Hurrican Disaster Relief

Wanted to take a break from the reviewin' and suggest that folks who are able to send some dough to help out victims of the hurricane. My friend Craig suggested that anyone out there with a blog do this. We should have known that this would be bad when we heard the Hurricane's name was Katrina. It just sounds like a bitchy name.

But, honestly, the scope of it just kind of hit me today, when I read that the Mayor said that thousand's may be dead in New Orleans.

You can donate through the McCormick Tribune Foundation online at http://www.rrmtf.org/mtf/hurricanerelief.htm.

Burrito Beach

I have seen this place over and over again. There are a few locations in the Loop, one in O'Hare airport, and the one I went to in Streeterville yesterday. It is pretty much just like all the other burrito chain's around: Chipotle, Qdoba, Baja Fresh. But, they do add some twists, like a Buffalo Chicken burrito, a salmon burrito and some other non-traditional burritos types.

I went there with my friend and frequent lunch time partner, Ryan, who pointed out they were a decent size and sometimes at Chipotle your burrito was a tad too big. We split the buffalo chicken and the pork burrito. I think I will stick with the basic burritos they offer in the future.

Maybe it was just because the whole experience was new to me but the ingredients tasted a tad fresher and the whole experience was better than a normal Chipotle visit.

But, what about the name? Who wants to eat a burrito on a beach? Gross...

Grade: B


Liz Phair

Liz Phair created what is probably my all time favorite CD ever, Exhile in Guyville. I listened to this nearly ever day of my last two years of high scool. I love it.

I saw Liz Phair in concert on Friday night, and was pretty excited, but not too much because I just don't listen to her that much any more. But, by the end of the show I was in love with this woman all over again.

I went with my friend Devin and he made us get there super early, which paid off because it was open seating and we were right up front next to the stage. During the show she played mostly older songs from her first couple of CD's, and she made it clear she was fine with people just yelling out requests, which I did a couple of times.

It was truly a wonderful show, but it did make me feel a little old. That was over 10 years ago that I was listening to her song and loving just how dirty she was.

Grade: A


Fox and the City

This blog is f'real good! Ragan Fox hosts the podcast. I haven't been too big of a podcast fan recently, but this guy has captured my heart. He does a show nearly daily where he riffs on pop culture, politics, gay sex and anything else he can think of.

Check him out at www.raganfox.com or download his podcast on itunes for free.

Ragan, I would love to F you in the A!

Grade: A

Silver Spoon Restaurant

Silver Spoon is a thai spot in River North (710 N. Rush St.). I need to save my final judgement but it passed the initial Pad Thai test. When I try a new Thai place, I usually order the pad thai to see if I like the place and to decide if I will be back again.

Since this place is right next to the consulate for Thailand, I was hoping it would go the more traditional route and not oversweeten their pad thai, as many places do. But, the pad thai was still a little too sweet for me. But, the lunch specials are great. $6.95 for soup, an appetizer and an entree.

I'll be back to give it another whirl, but for now, it is simply just another Thai place.

Grade: C


Taking requests

I am back from 5 days in Michigan. And I am sure I will have some stuff to say about it at some point and some reviews.

But, it is Request Week at Chargenda. Post a comment to this entry and tell me what you want me to review. As long as I have some basic knowledge of it, I will review it!


The Upside of Anger

Joan Allen is the only reason to check out this mediocre movie. It started out pretty slow and with some clunky dialog that was unlike any family I had ever seen before.

This is the story of a woman whose husband has gone missing. She is bitter and angry that her husband has left her and is left with dealing with her 4 daughters. Kevin Costner's totally unlikeable character pairs up with her and the two have a an unconventional relationship. Evan Rachel Wood, who I loved in Thirteen does a decent job here, but doesn't have too much material to flex her muscles with.

The "surprise" ending is hardly a surprise and close to what I had expected the whole time. I keep reading stuff about Allen's "oscar-worthy" performance. But, I highly doubt this is a performance that will be remembered come Oscar time. While truly wonderful, it isn't great enough material to blow me away.

