Monday, September 21, 2009

Harvest Time

My Pumpkin, originally uploaded by bridgeportseasoning.

Yesterday I dragged Kevin, our political writer from Chicagoist, down to St. Anne, Illinois, just east of Kankakee. I had reserved seats for the Local Beet's farm dinner at Genesis Growers, an organic farm in St. Anne.

Even with the rain that came down, it was a wonderful time. I was glad for a change that I didn't have 3G service down there (thanks, AT&T) as the conversation was good with other guests. The social aspect of farm dinners is very underrated; it's another reason I like dining at places with communal tables like the Publican, Urban Belly and the Bristol.

Anyway, at one point farm owner Vicki Westerhoff brought us to her pumpkin patch while touring the farm and showed the assembled guests how to pick their own pumpkin. I went right in there and went to town, picking this beauty. Kevin also picked his and gave it to me. So now I have 2 pumpkins and a lot of ideas for what to do with them.

I'm thinking about finally diving in and making pumpkin beer with some of the meat.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


Skyline at Night, originally uploaded by bridgeportseasoning.

is why I love living in this city. the view of the skyline from Shedd Aquarium at night is something to behold, even when you're taking a photo of it with an iphone.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Tranquility and Its Short Supply

Sunset over Caledonia
Originally uploaded by bridgeportseasoning.

Was ready to head out to work this morning and found a flat tire on the bike. 'Course, I being me thought that this was a harbinger of a bad day. Then it's rained all afternoon at the office in Evanston and I find myself thankful that I'm not biking in this slop.

Up and down week overall. Started off with a bang Monday with a visit to Kinnikinnick Farm for a dinner prepared by Stephanie Izard and Ryan Poli for Outstanding in the Field. wasn't planning on writing about it, but the combination of the beautiful land and the charm of farm co-owner Susan Cleverdon swayed me. The trip to Kinnikinnick was preceded with a side-trip to New Glarus. By the end of the day I couldn't wait to get out of the car.

Now I'm catching up on final planning for Taste of the Nation Chicago, with procrastination being my greatest enemy again. Not good as hunger messaging chair for the event. Still it looks as though things are rounding into shape.

If you can show up to taste of the Nation, please do so. All proceeds for the event are benefiting the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Near North Health Services Corporation and the Illinois Hunger Council.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

The More Things Change: Reflections on Ten Years in Bridgeport

Once, I was couch surfing at my Aunt Debbie's in Rogers Park when her two youngest kids, Phillip and Eric, decided to start playing baseball in the house with some friends. Predictably, this ended with some china being broken and Phillip trying to run away from the responsibility.

Somewhere in there things escalated, words were exchanged and I called Phillip a "fat boy" (well, he was). Aunt Debbie, sensing that Phillip would not accept an apology - and might try to choke me in my sleep - strongly suggested that my time couch surfing at her place was done.

I made a hasty phone call, packed up my seabag and two heavy duty plastic bags (containing what belongings I thought necessary) and slowly made my way in blistering heat by bike to Bridgeport, where Sue let me crash on her chaise lounge.

That was ten years ago yesterday.

What's happened since then has been, as the song goes, a long strange trip. The couch surfing turned into Sue and me becoming roommates and, later, flat mates. Meanwhile, I slowly began getting my shit together, a process that involved much denial and resistance, trial and error, false starts and stumbling into things I both cared about and was good at doing. And, as I've written here before, I slowly came around to accepting what this neighborhood is and embracing both its charms and shortcomings. We always joked that I would leave if Puffer's closed, as that was the place that I could always call a refuge and hold as Exhibit "A" that I wasn't crazy for living down here.

Then I found out about the chili at Ramova Grill; the tchotchkes at Bernice's; the kugelis at Healthy Food; the tradition of the procession of St. Rocco; Dave Samber's creepy pocelain dolls at Polo Cafe; Modji Fest; Bev's hot dogs; Ed Marzewski almost single-handedly establishing developing an arts district along Morgan while tending bar at his mother's bar/package store at 31st and Morgan; Mark Lennon's unwavering loyalty to the kids at Benton House; the bed and breakfast run by Benedictine monks; Gio's fusilli arabiata; the priceless mural inside Nancy's Best Little Hair House and Day Spa painted twenty years ago by an unknown graffiti artist named DZine; Pancho Pistolas add a second floor; Freddie's adding the adjective "Fabulous" to describe their below-average pizza; Paulie's pizza gravitate to Punky's; Graziano's on 31st make way to Trattoria 31 which made way to the amazing HAN 202.

