Thursday, February 17, 2011
Our All Things Local party at the Chicago Cultural Center went on in the blizzard aftermath on February 3, bringing out about 175 hardy Chicagoans to celebrate our four latest guidebook releases, Oldest Chicago, The Beat Cop's Guide to Chicago Eats, Carless in Chicago, and Historic Bars of Chicago. Chicago Publishes, the online presence of the City of Chicago's Publishing Industry Programs, which made this event possible, posted a recap.
Authors Jason Rothstein, Christopher Garlington, David Haynes, David Witter, and Sean Parnell all gave readings from their books, and David Witter (Oldest Chicago) even sang and played the harmonica with the Chicago blues band assembled by Scott Madden and including JC Cleavenger, Dan Lopotta, and Scott Carleton.
Thanks to Bess Titus (Schlitz) and Terri Champelli (Schubas) for arranging the free Schlitz and Patrick Rhea (Dell Rhea's Chicken Basket) for arranging the donation of the Route 66 Beer, bottled by Chicago's own Filbert's.
Combine live Chicago roots music, great beverages, and Ann Sather cinnamon rolls, and is it surprising some guests declared the event, "the liveliest thing they've ever attended at the Cultural Center"? Wonderful food donations from Artopolis (LCP's favorite Greektown lunch place) and Pizza Rustica and West Town Tavern (both featured in Carless in Chicago) also helped provide sustenance before we all had to head back out into the cold.
Thanks, too, to these other iconic Chicago businesses featured in our new books for their contributions to the bounty of raffle prizes winners could choose from: The Metro, Schubas, Twin Anchors, Millers Pub, Flourish Bakery, Hot Doug's, Willowbrook Ballroom, Cigar King, Active Transportation Alliance, and Preservation Chicago.
Short but sweet, this event toasted the accomplishments of our new authors and the many distinctive businesses and institutions that make up our local landscape. Congratulations and thanks to you all!
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Friday, January 14, 2011
Tuesday, January 04, 2011
Today's rail touring takes us to the wonderful restaurants and food shopping along the Southwest Side's Orange Line.
Midway (4600 W/5900 S)
For the rare Midway station traveler who isn't airport bound, consider a pierogi pilgrimage to Bobak's Sausage Company (5275 S. Archer).
Pulaski (4000 W/5100 S)
Stuff yourself like a cabbage at Szala's Restaurant (5214 S. Archer), making a visit before or afterwards for book browsing at Ex Libris Polish Book Gallery (5040 S. Archer).
Western (2400 W/4900 S)
You'd never guess from this semi-industrial neighborhood that you are just blocks away from amazing small-batch cheese. The Great American Cheese Collection (4727 S. Talman), a cheese distributor serving restaurants and gourmet shops, opens its warehouse to the public every alternate Saturday morning, and often features guest businesses selling other artisanal food as well.
35th/Archer (2200 W/3500 S)
This is your stop for two Southwest Side classics: Huck Finn Donuts (3414 S. Archer), whose menu extends far beyond fried dough, and Lindy's Chili and Gertie's Ice Cream (3685 S. Archer), for all combinations of delicious homemade chili and ice cream treats.
These are just a fraction of the suggestions offered readers of Jason Rothstein's Carless in Chicago (CTA Chapter), available from your local library, Amazon.com (now available for Kindle), and bookstores near you.
Next up: Brown Line.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Today's CTA train adventures center on the new-ish Pink Line. Jason Rothstein's CTA chapter in Carless in Chicago focuses on the concentration of ethnic treats available to Pink Line riders.
54/Cermak (5400 W/2200 S)
Restaurace Klas (5754 W. Cermak) in the Town of Cicero offers hearty Czech cuisine, while Xni-pec (shnee-peck) (5135 W. 25th) serves Yucatanean cuisine named for the region's deadly habanero salsa.
Pulaski (4000 W/2100 S)
Just over a half-mile south of the station is Little Village's (La Villita's) main shopping district on 26th Street.
Kedzie (3200 W/2100 S)
Visit the tiny Museum of Mexican Culture and History (3050 W. Cermak), tucked in along this busy commercial corridor. For a different type of culture, head south on Kedize to Club Volkan (2501 S. Kedzie) for a less expensive clubbing experience than those in swankier neighborhoods (but just as loud and sweaty).
California (2800 W/2100 S)
Have a taste for boar? Rattlesnake? Baby Eels? La Casa de Samuel (2834 W. Cermak) deserves mention for its exotic offerings; the less adventurous will appreciate their more conventional Mexican dishes and homemade tortillas.
Western (2400 W/2100 S)
Here's your stop for the Heart of Italy neighborhood (read: strip of restaurants), including the well-regarded Bacchanalia (2413 S. Oakley) and Ignotz Ristorante (2421 S. Oakley).
