Traditions are good. They remind us of our past as we move toward the future. One of our traditions here at Gapers Block is our annual Top Tens feature — group lists on Chicago-specific topics, and a bunch of personal top 10s from individual staffers. And, in case you were curious, here are links to our lists in 2003 and 2004.) Happy new year!
Top 10 things we'd like to see City Hall try to ban:
1. Bad manners.
3. Trucker Hats (the "Beat It" jacket of the Aughts).
4. Cell phones the El.
5. Gaucho pants.
6. Exiting busses through the front door when people are waiting to board.
8. Hummers, and I mean the car.
9. The guy that plays the violin in the United Terminal at O'Hare.
10. Bad street musicians.
Top 10 local restaurant trends:
1. Tasting Menus.
2. The triumphant return of encased meats!
3. Food as art.
4. Nushi (sushi eaten off of a nude woman).
5. Fruit/flavor-infused butter.
6. "Authentic" cuisine.
7. Small plates.
10. No smoking. (Say what you want about bars, but this is a big win for restaurants.)
Top 10 headlines we'd like to see in 2006:
1. CTA sez: We Were Just Messing with You
2. Sox Win Series! Again!
3. Chicago Homicides Hit All-Time New Low: 0
4. City Schools Overflowing with Cash, Teachers, Resources
5. Macy Corp. Decides to Keep Marshall Field's Name
6. Oprah Gives Up Show & Magazine; Begins Reclusive Life Outside the Public Eye
7. Wal-Greens covers entire neighborhood of Avondale with stores; Staples and CVS say "We're Taking Lakeview"
8. The Berghoff to Stay Open!
9. Lake Michigan: Clean as a Whistle
10. The Onion: Illinois Governors Debate Hairstyles, Hairstylists; Judy Barr-Topinka and Blago Compete on "No Balding" Platform
Top 10 free places to view the skyline:
1. The parking garage at North and Sheffield (free if you can get your parking validated).
2. The Dominick's parking lot at 1340 S. Canal St. provides a gorgeous view of the Loop from the south.
3. The bridge over the river at North Avenue.
4. On 90/94 Eastbound, just after North Avenue or so.
5. While watching the Outdoor Film Festival, turning back around during the movie and seeing all the buildings lit up against the darkness of Grant Park.
6. In front of the Adler Planetarium at night.
7. Chicago Avenue bridge over 90/94 between Racine and Elizabeth.
8. Promontory Point in Hyde Park.
9. Most any building's outdoor area at UIC, but the Behavioral Sciences Building's outdoor stairs in particular.
10. On the Orange Line returning from Midway. Makes me happy every time.
Top 10 reasons it's great not to have a car in the city:
1. You always have an excuse for being late: Blame the CTA!
2. No freakin' $50 parking tickets for "street cleaning."
3. No dragging your lawn furniture into the street to "save your space."
4. Three bucks a gallon.
5. Apartments are expensive enough without having to increase the expense by renting a parking spot, too.
6. You never have to visit the Circle of Hell known as Auto Pound #6 at 701 N. Sacramento Avenue.
7. Never, ever have to worry about finding windows smashed and stereos ripped out.
8. You never have to negotiate past road construction on a narrow street with a bus coming in the other direction.
9. Sexy eye contact on the crowded El.
10. You never have to find a parking spot in Lakeview.
Top 10 places to meet people you'd like to make out with:
1. Strangely enough: Internet.
2. SushiSamba Rio — their waitstaff is ridiculously goodlooking.
4. Starbucks at 444 N. Michigan.
6. Tender Tuesdays @ Danny's.
7. Le Passage.
8. Mother's on Division.
9. Duffy's On Diversey.
10. Basically any place featured in Chicago Scene magazine.
Top 10 places to warm up:
1. Back in bed.
2. Any of the conservatories, humid heaven!
3. The Chicago Cultural Center — it's free and warm, and there's enough to keep your eyes busy before heading back out into the cold.
4. Harold Washington Library — specifically the top-floor atrium. You forget it's winter there.
5. The nearest bookstore.
6. Any hotel lobby. Clean bathrooms. Cushy chairs. And if you're clean and polite you can be ignored for an hour or two.
7. The Billy Goat under Michigan Avenue. $4 horny goat drinks will warm you up fast!
8. Marshall Fields is always at least 180 degrees.
10. Pho 777.
Top 10 best places for free wifi:
