Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Binge Eating; Not Just For NYC Anymore

Inspired by Anthony Bourdain's Chicago episode of "No Reservations", I made a vow to eat some gourmet hot dogs at my old neighborhood joint Hot Doug's. I lived in Roscoe Village around the original incarnation of the encased meat eatery's location in 2003. My eyes popped out of my skull when I learned that on the weekends they actually fry their french fries in goose fat. Me and my live-in boyfriend at the time vowed to return with plump wallets and empty stomachs to properly ingest our weight in vein-clogging goodness.

And then, inexplicably, Hot Doug's had a fire in the kitchen ( which you can imagine smelled pretttttty delicious ) and they were forced to close down and move. Before they got back on their feet in the new location, I moved as well and started getting involved in things like marriage, divorce, temporary insanity, and an unannounced relocation to NYC, so I never did cash in on those hot dogs and fries.

Fast forward to July, 2009 after hearing about way too many people having the best hot dogs of their life at Hot Doug's, I had the opportunity to spend a week in Chicago performing at night and spending my days eating junk food. I didn't waste any time-- the moment I arrived I had a Vietnamese pork Bahn Mi for lunch and later that night me and the gang rolled into Mi Tierra on Belmont for nostalgia's sake as we sat by the man-made river, sucked down potent margaritas and each slammed a combo platter obscured by melted cheese. We ended the night drinking German Pilsners at Huttenbar before properly slipping into unresponsive states.

Well, good morning sunshine, we all rolled out of bed still stuffed from the day before and decided on having Hot Doug's as our first meal of the day. I wet myself from excitement I loved my specialty dog so much which was spicy pork sausage smothered in chipotle dijonnaise and pepper jack cheese. But I was left wondering what the big deal about Chicago style hot-dogs are and sullenly forced it down my gullet out of spite. We all got to the bottom of why Chicago dogs have a salad bar dumped on them:



I was able to walk around the city all day and convinced myself I "worked it all off". Uh, no. But not to be outdone I started drinking heavily during my show at Zanies and was properly loaded by the time I got to my spot at Chicago Underground. After an unsolicited shot of Jameson, I demanded my host for the week, Andrea, go get the car and immediately take me out for some El Quixote lest I fall down drunk in my "famished" state. El Quixote is my favorite 24-hour Mexican joint in Chicago. Hot Doug's had managed to sustain me from 11am Tuesday morning until about 1am early Wednesday morning, but barely. Without stopping to breathe I took down a basket or two of chips before the world's most perfect chorizo taco platter hit the table. I don't remember filming this:



The following days were a blur of more tacos, salty, fatty snacks from Zanies Comedy Club, lentil soup and falafel sandwiches from Taste of Lebanon, a grilled cheese with tomatoes and chili cheese fries at the Diner Grill (footage coming soon) and of course a sophisticated sit down meal at Erwin on my last night in town. We ate a lovely fried green tomato appetizer, beet salad with watercress, goat cheese-stuffed bacon-wrapped dates, and a delicious sauteed skate entree paired nicely with some white wine. I hit the wall that Saturday night/Sunday morning when I ate a frozen pizza for dinner and then after my 7am flight back to MI,ate a sausage Mcmuffin at the airport and then choked down offensive wedding reception fare later that afternoon. Not surprisingly, my colon stopped working for 2 days.

I'd like to think I've done some out of control eating in NYC--- not even with vacation as an excuse, but Chicago really came out on top this time in terms of purely indulgent behavior, so once again NYC---you lose! Or do I lose? Hmmmm. My jeans still fit for some reason or another, so yes, NYC--you lose!

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