I've watched some kids at McGuane Park grow up from mischievous teens to college graduates; others became gangbangers. Thanks to the common ground of pet ownership I've learned a bit about some of my neighbors, and they about me. Bridgeport Coffee House opened five years ago and, quickly, residents both lifelong and new found a place to patronize and maybe get to know each other a little. Mitchell's Tap is now in the old space, but I never left. At 30 I was trying to figure things out and just hoping to make it to the next day. Still haven't accomplished the former, but damn if life didn't drag me along the entire time. I can honestly say I wouldn't change a thing in the past ten years.

Bridgeport has changed almost as much as I in the past decade. When I first moved down here, the city was just starting to fill up Stearns Quarry with the intent of turning it into a nature preserve and park. Slowly, the giant hole was filled to grade and the landscaping began. The park opened Memorial Day weekend. Artists are fleeing the high rents of Wicker Park, Bucktown and even Pilsen in favor of the neighborhood's western half. Sue and I sat atop the hill we dubbed "Mount Bridgeport" Friday night for the fireworks, eating cheese and crackers, drinking beer and cava, marveling at the view, joking about becoming naturalized Bridgeporters. We sat there, a half-moon shining above us, content in the moment.

It's with a certain point of pride that I look at living in one neighborhood for ten years. As an adult, I never imagined I'd live in one neighborhood for such a stretch of time. Growing up one of my goals was to live east of Halsted near a major league ballpark. Never did I think it would be on the south side of town. I treasure the close priximity of the neighborhood to Pilsen, Bronzeville, UIC, downtown and Hyde Park. I can negotiate it and the rest of the city with ease and quickness via bicycle or train. Bridgeport, to me, is a microcosm of Chicago itself: if you let it, you fall in love with it unconditionally.

Here's to another ten.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Rise of a Dirty Old Man

I've only been half-joking when I tell people that I seem to have reawakened my kavorka in the past year or so. Never was that more true than Saturday night. I found myself in one of those bars in the back of a liquor store on the northwest side, only this one was built out into a spacious sports bar and kept clean. This wasn't those old Armanetti's like the one on Division where my mom and stepdad were engaged thirty years ago over amaretto sours, 7-and-7's and Slim Jims.

I was with my old friend Chris Hyatt, who invited a bunch of people out to the Bank of America cinema at Six Corners to see a Roger Corman movie starring Ray Milland and Don Rickles
that was totally worth the five bucks admission. We were reminiscning on the Vicodin-and-gin days of the Unofficial Soup Kitchen when we noticed the bartender hanging on our every word. Or, shall I say, mine.

"I think she's into you, Chuck," Hyatt said.

It could have been the beer talking, but I gave her the once-over. She let her hair down after the third round Hyatt and I had and it was classic Northwest Side woman: a near-mullet. She was pulling back Jager Bombs with the best of them and singing along with every song on the Internet jukebox (ugh!). And that was when Hyatt and I decided to hit an IHOP to soak up all the krausened goodness of Old Style.

I managed to catch the train home and sent Hyatt the e-mail address of a photographer friend of mine who was looking for an assistant. He e-mailed back that he went back to the bar to see if the bartender was interested in him.

"Seemed possible," he replied.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Must've Been A Bitch While I Was Gone

If I'm not checking in here, it only means I've been busy.

In this case, turning 40.

Meanwhile, the concert below is 36 years old, and shows the hottest band in the land hungry and ready to conquer. I miss those days...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He Has Risen!!

The story of Jesus, as told by Sam Kinison. Enjoy your ham or, in my case, White Castles.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Time Adds Sepia To All Memories

L-R: Uncle Red, Mom, Uncle Stu, Aunt Arlene, Aunt Debbie

Been a while since I've been around. I decided that some things I wanted to write about required discretion, lest some haters decide to hate. Maybe next time.

Anyway, last week I had to pass off some prized tickets to the Numero Group's Eccentric Soul Revue to Marcus, as I received the proverbial invitation I couldn't refuse. My Uncle Stu turned 70 and his son Tom just retired from military service after 30 years of cumulative active and National Guard service. Somehow, in the planning for celebrating the dual milestones, this turned into an ad hoc family reunion that made me very nervous.

Not only would I be seeing
aunts, uncles and cousins that I haven't seen in ages, but my brother and sister-in-law were driving Mom into the area from Wisconsin. I had originally planned to ask Mom if she wanted me to drive her in, then stay the night at my place so she wouldn't have to rely on Chris to drive her back. When Mom informed me that Chris beat me to the punch, I tried to mask my disappointment.

