Archive for March, 2010

Your Suggestions


Edging closer towards finishing up my final bucket list, I’ve decided to throw together suggestions that I’ve gathered over the past few weeks. Here is a rundown of suggestions that people have thrown out at me:

Dan G.

1. Go to Mass at St. Pat’s

2. Play one last round at Dubsdread

3. Eat at everyone one of Rick Bayless’ places again

Kylie B

1. Golf course on the lake

2. Frontera Grill / Topolabombo / Xoco

Dan C.

1. Architectural boat tour

2. Sears Tower

Michael G.

1. Bike the lakeshore path from beginning to end

2. Eat at Red Apple

3. Take a Frank Lloyd Wright tour in Oak Park

4. The Untouchables Gangster tour

5. Picnic in one of the forest preserves

Maria F

1. Tour all the breweries in Chicago for craft beer

Url R

1. Go to a Cubs or Sox game

2. Get tickets for a CSO concert

3. See Bears / Packers

4. Attend a City Council meeting

5. Eat a deep fried Twinkie at Taste of Chicago

John C.

1. Visit the Bahai Temple in Wilmette

Valissa W.

1. Visit the Modern Wing at the Art Institute

2. Lincoln Park Zoo

3. Garfield Park Conservatory

4. Museum of Science & Industry

5. Architectural Boat Tour

6. Explore more neighborhoods on foot

7. See live recording of Oprah

8. Ride the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier

Tim S.

1. Go sailing on the lakefront

2. Ride every El line

3. Architectural boat tour

Christoph B.

1. Sailing the Mackinac

2. Lollapalooza

3. Fire game at Toyota Park

4. Eat at Alinea

5. See a show at Second City

6. Go to the Crosstown Classic


1. Play music in the subway for money

2. Do a standup amateur night

Penny S.

1. Ride the Yellow Line

2. Nodebart Nature Museum

3. Natural History Museum

3. Medical Museum

4. Architectural Boat Tour

5. Skyline Odyssey Cruise

6. Chicago Fire game at Toyota Park

7. Sample more bars on the south side

8. Cruise Lake Shore Drive in a convertible

9. Have an Italian Beef sandwich

10. Eat Italian in Little Italy

11. Walk around the inside of the Rookery

12. Have a drink at Castaways

Dane K.

1. Museum of Science and Industry

2. Arlington Park

3. Sail on the lake

3. Museum of Surgical Science

Josette J.

1. Watch an Omnimax feature at the Museum of Science and Industry

2. Visit the Oriental Institute Museum

3. Drive up Lake Shore Drive in a convertible

4. Visit Sears Tower

5. Go on an Architectural Boat Tour

6. Go to a show at the House of Blues

7. Go on every El line

8. See a game at Wrigley Field

9. Catch a movie at Landmark Century Cinema

10. Go to Harold Washington Library

David W.

1. Second City

2. Improv Olympic

3. The Annoyance

4. Bye Bye Liver

Kate’s List


Kate from Geneva, Illinois thinks that if she had to leave Chicago for good, she would:

1. Visit the Sears Tower Skyledge

2. Catch a concert at Ravinia

3. Go to a Chicago Bears game at Soldier Field

4. Take the Haunted Chicago Tour

#1 – Eat at Wings Around the World, Crisp, and Great Seas Chinese Restaurant


Having been a fried chicken fan all of my life, I’ve had the privilege to go to college in a fried chicken hotbed: Baltimore. There, names like Tyrone’s Fried Chicken, Lake Trout Fried Chicken, and Kennedy Fried Chicken dot the landscape, easily accessible to all. Chicago has its own fried chicken and wing spots, but the most exemplary recipes of fried chicken are concentrated primarily on the south side. I am neither from the south side nor spend much time there and the south side seems to be some invisible barrier where many native Chicagoans refuse to believe anything exists past Pilsen.

This being the case, exploring and going on the hunt for the best chicken wings in the city became increasingly difficult with friends unwilling to take a step into the south side. After numerous discussions with some of Chicago’s wing connoisseurs, the consensus from the expert panel was that Wings Around the World had the goods and a quick perusal of their menu revealed over thirty flavors from over a dozen countries and an instant call to action. I sent the alarm out to the Yelp crew to make the trek down to 75th Street and have a run at some of Chicago’s best wings.

I got off at the 79th Streed Red Line CTA stop and went over four blocks east to King Drive. Looking south I saw King Cab Company and rolled back northwards towards 75th. Despite being warned that Wings Around the World had no space to eat and was in a rough area of town known for drug dealing and the like, I didn’t pay no mind and kept on going. Along the way I saw JJ Fish, Shark’s Fried Chicken, Harold’s Chicken Shack, and Church’s Fried Chicken ubiquitous on the south side but sparingly sprinkled across the north. As I approached Wings Around the World, I saw two guys carrying some tall boys from the liquor store about to crack one open.