Grade: C+


Chicken Wings from Crew

I had chicken wings from Crew (4804 N Broadway St) last night. They had 1/2 price wings, which meant that 12 wings were only 4 bucks. I shared an order with Noah, and I was really surprised how yummy those mo fo's were. We got half of them Sassy (really spicy) and the other half mild buffalo (just a little less spicy but a more traditional buffalo wing flavor)

I have had food a Crew a few times before and not been pleased. I actually haven't been pleased with the whole place over all. But, these were damn good wings. We topped it off with a bucket of 5 Rolling Rocks for only 10 bucks and it was good times. But, I got super full-zies.

I plan on hitting some other gay bars like T's and Big Chicks for a look at their chicken wings in the weeks to come. So stay posted!

Grade: B+


Koegel hot dogs

These awesome hot dogs are only sold in Michigan. seriously, these hot dogs are better than anything you will ever have anywhere. I grew up eating them. This sounds nast, but they have the casings on them and totally snap when you bite into them, and the flavor is way better.

I had two on the grill yesterday in Saugatuck. My mouth is drooling just thinking about them!

Grade: A

Mosquito bites

I have what feels like 500 mosquito bites on me. I have a few of those really horrible ones on your feet and many on my legs. I didn't even know I was getting bitten.

I even have two bites on my right ass cheek.

Grade: F


On Saturday I was in Saugatuck, MI (more on this to come) and went kayaking. I really enjoy kayaking a lot. We did a 3 hour river trip, and I think that was a bit much for some of us because we are hardly expert kayakers. But, the trip was really nice, some great scenery and wildlife (beavers, turtles, cranes and such).

But, my partner in the tandem kayak wasn't really pulling her wait. Jill, if you are reading to, I hate to be blunt you sort of sucked most of the trip. She got the hang of how to paddle in the last 45 minutes or so of the trip. And my arms were pretty sore yesterday.

Stick to about an hour to two hour trip if you haven't kayaked in some time.

Grade: B


All Hail King Kaysar

Kaysar is back on BB6. Thank you to those of you who voted for him! He is going to fuck some shit up!!!

New Poster for Jarhead

It is going to be the year of Jake. Gyllenhall stars in Jarhead, Brokeback Mountain and Proof all being released in the second half of 2005. He is an amazing actor, totally overlooked in Moonlight Mile.

But, I am excited for this one. Sam Mendes, who brought us American Beauty, is taking a stab at a war film, which I usually hate, but this look at the Gulf War has the potential to be great, especially with Peter Skaarsgard in a supporting role.

Grade: B+


Strippers who smile

I seriously love this stripper. I have seen him at the Cocktail a few times. And every time I see him he smiles from ear to ear. He is really hot and doesn't think he has to put on some serious "i'm sexy" face to be hot.

God, I love this stripper. If you see him, tell him.

Grade: A+

My friends being on TV

Lookin' good Mike! Wish I could have watched it.

Grade: A


Help Keep Kaysar on Big Brother 6

Help get Kaysar back to Big Brother 6. I don't care if you think this is stupid or don't watch the show. If you love me you will go to http://www.cbs.com/primetime/bigbrother6/_polls/amc_poll.shtml and vote for him!

Leave a comment to let me know you did and earn some brownie points from me!

The Golden Globes moving to Monday night

I just read that the Golden Globes will be broadcast on Monday, January 16. They are usually on a Sunday. Apparantly, they are doing this to not compete with Desperate Housewives, which airs that night. That is so gay!

No Golden Globe get togethers or fun events. I am sure some Desperate Housewives fans who are pleased with this, but this is simply another boring weekday event, now.

Grade: D-


Market Days

This is the first year I have been to Market Days. And it isn't too much different than walking around during Pride. You get lots of people, booze, food and music in 8 blocks or so of Halsted St. People come from out of town. You get to do tons of fun people watching, etc. I had a great time. The music was mostly really lame and nothing to write home about, but they seem to get a huge crowd regardless.

I was there both Saturday and Sunday, and if you aren't a crowd person this isn't the event for you. I tried to go out Saturday night, but lines to every single bar were super long.

Maybe it is just becasue I was extra tame this weekend, but I kept thinking that I wanted the people to be drunker, the freaks to be freakier and everything to be just a little crazier.

But, whatever, I just needed something to review today, and this is what I did this weekend...

Grade: B



Every day I log on and check out www.chicagoist.com. The news site/blog covers daily goings on in Chicago, with a fair amount of snarky commentary. It is part of a string of sites out there that started with Gothamist, covering everything NYC-related.

