The Bushel ‘n Peck

The Bushel ‘n Peck

This morning, the wedding over, my family left Concord, where we’d been staying.  Some of us headed to the airport, others out to Worcester for a final visit with my sister.  She took us to a locally famous deli, the Bushel ‘n Peck, where we bought sandwiches and said our good-byes.  My parents and younger sister’s family were headed back to Pennsylvania.  My husband and I were headed for the Berkshires, to kill a day or two before flying back to Chicago via Albany.

The deli was crowded, though its appearance was modest, on the verge of dumpy.  There were nine in our party. Counter staff took our orders abstractedly, without writing down a thing.  Customers came and went.  Sandwiches began appearing, were as quickly claimed.  Despite our efforts to convey to the cashier what we’d ordered, it never came right, and I’m pretty sure we ended up underpaying.  But we got the food, and it was yummy.

'The bomb' at Elsa's Bushel 'n Peck, © 2013 Celia Her City

‘The bomb.’  A delicious wrap made with prosciutto, seafood salad, and cheese.

I had a seafood wrap called ‘The bomb.’  As sandwiches go, it was a beauty.

The bomb was misnamed, because it went down easy.  It was filled with fresh seafood salad, prosciutto ham, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and mild cheese.  Everything about it was perfect—perfectly prepared and assembled, tightly wrapped, and every ingredient noticeably cold—a quality I look for when eating in a deli.

Elsa's Bushel 'n Peck: A memento, © 2013 Celia Her City

Photograph of Teddy Kennedy and Edward McCormack, Jr. with local businessmen; a handwritten note conveys the shock of JFK’s assassination.

On our way out, we noticed some vintage photographs on the walls.  We were deep in Kennedy territory.  This one memorialized the assassination of JFK.  A young Teddy Kennedy shakes hands with local businessmen, their sentiments telegraphed in a handwritten ‘Why?’  Meanwhile, Kennedy’s onetime rival, Edward McCormack, Jr, the nephew of a powerful speaker of the US House, stands by.  A poster of Audrey Hepburn in the background caught my eye.  Back then, too, she was idolized. . . . By now, of course, everyone in the picture has gone to their graves.

On Plymouth Court

On Plymouth Court

One of the funny things about the Loop is that it contains lots of streets that have an “out-of-the-way” feel.  The northernmost block of Plymouth Court, off Jackson, is this way.

It’s a backwater that the main currents of the city sweep past, unfrequented except for a valet loitering in the doorway of the Standard Club, waiting for something to do.  Waiting for important people who have business in the federal courts, chauffeured cars loiter, along with the occasional television crew.  Plymouth Court is the green room of politicians, lawyers, criminals: the class of people who make Chicago go.

The only notable thing on the block is this restaurant with its proud paint and retro sign.  It’s called The Plymouth, but it used to be Binyon’s, a very famous hangout that closed in the 90s.  I was too young to remember it, but I found this picture of what it looked like in the 1950s.

Someday I’d like to step in to the Plymouth and ascend to its rooftop deck for a drink.

Historical image courtesy of Chuckman’s Collection.