Monday, April 9, 2012

58, at the zoo, with big eats

Vienna ChicagoT’was a nice birthday.

I had traveled to Chicago to start clinical trials of our new device prototype (which worked fabulously, happily) and managed to hit a (rare) sunny weekend as well.  Easter holidays kept the roads clear and prices low, giving a good choice of places to stay, eat, and relax.

And, since it was my birthday as well, we could indulge.

One of the things I miss whilst in Europe is heart-of-America roadside food.  Pizza (Bill’s Pizza and Pub), Vienna Beef Sausages (Poor Boy on Maywood), Rack ‘o Ribs (Famous Dave’s): this sort of thing just doesn’t happen across the pond.  I stayed with smaller portions and took a doggie bag from each place, but it’s more food than I’m used to eating and I expect a week-long fast in penance upon returning to the Netherlands.

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At this rate, I won’t make 59 (the “rich and sassy’ part appeals, though…)

On my birthday (Easter Sunday), we drove past two homes where I grew up, remarkably unchanged over the years.  Each had a small addition; all of the houses still looked much smaller than I remember (and it’s not just that I was much smaller back then – these are teen-age years).

 

Brookfield Zoo is the major animal park in Chicago, one of the first to put animals in natural settings instead of cages, organizing by themes instead of species.  It’s got a wonderful collection of bears and bison; amazing to watch the seals and walrus’s swim behind the glass (who knew that their tails did that?).

The giraffes, aardvarks, apes, and wolves were especially good.

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It’s a smile to see the relentless branding of each exhibit, each animal with someone’s name as sponsor (I remember one particularly horrible nocturnal rodent in Milwaukee with a plaque saying This exhibit is in memory of *** from his friends). 

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The elephant house is being refurbished, so the megafauna are scarce, and many animals seem a bit stressed to be seeing people again (the polar bear was pacing ten left, ten right, looking especially troubled).

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But the flowers and birds were out, the fountains playing, a nice breeze blowing the children’s laughter across the greens.  Just a nice afternoon to stroll and enjoy life’s time together,

3 comments:

Jules: said...

I must agree with you about the pizza. I'm still struggling to figure out the chewy crust bit, although I've managed to get the crust thin enough that it's no longer bread-y.

David Hampton said...

I enjoy a deep-dish if I'm really hungry and it's done properly, but this place in Mundelein had the thin-crust down right. If you get the recipe figured out, let me know?

David Hampton said...

I enjoy a deep-dish if I'm really hungry and it's done properly, but this place in Mundelein had the thin-crust down right. If you get the recipe figured out, let me know?