Saturday, October 4, 2014

Saturday fun activity: Where IS this?

     For the New Year (the Jewish new year, if you're thinking, "New Year? What New Year? It's October") I thought I would add an extra twist to the Where IS this? fun activity. Not only will a photo be tossed up to be puzzled over, but then, when it has finally been guessed, I'll post a bit of follow-up rumination about the place. I'm doing this because it was frustrating to display an interesting place, but not be able to say much about it, so as to not give away the game (not that people were stumped long anyway). 
    So I'm posting a picture of this enigmatic green blob, and then I'll fill in why I selected it after somebody figures out where it is. The winner will receive this pristine copy of the Nov. 5, 2009, edition of the Chicago Sun-Times, marking Barack Obama's first election as president. A True Collector's Item, as they say, it popped up while moving my office to the 10th floor; actually several of them did, and how many does a guy need? I see them selling for twenty bucks on eBay. You can have this one by guessing where this enigmatic green emblem is located. Please remember to place your guesses below, and good luck. Remember, I'll be at synagogue for a while today, so it might be later than usual before I can moderate your guesses. Be nice.


     I'm a creature of habit when it comes to restaurants. I know what I like—Gene & Georgetti, Harry Caray's, Petterino's, Star of Siam, Sushi Sai, Prairie Grass—and I want it, again and again. But there is a chink in the armor; occasionally a friend will suggest trying "something new" and my accommodating nature trumps my hidebound habits. 
     So when a fellow journalist, a writer for The Economist, suggested a change of pace, I reached for one of those places I've been curious about. I actually thought I was suggesting the Raw Bistro, at 1901 N. Halsted, but somehow got us to a place called Raw, at 51 W. Hubbard, at the sign of the artichoke, or broccoli, or whatever that green thing is supposed to be. 
      I arrived at the first; punctual to a fault. Inside, I noticed it was more a carry-out store than a restaurant, just five or six stools, a refrigerator case, lots of large jars of
supplements. And everything was really expensive. Four dollars for a cookie. By the time my friend arrived, I was waiting out front, and suggested we try somewhere else. 
     No, she said, she lives nearby and is curious about this place. Okay, I'm game. I bought a kale salad for $12 and a carrot muffin for $6 that felt like a lead shotput. She got some dumplings and a $9 bottle of coconut kefir.
     The kale salad was astoundingly good. "So this is what all that kale madness is about," I thought. The amazing thing is, I ate and ate and ate, sharing with her, and when we were done I still had 3/4 of the salad left. I took it home, shared it with my wife with dinner, and still had plenty for breakfast the next day. And the carrot muffin—it was like eating a scoop of Jupiter: this dense, rich, orangish material. She liked her dumplings and kefir less, but we both agreed the place was worth the $20 apiece it cost for lunch. The clerk at Raw also kept setting out little paper cups with samples: sweet potato chips and pumpkin smoothie, mock tuna and a soy burger with homemade ketchup that definitely called for further investigation.  And considering how long the food they give you lasts, and how good and fresh it is, it's really not that expensive.
     Anyway I thought, in my role as a value-added blogger, I should not only use it as a contest location, but then tell you a little about the place. To be honest, I suspected it was going to taste really good, because Raw is vegan, and no vegan restaurant is going to stay in business long if they can't find a way to make the stuff taste good. I'll go back. 


  1. believe me. if anyone can say, it is me. i bounced the big bars. i am a 3rd generation chicago executive drinkers son. we are brothers.

  2. Farm at museum of science and industry

  3. I knew I recognized that tree. RAW Chicago.

    1. Right you are. Email me your address at for your prize.

  4. Morton Arboretum Glen Ellyn?

  5. Rosie's Bar, outside of M*A*S*H 4077

  6. Yes. Bonus - as in the postscript. I'd live for your Saturday contests (sad, I know) if after the correct guess you'd give us more of the what and why it struck your fancy. Still waiting fit the story of the Drake's hideous carpet. Thanks for writing. Dismiss misspellings and wrong words. Autocorrect and some glitch won't allow me to delete and replace words.


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