Spike Mendelsohn introduces the Flipp app and a new recipe

I walked into the Good Stuff Eatery at 22 South Wabash Ave just a few blocks from Millennium Park. I was extremely interested in visiting since the thought of delicious burgers and hand-spun shakes was my chosen favorite food since childhood. The Chicago location of the Good Stuff Eatery opened in 2015 after winning the Chicago Gourmet’s 2014 Hamburger Hop. The Prez burger (President Obama) won the Judge’s Choice Award. The pilot store of Good Stuff Eatery opened on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. in July 2008. This was a family operation owned by the Mendelsohn family with the son, Spike Mendelsohn, at the helm.

Spike is better known, to many, as a celebrity chef. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Spike worked with some of the world’s most renowned chefs and eventually made his television debut on Bravo TV’s Top Chef. Spike went on to appear on several other cooking-related shows, including Life After Top Chef, Iron Chef America, Late Night Chef Fight and Beat Bobby Flay. He also hosted Midnight Feastand Food Network’s Kitchen Sink.

The Good Stuff in Washington became a favorite of President Barack Obama’s which inspired Spike to write a cookbook called The Good Stuff cookbook. Following the opening of the Good Stuff Eatery, Spike opened up We, The Pizza, Béarnaise and Santa Rosa Taqueria.

Today, Spike talks about shopping tips and tricks for the Fourth of July and some of the unique resources available when finding the best prices. That includes the free Flipp app for IOS and Android. You can search weekly ads, coupons and navigate through your favorite stores. The app allows you to check out specific foods or browse a variety of retailers. Once you download the app and add your location, Flipp will locate the stores in your area and you can click on your favorite store to explore its best deals. You can tap a retailer, check out the coupons and load them to your loyalty cards. There are thousands of retailers available including Kroger, Walmart, Big Lots, CVS Pharmacy, Aldi’s, Family Dollar, Home Depot, Loews and Dicks Sporting Goods to name a few.

Spike is truly passionate in giving back to the community; something he was taught at an early age. He has a genuine desire for providing food equity and help others purchase healthy food while saving time and money. Flipp offers shoppers a way to plan and budget for groceries but still choose quality instead of just running into your favorite store at the end of day and choosing items on sale. Spike commented on a Flipp feature where you type milk or peanut butter into the program and a variety of milk options will be displayed such as almond milk or organic peanut butter that demonstrates the Flipp app is focused on quality as well as excellent prices.

Spike came to Chicago because of his sister going to school here when opening the Good Stuff Eatery downtown. He loves to travel and is the first chairman of the Washington DC Food Policy Council where he continually helps to improve school lunches and speaks out in groups that encourage healthy eating.

I enjoyed the Prez burger that was made with apple-wood bacon, onion marmalade, Roquefort cheese, and horseradish mayo. The Chocoholic Shake was, by far, the best. The next time I would like to try the Compass Coffee Shake since coffee is another drink I cannot live without. For the holiday, Spike shared a special recipe below for Mahalo sliders that you can make at home. Consequently, I am planning my own July 4th menu which will include homemade Mahalo burgers with barbecue sauce and pineapple,cucumber slaw. And it has never been so easy and cost effective. My new Flipp app will even tell me when store sales will be ending so I know exactly when I should plan my shopping time.

Mahalo Sliders
– 4 pounds Ground Beef of your choice, leaner the better for sliders, less shrinking
– 1 teaspoon of cayenne
– 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
– 1 tablespoon parsley flakes
– salt/pepper to taste
– 1 tbl olive oil
– cheddar cheese slices for melting

* use a large bowl and add all of your ground meat and break it up, add all seasonings, parsley flakes, oil and mix around aggressively. Using a small scale patty up 2 oz burgers and place on a sheet tray. Season with salt and pepper.

Hawaii roles 2- 12 pcks or enough for everyone to have at least two sliders.
– using butter spray, spray your buns before grilling.

Pineapple Cucumber Slaw
– 2 cups pineapple, small dice
– 2 cups red cabbage, thinly sliced
– 1 medium cucumber, peeled and small diced
– 1/4 cup red onion, small diced
-1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
– 2 tablespoon lime juice
– 1 tablespoon sugar
– salt and pepper to taste

*In a large bowl combine all ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside

Bbq Sauce
– 2 cups bbq sauce
– 1 tbl of chipotle in can
– 2 tbl of Apple Cider Vinegar
– 1 tbl Molasses

*Add all of these ingredients in a bowl and whisk vigorously, season with salt and pepper…

Assembly
– Make sure to grill the burger only for a minute on each side. Melt cheddar cheese
– toast Hawaiian rolls
– add burgers
– add slaw
– add bbq sauce.

Display patriotic TIKI torches for the Fourth of July

The best Fourth of July celebrations were at home or in the backyard of friends and family. Though when I was a child, it was easy to obtain sparklers which was our source of light along with the fading light of lightening bugs. Dad would handle a few, simple, fireworks but it was the sparklers in our hands that excited us the most. Then, as the mosquitoes began to bite, we would go inside and just watch the fireworks on TV since I was a Chicago city kid.

