I didn’t get a chance to see much of Chicago last weekend during my visit there because I was busy helping my son, a junior at Northwestern, move into his first apartment in Evanston. Still, my son and his friend and I finally made it to Edzo’s – the burger shop in downtown Evanston that lived up to my son’s rare reviews. There was a longish line when we arrived midday (Edzo’s is only open midday – from 10:30 a.m. t0 4 pm. Tuesday through Sunday) but it moved swiftly. I had a rare – yes rare! – 8 oz. Char Burger and it was juicy, fresh, charred on the outside, pink in the inside (in a way I can never manage to do on my own). The boys had the double griddled burger (I pick the charred because it’s the only one where you can really get a rare patty). We also shared a Mexican milk shake (which did indeed have a kick) and “Old fries” – extra brown, extra crunchy. The couple sitting next to us recommended getting the burger with the upgraded meat (not the grass-fed one but some other upscale locally-sourced meat).
Next stop: : IKEA, about a forty minute drive from Evanston, where we made it in-and-out of that cavernous, mobbed world-unto-itself in perhaps record time – an hour – with an SUV filled with a build-it-yourself bed frame and chest of drawers. We found gas for 20 cents less than Evanston nearby (and probably 40 cents less than downtown Chicago) so we filled up and headed back to Evanston on Dempster, which runs conveniently past Kaufman’s Deli, which reopened in a snazzy new building two months ago after a devastating fire a year ago. We picked up take-away dinner – extra lean corned beef, a little chopped liver, some potato latkes, navy bean soup with big chunks of corned beef, and rugelah. (All hard to find in Des Moines, needless to say – although there is a Jewish deli here, Maccabees.) One more stop at the bagel shop a few blocks further east on Dempster (which also had bialys!) and we were done. We did eat our first night in Chicago, near my aunt’s apartment, at Carmine’s – traditional Italian and surprisingly easy to find a table on a Friday night (granted it was about 6:15 p.m.)