Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Chow Time in Chicago

The first evening we were in Chicago we marched our way down the street to Rainforest Cafe'. It was familiar and since the one closed at Tyson's Corner the kids have missed it, as much as it can be missed when mentioned maybe twice a year. The restaurant was nearly empty though we had a long wait to be seated, and the A/C didn't work. I understand humidity in a place with waterfalls and pools, but the air was sticky and warm and not at all comfortable. It was late, we were tired, the portions too big, and it just wasn't the best choice.

Monday night, Rebecca's last night with us, we were also wiped out. That was the day we'd spent in New Berlin, WI. We chose The Melting Pot. I know they exist around the nation, but we've never been and after our Hot Pot experience in Beijing the kids like cooking their own food.

If only that translated to home.

7/11/11: Dinner at Melting Pot, Chicago

We did the full meal... a cheese course, a meat and veggies in oil course, and a chocolate course. Though our server never showed (the hostess ended up being our server after 25 minutes of waiting) and the food took forever (how is that when it's all raw?) it was a great meal. I'm not sure what I expected, perhaps something as overwhelming as that Amazing Race episode, but there was variety in foods and sauces and dips, and the s'mores and dark chocolate dessert fondues were so satisfying.

7/11/11: Dessert at Melting Pot, Chicago

It wasn't a "Chicago experience" but it was fun for us all the same.

Rebecca did miss out on our "Chicago experience" on Wednesday night. Gino's East on Wells St. with it's crazy expensive tiny pies where one deep dish "slice" is a meal in itself. The slices ooze all over the plate so they are very much a fork and knife establishment.

7/13/11: Gino's East on Wells.

It's also a place where you're encouraged to write on the walls.

7/13/11: Gino's East on Wells.

All the kids added a little something of their own.

We met an interesting character at Gino's, the host, Rob. Rob is Irish. He's very Irish. He's so Irish that as a host he has little to say but "Party of 5?" and Gino's likes it that way because they've told him not to talk much because no one can understand him.

We know this because when he said "Party of 5?" we looked at each other and said "Irish?"

And because he was so adorable with his blonde hair and Irish accent and smiling eyes, we dogged Katherine into taking a photo with him. She told him some story about doing some project for school (and then remembered it's summer break, d'oh).

Katherine and Irish Rob at Gino's East

That won't do.

After a minute Katherine decided she felt bad about lying to him. As he passed the table towards the kitchen, she called him over and admitted her deceit and said she just thought he was cute. Seriously, at the table with all of us sitting about. He seemed tickled and so we asked him about Ireland. His initial shock was that we knew he was Irish.

Us: You're from Ireland?

Him: *shocked* How did you know?

Us: Uh, you spoke.

Him: I'm told not to talk because no one can understand me.

Us: Seriously? We understand you just fine.

Him: *disbelief* Have you been to Ireland?

Us: Not yet. Aside from Dublin, where would you recommend.

Him: Not Dublin.

Us: Oh... OK.

Him: *pulls over a placemat and starts drawing a map of Ireland* ... with that part up there... England...

And he tells us to make our way west to Galway ("That's where I'm from, Galway City") then south to Limerick and Cork.

Him: Great pubs all along the way. Best to be 18 though to enjoy them.

Us: *looking at Katherine* Guess we'll have to wait to get to Ireland until you're 18 then.

Her: *appalled*

He had duties to get to but stopped by a couple times to see how things were going.

Katherine: How could you say that!?

Us: *with a touch of parental evil* Well, you're not 18 yet, are you?

She is regularly mistaken for 18 or even older. She likes it that way. Silly girl, try to enjoy being 15, OK?

As we left Gino's Katherine asked Irish Rob how to say good-bye in Gaelic. He tried to teach us Sla'n (the accent goes over the a) pronounced "schlawn" but I fear we mangled it anyhow.

If nothing else, we mixed up his evening a bit and he provided a buzz to our table as well. So, here's to you, Rob, thanks for an interesting evening!

7/13/11: Gino's East on Wells.

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