Sunday, March 16, 2008


I am an Adventure Dining hypocrite. There. I said it. Unusual, unique, and innovative cuisine is all well and good except when it messes with my childhood memories. I came across this article from the Chicago Tribune about one of my recently reviewed restaurants, Klas Bohemian in Cicero Illinois. Still reeling from the fact that something so common place in my childhood (bohemian restaurants) is now museum worthy, I find that my favorite comfort food may morph into something completely unacceptable:

"But (the owner) isn't averse to tapping into the tastes of all nationalities. He said Cicero's cultural mix has inspired him to develop a new food fusion he calls "Czech-Mex." He hopes to incorporate it on his menu soon, but for now, only friends get to try the goulash tacos and duck enchiladas. "

He's just kidding, right?

I don't begrudge a person the opportunity to increase revenue, and I am aware that my single, annual visit to the place will not keep them in business, but Czech-Mex?!? This is a bastardization of bohemian cuisine that I don't think I can accept.

Cicero has already lost several other once common features of its psyche such as radical, extreme, segregating racism, and prevalent mafia ties. Gone are the days when no one of color dared cross the street dividing Cicero from Chicago, and when Chicago's WLS TV had it's own mafia reporter (a rather nervous and squeamish looking guy) regularly reporting on people that had been exploded in and across Chicagoland. Oh, I'm sure that racism and gang related activity are still common, they are just no longer the identifying features associated with Cicero.

The final stage of the grieving process is acceptance. With acceptance comes the realization that Bohemian food is everywhere and not confined solely to one Chicago suburb. Texas' Kolache Factory is rapidly expanding beyond the state boundaries and soon everyone may have access to this traditional Czech pastry. I have discovered listings for Czech restaurants in Atlanta and other large cities, and a huge encleave of Czech culture in Texas.

So for Cicero: Mafia and liver dumpling soup, out. Spanish speaking population and goulash tacos, apparently in.

For more on:
Cicero's colorful and openly sordid past

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