Here are four photos of downtown Chicago I’ve taken from my crib over the last two weeks. The weather has been variable, and I’ve taken them in storm, sun, sunrise, and sunset.
After-storm fog; Lake Michigan is still cold from winter, causing fog when the air is warm.
Sunrise this morning:
And, at the end, there’s lagniappe: a bowl of mapo dofu (“Pock-marked Ma’s Bean Curd”) from the Lao Sze Chuan restaurant, one of my favorites in Chicago. This was only one dish in a meal with friends, but I was so famished that I forgot to photograph the other plates before nomming. I asked for ground pork to be added, as is traditional in Chengdu, Szechuan, where I had this dish at the very restaurant where it was invented.
This is a classic Szechuan dish, very hot with peppers, but is best served only slightly warm in temperature, just a tad above ambient (I like the leftovers). It’s made with tofu, scallions, a variety of spices, red chiles, and, most important, the fragrant Szechuan peppercorns, hua jiao. Somehow the ones the restaurant gets are better than the ones I can buy at the Chinese grocery.