The insides were as glamorous as going to the fish market or butcher shop. There was no smell emanating or crumbs anywhere to be found but everything inside seemed to have the mark of dinginess and looked a little worn out. Black tiles were scratched, revealing a yellow layer of paint under. The tables were all nicked up and everything seemed very old. Proudly mounted on the walls were press articles from the RedEye and The Chicago Defender touting the virtues of Wings Around the World. Free neighborhood newspapers and flyers for parties were out on the table to read while you waited for your food.

For my own purposes, it didn’t seem appropriate to order a normal number of wings. I decided to go outrageous and ordered thirty wings and they only let me try three sauces, thus making another trip mandatory! Off of Andre’s recommendation I ordered Sweet Ginger BBQ and then I ventured for the Cheesy Buffalo and Honey Teriyaki. Reuben and Aurore went for a combination of Cheesy Buffalo, Sweet Plum, and Jerk BBQ. Andre warned that the wait would be long, but I didn’t mind in case some stragglers came in, but none showed up in the twenty minutes / half hour that we waited. While waiting I got a pretty good look of a giant fan sitting near the front window.

An interesting fan that seemed completely out of place, but probably of great usefulness during the summer high heat.  After our wait, we had nowhere to go and with 48° F weather with 13 mph wind it probably wasn’t a good idea to eat outside. In fact, it probably wasn’t a good idea to eat outside in that crazy neighborhood at all! As we headed back to the car, a panhandler asked to borrow 25¢ and we ignored him.

“If you come back over here, I’ll BITE you!” he growled at us.

I couldn’t help but shake my head at such a ridiculous proposition, but he probably was off his rocker anyway. We headed back up to Hyde Park and decided to eat there towards more civilized parts. On the drive up I noticed large blocks with empty lots, looking like the abandoned parts of a poorly built Sim City. Boarded up houses, vacant commercial spaces and endless garbage littered the streets. Urban decay was at its pinnacle and I wondered if this decadence was from the current economic meltdown or if things had always been this way down here.

Back in Hyde Park, the urban decay washed away in a sea of ivy covered walls and new construction. Things were thriving in this part of town and instead of going to The Cove, we decided to hit up The Reynolds Club. “It’s just like a scene out of Harry Potter,” Reuben said, and while I have only watched one Harry Potter movie, I understood. We entered Reynolds and I was greeted by 40 foot tall ceilings and the Hutchinson Commons and endless rows of tables with students diligently pursuing their work. In the back corner, a group of chess players were vigorously playing games and we situated ourselves for WINGS!

From left to right: Sweet Ginger BBQ, Honey Teriyaki, Cheesy Buffalo

The Holy Grail of chicken wings was unveiled! After waiting so long and having gone so far with many aborted attempts to make this trip, the moment was finally here. The first item off the bucket list could finally be crossed off and I would indeed be tasting the best chicken wings Chicago had to offer. Andre didn’t lie, the Sweet Ginger BBQ wings were da bomb and I went sent shaking my head and held speechless from the deliciousness of it all. Flavor, flavor, and more flavor. I found the Honey Teriyaki to be a bit dry and underwhelming, but the Cheesy Buffalo restored my faith. Just looking at the Cheesy Buffalo, it was clear that this would be completely unhealthy, but you have to live once in awhile and it was a buttery and cheesy food experience. I couldn’t tell you what ingredients they put in the wings and I frankly didn’t care – it was a miracle of the food world and it justified the long arduous journey and it was love at first bite.

AIR at the Riviera Theatre


Every once in awhile while looking at blue moons, music comes into your life and causes an utter paradigm shift changing everything you ever thought that you knew about music. It was during a weekend trip to New York that the musical landscape changed permanently and I found a new favorite band. The sun was rising, we had been up all night and AIR’s song Sexy Boy filled the room. It was the dawn of a new day.

Finally, after many years of waiting for AIR to come back into town from France and everywhere else they travel in the world, I had great friends who took care of my ticket. Antsy that I wouldn’t be able to get in the Riv without ID, my friend gave me $40 on top to throw to the bouncer in case they wouldn’t let me in. I went in first and was super nervous that I’d get shown the door and have to scalp my ticket outside. No such luck! The powers that be bended to my cause and I was let in without fuss and only a moderate pat down. Consider me lucky!

Thanks, boys!

Lost Identity Status Update


Last we checked, I was in the ocean of lost, stranded without any identification of any kind without means to access my capital nor keycard to go anywhere. I have not been barred entry to anyplace just yet, but Friday happy hour may provide a challenge – but luckily I won’t be drinking it up and should hit the happy hour circuit without a snag.

1. Cancel and replace all credit and debit cards

2. Order birth certificate

3. Replace School ID

4. Replace ChicagoPlus CTA Fare Card

5. Send in application for Social Security Card No longer needed, I won’t need this for my Driver’s License!!!

6. Replace Drivers License

7. Obtain State ID

An update of my social calendar

Monday 3/22 – Class

Tuesday 3/23 – Dart Practice No ID

Wednesday 3/24 – AIR concert Windy City Darters captain’s meeting No ID

Thursday 3/25 – Dinner + bowling with family

Friday 3/26 – Yelp Elite Event No ID

Saturday 3/27 – Workshop + Dim Sum & Bubble Tea trip

Sunday 3/28 – Wings Around the World