Thursday, July 06, 2017

Chicago fact-finding tour, 2017: Destiny's appointment on Thursday, July 6, with delectable food in Greektown and a nightcap at Monk's Pub.

(backdated; previously, there was a ballgame)

Now, for the appointment.

Diana's mother was born and raised in Plymouth, England. It's in the county of Devon, an area considered part of the West Country (or southwestern England). My wife's mom married a Mainer, and the rest is herstory, which took a fresh turn on July 6, when Diana reclaimed her mother's British nationality.

Diana now is a dual national, American and British. On a daily basis, there will be little if any change for us. You'll understand that this journey has been a deeply personal one, so there isn't much more that I care to add, apart from being very proud and 100% supportive that she has followed her conscience and honored her mother in this way.

It's why we went to Chicago, and with the appointment and ceremony concluded, we caught a bus back to the hotel, changed, and set out for Greektown on foot, perhaps a 20 minute walk.

Chicago's Greektown originally was located nearby. It was displaced by the expressway and a university expansion, and moved to the current location. I remember dining at one of the restaurant 25 years ago, and being told by the server that few Greeks still lived in the neighborhood, though they remained interested in preserving their collective heritage there.

I confess to Googling "best Greek restaurant in Chicago" and being told that the winner is Greek Islands, at least according to Trip Advisor.

Greek Islands bills itself as "America's most popular Greek restaurant," and a list of indie eateries in the United States shows it ranking 99th in gross sales, with just under $13 million in 2016.

Whatever. It was a damned fine meal.

We split warm and cold lima bean appetizers. Diana had a Greek salad with grilled chicken, and I dug into a savory plate of beef kapama with homemade noodles. My beverage of choice was a half-liter of Retsina, white wine with the subtle yet noticeable flavoring of pine sap.

The afternoon was hot and humid. We slowly made our way back to the hotel for a three-hour nap, venturing back outside at almost 7:30 p.m. for an ice cream on the Chicago Riverwalk, then a nightcap at Monk's Pub at Lake & Wells, just around the corner from the hotel.

In my case, make it three nightcaps and a salad. Diana was more restrained, but I took one look at the well-stocked Belgian contingent on the Monk's beer list and formed an immediate strategy.

Another great Chicago pub.

Next: Winding it up on Friday with a look at the Chicago Botanic Garden, Chinatown and a new/old brewery.

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