Sky Full of Bacon

Today was my first chance this summer to take my kids to do what they’d been doing nearly every day at camp— play in the gentle waters of Albion Beach in Rogers Park, where a sandbar keeps the water at a kid-friendly height. An idyllic day, the sort of day you think you would pick if you were given the challenge of the film Afterlife— in which the deceased are forced to pick a single memory to hold for all eternity.

The kids played in utter happiness; but the adult mind is never at rest, and I couldn’t help laying there on the beach, wishing I had a book, an iPod, wifi. Sad, I know.

I had my one moment of satisfaction of an adult interest when we went for lunch. The kids love Chipotle, who knows why, but they could do worse than the simple bean and cheese burritos I get them (and pay dearly for). I, however, had my eye on a newly-opened place next door, Pita Grill.

There were both promising and unpromising signs. Unpromising, hot dogs and hamburgers figuring prominently. Promising, a cake display full of mucver, the fried zucchini fritters available at a few of the local Turkish restaurants, such as Nazarlik (where I think they’re the best thing to be had there, frankly). Unfortunately it was impossible to get kebab meat of any sort and not get great heaps of fries or rice, I wanted hummus or something like that as a side, so the eager counterman, seemingly happy that someone was asking him for something that wasn’t all-American, pointed to a falafel and hummus special. I was sold.

It was okay. The hummus was fine but nothing special, the falafel was a little rubbery, somewhere in between fresh and not-fresh. Pita Grill seems like a place that wishes it could be better but has already been beaten down by the reality of its location in a hot dog-eating neighborhood.

The kids were happy with everything— their burritos, their day at the beach with Dad, the bottle caps they found on the street, which they evaluate in terms of perceived rarity (Dad has to avoid laughing when they pronounce that a Miller Light cap is “really rare”). Their simple, complete happiness is the most contentment I can wish for, some days.

Pita Grill
6604 N. Sheridan

Retroactively declared #2 in my 50 new restaurants challenge.

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A while back I posted about my son Myles’ adventures raising a lamb in 4-H, and posted a video of him working with his lamb Triska. Now here’s the rest of the story, as he takes Triska to the Lake County Fair for auction. It’s about 5-1/2 minutes long.

Triska Goes to the Fair from Michael Gebert on Vimeo.

Please note: The embedded version is reduced resolution/frame rate. To see it in its full HD glory, go here. (If video isn’t streaming properly, I find it helps to let it start, pause it, then wait for it all to load before playing.)

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