Category: Chicago

Tidbit of the Day: Chicago taxi fare hike starts today

You probably already know about this one. Starting today, taxi drivers are going to charge an extra buck to help them out with rising gas prices. Unfortunately for drivers, customers won’t be happy about the charge, and will probably tip less.

Thank goodness for public transportation. As much as Chicagoans complain about the CTA, at least we have a semi-decent bus and train system.

Tidbit of the Day: Mike Royko = God

I’ve just started reading a compilation of famed Chicago newspaper columnist Mike Royko‘s columns, One More Time: The Best of Mike Royko.

For the last couple of years, I’ve had this tepid curiosity with Royko. I received a fellowship named for him when I was a graduate j-student at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern U from ’06-’07. When I was awarded the thing, I read his book, Boss: Richard J. Daley of Chicago, and was floored. His prose is effortless, and he always seems to turn the right word or phrase.

Anyway, I’ll probably post an interesting excerpt or two. Here’s one from March 15, 1966 — an apology for saying that the Irish drink a lot of beer. Keep in mind that Royko wasn’t racist, but he could turn on anyone. And he did:

So I will do as the many callers demanded: I will apologize. I will retract. I will admit my error.

First, the part about beer-drinking.

The Irish do not have a great capacity for beer. I’m sorry I suggested they did.

There. That should make a satisfactory retraction and apology. But just to be safe, I’ll make it stronger.

The Irish, in fact, have a very limited capacity for beer.

Germans, for instance, can consume far more impressive quantities of the suds than the Irish and still be on their feet singing university songs.

(I realize that this may get the Germans angry at me, but I’ll apologize to them later.)

Then there are the Poles. They are capable of far greater feats of beer-drinking when they put their minds to it. There are still Division Street bars that tap a full barrel every time another customer walks in.

Even the Italians might drink more beer than the Irish if they didn’t prefer Chianti.

…and so on. I’ll keep you posted on my Royko exploits!

Tidbit of the Day: Batman: The Dark Knight PHOTOS

Here are some photos of props from the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight, which will star Christian Bale as the title character and Heath Ledger as The Joker, which is currently being filmed in Chicago.

Here’s the flag being used for the fictional Gotham City:

Gotham Flag

Here’s a better look at it:

Gotham Flag 2

Here’s what the Gotham City Police cars look like. Don’t they sort of resemble the NYPD cars?

Gotham Police Car

Here’s a close up of the logo:

Gotham Police logo

And finally, just to show the studio is really pumping big bucks into the film, here’s the car’s license plate, a rip-off of the Illinois state license plate:

Gotham Police car license

Chicago Epicurean: Beer of the Day: Harborside Lager guru Jim Kosin

Harborside Lager

About six weeks ago, I was at Binny’s picking up some beer when I met Jim Kosin, owner and founder of Harborside Beverage Group LLC, makers of Harborside Lager. Jim convinced me to try a 6-pack of the lager and – lo and behold – the stuff was tasty. It was clean, crisp, unassuming and, best of all, had no aftertaste. None.

After a bit of e-mail tag, I finally caught up with the 34-year-old Glenview native to ask him some questions about his beer and his company.

So how’d you get into microbrewing? I think it’s a dream lots of people have.

I worked with a beer distributor, Skokie Valley Beverage Company, for about 8 ½ years. I was fascinated with the business and really enjoyed it, and while I was there, I came up with the idea of making my own product. I was able to learn the ins and outs [of beer] distribution. I don’t have my own brewery – I contract brew it, but the big hurdle after creating a beer you want is understanding the beer market and how to sell it. I have that expertise, so that really helped me.

What’s your day job, or are you doing this full-time now?

Making beer is something I try to do full-time, but I do take some part-time work here and there. This last winter, I substitute-taught. I taught everything from Kindergarten to military school to last-chance-before-we throw you out on the street. It was amusing – I haven’t been in a high school in 15 years. You remember what you did to substitutes and now they’re doing it to me.

I look for jobs that are so flexible, I can do things on the side for Harborside. It’s always my primary concern, but as it grows, you try to make ends meet.

How many people work at Harborside, then, or is it just you?

Just me.

What was the first beer you tried, and did your beer experiences influence you when you set out to create Harborside Lager?

I’m getting a little old, but I can’t say what it was. It was a long time ago, and I was probably underage, but I found a Mickey’s Bigmouth under my buddy’s bed. (NOTE: Jim added that Mickey’s wasn’t the beer Harborside Lager was based on.)

During my years at Skokie Valley, I was subject to a vast majority of beer. I saw new samples come onto the market – the blueberries, the cherries – I distinctly remember drinking Old Style by choice and I went on a Guinness wave and drank myself through it.

After drinking these beers, I knew I wanted something that, while it wouldn’t fill me up, would be more satisfying than a mass-produced domestic. From a strictly beer perspective, the gamut of beers was expanding between microbrews and commercial beers, so I wanted to fill the void.

With that said, how would you describe the flavor of Harborside Lager?

I wanted to do something that was better-bodied than mass-produced domestics without using berries, cherries, lemons and limes. I didn’t want it to have the complexity where you’d have three and already be full. It’s extremely simple, extremely smooth. It has the traditional characteristics of an American-style lager. Just a clean, quality beer.

Because Harborside Lager is somewhere between a commercial beer and a microbrew, is it easy to get overshadowed by other beer companies?

Anyone can be overshadowed, but if I think I’ll be the next Sam Adams, the next Miller Lite, I’ll be in over my head. Anyone who enters the market will be one in a million guys out there. You just have to get a following, to do tastings, get featured locally. It’s not something radically different, so I’m not marketing to the blueberry beer drinkers. It’s just a passion of mine, but it can be tough to convey that to people, so I just [sell the beer based on its merits].

