Where I’ll eat this weekend

I’ve just gotten over a tenacious and pernicious gastrointestinal bug, which has been pretty debilitating for over six weeks. They never found out what it was (note: a culture at the U of C hospitals costs $1000!), but told me that it would eventually vanish, which it did. (It wasn’t cyclosporiasis, which produced an epidemic in the Midwest in the last two months.)

The unfortunate byproduct of this malady was that I had to eat bland food for a long time.  And the mere thought of vegetables and alcohol put me off.  The vegetables I could live without, but not beer and wine!  Now that my alimentary canal is in fine shape, I had my first drink in weeks yesterday, and this weekend I’m celebrating by going here for rib tips and links:

They’re the best in Chicago, and everyone I’ve ever taken there (it’s takeout only) has begged to go back on return visits.

I guess I should start eating vegetables again. . .


  1. Woof
    Posted August 16, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Wait… BBQ is a vegetable, ain’t it?

  2. Diana MacPherson
    Posted August 16, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Mmmmm it’s always good to eat indulgent food after being sick a long time. I hate it when you crave stuff when you’re sick. For me, it’s butter tarts…..tasty torturous butter tarts!

    I had the same tummy troubles for about 6 weeks and it still isn’t perfect. When things sort of improved and I could actually eat something, I snarfed down the high sugar items (because if your appetite takes a dive and you won’t be eating a lot, might as well enjoy the sugar). My dad had the same malady.

    I don’t have to pay for any tests but my doctor is sort of a jerk so I only decided to go see him in July only after I could barely stand up straight and couldn’t eat at all. His answer was, “meh, wait a month and come see me in August if it still is bad”.

    Now I have a bunch of migraines because that’s the treat my system gives me when it gets stressed. The upside is weight loss (don’t judge, I’m a girl from the 70s).

    I look forward to overloading my system with something really yummy once it’s fixed. It probably doesn’t help that I keep feeding it bad stuff in the meantime.

    • JBlilie
      Posted August 16, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      Ouch, get well soon!

    • Dave
      Posted August 16, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      Diana, I’ll wager most Americans will have to go and look up butter tarts. But, thanks for instilling a craving in me – normally I can wait for Xmas but … damn!

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted August 16, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

        Oh crap, I didn’t know this was a Canadian thing. Jeez I’m such a hic. Here is some pastry porn. Mmmmmm butter tarts!

        • Dave
          Posted August 16, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

          STOP IT!!!!

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted August 16, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Permalink


        • Dave
          Posted August 16, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

          BTW, note where the picture of the recipe is from. Looks like the one I have (my Canadian grandmother’s).

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted August 16, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

            You really looked through all those pictures to see the recipe! BTW, guess what I’m eating now.

        • Brygida Berse
          Posted August 16, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

          I didn’t know this was a Canadian thing.

          The first picture that shows up at your Google link says it all.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted August 16, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

            Yeah and yet I didn’t know until today. I actually told a bunch of people after and they were surprised too!

        • merilee
          Posted August 16, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

          When you said you didn’t have to pay for the tests I thought of OHIP and figured you were Canadian. Jerry would have had to pay $1000??? Nuts! Are you in Ontario? I’m a California girl but have lived in and near Toronto for 30+ years and am very very thankful for OHIP! (single-payer medicine).

          Thanks for the pastry porn. Not mad for butter tarts unless they have a ton of pecans, but do love the local Portuguese custard tarts, some of which I scarfed at the St. Lawrence Market today.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted August 16, 2013 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

            Yes, I seem to stand out as a Canadian here usually accidentally like this 🙂 Yes, I’m in Ontario as well. If you are interested in Canada’s healthcare history you can read up on the timelines here.

            Having grown up with it, I, like many Canadians, tend to take it for granted & think of it as having always been there but it actually hasn’t been around all that long & it started at the provincial level. Doctors even threatened to quit if universal healthcare was put forward. My dad actually tells a story of how his cousin died of a fixable heart defect at the age of 9 or so. They lived in the maritimes & the family was saving up money to have an operation in Toronto but he died before they could get the funds together. Tragic!

