Wednesday, January 02, 2008

January 2, 2008 - Chicago

On Tuesday, while we recovered from New Year's Eve, Mike proved that he was a Blokus prodigy. He handed my butt to me three times in a row - including the game where I was ostensibly teaching him how to play. Then he proceeded to school Sten in the finer points of the two person version of the game.
On Wednesday, while most of our friends reported back to work, Sten and I wandered around the city. It was brutally cold. As we walked by one of the television stations, we noted the LCD display wrapping around the side of the building with the headlines of the day, include one about how it was "Dangerously Cold" and that "Residents Were Advised to Remain Indoors." Deb, emailing us from the comfort of her office, tried to put a positive spin on the situation by claiming that although it was three degrees (Fahrenheit) out, it really felt like twelve.
The only thing that could have motivated us out of Deb and Mike's warm apartment was our cravings for good Mexican food. Several years ago, when I was interviewing at law schools, Sten and I visited Chicago. The first night we were in town, we followed a concierge's advice and went to Frontera Grill. As we sat at the bar, knocking back the best margaritas of our young lives, we puzzled our way through a menu that neither of us understood, being from areas of the country completely devoid of good Mexican (Chili's and Taco Bell don't count, as much as I love both institutions). Little did we know that we were sitting in one of the best Mexican restaurants in the country. Over a phenomenal meal, where each bite was a revelation about how good this cuisine could be, we decided that we had to move to Chicago - a decision we never regretted.

Every time we visit the Windy City, we dine at Frontera, its fancier sibling, Topolobampo, or one of the many restaurants opened by graduates of the Frontera kitchen. Unfortunately for us, this visit coincided with the Frontera crew's annual vacation. The day was saved when we discovered that Frontera recently spun off a food court location in the Macy's on State Street. We hit Frontera Fresco for lunch on Wednesday. We both enjoyed tortilla soup, goat cheese and corn tamales, chips and guacamole (which actually paled in comparison to the guacamole made by Cuau for NYE at Kate and PJ's).

After lunch, we wandered up Michigan Avenue, stopping at Garrett Popcorn for dessert. Neither of us had actually ever been to this local institution because the lines usually extend down the block. But 2pm on a Wednesday afternoon seems to be the ideal time to pop in.

To thank Deb and Mike for their hospitality, we made dinner for them and Kate and PJ. After dinner, Mike cemented his title as Blokus King by beating up on the rest of us.

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