Wednesday, March 25, 2009

For the Love of a City, Part III

I must admit that this is a bit odd. I don't believe that I have ever written a Part III of anything before. Nevertheless, here it is. I can't really say that it has been a glorious day, but it definitely fits into the "perfectly acceptable" category. It is somewhere in the general vicinity of 47 degrees under cloudy skies at the Mini currently. It was 50 degrees when I arrived in Streeterville from the Outpost, but it's a little later, and a little cooler just now. The view from the 14th floor is tending toward duskish. The lights at Navy Pier have come on. The big Ferris Wheel is blinking its white lights at me and rotating, as it is wont to do.

Yesterday I went on and on about how real cities aren't built around expressways and automobiles, but have sidewalks that are used and public transportation that is, likewise, used. Cabs are available and can be gotten by walking to the curb and putting your hand in the air. Today I'd like to discuss the culinary possibilities of a real city. Now of course there are 4 star restaurants, and every variety of cuisine, from traditional pub food to Ethiopian. There is food that can be had at any hour of the day or night. This is distinctly unlike some countries to remain nameless, where they drive on the left side of the road and speak really funny English. In places like that, it is sometimes the case that they'll tell you that the food is not available just now and if you come back later at an hour when people normally eat, then it will be. Distinctly un-American. What I'm talking about, though, is food that can be obtained from the comfort of your own home, delivery food.

Now in just about any city in this nation, and a great many non-cities, you can get pizza delivered. In a lot of these locations you can get Chinese food delivered to your home as well. In a real city, however, you can get any friggin thing you want delivered, and at just about any hour of the day or night. 9 o'clock in the morning pizza can be a bit dicey, but if you wait until 11 it's doable. Now I have my habits and pizza and Chinese are two of them. Got to have delivery for dinner at least once a week. Sometimes you just don't want pizza or Chinese, though. Sometimes you want Thai food. Cool, scads of Thai delivery locales in a real city. Sometimes you feel like a burger and you don't want Mickey D's or Burger King. You want one of those big fat pub burgers that are about a kazillion calories and always come with fries or onion rings, or sometimes both. Real cities have places that deliver those too. Got a yen for Italian. Somebody delivers. Feel like fried chicken. Somebody delivers.

Now mind you, even in a real city, there are some restaurants that just don't deliver. Not a problem, however. Real cities have delivery services that will go and pick up your order at a restaurant and deliver it to you for a small fee. It does not matter what your heart desires, culinary-wise. It can be delivered to your home. Quite often you don't even have to talk to anybody on the phone. You can order it online and pay for it with a credit card, and the only interaction with real people is when the delivery guy, or girl, shows up with dinner. Sometimes this interaction takes on an international flair, as a great many delivery people are very recent immigrants to this country. Hey, they have a job, so you anti-immigrant people get over it. These guys are working hard out there. Anyway, got a big flat screen TV? Ensconce yourself in front of that puppy and watch to your heart's content. Pig out on some delivery barbecue. Watch endless sports or movies on one (or several) of those 500 digital channels you have. I realize there is a world of entertainment outside of your home in a real city, but sometimes you just need to stay at home and have the world brought to you, sushi, tapas, and all.

That being said, I encourage everyone to get outside of their homes and experience real restaurants as well. In a real city, there are amazing choices. Babs and I went to one last year where we had to get a reservation 6 months in advance. The bill for two, with wine and gratuity, ran in excess of $200. There were no choices on the menu, except to choose between the 3 course and 5 course meal. The chef, on a given day, creates one culinary work of art, and one alone. You eat what is served on that day. It was extraordinary. This life, too, is available when you tire of ordering in and staying at home with the TV.

In Part IV of this little extravaganza, I anticipate discussing the possibilities of stuff to do outside the home. In a real city, the possibilities are endless. Tune in again in a couple of days. I must take a day off tomorrow. Work stuff has come up and must be dealt with. Meanwhile, I believe that is my Thai food order at the door.

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