My work schedule changed recently, so now instead of waking up at 5:30am every day, one of those days I can sleep as late as I want but have to stay at work until 10pm, and the day after that I get to sort of sleep in but have to work until 7pm. Between the two, I’d rather work until 10pm. It sucks getting out of there late, but it also affords me two whole silent, coworker-free hours to get shit done. You know how job postings say they want someone who’s a “self starter?” I don’t really know what that means, but I like to think it’s about a person who can work on their own and do what needs to be done without the benefit of a boss standing over them and describing each new task in exact detail to make sure it’s done right. If I’m right, then I am most definitely a self starter. Give me the work and leave me alone, please.
So far, for this month, I’m mostly closing on Mondays and working that weird interim shift on Tuesdays. I guess this is good because I basically get three days of weekend sleep in a row. I did work until 7pm yesterday, though, which sucked at first because I’m used to leaving at 3:30pm on Fridays, but it did allow Graham and I to go straight to O’Connell’s for dinner, where I remembered that Friday is fish n’ chips day.
You don’t understand how I feel about O’Connell’s fish n’ chips. The thing about O’Connell’s fish n’ chips is that fish n’ chips in general is a really easy thing to do right, but so many places do it badly. The batter is too grainy or too smooth, there’s too much or too little of it, it’s clogged with oil or burnt, the fish is dry or falling apart and not quite done, and some places don’t even do you the solid of bringing a bottle of malt vinegar to the table. It’s laziness, okay, just like when a place can’t cook a burger to order or pour a decent pint. Really simple things done poorly pisses me off more than a mistake on a complicated plate, but when something really simple is done right, and not just right but perfect and perfectly every single time, then my loyalty reaches cult follower status.
I proudly belong to the O’Connell’s cult for their burgers alone. O’Connell’s is justifiably famous for their burgers, even though Graham doesn’t think they’re very impressive but such is the pitfall of dating a chef who makes super fancy burgers and other stuff for a living. And it’s not just the burgers. It’s the place itself, the way it hasn’t changed since I was five except for an ancient ATM machine shoved into a corner. It’s the dimness and the genuine smoke stains on the tin ceiling, the bare knuckle boxer portraits on the wall and stone crocks of Tullamore Dew lining the crown molding. You know those places where you feel completely comfortable and taken care of, even if you’re just ordering Guinness and neat whiskey? Oh man, O’Connell’s. You gorgeous bitch.
Add the Friday fish n’ chips special to O’Connell’s existing charm and I just can’t handle the happiness. I tear into it, okay, it’s ugly and I’m shoveling this stuff into my mouth and not speaking a word and licking salt and vinegar and fry oil from my fingers. My pint glass gets streaked with a thin line of tartar sauce (yellow from yolks and flecked with super coarse pepper) and I have literally bitten my own finger getting fries into my feed hole. And the fries aren’t even that special.
This is the kind of person I am. I thought you should know.
Speaking of popular landmark restaurants in The ‘Lou, I finally tried the much-hyped Hodak’s fried chicken. It’s supposed to be THE best, right? Wrong. Worst fried chicken in my entire life. I felt sick for two days after eating some wings and their lame coleslaw. As a bar, it’s okay, but I’ll never eat there again. Ugh.
Really? I actually like their fried chicken…to me, Hodak’s experiences have always been polarized into two groups. One group includes me, and everyone else who likes to season their own chicken. The other group is people who want more flavor in the batter. Graham likes a place way up on the North Side called Shrimp Shack. It’s small, super ghetto, and kind of literally a shack but with diamond plate inside, but if you like your fried goods kind of salty and with other seasoning, you might like it.
Also, nobody goes to Hodak’s for the sides. I couldn’t even tell you what the coleslaw looked like.