This was the second time in a month that Mom surprised me. A couple weeks earlier she was in town to celebrate Aunt Debbie's birthday and didn't call me to let me know she was in town. When we talked the next day, she said she didn't call because she thought I was busy. After we ended the conversation I thought to myself, "This must be what it feels like when I go weeks between phone calls to her." My stepfather's passing has made it clear that now we need each other more than ever, but trying to find common ground besides shared DNA can be frustrating.

The dichotomy between my brother and I can be best described as "city mouse, country mouse." I love living in the city and sometimes the 110-mile distance between Chicago and Mom's home in rural Wisconsin can be as wide as an ocean. The reasons my brother chooses to live near Mom are his and his alone, but I suspect they aren't entirely as altruistic. There's also the perceptions each of us has about the other. I'm fairly certain he wonders if I look down on him, and there is some truth to that. I question some of his decisions. Alright, all of them. But it's because I feel he can make better ones.

I blame Mom. As kids, she liked to play up the stereotypes of me as the "smart one" and Chris as the "cute one." As we each near 40, she still does that to some extent, even though - on a superficial level - calling my brother "cute" these days is a stretch. I was describing a lecture I was at before the party that day and Uncle Red was understandably tuning me out. Mom just patted me on the shoulder and said, "This is my intellectual one." Suddenly I was a 10-year-old with horn rimmed glasses for astigmatism again.

Mom seems to have put aside the grieving and really opened up. I can't remember the last time I saw her so vibrant and enjoying life. Maybe it took realizing the end is closer than it seems to do that, but she was a ball of fire at that party. If anyone would have brought up the story about how Uncle Jack was born on the kitchen table at the family's home on the West Side, I would have placed smart money on Uncle Stu or Uncle Red. That it came from her, and that she then started to work blue after in describing her love for buttery nipple shooters, came as a total shock.

Part of my one resolution for this year is to try and re-forge those ties to my family that I let slip away over the years. Last Saturday was a very good start.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Bloodstream Like Petroleum Sludge

Been weaning myself away from meat in recent weeks, in preparation for finally saddling back up full time for a bicycle commute. Then I willingly and gladly slid back to the Greek combo plate and saganaki at Central Gyros, followed by brunch at the Publican today (if you missed the live twitter stream of both Paul Kahan and Ellen Malloy, smack yourselves very hard across the cheeks right now). I'll be recapping that in full Tuesday or Wednesday, along with photos from a long-lost former Chicagoista. In fact, we're going to have a few restaurant reviews this wek.

I'm 3 slices of bacon away from having enough grease to re-season the new cast-iron skillet and grill I bought at Pete's Fresh Market last week. A cast iron skillet is a kitchen necessity and I'm resigned to not getting Mom's when she passes. I bought the grill because I could; I like grill marks on my meats, even in winter.

Congratulations to Scott and Art. You both know why.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

"I Asked For Two Pillows And They Told Me To Fuck Off."

Now that Sean Penn won Best Actor, we missed the speech Mickey Rourke might have given.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Good Day For Some Soup

Photo Credit: Martha Bayne

Even though the snow kept many away, a good time was had by those of us who showed up at Hideout Wednesday for Soup and Bread. Somehow, most of my mock turtle soup was consumed (and thanks to Martha, Sula and Nagrant for the good words on it; I know it was undersalted). My favorite soup, however, was Joshua Westlund's lamb sausage, chickpea and leek, which was simmering in a roasted pepper stock.

Hideout even raised $130 for the Greater Chicago Food Depository. For those of you interested in making mock turtle soup, Martha has posted the recipes for both that and the roasted vegetable stock I made at Soup and Bread.

And I gave propers to LStolpman yesterday for her participation in Texas de Brazil's caipirinha competition, which she won! She was nervous as hell leading up to it, and even shared the recipe in advance with me for review.

Not one to mince words, I told her I thought the recipe bordered on becoming too complicated. At Texas de Brazil she said, "I'm afraid that my version is going to be too traditional." I told her not to fear. Speaking from experience, caipirinha drinkers prefer simplicity (cachaca, muddled lime and sugar, ice and a splash of water). She was trying to perfect crystallized lime peels as a garnish the day of the event.

