Meet our Bloggers
Shore's Associate Publisher and Editor Pat Colander brings you up-to-date on what's going on in the Shore universe-evenings, weekends and all times in between issues.
From play and restaurant openings to premiere parties and red carpet movie screenings around Chicago and Northwest Indiana, columnist Philip Potempa reports on celebs and notable names from near and far.
Food/Wine columnist and features writer Jane Dunne never runs out of ideas when it comes to cooking for family, entertaining at home or dining out. Her blog covers the gamut-literally from soup to nuts.
As with Shorecast by Fran Smith, which appears regularly in Shore magazine, the 12 sun-signs are highlighted; here, the focus is on how every planetary move affects each of the 12 sun-signs. Its contents include specific-and fun-information that readers won't find anywhere else.
Food correspondent-at-large Jane Ammeson will travel far and near to write about her latest foodie finds. From tastings to chef profiles, Jane will whet your appetite.
As expert analysis of contemporary fashion morphs up to fine art, Marcia Froelke Coburn knows who, what, when and wear this season. From celebrity statements to fashionistas in the streets, this blogger and bold face name's commentary channels the mind behind the designs.
I’ve spent a lot of time in Cleveland lately and really have learned about their food scene. One of my favorite restaurants in the city are Lola’s and Lolita which are owned by restaurateur Michael Symon, author of several cookbooks including Michael Symon’s Carnivore which is the perfect name for a chef who describes his cooking as “meat-centric.” He also earned The James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef Great Lakes and Gourmet magazine chose Lola as one of “America’s Best Restaurants.”
So when I saw that one of Symon’s Food Network shows was dedicated to Eastern European cookery with recipes just like the ones I used to cook with my Grandma Simon when I was young, it really hit a memory chord. In particular, the recipe for mamaliga, a cornmeal mush like polenta, brought back a lot of great memories. It not only was fun to make and eat but my brother Tim and I used to make a pun (a very feeble one, I might add) about it by saying “your mama will never leave you if you eat your mamalega.” But give us a break, we were very young.
Mamaliga with Smoked Ham
Welcome to “Starcast” – a delightful look into what the Cosmos has in store for the 12 sun-signs. There’s no doubt about it – our solar system is not only magnificent – it’s also extremely dependable. Wherever you are on Earth, you can be happy or sad or inspired; you can fall madly in love, have a cold, or not be thinking about a thing (which, of course, is virtually impossible) – it makes no difference. Because every 28 to 31 days, our dependable Sun, and that equally dependable Moon, are going to be perfectly aligned within the same sun-sign, creating a very dependable New Moon, which signifies new beginnings for everyone – no matter who you are or where you are.
Let’s investigate: In your mind’s eye, scroll back to last Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 10:49 p.m. (ET). That’s the time when the Sun (personal endeavors) left the intense and magnetic sun-sign of Scorpio, the Scorpion, and slipped into the exuberant and fun-loving sun-sign of Sagittarius, the Centaur (half human/half horse, forever roaming the open fields on the lookout for adventure – of all sorts). And early this week, on Monday, December 2, 2013 at 7:23 p.m. (ET), everything moved into place for that New Moon (new beginnings) to occur in the dashing and brilliant Sagittarius. Effortlessly, it set-up a dynamic force field that will unfold favorably over the next two weeks. It’s the perfect time to initiate new ideas, new plans; certainly, new projects, as well as the ideal time to attract new people and new opportunities into your Life. Pace yourself – and keep those thoughts of yours both optimistic and focused.
Visualize a numerical (1 through 12) clock. That’s your birth chart. And each pie-shaped wedge (3 to 2 o’clock, for example) is a house, an area of activity (love, money – in every currency imaginable – work, and so on) in your existence, one of which Sagittarius, governs in your birth chart.
Stained glass became seriously and widely popular this year: see evidence in Michigan City and downtown Chicago this weekend, also non-profit museum and gallery stories are great for one-of-a-kind gifts.
Growing Stained Glass Insanity 2013: If you are a newbie like I am to stained glass appreciation, there are December events around the Lake Michigan area for your basic education and general familiarity with the subject. (Stained glass really never goes out of style, but requires raw talent and the right environment.) Michigan City’s downtown area has four churches with stained glass open for self-guided tours this coming Sunday from 1-3 pm. Each church showcase will provide a narrative on the windows and decorations and also refreshments for the tourists. Churches participating include Trinity Episcopal Church, 600 Franklin Street; First United Methodist Church, 121 E. 7th Street; St. Paul Lutheran Church and School, 818 Franklin Street; and St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church, 411 W. 11th Street. The tour will be open again on December 14th from 1pm to 3pm.
