Monday, November 24, 2008

Off to Austin

By the time this post is up, I will be in Austin for Thanksgiving. I've been spending this past week (the week before Thanksgiving) with my brother, who is up from Texas for a quick visit, after which I will ride back to Austin with him to spend Thanksgiving there. We've been eating out most of the time so I haven't been doing any cooking to speak of. My brother mentioned that he didn't bring his camera so I gave him mine, and he has taken some pictures around the neighborhood. That's my corner up there, Broadway and Roscoe in Lakeview East. Wrigley Field is about a mile northwest of here, within easy walking distance.

He's been eating out during the day while I've been at work, mostly at the Melrose diner down the street. It's a staple of the neighborhood, and if the portions have gotten a little smaller over the years (they used to be humongous; now they're just huge), I chalk that up to these economic times. We started going there when my brother''s kids were young and the only things they would eat were bagels, bacon and chocolate milk on their visits. It beat the pants out of Denny's and Baker's Square, the only other kid-friendly options at the time, and there was plenty on the menu for us grownups to sample without getting tired of the same old dishes. Their breakfasts have always been good.

Our dinners have mostly been in the neighborhood, although we did go to Rodity's in Greek Town Thursday night, which was nice. It's not the most cutting edge restaurant there, but the food is well-prepared good quality homestyle fare. The avgolemono was smooth and creamy, with just the right amount of lemon. His combination plate looked good, and less touristy than the one he tried at Greek Islands on a previous visit. I ordered one of the specials - stuffed eggplant papoutsaki (little shoes) - and it was delicious. Half an eggplant, with the pulp mixed with beef in a bechemel sauce and stuffed back inside, is then covered with cheese and baked until golden brown. Not terribly exciting, but it was perfectly seasoned, and a comforting meal on a cold November evening. I could have done without the spaghetti that came with it, but I couldn't even finish the papoutsaki so it was easy to ignore. If I were to order it again, and I would, I'd ask if I could substitute vegetables or a potato.

We're not really touristy, my brother and I, and he's come up to Chicago almost every year since I moved here back in 1990, so we are not doing much sightseeing. I've been working days since he arrived - Saturday is my first day off and we are leaving early Sunday morning to drive down to Texas. I will post from there.

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