Before the competition I was looking at the ingredients of the other participants laid out nice and neat. I knew just from looking that Stolps had a good shot at winning. Others were using ingredients like boysenberry-infused honey, Midori and fresh-squeezed blood orange juice with a whipped cream float. Laura kept it simple: muddled lime with agave sweetener, a lime-sugared rim, and club soda.

The judges loved it. Turned out that they were looking for a recipe that adhered very close to tradition. She didn't score points for originality, but Stolpman did rank high for both tradition, presentation and taste. Seeing the look on her face when they announced her the winner was priceless. A close second was the blood orange juice and whipped cream mess prepared by Plate magazine editor Chandra Ram.

Even more inspiring was that Stolps donated the grand prize — a dinner for six at Texas de Brazil — to Meals on Wheels Chicago.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Breaking Out the Radio Pipes

Under the guiding hand of Karl Klockars, we launched a podcast over at Chicagoist a few weeks back. This week's installment is all about beer and meat, with me doing my best Jean Shepherd, stretching out the word "exactly" far too often, as Karl and I discuss Chicago Restaurant Week.

The full podcast is embedded on the site, but you can also subscribe to it via iTunes or the far superior and simple RSS feed for those of us who use Winamp or another media player.

Now back to making soup.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Thawing Out

Bridgeport, Autumn 001
Originally uploaded by bridgeportseasoning.

And it's about time, too.

When you ride your bike sporadically over the winter, it takes a while to get back to the fighting health you were at when the combination of snow, wind and lack of plowing forced you to take a breather. But this weather is right up my alley, and I'll be starting much earlier than last year. I need the extra work for this year's Five Boro Bike Tour, which I do every three years like clockwork.

Also, I'll be cooking soup at Hideout next Wednesday as part of Hideout's "Soup and Bread" winter soup kitchen series, with donations to benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Martha Bayne, who curates this, wrote in her latest blog entry that the "bread' portion of this is woefully lagging. Since I'm planning a Southern-themed soup, looks like I now have an excuse to make corn bread. And not that Jiffy mix, either.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Whole 'Nother Universe

That's what Wisconsin's been. Even before my stepdad passed away last week I was ready to declare 2K9 "The Year of Being Pulled Back In." For someone who is insistent on having open lines of communication, I'm not good at keeping in touch with my family. This week has shown that I'm gonna have to make it a real effort, especially because it's now more necessary.

Mom handled everything better than anyone expected. I think a major weight was lifted once she made the decision to not resuscitate. My sister is coming along slowly. As "Daddy's Little Girl," Tammy was the one who took this the hardest. I was shocked -and saddened - to see how big her kids are growing. Caleb turns ten in June and the last time I recalled seeing him, he was a butterball. Now he's lanky and a ball of energy, albeit with his rat tail ever present. I may have to cut that off when his parents aren't looking.

Brianna is a beautiful six and her hugging me at the funeral home was the closest I came to losing it; she has the inside track on being my favorite (yeah, I'm gonna play that). And little Matthew is reaching his terrible twos and seemed hellbent on making his mom and dad gray before they should be.

I was reminded by more than one person on more than one occasion at the funeral that I threatened to beat my brother-in-law's ass on his wedding day. In my defense, I spent the drive to their wedding thinking, "What kind of guy knocks up, and then marries, my teenage sister?" Then I met Nathan and I guess he must've known I was fairly pissed. But he and Tammy have managed to make a wonderful family. In ten years of marriage I haven't had to make good on that threat.

I even managed to make it to New Glarus and load the rental car with enough beer to make a bootlegger blush!

Highway Man

Haven't checked in on Facebook for the better part of a week, but wasn't entirely shocked to see the "25 Things" meme is still rolling along. Here is some more random time wasting in the form of "iPod Magic 8-Ball," courtesy of the always entertaining Coop.

1 . Put your iTunes or iPod or whatever type of digital music player you have on shuffle.
2 . For each question, press the 'next' button to get your answer.
4 . Spread the word and tag your friends.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    "Esto Es Lo Que Hay" — Los Amigos Invisibles — Venezuela Zinga Son (also reminds me I should practice my Spanish more.)

    "70's Blues" — Betty Davis — They Say I'm Different

    "Martin Eden" — The Twilight Singers — Blackberry Belle (well, that's depressing)

    "Let Me Remember (Things I Can't Forget)" — Jim Reeves — Mexican Joe - 24 Great Early Recordings

    "Home Hotel" — Willie Nelson — Teatro (I'm sensing a pattern here.)

