This past week for the first time in quite a while, I have been dealing with some serious cravings for Chicago style food-keep your jokes to yourself. No reason for the cravings other than I guess I am a tad homesick. Now after 8 years in Maine, I have grown to appreciate the culinary treats that can be had here, after all how can you not like having access to fresh, cheap seafood? Obviously if you are vegetarian, vegan or one of those folks who just can’t get into seafood then no, access to fresh cheap seafood probably means nothing to you.
On the other hand if you are like many Americans you view things like lobster has being one of those hoity toity foods, something only to be had on special occasions. After all in most parts of this country lobster is downright expensive. I think back to life in Chicago when any meal that included lobster meant good times. I mean shit in Chicago a cheap lobster tail at a place like Red Lobster could easily set you back at least $25, or as I recall one time the Spousal Unit and I went to a well-known place , Catch 35. Where to celebrate my graduating from college I dined on Australian lobster tail that was $75..it was good. No, we didn’t go there again but it was nice at the time.
Well in Maine, for starters there ain’t no Red Lobster and at the right place 2 folks can eat a whole damn lobster dinner for $30. Last year when prices had dropped on lobsters there were places selling twin lobster dinners for $15. Yeah seafood is cheap here, so cheap that after 8 years here I rarely eat lobster anymore and the only seafood I still get a little excited to eat is fried clams. I must admit a good fried clam is amazing.
No, what I find myself dreaming about is gyros sandwiches, italian beefs, italian sausages, pizza puffs, char grilled cheeseburgers from stands that put your burger in a plastic basket. If you are from Chicago or have spent any amount of time in Chicago you know about the ubiquitous hot dog stands. No, they aren’t a chain but they exist in all areas, upscale or not, black or white. Places where you might be able to order a Chicago style hot dog along with Greek Chicken. Or depending on the stand and the ethnic makeup of the owners are area, some southern style catfish with some spaghetti and a slice of white bread..or another favorite of mine, rib tips with fries and white bread.
Damn, just writing this has my stomach growling with desire. Which reminds me that the other night I decided to visit the place in the next town over that is owned by a former Chicagoan who has attempted to bring a downsized version of the Chicago hot dog stand experience to Maine. Can I just say, dude the fries were nice but man, $9.83 for a cheeseburger (not char grilled), fries and a pop (look, I am from Chicago, where its a pop not a soda) is just highway fucking robbery. In Chicago that same meal would have cost me $5 tops maybe$6 and that would have been a big ass burger. But hey he does get Vienna Beef dogs up here so for that I am thankful.
As for me, watch out Chicago I’m going to be home soon and when I get there, I will be eating!
Have a happy Friday and a good Easter if you celebrate.