I've always love the ceremony and procedure involved with ordering and then devouring an order of Peking Duck. The ducks are typically air-dried, to keep the skin crisp, while also being submerged in a dark, sweet concoction of soy, vinegar and Chinese spices, before being roasted in a large, vertical oven. This allows the fat to drip off and keep that exterior from becoming too flabby.
Jan. 26, 2010
If the idea of Jonathon Brandmeier joining news/talk WGN-AM (720) seemed too good to be true, that's just what it's turning out to be. A double-digit decline in advertising revenue along with substantially higher rights fees for Cubs baseball broadcasts have blown a massive hole in the Tribune Co.-owned station's budget, effectively scuttling talk of any big-ticket deals for the foreseeable future.
(photo by Aaron Altounian)
Speculation about Brandmeier was fueled after he was spotted touring the premises Jan. 16 with WGN program director Kevin "Pig Virus" Metheny. Last Friday's budget cuts, including the elimination of six full-time positions, were seen by some as a prelude to a contract for Johnny B., who's been a free agent since Emmis Communications chose not to renew his million-dollar deal at classic rock WLUP-FM (97.9). Despite Metheny's overture, an offer for Brandmeier seems unlikely now, according to informed insiders.
Jan. 25, 2010
They say all good things come in threes, and this certainly is the case on Mondays at Tizi Melloul.
Known for its sophisticated Middle Eastern and Moroccan fare, the restaurant is offering a variety of drinks and food for $3, a deal that's both delicious and easy on the wallet. Every Monday, Tizi has a $3 martini menu for its bar and lounge. You can choose from the following five martinis:
- Classic Martini: Vodka, vermouth and olive juice
- Peach Fez: Vodka, peach schnapps, orange juice and cranberry juice
- Strawberry Martini: vodka, strawberry liquor and pineapple juice
- Moroccan: vodka, amaretto and orange juice
- Mint Chocolate: crƒ¨me de cacao, Irish crƒ¨me, crƒ¨me de menthe and vodka
Jan. 25, 2010
Vidal grapes hanging in nets at Inniskillin
I'm riding in the back of a car, heading down a country road, looking out the window on a gray, overcast afternoon. I've just landed in Buffalo, NY, and am speeding toward the famed Niagara Peninsula, home to one of Canada's premier wine-growing regions, and site of this week's annual Ice Wine Festival. The scenery reminds me of a distant field near Kenosha; flat fields are pockmarked with chunks of snow. Farmhouses and corrugated metal sheds dot the landscape.‚ There's an old wooden barn and a Donut Diner off to the side of the road. Signs bekon tourists with tastings and dinners at places like Hillebrand and Jackson-Triggs.‚ But the big difference here is that instead of fallow fields highlighted by dusty corn and soybeans, the farmland is instead covered with vines.
Jan. 25, 2010
Every week for a year I left an envelope in a public place, with the hope that it would be discovered by a random stranger. The envelope contained some loose change along with the following note:
This money was left here intentionally and is specifically for your use. I know it's not much-- perhaps just enough to treat yourself to a cookie, coffee, a lottery ticket, donation to the homeless, a new pair of socks. In any case, I hope it "changes" your day for the better.
It was an exciting and highly satisfying experiment. (I wrote about it at length in my book Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life.) For this week's mission, I'd like to pick up where I left off, but parlay this into something bigger and shinier.What if we each took some spare change (and a couple spare minutes) and did something simple but delightfully unexpected with it?
Jan. 25, 2010
Steve Sanders and Allison Payne
A confused and angry Allison Payne took to her Facebook page Friday to denounce me as a "miserable, inadequate journalist" and "an irresponsible writer." I know she was confused because she said I worked for the Sun-Times, which hasn't been the case since October 2008. And I know she must have been angry because she typed her message in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS.
What was my offense? Earlier that day here, I reported on a startling admission Payne made Thursday on the midday newscast she co-anchors with Steve Sanders on Tribune Co.-owned WGN-Channel 9. During an interview with author and former NHL player Theo Fleury, Payne disclosed that she and Fleury had shared the same Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor. Payne's comment, which I quoted verbatim, struck me as newsworthy because it marked the first time she'd publicly acknowledged a battle with addiction.
Jan. 22, 2010
Chicago broadcasting veteran Bob Sirott and his Monday-through-Friday "Noon Show" have fallen victim to the latest wave of budget cuts at Tribune Co.-owned news/talk WGN-AM (720). Starting Monday, midday host John Williams is expected to take over the noon hour, extending his show from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Also axed Friday were afternoon news anchor and City Hall reporter Dave Stewart, a 28-year veteran of the station, "Sports Central" weekend co-host (and former Chicago Bear) Glen Koslowski, and two other staffers in accounting and the mail room. On Thursday night, the positions of Steve Cochran's producer, Rick O'Connor, and Milt Rosenberg's producer, Zack Christenson, were eliminated. Dean Richards' production duties were cut.