Friday, February 26, 2010

Get Smart at Beer School

Graduate with honors in English Ales or Belgian Brews at the Map Room's Beer School. Greg Brown, brewmaster at Mickey Finn's in suburban Libertyville, teaches the monthly class. This Saturday's lesson is devoted to swirling, smelling, and sipping Belgian beers.

Knowledgeable hop-heads know you can't just turn up on Saturday. You've got to buy a ticket - in person and in cash - sometime during the preceding five days. The class seats 40 people and costs $25.

On a budget? The Map Room also hosts "International Night" every Tuesday at 7pm, and provides free chow from local ethnic eateries - say, Vietnamese pho, Polish pierogi, or Cuban sandwiches - as long as you buy two drinks from the 200-strong global brewski list.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Chicago Cheap Eats: New App

Hungry? Broke? The new app, Chicago Cheap Eats, can fix the problem. It'll point you to the city's best donuts, haute dogs, tortas, masala dosas, deep-dish pizzas and much more to stuff your face, typically for under $10.

Yours truly wrote the app. It's available for the iPhone/iPod Touch. Click here to go to the iTunes store, where 99 cents gets you 70+ restaurants of bargain-priced foodie goodness.

The company - Sutro Media - offers other swell travel apps, too, including the low-down on Boston (by Kim Grant) and Las Vegas (by Sara Benson).

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Don Pedro: Cheap Eat of the Day

When you see the neon pink pigs in the window, you've found Don Pedro Carnitas. A machete-wielding gentleman greets you at the front counter, ready to hack off your pork pieces. He wraps the thick chunks with onion and cilantro into a fresh tortilla (the Del Ray factory is a few doors down the road), and you take the taco to the no-frills tables in back and squeeze on lime juice and tomatillo salsa. Delicioso! The restaurant also serves birria (spicy goat stew), brain tacos and chicharrones (seasoned, deep fried pork skin) among its meaty arsenal.

Don Pedro's juicy mecca is at 1113 W. 18th St. in Pilsen. Open 6am-6pm Mon-Fri, 5am-5pm Sat, 5am-3pm Sun. Tacos $1.50, cash only. Weekends are packed.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hot Tunes from Haiti

Caribbean tip of the day: donate $5 or more to Partners in Health, a nonprofit that has been working in Haiti for 20+ years, and receive a killer mix of Haitian music from NY-based DJ Chuck Wild. Just forward him your receipt (this applies to any PIH donations made since the earthquake), and he'll send you a download of old-school Kompa and other classic sounds pulled from his crates. Here's the link.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Poor Abandoned Blog: I'm Sorry

No love for the past 9 months. Sorry, blog. But we are coming up to Valentine's Day, so I'll try to make amends.

In the meantime, here's a video of Chicago's 12.9 inches of snow today. This is the honeymoon stage, before it becomes a slushy, dirty, dog-wee'ed mess: