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August 23, 2008

Chicago isn't so bad after all

EndOfTrip%20003.jpgOK, all I've seen of Chicago is the worst traffic ever. What I meant to say is Evanston, Ill. is pretty nice. In fact, this morning it's almost tropical, with warm, humid air and very breezy. My kind of weather. I'm sitting in a Peet's Coffee & Tea writing this, which reminds me of California, too.

But this is a food blog (sometimes), so I should start by saying my day yesterday pretty much ended at Tapas Barcelona.

I say ended because with the endless drive from scenic Newton Falls, Ohio, and the hour and a half in Chicago traffic, after Gailor and I had unloaded the car I turned to her and said, "I need a nice dinner, by which I mean alcohol."

"I knew what you meant, Mom."

That Gailor. Sometimes she's almost telepathic. ...

One glass of sangria on the restaurant's very nice patio was almost enough to cure the aches and pains and put me to sleep after the day we had had.

For some reason, we had a lot more trouble with this trip than we did with the cross-country jaunt. The reason being I-80. THE MOST BORING INTERSTATE IN THE UNIVERSE. Gailor said she was beginning to feel like no matter where she traveled -- California, Florida -- the route always went through Ohio. And that was not a good thing. "Nothing against Ohio, but it sucks."

Gailor doesn't like it when she's driving and her passenger does something else, like a sudoku or napping, so if you fall asleep she pokes you awake. It's like being tortured, especially if you're driving through Ohio. 

 Other highlights:

* We saw jersey wall units stored in corn fields three times.

* Every mile  for a stretch there was a sign that said, "Animal loose in area when flashing." Squirrel? Moose? (Once the light was flashing but no animal.) 

* The entertainment of the day was reading the back of trucks. Did you know that they advertise on the back of trucks for drivers? And that the going rate is 42 cents a mile? 

* Every fast food vendor in each of the service plazas is listed on the back of the turnpike ticket. 

* Driving on I-80 and I-90 you pass the exits to every school in the Big Dance. 

* Burger King has come up with the idea of cutting up an apple (Red Delicious, I'm sure), putting the pieces in a french fry container  and calling them "apple fries." And charging big bucks for them.

But my favorite thing was seeing that someone had planted a tomato plant (pictured below) at the Mishawaka service plaza. It makes me feel All Is Not Lost.

Today Gailor has a community service day, so later this afternoon I'll make my way on the el to Midway. I have a pretty good Southwest number, A-37, so barring anything unforeseen, I'll be back in Baltimore tonight. 






Posted by Elizabeth Large at 8:16 AM | | Comments (27)


And, um, how was the food at Tapas Barcelona, considering that you went there at the recommendation of MD Canon? (Or was the sangria the sum and substance of your sustenance?)

It was good, but we were both too tired to eat much, just some chicken with cumin mayonnaise, grilled vegetables, and a plate of avocado, tomato and asparagus. EL

Hmmm... "Animal loose in area when flashing. It would probably start flashing as soon as I drove by, if I ever drove through Ohio. : )

Hope your flight back is uneventful.

Driving on I-80 and I-90 you pass the exits to every school in the Big Dance.

What's the Big Dance, in this context?

I've driven through Ohio four times in my life and each time the thing that struck me was how gray the skies are. Very depressing.

Wow. And I thought you were a sports fan. That was the only reason I thought you weren't Owl Meat. EL

So the apple fries aren't fried? That's so disappointing. Maybe we could start renaming healthy foods with junk foods names to give them more appeal. Salad is now lettuce nachos.

Not a sports fan? I think women's beach volleyball is the greatest sport ever. A weird aside ... did you notice that NBC's coverage of women's diving focussed as much on their showering as their diving? That was a little weird.

What was weird was EVERY time I turned on the Olympics,which was a lot, women's beach volleyball was on. Seen one beach volleyball game, seen them all. EL

OK...I may be being too literal, again, the way I was on the Seinfeld clue, but the schools that went to the Big Dance in 2008 were Memphis, Kansas, North Carolina and UCLA. I don't believe any of those are along I-80 or I-90.

This is why I'm confused.

And also 61 other teams. EL

I-80 is pretty horrible. It is possibly to take 70, then cut north I think.

For real fun, though, you want the Ohio Turnpike in a blizzard. Double and triple bottoms off the road everywhere, white outs, ice...

Robert from TBRS,
The Big Dance refers to the NCAA basketball thing every March.

Gonna have a tuna chop with some lettuce nachos for lunch.

Yes, you can 70 west, but it merges with 80, in Ohio, which is a toll road no less.

We also spent $50 on tolls yesterday. EL

I was being to literal about the Big Dance.

I have an entire blog entry about Misty, Kerri and Women's Beach Volleyball. But after the discussion on another topic about feminism I think I'll keep it to myself...

On another Olympic know how people wear the jerseys of their favorite players around? Like, here in TBRS state nearly everyone has a John, wait...y'all are from Baltimore...I better say a Carmelo Anthony jersey?

