Tag Archives: review

Say hello to Pappy’s!

Happy Fourth of July! Errr … I mean post Fourth of July weekend!

I don’t know about you but I was very busy. Not only was it a glorious four days off, I had friends in from out of town, which means there was a constant stream of activity – BBQs, fireworks, City Museum, bars, restaurants etc. My friend Ryan even got engaged. All in all, nothing beats a mini reunion over good food and drinks.

One of the joints that we found ourselves at was Pappy’s Smokehouse, home of the most famous BBQ in STL. Heralded as one of the 101 best places to chow down in America by The Travel Channel, expectations were high. And apparently, everyone had the same idea since we had to wait 50 minutes before placing an order and finding our seats.

The menu is very simple, similar to the plain brick facade of the restaurant and wooden tables scattered throughout the inside. The only way you would know the place is of any importance is by the pictures of celebrities and celebrity chefs peppered on the walls touting the accolades of Pappy’s.

Your options are the traditional smokehouse selection: ribs, pulled pork, chicken, brisket, turkey and sausage. For about $18, you can get a half rack of ribs in addition to 1/4 pound of another meat – in my case, brisket. Let me tell you up front, no need for the second meat. After juicy, smoky-flavored ribs, the second protein was left forgotten on the plate. The brisket was just OK and the bite I had of the pulled pork was delicious but the big daddy of Pappy’s is the rack of ribs.

Obviously, the main focus of any smokehouse is the meat but we all know that a true BBQ experience wouldn’t be complete without the sides and Pappy’s delivers in spades. All the regulars are on the roll call: baked beans, slaw, sweet potato fries, corn on the cob, green beans and applesauce. I know, I picked the same ones you would have – baked beans and cole slaw a.k.a. the best sides I’ve ever had.

Let's dive in!

Before – let’s dive in!

It’s impressive when you remember more than just the proteins from a BBQ restaurant and I guarantee you’ll remember these. The beans were very sweet, but not heavy. Soft and even a little smoky, you’re left with the perfect blend of flavors. The slaw was a keeper too. The dressing was vinegar-based versus mayonnaise, which means it was light, citrusy, and a great refreshing, bite to follow up the richness of the meat and the beans. See for yourself, I left nothing on the plate … except the brisket because I was too full.

After.

After.

And here you have it, the abbreviated review of the best BBQ joint in STL:

  • Price: $$
  • Taste: 4/5
  • Ambience: 3/5
  • Service: 5/5 – while we had to wait a little bit, everyone was very friendly, brought us samples of beans in line and checked in regularly once we sat down after placing our order. A+

Oh, and before you ask me about the BBQ sauce, know that I didn’t have much since the meat was flavorful and moist enough. You’ll have to make your ranking of Pappy’s Original, Sweet Baby Jane and Holly’s Hot Sauce when you pay a visit.

How was your Fourth of July holiday? Try any new restaurants? Where’s your favorite BBQ?

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

The Perfect Taste

Disclaimer: Unless you’re from St. Louis or are planning on visiting, you probably won’t find this post very interesting. However, I’m hoping that it inspires you to explore some of the wonderful local restaurants you have in your own backyard – you never know what you’ll find! Oh, and this post is long one.

I announced a couple of weeks ago that I had moved to STL, which is how I will be referring to the Lou from now on. It’ll probably mess with my SEO – Search Engine Optimization for all you non-marketing folk, but I’m perfectly OK with it since we need to work on rebranding this city so that it’s not overrun by high school enthusiasts.

I’m not going to lie, moving from an international destination like Chicago, chalked full of museums, architectural history, and an incomparable food scene, I was nervous about my new surroundings and how it was going to affect my cultural horizons. After being here for almost a month and exploring the Gateway to the West, I’m thinking that this place might make a suitable substitute – minus my awesome friends, DMK burger and public transportation.

While on one of my STL adventures, I stopped in at Taste, an upscale bar/small bites eatery in the popular Central West End neighborhood. Unfortunately, their website doesn’t offer much information on how it started but I will do my best to convince you that the food and experience are worth any detour.

