Katie and I have a started a tradition of going to Chicago for Christkindl Market with our cousins, Matt and Amanda, Justin and Kelly. What is Christkindle Market?
It's a German festival at Daley plaza where they serve brats, potato pancakes, and Glühwein (a traditional hot spiced wine). Let me set the stage for you. First - Chicago. It's certainly called the Windy City for a reason. The elements are nothing to take lightly. I was decked out in my Mountain Hardwear coat and I had three sweaters on. On this particular year, the snow was in that frozen state on the top of some of the vendors' tents. But when the wind gusted, it ripped the snow off and blew it right over the top of the market.
At the market, lines are long for the food. We had six in our party - plus Sorin, but he wasn't standing in line. Matt went to get the brats: everyone was getting to the front of the line asking for one or two - Matt gets up there and asks for 7 regular and three with kraut. They had to give him a box to carry the load - $41 worth of sausage. Justin went for the potato pancakes. These are the hardest to fully describe - crusty on the outside and perfectly fluffy in the inside, a delicious component to the meal. We had 3 plates each with 3 cakes and applesauce on the side. Finally the Glühwein: Katie and Amanda went for the hot spiced wine and 2 hot chocolates. The best moment of Christkindl Market is that point where it feels like all your body heat has been sucked off your body and the cold air is inescapable. But the mug of Glühwein is on it's way over to the table and set before you. We toast to friends and drink back that first sip of the warm wine as it seeps down your throat and warms your insides.
Traditions are fun. Katie and I started this in 2006 with Matt and Amanda. In 2007 we invited Justin and Kelly. And this year we decided to bring Sorin which was a great experience. We had him completely bundled up in a snowsuit and then in the Snugli all day. We wrapped a blanket around his head to block some wind and he handled the elements as well as we did.