Karyn's Raw buffet, conveniently located inches from the door of Karyn's ballet class, for letting me pig out without negating my workout.
Be thankful for Centerstage's Thanksgiving Guide
Dine Out ~ Get Takeout ~ Learn To Cook ~
Drink on the Eve ~ Pair with Wine ~ Volunteer and Give Back
It's no big secret that the Centerstage Staff is a pretty big fan of Chicago. So when it came time to give thanks, we had a little trouble narrowing things down. Here are the winners.
Centerstage is thankful for...
The big burgers and inexpensive drinks at Moody's Pub
; I'm also thankful to Moody's for making its moody interior as inviting in winter as the outdoor patio is in the summer.
The Music Box, for having velvet curtains, a tiny second theater and the odd piano player intro before movies you can't find anyplace else.
Grilled cheese, avocado and tomato sandwiches at Hackney's
(South Loop). Why you gotta be so good?
Vodka martinis at One North Kitchen and Bar. I'd have more of you if I didn't have that pesky mortgage!
The Green Eye
's cool bartenders and chilled beverages, which let me unwind in peace after a hectic Blue Line commute.
That I have to decide between Arturo's Tacos and Lazo's Tacos on Western when I want after-bar eats. There is no bad choice here when you want cheap-ass burrito suizo.
, for actually encouraging me to clank my stein in fits of German awesomeness whilst I pester the staff for a secret, $1.75 sausage snack behind the bar.
Martyrs', and its never-ending bill of relevant and intimate talent, proving that there's really nothing small about a small stage.
*Gavin Paul Giovagnoli
The helpful employees at Sam's Wine and Spirits, who taught me that port is oh-so-much-more (and tastier) than a nautical term.
The patient bike-gurus at Rapid Transit, who don't make me feel like a moron when I ask for help pumping my tires.
The $5.50 Sunday matinees at Davis Cinema, which always has enough seats, plays the Oscar-worthy films and doesn't mess with selling anything fancier than candy or popcorn.
The quick service at Penny's, where the staff does things so right I can call pick up, and be home with my pad see ew and in minutes.
burnt, caramelized cheese crust on its deep dish pie, and that I can order it until 2 a.m.
Hip-hop dance classes at Joel Hall Dance Center, where I can break a sweat and bust a move without subjecting myself to public scrutiny.
The feeling of Prohibition-Era rebellion I get whenever I can track down a restauranteur within city limits who will serve fatty goose liver.
The continued existence of Jeppsen's Mallort in Chicago. The look on my fellow man's face after they realize what jimson-weed booze tastes like is priceless...or, at least worth two bucks a shot.
The Playground Theater
, for staging the future of Chicago's improv community, right here in the present.
Spynners, because "lesbian karaoke bar" ranks with "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" among the phrases that make America great.
Bloodshot Records, who got me through hundreds of hours at a dead-end job via the likes of Ryan Adams, Neko Case and Alejandro Escovedo.
Manolo's Tacos at Maxwell Street Market, who taught me that mole doesn't come from a jar and tortillas don't come from a plastic bag.
The Chicago Diner
's BBQ bacon cheeseburger, which completely transformed my thoughts on tofu.
The patrons at the Peacock who talk extensively about George Gershwin no matter how many steins of $1.25 Old Style they've consumed.
For the fluffy, mascarpone-smeared, granola-laden blackberry bliss pancakes at M. Henry and the adjoining cafe that lures in the false fans off and cuts the wait time in half.
For the Rock Star milkshakes at Huey's Hotdogs which pair perfectly with a dog and cheese fries.
The Hollywood Grill
, which makes it possible for me to pick up my usual Saturday afternoon Club House (with soup) in Friday night's clothes without attracting much attention.
The East Coast-bias of the Santullo's Eatery proprietors, who know that real pizza shouldn't be eaten with a knife and fork.
Andies' gigantic delivery zone, which serves a developed-in-Andersonville craving for babaganoush as far south as Logan Square.
The bar seating at Lula Cafe, which cuts the wait (for the carrot cake), the chatter (from neighborhood hipsters) and the distance (between me and my next glass of wine).
The really good sightlines at Double Door
, as well as its downstairs bar, which makes it much easier to get a drink when it's crowded.
Any bar (but the Hopleaf and Gold Star in particular) that doesn't succumb to the scourge of the "Internet jukebox."
The affordable organic produce at Stanley's Fruit and Vegetables, whose better-than-Muzak soundtrack makes shopping a pleasure.
Hottix, which allows me to see outstanding storefront shows for slightly more than the cost of a movie ticket.