    "I'm Leaving You Baby" — Junior Kimbrough — You Better Run: The Essential Junior Kimbrough

    "Humdinger" — Old Crow Medicine Show — Tennessee Pusher (Now we're talking!)

    "Prism Break" — Orgone — The Killion Floor

  9. WHAT IS 2+2?
    "Have You Ever Been Mellow" — Ivan "Boogaloo" Joe Jones — Sweetback

    "Nuclear War (On The Dance Floor)" — Electric Six — Fire

    "Rock Your Ass" — Supersuckers — Motherfuckers Be Trippin'

    "El Principo Del Final" — Sara Valenzuela — Lado Este

    "Florida" — Patty Griffin — Impossible Dream

    "Sound Check Jam" — Thin Lizzy — UK Tour '75

    "My Own Peculiar Way" — Willie Nelson — Teatro

    "Rainbows" — Madvillain — Madvillainy

    "Turn to Me" — Merle Haggard — If I Could Only Fly

    "Train to Tampa" — Sam Dees — The Birmingham Sound: The Sound of Neal Hemphill, Vol. 1

    "Shake, Rattle and Roll" — Sam Cooke — Night Beat

    "Heed the Call" — Kenny Rogers & The First Edition — Anthology

    "Break My Body" — The Pixies — Surfer Rosa

    "So Long!" — Long John Hunter — Ooh Wee Pretty Baby!

    "Melody From the Drums" — Charles Mingus — Mysterious Blues

    "Sit This One Out" — Solomon Burke — Don't Give Up On Me

    "If I Die Tomorrow (I've Lived Tonight)" — Swamp Dogg — Total Destruction To your Mind

    "Insane Instrumental" — Elmo Williams & Hezekiah Early — Takes One To Know One

    "Jolene" — Cake — Motorcade of Generosity

    "Ain't No Grave" — Crooked Still — Shaken By A Low Sound

    "Dog Eat Dog" — George Coleman — Bongo Joe

    "Dish Rag" — King Coleman — It's Dance Time!

    "Highway Man" — Howlin' Wolf — Sun Recordings

Monday, January 26, 2009

Drinking With Ghosts...

I'm sitting in my office at home this afternoon, looking at a photo from my sister's wedding ten years ago. Tammy was all of 17, three months pregnant with her oldest son, Caleb, and embarking on an uncertain future with her husband Nathan. My brother Chris was nowhere to be found, and I made the trip to Warren, Illinois with hesitation and a promise wrangled from my mother that I would not be judgmental to anyone that day. Not that I was in such a position, having been evicted from my apartment and a couple months away from being kicked out of my friend Jade's place.

The photo shows my sister, nervous in her wedding dress, holding a small bridal bouquet, her eyes focused on something to her right outside the view of the lens. Standing next to her is my stepfather, natty in all black. He looks just as uncomfortable as Tammy. He always was uncomfortable in a crowd, as hard and unforgiving as the red Tennessee Valley clay he called home. When we were kids, the old man would drink himself blind, figuring that since he already had a hard time fitting in, he might as well not remember it. I thought he was on his best behavior that day, as well. In fact, the opposite was true, as he was embarking on an uncertain future of his own: one of sobriety and honorable living.

One of the reasons we kids all left home at 16 was because of the old man's drinking and his actions when he was drunk. Jerry could be a violent drunk whose favored cocktails were cheap beer and Seven-and-7. When the whisky ran through his system and he got riled up - which wasn't hard - he had both a devastating right cross and could catch you with a belt buckle, vacuum cleaner cord or a switch cut from a tree on parts of the body in which those were not meant to make contact. I started to grow and fight back, until Mom asked my Uncle Stu to take me in. If Stu hadn't done that, I'm not sure how my life would have turned out. In that regard I was lucky; I at least had some positive role model to look up to. Chris and Tammy had to grow up on the fly.

I digress. Even when he was a drunk, the old man kept up his appearances. Regardless of the family's financial situation, he'd be damned if he left the house with a hair out of place, dirty clothes and having not bathed. He favored musky colognes that reeked of sandalwood and leather, the kind of scents that blended favorably with cigarette smoke and a couple rounds of 7 Crown. He had a sly, dangerous gleam in his eyes that drew women to him when he was younger. If there was a stereotype for manly, overtly macho behavior, he was the poster child. I could see why Mom was attracted to him, even if I never agreed with her choice in men.

But he did rehabilitate himself. He was as doting a grandparent as he was as bad a parent. The final half of his and Mom's marriage was one filled with him never taking her for granted. Faced with the consequences of his actions when drinking, he took responsibility and vowed never to do them again. Even he and I made some peace with each other, and the respect was mutual and hard-earned.

