The toboggan run at Soldier Field was as packed as the snow on its slope with excited snow-venturers of all ages. We were pleased to scrounge up a couple of plastic sleds only to find that the newfangled thang is a foam board with handles—although a few of the ritzier families were throwing back to the classic rosebud-style radio flyers and some of the older kids were rocking their snowboards, too cool for slumming it on the ground with the rest of us.
What fun it was to join the throng, to remember the politics of the hill: jostling for the better launch positions, heckling the boy in the green coat who wouldn’t clear the run after upsetting his disk, and flying wildly over an inaccurately timed jump. A face full of snow is best taken with the satisfaction of one’s need for speed.
And after quenching my desire to skim the icy slant of winter’s bone, it was a disappointment to find very little excitement in the quenching of another of my recent cravings: chicken and waffles.
Our weekend advanced to Art Smith’s Table Fifty-Two, where we stopped for Sunday brunch and I promptly ordered the fried chicken and waffles. Like the unlikely pairing of a brisk outdoor activity in the coldest of seasons, fried chicken with a syrup-soaked waffle works. If you haven’t gotten into this combo, I think you should. Crunchy chicken skin paired with fluffy waffles and maple for balance (and by balance, I mean sticky deliciousness).
While the dish exhibited perfection in flavor, texture, and breakfast opulence, the general consensus of our dining experience was that it was perfectly delicious, however lacking in excitement. The macaroni and cheese Alex impulse-ordered was perhaps at the core of my discontent—a tasty bowl of melt that just didn't hit the spot like I wanted it to, making me question: am I wrong to expect noodles in traditional pasta dishes? Yes, my complaint is too much cheese—not a normal problem of mine, but in this case it just didn’t stimulate me.
I find I need excitement these days! Exhilaration to keep me from seriously considering hibernation as an option. There’s a reason we shirk the constant warmth of our homes to take to the snow-lined streets: What gets you through the dreary weight of winter better than the thrill of the sled?