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It was a few weeks ago that I was leisurely paging through the latest edition of Rachael Ray Magazine looking for some new recipes. Tucked near the back of the magazine was an article on the best hot dog in America. The results were determined via a March Madness style bracket with restaurants from all over the country up for the running. A few were in Chicago. And, much to my surprise, when I turned the page, a Chicago restaurant won.

It was then that I realized I wasn’t a true Chicagoan, despite what I may present to others. I had never had a Chicago style hot dog. I knew nothing about the deliciousness of sport peppers, the necessity of celery salt, or the fresh puffiness of a poppy-seed bun. I was a sham. A disgrace to Chicago. And thus, I decided to embark on a journey to find my own best Chicago style dog.

The reasons I have never had a Chicago style dog are many. First, I did not start eating tomatoes until about a year ago. I was previously not a big fan, preferring gasp ketchup for any sort of tomato flavor. Second, what the fuck is relish and why is it so green? Third, and probably more importantly, I have had a severe aversion to hot dogs probably since I reached double digits in age. As a kid, I ate  my fair share of hot dogs doused in ketchup accompanied by cheese fries. But at a certain point, okay probably later than 10, I was disgusted by hot dogs. So I vowed never to eat them. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not encased meats I’m against. As a good German gal, I eat beyond my fair share of bratwurst. But perhaps I became an encased meats elitist, deciding that hot dogs are a pedestrian excuse for handheld deliciousness.

The spot Rachael Ray deemed the best was Gene & Jude’s. Apparently they put fries on the dog. That didn’t seem very Chicago to me, nor very appetizing to me. The other Chicago spot that came near to victory was Superdawg. I immediately pictured this spot in my head, drawing back to childhood memories of seeing boy and girl dressed hotdogs atop a little drive-in joint. Boy and girl dressed hotdogs in love. With Valentine’s Day approaching, this seemed the perfect spot to go.

And as it turned out I was beyond lucky to have decided on this spot as it is still a working drive-in. Meaning, I could drive up, park, order through an antiquated machine and then a lady will come out with my order and place the tray on my window. Awesome, to say the least. All that was missing was a crew of bad boys with cigarettes rolled up the sleeve of their Hanes white tees. As a lover of antiques and the olden days, this was definitely the spot for me.

But enough about the setting, what about the dog? I ordered the Superdawg which is a classic Chicago style dog (all beef dog, yellow mustard, bright green relish, celery salt, onions, pickle spear, sport peppers, tomato wedge) tucked into a retro looking box with some of the most delicious crinkle cut fries I have ever eaten. The first bite? I was beyond nervous. What do hot dogs even taste like? Meat? Beef? Steak? I had no recollection but was pleasantly surprised when I tasted a bit of beef accented with peppery, mustardy undertones. And the bun! So fresh it could barely hold the dog and its dressings. The first bite quickly turned into the next couple until I, sadly, realized I was done. Ketchup who? Bratwurst what?

I wanted to push the button and order another. I wanted the waitress to skate out on her nonexistent skates and say “Congratulations!” or “You are soooooo Chicago!” Instead, I flipped the switch on the ordering machine for the waitress to retrieve my tray. As I watched her trudge through Chicago snow covered in a windbreaker and boots, (not a poodle skirt or neck scarf) I thought about baseball. I thought about warm summer days at Wrigley with my dad. I was no longer concerned with being a real Chicagoan.

The waitress, now at my window, asked me how everything was. A standard question. To which I replied, “everything is great.” A not so standard present tense reply. I rolled up my window and drove off into the evening, extremely satisfied with my first Chicago hot dog.  

Things I Live For: See above

Quote of the Day: “And they’ll watch the game and it’ll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they’ll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh… people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.” –Mr. Terence Mann, Field of Dreams

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12.22.2010

Awesome Gift Ideas


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It may be too late but I’m throwing these out there just in case you need to do some last minute shopping. And, if you can’t make the X-Mas deadline . . . my birthday is in January! 🙂

For your writer friend/Facebook obsessed friend: This stamp combines two awesome things: Facebook and real live paper!

