Friday, May 28, 2010

If you want the ultimate, you have to be willing to pay the ultimate price. - Bodhi, Point Break

339 Days to go: 325 Things to Do: Day 21 in Chicago

41.  Grab a bottle of wine at Noble Grape
42.  Chicago style hot dogs at Duks
43.  Netflix DVD at home

It's not tragic to die doing something you love. - more from Bodhi.   I don't know about that.  But it's sure fun to live doing something you love.

It's Memorial Day Weekend.  Weeeeeeeeee.  We've got big plans for the weekend, so tonight we go low key.  In preparation for one of the 'Chicago To Do's' on the list we had Netflixed a copy of Point Break, and tonight seemed the perfect night to watch it.  So, after work, we hop on the blue line, get out at Chicago and head to my favorite neighborhood wine shop - Noble Grape 802 N Bishop.   

There are a lot of things to love about Noble Grape.  They do free wine tastings once or twice a week.  The staff are friendly and laid back.  The wine is good and inexpensive (flowing from their 'sophisticated, approachable wine' philosophy).  There is a membership list or loyalty club or something that results in a discount for every $100 you spend.  I'm not sure of the details, I haven't hit $100 yet, but (fingers crossed) any day now.  But the best, best, best thing about Noble Grape?  They DELIVER.  They BRING you wine.  If you live near by (which happily I do) or if you're dining at one of the neighborhood BYOBs you make a little phone call and minutes later you have wine.  It's glorious.  And tonight they are doing a free tasting of Spanish Wine, which Emily and I enthusiastically participate in before making our purchase.

And for dinner - Chicago style hot dogs.  Duk's (officially Donald Duk's Red Hots) 636 N Ashland is the perfect neighborhood hot dog stand.  It's cheap and the food is great.  Excellent late night stop - complete with an stacked jukebox (bob seger's you'll accomp'ny me is one of my all time favorites).  There's limited outdoor seating when the weather is nice and only about half a dozen stools inside when it's not.  The women who work there are somehow crotchety and hospitable at the same time.  And did I mention the food is great and wicked cheap?  Because it is.  I always order the polish sausage with everything (chicago style of course) and a chocolate shake.  Nine times out of ten the shake machine is broken - but if you can catch them when it's not WORTH IT!

The first time I was offered a polish sausage here I refused it.  I was convinced it was the most unhealthy thing I had ever seen.  But after four hours of drinking I returned and while I may have been right - this may be incredibly unhealthy - it's worth every bite.  And I'm told the cheeseburgers are also a tasty treat. 

A Chicago - style hot dog is a steamed, boiled or grilled all beef hot dog topped with mustard, onion, sweet pickle relish (like emerald relish), a dill pickle spear, peppers and celery salt.  Note:  NO ketchup.  Nope.  Ketchup allowed only for those who need them on their fries.  And the hot dogs (and polishes) are brilliant that way.   

Another fun fact?  Chicago has more hot dog stands than McDonalds, Burger Kings, and Wendy's COMBINED.  At least according to wikipedia.  And in my day to day experience seems to be true.

Oh, and Point Break?  Just as horrifically enthralling as you remember it.  We miss you, Mr Swayze.
What's the matter with you guys? This was never about the money, this was about us against the system. That system that kills the human spirit. We stand for something. We are here to show those guys that are inching their way on the freeways in their metal coffins that the human spirit is still alive - Bodhi, Point Break

338 Days to go: 322 Things to Do: 21 Days in Chicago = 27 new experiences

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