July 29, 2005

Preferences

According to this 9 year-old ex-Floridian now living in Colorado Springs:

"I'd rather be in a hurricane than have a bear in the house."

Posted by Carey at 11:32 AM | Comments (2)

July 27, 2005

World's Best Restaurant

Ever since the Dead Rat (or something like that) was named the Best Restaurant in the Whole Entire World, I've wanted to go.

Especially when I catch a whiff of some dissent in the air.

Posted by Carey at 06:20 PM | Comments (0)

Exploring the Monadnock

My time in Chicago is about to run out for me this summer, so I've been trying even more than usual to scope out all of what this great city has to offer.

This has been Monadnock Building week for me. On Monday I tried Intelligentsia coffee for the first time at their location in the north half of the Monadnock; on Tuesday I had lunch at Harry's Sandwich Shop in the newer south half of the building; today I got a haircut at Frank's Barber Shop, also in the newer half.

The atmosphere in the Monadnock is just fantastic. It's very old-fashioned, in a good way -- the interiors are warm and inviting, and the ceilings are just the right height to make you feel that the building was made for human-sized people. The tenants add to the old-fashioned feel too. Frank's, for example, has plenty of back issues of Playboy and Penthouse available for browsing as you wait for your haircut. It somehow takes you back to a time before the whole political-correctness thing ever got started (never mind that in the early 20th century real gentlemen could never admit to being fascinated by those kinds of smutty perversions).

Posted by Carey at 05:40 PM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2005

"the best city in the world"

How's this for a brush with celebrity: last Tuesday I was heading for the revolving doors of my firm's office building, having just returned from lunch. Some guy was coming out through the same door, so I squeezed in to take advantage of having someone else besides just me pushing on the door. My lunch companions were behind me, and as they entered the building they said "did you see Daley? He just walked out." It turns out the guy in the door with me had been embattled Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley, and I hadn't noticed it.

Who knows why Daley was in our building; I don't think it had anything to do with our firm. We share the building with the biggest bank in Chicago, so he might have just been making a deposit. Perhaps he just needed to get out of his office for a few minutes, especially now that U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald of Plamegate fame has been arresting some of his top officials for fraud and corruption in city hiring.

In a press conference following the arrest of two top Daley administration officials, the man who's been Chicago's mayor since 1989 vowed to "continue the work of my life, which is to make Chicago the best city in the world."

I like Daley because of statements like that. He seems to really love the city, and he seems to have done a lot to make sure that Chicago remained world-class. The mayor's been credited with improving the school system and making sure that the city's public areas were as beautiful as the budgets allowed (which in Grant Park and along Michigan Avenue is pretty damned beautiful).

The problem is that allowing officials like Sorich and Slattery to commit what looks like pretty egregious fraud seems inconsistent with ensuring that Chicago remains the best city in the world. (Yes, I know. Portland, OR has a strong claim as well...) Should we cut the Mayor some slack here? Let's wait until more of the details come out.

Posted by Carey at 06:10 PM | Comments (1)

July 14, 2005

McClellan struts his stuff

Whatever else you might want to say about him, you've got to admit that Scott McClellan has mastered the art of adhering to his talking points. Note carefully how our President's spokesman allows the reporter plenty of time to carefully ask the question before repeating his three non-responsive talking points:

Q There's a difference between commenting publicly on an action and taking action in response to it. Newsweek put out a story, an email saying that Karl Rove passed national security information on to a reporter that outed a CIA officer. Now, are you saying that the President is not taking any action in response to that? Because I presume that the prosecutor did not ask you not to take action, and that if he did, you still would not necessarily abide by that; that the President is free to respond to news reports, regardless of whether there's an investigation or not. So are you saying that he's not going to do anything about this until the investigation is fully over and done with?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think the President has previously spoken to this. This continues to be an ongoing criminal investigation. No one wants to get to the bottom of it more than the President of the United States. And we're just not going to have more to say on it until that investigation is complete.

That's a textbook-quality demonstration of media-relations savvy, for sure.

Posted by Carey at 05:44 PM | Comments (1)

July 02, 2005

Goat meat in Chicago

Working for Biglaw in Chicago this summer, I'm making this my season of culinary indulgence: Everest, Moto, Green Zebra, Les Nomades, Tru, Alinea, Spring, and Charlie Trotter's are all on the list. (I'm looking forward to the Ulterior Epicure's reviews of some of these places!)

But Chicago is more than just celebrity chefs and cute amuses-bouche. It's also one of the greatest cities in the country for lowbrow food, so if I'm really going to indulge I've got to get out into the neighborhoods and start eating. Tonight, we (Heidi and I) took the orange line el down to 49th and Western to eat at the Birrieria Jalisco, 2462 W. 47th Street. We'd heard they served some pretty good goat.

This is a walk-up-to-the-counter-and-order kind of place, with a menu entirely in Spanish. Our Spanish was pretty rusty -- we didn't understand the menu -- but "birrieria para llevar" sounded good. Goat with something else; what could be better? So we ordered one pound of it.

Of course, what we'd ordered is birrieria to go, but we realized that only after half our order had been packaged up before our eyes. Darn, a whole pound of goat meat and nowhere to go. So, feeling kind of dumb and stupid, we took our food and headed back to the el stop. "We'll take this home, where we can get some spoons!" Every adventure requires some flexibility.

It turns out that we'd ordered a lot more than just a pound of goat meat. When we got home and unpacked everything, there were thick lime wedges, lots of chopped onion and cilantro, a tub of broth, red chiles, a spicy sauce, and some marinated carrots and cauliflower in a little plastic bag. A real feast! (We'd also ordered some horchata to drink).

The short and sweet review of this food goes like this: yum yum yum! As Special Agent Dale Cooper might say, "This is damn fine goat!"

As an aside, the restaurant is in a vibrant Mexican neighborhood that used to be full of Eastern European immigrants. For a while I had even suspected that it might be in the same spot where the old Julia's restaurant used to be, before it closed about a year and a half ago. You could get some great sweet cheese dumplings at Julia's, but if you want any of that stuff now, I suppose you'd have to venture out to one of the last remaining Lithuanian restaurants in Chicago proper, e.g. Seklycia at 2711 W. 71st Street.

We've put that place on our list, too.

Posted by Carey at 11:10 PM | Comments (0)