Damen (2000 W/2100 S)
Right by the station, keep an eye out for a legendary tamale street vendor (who also sells Mexican hot chocolate during the cold months). For light fare and free wifi, walk one block north to Tianguis Bookstore & Tea Shop (2003 S. Damen). Damen also gets you three blocks from the National Museum of Mexican Art (1852 W. 19th), formerly the Mexican Fine Arts Museum.
18th (1700 W/1800 S)
Even without a destination in mind, vibrant 18th Street makes for great walking and exploration, especially to the east. But if you need a place to go, consider Cafe Jumping Bean (1432 W. 18th) or Panaderia Nuevo Leon (1634 W. 18th).
Next Stop: Orange Line Wonders
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
On Day 3 of showcasing fun spots very near CTA transit lines, courtesy of Jason Rothstein's Carless in Chicago, we take on the green line...
Harlem/Lake (7200 W/100 S)
Here's your stop for Oak Park's historic sweet shop: Petersen's Ice Cream (1104 Chicago Ave) has been dishing out the frozen treat since before Hemingway and Frank Lloyd Wright called Oak Park home. Petersen's is also featured in David Witter's Oldest Chicago as the area's oldest ice cream parlor.
Laramie (5200 W/400 N)
The one appeal of this stop above all others is the acclaimed (by both President Obama and Haynes & Garlington's The Beat Cop's Guide to Chicago Eats) soul food restaurant, MacArthur's (5412 W. Madison). Even their website is mouth-watering.
Conservatory-Central Park Drive (3600 W/100 N)
The world's largest greenhouse--and a great salve for winter depression, the Garfield Park Conservatory is just steps from the Conservatory-Central Park station. Look for special events like the annual Chocolate Festival around Valentine's Day.
Ashland (1600 W/200 N)
You may already know that the Lyon & Healy factory (168 N. Ogden) are harpmakers to the world, but did you know about their concert series? This is also a good stop for the western edge of the Randolph Street restaurant row.
43rd (4300 S/300 E)
Looking around the station, no one would think Bronzeville has completely gentrified, but this is a neighborhood in transition. The upscale Negro League Cafe (301 W. 43rd) holds court as one of the earliest of the new Bronzeville spots, while farther east, Bronzeville Coffee House (528 E. 43rd) provides fuel for Green Line commuters.
Tomorrow: Pink Line!
Moving on from yesterday's Red Line adventures, we share some blue line favorites today from the CTA chapter of Carless in Chicago (Jason Rothstein):
Rosemont (5800 N/10500 W)
Even savvy transit users don't realize that you can walk to the Allstate Arena (6920 Mannheim Road) from the station...on sidewalks! All the way! Is it time to buy some Wolves tickets?
Jefferson Park (4900 N/5400 W)
Many people are too busy transferring at Jefferson Park to realize its proximity to such things as Geek paradise American Science and Surplus (5316 N. Milwaukee).
Addison (3600 N/3600 W)
This time, it's the diagonal street of Elston Avenue that may throw you off, making you unaware that the Abbey Pub (3420 W. Grace) and its eclectic music and Irish sporting events (on TV) and breakfasts are an easy train ride away.
Division (1200 N/1600 W)
Even Chicagophiles may not realize they don't need to head to Park Ridge or other burbs for local chain Oberweis Dairy. There's one at 1293 N. Milwaukee, about a block from the 6-corner intersection.
Racine (1200 W/430 S)
Racine's the best stop for Italian Taylor Street mainstays like The Rosebud (1500 W. Taylor) or concerts and WNBA basketball at the UIC Pavilion (525 S. Racine).
Harlem (7200 W/700 S)
Monday, December 27, 2010
Today we begin seven days of suggestions for Chicago must-know-it-alls culled from the pages of the CTA train chapter of Jason Rothstein's Carless in Chicago. For your holiday break and winter exploring, we offer you these Windy City treasures, all within a two-block walk from CTA subway or "L" stops.
Howard Station (7600 N/1700 W)
Visit the Romanian Kosher Sausage Company (7200 N. Clark) for top-notch salami and formidable cuts of brisket.
Argyle Station (5000 N/1200 W)
For the finest example of pho (the ubiquitous Vietnamese beef noodle soup) , have lunch at Pho 777 (1065 W. Argyle) today. Argyle Street, of course, is filled with all the runners-up, too.
Belmont Station (3200 N/1000 W)
If you need last-minute holiday gathering treats, you can't go wrong at Bittersweet Bakery (1114 W. Belmont), especially because it's a terrific lunch destination as well.
Fullerton Station (2400 N/1000 W)
In the category of "We didn't know either"...the DePaul University Art Museum (2350 N. Kenmore) is one of a handful of public-friendly buildings on the very walkable DePaul University campus.
69th Station (6900 S/1 W)