Before setting foot into taste, you’re greeted by a simple wooden door, topped with a very explicit sign so as to prevent any confusion as to where you’ve stumbled to. It would be easy to walk right by it if you’re not paying attention but on the rainy night that I found myself there, the warm candle light couldn’t have been more welcoming.

No  way you're going to get this place mixed up with anything else.

No way you’re going to get this place mixed up with anything else.

Like I mentioned, Taste is first and foremost a bar – not a bar where you go for cheap drink specials and fried food. A bar that enables you to try liquors in combinations that you will probably find strange at first. Because of the hundred classic and innovative cocktails to choose from, I won’t elaborate on them here. Instead, I’ll direct you to their menu and give the best advice I received at a similar place: try a cocktail that has an alcohol you don’t usually gravitate towards.

Now, most people treat Taste like an upscale bar with a couple of amuse-bouches to choose from. I, however, wanted dinner and decided to indulge with six items off their snacks, small plates, large plates and sweets menu.

Gremolata

Roasted curried cauliflower with anchovy chili gremolata – don’t forget the bread crumbs!

First off is the roasted curried cauliflower with anchovy, chili gremolata. I was nervous about this one since I’m not a huge cauliflower fan but consider myself a convert. It tasted a little pickled, which combined some great vinegary, sweet flavors with the freshness of the vegetable and spiciness of the curry. Add some gremolata and you now have a sharp citrus tang that cuts through all the flavors while managing to bring them all together and playing to the velvety taste of the side of aioli.

Bacon fat fried cornbread. Ugh. I want some now.

Bacon fat fried cornbread. Ugh. I want some now.

Next up, we have the bacon fat fried cornbread. For those of you that know me, you’re aware that cornbread is one of my favorite foods. Fry it in bacon fat and you pretty much have the perfect meal – I’m not joking. I could have eaten a full plate of this and asked for more. The bread is perfectly moist on the inside, surrounded by a salty, crunchy outside that creates the perfect contrast of flavors for anyone to enjoy.

Potato gnocchi with bacon, dates, snap peas and basil.

Potato gnocchi with bacon, dates, snap peas and basil.

The third stop on our culinary adventure finds us trying the potato gnocchi with bacon, dates, snap peas and basil. It sounds like a mouthful but it’s the best kind. The gnocchi is so soft and a little sweet with the hit of the dates. All of that is offset by the salty bacon or lardons, which make for a heartier bite.

Pork scrapple, brown butter, sage and fried egg.

Pork scrapple, brown butter, sage and fried egg.

Barbacoa, masa, salsa verde, red onion, queso fresco and cilantro.

Barbacoa, masa, salsa verde, red onion, queso fresco and cilantro.

The next two dishes, pork scrapple, brown butter, sage and fried egg, and the barbacoa, masa, salsa verde, red onion, queso fresco and cilantro, were not my favorites so I’m not going to elaborate on them here. They’re perfectly OK but you should save room for dessert.

Moving on to the sweets! We asked the waitress for a recommendation and after spending 45 seconds describing the churros but only saying that the “Manhattan shake” was good, we knew the choice had been made for us.

Churros, almond ice cream and chocolate.

Churros, almond ice cream and spiced chocolate.

Churros have a lot to live up to after having savored the ones served up at Xoco in Chicago, however when churros, velvet almond ice cream and spiced chocolate showed up, I dove in and didn’t look back.

These were the best churros I’ve ever had. Light, airy, sweet, dipped in chocolate. They were a little spicy but the almond ice cream was the perfect counter balance to the heat. I would go back just for those and the cornbread.

Alright, I’ve bored you enough. To streamline this process, I created a key below and will use it on any restaurant reviews moving forward (look at me and my business speak):

  • Price: $$
  • Taste: 4/5
  • Ambience: 4/5
  • Service: 4/5

So there you have it – my first STL restaurant review! How do you think I did? Anything else on the menu I should have tried? What would you have gotten?

