My last post to this board was a "farewell" almost a year ago, as I departed Chicago for NYC--where I thought a great wealth of food awaited. It did, but here is what I miss about Chicago. Forgive my year-old nostalgia...
First and foremost: my Saturday morning routine. A drive from Andersonville to the Evanston Farmers Market, then a stop at People's Market (for items like the People's pate), and a contiuation down Broadway to the Thai grocery then home, to cook up all the tasty treats I found.
Sure, there's the Union Square Greenmarket, which is now my Saturday morning routine, but let me state clearly that it does not compare to Evanston--now if only "Food and Wine" and "Saveur" could be convinced, but they go on and on about the greenmarket. There's good greens here, but nothing like the wealth and diversity found in Evanston. No wonderful fresh asian produce from Henry's, the organics here are sad and wan, and it's almost the same thing in every stall. It's good carrots, believe me, but it's not the same. Sure, I can get things like ramps, but that find earlier this spring was my one solace--I think of Evanston fondly with every trip to the Greenmarket.
The Middle Eastern Bakery--oh, how I long for those 75 cent spinach pies. Those fresh figs when in season. That homemade falafel. Nothing like it in Manhattan, nor even Brooklyn.
The Thai is lamentable here. I've found one place worthy of Chicago, in Queens, that I get to when I find myself on the 7 train.
Sure, I find myself full of amazing high-end restaurant options, and the ethnic stuff is in the outer boroughs; but Chicago has it hands down when it comes to easily accessible great ethnic food.
No good Mexican. Period. It's sad, but true. Can't find good fresh tortillas anywhere.
Not to say I haven't been eating well--I've sought out, through chowhound and other places (craigslist has a nice "eateries and cuisine" board). I'm seeking and finding places that it has taken New Yorkers years to find, I'm an intrepid shopper in Chinatown, I travel the subway system searching, searching, searching for more. I find it, but slowly, and it's not nearly as convenient.
While NYC is amazing, and it has offered me more opportunities for work/culture/fun than I would have thought possible, I miss the food of Chicago. Enjoy it, please!