Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Chicago is one of the few major US cities in which I had not set foot, and now I can cross it off the list. So far, my impression has been largely positive; I like the landscape, the people seem interesting, and the Chicago Diner serves vegan American food that is better than any I've ever paid that little for. For you New Yorkers, it's nearly Counter-quality food for Foodswings prices, I kid you not. And to top if off, all of their cheese stuff is made with Temptation cheese (which stands to reason given that Temptation is made here in Chicago), and if you've never had it, trust me when I saw that it is a bona fide vegan miracle that this stuff exists. It melts. It tastes like cheese. It will knock your socks off and you'll never want Follow Your Heart nor Toffutti as long as you live. The disadvantage is that Temptation only sells it to restaurants so you can't buy it for your home cooking. If you live in New York, Vinnie's Pizza will sell it to you (and if you don't already know Vinnie's you are no friend of mine).

We woke up in Portage, IN this morning, in the grass behind the local newspaper building. As we were leaving, a woman noticed us and, after finding out that we had slept the night there and were on a bike trip from New York, asked if we had had a story written about us yet. We replied that we hadn't, so she went inside, grabbed a reporter, and we're told that we will be up on www.nwi.com in the next day or so.

After being interviewed, we rode 50-something miles straight to the Chicago Diner - up through the entire south side and into Boystown - ate until we thought we were going to explode, and then sat in the diner booth staring into space while we developed diabetes from the two desserts each that we had just eaten. The shock of being back in a real, vegan friendly city is a little much for me, I must admit. After we recovered from our respective food comas, we took a walk around the neighborhood to get a feel for the town, which included stopping at American Apparel to pick up a couple of shirts (neither of mine have been washed since Cleveland) and wandering around for a bit in search of this very internet cafe. It's pretty cheap, so if I don't end up finding a place to stay with someone that has a computer I'll probably be back here for the next few days filling in the large gap starting in Milford Pennsylvania on the 4th and ending in north western Indiana yesterday.

Speaking of finding a place to stay... it turns out that no one knows anyone in this city. We have found 3 different friends of friends who are willing to let us stay with them, but in all 3 cases it will be inconvenient for the host, and I hate being a burden, so if anyone reading this knows anyone in Chicago that would be happier about having guests, please pass that contact information along to me via text message or phone call. 301.602.1706.

1 comment:

Lucas said...

It's known as Boystown because it's the gay neighborhood. A few years ago, there was a bear bar down the street from Chicago Diner called The Manhole. They used to put up cheeky things on their marquee, the best being: "Forecast: 8 Inches" Now, it's some lame gentrified gay yuppie bar.