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What Adam’s Reading: “Beautiful Ruins” by Jess Walter

11447921Well, January has come and gone – I blinked and it was over, which means everyone should be wrapped up with “Beautiful Ruins,” our first book club read of the year! In typical book club fashion, I pulled a couple of discussion questions below in the hopes to guide our conversations throughout the comments. I also wanted to give a typical “That Guy” review, similar to what you’ll find here. So, skip down to whichever section interests you most and check back tomorrow for the announcement of our pick for February!

///

When choosing this book with my friend Alison, we were looking for an undeniable hit from 2012 that we hadn’t tackled yet. Appearing in most “Best of 2012” lists, the decision seemed easy.

Side note: My first choice would have been “Bring Up the Bodies” by Hilary Mantel but that’s a sequel so I’ll have to read the two installments in my spare time. 

What intrigued me about the plot was the fact that it spanned over multiple decades, usually ensuring depth of character and story, and claimed to be a great example of how chance encounters and impromptu relationships can influence individuals’ lives. The latter, I would agree with; the former, I would not.

Critics were right when referencing the scope of the book, but what they failed to elaborate on is that there are basically three instances when the protagonists interact with each other: late 1960s, on the set of Cleopatra with Elizabeth Taylor, early 1970s, and today. You’re filled in on the holes of their respective histories throughout the novel but very rarely is there dialogue between the main characters beyond their first encounter, making their relationships come off as superficial.

That’s why I fully agree in regards to the fact that this novel can be looked to as a literary interpretation of the “It’s a Small World” phenomenon: the moment when you have lost friends and acquaintances reappear in your life. It’s perfectly accurate to think that paths would cross at some point, but it’s somewhat presumptuous and cheesy to give them intense feelings for each other that would never be there in real life.

I don’t mean to make this book sound horrible, but in my mind it was just mediocre, especially going into it with such high expectations. I will say that the ending wraps the whole story up with a nice bright bow on top, leaving no doubt as to what happens to the heroes later on in life. Sometimes, it’s nice to not have cliffhangers.

Summary:

  • Grade: C. Really just an average story.
  • What’s it about: You meet five characters off the coast of Italy who are involved in the Elizabeth Taylor scandal on the set of Cleopatra. Fifty years later, they reunite, a whole life of memories and regrets between them.
  • Who should read this book: Someone who is interested in knowing what the hype is all about.
  • When should you read it: When you want a quick read that isn’t airport-quick.
  • Where to find it: Amazon.com for $18, still only available in hardback.

///

This section is for all of you who read the book and want to talk about it. WARNING: SPOILER ALERTS! I found these questions more thought-provoking than others since they provided a new perspective. Feel free to answer the same ones or pick another from this list.

One of Jess Walter’s concerns in Beautiful Ruins is how real life intersects and influences art. Talk about the numerous ways that idea plays out in the novel.

This was something I didn’t notice until it was pointed out but when you think about it, every character was an artist, whether they be an actor, a author, a musician, a painter etc. Throughout the book, they’re constantly creating something and the output is reflective of their personal experiences:

  • Dee, as an actress, pulls emotions from the disappointment she feels at the turn her life took.
  • Alvis, the author, is writing about a moment he lived through during the war.
  • Shane, the screenplay writer, is using material (Donner!) from when he was a kid.
  • Michael Deane, the author, publishes a book outlining how to succeed in Hollywood, the same way he did.
  • Lydia, the actress/playwright, literally uses her and Pat’s lives as material.

The only person who this doesn’t apply to is Pasquale and when you dwell on it, it might be to emphasize his more earthly personality and real-life aspirations: have a family and settle down versus becoming rich and famous.

Of the seven main characters, which is your favorite? Least favorite (don’t all say Michael Deane)?

