Posts Tagged With: celebration

St. Patrick’s Day 2012

I get stupid-happy about St. Patrick’s Day. To me, it’s a day to dress up,  remember my upbringing in an Irish-Catholic school, and now it’s become a day to pine for my hometown again. Nevertheless, I ran my reluctant roommate and boyfriend straight into the crowd with me. Homesickness was not going to best me on this fantastic feast day.

According to the Huffington Post, the St. Patrick’s Day parade dates back five decades and has grown to not only feature traditional bagpipes, marching bands, and floats, but politicians as well. At one point, I was handed a sticker saying that I supported “Thompson”. Who the heck is Thompson, I wondered, staring at the little sticker (that I was secretly glad was free because I love free things), I can’t wear this cool sticker unless I find out who he is. Turned out that the great and powerful “Thompson” is somehow in connected with the Chicago water supply. Sure I’ll support you, Thompson. *stick*

I don't quite agree with your definition of clever, sir, but I will give you props for gluing things to your head and being okay with it.

So there were several interesting costumes and dress-up ideas that fascinated me. One was a gentleman who had glued bottles to his bald head, which still puzzles me. Here are some other interesting pics:

                                          

The parade was what I expected from a typical St. Patty’s parade. Lots of floats, people waving and screaming “HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!”, and the occasional band (I’ve always had a soft spot of bagpipes and would be thrilled to learn how to play them). When the politicians started rolling in, however, I decided that it was time to head towards the river to see how green it really was.

I’ll admit that I thought the pictures of past river-dyeings were somehow doctored. That was just way too green. Radioactive, almost (which would be appropriate, considering what’s in it). And yet, we got there and I was stunned to see that the pictures were VERY true to the color! The dye is apparently environmentally friendly, created to trace pollution in water supplies. It was pretty neat to see, even if we kinda hurried past it in search for reprieve from the sweltering heat.

Was it the throngs of people that made it so uncomfortably hot? The fact that I hadn’t hydrated after the pre-gaming I’d done the previous night (Fact: 13 million pints of Guinness beer are consumed on St. Patrick’s Day)? Or was it just the fact that it was unseasonably warm? I don’t know, but I felt myself going a little faint and craving something iced from Caribou Coffee.

AND WE FOUGHT TO GET TO IT.

The streets, the buses, and the subway were all jam-packed with people. We pushed, shuffled, squeezed, tripped, inched, and slithered our ways to the Red Line where some guy with a green buzzcut nearly fell on top of and squished Renee. Down in the depths of the Lake station, people cheered when the trains of packed cars pulled up.

By the time we got to Caribou, I was fighting off sleepiness, so I chugged a medium-sized iced coffee…

…and fell asleep as soon as I got back to my room.

Overall, the parade was alright. I’ll have to say that the size of the crowd was almost overwhelming and I hated not being able to walk to places very easily what with all the people. But I’ll say it once and I’ll say it again: Chicago knows  how to celebrate. The smiles on people’s faces, the diversity of people sporting green, and the fun-filled atmosphere make the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Chicago worth experiencing.

[The night ended on a nice note, with a fun get-together in our apartment watching Robin Williams, having a few drinks, and me getting to practice my tribal-tattooing skills (Mama, I promise it’s only Sharpie marker.)]

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“Police Activity” on the Red Line + The Irish Oak

Last night, we bypassed the Grand stop on the Red Line due to “police activity”. I used my limited powers of tweet to ask what was going on. @CTAtweet sent me a link to the news story. It turns out someone was actually hit by the Red Line. They had to pull the victim out from under the train. *shivers and crosses herself* See, that’s why I’m afraid to be anywhere near those rumble-strips (the ones they put for passengers so that they don’t step unknowingly off the tracks). Within a week, I’ve heard about a woman getting raped on the Red Line (near my stop), and now someone’s gotten hit. I love me some public transit, but even I’ll have to admit that this stuff is pretty dark.

The blue paint here has raised dots that you would feel under your feet. Hopefully that brings you to attention when your spaced out and wandering about the platform. This just happens to be a picture from a story about a rooster who was stuck on the Blue Line tracks.

Unaware of the incident till much later, I went with a few good people to the Irish Oak. A quaint little Irish bar down on Clark Street, I was really impressed by the atmosphere of the Irish Oak. It’s cozy, lined with empty and signed Jameson whiskey bottles, and the staff is phenomenal. We sat down to the dulcet sounds of Switchfoot, and gave our orders to a busy but cordial waitress.

Now I am not a big fan of drinking in bars for several reasons:

  • I’m stingy.
  • I don’t like how I act when I’m tipsy or drunk. I form don’t words right.
  • I’m a lightweight. So if I order a drink, chances are I’m going to be acting funny halfway through.
  • I want to be keenly aware of my surroundings when I’m navigating the streets on the way back home. I am typically grasping my pepperspray in my pocket, so I don’t want to peg innocent people because I couldn’t aim right. If you’re gonna mess with me, I want to spray you.

She makes pepperspray look fun. Just look at that confident smile!

So while I can’t testify to how well the tenders mix their drinks, I can tell you how great the food was. A regular patron of the bar who was with us that night recommended the “Irish Oak Burger”. Guys, there was so much meat in that burger. The cheese melted over it just right, and the burger buns they use are somewhat sweet and just a little greasy (oh, my stomach just grumbled at the memory of it!) I was craving this reward for the horrible week (which involved a Thursday driven by a 5-Hour Energy shot, coffee, and tea). The fish and chips are also reportedly very good too 🙂

The flash of my phone camera makes the food look radioactive. But do you see that mound of tater-tots? Best tater-tots I've ever eaten. Time to move up a size in blue jeans.

Something else that impressed me about the place was that they had a drink size called “Fishbowls”. For those of you who don’t know what a fishbowl is, it’s typically a really, really large serving of a drink. The ones I’ve seen are usually put in a comically large snifter. This was the first time that I actually saw the drink put into a real fishbowl.

Well-sized, $20 fishbowls for those of you who can actually HOLD your liquor. (I'd probably fall over a quarter of the way through).

If you’re looking for a place to go for St. Patrick’s Day, you may want to look into this place (if there’s room, of course). Check out the food and drink menus to see if prices and drinks appeal to you. As for me, I plan to be at the parade downtown. I’m really excited to see how Chicago’s celebrations compare to Savannah’s! Does anyone have any specific St. Patrick’s Day plans?

The Irish Oak
3511 North Clark Street  

Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 935-6669

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