            Thank goodness for Tommy Douglas for pushing for it (fun fact, Tommy Douglas, our father of universal health care in Canada is Kiefer Sutherland’s grandfather).

            • Merilee
              Posted August 16, 2013 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

              Yes, I did know that bout Tommy n Kiefer n Donald:-)

          • Dave
            Posted August 16, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

            “… unless they have a ton of pecans” Pecans?!!! Oh, no no no. You do realize that blasphemy laws are justified in some cases, yes? Well, THIS is one of those cases!

  3. JBlilie
    Posted August 16, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Oh, baby, I’m all over that!

  4. Posted August 16, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like another reason to try to find an excuse to make it to Chicago….

    Pro tip: if you regularly (particularly daily) stuff yourself silly with fresh raw veggies (especially kale and celery and cabbage and the like), other dietary indulgences aren’t going to be much of an health hazard. For one, the veggies themselves will do wonders at keeping the bad stuff from interfering with your metabolism; for another, though you’ll still appreciate the bad stuff, you won’t have the same kinds of cravings for it and will be just as happy with smaller portions.

    And, by “stuff yourself silly,” I mean exactly that: grab a bowl the size of your head, fill it with fresh veggies, and eat the whole thing. If you’re still hungry, fill it again.



    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted August 16, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      Amateur tip: just eat butter tarts. 😀

      • Posted August 16, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

        Well, if you like…but eat a big bowl of salad before you start in the butter tarts, and you get the best of both worlds….


      • David Duncan
        Posted August 17, 2013 at 2:42 am | Permalink

        “Amateur tip: just eat Berliners.”

        There. Fixed that for you. 🙂

    • Alexander Hellemans
      Posted August 16, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Many years ago I interviewed Linus Pauling, and this is exactly what he told me: humans are not really carnivores, and we should be eating masses of greens and fruits every day.

      • Posted August 16, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        Hmmm…I certainly wouldn’t go that far.

        All you have to do is have a look at our teeth to know that we’re omnivores. Or observe our closest relatives or the archaeological findings of our species since we diverged from them.

        Eating lots of fresh veggies is a great and easy way, especially in the modern world, to satisfy food cravings without overindulging on foodstuffs — especially fructose and other highly refined carbohydrates — that are modern additions to our diet that have more to do with pleasure than nutrition. Fruits — whole, raw, unsweetened — are a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth, but you’d be best off eating as much fruit as you would candy (and not eating candy).

        It’s very hard to eat a vegetarian diet and to get enough protein and fat without also consuming excessive amounts of carbohydrates — especially if you’re living a typical modern sedentary lifestyle.

        But eat lots of fresh veggies and you’ll be quite happy with textbook-sized (small) portions of everything else. (If you’re not so satisfied, you’re not eating enough fresh veggies….)


        • Dave
          Posted August 16, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

          “All you have to do is have a look at our teeth to know that we’re omnivores.” Ah ha! Finally, an explanation for why those Christian babies go down so well!

          • Posted August 16, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

            Must be the secret ingredient in Chicago barbecue….


      • NewEnglandBob
        Posted August 16, 2013 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

        And where is he (Pauling) now? 🙂

        Yes, know, he was 93 years old.

    • David Duncan
      Posted August 17, 2013 at 2:39 am | Permalink

      I’ve heard that consuming celery costs more calories than it gives up. Have you heard that one?

      • Posted August 17, 2013 at 8:57 am | Permalink

        I’ve heard that one, too. I’m not sure how I’d go about validating it, but it is an excellent demonstration of why the “physicist diet” (of just counting food label calories and metabolic activity) is worse than useless.


      • Reginald Selkirk
        Posted August 17, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

        Snopes says it’s true

        The downside is that it requires eating celery, for which the only legitimate purpose I have discovered is Turkey day dressing.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted August 17, 2013 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

          Jeez you guys of course it’s true! My diet as a teenager consisted of celery & diet coke & it kept me very svelte. Also sick. And bruises didn’t go away. And I had a lot of colds. But svelte!

