is United’s primary hub, so to have none of the planes or crews in the right places meant utter chaos.  I saw several of the same people from the night before, and was glad to have showered and slept in my own bed.  Looking again over at the monitor, there were just a handful of flights not cancelled or delayed, and the runways were dead.  These problems were not aided by the alleged fire that took place in the control tower.  I have my doubts that this actually occurred though, as it gave the airlines an out for all the cancellations and saved them putting everyone up in a hotel.

Deep Freeze

I spent about 10 hours in zombie mode hoping to make standby for some flight that never even happened, and finally I bailed on the whole thing.  I was told by my boss to do everything in my power to get there by the next morning, since there were some important demonstrations that could not be replicated elsewhere.  Thursday morning was the earliest that United was forecasting my arrival…3 days after my original arrival time, and actually after my return flight home.  So, I hopped online and booked another flight departing from Midway that evening.  I had to drive over there,  and finally – FINALLY – arrived to Charlotte around 1:00am.

The next day, I ate a sleepy breakfast and recounted the tale of my journey to my coworkers before we all piled onto the bus.  This was going to take us to our distribution and production centers so that we could all get a better understanding of how the company functions.  It was interesting to be walking through pallet mountains of the various products I’ve been learning about.  I also appreciated the stroll through our production facility where I saw all the steps that add value to our industry leading products.  My favorite stop was the company skunk-works where we were forbidden of taking pictures or even talking about what we saw with people outside the company.  It feels pretty cool to be a VIP.

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There were some hands on product demonstrations that let us get an appreciation for how our products are used and applied.  I’m sure a lot of people have seen the green slurry that hydroseeders spray on lawns, and that is one of our products, but we also do a whole lot more.  We got a crash course introduction into the equipment, and then climbed aboard to use it for ourselves.

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Once business was over, it was time for a bit of office bonding.  We were broken into six teams and then headed over to Kitchen Stadium where we had an Iron Chef style battle.  In each of three rounds, we were presented with a couple of theme ingredients and about 20 minutes to turn them in the best tasting dishes we could.  I’ll admit that our all male team was not so good at this, and that some were more concerned with the wine, but we all had a great time with event.  Presentation was also taken into consideration, and the cucumbers I carved into little tiki people were met with rave reviews.  Here was our team, right at the beginning.

cooking team
In the end, I’m pretty sure that we took last place but it was a very unique event.  Once things were done in the kitchen, we busted out a cooler of refreshments and rolled back to the hotel where we spent the next couple hours together in the courtyard.  Everyone was really having a great night, but as it wore on people peeled off to bed.

That next day, I had to make my return for home which was unfortunately into O’Hare Airport.  As much as I wanted it all to end, an hour long cab ride south separated me from my car.  It was a tiring process, but duty called.  Although the coming and going was extremely taxing, once I finally got down to Charlotte I had a good time with my coworkers and was glad to have made it.  I’ll have to find a different opportunity to meet up with that friend though.

Here was a pretty cool slideshow of pictures from the event.

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Another Hope[fully Last] Graduation

The Hope College academic calendar was coming to an end, and my brother’s graduation offered the mandate that I return to my alma mater for the ceremony.  This was the first time I would be visiting home since making the move to Chicago a few months ago.  I was also excited to be in Holland for the Tulip Festival, which only after years away have I come to actually appreciate.  This year though we had a winter of old, and very few of the tulips were even close to blooming.  I’m used to ‘stem fests’ where they come out and die too early, but this was the latest I had ever seen them.  I did at least find a single patch to snap a quick picture of.  I had to crop out all the other tourists consolidated here trying to get their flower fix too.

tulip aciton

On the day of the actual graduation we gathered up at Hope’s Dimnent Chapel to listen to some RCA bigwig speak for the baccalaureate.  Once we were done with the service, it was picture time.  We moved on to a brunch just down the road.  Finally, hours later, we made our way over to the football stadium to stake out our seats and wait in the cold for things to get going.

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Eventually, the students showed up, took their seats, and things got rolling.  The first agenda item was the graduation speech, which followed the same formula as every one I have ever had to sit through.  There is always something exciting at the beginning to get the crowd hooked, but then interest wanes as they drone on and on and express the same ‘you can do anything/go change the world’ themes.  The only variables that affect a speech’s ability to hold the interest of those gathered are the quality of the orater, or if the speaker is somehow famous and relevant to the student body.  It just might look like a nice day, and it was indeed better than rain, but the wind was blowing and warmth was scarce.

graduation

With that finished up, we had to wade through the worst of the ceremony – the reading of names.  Hope College is not a particularly large school and can therefore justify reading each individual name as they walk up to receive their diploma.  This isn’t to say that it takes only a short while though; a full hour of listening to names and the obnoxious cheers that follow each and every one is a lot to ask of people.