1. Metropolis Coffee.
2. Swim Cafe (home of the Sausage and Cheese Scone).
3. Murray's, a Northwest Side cop bar extraordinaire.
4. The Grind Cafe.
5. Any Chicago Public Library.
6. Michigan Avenue Apple Store.
7. Chicago Cultural Center.
8. Pause Cafe.
9. Millennium Park.
10. My house.
Top 10 Chicago bloggers we wish we knew (but don't):
1. Golden Rule Jones
2. Pete Lit
3. A Daily Dose of Architecture
4. Mayor Willey's Elburn Web Log (I realize Elburn is way outside Chicago, but I just love the notes-from-a-small-town-fending-off-suburban-sprawl feel of this blog. And he's listed in Chicagobloggers! Last stop of the Metra Union Pacific West Line. -Alice)
5. Bloggy McBlogalot
7. The Place Where We Live
8. House in Progress
9. Chicago Uncommon
10. One Good Thing
Top Ten Things We Wished We'd Registered For
Shylo Bisnett & Brian Sobolak
1. Ricki Lake-Jenny Jones salt-and-pepper shakers
2. Mr. Pibb and Red Vines (crazy delicious!)
3. A decent corkscrew
4. A set of kicky seasonal flags
5. An embosser
6. The Official 2006 Jared Fogle Pin-Up calendar
7. Matching holiday sweaters (for our xmas photo!)
8. Master bedroom duvet
9. Denise Richards' complete body of work
10. A massive brick of premium Turkish hashish
Top Ten Things I've Learned from Being in a Book Club
10. There are few things cooler than listening to people talk about books like they are the most important things in the world.
9. Reading about 100+ heat in 100+ heat is not the most comforting activity.
8. It's OK if you haven't finished the book yet. No one gets flogged.
7. In a large group, there will always be someone who refuses to respect the raised hand.
6. You know that book that you don't think you'd have any connection to? You might actually love it.
5. Guest authors are great. If you cry in their presence, they may give you amazing things.
4. There are people out there who hate the book that you love most.
3. You're not allowed to tell these people that they're wrong.
2. Saul Bellow is really long-winded.
1. Sometimes even the moderator doesn't know what the ending means.
Top Ten List of Lists from McSweeney's Lists (of the 2005 Lists)
10. Things I'd Probably Say If the Bush Administration Were Just a Weekly TV Show and I Were a Regular Viewer.
9. Current Football Players If They Decided to Spell Their Last Name Like Brett Favre
8. Selected Passages From the Bible: The King (Fred) Phelps Version.
7. COMMENTS OVERHEARD AT A BRAINSTORMING MEETING BETWEEN TED NUGENT AND THE EDITORS OF GOURMET MAGAZINE WHERE THEY WERE DISCUSSING THE UPCOMING BOOK GOURMET MAGAZINE'S VEGAN COOKING WITH TED NUGENT.
6. State Songs, If They All Suggested the Apathy of Idaho's "Here We Have Idaho."
5. Things This One Girl Sitting Near Me in a Movie Theater Said Out Loud When One of the Characters Was Shown Pulling Into a Gas Station.
4. Errors in Communication Between My Hairdresser and Me, in the Form of What I Said and What He Heard.
3. What I Thought a Co-worker Meant When She Said "I Hope Things Don't Get Weird" After We Had Sex, and What She Really Meant, It Turns Out.
2. Play-by-Play of Classic Sports Rivalries If the Team Names Actually Represented the Combatants. And Also, Instead of Playing the Sport, They're Fighting to the Death.
1. Pickup Lines Used by Mario.
2004 WINNER: NEW MOVIE REVIEWS FROM EBERT & ROEPER
Top Ten Things I Cooked in 2005
9. Appetizers fit for feminists.
8. Cheese enchiladas.
6. Jewish chicken soup.
5. Whole grilled fish stuffed with leeks.
4. Ajo Arriero.
3. Fish gravy.
2. Tomato sauce.
1. Brussels sprouts.
Top Ten things I'll miss about Chicago
(excluding friends and family, because those are a given)
10. Walking up and down Logan Boulevard in the spring, when everything is in bloom.
9. Watching the sun come up over the lake.
8. Getting to be a part of the GB staff since its inception. It's been an honor to work with such wonderful people.
7. Spending afternoons at the Harold Washington Library.
6. March Madness with my ladies. Go Illini!
5. Summerdance Wednesdays celebrating Chicago as the home of House music.
4. My wonderful teachers and classes at Yoga Circle.
3. The amazing array of food and cuisines available throughout the city.
2. Summer afternoons spent drinking vodka and lemonade by the fountain in Wicker Park.
1. Dancing all night at loft parties with great friends.
Top 10 Chain Stores I'd Rather Were Opening in Wicker Park Instead of Urban Outfitters
10. White Castle
9. Spencer Gifts
8. 1 Potato 2
7. Wet Seal
3. The Sharper Image
2. Harold's Chicken
Top Ten Reasons I'm Glad I Moved Back to Chicago from NYC This Year
1. Daley would NEVER let a transit strike happen on his watch.
2. Pizza — no one does pizza like Chicago does pizza.
3. I can live alone in a good neighborhood without spending half my salary on rent, living in a ten-by-ten cube or sharing a bathroom with five other people.
4. I would have been very upset to not be in Chicago for the White Sox's World Series win. I mean, really upset.
5. The general lack of attitude here. I prefer my soy lattes WITHOUT the eyerolls, okay thanks NYC.
6. Walking down Chicago streets doesn't make me gag from the putrid trash smells. Viva la alleyways for trash collecting!
