I was in the kitchen making breakfast for the kids when my wife came in with an alarmed look on her face.

“Charlie Trotter died.”


The name stalled in my head, it took me a moment to process the news. And then I was hit with a wave of shock: Charlie Trotter, the boyish Chicago chef whose smiling face grinned out at me from three or four cookbooks in my collection. More

Dawg Days

My father — born on the upper peninsula of Michigan — grew up, among other places, in the Chicago suburb of Evanston. I’ve always felt an affinity and paternal loyalty for the Windy City. Plus, they’ve got Wrigley Field, Charlie Trotter and Rick Bayless, and produced my favorite band, Wilco, and the coolest president ever! And then, of course, there’s the Chicago dog.

I grew up with a Chicago-style hot dog joint named Flooky’s down the street. I had a friend who lived right behind it. I sort of took a good hot dog for granted. More