I'm going to get a Michael Phelps Speedo Laser suit and wear it around.


(That's probably a lot funnier for people who know me personally.)

All beach volleyball games are the same? Ugh, you really need to study the game more. Sometimes they have white bikinis, red bikinis, blue bikinis, it's quite complex. There are also different wedgie adjusting techniques. It's like poetry mixed with physics.

Rob in PCB FL -- how are things down there? Judging from The Sun's weather site, at least, it sounds like Fay took a surprise turn to the west, leaving PCB with a forecast of rain for the next five days.

Hi hmpstd, thanks for asking.

We had some rain late yesterday and last night, but as of about 8am this morning, we've been in Fay's eye. The sun even briefly made an appearance. The NOAA hurricane site had been predicting Fay's western turn for a few days now. The Weather Channel has two people here so I guess they figure we're gonna get a lot of the storm.

There is a LOT of rain and wind headed our way, ever so slowly. Right now the nasty stuff is around Tallahassee, about 100 miles to my east. Yes, our forecast looks fairly rainy for the next few days. It appears that the heavy weather will begin later this afternoon. Its starting to drizzle right now.

Robert from TBRS,
Elway will always be reviled by Baltimore football fans. Lots of people seem to have Ray Lewis jerseys, along with Kyle Boller and Todd Heap (for the ladies). I still have my Ravens season tickets and go to a couple games a year.

Random item about putting an Italian chef in the White House

Biden brings engaging personality to Obama's ticket
12:05 PM CDT on Saturday, August 23, 2008
Dallas Morning News

As Joe Biden’s airplane landed on a barely visible grass strip in a small Iowa town one summer night in 1987, members of his entourage breathed a sigh of relief. But the Delaware senator was looking ahead.

“Pizza,” he announced. “Let’s order pizza.”

When it arrived, he made one of the more unusual campaign promises I’ve ever heard, pledging that, if elected president, he’d name an Italian chef for the White House to ensure he could always indulge in his favorite food.

PCB Rob - I know how they feel about Elway in Baltimore - that's why I changed my example. I don't understand it, but I know it.

He refused to play for the Colts primarily because he thought Robert Irsay was an idiot.

Hmmmm...was Elway right or wrong?

Beach volleyball is just PG pole dancing.

I like female eye candy more than most, but, dang, that is not volleyball.

At least the beach volleyball players look like they've actually been through puberty.

Robert from TBRS,

Elway was right in that Irsay was an idiot, although more accurately, a drunken idiot.

But we Baltimoreans loved our Colts and since Elway snubbed the Colts, it felt like he snubbed us. As much as we loved our Colts, we disliked the team's owner. At Elway's jersey retirement speech on Monday Night Football, his last line was rather irksome too. To paraphrase, "I thank God I never signed with the Baltimore Colts". True, he had a great career in Denver, but he didn't need to rub it in back here.
Sorry, Sandboxers for the football detour.

Rob in PCB FL -- well put, indeed!

Granted that enjoying beach volleyball may not nail down my sports cred, because one could assume that there is a titillation factor at work as bikini-clad Amazons ply their craft. And because I was only interested in the matches with attractive Amazons. So then how do you explain my love of women's curling?

So then how do you explain my love of women's curling?

You were originally from Minnesota?

OMG, I had to give up curling (the nearest club is in Laurel) when I moved here. I miss it horribly.

One watches curling for the skill and the sportsmanship. One watches beach volleyball in hopes of a uniform malfunction. Both have their place, I suppose.

thanks hmpstd! I was a very fervent Colts fan and whenever I can, I try to educate the out-of-towners. Down here, with all the Steeler and Browns fans, I should do a seminar. After I tell people the real deal, they are much more understanding of what really went down in Baltimore.

I consider myself always a Baltimorean - maybe I should do a Bucky and change my name to Exile in Paradise? Or Exile in Redneck Land?

Fl Rob, I understand! "I consider myself always a Baltimorean". I start to feel it after 3 days away. I start cruising newspaper stands looking for The Sun (like that would ever happen) or at least the Jewish Times so I can find out what's going on. I also (my nod to the on-going chip wars) miss my Utz chips terribly and were I to move out of the midatlantic region, would have to order them and have them delivered. Be it ever so frigid there's no place like home...

Joyce W,
You have it nailed. I've been down here for well over 2 years, but I still feel like a Baltimorean and still tell people what a "real" crab cake should taste like.
I relish my trips back, my next one is in about 10 days! I'm flying up to join my parents and other relatives at the beach in OC. Yeah, I'm flying 1100 miles to go the beach when one is about a mile away. Go figure.

FL Rob,I was hoping you made it through the storm ok - hadn't seen anything from you lately! Welcome "home", hon! If you get a chance while you are at the beach, eat some Fisher's popcorn, some Thrasher's fries and all the rest of the local flavor! Have a great trip!

Dont' forget the Dolle's saltwater taffy...

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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