But through tastings, I know people really enjoy it. I’m building my own community of Harborside drinkers through word-of-mouth. I don’t worry about being overshadowed.

You’ve recently expanded into Indiana and parts of Wisconsin. What’s next?

It’s funny you ask. I expanded there and Michigan, and I equate it to being the QB of a football team. On the first play, I threw a bomb for a touchdown, but didn’t score it. I expanded into far north Michigan down around the lake into the Door County Peninsula in Wisconsin, but [freight costs] forced me to reevaluate. I’ve pulled back from some of those far-reaching markets and trying to concentrate more on a smaller area, including Indiana, Illinois and southwest Michigan. It was something I just did, and it hurt a lot personally, but they’re just smaller markets. I didn’t start selling beer because it’s a million-dollar idea – I’m just happy doing it. I do business where I enjoy being, which is by Lake Michigan.

So where are you doing most of your sales from?

Most of my sales are from Chicago, but I like to keep it meshed through the suburbs where it still sells. You’ll find it at Binny’s Beverage Depot, Sam’s Wine and Spirits, West Lakeview Liquors, Uncork-It, Addison Liquors, Vas Formost and the Lincoln Park Supermarket. With awareness of Harborside where it is, it doesn’t behoove me to go to every corner store, but it’s growing by demand into other outlets.

Draught beer is proving harder to be than I originally intended, but I’m going to start concentrating on bars and taverns in the coming months. Right now, it’s at Hackney’s on Printer’s Row, the Dock Street Café out on Navy Pier, and the Valley Lodge in Glenview.

Last year, I sold just about 4,000 cases and I’ve grown between 15 and 20 percent each year. I’d like to do it again this year, but it’ll be tougher.

(Harborside Lager can be purchased at any of the aforementioned stores.)

Welcome GapersBlock readers!

If you’ve arrived at this site via my GapersBlock piece, “Maxwell Street, Ellis Island of the Midwest”, I’d just like to welcome you to DanielHonigman.com.

I’m a 23-year-old aspiring journalist. I’m also Google’s #1-rated blog on Chicago 2016 and the #4 site overall. I’ll also post some of my favorite hip-hop videos.

But enough of that. Thanks for coming and please check out some of my favorite blog posts:

The Bridges of Cook County – Here’s a piece I wrote for the April 2007 issue of North Shore magazine.

Here are all of my Chicago 2016 posts.

Some thoughts on the CTA, which were also run on CTAStories.com.

Interesting sites from around the Web, compiled in a regular Site of the Day feature.

Enjoy!

CTA Pet Peeve #3: Bus riders who insist on using the front door to exit (CTAStories.com)

CTA Pet Peeve

This is a huge pet peeve of mine. It makes the bus driver have to wait longer before moving, and more importantly, it pisses me off. That’s why it’s my latest CTA Pet Peeve.

Why is it that every Tom, Dick and Harry feels that the only way off the bus is through the front door? I mean, I understand if the Tom, Dick or Harry is a little old lady sitting near the front of the bus. But we’re talking about young, healthy individuals.

Are these people actually afraid of exiting the rear door? Does it take some ungodly amount of athleticism to step down to the street?

Maybe if people moved towards the rear of the bus in the first place, they’d feel more inclined to get off in the back.

Could ticketing be another way to fund CTA upgrades for a Chicago 2016 Olympics Games…?

CTA Pet Peeve #2: People who stand near the doors (CTAStories.com)

CTA Pet Peeve

In my constant quest to improve my karma, here’s another edition of CTA Pet Peeves.

CTA riders who cluster near bus and train doors piss me off. I don’t know what else to say.

I shouldn’t have to shove my way through these people just to get off. (I am not, however, someone who waits until the very last second to get off the bus/train. That’s another pet peeve of mine, so stay tuned for that installment.)

Blocking doors:

A) Forces everyone to wait longer for the bus/train to start moving again.

B) Pisses everyone off.

Folks, just move away from the doors. If you can’t, be as accommodating as possible to people who need to exit.

CTA Pet Peeve #1: Impatient drivers (CTAStories.com)

CTA Pet Peeve

Hey, folks. I’m introducing (yet) another new feature on my site. I figure that since any hobo with a Web site in Chicago rant about the CTA, I should too.

Without any further ado, here’s my first CTA Pet Peeve. (You can find them at CTA Stories as well.)

Ever notice that CTA bus drivers, almost without exception, will start the bus as soon as riders get on, not giving them a chance to even swipe their fare card?

This gets rather funny when helpless people get strewn towards the bus’s windshield, but annoying when it happens to oneself. These angry, gas pedal-hugging drivers should get a taste of their own medicine sometime.

Perhaps they wouldn’t need to rush if they didn’t spend eons chatting up other drivers and timekeepers along the route.

Welcome GapersBlock readers!

If you’ve arrived at this site via my GapersBlock piece, “Maxwell Street, Ellis Island of the Midwest”, I’d just like to welcome you to DanielHonigman.com.

I’m a 23-year-old aspiring journalist. I’m also Google’s #1-rated blog on Chicago 2016 and the #4 site overall. I’ll also post some of my favorite hip-hop videos.

But enough of that. Thanks for coming and please check out some of my favorite blog posts:

The Bridges of Cook County – Here’s a piece I wrote for the April 2007 issue of North Shore magazine.

Here are all of my Chicago 2016 posts.

Some thoughts on the CTA, which were also run on CTAStories.com.

Interesting sites from around the Web, compiled in a regular Site of the Day feature.

Enjoy!