While it was good to be home for the big event, one of the highlights was having a number of my friends in town for the same weekend.  I was able to see a great number of people, and some for the first time since my own graduation four years prior.  It was another of those busy weekends where every moment is spoken for, but it indeed worth being around for.

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Friday Fryday

A couple of months ago, my roommate Jason decided to invest in a deep fryer for the apartment.  It gathered dust on our shelf until one Friday he finally bought some surprisingly expensive peanut oil and got to work.  Curiosity and the culinary potential drew me in as well, and quickly we were both rooting through the fridge and pantry for anything that might be friable.  Now I know the county fair would suggest that anything can be battered and fried, but we were sticking to the basics for this first time around.

The first time we hauled the equipment out, we only had panko (a word of Japanese origin) crumbs.  These work great for larger items, but not so much for finer items like onion rings.  The Arby’s sauce hoard that we keep at our house provided enough flavor to justify eating them, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say they were good.

We got the thing going again the following week, this time armed with tempura (also Japanese) batter.  This makes for a much finer batter that actually adheres to the food.  Our thicker cut onions were better this time around, but we have a long way to go before they are restaurant quality.  Trial and error will surely develop this life skill.

IMG_20140425_222945Another fried food attempt has been potato crisps, which I don’t yet have right either.  Whatever I do with them, they come out tasting like soggy grease sponges, and really have none of the crisp that I’m looking for.  I really can’t slice them any thinner, nor can we get the oil any hotter, but I’m thinking that my newly acquired toaster oven may be able to help out.  We also make a lot of deviled eggs at our place, as bachelors do, since at any one time we probably have a dozen ova sitting pre-boiled in the fridge.  Good on the left, not so much on the right.

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By the third weekend, I had really figured out how to make it work well for slabs of meat.  I went to town on some Alaskan cod, and pork chops too, which both turned out incredibly well.  To have tonkatsu in my repertoire feels good, and I’m sure that I’ll only improve on it.  I no longer have a camera of any sort, but this stock photo is basically what my pork cutlet came out looking like.
tonkatsu action

Business Tripping: Milwaukee, WI & Davenport, Iowa

Another day, another opportunity to head off on a…field trip…to learn a bit more about how our products are used, and those using them.  For this little excursion, I had to cross state lines into Wisconsin for the first time ever.  Despite being a Midwesterner, there is a lot this side of the lake that I’ve got yet to explore.  While not exactly tourism, it did involve a new city, and the whole experience was indeed ‘fun’.

One of our product lines is heavily involved in athletic surfaces, not limited to but especially baseball fields.  This time around we went and met with the head groundskeeper for the Milwaukee Brewers, took a stroll around the infield, and learned about some of the science involved in keeping it game ready.  I think it’s a common misconception that all they have to do is mow the lawn, but the amount of 24/7 attention paid to the playing surface would surprise most people, as it did me.  I was certainly impressed at the passion the head groundskeeper used in discussing ever attention to detail, and the reasons behind their maintenance decisions.  There was plenty of learning, but we squeezed in some picture time as well.  My two requests were to take part in a sausage race, and to go down Bennie Brewer’s slide, neither of which were fielded.
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A few weeks later a car full of us made the three hour drive over to Davenport, Iowa for the IECA Great Lakes/Great Rivers Chapter Conference.  While we were going to have a booth there to promote our products, there wasn’t going to be nearly the foot traffic of the Nashville show.  I did not take the following photograph (nor the next (or technically, the one above for that matter)) but this was the first time I had made it to the Mississippi River, I think.  There were a number of bridges, a floating casino, and lots of old houses in abutment to the bank.  It definitely had some of that old American charm, though I’d really like to see a bit more of the south for that.

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The real opportunity here was in the various educational seminars that we could sit in on.  We each caught a couple, including one where a coworker spoke on ‘Vegetating the Impossible’, which was really good.  Using a great deal of pictures, he highlighted some of our recent flagship projects, and showed the versatility of our product.  The Trump International in Scotland was a good example, as it needed to resist ridiculous winds during seeding on bare sand.

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On the second and final night of this conference, there was a charity bowling event being held for any and all that wanted to take part.  We were one of the larger sponsors at the event, but of course we wanted to take part in this anyway.  We had some troubles with the lanes, and even I knowing very little about bowling could tell that they were in dire need of upkeep.  This was tough for those in our group accustomed to rolling regularly, and hitting big numbers.  The lower scores, and subsequent expressions of frustration from my peers were particularly amusing to me.  There was however food and drink aplenty which more than covered any equipment shortcomings.  We followed up the bowling with a birthday celebration for one of the team before heading off to bed.

IMG_20140430_190608I’m happy to have been a part of this event, as it did offer up some good opportunities for learning, but also to bond with my coworkers over some road tripping.  Iowa too was another new state for me, and another pin in my map.  I can’t really imagine that I would have rushed to get to either this city or state of my own volition either, so going for work was indeed a bonus.