When he was diagnosed with lung cancer a few years back and had half a lung removed, things slowed down considerably for him. The old man was used to keeping busy, working on some
thing to keep from having idle hands. He never came to terms with his diminished lung capacity and the accompanying lethargy. But he did as Mom asked, went in for his checkups, and tried to adjust. Four months ago, a routine checkup found spots on his good lung. Rather than go in for a biopsy, he cut his losses and opted to live what days he had left with no compromise. Mom raised her objections to him, but I think she realized that he'd rather die on his own terms. A man's man to the end.

What none of us expected was the massive heart attack he had Wednesday. Mom gave the DNR request the next day; when I spoke with her she seemed at peace with what had come. At 8:10 p.m. last night, he finally passed on. Tammy is angry at him for leaving her, Mom for being comfortable with the decision, and Chris and myself for not being there as much as we should. She's had the biggest burden of all of us kids, and as the strongest constitution. I fear this might be too much.

I went up to Wisconsin Saturday to make sure Mom was alright and to pay final respects. I'm not religious by any stretch, but after Mom and Tammy left, I stayed behind in the room with him for another hour. I just wanted to let him know one more time that bygones were bygones, and that if he had some notion that he couldn't move on without hearing from me, he needn't have worried.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The One Movie (After "Watchmen") I Can't Wait to Come Out in 2K9

Makes Shaft, Superfly and the Mack all look like rank amateurs:

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Day of Rest... HA!

When the weather started to turn I had committed to biking in the inclement weather. The combination of the weather's unpredictability and the city Streets and Sanitation department has placed a major kibosh on that. First there was the skimping on the salting and clearing because Chicago is in a serious financial bind (although if the Mayor wanted to dip into that serious tax increment financing slush fund he has at his fingertips to balance the budget and not have it earmarked for the 2016 Summer Olympics, he could do so).

Now Mayor Daley - always an astute student of history - realized he was treading in Michael Bilandic territory and said "damn the costs: the streets are getting plowed." That hasn't included the bike lanes.

Eager to keep the weight that I dropped in summer off me during the winter, I've stepped up my yoga sessions to accommodate and started eating less. The latter is always a risible proposition in winter. I've also been cooking more on Sundays, preparing my breakfasts, lunches and dinners for the week in monster six-to-eight hour kitchen sessions. As I was dicing onions last week I was kind of shocked as to how my knife skills have evolved over the years. I'm still not fast with a knife, but I have smooth motions and block my cuts very well.

I had no idea when I built my own butcher block table five years ago the usage I'd make of it. What has turned into a fifty dollar investment of materials and a week of work sanding and seasoning the wood (with annual touchups) has paid off immeasurably.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

How We're Rolling

Mumm, sabered
Originally uploaded by bridgeportseasoning.

Last year I noted some of my favorite records of the year. This time around, I just created a playlist, instead. Enjoy.

Your Lebowski Moment of the Day

Bridgeport Tumbleweed
Originally uploaded by bridgeportseasoning.

Yes, that's a tumbleweed. In Bridgeport. On New Year's Eve.

So I'm finishing up making hoppin' john and chili for the game. Heading to a NYD party thrown by Adam Seger of Nacional 27. He calls it the "she killed it, he cooked it NYD party." Adam is a gifted cook and mixologist. I'm bringing reinforcements today because I could barely hang on last year.

Someone posted a recap of that party (emphasis added):

Adam Seger of *NACIONAL 27 * and Let Us Entertain you threw the craziest new year's day party ever last night (a few balthazar's of pinot noirs got opened and 4 cases of Veuve, 2 heritage Turkeys, 1 GIANT leg of lamb, 1 baby pig, 13 part pheasant gumbo, Duck fries, and homemade ice cream with Bourbon soaked cherries were served)

"100 ppl showed up and a 14 foot Christmas tree was picked up (and 5 gallons of water spilled on the Oriental carpet) then thrown out the 3rd story window by 5 hot guys and the police showed up to see why a tree fell on the sidewalk... around 12am.

"This is very inspiring b/c well.. debauchery is awesome and Chicago still has a chance to be cool."

I remember things kicking into overdrive when Adam pulled out a cane sugar knife and started sabering the tops off these magnums of Veuve. At that point I just retired to the kitchen, where I found a 21-year-old bottle of Buffalo Trace Rye.