They started perhaps a year ago and seem to have gathered a loyal following of fans and readers. They aren't too fluffy and aren't afraid to tackle importantl political stories and other information that truly matters, mixed with coverage of local entertainment, restaurants and events.

Keep it up Chicagoist. My only critique, it seems as though their comments used to be a little snarkier. Don't go gettting tame on me!

Grade: B+


Kafka Wine

I need to put a disclaimer that Michael of Kafka is a friend of mine. But, even if he weren't I would think this store is great.

Kafka (3325 N. Halsted St) is located in Boystown, and in perfect to have in a city and an area with plently of BYO food spots. The clean, crisp design of the place is great. The walls are lined with bottles and many of them have little comments on them. The best thing about this place is the prices. Michael and Joe both know their shit! They have searched far and wide for wine that is affordable yet great-tasting. More than once I have been there when someone comes in, presents the situation they are in (type of food, event, etc) and they quick bring out something for the customer.

Oh, and Michael really likes it when you buy a couple of bottles of wine, drink them at someones house or a restaurant and come stumbling back in after a while, totally wasted, and harass him. No, really, he likes it!

They also have First Fridays at Kafka. A chance to go in and sample a handful of their wines, held the first friday of every month. It gets a bit packed, but that is simply a testiment to the greatness of this place.

Grade: A


Leslie and LY's

Sundays in Salem

"And when did you plan on telling me that you and Roman made love when you were hostages in Stefano DiMera's castle?"

It's lines like this, and totally insane storylines that are totally awesome! I love soap operas with a passion. Even when I was in the 4th grade I would stay at home in the afternoon in the summer an flip around through channels. The ultimate to me is The Young and the Restless (but I will save that love for another day).

When I have free time and want to veg out, I tend to turn the TV on to SoapNet. The best thing on that channel is Sunday's in Salem. They show a whole weeks worth of Days of Our Lives Sunday nights. And Days of Our Lives is crazy. There is a lot of really bad acting, really stupid story lines and just overall wonderful campiness.

Right now, Marlena has amnesia because she fell down the stairs during a fight between John Black and Roman Brady over the paternity of her baby. Bo and Hope are on a sailboat trying to save some characters from Tony Dimera. Jack is hiding from Jennifer the fact that he is dying of an unknown disease, but the rest of Salem seems to know. And Mimi, possibly the worst acress in all of daytime, just told her boyfriend that she had an abortion, and let him know that about 10 other people knew before him. And these are all pretty tame stories compared to the serial kliller storyline of the past few years, where it turned out that all the characters who were murdered weren't really dead, but prisoners on an island called New Salem.

This shit is good, yo!

Grade: B+

Edo Sushi

This is one of many mid-pried sushi spots in Chicago. But, I had been to Edo (2407 N. Clark) in Lincoln Park, a couple of times in my first year in the city. And I always thought it was a step above most smallish sushi places, but with the same price as those sometimes sketchy joints.

But, I ate there Saturday afternoon and was a little less than impressed. I don't know if I have just achieved some higher standards in sushi quality, but this place just didn't cut it. The sushi seemed sort of sub-par, and the tuna maki tasted downright fishy and weird. Not to mention it looked like all their prices had gone up recently.

Oh, and the server there was so not friendly. There was nobody in the place and she seemed totally put out by us.

With so many sushi options in Chicago, I don't think I will be back.

Grade: C


Happy Endings

Don Roos, the director who brought you The Opposite of Sex, follows up with this movie which feels to me like just another retelling of that pretty great film.

An interesting cast of Lisa Kudrow, Maggie Gyllenhall, Tom Arnold and Jason Ritter, to name a few, tell these multiple stories of fucked-up relationships. Kudrow's character is dating a massage therapist and the two get suckered into filming a documentary in order to find out where Kudrow's son she gave away when she was young is. Gyllenhall's character falls for Ritter, only to end up going after his rich Dad, Arnold. And some other gay-related storylines.

Some of the stories are wonderful. But, there is this weird mesh of really wonderful acting from Kudrow and Gyllenhall mixed in with some not-so-hot acting from Ritter and a few others. There are moments that seem really bittersweet and true to life mixed with pieces of the script and scenarios that just aren't believable.

Grade: B-