Thursday, June 10, 2010

Back Alley Girl

My mother, in her pre-Maxine voice told my father in 1967 "get  me out of this God Forsaken city !" She was referring to my beloved Chicago, hard as it is to believe. Thelma Lucille Durham "Dusty" had grown up in the Mountain Dew littered countryside of Southern Indianna and she had grown tired of big city life. My father, his father and his father were all products of Chicago and loved the city wholeheartedly, but Donald Geoge loved Dusty more, so he moved us to the then dinky burb of Warrenville. But this little girl always missed the noises, sights and sounds of a a city alive with adventure and GREAT FOOD.

Yesterday, I was back downtown again, this time with little sis Mary. As the oldest 2 of the 6 O'Shaughnessy holigans,  we remember our first home town fondly and whenever we have a chance to make the two hour trip ...WE GO ! Once again I had another delivery to make to yet another new restaurant (new to us) and because only 100 pounds  of pork shoulder were involved, instead of our usual whole hog (with head attached please) , we girls felt butch enough for the job. So off to Frontera we went. 

Once we found the restaurant it took several tries to actually get into the alley to make the delivery. First it was blocked by another delivery truck ,(really ? in Chicago ? at midday ?) Then when got turned around with the one way streets, designed I am sure by more than one of my wayward Irish ancestors. When we finally get into the alley another truck is coming out so we had to back out again. "PEOPLE, I got pork shoulder here all the way from charming Chatsworth, Illinois !" They were not impressed, I still had to back out.

Finally we got to the delivery door, met the famous Hector who unloaded our coolers faster than we could get them inside to him and off we were again to park and eat. Of course we ate at Frontera Grill, our first time, and we not dissapointed. The service was too wonderful and basically surreal being as just hours before I was having my legs rammed by 5 huge disrespectful hungry hogs. Now I had a quiet, polite gentleman bringing me more ice tea IN A WHOLE NEW CLEAN GLASS. So much better than the slurping drink I had that morning from the hose after filling up the rubber pig watering pans. Thats me. Just one big oxymoron.

We ate, we lingered, we met Deb Silverstein (Frontera's Test Kitchen Director  who was gracious and friendly even though I know she was horrendously busy.) Then it was time to get back to the land of milk, honey and manure.

With myself at the wheel and Mary grasping the map, it becomes a familar scene. She and I over the last 35 years have logged a huge amount of road time together (the area between Sioux Falls and Wall Drug always the worst, unless it was the time we couldn't find our way out of the evil Dublin) and although we often still get lost, we always have fun doing it.

But really Chicago, what happened to Racine Ave ?!?! One second its a ligitimately  paved street and the next its like your driving your Canostoga Wagon into the deep mountain passes of Appalachia with potholes that could swallow up my 1000 pound sow Lady Anne.


  1. Drinking from a hose, drinking from a crystal eclectic lifestyle! I know my Gurl, Xena, prefers the hose. But come to think of it I haven't tempted her with crystal coblets either..

  2. I can honestly say I like both but the best way to do it, is to use the hose to fill the goblet !