Chicago trip best enjoyed with new discoveries and old favorites

I’m alone right now.

My wife is out with our 20-year-old daughter, Emma, and Emma’s best friend Katie.

We’re in Chicago. Katie has an internship in Chicago, and Emma thought it would be fun to visit her. My wife thought it would be fun if we went with Emma, dropped her off at Katie’s and spent some time together in Chicago.

“Do you want to do that?” my wife asked.

“Do I get to go to the Billy Goat Tavern?” I asked.

“Yes,” my wife said.

“Then yes,” I said.

Even though I’m a St. Louis Cardinals fan, I’m not afraid to admit that I love Chicago. I particularly love Chicago in the summer.

For most of the winter, Chicago is basically one huge block of ice. Then summer rolls around and thaws everything out so people can see things again.

“Look, the Hancock Building. I knew it was around here somewhere,” a Chicago person might say in June.

The reason I’m alone right now is because my wife is with Emma and Katie getting some sort of hair thing done.

“I thought we were going to leave Emma and Katie alone,” I said.

“We are,” my wife said.

“I see,” I said, even though I didn’t see.

Apparently, the hair thing was Emma’s idea. She thought her mom might enjoy whatever the hair thing is.

I probably should know what the hair thing is, but I don’t care. I’m at that age where if I don’t have to care about something, I don’t.

What I do care about is that later, when my wife is back from her hair thing, we’re going to the Billy Goat Tavern for lunch. Well, I think for lunch. We might have lunch somewhere else, but that’s OK. We’re still going to the Billy Goat Tavern for beer.

I think that’s fair.

Besides, when we go to different places, we like to eat at different restaurants. And if you don’t know, there are a lot of restaurants in Chicago. Restaurants in Chicago are like Starbucks in Seattle. Even though there are also a lot of Starbucks in Chicago.

I’ve never understood why people who come from a Starbucks town would travel to another town and go to a Starbucks. I mean, I like Starbucks, but come on, branch out. Get a Latin-sized coffee somewhere else for a change.

On Thursday night, my wife wanted to go to Pizzeria Uno. My wife loves deep-dish pizza. I do not. But that’s OK — it’s pizza — so we walked down the block. Well, we tried to, but when the nice lady told us there would be a two-hour wait for a table, we decided that prime rib at a place called — follow me here — The Prime Rib sounded good.

And it was.

The real name of the place is Lawry’s The Prime Rib, and according to our waiter, it’s owned by the folks who make the seasoned salt. We had — again, follow me here — the prime rib. It was only amazing.

The funny thing is we just stumbled onto The Prime Rib. Earlier in the day, we walked past it, and I mentioned that it sounded good. It tasted better.

Sometimes our best discoveries are places we just wandered by. Tonight, we are going to a great Italian place called Volare Ristorante Italiano, which is Italian for “really, really amazing food.”

A couple of years ago, my wife and I walked past Volare, and I said, “That looks good.”

It tasted better.

Beyond that, our plans are fluid. On Saturday, we might take a boat tour around the city, and later my wife wants us to attend an Italian cooking class at a place called The Eataly. I’m not sure I’m crazy about the cooking class, but that’s OK.

I get to go to the Billy Goat Tavern.