Archive for December, 2004

tsunamis and new year brings us closer together

although the tsunamis hit lands in the far away from here, we know there are many friends, colleagues, neighbors and acquantainces who are suffering losses and hurt of this natural disaster.

many communities are joining together to pool relief efforts. in chicago, i witnessed a meeting yesterday w/ leaders from the indonesian, indian and thai communities lead by a statement and speech by rev. jesse jackson, sr. after the tv news crew left, we sat down to talk about what needs to be done by our chicago communities to help those in need. medical and food demands are immediate, but the effects of this disaster are going to be long-lasting. these countries will need to rebuild entire regions, everything from the public infrastuctures to communities and economies.

families have been torn apart. thousands of children were victims, and i overheard a comment that we’ve lost a generation. of those who survived, they are now orphans. i know many americans will look to adopt these children, but that requires changes in immigration policies to expedite their entry and placement into homes.

most relief fund entities, such as the american red cross, doctors without borders and unicef (just to name a few) have deployed resources across the area and are looking mainly for monetary donations and volunteers. the money will help directly by providing funds for immediate expenses (e.g., travel for voluneers and medical supplies) while supporting local economies. for a list of other organization supporting disaster relief in southeast asia, check out the network for good, a resource for nonprofit organizations.

local environment and global weather is going to be greatly affected. i’m not an environmental expert, but the winds in chicago last night and this unusually warm weather are concerning.

anyway, a few thoughts for the new year. this is a moment in history not to be forgotten, as we’ll feel the effects for years to come.

peace & joy this holiday season…

other resources include: bloggers without borders, lost remote, metroblogging bangkok and tsunami help.

A good meal: Hopleaf

On Sunday when we got back from Mississippi we were waiting for our luggage at Midway and Erica and I displayed the frightening trend we’ve had lately for thinking the same thing at the same time. “I was thinking we could drop my stuff off at my house and then go eat at…” “Hopleaf!” “Yeah!”

Hopleaf is right around the corner from Erica’s house so we were eating there a lot in the fall and drinking a lot of lambics (Belgian fruit beers). For a long time the Hopleaf has been known for their wide selection of beers (a half-a-jillion on tap, all served in specialized glassware) but I was always put off from visiting because the bar was a tiny, loud smoke-filled room. But fairly recently they greatly expanded the bar and added an upstairs and a smoke-free dining area in the back.

On Sunday night the front room was, as always, tiny, loud and smoke-filled. But the back room was quiet, with plenty of open tables. We decided to take a detour from our usual lambics to try one of the drinks under the “warmers” section of the menu. We got a bottle of Quelque Chose, a cherry beer from Canada that’s served warm. Tart and sweet and warming.

I usually get the ham-and-cheese sandwich, which comes with frites, but Sunday I decided to branch out on the menu and get the porkchop and Erica got the roast chicken. Neither came with frites, so we got them as a side. You have to have frites!

Erica’s chicken wasn’t perfect — a great flavor and moist, but a little tough. My porkchop, though, was great. Super thick and seared on the outside, but tender and flavorful all the way through.

Our Quelque Chose ran out just as we were getting our entrees, so we decided to try the other item in the “warmers” section: gl

Slowly but surely falling back in love…

I moved to Chicago nearly 7 years ago from Houston knowing only one poor soul. Completely blind, I packed up my car and a Uhaul, in search of a better job and metropolitan trappings. The feeling I got the first night, sitting in my new Wicker Park pad was that of desperate panic. I remember calling my mom in tears, “All I want is coffee and cigarettes and I don’t even know if I’m supposed to turn left or right out my front door to find a store!” It was pathetic. I got a job as a designer at Sidewalk, which did wonders for my ability to find my way around.

About a month later, I was at a party and met who would end up becoming my husband. He took me all around the city. Everyplace that became important to me was, for the most part discovered because he introduced me to it. The museum campus, Taylor Street, even Superdawg. The hard part about getting to know a new city with someone is that when the relationship ends, you almost feel as though you’ve been shut out again.

Over the past year, I’ve had to sift through all the places that I had discovered with him and reclaim them as mine in a new life. One at a time, Francesca’s turned from being the location of our first date and into the place I go with my best girlfriends for cocktails. Superdawg turned from the place he asked me to move in with him into the place I ride to with my motorcycle friends on a summer night.