Have You Been to Navy Pier Recently?: Ironically, I tend to find myself at Navy Pier more often in the winter than the summer, maybe because there are more enticing programs and exhibits there during the off-season, probably because it’s not as crowded. But whether you are visiting the Children’s Museum, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Riva’s or the annual winter boat show, don’t skip the stained glass museum---Smith has a gallery and so does Richard Driehaus---both are very accessible and beautiful any time of year. The Richard H. Driehaus Gallery of Stained Glass houses 11 of Tiffany Studios’ stained glass windows including ecclesiastical and secular landscapes. Each window shows how Tiffany Studios reinvented the stained glass tradition, using embedded colors and new types of glass to create folds, ripples and other textures to portray the scene. The galleries are located on the lower level of Festival Hall, 600 East Grand Avenue, Navy Pier. Hours Sundays through Thursdays 10 am-8pm and Fridays and Saturdays from 10 am-10 pm. Admission to the galleries is free, but you will have to pay to park.
“This is how we started,” Joe Dickman tells me as I study an old black and white photo showing his father and a teen-aged Joe stirring a large copper cauldron over an open fire.
“Over there is the wooden stirrer my grandfather used to make apple butter,” he says pointing to a long wood pole with a flat paddle on the end that hangs over the desk where his wife Paula is sitting. “And that one we’re using to hang drapes was my father’s.”
Dickman’s family (he’s one of seven siblings) raised sugar beets and chickens—over 11,000 of them--on their Northern Ohio farm.
Starting tomorrow (or tonight, though I’m not alone in my disinclination to join the fray on Thanksgiving Day) we can enjoy guiltless and creative shopping. Customs Imports in NB and Harbortown Interiors and ARS Gallery in St. Joe are just a few of my favorites.
Shopping Locally and digitally: Next Tuesday is #Giving Tuesday and one of the participating non-profits is Taltree Arboretum & Gardens at Taltree.org and virtual shopping is fine, but real shopping is better especially when perusing edited collections like Dee Dee Duhn’s at Customs Imports new lakeside location on the corner of Whittaker and the railroad tracks, just across the street from Casey’s. Not only will you find Customs’ artifacts, there is also a gourmet shop that includes an array of spices, sauces and flavorings.
One of my favorite places on Earth is Harbortown Interiors. Here’s why: I still hear from folks who adored receiving a pair of silver flip-flop snack dishes for Christmas a couple of years ago and I have never seen them before or since. Finding something perfect and original and unique is what HTI does. And there are other stores on the street, besides terrific places to eat. Jill Stone, executive director of St. Joseph Today, is making sure to throw in all the extras too. Free horse drawn trolley rides on November 29 and December 7. Visits with Santa in his house on State Street from December 7 through 22. And the St. Joseph Improvement Association’s Light Up the Bluff display features thousands of twinkling lights and holiday music in the evenings from December 6 through 31. Another favorite place for gifts is ARS Gallery where you will find “I Am The Greatest “caps and t-shirt, prints from Susan Henshaw, furniture by Floyd Gompf and Christina Root rings. Most St. Joe retailers are extending hours for the next six weeks.
Not to take anything away from our turkey and trimmings and those great leftovers, for the other nights at home during this hectic holiday time, you might try one of these truly delicious winter pastas.
The first, spaghetti tossed in a decidedly different pesto, is equally as delicious as the summery basil and pine nut variety, and comes together quickly. Recently, I watched two kids under 12, almost inhale it. The recipe comes from Chicago food columnist, Leah Eskin.
The second is out of a brand new cookbook, "Melt" (Little Brown, $30) that takes a seasonal approach to comfort food. I was lucky enough to receive a review copy. I think it's the ideal holiday present for anyone who likes to cook.
Welcome to “Starcast” – an incredible look into what the Cosmos has in store for the 12 sun-signs. Let’s revel in the approaching Holidays (everyone’s Holiday) and start by looking forward to Thanksgiving (Thursday, November 28, 2013), on a high note. Actually, twelve high notes. Right now, the focus is on the fact that the planet, Venus (love, warmth, close relationships, creativity, and abundance – of all kinds), entered the resourceful Capricorn, the Mountain Goat (forever climbing up the steep mountain ledge toward safety and success), last Tuesday, November 5, 2013 at 3:43 a.m. (ET).
