A Night of Two Houses: Visiting Spice House and Old Town Ale House with Justin
On Monday, Justin and I had plans to meet up for a few drinks after work. Instead of hitting up our usual meeting place (Small Bar in Logan Square), we met up in Old Town, given a stop that Justin wanted to make beforehand. Our first stop: The Spice House
I’d never been here before, but on walking in… the place just smells fantstic. As you would expect, I guess, being in a room full of exotic and fragrant spices. Everywhere the eye looked, there were baskets and countertops and shelves, filled with all manner of spices in containers, both large and small. If there was a bit of surface area, there was some kind of spice resting on it.
Every container was marked with a label, describing its properties, and also the cost in varying amounts. In addition to the “regular” spices you would expect to find, there was a wide assortment of custom mixtures as well.
I found a small cylinder of “Maple Garlic Seasoning,” which sounded pretty interesting to me. I bought a bit to use as a rub, the next time I make salmon for dinner.
By the checkout counter, there were small bags of candied ginger slices. I ended up getting a small bag of the darker ones for Liz.
Justin insisted I take a whiff of the white truffle salt, and let me tell you: Wow! This thing smelled incredible, and I can only imagine what it would taste like over some eggs, or used with an omelet. I went back to this guy two or three times, deterred by the price tag (it was $17 for the smaller 2.4 oz bottle), but pulled back each time by the aroma.
I also ended up getting a small bit of Saigon Cinnamon, at Justin’s suggestion. Not sure what I’ll do with it (maybe use it on some french toast), but it did smell (and taste) fantastic. After I placed my order, the guy working at the shop gave me a small pinch to taste, encouraging me to do so.
After our purchases, Justin and I walked a few blocks around the corner and landed ourselves at Old Town Ale House. I’d never been before, but it was described to me as a dive bar… and that is by far a very accurate description. More than that, it’s a very Chicago dive bar with a great deal of history.
Let me tell you – there is no greater distance than the smell between The Spice House and Old Town Ale House. While only separated by a few blocks, the olfactory divide between both locations is immense. Maybe it was just me having heightened senses from being around spices beforehand, but by the time we settled in with our drinks at the Ale House… it smelled like I was sitting in a locker room, where someone had peed on the floor.
A bit of the famous artwork adorning the walls. There’s a great deal of NSFW stuff on the walls here, so if you’re curious to see the naked paintings of prominent politicians… you’ll just have to come here yourself.
Justin and I spent a good while catching up, and doing our normal geeking out talk. The normal topics – work life, tech stuff, trying to learn AngularJS, poetry, writing, and the things we do in our off hours.
Justin was really singing the praises of a new app he had gotten into, called Ginko – and we talked a lot about to-do lists, tracking progress on various areas of our lives, etc. I found out that he’s been trying to limit his computer screen time in his after-work hours… and trying to spend more time out and about. It’s funny in that I’m trying to get more computer screen time when I can, lately.
Fun night chatting and catching up. With the holidays and all the house stuff lately, it’s been ages since I’ve really hung out with anyone in a social way… so it’s nice to have gotten in a night like this – full of spices, beer, and good conversations.