Greek Islands was rocking a full house this past Sunday. We had a Greek feast before heading to the airport for Effie and Gordon to fly back to Colorado. The server was professional and efficient, a joy to be taken care of by, despite his bravado with the flaming cheese startling my unsuspecting guests. The dining room was bustling yet he was able to get all the dishes we ordered out quickly, cleared the table between courses, and extended the wings to make room for more dishes. My favorites were the cold mashed potatoes with garlic and lemon, the two salads with cucumber, tomato, fresh sheep’s cheese, balsamic, grilled octopus in warm, dark, sweetly spiced rice pilaf, and the filet of Lake Superior Whitefish, seasoned generously and slowly absorbing Greek olive oil was the piece de resistance.
The owners of La Plaza Paleteria gave me a sample of tamarind with chile: I opted for a mangonada with earthy, spicy red chile and tangy sweet chamoy sauce. My friends got paletas of fresh fruit. I love La Plaza and visit every time I go up to City Newsstand for magazines.
A visit to the City Newsstand is one of my favorite treats. The selection of magazines is unparalleled in Chicago. I gravitate towards the expensive art and photography periodicals, the food and travel ones, and political commentary. When I was a kid my aunt would take me to the book store and tell me I could have anything I wanted: I get in this frame of mind when I visit the City Newsstand. This past Sunday I was paying for my stack of reading material and the owner spontaneously told me this great story of a pre-9/11 all-expense-paid trip, on CBS’ dime, for he and his wife to be in the audience for the Late Show with David Letterman. Letterman used to bring his show to other cities, until he realized it was cheaper to bring other cities to New York. The main guest was Jerry Springer, and the musical guest was Al Green.