I’m a dork.
I know it.
I indulge in it.
I’ve enjoyed public radio since I was about 20.
National Public Radio and its local affiliate stations produce amazing shows that have greater depth than many sound-bite ridden news programs you get through the old boob tube, paper or electronic news outlets.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve found myself delivering our beer snacks to stores and bars during the afternoon and listening to an amazing show called Afternoon Shift with Rick Kogan on WBEZ. It’s been around for several months now, and if you haven’t caught it, I’d highly recommend it.
Despite living in Chicago for over ten years, I lack the knowledge that many native Chicagoans inherently possess. The combination of in-depth coverage and deep Chicago knowledge is why Rick Kogan’s show has me smitten.
There seems to be this underworld of Chicago knowledge that can only be tapped into if you’ve lived here your entire life; if you have roots that run deep in these neighborhoods, you have access to it. I’ve met a few people that can channel this knowledge and help impart wisdom onto us non-natives.
Rick Kogan is one such individual. Continue reading
I’m always skeptical of hype. Most people I know are skeptical of hype. Occasionally I give in and usually get burned.
For me, it’s usually with a new movie that “you’ve gotta see” or a restaurant that “is the most amazing new restaurant”. The last time I gave into hype regarding a restaurant, I left the place pissed off (see Integrity, In Four Acts of Food & Wine – and I still won’t name the place).
So, when a friend of mine tells me that the dinner he had at Little Goat Diner was “amaze-balls” – his words, not mine – I’m skeptical. I’ve heard many people in person and in the land of social media say how great the new restaurant is, which only made me more skeptical.
Last Saturday, the wifey and I thought we’d grab a quick glass of wine and some snacks at a newly opened bar by our house.
I was in the mood for a big red wine. Luckily, this intimate bar focuses on wine, charcuterie, cheese, and has a smattering of carefully selected craft beer and a couple signature cocktails.
Apparently, everyone else wanted to do the same thing, at the same bar, at the same time. It was going to be at least a 30-minute wait to get a seat at the bar or a table.
Instead of waiting, we decided to go to another bar that had no wait, where we could get some dinner. There was a good chance we would return to our original spot afterwards for a late-night glass of wine.
At the pub, I put down some mediocre fish and chips with a cab/shiraz blend. Not the greatest pairing, but damnit I wanted some red wine.
Like many places, this Chicago pub had no real personality and could have just as easily been in Pittsburg. It wasn’t bad, but I would honestly forget the place ever existed if I hadn’t written this blog post.
A night at a local bar entitled Malort Night 2: The Cheap Beer Festival. There is room in this man’s heart for a night like that. Honest & forthright.
A tasty dinner where the bartender goes above & beyond in fixing a mistake that we, the patrons, made. That’s service and integrity.
A large, gorgeously decorated, upper-end restaurant, with failed service, food that was overpriced and flavor combos that were meh. How does this happen?
A ridiculously tasty Bloody Mary. Beer & customers that are understood by its bartender. Food that is reasonably priced & executed with precision. Period.
What do these four experiences have in common? They all occurred over the last week at dining establishments and seemed to underscore what integrity is or is not. Continue reading