August 26, 2010

Refrigerators on Parade: Culture or Crap?

Remember Cows on Parade here in Chicago in 1999? Well, this year we have Refrigerators on Parade.
Who thought of that???
Apparently it's sponsored by ComEd to spread the word about their Appliance Recycling Program. So all along the Magnificent Mile are a bunch of old refrigerators with stuff stuck on them by local artists. The actual title of the exhibit is Fine Art Fridges. Really? Fine art? Okay, they're funky and different and some of them are pretty creative. But the real question is: culture or crap?
You decide.

August 23, 2010

Wine Tasting at Bistro 110

Last summer, on the last Thursday of the month, Bistro 110 (110 E. Pearson in Chicago) started doing a wine tasting/food pairing from a specific region in France. It's a great deal at only $25 which includes tip.
I joined a terrific group of women last year who gathered there, generally around high-top tables on the patio, where we had fabulous food, lovely wines and good conversation. The food was plentiful and delicious with various tasting stations of appetizers, several entrees and dessert, and the pours were generous.
That was last year.
Last Thursday several of us went (from left to right: Claire, Nita, Joann, Trish, Andrea, me), expecting the same great event. But it's quite different this year. The wines were very nice and the pours still generous (thanks, Matt, from Cream Wine Company - pictured at right)
but instead of tasting stations they brought out little plates with tastes of each dish. Still delicious food but kind of stingy, especially after last year, and we had to wait a long time before they brought anything out. It also seems like a pretty raw deal for the waitstaff (who were terrific) and for the dishwashers. Also the patio is closed to us this year since it's a big draw for regular diners.
All of this is understandable from a business point of view but
why do it if you're not going to do it right? If it's not working for you just don't do it. Don't cheap out.
It's too bad - it was a nice event and we brought a lot of people each month. We probably won't be back. At least I won't.

Theatre Review: A Parallelogram *****

Only one more week to catch A Parallelogram at Steppenwolf. I've been meaning to write this sooner because it's theatre at its best and if you want a thought-provoking, engaging experience this is your show.
It's a beautifully written original script that will make you think and ponder and laugh. The dialogue is witty and clever, and the performances are fantastic.
Go see it before it gets away.

August 19, 2010

Book Review - The Help

If you haven't read The Help by Kathryn Stockett do it now. This is a first novel by this author and I hope it won't be her last. Her writing is so perfect. She's not only a beautiful writer but a fabulous story teller. It's told from various points of view, of black maids in the 60s in Mississippi and the white people they work for, and it's amazing to think the world was actually like it's painted in the story, but it was.
The dialogue is picture-perfect, and the characters are believable and fabulous! It's not only an engaging story from beginning to end, it's a great history lesson as well. I couldn't put it down and was sad when it ended.
Read this book!

August 8, 2010

Yay! I Was Recognized by the IBRC!

I'm thrilled to announce that the International Blogging Recognition Council honored me. Lucky me!
But wait...who the hell is the IBRC???
Here's what their email says:

During the month of July, the International Blogging Recognition Council (IBRC) had the pleasure of reviewing your blog Samantha Hoffman. Your blog was referred to IBRC through our Refer-A-Blog program. "I'm a TV Star!" was the topic that the Council reviewed. Based on the review, the Council has recommended that your blog receive IBRC’s designation of “Recognized Blog”. IBRC reserves this honor to those blogs that effectively connects with the audience and promotes the sharing of ideas and experiences.
We invite you to visit our website at to learn more about IBRC and our “Recognized Blog” award. Congratulations on your accomplishment.
Sarah L. Tolten
Review Committee Chair
International Blogging Recognition Council
Seemed a little fishy to me. Why? Because they honor "blogs that effectively connects (that's not my typo - that's how they wrote it) ...and promotes the sharing of ideas and experiences." Well that sounds kind of grandiose to me and we all know my blog is pretty self-serving but if they want to honor me for that... I'm all about recognition and honor and being in the spotlight but...really. So I did a little checking and found this on BlogCatalog.
Also found this one: a blog called The Adventures of Martini Mike. It seems I'm in excellent company. Way to go, Martini Mike!

August 4, 2010

An Amazing Thing Just Happened

Bill and I just celebrated our seventh anniversary (that's us on the right - our first picture). Holy crap! How can it be seven years already?
That's a record for me (by a long shot) and I'm not even feeling itchy!
Like I say on the dedication page of my book, I finally found my Mr. Right.

My Book's on! Yay!

Check it out! My book on - so exciting...I feel as if I've won an Oscar.
I'd love it if you'd write a review for me. Just click on the link then scroll down to the Customer Review to the right is a button that says, Create Your Own Review.

August 3, 2010

The New Definition of Romance?

The other day I was on the bus and there was an old lady sitting on one of the inward facing seats, and the sun was shining in on her, spotlighting a very long single hair protruding from her chin. I wanted to get out my tweezers (which I never leave home without) and pluck that thing (not that I would ever have touched her).
But it made me think: Who's going to pluck those hairs for me? Well, my Bill of course, providing he can see them. Is that the new definition of romance? Someone who will pluck your chin hairs? Do you smoke a cigarette afterwards?

August 1, 2010

'Tis the Season

I love fresh corn and 'tis the season (one good thing about this hateful, hot-full summer). Have you ever had Mirai sweet corn? delicious you can eat it raw. Seriously. It's a hybrid that was developed in Harvard, Illinois and you can get it at some of the farmer's markets around the city.
Well, I got some sweet corn at the farmer's market near my house on Saturday and tho it's not Mirai, it's still yummy. I used it to make Roasted Corn Salad, which is a delicious seasonal dish. Actually it's a good dish for any time.
Here's the recipe:

Roasted Corn Salad
Serves 4

• 4 ears of corn, cut off the cob
• 4 teaspoons unsalted butter, melted
• salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 red onion, sliced
• 2 tablespoons diced roasted red bell pepper (store-bought is fine)
• 1 tablespoon slivered green olives
• 2 scallions, white and tender green parts, thinly sliced
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
• 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
• 2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat a large cast iron skillet on high heat till smoking hot. Add corn to dry skillet and roast and char kernels till they begin to pop.
Add in butter and red onion and mix. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring.
Add remaining ingredients.
Season and serve warm or cold.