What Am I Doing Here?

It’s just past six A.M., and the view is of a huge crane positioned above a skyscraper going up and about five skyscrapers behind it and a white sky that reflects Lake Michigan.

I’ve little idea why I came here.  I am giving a talk on, “Back of the House,” for one hour at 10 A.M. at the National Restaurant Association, but given the number of its congregants (tens of thousands), the backgrounds of those gathered (industry purveyors, designers, suppliers), the time of the talk (early Sunday morning after the big party the night before), and the affiliation that the others have for one another, it’s hard to imagine who will show up and why they might care.

That said, it’s certainly pleasant enough walking around this busy, unfamiliar city.  Being downtown, within walking distance of Michigan Avenue, their Fifth Avenue, has, perhaps ironically, a limiting effect.  I see tourists, suburbanites, employees of fancy stores, and working class families showing off the city.

The deep dish pizza @ Gino’s East yesterday was delicious, but impossible to finish; the size was enough literally to feed four adults for dinner although it had been labeled an individual pie.

The torta from Xoco, one of Rick Bayless’s Mexican restaurants was delicious, but unremarkable.  The flavors were not distinctive, but that’s really not his fault.  The cuisine he has mastered isn’t one I enjoy much.

Overall, both restaurants served food that was so big it seemed to have been designed by death row inmates who wanted their last meal on earth to take so long to eat that it would delay their getting that fatal injection.




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