7. Two Words: Hot. Doug's.
8. No longer is a trip to Target a whole afternoon process.
9. Two More Words: Old. Style.
10. Having my NYC friends visit me and tell me what a great city Chicago is, to which I reply, "I know. It's the best."
Top 10 Places I loved eating at in 2005
1. Tanoshii - Sushi Mike lords over the bar here and you will be thankful he does.
2. Karyn's Cooked - Big ups to PJ Chmiel for alerting me that Karyn's now had a non-raw restaurant. Great meals here.
3. Tombo Kitchen - if I want to do sushi a little less hectic, cheaper and laid back, Tombo is the place to go.
4. The Hopleaf - probably the one place I ate at this year more than any others. Solid upscale bar food but with humble leanings.
5. The HuffenCoopers - while not a real restaurant, co-founder Andrew and his significant other Cinnamon (who you know from One Good Meal) crank out some of the best dinners I've had. Pay close attention to One Good Meal, that stuff is solid.
6. Hilary's Urban Eatery - while many gor for the brunch, we go for the dinner. I've had all of the fish courses and they are excellent.
7. Santullo's - NY style pizza at its best and now my favourite in the city. Sorry, Chicago Style.
8. The Handlebar - an old standby and a good place for fellow bikers.
9. Tie between Southport Lanes/Blue Bayou - they're close and they both have good ol' American at a a few notches above decent. Southport Lanes has some of the best damn fries in the city.
10. Coobah - perhaps an underrated or little known spot for brunch but hands down the best brunch place for me this year. Their Crab Cakes Benedict and their Coobah Cakes are made with blue corn meal and other spanish ingredients elevate typical dishes.
Top 10 Restaurants That Were "New to Me" in 2005
10. Cosi (A national chain, yes, but their bread is addictive.)
9. Hai Yen (7 courses of beef that won't give you the sweats.)
8. Ethiopian Diamond (The plentiful delicious food makes up for the laid back service.)
7. Nuevo Leon / Rique's (The first for when I can get to Pilsen, the second for when I can't.)
6. Victory's Banner (The best french toast in town.)
5. Charlie's Ale House (Great turkey burger, always nice waitstaff.)
4. The Saloon (Steak!)
3. Turquoise Caf� (Turkish food, cheap.)
2. Hot Doug's (Encased Meats = Heaven)
1. Tanoshii (All hail Sushi Mike!)
Ten Closings in 2005
• Terra Museuem of American Art
• Lakeview Lounge
• Ann Sather Wicker Park
• City News Service
• Demon Dogs
• Trader Vic's
• John M. Smyth Homemakers
• The Honeysuckle Shop
• Rubens Baby Factory
Top Ten Experiences of My First 15 months in Chicago
1. Selling our car on Craig's List.
2. Sitting on the concrete steps facing Lake Michigan and watching the water.
3. Wandering through the Maxwell Street Market, where they sell everything from used power tools to tomatoes, but focusing on the food stands, and tasting a gordita for the first time.
4. Taking the Chicago Architecture Foundation's tour of downtown Tiffany installations, which includes the vaulted art glass ceiling at the State Street Marshall Fields, and which I'd never noticed before.
5. Bicycling to see Ozomatli at the Folk and Roots Festival.
6. Celebrating the International Year of Physics by going to a half-dozen talks on cosmology (sponsored by the Illinois Humanities Council) that I could actually understand.
7. Discovering all the wonderful Middle-Eastern places around Kedzie and Lawrence in Albany Park, especially the Nazareth sweet shop.
8. Listening to Three Brothers and a Mother (Kurt Elling, Jon Hendricks, Mark Murphy, and Sheila Jordan) in Millennium Park, free!
9. Strolling along Devon Avenue, peering into sari shop windows, browsing in grocery stores, and finally choosing from among the myriad dinner options.
10. Trudging home from the El in the first big snow of the season.
My Top 10 Dining Experiences of 2005
1. Afghan Restaurant
2. Russian Teatime
3. Venus Cypriot Restaurant
4. Nuevo Leon
5. Real de Catorce
6. Ed's Potsticker House
7. Noon o Kabab
8. Vien Dong
9. Lao Sze Chuan
10. Angelina's Ristorante
Ten of My Favorite Albums from 2005
• Andrew Bird - The Mysterious Production of Eggs
• Girls Aloud - Chemistry
• Gorillaz - Demon Days
• LCD Soundsystem - s/t
• Mountain Goats - Sunset Tree
• The National - Alligator
• Rachel Stevens - Come and Get It
• Sufjan Stevens - Illinois
• Lee Ann Womack - There's More Where That Came From
• various artists - One Kiss Can Lead To Another: Girl Group Sounds Lost & Found
Top Ten Google Search Trends of 2005
(selected from Google Zeitgeist http://www.google.com/press/zeitgeist.html)
by Michelle Taransky
9. courtney love pregnant
8. kingdom of heaven
7. lohan upset
6. dr. phil
4. britney spears sue
3. cheap gas
2. American flag
1. love poems
Got a Top Ten list of your own?
We'd love to see it! Post it now over in Fuel.