Archive for April, 2011

Where is the Best Hat Shop in the City?


So I own a lot of hats. On my wall are rice hats, a hard hat, fireman helmet, stetson, fedoras, baseball caps, and ties. I know where to get ties and don’t need them too often but always like a good hat. Where are Chicago’s best hats?

Goorin Brothers?


Hats Plus?

Optimo Hats?

RedEye Royalty: One Year Later


I don’t remember why I began using Twitter, I couldn’t tell you who I followed or what I was even tweeting about. I remember the first tango with the social media whirlwind was with Yelp. I met people, tried new places that I never been to before (a feat that becomes increasingly difficult with every passing year spent in Chicago), and learned how to navigate through the landscape. I’ve made lots of friends from social media, and I don’t mind saying that because you can’t do that unless you’ve got an open mind and a taste for ideas and experiences that are not your own.
Yes, I remember my first tweetup. It was @FaithandWhiskey, I had just finished some delicious pho’ with @TheAW1 and @cassidycody and we all hurried down to check what the tweetup was about. One friend who wasn’t with us wouldn’t go because the idea of going to a tweetup hosted by someone called @AccidentallySxy didn’t seem like his scene. I think all three of us were very confused because we didn’t know anyone and there’s nothing worse than sticking out in a crowd of people who all knew each other (or did they?).
I remember meeting @ErnestWilkins, dressed in a slick suit with the classic glasses he was human hurricane meeting and greeting and hosting. He gave me the RedEye Royalty tweetup pin and I gladly accepted. My friends got very tired of the scene and didn’t want to meet so after twenty minutes or so we all left and went off to the next party. Being pulled away from something you want to see and investigate can be frustrating but I’m never one to hold friends hostage.
I did not quit the Twitter game that night. I kept tweeting and discovered more Tweetups and eventually ran the Chiditarod with @ErnestWilkins and @hankbausch a month later. Coincidentally, @Henjealy revealed herself to be a trash-talking machine throughout the whole race and I found myself a whole new branch of people to talk to on Twitter.
One Saturday night I found myself at the Chicago Theatre after my friends disgracefully bailed out on the noontime scavenger hunt to get the On Location badge on Foursquare. This time I decided to go alone because I wasn’t going to have people keep me from doing what I do best: meeting people!
It was an awkward time, I met one guy there who did not know what a Tweetup was and had never used Twitter in his entire life. I had just started The Chicago Bucket List and pulled out my trusty notebook to ask his ideas on what he thought would be things to do before leaving Chicago for good.
“Pay down some debts, that’s definitely what I would do,” he said.
My eyebrow raised but I nodded in agreement and said that it was a great idea. That guy soon left and I was left to my own devices trying some free @baomouth baos while drinking a Honkers Ale. As it was my luck, I had competed in the MBA Cup the previous fall and met a schoolmate who worked for Metromix. As it so happened, she was at the Tweetup and kindly introduced me to @crushgear and several more of her colleagues even though she didn’t have to.
In some ways, I reflect on that moment as a pivotal inflection point on Twitter, tweetups, and the social media universe. There it was that one person I personally knew introduced me to people I virtually knew who then introduced me to more people and I watched right before my eyes the giant multiplier effect like neurons transmitting at the speed of light. A week later I found myself inducted into RedEye Royalty, my new social media crew that never fought and never had time for drama. It was a great time getting to know the legends of RedEye Royalty.
It’s been a great year and I’ve had many a good time with my RedEye Royalty crew having great dim sum brunches, Sunday fundays, and of course the obligatory barbecue. Some days I find myself hanging out with RedEye Royalty and often forget how we even know each other because in reality it was all the brainchild of little miss @crushgear to create her own personal army of social media brand ambassadors diverse as there are colors under the sun. @crushgear‘s long gone and we miss her dearly for forging something out of nothing. As the days of this blog come to an end so too do my words fade like etchings in the sand but one thing’s certain: I’ve made some great friends and have had some damn good times.

The Sasquatch Burger


The Sasquatch Burger

While most everything I write about in Chicago, I found myself in Scottsdale earlier this month trying to compute the caloric intake of one of the southwest’s most dangerous burgers: The Sasquatch Burger. After a long day of work, me and some colleagues began to roam downtown Scottsdale for a place to drink and catch some of the NCAA Tournament. We found ourselves at The Lodge which was ironic, since I was at the Lodge in Chicago just before I flew out to Arizona.

The Lodge had a nice wooden interior with the classic antler chandeliers hanging overhead. There were people inside, outside and some electronic darts off in the periphery. The crowd was diverse agewise and otherwise and I felt right at home. Guinnesses dominated my drink selection, but eventually we got hungry. Perusing the menu, one burger caught our attention: The SASQUATCH Burger!

What is a Sasquatch Burger? Delicious. Decadent. Death-defying. I’ve probably run into novelty food before but after attacking a Sasquatch Burger, I’ve come to realize that this was some serious eating. I found out that the Sasquatch Burger could also be converted into omelet form but it was dinner time so a burger sounded just right.  We ordered our Sasquatch and it rolled in loaded up with a giant beef patty, a giant heap of bacon, tossed with a few crispy fried onion straws, and then hugged by two giant cheese sandwiches! We had to slice this demonic burger in half before we could come to grips with its reality.

The truth was that this may have been one of the unhealthiest things I’ve ever had the chance to consume but every bite was amazingly greasy with either the juiciness of the burger hitting you, the crisp bacon, crunchy onion straws, or buttered up grilled cheese sandwiches attacking your taste buds from all directions. The fact that I split it mitigated its deadliness only a slight bit. Now that I’m back in Chicago, I would like to have a Sasquatch Burger once again. Is there anyone in Chicago who is brave enough to make their own version of the SASQUATCH Burger?

Glorious Sasquatch Burger

Glorious Sasquatch Burger