Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Remembering a Different Home

Normally, if I feel a little homesick (or have a feeling of saudade), it's for New Mexico (or El Paso, TX, or even Tucson . . . but generally somewhere in the Southwest).

But lately, I've been kind of missing my other home, Chicagoland. See, I went to college in Chicagoland - Lake Forest College (in Lake Forest, Il, to be exact). And before I joined the Air Force, I worked as a Certified Legal Assistant in Chicagoland (in Deerfield, IL) and lived in Chicagoland (Arlington Heights, IL, about 8-9 miles from where I worked). So I lived in the Chicago area for a number of years.

There's so much to do in a metropolitan area like Chicagoland. There are plenty of sports related activities, like my being able to go to Chicago Blackhawks games (my favorite NHL team). My brother and I would go to a home game together at the United Center at least once a season - the 'Hawks, a beer, nachos, and good company - you couldn't get a better type of fun than that. Plus Chicago has two MLB teams, an NFL team, and a MLS team. Of course, Chicago has plenty of cultural activities, too - the Art Institute, the Shedd Aquarium, opera, theater, various concerts. And restaurants - think of a type of food . . . Spanish tapas, Italian, deep dish pizza, steak . . . you name it, Chicago has it.
Andrew and I also got married in Chicago, in December, when the air was crisp and cold, Christmas-y lights were twinkling, and there was a hint of snow in the air and that special holiday buzz surrounding us.

(Oh, and here's a little-known tidbit: the best driver's license photo I ever had was for my Illinois license, when I'd renewed it in December 2002.)

So as you can see, there is something special to me about Chicago.

But I'm sure you're wondering what got me on a "I miss Chicago" kick.

It was a dog.

A dog? 

Yes, a dog.

Not a canine.

A dog.

A hot dog.

A hot dog?

Yep. A Chicago dog.

Poppy seed bun, hot dog, mustard (and NEVER ketchup!!!), sweet relish, dill pickle spear, tomato wedges, sport peppers, and a bit of celery salt.

There's a hot dog place near us that opened within the last year here in east-central Iowa. We'd never been there, but had noticed they advertised Chicago-style hot dogs. So this past weekend, out of curiosity, Andrew decided to go get some Chicago-style hot dogs, just to see how they stacked up to the real thing.

The dog (and a beer), via Instagram app on my iPhone.
(No, that's not the exact color . . . I tried giving it a little bit of an artsy look to it with the Instagram app.)

Well, it was pretty good - good enough to satisfy the Chicago dog craving. But it made me miss stopping at the hot dog stand I used to get my Chicago dogs from, when I was in the city - a little place called Hot Diggity Dog on Ohio St (off of . . . um . . . Fairbanks, I think?), where they had the BEST chocolate malts.

And that's what made me start reminiscing about all the other things I missed about Chicago (driving Lake Shore Drive at night, going for a run at the lake, the IMAX at Navy Pier, etc.) . . . and, well, there you go.


TexWisGirl said...

hey, i even like sonic's chicago-style hot dog! i like chicago for the downtown window displays at Christmas and the GREAT deep-dish pizza. :)

Daniel LaFrance said...

I'm with you on ketchup having no place on a hot dog. Mustard and Relish is a beautiful mix of condiments. I enjoy adding chopped onion too. Although not everyone will appreciate the latter. ;-)

Beth said...

I know what you mean by dogs. I've never had a Chicago dog, but I've read about them. They sound and look good. My fav is a coney chili dog with cheese, onion, and coleslaw. There is a family owned restaurant in a nea-by town that has them. At the very least I lke to have a coney cheese dog and our Dairy Q has a decent version. But when we grill, it's plain hot dgos with mustard and relish on them.

I liked your barn charm too. It's great when you can know the history behind a place. Terrific barn--I'm glad it's protected.

Cool blog. Your life sounds busy and interesting. I wished I'd minored in history when I went back to college for my teacher cert. in English. I teach American literature to my juniors and I always expand the part on Native Americans. Our kids don't know enough of that particular part of our nation's history.

Jill said...

Sorry you can't get the real thing but glad you got a pretty good substitute.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

It looks wonderful!

Regina K said...

Love, love, love Chicago and Chicago dogs!!!!

Nancy Claeys said...

Funny how certain foods can bring back memories of a different place or time. That dog looks good!

Teresa said...

Yum!, I know those dogs well!

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