For your friend who is obsessed with bacon but already has the bacon dental floss, bacon candle, bacon gum, bacon mints, clogged arteries, etc etc, a plush bacon guy.

For your friend with a sense of humor, cold feet, or a penchant to misspeak, Freudian Slippers:

For your Francophile friend (me) who likes breakfast (not me so keep looking), a French Toast stamp:

For your Francophoile friend (me) who has fond memories of drinking vin chaud in Paris a month ago (me me me!), the German version of mulled wine:

For your bad-ass friend who’s not so bad-ass that he doesn’t rely on his daily coffee, a fisticuffs mug:

For the cyclist in your life who, I guarantee you, needs to study up on the rules of the road:

Happy shopping and happy holidays!

Things I Live For: Gift guides

Quote of the Day: “People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.” –Rogers Hornsby

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Driving into work the other day, I spotted a Jeep with the ubiquitous sticker declaring “It’s a Jeep Thing…You Wouldn’t Understand.” I haven’t seen one of these in awhile so it brought me back to questions I have previously pondered.

First and foremost, what is it that I do not understand? Is it that you are a douchebag? Because I get that. Loud and clear.

Perusing the information super-highway, I discovered a site to purchase said sticker. I figured this site would at least give me some information on what it is I need to understand. Except the description reads: “Yup, It’s a Jeep Thing, and most people don’t understand. But YOU do, so celebrate that knowledge.” Okay, not so helpful.

Maybe it’s just a really tricky PR stunt–buy a Jeep and you will suddenly be filled with knowledge on how to totally suck at life. (I hope that PR genius was fired. Actually, they probably have a new job–their the brain trusts behind the new Cubs slogan “It’s a “W”ay of Life.” Again, if sucking at life is a way of life then I’m all in…)

And why must these stickers cover the expanse of the dashboard? They’re never simple little bumper stickers–they are windshield stickers. As if your douchiness doesn’t blind you enough, you need to add a large decal to the mix?

Clearly, for some reason unbeknowest to me, Jeep drivers think they are the shit. To you and me, that means compensating for all the other areas in life which they fail.

If I ever obtain my dream of owning a wood-paneled station wagon, you bet your ass I’ll find myself a sticker declaring “It’s a wood-paneled station wagon from the 80’s thing…You Wouldn’t Understand.”

Things I Live For: Shish-kebobs

Quote of the Day: “If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.” –Mark Twain

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1) Our team name is Domination Station

2) We had t-shirts made (see picture. I am a hell of an artist when it comes to arranging clip-art…)

3) We’ve bowled with the best of them and held our own, read: Dragan and the 2nd place team (who we SWEPT, what what!)

4) $2 beers

5) Gary, the guy who runs the show on Monday’s and told me I couldn’t pick up a 7-10 split… LIES LIES LIES!

6) My teammates, obvi

7) The addition of gambling via a card game (kinda like the passing the cup game you play out at Wrigley)

8 ) A plethora of bright pink, 8lb. bowling balls to choose from

9) Complete and utter domination

10) Awesome tunes that encourage said domination

And one reason it is not awesome…

1) We start at 11PM… for this old lady, that is LATE.

Things I Live For: See above; a work commute that is less than an hour

Quote of the Day: “Be yourself. Above all, let who you are, what you are, what you believe, shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish.” –John Jakes

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04.19.2010

An Ode to Grape G2


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I stayed out too late last night, this morning I’m an awful sight.

I can’t get out of bed, there’s suffering in my head.

I know what I need—to Walgreen’s I must proceed

for the delicious nectar that serves as my protector.

It cures my ailments from the previous nights derailments

and brings me back to life with the grace of a surgical knife.

It is purple, delicious, low calorie—affordable on any salary.

I will always long for Grape G2 when I’ve had one too many brew.

Fruit punch will make me lose my lunch

I hate lemon-lime and orange doesn’t rhyme.

Grape is the only solution — There will be no substitution.

Pet Peeve of the Day: Nutmeg

Quote of the Day: “You can’t sit on a lead and run a few plays into the line and just kill the clock.  You’ve got to throw the ball over the damn plate and give the other man his chance.  That’s why baseball is the greatest game of them all.” –Earl Weaver

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