What I liked about this question is that Michael Deane was probably my favorite character. He’s the practical one, the smart one who is able to follow his instincts and be right. He learns from his failures and builds on his successes, taking one challenge at a time. I feel that most everyone in the book could have learned a thing or two from Deane and not been living with regrets. Dee Moray, Pasquale, Pat, Lydia – I’m looking at you!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What Adam’s Reading: “The Marriage Plot” by Jeffrey Eugenides

51GPiDFcQCLWhen I sat down to write this review, I stared at the screen for a good five minutes, unable to find the words to describe this book or my feelings on it. The reason for that, I think, is because it’s a novel that requires you to sit back and reflect and, I admit, I haven’t had enough time to do that. One of the reasons for this is that I immediately dove into our January Book of the Month and didn’t really sort out my impressions of Madeleine, Leonard and Mitchell.

“The Marriage Plot” is almost exactly what you think it will be and so completely not. Before reading it, I knew that it would involve a love triangle of sorts but I was unprepared for the depth of character and complexity of emotions that each of our protagonists display. Their relationships with each other come across very primal and toxic at the same time, as each person acts on impulse, emphasizing the insecurities they feverishly try to hide. In a sense, this book could almost be described as a coming of age story since, by the end, they’re completely different people than when they started. They manage to embrace themselves and flourish into who they were always meant to be.

I feel like I could go on and on about this book, discussing the interesting setting that is the 1980s, the influence our parents have on us and the misunderstanding of mental illness but instead, I’m going to keep it short and urge you to read one of the smartest books I’ve encountered in a while. You won’t regret traveling the world with Mitchell, learning of your inner strength with Madeleine and crying at the unravelling of the genius that is Leonard.

Summary:

  • Grade: Must-read – I really am giving you no choice.
  • What’s it about: The complex relationships of three characters who, over the course of nine months, graduate from Brown, travel the world, fall in love and go completely insane in their own unique ways.
  • Who should read this book: Readers who enjoy complex, layered stories – this is not necessarily a quick read but you will know these characters through and through by the time you’re done.
  • When should they read it: If you’re looking for a serious novel, written by a serious writer – this guy won a Pulitzer Prize!
  • Where can you find it: Amazon.com for $11 – it came out in paperback recently.

PS: If you’re looking for a much more comprehensive review of “The Marriage Plot,” check out what my friend Alison had to say. She’s much more eloquent than me and hits the essence of the book right on the head.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Crate & Barrel: January Inspiration

photo-2Crate & Barrel must have gotten word of my obsession from this post because they’ve now decided to stuff my mailbox with all form of home decor reading materials – or I’ve now given them my address so many times from all the weddings that they know I’m an easy target for their marketing propaganda …

The latest installment in the Crate & Barrel catalog guide comes from their “January Inspiration” issue – because none of these items are allowed to inspire you for the other 11 months of the year. But in all seriousness, it leaves you no choice but to spend your hard earned cash on items that you didn’t even know you needed! Kind of like walking around Target.

Similar to the Skymall gift guide, but with a much more serious tone, I’ve highlighted some of the items that I wouldn’t mind seeing pop up in my apartment. They’re on the higher end of the price spectrum but sometimes, a little splurging can be worth it.

Screen Shot 2013-01-09 at 11.01.07 PM1. Large Mixing Bowl, $29.95 – Growing up, there was always a large mixing bowl that was used for much more than cooking. It was the bowl to rule all bowls. The one that would aid in getting stains out of your clothes or even house the popcorn that you enjoyed on a low-key Saturday night. I’ve always sought to have one of my own but just haven’t gotten around to buying one as I make do with my large pot. However, this white ceramic beauty is speaking to me so it might be time to bite the bullet.

2. Heritage Hill Glass Jars with Lid, $41.85 – Nothing says “I bake” or “classy kitchen” like jars to hold your flour and sugar. Yes, the trio can be rather pricey but when you’re trying to hide your rental’s ugly backsplash, these traditional containers add just the right touch of “homey.”