  5. sam
    Posted August 16, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    In praise of Aloe Vera juice.

    Tired of belching, like an old Bull Moose?
    Just drink some Aloe Vera juice!

    Guts in a turmoil and gas produce?
    Just drink some Aloe Vera juice!

    Is your stool like that of a Goose?
    Just drink some Aloe Vera juice!

    Are your bowels very loose?
    Just drink some Aloe Vera juice!

    Have you got a problem with your digestive process?
    Aloe Vera juice will quickly bring you a Bless!

    Is constipation spoiling your days?
    Drink Aloe Vera juice you’ll sing its praise.

    Does your intestinal gas curl your nose?
    Aloe Vera juice will turn you into a rose!

    Heartburn pain getting you down?
    Aloe Vera juice will remove the frown!

    Indigestion zapping the fun from your life?
    Aloe Vera juice will remove the strife.

    • Posted August 16, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      It should be noted that there are toxic species of aloe…don’t go juicing the pointy succulents in your garden unless you’re confident of the species….


  6. Rhetoric
    Posted August 16, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    I used to do culturing and genotyping of human cells… $1000 dollars is so absurd it should be criminal.

  7. Jim Thomerson
    Posted August 16, 2013 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    I was down for a week or so in Venezuela. I had dull pain all over, slept 20 hours a day, and could not even imagine eating. When I got better, I realized I could imagine eating. I went in the kitchen to fix something, but some friends came by and delayed me. By the time they left I was actually hungry. I was amazed to realize that under normal conditions, even stuffed to the gills, I had not previously been completely without hunger.

    Barbecue place looks pretty good. I’ll try it next time I am in Chicago. I live outside Austin. TX. Here one can give directions around town by simply refering to BBQ places. They range from really good to fantastic. Major barbecue meat here is beef brisket, a health food. A study done at Texas A&M found that beef brisket is high in Omega3 fatty acids. Texans eat more brisket per capita than folks of any other state.

    I know a couple of places where I can get barbecued goat, my personal favorite, if I can get there before they are all sold out.

  8. Earl Taylor
    Posted August 16, 2013 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Did anyone notice that getting the rib sauce off one’s shirt at that laundromat next door apparently involves divine intervention?

    • JohnnieCanuck
      Posted August 16, 2013 at 8:56 pm | Permalink


      I am still trying to work out the association. Perhaps you just toss the coins in a basket and they Trust In The Lord that no-one rips them off.

      Your idea works too. If your clothes aren’t clean or get damaged by the machines, you just didn’t Trust In The Lord enough.

    • Reginald Selkirk
      Posted August 17, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      Who would want to get rid of their badge of honour?

  9. Dave
    Posted August 16, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    No ethanol for 6 weeks? That in itself is worth a book.

  10. Posted August 16, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    That BBQ place looks wonderful. Must try it next time I’m in Chicago! Just the thing to cure the blues after being ill!
    And fresh blackberry upside-down cake for dessert…time to go check the oven, I don’t want the berry juice to burn.

  11. daveau
    Posted August 16, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Good. I was afraid you were going to go to that Mao place in Chinatown. You’d be right back where you started.

  12. John J. Fitzgerald
    Posted August 18, 2013 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Article from the Boston Globe on important restaurants in Chicago. Do you recommend any of them?



    John J. Fitzgerald

    • Posted August 18, 2013 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      The Purple Pig is good, and recommended, but I wouldn’t go to the others. For deep-dish pizza, Lou Malnati’s (or Uno’s), for steak I’d go to Gene and Georgetti’s, a real trip. For French, Kiki’s Bistro or Chez Moi (try the cassoulet), and for ethnic, well, there are several good places in Chinatown and I’m partial to the Sun Wah, up north, for their superb Peking Duck.

      Oh, and the rib tips (and links) at Uncle John’s BBQ on the South Side if you’re feeling adventurous but want the real deal.

      These “three days in place X” articles don’t generally single out the best places to eat for some reason.

      • John J. Fitzgerald
        Posted August 18, 2013 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        Thanks for the review!



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