This is good – very good, for this particular planetary transit (Venus in Capricorn) brings significant, vivid, and quite often, very favorable and loving situations and conditions with it. Here, the elements of care, understanding, and thoughtfulness are combined with new developments – developments which assure an unwavering focus and single-minded strength that is pure Capricorn – plus! a certain transformative energy as the planet, Venus, moves forward through whichever House (there are 12) that Capricorn governs in your own birth chart. Work closely with this fascinating Venus placement. And stay aware of our solar system’s amazing travel schedule – especially when Venus leaves Capricorn and enters Aquarius, the Water Bearer (forever pouring the Waters of Truth on Humankind), next year on
Wednesday, March 5, 2014 (surely, a “Starcast” for another time).
I first met Emeril Lagasse at Heaven on Seven, Jimmy Banos’s New Orleans style restaurant in the Garland Building on Wabash Avenue in Chicago’s Loop. The Garland Building had a special affinity for me because I used to accompany my mom there to a salon which had been on the 7th floor to get her hair done. Emeril had come to Chicago to promote his first cookbook, Emeril's New New Orleans Cooking (yes, it was a while back) and was cooking recipes from the book for a group of food writers and editors. I didn’t know at the time how successful he was going to be (cooking shows, multiple restaurants, cook wear, etc.) but his enthusiastic personality and great food certainly showcased his potential.
Now, in his 18th cookbook, Emeril’s Cooking with Power: 100 Delicious Recipes Starring Your Slow Cooker, Multi Cooker, Pressure Cooker, and Deep Fryer (William Morrow Cookbooks; $25.99, Emeril shows us how to use four countertop appliances—Slow Cooker, Multi Cooker, Pressure Cooker, and Fryer to make over 100 recipes. It’s not only geared towards the harried home chef who wants something delicious waiting at the end of a long day but also for those who are looking for more unique recipes.
"Slow cookers make wonderful kitchen helpers in that you can 'set in and forget it' and return hours later to a slowly cooked meal just waiting to be served up," says Lagasse in his usual exuberant way. "The problem is that everyone knows how to do a pot roast in a slow cooker, but what about Pot Roast Dianne? Or Artichokes a la Barigoule? Even risotto."
The starting bell of the holiday season, John Cain’s Holiday Reading at South Shore Arts, officially sounded on Tuesday around 1 pm, when, after a brief introduction and awards ceremony to mark the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the tradition, the Executive Director began reading “A Jug of Silver,” a Truman Capote short story. Capote, who John portrayed in a production of “Tru,” at the Towle Theater in Hammond several years ago, is the most frequently read author in the holiday repertoire, although not my personal favorite. My personal favorite was the story John wrote more than a decade ago about his brief employment working for Larry Flynt when he was just out of college. A Larry Flynt Christmas, currently attached to the Shore website, along with a profile of Mr. Cain and a complete list of the selections for the holiday reading over the years, is worth re-reading if you want a few laughs.
Of course, I feel a trifle under-prepared for the holiday and will likely spend a whole bunch of time planning a meal that won’t get served until Friday and will consist of pizza, jambalaya---in honor of my daughter’s visit from New Orleans---and some other picnic food that will give us a little contrast from the previous day’s chow down. Another thing is I have to go through the drawer in my home office where the gift cards are stowed and make sure I don’t have any expirations on the horizon. I was surprised a couple of weeks ago to notice that in the haze of last year’s holiday I bought myself a half price massage at Serenity Salon & Spa in Chesterton on a Times’ Today’s Deal. That was probably one of the smartest moves I made in 2012 so I collected on that last Saturday.
I’m there are a few of you out there who are going to get a jump on gift shopping and you are very lucky to be in that position. My basic tip is to get a hold of a copy of the Dec/Jan issue of Shore, which has an outstanding gift guide, as well as a comprehensive events calendar. But the most important event to get ready for is the Grand Party at Customs Imports on Whittaker St. on Friday, December 6 starting at 6 pm (ET) with food, booze, karaoke and shopping. The $20 ticket is refundable as a coupon on whatever you buy at Customs. Tickets are available at two Customs locations in New Buffalo.
There are currently only two Ritz-Carlton Reserves in the entire world, Phulay Bay in Thailand and Dorado Beach in Puerto Rico. Future locations include Los Cabos, Mexico; Muscat, Oman; Tamuda Bay, Morocco and West Caicos, Turks and Caicos. Dorado Beach introduces an exquisite five-star haven unrivaled in the Caribbean. Rates starting at $859 per night.
Puerto Rico boasts a number of first class resorts on the island; most of which are located in San Juan. Dorado Beach stands out because it adds an exclamation point to “rest and relaxation,” combining the azure waters of the Caribbean in the foreground with a lush tropical forest setting in the background. Every luxurious detail, from your garden showers to your private plunge pool, is elevated to newer heights.