3. Marin Media Console, $849.15 – So, no. I would never buy this. Not because of the design but because of the price. However, if you saw the TV stand that my roommate brought with him, you would understand that we’re in need of an upgrade. What I like about this console is the fact that the front panels hide all the wiring and hardware that would otherwise look messy. The natural wood tones are just the added bonus to mixing up the black and white theme seen throughout my apartment.

4. Large Wire Basket, $15.9 – While these are advertised as being suitable for your bathroom and toiletries, I would challenge you to think outside of the box. This basket could be the modern touch you need in your kitchen by holding fruit and vegetables or it could reside in your living room as non-traditional magazine storage.

5. Chevron Off-White Pillow, $29.95 – Chevron has been making it’s way around the DIY circuit, whether on walls, furniture or art, but this throw pillow is neutral enough to go with everything and still trendy enough to add visual interest to your bed, chair or sofa.

So there you have it: five items sure to bring your home to the next level. But only in January.

For those of you that were lucky enough to receive this issue, what were your must-haves? Did anything grab your eye?

PS: If you’re wondering why this post is stored under the “DIY” category, it’s because it relates to home decor and just might inspire you to tackle the remake of a media console all on your own to save the arm and leg you almost handed over for the Crate & Barrel one. 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday Favs, Kansas City Edition

I hope everyone had a wonderful, relaxing holiday! I’m still on mine, which means that I haven’t been on a computer much. That’s why I’ve decided to spend this Friday telling you about some of my must-do activities when visiting Kansas City, the home of my parents and extended family. If you ever visit, I think you’ll enjoy your time in this underrated midwestern city. For all you natives, is there anything that I’ve missed? Be sure to let me know in the comments!

BBQ

Oklahoma_Joes0005

Don’t freak out but yes, the flagship location is in a gas station. It just adds to the charm!

You know me – I love to eat! So let’s start with the food. Kansas City BBQ is a staple, right up there with Chicago Pizza and New York City bagels. Pretty much any joint you decide to try will be good, like Famous Dave’s and Arthur Bryant’s. However, the general consensus is that Oklahoma Joe’s is the best. Hands down. Over the years, the restaurant has amassed quite the accolades including a spot on Anthony Bourdain’s list of “13 Restaurants to Eat at Before You Die” and Men’s Health “Manliest Restaurant in America.” The meat falls off the bones, the sauce is the perfect balance of sweet and savory and the fries can’t be beat with their signature seasoning. What more could you want? I particularly recommend the Z-Man: a decadent sandwich of brisket, provolone cheese and onion rings on a kaiser bun. My mouth is watering just at the thought.

Boulevard Brewery Tour

boulevard-4If you’re a fan of craft beer, you’ll enjoy the local brewery’s flagship offering: Boulevard Wheat, a great example of a mild, light colored beer with depth of flavor. Don’t worry, you’ll get to try the full selection but be sure to get your hands on the classic. Now, I hate to say that I have yet to go on the tour myself – it’s not for a lack of trying! For some reason they get booked up quickly, which means that you need to be on top of your game and plan ahead, something I’m clearly failing at.

The Country Club Plaza

webhome_PlazaLights_stormyThis is the Mag Mile of Kansas City. Or, if you’re unfamiliar with Chicago, the Rodeo Drive. A quaint boulevard near downtown, it houses 150 high-end shops that you’re used to finding in more urban areas. You can take a stroll through the spanish-inspired ornate buildings covered in bricks and mosaics, surrounded by fountains now synonymous with the city. I highly recommend a visit during the holidays as you’re able to feast your eyes on more than 80 miles of light. While you’re at it, be sure to stop at Topsy’s for a taste of their cinnamon popcorn!

Nelson-Atkins Art Museum

One-of-four-large-sculpture-birdies-placed-throughout-The-Nelson-Atkins-Musueum-of-Arts-Green-by-husband-and-wife-team-Claes-Oldenburg-and-Coose-van-Bruggen.-Each-birdie-weighs-5500-pounds-standing-nearly-18-feet-tall.2Sure, you wouldn’t think of Kansas City as a big destination for art enthusiasts but you’d be surprised. Often housing some of the most prestigious exhibits in the world, it boasts more than 33,000 pieces of art that frequently rotate to provide a new experience during each visit. And be sure to take full advantage of the giant shuttlecocks placed randomly throughout the property. They’re the prefect photo opp.

