I Dream of Chicago.

I’d like to plunk down in Riccardo’s and be over-served with “Italian” calories, or better yet, in Frank Sinatra’s favorite Chicago hangout, the Twin Anchors, with a couple of over-large Martinis at the bar, with a game, any game, on the box and ribs on the way from the kitchen. Spicy or mild sauce? (Remember, the mild isn’t that mild.) We sit at Frank’s table with the phone next to it and suddenly it’s 1985 and the Bears are The Bears. It’s winter and nice to be inside, in Chicago, and served. The hum in the room agrees. Now as I look back there are no seats left at the bar and people are enjoying themselves, enjoying being themselves: unselfconscious and on the loud side as they wait for a table. It won’t be soon, it won’t be long, but who’s in a hurry? As the plates of ribs go by blood pressures rise imperceptibly amongst the standees around the room. Behind the bar the waitress is generous, the vodkas come from good families, nothing minor league about them. They gone down well, taking the blue cheese olives with them. It’s a Friday night party and people linger, putting off the moment when they have to wrap up and hit the wind from the lake (The Hawk) that’s been waiting to mug them just outside the front door.