Sunday, July 5, 2009

Eating Hot Dogs in Chicago

The Capitol Limited got us into Chicago exactly on schedule, an end-to-end travel time of about 17 hours. That might sound like a long time to those unused to train travel, but it's a remarkably relaxing time when one can just watch the scenery go by while playing cards in the comfort of a roomette.

I was a little disappointed to see that the dining car has been reconfigured along the lines of the City of New Orleans' Cross Country Cafe, though: the layout looks cool, but the seating doesn't face the tables squarely so it can be a little uncomfortable.

Even so, we hadn't been on a train since our honeymoon in January, and we both had a great time.

As one might expect, Chicago was bustling with activity on Friday. People were piling into Millennium Park to stake out prime viewing locations for the fireworks, much as they would be doing the following day in D.C. Since Gwen and I were going to the Mid-America Club, though, we opted to wander the city.

We'd been to Chicago before, and we only had so much time, so we limited our plans to one goal: hot dogs.

The Chicago-style hot dog is an undertaking: beyond the basic hot dog, one has the poppy-seeded bun; mustard and relish (but not ketchup); chopped onions and tomatoes; peppers; and a full dill pickle spear. Cheese and chili are optional.

It's an undertaking to eat one without making a mess, and we didn't manage that. We did enjoy our hot dogs immensely, though, mine with cheese while Gwen added chili as well. Accompanied by fries and milkshakes, our meal easily exceeded recommended daily calorie intake. But calories on trips don't count, right?

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