Power and Light District

image.aspxSo you’ve eaten, you’ve toured and you’ve shopped, which means you’re ready for a drink and some relaxing at the bar. Kansas City has done a wonderful job at revamping its Power and Light District over the past couple of years. It now consists of a covered courtyard surrounded by bars and restaurants that allow you to walk around with your beverage of choice, be it alcoholic or non. Frequently, you’ll find live music acts which just add to the ambiance and sets the scene for a good time. Cheers!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Chicago, the Best of Los Angeles and New York

That GuyThought Catalog, the popular online Millennial outlet, recently posted about the differences between LA and NYC. At polar opposites of the country, these major cities are often pitted against each other and used to illustrate two extremes: the easy, breezy superficialness of the West and the fast-paced, grungy lifestyle of the East. Being a Chicagoan, I think I can speak for most when I say that we’re completely fine with being left out of the “who’s better” war. We’re perfectly happy with keeping our beautiful city a secret and laugh at the shenanigans of our coastal friends. However, after reading this post, I realized that none of the pros and cons for either city make me want to live there and if anything, I would be doing a disservice to everyone by keeping the Windy City off the radar. Therefore, behold Ryan O’Connell’s original list with Chicago added to the mix:

1. “In New York, you’re only allowed to be an asshole if you’re interesting.You have to earn the privilege of behaving like a dick. In Los Angeles, however, you can just be a dick. No funny jokes or good personality needed!” In Chicago, we like to be nice and most of time, the “dicks” that I meet are from out of town.

2. “Los Angeles is the land of delusions. You can live your life thinking you’re the best invention since sliced bread and no one will question your self-importance.New York is different though. Living here basically entails being humiliated on a daily basis. It’s like being served a slice of humble pie over and over again. So even if you do develop an ego and start to think you’re the shit, there will always be something waiting to bring you back down to Earth.” See #1, which means that Chicagoans are usually down for a good time, happy to meet new people and discover what each can bring to the table. Call it the Midwestern charm.

3. “The standards of beauty in L.A. are wildly different from New York’s. L.A. is all about looking healthy, refreshed and athletic. Juice cleanses (aka starvation), hikes up Runyon Canyon (three times in one day), and a natural tan (secretly produced in a tanning bed). Meanwhile, New Yorkers want to look they’re on the verge of death 24/7. To achieve this look, they make sure their skin resembles that of a corpse and flaunt their malnourished figure proudly. ‘No, honey, this body was not brought to you by exercise and kale…'” In Chicago, we have the advantage of having extreme weather: warm days in the summer and freezing temperatures in winter. What this translates to is that you’re supposed to put on some weight in the winer – how else can you stay warm? Once it starts to warm up in the spring, it’s time to strap on those running shoes and get ready for the beach. You heard me right. Unbeknownst to most, Chicago has beaches and we want to make sure we look just as athletic as L.A.

4. “People in Los Angeles are always between projects. Ask them what they do for a living and you will NEVER get a straight answer. They work in the entertainment industry? They’re a pet psychic? They’re someone’s life coach? Oh, but they’re this close to getting a deal with so-so, which will catapult them to overnight fame. With New York, it’s like, you better be doing something fantastic with your life because people don’t just move here and hemorrhage money just to be between projects.” In Chicago, you’re encouraged to have a plan. It’s perfectly OK to be in between projects and bartend on the side but at the end of day, you know where you want to go and you’re doing what you can to get there. Oh, and you’re not spending $2,500 a month to live in a closet.

