The last story you’ll ever need to read on the Cronut, wherein the hybrid pastry is aligned with the Chevy Volt, which is also a hybrid. (Get it?) Check out my latest for Chevrolet. http://spr.ly/fmcc258
Moooove over, classic steakhouse! Check out my latest for Chevy on modern takes on the beloved carnivorous institution, now with vegan options. http://spr.ly/fm250
How one Chevrolet is bringing Sonic youth to a couples’ 44-year marriage. Check out my latest for Chevy Culture. http://spr.ly/fmcc216
Car detective Keith Ingersoll reunites people with their long lost cars. He told me all about his quest in my latest for Chevy’s lifestyle and culture website. http://spr.ly/fmcc210
Last weekend was the annual The Gathering, a miraculous magnet for Insane Clown Posse fans, aka juggalos and juggaletttes, held in Cave-in-Rock, Illinois, at Hog Rock. I did not attend the fest, but I’ve been absorbing all that was from afar. The images, they abound.
I recently discovered the poetry of ICP (like these lyrics, to “Miracles” — “Music is a lot like love, it’s all a feeling/And it fills the room, from the floor to the ceiling/I see miracles all around me/Stop and look around, it’s all astounding/Water, fire, air and dirt/Fucking magnets, how do they work?”) and that, coupled with my love of subcultures, led me to an ICP wrestling match in Detroit last winter.
There, at St. Andrew’s Hall, Faygo was sprayed, friends were made, a one-legged man won a wrestling match and oh so much more.
One day, maybe, I’ll make it down to Hog Rock.
But until then, I’ll have to settle for rounding up tweets and photos online.
Here are some favorites:
@keepitwolfson “Violent J looks like a cross between Louis CK and Mini Me”
@automatikben “In the talent portion of the Miss Jugalette contest one of the girls rolled a joint.” … “The girl who blew fireballs and had a bleached predator haircut ended up winning.”
@Andrewbluhhd420 “Theres a 5 day Jugalo party going on.I missed it last year thats only cuz my gf said she was going to have our bby and shed hit me w/a bat”
@SAWFAN666 “WAIT SHOLD MY JUGALO NAME B HAM BALLS OR HAM BALLZ”
The other night, I had one of the more enjoyable dinner I’ve had recently, thanks to great food, fabulous company and a dinner series that, until then, I hadn’t been aware of: The Chicago Gourmet Wine & Spirits Dinner Series.
The meal was at South Water Kitchen, and Chef Roger Waysock led us through a delicious dinner of “fire and ice,” pairing hot/spicy with cool counterparts. As an added bonus, Waysock, himself, came out and introduced each course, explaining the inspiration behind it. Through the five, wine-paired courses (for $55), we cursed ourselves for having walked by South Water so many times without ever stopping in for dinner.
Set at a long table, we relished the meal with a group of people we’d never met. As it turns out, that was one of the highlights. Over a refreshing watermelon carpaccio with habanero vinaigrette, we began chatting with our neighbor, a lovely woman who samples wine dinners across town, solo. Over the smoky bourbon braised pork belly with peach BBQ glaze, she told us that for her birthday last year, her husband told her that he’d treat her to any wine dinner in town she wanted to go to until her next birthday. “He didn’t know how seriously I’d take him,” she winked. Over the fresh-as-an-ocean ancho seared tuna with pickled jalapeño and jicama slaw, she explained that he never accompanies her, because the only restaurant he likes is Red Lobster (and who doesn’t love those Cheddar Bay biscuits?). Over the tenderest of tender grilled beef tenderloin with barley risotto, we asked if, among her wine dinners, she would recommend a place for a special upcoming 70th birthday celebration we’re planning. She couldn’t say enough about Wildfire. “Heavy pours!” she smiled. And over an oh-so-craveable ginger flan with honey poached pear, we considered asking her to be our adoptive grandmother.
Group dinners are a funny thing. You never know who you’ll be seated with, and that can be a very good or a rather uncomfortable thing. That night, we won the lottery with our adventurous dinner companion, discovering a wonderful restaurant in the process.
Every year, people all across Chicago get excited for Restaurant Week, when they take advantage of multi-course menus set at low prices (and, in my experience, suffer sub-par service and food, compared to the usual full-price offerings, in the process). I’m pretty happy to have discovered the Chicago Gourmet Dinner Series, where you get all the perks of Restaurant Week (great prices and multi-course meals, plus interacting with chefs and the potential to meet new and interesting people), without the drawbacks (crowds, impossible reservations, cynical servers convinced Restaurant Week diners don’t tip, etc). Following my South Water experience, I’d recommend it to anyone.
Plus, the dinner series means that Chicago Gourmet, itself, is just around the corner (September 28 and 29), and that, to me, is on par with Christmas. But better, because there’s no threat of fruitcake. (Unless it’s carbonated fruit cake, or fruit cake cronuts or some such thing.)
To whet your whistle, here are photos from last year’s Chicago Gourmet.
If you’re interested in tasting what some of Chicago’s great chefs are up to, and meeting potential adoptive grandmothers, here are the upcoming Chicago Gourmet dinners:
A five-course farm-to-table meal at Quay, July 25, $65.
Lockwood, Aug. 8
Deca Restaurant & Bar at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago, August 14
Hearty Boys, August 28
Vermilion , Sept 25