Posts Tagged 'Chicago'

More Windy City Eats

IN A POST OVER at Jaunted today, I talk about Uncommon Ground, a local eco-friendly restaurant chain in Chicago. Check out that article here, or see reviews at Yelp.


Inadvertently Vegetarian in Chicago

Photo collage of Kopi Cafe by Phineas Jones.

I’M DOWN IN THE Windy City for a couple days visiting my friend The Harbinger. While cycling along the cold streets I came across Kopi, a self-described “Traveler’s Cafe,” serving up a pretty delicious vegetarian menu. (I’m normally a meat-eater, but the seitan Blue Burger was fantastic.)

Warm up here with hot masala tea and lounge at the Thai-style low tables. The walls are stacked with Lonely Planet guides and Moleskine notebooks for purchase, and above the bookshelves hang clocks marking the time in Kyoto, Goa, Yogyakarta and other far-flung locales. Worth a stop if you’re on the north side.

This Week’s Wandering News

  • A new rail service between Thailand and neighboring Laos will start this April. According to Xinhua, there will be two intial passenger train services running from Bankok to Nong Khai and Ban Thanaleng.
  • Newsweek posts a sobering photo gallery that captures the brutal human scars left by Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge.
  • From staying in Sumatran solar-powered lodges to touring Thai national forests, Forbes covers what’s going on in Southeast Asian Ecotourism.
  • In the New York Times, Sabrina Tavernise talks about the importance of a new photo collection that tackles the many meanings of being Turkish.
  • And in Chicago, a new ordinance is passed giving cyclists more rights. Drivers can now be fined up to $500 for “dooring” bikers, turning in front of them, or not passing with more than three feet of room.

For more links, check out my — safe travels.

This Week’s Wandering News

THIS BLOG HAS NEVER really had a strict format — and it likely never will. But in an effort to make things just a smidgen more consistent and a tad more daily, I’m making a few tentative changes. The first is the return of This Week’s Wandering News, a collection of links from around the interweb that relate to travel and world news. This will be posted every Sunday. If you can’t wait a week to get your hands on what TDT’s been reading, then check out my Enjoy!

  • Going to be in the Rainy City for St. Patty’s Day? Then check out the bar guide over at The Stranger to go “beyond green beer.” Molly Macguire’s in Ballard is my personal favorite.
  • Korean burritos? Steak and bleu cheese dumplings? A new fusion restaurant in Chicago called “Crisp” is blaspheming traditional Korean dishes and making some delicious-looking concoctions.
  • An eerie capture of devotees dancing at an Indian festival celebrating the Hindu god Shiva is one among many fascinating photos in a Chicago Tribune collection.
  • The Philharmonic has left, the desperation continues. Fifteen people were shot by North Korean soldiers along the Chinese border. According to reports, some of the victims had been trying to flee the country while others had simply been aiding their escape into China.
  • Cycling groups are gaining popularity in Indonesia, as thousands of Jakartans are biking to work.

Culture for Sale

REAL ESTATE BILLIONAIRE SAM Zell’s reiteration of his willingness to sell the naming rights to Wrigley Field along with the Chicago Cubs baseball team is just another reminder that our culture is up for grabs to the highest bidder. While the field might already bear the name of a corporation, a quote in a Tribune article today hits on why that’s missing the point:

Fans argue the Wrigley gum company could solve the problem and generate goodwill by ponying up to preserve tradition. The company — which has had its name on the stadium since 1927 when it was named for team owner and gummaker William Wrigley Jr. — has no comment, a spokesman said.

Brad Sarna, a sports valuation analyst at Absolute Brand LLC in Milwaukee, thinks the Wrigley company wouldn’t get enough out of a deal.

“I don’t even think of Wrigley gum when I think of Wrigley Field,” he said. And calling it Orbit Stadium, after a Wrigley brand, would defeat the purpose.

What this is really about is tradition, about the memories that we have tied to names, words and places. Yet across our society these ties are shamelessly being severed and rearranged to serve consumerism. Seattle’s old football stadium was simply called the Kingdome; now it’s Qwest Field. I can’t hear the Beatles’ “Hello, Goodbye” without thinking “Hello, Goodbuy.” And as these companies gain by hijacking our culture, we can only stand to lose.

Photo: wrigley field north, by nytejade. chicago.

A Red Light, a Bicycle, a Coffin

UNFORTUNATELY, THE STORY IS nothing new — a cyclist jumps a red light, and it ends up being the last thing they ever do. But the death of 29 year-old Matthew Manger-Lynch in Chicago this past Sunday hit close to home for me. He died while competing in the third stage of the Tour da Chicago, an annual “alleycat” street race, in which friends of mine have participated in years past. Manger-Lynch, who was married and had plans to open a French-style charcuterie, was leading a pack of about 40 racers when he crossed Irving Park Road against the light. He was struck by an SUV and pronounced dead soon afterward.

Being a law-abiding cyclist in the city is dangerous as it is. You might get pinched by someone who didn’t check their mirrors, you might get slammed by some asshole with uncontrollable road rage, or you might take a header through a window if someone unwittingly flings open a door streetside. I won’t pretend I’ve waited for every light, and I’ve done an alleycat or two myself, but events like these serve as a painful reminder that every time we bend the rules we take our lives into our own hands. This isn’t a story about SUVs vs. bicycles, this is a story about a careless moment and its consequences.

My sincere condolences to the Manger-Lynch family. Be safe out there.

Read more in The Chicago Tribune.

Photo: untitled, by brownphoto. chicago.

Transported Through Sound: Cornelius

JANUARY OF 2005 WAS A STRANGE time. It was abnormally warm and sunny in Seattle that month, but nevertheless I felt awash in a kind of loneliness. I had just gotten back stateside from South Korea; in stuttered, jetlagged dreams I saw the streets and friends I’d left behind. Moreover, my girlfriend was on the other side of the ocean. I spent a lot of time cruising the streets on my skateboard, kept company by my headphones.

It was in this period that I discovered (rather behind the curve) the work of Cornelius, aka Keigo Oyamada. A Japanese musician who uses a mash up of sampled beats and instrumentals along with his own organic riffs, Cornelius creates waves of sound that are at once lush, enlightening and playful. The first track I heard of his was a beautiful remix of “When I left You,” by the Avalanches; the song took me on a 5 minute and 38 second flight through the most poignant memories of my time in Seoul, and then dropped me through the clouds, leaving me in love.

Most music that we listen to has the ability to connect us to a place and time – usually to where we first listened to it, or to that time when we first really heard it. But Cornelius’ music thrusts you into a nebula of emotions and memories, magically and without effort; Oyamada’s occasional vocals gently reverberate within you, and your thoughts are swept off into the distance.

Cornelius plays in Chicago tonight at the Metro. More info at The Chicago Reader

Photo: translation, by puja. seattle.

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