Chicago Vacation

And on that note, I’ll be in Chicago for the next week on vacation.

Hot Doug’s

Some people never got over an old girlfriend. I never got over getting to eat at Hot Doug’s every week when I lived in Logan Square. “Bacon and Cheddar Elk Sausage with Goose Island Beer Mustard and Serendipity Cheese.” “Blue Cheese Pork Sausage with White Peach Puree, Rum-Infused Dried Fruit and Roasted Almonds.” $8.

I’ve tried moving on. People tell me there are other gourmet sausage stands I should try and meet. A friend set me up on a blind date with Rosamunde Sausage Grill in San Francisco’s Haight. I got there, and was willing to give it my best. I ordered a “Duck and Fig” sausage and went to order fries. I didn’t expect there to be fries cooked in duck-fat, like Doug used to make for me, so I didn’t want to be judgemental.

They told me that they didn’t have fries, but I could get a bag of potato chips. I had to leave, realizing there would be no moving on.

Best Prank Ever – Steve Albini

So I’ll get Hot Dougs this week. Also I’ll get to see a friend who is one of the people responsible for this prank. I can’t embed non-youtube video on this free account, which is a shame, so all I can do is highly encourage you to watch that link. It’s a 3 minute description, by Steve Albini, Chicago musician, icon and the producer who brought you the Jesus Lizard, “Surfa Rosa”, the last Nirvana album, etc., describing the best prank ever pulled on him.

It’s better when he tells it in that video, but if you hate clicking through: Shortly after Jerry Garcia died, there was a giant hippie gathering in Grant Park. My friend and his friends put up signs around Grant Park saying “call this number and leave a message saying how much Jerry Garcia meant to you and we’ll make sure it gets to Jerry’s family.” The number they put on it was Steve Albini’s. If you aren’t aware, Steve Albini’s musical style does not go well with the Grateful Dead. The flyers got photocopied and passed around deadhead communities – so he received phone calls for months of hippies crying about Jerry Garcia. Best prank ever.

Added bonus: It’s not mentioned in that video but there was a second number on that flyer – The Baffler’s office. I can’t describe to you how happy it makes me to think of Thomas Frank, who is fleshing out “The Conquest of Cool” in the mid 1990s, showing up to the office and having 50 messages from deadheads crying about Jerry Garcia on the answering machine. Wonderful.

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5 Responses to Chicago Vacation

  1. uff the fluff says:

    Go to the Toronado and then please give Rosamunde another try, it’s quite good.

  2. Mike says:

    Toronado is fantastic – I especially like it if I can get there for a weekday happy hour. When it gets crowded it’s a little too much for me. (I’m getting old.)

    I’ll give Rosamunde another try, but have you had Hot Doug’s? There isn’t really any coming back from that.

  3. q says:

    congratulations on the prank — that is brilliant. i was a huge big black fan back in the day (early 80s) — i wore out their tapes in my walkman — and my ears have never been the same

  4. carl says:

    Steel yourself – the lines at Hot Doug’s have gotten worse somehow.

    I blame Tony Bourdain.

  5. anne says:

    If you want verbal abuse along with your dog, try Wiener Circle up on Clark… (I THINK it is still there – haven’t been there in a while.)

    Make sure you’ve got lots of quarters for the new “free-market” parking they’ve got going in Chi-town. (There may be some meters that now take credit cards, but there also may be many machines that don’t really work at all… still get a ticket, though!)

    You might want to use your economic savvy to explore this idea of cities selling off assets in ways that cost more for consumers and don’t bring nearly as much as they could to the city.

    (I’m a long-time Chicago resident now living in the ‘burbs of that great city.)

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