5. “People in L.A. always say that they want to move to New York one day. “It’s been a dream! I’m just so jealous that you get to live there!” It’s as if New York is some untouchable entity that employs a lottery to decide who gets to live here. New Yorkers, on the other hand, constantly talk about leaving the city. “But I could never move to L.A., ugh. I hate it there. OMG, maybe San Francisco though. I’ve never been but I think I would love it!” Lots of Chicagoan love New York. We really do! We just could never live there and L.A. is pretty much never an option. Ironically enough, we’ve been to San Francisco and love it!

6. “Living in L.A. is such a pain in the ass logistically that if you manage to do it, you can live pretty much anywhere else and it’ll be considered an improvement. New Yorkers are screwed though. They really can’t go anywhere else. The city turns them into Martians that don’t translate outside of the metropolitan area.” Chicago truly is the best of both worlds. You’re not as constricted as everyone in New York and you’re still allowed to leave the city by plane, train or automobile. If fact, you really do have a choice on whether or not to own a car, unlike L.A. where you need one and New York where you can’t have one.

7. “Dating in L.A. is a mystery. HOW DO YOU MEET ANYONE? In New York, it’s easier but no one wants to ever settle down. They’re too busy screwing themselves to ever really screw you.” Once again, Chicago hits the middle with this one. I’ve seen plenty of friends choose to date, and others decide not to. Either way, there are numerous options no matter which road you decide to go down.

8. “In New York, you’re considered wealthy if you have a dishwasher in your apartment. In L.A., you’re rich if you live in a mansion.” In Chicago, it’s not a dishwasher. It’s the in-unit washer/dryer. What I wouldn’t do for one of those. 

9. “L.A. feels like a Xanax, like your limbs have been dipped in a vat of pudding. You’re always weirdly sleepy, even though you haven’t really done anything. Perhaps it’s because the sun is always beating down on you? In New York, you always feel like you’re halfway through drinking that cup of coffee you didn’t need.” Chicagoans are pretty intentional about what they do and how they feel. Hibernate during the winter, flaunt your stuff during the summer. Bars when it’s cold, patios when it’s warm. Let’s be honest, weather dictates everything.

10. “L.A. knows how to make a good fucking salad. New York knows how to make a good fucking bagel. Somehow this crucial difference is more telling than anything else.” Salads and bagels?! We’ll take a burger and a beer. 

At the end of the day, Chicago is spotless and that’s more than anyone can say about L.A. or NYC.

For those of you that have been to any of these cities, what do you think? Anything to add? What’s your favorite?

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Crate & Barrel: The Holiday Gift Guide 2012

You know you want one.

When I returned home from my weekend adventure in Madison, WI, I was greeted by the Crate & Barrel Holiday Gift Guide in my mailbox. They most likely got my address from all the wedding gifts I’ve been buying, which is obviously abuse of the trust I’ve given them but since I’m a fan, I’ll overlook it.

Having recently read this scathing great review of the William Sonoma catalog, I decided to give the same treatment to this mag and really look at it through a critical lens. Fortunately, or unfortunately, Crate & Barrel is awesome and everything in their catalog is worth buying. Sure, some items can be expensive but that’s to be expected.

Instead, since it is a GIFT guide, I thought I would select the top five items I wouldn’t mind finding under my Christmas tree. However, after going through it a few times, I could only settle on two. I’m not sure if this is an indication that I’m super picky or actually don’t think that most of the items are worth owning. I’m just going to run with the assumption that it’s because I don’t have any room to store or display most of what the catalog offers. #cityapartmentproblems

Cuisinart Air Popcorn Maker, $39.95: This basically ensures that you don’t have burnt popcorn – genius! And who doesn’t want to watch popcorn shoot out of a funnel? To prove my point, I’ve resorted to the awesomeness that is the internet and found the awkward review video below. This is also one of those completely unnecessary items that you could potentially find in Sky Mall magazine featured  between an exact replica of Ron Weasley’s wand and a pillow for your feet.

Cast Iron Fondue Set, $39.95: Melted cheese. ‘Nough said.

What’s on your Christmas list? Anything from Crate & Barrel? Has anyone actually bought anything from Sky Mall magazine? I want to know!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,