Monday, August 25, 2008

from Chicago, one last time

And the food. What of the food here? Oh, always exquisitely diverse. Yesterday we opted for a new Indian eatery -- Marigold. Yes, sure, there’s Devon Avenue – home to any number of Indian restaurants, but Marigold is off to the side, on Broadway, and it is superb.

046 copy
Buy print 1989

048 copy
Buy print 1988

054 copy
Buy print 1987

055 copy
Buy print 1986

We note on this Chicago trip a number of restaurant closures, or for some old favorites -- significant face changes. When people are tightening their budgets, restaurants suffer, even, and perhaps especially in the middle price range we tend to favor (one assumes rich people will never lose interest in the upper end establishments). Sometimes the face changes are very welcome. And they make me wonder: how is it that Madison’s kitchens don’t change much? I can list a dozen restaurants that people love for no reason that I can think of, except that they have been there for decades, with the same menus, the same d├ęcor, same locations. I expect my grandchildren will become familiar with them too. Yawn.

We aren’t especially welcoming of new places in Madison. We are far more critical of them than of the old places, where we demand nothing more than that they remain the same. In Chicago, people flock to the new and interesting and seem to show no loyalty to tired cooks.

I started this mini series with the statement that Chicag is a handful. Sometimes being a handful can be very interesting. And good.