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May 7, 2004

Get a Life

It's not that I don't understand spring fever. In fact, I have a case of it right now. Chicago winters are, in a word, gray, and at the first sign of fuchsia tulips on the quads (or 50 degree weather), I am more than ready to whip out the flip-flops and sunglasses. I love walking around campus when everyone has shed his or her drab pea coat and replaced it with scantier, more colorful wear. But this week, you will notice people showing even more skin than anticipated.

Underwear as outerwear, wings made of paper plates, and bedding all make appearances in the ensembles of U of C kids these days. Did I somehow miss the portion of the May Vogue that claimed Cupid-wear is really hot right now? No, no—welcome to Scav Hunt, the University of Chicago tradition that I have yet to wrap my head around. My problem is not that I don't get Scav Hunt in theory or that I disapprove of absurdity; rather, I despise the fact that it is portrayed as THE time of the year when U of C kids are capable of having fun. Does that make anyone else want to vomit? I'd like to think we're all capable of enjoying ourselves a little more frequently than that—at least twice a year, right?

Well, here I come to save the day. I have found another way to commemorate spring that will appeal to Scav Hunters and Scav Haters alike. Who honestly doesn't like ice cream? The phrase "ice cream" doesn't even begin to explain what you get at The Original Rainbow Cone, though. Anyone who has been to Taste of Chicago might remember this as the stand with the really long line—and with good reason. A Rainbow Cone is an amalgam of chocolate, strawberry, Palmer House (cherry and walnut), and pistachio ice cream, as well as orange sherbet. I must admit that I was a little skeptical at first, but one taste proved me horribly wrong. Each flavor is delicious, and the combination is surprisingly wonderful. Located on 92nd Street and Western (right here on the South Side), The Original Rainbow Cone has been serving up its specialty for almost 80 years, and you would be wise to taste it for yourself while the lines are short and the weather is still mild.

As color returns to the University, take a trip to this storefront for a bright, summery treat. Enjoy a nice car ride with the windows down and the music up (or the music down, if you are lame like me and have Hilary Duff in your CD player). If you are so lucky, celebrate Scav Hunt victory with a Rainbow Cake. After all, like Scav Hunt, The Original Rainbow Cone is a crazy, daring Chicago tradition. In the case of this dazzling ice cream, though, you can enjoy it more than once a year, and everybody is a winner.

Address: 9233 South Western Avenue or 225 South Canal Street

Phone: (773) 237-7075

Hours: Seasonal

Directions:

Via CTA: CTA bus #55 bus Garfield Westbound to Garfield and Western. Transfer to Cx49 (CTA) Western Express Southbound to 91st and Western. Walk one block south. Store will be on the left.

Via Car: 90/94 East. Exit #62 onto S. Lafayette Avenue. Turn right from South Lafayette onto 95th Street. Turn right onto Western Avenue. Located at the northeast corner of 92nd and Western.

Read more info and raves on www.metromix.com and www.citysearch.com.