Friday, February 27, 2009

A Taste of Chicago at the Borgata

"In a setting straight from the Tuscan Village of San Gimignano, complete with cobblestone walkways, fountains and an open-air setting and offering visitors a bit of Renaissance Italy in the sunny Southwest," the Borgata is a shopping experience.

So reads the informational brochure that we found to accompany our introductiion to the Borgata.

The detail of the roof tiles helps create the feeling of sitting in a piazza watching people. Today was a little different from the typical shopping excursion.

Today was Farmers' Market Day. Each week, Fridays at the Borgata presents a wide array of local vendors featuring fresh produce, unique gift items, artisan breads and much more!

Today we met James. But before we even saw James, we saw the beautiful red, yellow, and blue umbrella. And two words--Vienna Beef. With those two words, we knew we were in for a special treat. Vienna Beef means hot dogs. Oh, I know there is Polish sausage, knockwurst, bratwurst, and deli meats among other products, but it is the hot dog that is the star of the cast.

But did James have the mustard, the neon green relish, the sport peppers, the pickles wedges, the tomatoes chunks, the onions, the celery salt, and, finally, the poppy seed bun? Never fear. This was the real thing--the Chicago dog. Anyone asking for catsup would be encouraged to avoid using it. He would reluctantly show them the container--and would even provide mayonnaise for anyone asking for that, but he could not watch anyone put either of these condiments on the beautiful jumbo hot dogs. Only mustard on the Chicago dog.

Among the many people enjoying the taste of the Windy City were Jesse and my (Chuck's) cousin Raina,

Beverly (right, my grandmother's sister's daughter-in-law) and her friend Jean,

and my aunt Evelyn, all from Phoenix or Scottsdale.

Kate purchased some Fugi apples, tomatoes, and large, beautiful sweet peppers from the variety of fruits and vegetables on the long tables.

The afternoon was topped off with live music from 4pm - 7pm, but before Doc and Gal arrived, the kettle korn man arrived. This was a new food selection for me. With a propane-generated flame, the maker put oil, popcorn, salt, and sugar into the large "popper" shown in the photo. As the popcorn began to pop, the fellow used a small paddle to stir it.

With popping completed, the fellow turned the popper to drop the popcorn into a large bowl. Within moments, the popcorn was in a large bag, and within even fewer moments the bag was on our table and open.

The combination of sweetness and saltiness resulted in a soon-emptied bag.

Doc and Gal arrived with speakers, amplifiers, and computerized rhythm sections to top off the afternoon.

Doc played the guitar and Gal did the vocals--or did Gal play the guitar and Doc do the vocals? I don't know, but I know I enjoyed three Chicago hot dogs on a gorgeous afternoon with friends.

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