This time I know where I’m going, but now I’m getting re-acquainted with Chicago. Wooing it for myself, falling in love all over again, on my terms.

A good meal: La Fonda

I’m going to play a little catch-up here on some good meals I’ve had lately, working my way back in time:

Last night we finally got to La Fonda when they were still open. La Fonda is about halfway between my house and Erica’s, so we pass it all the time, but often late at night and we gaze longingly at the menu in the window. We’ve even made it in the door only to be turned away because the kitchen had just closed. But last night, we made it inside. Score.

La Fonda is sort of pan-Latino, with an emphasis on plantains. But damn, those plantains were good. We had the Milanesa de cerdo, which was a breaded and fried porkloin served with plantains and a chicken tostada which replaced the usual corn tortilla with a deep fried green plantain. Crunchy, crispy, tender meat and just-sweet-enough plantains.

Erica says, “The plantains and pork were great. Much more flavorful than I expected. And not too pricey.”

Illinois in Mississippi

For Christmas Erica and I went down to Vicksburg, Mississippi to visit her family. I was glad to be getting out of slashing-winds-off-the-lake Chicago for a week in the balmy south. Of course, a cold front blew across the south minutes (literally) after our plane landed so it was in the 30

New Year’s Eve Eve is the New New Year’s Eve

Now, we all know New Year’s Eve is for squares, right? That’s why you should come hang out with me tonight at Darkroom. Hell, we’ll celebrate midnight every hour on the hour!

In addition to the usual DJ stylings of John Dugan and myself, John’s band The Tax will be making their live debut. Also, earlier in the evening the performance group Park Avenue Produce will be celebrating their 25th anniversary (how did that happen?).

Oh wait, I almost forgot to mention that partaking of Lula’s special NYE dinner is totally not square, but there are probably very few reservations left: (773) 489-9554

Not to be confused with Cook County Judge Orbach

Jerry Orbach, star of Law & Order and alumni of Northwestern and U fo I, has died today of prostate cancer.

Tribune Article
IMDB Minibiography

Hello Out There

Happy Holidays everyone! I seemed to have missed a lot since I posted way back in July. I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year!

Happy Holidays from Detroit!

I would be guest blogging at the Detroit Metroblogging site, if only there was one! Until then, poor Chicago will just have to put up with my Detroit posts for the next week.

After a fabulous holiday with my family, I caught the obligatory Christmas cold and am now temporarily trapped at home until the coughing and sneezing stops. Later this week, I plan on visiting my former haunts, such as the Detroit Institute of Art, Greektown (even better than Chicago’s), and of course, all of my favorite clubs. I’ll keep you posted on any Jack White/Renee Zellwegger sightings.

visiting blogger #2 looking for a meal

hellooo everyone — i’m narni, your cruise director for the next week. actually, i’m a visiting blogger as well, born and raised in chicago, but have spent the last 4+ years in the dc area. i landed in o’hare this morning (my luggage is in savannah — sigh), am here for the next 2 weeks, and am jumping at the chance to comment on my favorite city (sorry east coast).

anyway, although a native, i can’t keep up w/ all the changes in the city. my ~immediate~ need is for a good brunch location and metroblogging is the best place to start. oh, and when i say brunch, i mean buffet. my dad’s bday is around the corner, and i haven’t celebrated w/ him since i moved (i usually hightail it out of chicago after new years). he wants to have a nice, all-you-can-eat-type affair, mainly because he feels too rushed during a normal sit-down meal.

so any suggestions!!? it’s for sunday, jan 2, for about 20 ppl (just to make it more challenging). after a quick search, i’ve noticed the plethora of super chinese buffet kings around…i mean, holy sh*t, they’re everywhere. however, i’m leaning towards all-american. i had tried for the hotel florence in pullman village, a throw-back to my hyde park days, but it’s been closed for renovation since 2000??? are they kidding me…so disappointed.

i head about the mega-japanese outfit todai making it’s way to schaumburg, but somehow sushi at 10:30 am doesn’t sit well with me.

i did see lauren liss’ post from august on chief o’neil’s pub and am intrigued –they apparently have a build-your-own bloody mary bar — happy birthday pappa!

so let me know…it’s been awhile since i’ve had to plan an event in chicago and i need the help.

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