So you would think that my being without any kind of ATM card would have slowed me down over the weekend but au contraire. I had a dinner date at Mambo Grill with Lisa and EpiChem/Dave where we continued our tour of restaurants we've been meaning to try (more on that later-1/2 price mojitos).
Not feelin so hot today...glad I got some writing done over the weekend...Evenings past at The Map Room (#47 below) with Mols & Co.
Over dinner, the recently released 125 Places to Have a Beer Before You Die came up and became the point of this post. Chicago has FIVE spots on this list. I'm very impressed with us:
24) The Hopleaf- Andersonville's perennial favorite and my usual halfway point for meeting my Evanston loves.
43) The Clark Street Ale House- My most recent as I was escorted here after Mambo that very night for the first time. I had a Lagunitas Brown Shugga and patted the bar's Golden Retriever. I'll obviously be going back. Plus being down there is a good reminder that I do live in a massive city. Chicago's an easy place to think you live in a bunch of connected neighborhoods and that the skyscrapers are just scenery. It's kind've unreal when you're standing in the middle of it looking up.
47) The Map Room- Que Queens of the Stone Age and a drumroll....TKTC's favorite bar. I've talked about it before (just there with EpiChem & Lisa a few weeks ago). This bar had me at hello. Jaimeson picked me up back when I lived in Lincoln Park on our first technical date back in the day (Dec. 06... slow boat) and as we continued west he just kept smiling, knowing I was going to love it. I probably would have been enamored upon arriving at a shoebox on Lower Wacker considering the company. Luckily I found a longterm love affair instead (see opening photo sequence).
The place is billed as a "Traveler's Tavern" and the walls are covered in maps and shelves containg back issues of National Geographic. There are pool tables and hundreds of beers and it's off the beaten path in Bucktown. An older man came in selling homemade tamales around 1am and that pretty much sealed the deal for me. That and the Three Floyds Rabid Rabbit, Fat Tire, Lindemann's Framoise et. all.
Give me anything with a little history, some educated grit, an epicure's taste and a bit rough around the edges...never stood a chance.
84) Goose Island Brewing Co.- I'm a little ashamed that this is the one spot I've not visited. Local brewers and I've tasted and enjoyed their wares on more than one occasion. Call me what you will but Wrigleyville is too much for me most of the time. This is the push I needed though. I'm gonna snag a ticket and go get a beer. Who's in for the Cubbies?
115) John Barleycorn- I was a little surprised by this one until I thought it through. I've had a beer at both locations and, per the above statement, much prefer the Lincoln Park scene. Never on a Saturday night but Saturday afternoon on a sunny summer day in the beer garden? I totally get it.
There were some other spots on the list that I think I could be trying soon:
21) The Publick House, Brooklin, MA
34) Spuyten Duyvil, Brooklyn, NY
102. McSorley’s Ale House, New York, NY
107. Sunset Grille & Tap, Boston, MA
Other checkmarks on the list:
39) The Flying Saucer, Memphis, Nashville and San Antonio (good in all three places)
44) Tailgating at an SEC football game (Go Vols? War Eagle?)
Hopefully SOMEDAY (in my own order):
83) Stockholm Beer & Whiskey Festival, Stockholm, Sweden
20) Beer Club Popeye, Tokyo, Japan
85) Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
69) Bariloche Ski Resort, Rio Negro, Argentina
61) Kr?ma, Ceske Krumlov, Czech Republic
Oh and in other drinking news, the day before I got mugged, I took Alex and Tina to Lalo's for a little Cinco de Mayo celebrating with Cam & Tay. I don't know if anyone was too terribly impressed by the food but the margaritas were a different ballgame entirely.
After an afternoon sipping Coronas, I was not reading too closely and thought I was going with the pitcher of margaritas that was one step below the premium (thrift inserts itself at strange times). So I ordered for the group. And they came out blue. I will likely never live this down but don't worry, we all finished them. Not without some pretty animated facial expressions though. Blue. Yikes. Sorry guys.
A better time at Mambo Grill. I'm reminded that it's pretty awesome to have other food friends downtown particularly because when it was their turn to pick (I picked Le Bouchon pre-England), they went with 1/2 Price PITCHERS of mojitos on Fridays. Should've gotten a shot of those but alas, you'll have to be contented with the chiles rellano, roast pork and chipotle shrimp below. The guacamole was pretty great as well and TKTC knows guac.