Well, after these past three weeks of working my way out of the psychological cave imposed by events, I eventually got around to reading the Calvin Trillin article in The New Yorker.
Oddly enough, it was one of the few Trillin articles which didn't tickle me thoroughly, maybe because my identification with chowhound philosophy made me read it more critically than usual. It was almost as if Trillin, for the first time, was looking into my world, rather than vice-versa.
Nevertheless, one quote by Jim Leff really jumped out at me, as perhaps perfectly defining the essence of chowhound-ism. Trillin, when describing Leff's rhapsodic musings about the arepa lady, quotes him as saying of her food, "You have been loved."
So that got me to thinking about what I eat here in Chicago that sends me the same message. I'm sure it wasn't coincidence that I was driving up Southport at the time, with a small hole in my stomach, and I knew that I had to stop at Rodolfo's and Dolly's Argentine market for some of Dolly's empanadas. A half dozen (3 beef, 3 chicken) did me perfectly (for $6), eating three in the car, and saving three for a late night snack at home. When I eat these I feel loved.
My only disappointment is that Dolly does not sell her spinach empanadas from the storefront. For these you have to eat in their restaurant next door, Tango Sur, where all three are available from the regular menu. And while the restaurant is good, it's not good enough to have me going back on a regular basis.
For the time being, I've decided to post here only one of the bites I think about when I need to write a love letter to my stomach. I'd like to hear what the rest of you think of.
3767 N Southport Ave (corner of Grace St.)
Chicago, IL 60613
3763 N. Southport Avenue