I was at a conference in Houston, Texas, this weekend. The weather was spectacular. It got up to 84 degrees on Sunday afternoon, which apparently set the heat record for the day. I got to the hotel on Thursday evening, and for dinner I walked around the corner to the Sonic drive in (It was either that or the Waffle House). I was sitting at a picnic table under a palm tree that was lighted for Christmas, and it was 70 degrees after the sun had gone down. That was a truly unique experience, particularly with the Hispanic Christmas carols they were playing over the loud speaker.
Luckily, my culinary adventures went uphill from there. I had a good Italian dinner, some sort of seafood tostada from a street vendor, and some excellent pork brisket. On my first layover in Chicago, I had some Deep Dish pizza (there's a Pizzeria Uno in the Hilton hotel next to O'Hare Airport if you go out of the terminal and walk towards the L train terminal). On my return flight layover in Chicago, which turned into a fiasco because my late morning flight got cancelled and I was laid over until the 8PM flight to Sioux Falls, I hopped on the L train and went down to Chinatown (one of my favorite city places in the world which is about 3 stops south of the Loop on the Red Line L train in downtown Chicago) to my favorite place that has dip sum in carts they rove around the little restaurant. They just keep bringing you these hot dishes of chinese dumplings and things. All for like $8. Fresh green tea, it was just fabulous.
I learned when I was living in Chicago that if you go to Chinatown, don't eat at the touristy restaurants right next to the L train stop. Walk a few blocks until you find a place where the locals actually go to eat. Although, you can't walk too far lest you come to the places where the waitresses don't speak any English and that won't serve you certain dishes because you are white. Ask my wife or my parents about the infamous "Fish soup not for white people!" story when they came to visit me for my graduation from seminary some years back.
So, I had some excellent food this week, and I suppose a free trip to Chinatown-Chicago, but I am glad to be home. Although, now I have to clean out my e-mail inbox. (It ain't pretty...)