Forty minutes of watching acre after acre of barren, cold land pass me by at 65mph, the child who is surprisingly quiet, the lack of power outlets, really helps someone with writer's block think. I go through things in my head, peruse every food related news article looking for SOMETHING to think about. Then it hits me, the kid on the bus threw a Nerf ball at my head, but then a thought comes to mind: "hmm I'm on my way to Chicago, there HAS to be something in that!" I think of every restaurant that I've possibly heard of and like a (insert epiphany related simile here) I realize that Chicago is smack dab in the middle of the country, almost equidistant from all directions of the country, so why does New York get all the fame?
Considering the centralized location of Chicago, its no surprise that you can get anything your heart desires within minutes. You want fast food? McDonalds' locations are every two blocks or so. Fine Dining/Modernist Cuisine? Alinea or Moto, which has tasting menus that cost an arm and a leg(arm $195, leg $300+).
You get the West with vegan and new age type restaurants, you get the east with seafood that was swimming 2 days before it made it to your plate. North? Fresh cheese from Wisconsin, and south with authentic Mexican food or BBQ as good as if you were in Tennessee yourself.
Any ethnic cuisine you can think of is readily available, and sometimes even delivers. And don't even get me started on the food carts, I seem to have an unhealthy obsession with meat on a stick, streetside.
Need some good hunting advice? Go down that alley (not the creepy ones) the ones that are well kept, few dumpsters if any, chances are you will find that burger joint that you fall in love with, the Vietnamese place that has Pho you cant even get in vietnam this good. The fine dining place that has Foie Gras (true story, in Evanston behind American Apparel)
I'm just passing through Crawfordsville, Iowa, with another 5 hours on this bus and so many thoughts going through my head to post about, might be a 2 post sort of day, who knows. But I leave you with this closing remark:
You don't have to be familiar with the restaurant scene there, realize that you can have food from any direction of the country. I would consider it the new melting pot, the new New York.
Eat something you've never tried before today.