The last time I was in Chicago was for their wedding over a year ago, and I somehow never had a famous Chicago hot dog. Our hosts took us straight to Hot Doug's, the "encased meat emporium," to remedy that situation.
Hot Doug's makes all kinds of creative sausages, but I felt like I should try the classic while in the Windy City. I got a Chicago-style to share and The Norm Crosby, a garlic, beef and pork dog. The Norm Crosby was delish! Even with all the accoutrements, the Chicago-style just couldn't hold a candle to the full flavors of that juicy, garlicky dog. Also, I learned that it's considered criminal to put ketchup on your hot dog in Chicago. You just don't do it. My friend Jane would be very pleased with that policy ;)
The dimly-lit, speakeasy vibe at Maude's nicely complimented the French menu, from which the boys shared a large platter of oysters and we all devoured ricotta gnocchi, a massive cassoulet and crispy pomme frites.
As you can see, the cottage is primed for relaxation and once you're there, it's really hard to leave. Jobs, deadlines, bills, etc. just cease to exist for a magical few days while you're disconnected from the rest of the world.
While we didn't eat any of the fish we spent the days catching (thank God), we experimented with smoking a brisket on the grill as demonstrated by Bon Appetit. Jessica made cottage cheese and dill bread from scratch to accompany the meat, and we all had a truly memorable lakeside meal.
Vacation is the best. It's been hard adjusting back to a work schedule and less indulgent meals since we returned, but we have a few more fun things on the horizon. I will not let go of summer just yet!