I’ve been to Chicago more than I’ve been to any other U.S city, and I really like it. Work takes me there but I want to go with Helen, I just don’t know how to fit it into a trip anywhere else we want to go.

I love U.S. bar culture, that the thing to do is pull up a stool and quietly greet the people either side of you. There’s no compulsion to talk to them, often after a long night moderating I just want to drink, but if you want to talk there’s usually interesting conversation available. I was previously in Chicago on the night of the Illinois Republican primary and spent the evening chatting to a chap who’d voted for Trump because “it’s impossible for him to become president but he can mess shit up”.

Whenever I’m in Chicago I always go for a deep dish pizza at Pizzeria Uno. Cool Chicago foodie types will tell you that deep dish is bullshit and only eaten by tourists. This might well be true but Deep Dish is basically a quiche with no egg and just a load of cheese, tomato and sausage. You also have to wait 40 minutes for it so can wind down from moderating with a couple of pints.

Whilst waiting for my pizza Alex the bartender and I watched the final of the College Softball World Series between UCLA and Oklahoma. Alex explained to me the intricacies of softball and his appreciation of “thick” women. It was difficult to argue with him, the game was brilliant and the college girls’ thighs substantial.

On my free night I walked up to the Old Town because I wanted to go and see the Second City theatre. We’re binge watching 30 Rock (again), so this was a pilgrimage.

Opposite the theatre there is a dive bar which is apparently famous. I went in there because the walk had left me thirsty, it did beers for $5 and was busy at 5pm. I later found out that the owner’s quirky personality and passion for artistic impression got it onto the Chicago edition of Parts Unknown

I then went and ate a lot of tacos. I love tacos. They’re just the perfect canvas for chefs to do amazing things: Small enough that they can be bold and experimental, and with a “fast food” heritage which allows them to be irreverent and dirty.

(While these tacos at Broken English were good the best I’ve ever had were at Pico’s Tacos in Mackie Mayors, Manchester

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  1. Chicago bars sound a bit like a pub…can turn up solo or with friends and just stand at the bar or sit anywhere that’s empty. People are always willing to chat about everything and anything. Would love to visit Chicago, any must see/ do things for a first time visitor?


    1. It’s like a good pub can be but I find American bars much more social that British pubs, at least London pubs. First time in Chicago stay downtown, enjoy the bars, go running by the lake and eat in the West Loop.

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