9.07.2006

the foodgasm


Day Four: Tina decided to actually go to work today, so Cristi and I decided to visit the Lincoln Park Zoo. Ok. Let me just say that it's a fairly nice zoo; I mean, it's not the San Diego Zoo or anything (which I hear is spectacularly awesome, but I've never witnessed its spectacular awesomeness in person), but it's nice. What rachets it right up to unbelievably incredible is the fact that it's free. Yes. You heard me correctly. Free. Nothing in the city is free except, apparently, the zoo.

Cristi and I had agreed to meet at the Berwyn El stop at 11.5a, so I headed out for the first time on my own to make my way (fending off dinosaurs and poisonous snakes and some of those ladies who spray perfume on you in department stores the entire way) through Tina's mazelike neighborhood to the train. I made it. And felt absurdly proud of myself for not getting lost.

We had a very pleasant afternoon walking around the zoo. It's one of those miraculous places you find in big cities where, when you find your way there, you feel like maybe you're not actually in a big city. I think that the word I would use to describe it is quaint. And nice. And awesome because did I mention that it's free? Entirely.

***

Cristi invited us all to go to dinner at the place where she works as a pastry chef, so I brought clothes with me to change into once we arrived downtown. Then I started feeling uncomfortable about what I had to wear. I mean, the place she works is shee-shee. It's one of the few four-star restaurants in the city. And even though everyone kept telling me that I could just wear jeans and a t-shirt, I decided that the evening deserved more attention than that. So. I took a trip down to Michigan Avenue, quite possibly one of the scariest places on God's green Earth, to hit the Gap for, at the very least, a new shirt. By the time I got to the store, I had sweated through the t-shirt I was wearing, so I ended up buying a new one of those also. Here's what I forgot about: when you buy a new shirt that comes folded instead of hanging and don't wash it before wearing it, you end up walking around with a square outlined in folds from where it was wrapped around the cardboard on the front of your shirt. Who looks like an idiot rube from Hicksville that doesn't know how to dress himself? Yeah. That'd be me.

Ok. Enough about that. On to the meal. We ate for three and a half hours. Not only did we eat for a really long time, the food was the most amazing food I have ever put in my mouth. Ever. I know I'm prone to exaggeration, but I'm not exaggerating. I swear. Here's what they did for us: they didn't let us order off the menu, and we decided to eat family style, so they just gave us an assortment of dishes and let us all share them. Dear sweet baby Jesus. It was seriously one of those things that you only get to experience once in a million years, should you choose to be on the planet for that long. I can't even really describe it. And the service was unfuckingbelievable. I realize that they were taking pretty special care of us, since Cristi works there and her friend Christine (who works there also) was celebrating her birthday, but still. It was simply amazing. I imagine that it's how movie stars must dine.

Now that I've had a taste of the good life, the 99¢ soft-shell chicken taco at Taco Bell® just doesn't seem as mouthwatering as it used to.




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