I always try to eat delicious food. Unfortunately I don't have that much money, so I have to cook a lot of it at home. But thats OK because I love cooking and I love eating at home with my wife. This is a website with my favorite recipes and a little bit of commentary.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Chicago Trip Part 1

As I was saying earlier I took a trip to Chicago last weekend. Chicago is a food maniac's paradise. I visited my cousin up there and went for an interview at the University of Chicago.

I flew in to Chicago and I took the train into the city. I always try to use the public transit system in Chicago. It works so well and is so much cheaper than just about any other form of mechanized transit in the city. The only difference is that the fares used to be 1.50. Now they are 1.75. Not a huge deal considering a cab ride from O'Hare to downtown easily runs $50 and even more with traffic. A cab ride down to the U of Chicago area might cost $100. I know you think I am exaggerating but just trust me. If you go to the city take the trains and buses.

The University of Chicago campus is gorgeous. The architecture is very nifty if you are in to that sort of thing.

During the interview I was too nervous to eat anything, but that is OK because I made up for it later. They had a nice little spread of fresh fruit and bagels.

At the end of the interview we were scheduled to go to a swanky Chicago restaurant but it was not to be. Someone had an emergency case. Instead we went to the Au Bon Pain in the hospital. After lunch I headed back up to my cousin's apartment in Lincoln Park to change.

From there I went down to the Gold Coast and visited my old stomping grounds. In the basement of this building (Morton) I learned anatomy.

I swung by Northwestern Memorial Hospital which was where I did most of my clerkships.

Within a stone throw of NMH is a famous Chicago landmark, one of the only things that didn't burn in the fire.

I rode the 151 back up to Lincoln park but I stopped along Lake Shore Drive.

In this area is a famous surgery landmark - The International Museum and College of Surgery.

For dinner I took my cousin to one of my favorite Chicago restaurants - The Frontera Grill.

The chef here is Rick Bayless. You may have heard of him. The Frontera Grill and its sister, Topolabompo are considered by many to be the premier Mexican restaurants in the US. The great thing is that its not very expensive if compared to other great restaurants. In my next post I will post some pictures of what we got, along with links to his books. If you like cooking Mexican food at home you need to get at least one of his books. Also if you are in Chicago you simply must stop at the Frontera Grill. If you don't believe me that the food is superb then just go for lunch. They have a lunch menu that is cheaper but with smaller portions. Also I wouldn't bother with Topolabompo. Its the same food, just more expensive and smaller portions.

From there we headed over to Michigan Ave to check out the lights. If you have never seen it, the lights during the Holiday season are beautiful.

My last stop during the Chicago interview was a great bar at State and Division called PJ Clark's.

The atmosphere inside was just electric. The music was great and it was totally packed on a Thursday night.

When I was in Chicago for medical school people dressed a lot more uniformly. The blue shirt black pants black vest look was huge. I called it the Amish look. Everyone was dressing like that Harrison Ford movie Witness. Inside PJ Clark's I finally found one piece of the Chicago dress code. Every woman in the bar, and I mean EVERY SINGLE ONE was wearing jeans and really pointy toed high heels.

Here is exhibit A your honor:

The next morning I got on the plane back home. It was a much more adventurous flight than the one to Chicago. Apparently someone sitting close to me in cattle class decided that it was prudent to eat several cans of refried beans the night before. After all, why not make it smell like a cattle car as well? I suppose the whole covering the nose thing worked out well though, because at least 6 people had SARS and were open mouth coughing all over the place.