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Having eaten my weight in wood-roasted Berkshire pig skin on Saturday, my body went on metabolic recess yesterday, and by early evening I realized that I hadn't put anything inside myself except a pot of coffee. By 8 PM, returning from an O'Hare pickup, I started to feel woozy, and my passenger and I both recognized a need for some kind of giant salad. What to do? I made a quick SOS to Gary Wiviott and without hesitation he directed me off the expressway to Jack's Restaurant in Skokie, a time-honored Jewish-skewing diner that by some reports from longtime fans is now a pale shadow of its former all-night glory thanks to the smoking ban.
Wiviott had very specific instructions. We were to order the Jack's chef salad, but order it chopped, with the addition of country-style slab bacon. "You must say, 'I want the thick bacon,' or you won't like it," he said.
And he was right: this giant tureen was filled with wan iceberg lettuce, tomato, cucumber, a sliced hard-boiled egg, and enough processed deli meat and cheese to obviate the greenery, such as it was. But the bacon, deep-fried and superthick, added a toothy texture that made the thing quite edible, if not nearly the gut scrubber I was looking for.
Nothing but prairie grass and pine cones for me today.
Jack's Restaurant, 5201 W. Touhy, Skokie, 847-674-5532