日本のコンビニ生活 – Japan’s Convenience Store Life

I was cleaning up my computer and found that I had a few things from my time in Japan still lingering in the ‘To Be Blogged’ folder.  It was fun to revisit those times.

Anyone who has ever spent time in Japan is fully aware that the number of convenience stores lining the streets is absurd.  These things actually are everywhere, and it’s only after living there that I came to appreciate the happiness they brought to my life, and now the bottomless void left without them.  When we Americans think of a convenience store, we tend to picture something like a gas station, that sells the basket of common goods one might need on the fly.  The Japanese take that concept to a whole new level: I could have things mailed there, buy concert tickets, pay bills, all 24/7.  This is a pretty typical marquee.

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While there are several different chains – Lawson, Sunkus, 7 Eleven, Family Mart, Daily Yamazaki, Mini Stop, to name a few – they scarcely vary at all in offerings.  They will all sell bento lunches, clean white dress shirts for the businessmen who didn’t make it home the night before, the expected treats & snacks, and of course a bevy of beverages.  When strolling from one bar to another, the ability to pop in and top up with a chu-hi is also a fantastic perk.  These rice balls are a Japanese staple as well.

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With such a massive number of people walking through the doors each day, there is a lot of product trial and error aimed at them.  The rate at which new products are introduced and discontinued is really quite impressive, and I made it a point to try out whatever odd ones they had.  Salty Watermelon, Salt & Lychee, Espressoda, Apple+Asian Pear & Hops, Acerola and Hibiscus, and Snow Orange, for example.  Some were good, some not so much.

yumyumWhile I was living in Takamatsu, 7 Eleven decided to expand their territory to include the Shikoku region.  Now, I know what you’re thinking of course, that ‘This is a BIG deal!’, and you wouldn’t be the only one.  I swung by in the days after they opened to see what all the hubbub was about.  It had all cooled a bit since the police were direct traffic in and out of the parking lot on opening day, but there was still plenty of excitement.  I had also been conned into buying what I thought was a point card, but was in fact worthless for my purposes.  They were giving out some freebies, but I managed to forget a certain piece of paper, keeping them out of my hands and souring the whole experience.  I filmed my visit for some reason, so ‘let’s watching’.  I made very little effort to speak Japanese.

 

 

 

A ‘Shawesome’ Reunion In Lincoln Park

Despite my moving to a new city, it would be wrong to suggest that I don’t know anybody here.  They do however live in the bustling city center, rather far away from my humble life in the burbs.  Since moving back to The States, I’m making an effort to track down some of those contacts whose lives I’ve been unablest to grace with my presence.  The lucky winner of that prize was my Centurian little brother Nate, and we had not seen each other in some years.  We exchanged the odd email, but basically this was going to be our first contact in a good while.

The plan was for me to drive down to Lincoln Park, cadge some parking from the zoo, and then meet to plan dinner and the rest of the evening.  This is a young person’s paradise, which means that there are all sorts of ethnic food offerings and places to enjoy a stiff drink.  After some fruitless discussion, we opted to stroll down the street to see what caught our eye and catered to our stomach.

We didn’t get too far down before Japanese presented itself as the best option.  Nate never had this type of food, and this meal would also be my first since leaving that glorious chain of islands.  We actually walked past a couple options, but decided on a place that was running an ‘Anime Festival’.  I don’t think that any self respecting restaurant would actually do this in Japan, but, it was amusing.  The ‘festival’ was reflected in price and in their cat ears and school girl uniforms.

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I tried placing some of the order in Japanese, but her complete lack of understanding suggested she may not have been authentic…  For Nate I prescribed a tonkatsu set, and myself a nigiri sushi platter.  We split some sake and gyoza to complete the meal.  It will never be as good as the real thing, but we were both really satisfied.
IMG_20140308_192751The next stop was at a fine place called Cheesies, where the two of us would be meeting another college companion.  COB was already there with a friend, so we sat on down to have a couple beers and chat.  They had a Root Beer Beer on tap that was quite strong, but the flavor completely masked any hint that it might be alcoholic.  The establishment’s eponymous dishes are various grilled cheese sandwiches.  The Tenderizer is supposedly the best, but I ‘failed’ by ordering the hot and spicy Popper.  That place was packed all night, but this stock photo doesn’t show that.

154518_359226337456647_1101283025_nAfter we made it back to his, I was consumed by sleep.  Waking late the next day, we quickly agreed that a proper breakfast was just what we needed.  There was a diner type place a short walk from his place, but   This too was excellent, and then after the conversation shared between our face stuffing sessions, we parted ways.  One thing that I do enjoy about being back in the states again are the many opportunities to catch up with friends.

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