sweet home chicago

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Right on time for "rush hour" traffic, we arrived in the Windy City on Friday March 2 and soon discovered it was aptly named. The temp read 34 degrees and it was alternating between snowing and slushing, with the wind gusting nicely.

The fog and snow wasn't letting us see the skyline perfectly, but you can kind of tell!

Excited about the weather and Chicago!

Chicagoans out and about. Going to have to wrap my mind around umbrellas in the snow.

We arrived safe and sound, if a little frazzled. Keep in mind Dad was towing the UHaul trailer behind us, and we were going right into the city. Basically, Chicago wasn't ready for us country folk - but dangit, we made do. We had reservations for a hotel near my new place, but like most parts of any city the only parking was valet with no accommodation for things bigger than a smart car. I'm kicking myself hard now because nobody got a picture of it, but poor Dad successfully backed not only the trailer, but the Yukon into an alley amid applause and astonishment from the locals. Needless to say, Dad slept well that night.

All bundled up and ready to step out into Chicago!

That night we ate at Michael Diversey's, a pub-type place really close to our hotel. The food and spirits were great, or at least compared to the usual level of food quality we'd been eating in Copperas Cove and Killeen on the rare occasions we dined out. Paying some sort of homage to my first night out in London (my first meal in England was actually a hamburger...go figure), I ordered fish and chips with a pale brew. Mom and Dad had scallops, sweet potato fries, and chicken. We had a great time, laughing and being in awe of finally being in the city. Later on we went to Trader Joe's for a few things, and marveled at the things "city people" will buy. I'm all for organic, simplistic, and being Earth friendly, but I draw the line at hemp shampoo. I mean, come on. 

Not the best quality, but we love each other :)

Early the next morning, we began the task of moving in to my new home. Dad is a man who knows what he is doing, people.

Momma looking cute at my front door. It's snowing!

My new home!! In case a medieval army shows up, I can shoot arrows at them from atop my roof.

Hello Lincoln Park and tree-lined streets. 

Yet again, hard at work. 

We took a break for the eagerly anticipated and must-do Chicago-style pizza. 

Hello, I am delicious. Conflicting reports tell of Chicago's true best pizza, and I intend to embark on such a quest. First, a gym membership.

You'd best believe I busted out my Texas cup.

Later that night we made our way to Cho Sun Ok, a Korean bbq restaurant. I had done some research on this place way before the move because I wanted to find the best local places and also find something nice for Mom. Our whole family loves Korean food of course, but most of the time we're not eating it and I thought it important to see what Chicago had to offer. This place is the oldest in the area and reportedly the best, so I wanted to give it a shot.

We were in for it though - like a lot of hole-in-the-walls, it was hit or miss with the waiting period and word of mouth spreads quickly. It was jam-packed to say the least, with people crammed like sardines in the waiting area and a quarter of the tiny, claustrophobic eating area, and a line extending out the front. They seated on a number basis with no sort of formal waiting list system, which in hindsight added to the charm - you have to know the good times to get a seat otherwise you'll end up like us, waiting outside in a cutting 30 degree wind.

  Can you see her? We made Mom wait in the truck.

I'm kicking myself AGAIN for not taking pictures of the inside, because you have to see it to believe it. After virtually climbing over other customers to get to our booth, Mom dispatched our orders for kalbi and chadolbaegi (variations on sliced beef, seasoned vs unseasoned that you cook yourself over a hot fire).

This is the type of place where it's so busy and popular that the waitresses were all sweating and sprinting, and you basically had to grab them to get service. The old man who presumably owns the place mills about, benignly smiling at customers with hands tucked behind back. They also have the security cameras on TVs so you can see if someone is jacking your car outside. Definitely a place with character.

Add that to the ton of side dishes that come with all proper Korean meals, it was delicious. Oh, and right at the end, they mix everything together for a hot version of bibimbap (Korean version of a burrito bowl I guess). Yum.

Not as good as Mom's cooking, though.

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