What Happens When You Tip Generously in America


I had just finished quite possibly the best pizza ever made, a deep pan with a crust that was like the kind of stuff you’d make in food tech at secondary school, all buttery and crumbly but it still tied in perfectly with the mix of cheese and tomato and meats that had been mushed together to make the filling.  It was more pie than pizza, it was glorious.  Lou Malnati’s is where you go to eat if you’re ever in Chicago.

Paying up I gave a $20 tip, one of the things of being by yourself on holiday is that Chicagosome of the places I’ve been to haven’t been able to deal with it.  They couldn’t have a conversation without coming across incredibly insincere or the conversation being startlingly awkward, though I’m probably 90% to blame for when that’s happened.  The guys working the bar at Lou Malnati’s had been interesting, funny and genuine all while being rushed off their feet because everyone in the world seemed to want to come and eat there, they EARNED that tip.

This seems to be a bit of a rarity though because Steve who had been serving me was massively chuffed about it and wanted to buy me a shot.  I pondered.  The issue is that I don’t really know what a ‘good’ shot is, years of drinking to get drunk nights out and a lack of imagination mean that I’ve generally been very mono-swig-ual when it comes to spirits.

“Sambuca please”

I had forgotten an important element that differs America from Britain though, in Britain we have legally enforced spirit measurements which bars follow to the letter.  You get your 25mls and we measure it out to the centi-litre, around the country leaflets exist detailing just how many units you’ll get from your booze thanks to these countrywide accepted limits.

In America, they just pour it in and let’s have a great night.  Steve came back with what I would have called a treble back home. I braced myself and managed to down it in one followed by a glass of water that I’d asked for. Me and my new best pal Steve said our goodbyes, a guy next to me was having his own personal 12 inch pizza revelation as I left, the circle of life continued.

I flipping loved Chicago.

The food, the views, the people, even the tourists staying at the hostel seemed friendlier than any of the ones I’d been to at that point.  Conversations were had with a guy who claimed to be a professor of engineering and believed that 9/11 was an inside job (I have a list of videos to watch about it when I get home), an unplanned night out was had with a group of people spanning from Scotland to New Zealand.

Of all the places I’ve been Chicago was the best as far as I’m concerned.  Potentially Boston can make a good shout for the history buffs and how it was just generally pretty chill, but in terms of enjoyment on my hols, Chicago wins all the money in my pocket (37 cents, I gave the rest to Steve).

This blog post was written by Andy from www.distantcorners.net, and re-posted with permission. Picture also taken by Andy! 

If you want to experience Eastern USA like you’ve never seen it before, check out our tour here


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