A saint’s feast day? Just another excuse for a party, if you’re Italian. But all the saints?? That’s a BI-I-I-I-IG party. Heck, it’s a festival. And now that Indian summer is upon us, we’ll take this excuse to remember warmer days recently past – and catch you up on a few things we did this summer. In this case, Joe was the party guy, so we’ll let him tell it. Take it away, Joe!
Benvenuto! If you are familiar with our blog site, you know that Maria has been posting up a storm. However, it’s been some time since I’ve written a piece for the blog. It’s not that I haven’t been working on all things Route 66. In fact, I am the Special Guest Editor for two special Route 66 issues of the Illinois Geographical Society’sIllinois Geographer – to be published this fall and winter – and that’s kept both of us busy from July through September. The issues will have the dual themes of preservation and tourism and will have articles and book reviews from geographers, historians, preservationists, and road enthusiasts. Meanwhile, Maria went to the Illinois History Conference in Springfield and chaired a Route 66 panel of historians and preservationists (more on that later). But I digress: that’s not today’s topic. As we often do on the route, we return to fun and food!
Unless otherwise noted, photos in this post are copyright 2014 by J.D. Kubal; all rights reserved.
Ronnie Lottz, the happy proprietor of one of our favorite barbecue places – Cigars & Stripes BBQ Lounge in Berwyn, IL – likes to have fun most of the year. At Halloween, however, he pulls out all the stops. Once again this year, Ronnie is hosting Halloween Week. If you plan to trick or treat on Route 66 in Chicagoland, make sure you stop by his beer, ’cue and cigar emporium at some point next week. With a week-long spooktacular that will last through dinnertime on All Saints Day (for those late risers with truly monstrous hangovers from the night before), there’ll be plenty of opportunity to check out the events if you visit or live in the area. Address and phone are listed at the bottom of this post.
The boo-dacious bash starts at noon on Sunday, October 26, 2014 and runs through 6pm Sunday, October 26, 2014. On Sunday the 26th, Ronnie kicks off the week with the Chicago Bears football game on the big screen and Bloody Mary specials all day long, followed by whatever specials he has on the smoker and the latest episode of The Walking Dead at 8pm. Nothing like spooky group appointment TV to get the blood going!
My, my, how busy things have gotten in Chicago lately. No sooner are we past Memorial Day than activity just seems to explode. Of course, if you’re coming here for a Route 66 road trip, that’s all to your benefit — there are always more things to do here in metro Chicago than there is time to do them. Isn’t it great to have so many choices? So much good stuff is doable for cheap or free. And if you haven’t figured it out yet, there’s no better place to do a lot of this stuff than right out on Chicago’s lakefront, with the lake behind you, the park beside you, and the cityscape before you. Still, that means a plan may be in order, if you want to maximize your time here.
Yesterday, route roadies were all a-Twittering about the latest from the Skydeck at the Sears Tower: The Ledge (or at least the laminated shielding on the glass floor) cracked and scared the dickens out of some visitors from out west. EEEEEK! Even AOL news cribbed a report from Chicago’s WGN-TV midday news. Well, actually, the pressure-sensitive protective coating on the glass supposedly did what it was intended to do and spider-webbed into cracks to indicate that it needed replacement … then that window box was closed off for maintenance while the other one stayed open. And safe. Uh-huh. Right. Sure. Whatever you say. You go first, okay? No, I insist. Really.
The TILT windows at the John Hancock, tilted. (Photo courtesy of ChooseChicago.com)
Coming to Chicago in late June and want to do something special outdoors, but can’t wait for the inconveniently scheduled street festivals and art tours? Do we have an event for you – it’s right on historic Route 66 for two nights, and tickets go on sale this week.
Once upon a time when yours truly was just a wee little thing, there was this new thing that happened during the summer that was an event for singles to meet and have great time with live music, beer and food. It was called the World’s Largest Block Party. That sounded friendly enough to me, and lots of other people thought so, too, which was part of the problem. It was a Saturday event, and it was usually mobbed. I wondered at the time who would willingly expose themselves to milling and bumping through such an enormous crowd in the heat, humidity and sun just to hear deafening live music; but apparently swilling beer makes you susceptible to a lot of things you might not do otherwise.
You think you’re heard everything, and then, whoa – a beer circus!?? Well, it appears to be an annual tradition for Lagunitas Brewing Company at its Petaluma, CA home base. But now that founder and CEO Tony Magee, better known to Twitterati as @LagunitasT, has opened a Chicago brewhouse down in Douglas Park, Lagunitas has finally come home to the Windy City where it belongs. And what better week for a grand opening than Craft Beer Week. Hey, you north side Goose Island guys, look out for the near SW side!
So, even though the Tap Room & Beer Sanctuary (read: brewpub) won’t be ready until some time in June, the grand opening celebrations are beginning already. The beer circus is this weekend, Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.. The $40 ticket price is because it’s a benefit for for Rock For Kids Chicago, which provides music education programs to poor public school children in underserved areas like Lawndale (which is right next door, though technically the park itself is in Lawndale). In addition to the ‘freaktacular’ circus performances will be lots of live music. All we need is cooperative weather. BTW, visitors are encouraged to come in costume (you always wanted to be the ringmaster or sword swallower, right?).
Hey, happy Fat Tuesday, y’all! Today is the culmination of Mardi Gras season, which for you good Catholics means it’s your last chance to pig out and party before the grim frugality of Lent sets in tomorrow on Ash Wednesday. If you’re planning to dine out tonight in the area and want to do it on or near Route 66, we suggest Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket on the route/Joliet Road in Willowbrook, IL or the new Darien outpost of Chuck’s Southern Comforts Café, which is about four blocks north of where Joliet Road and I-55 cross Cass Avenue. Both have special menus tonight and Chuck’s will have live music, too, but whereas Chuck’s will pinch your pocket for $39 for their Creole buffet, Dell Rhea’s remains tasty and cost effective as ever! We say: eat on the route tonight at Dell Rhea’s and save the first Saturday of April for the beignet breakfast (OMG!) at Chuck’s. Compromise is sure nice, ain’t it? Tasty, too.
Mardi Gras beads and mask (photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and abrahammy)
Oh my, so much fun at the Berwyn Route 66 Car Show on Saturday the 7th – and even more this year than last, probably because we made a decision not to take 200 or 300 shots of all the cars. That actually gave us more opportunity to look around and enjoy things! ;D
But seriously: optimizing all those photos last year took forever, and we’re still working on the book manuscript, so we decided that discretion was the better part of valor and got picky about what we shot. Alas, our third had to babysit his daughter (better luck next year, Keith), but Joe and I made a complete day of it. It was a busy day, too, given that we started off in Hodgkins at Quarry Days and visited with the folks at the new Hodgkins Historical Society Museum on Kane Street. It’s in the former village hall and firehouse. Saturday at Quarry Days was the museum’s debut and open house. The staff hadn’t quite managed to get the entire collection on display in time, but based on what was on display, it’s going to be beautiful when it’s all up and running. Thanks to Sue Cappa for giving us a tour and to Mayor Cummings for posing for us.
Mayor Cummings of Hodgkins, IL and Sue Cappa of the Hodgkins Historical Society smile at the museum’s open house during Quarry Days 2013. Photo copyright 2013 by J.D. Kubal; all rights reserved