After moving to the suburbs and having my own children, once, again, we always celebrated Fourth of July in the backyard with neighbors though I don’t remember much about sparklers since those were not as easy to purchase as in the old days. Today, even as adults, my children and I can watch the suburban town fireworks from our backyard though we sometimes have to re-arrange our chairs away from the towering trees. Now, to add to our evening, we can establish a patriotic flare with a festive American Bamboo Torch from TIKI. Filled with the TIKI Brand Bite Fighter Torch Fuel, the easy to pour bottle really keeps the mosquitoes; lasting for several hours.

If you want to add a flame to a tabletop, the adjustable flame glass table torch( gold-dipped) is a beautiful addition to your yard or porch. TIKI torches truly create an outdoor oasis especially in celebration of the Fourth of July. Over fifty five items are available to choose as well as unique design idea options for your backyard or small porch on their website. Enjoy free shipping and join the TIKI Brand email list to get the latest news and offers.

When you gather on the Fourth with family and friends, it is a wonderful time to reflect on what we have accomplished as people, as a country, the continued freedom we have together and the simple beauties that surround us.

Happy Fourth of July from TIKI!

Wrigley chewing gum

Juicy fruit and bazooka,(bubble gum was bazooka penny candy with the comics inside wrapper) was the ones that fought for being number one in my life. I chose Bazooka more in the early years because if we had an allowance, we could buy penny candy and that was the selection in the bin at Cozy Corner on the south side of Chicago. Cozy Corner was a great little store and diner located next to South Chicago Hospital. Juicy Fruit came in a package and was more expensive. There was another store across the street that I remember buying magazines and my Archie comics. Another story coming soon on that trend.  But throughout my life, decades later, it was Juicy Fruit, a package of five, created by Wrigley here in Chicago.

In 1891, 29-year-old William Wrigley Jr. came to Chicago from Philadelphia with $32 and the idea to start a business selling Wrigley’s Scouring Soap. Wrigley offered premiums as an incentive to buy his soap, such as baking powder. Later in his career, he switched to the baking powder business, in which he began offering two packages of chewing gum for each purchase of a can of baking powder. Wrigley soon abandoned baking powder, entered the gum industry and in 1893, he offered two new gum brands; Juicy Fruit and Wrigley’s Spearmint.The popular premium, chewing gum, began to seem more promising. Wrigley also became the majority owner of the Chicago Cubs in 1921. William Wrigley Jr. died on January 26th, 1932, at the age of 70 and his son continued to run the company.

According to Wikipedia, In 2005, Wrigley purchased Life Savers and Altoids from Kraft Foods for US$1.5 billion.On January 23, 2007, Wrigley signed a purchase agreement to acquire an 80% initial interest in A. Korkunov for $300 million with the remaining 20% to be acquired over time. On April 28, 2008, Mars announced that it would acquire Wrigley for approximately $23 billion. Financing for the transaction was provided by Berkshire Hathaway, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan (Warren Buffet) Berkshire Hathaway held a minority equity investment in Wrigley until October 2016.

 

Free O’Douls at the Cubs vs Mets game: June 21st

Chicago fans can get their hands on limited edition cans of O’Doul’s, designed by local artist Brandon Breaux, on June 21st at the Cubs vs. Mets game at Wrigley Field. Visitors can visit Responsible Fan kiosks on concourse levels during the game. Fans at the game can look out for O’Doul’s signage on the big screen in the outfield to learn where else they can find the cans throughout the stadium. The cans will be given away at the game free of charge, no purchase necessary.

After the ODoul’s can refresh in November with NYC-based artist Mr. Kiji, they wanted to bring him back for a second launch and expand to two additional top markets in the U.S. The O’Doul’s team worked internally to identify three unique artists that produce art reflective of their cities’ one-of-a-kind aesthetics, and approached Brandon for this unique opportunity.

Brandon talks about his artwork for the brand, “The design utilizes color forms to communicate, which I feel speaks to the brand’s message and impact that message holds. The goal of the design is to make something that attracts people and gives off a good vibe in any environment.”

Brandon Breaux is a fine art/designer who was born in Chicago graduating with a Bachelors of Art and Design from DePaul University and is currently working out of the city. He is widely known as the artist behind all 3 of Chance the Rapper’s iconic album covers but continues to be involved with painting, sculpture, web, video and print projects. Brandon has his own shop online with a variety of art that you can purchase including a picture of Chicago’s great Harry Caray (still available) and Harold’s Chicken; another Chicago favorite. However, his overall goal is to inspire and educate by producing creative solutions. Once a child myself from the south side of Chicago, I appreciate Brandon’s collaboration with The Invisible Space at 85th and Cottage Grove offering yoga and meditation sessions helping to transform others into a more healthy life style; just like promoting a non-alcoholic environment.

O’Doul’s has been a leader in premium non-alcohol beers for nearly 30 years. Wanting to socialize responsibly, Anheuser-Busch- ODouls bottled beer was always my choice at a restaurant or bar for it’s full body taste. Perfect for attracting people who want to enjoy the fine beer flavor but take pleasure in a sober/ positive event. O’Douls and O’Douls Amber contain only the finest of natural ingredients-including barley malt, domestic and imported whole cone hops, brewer’s yeast, select grains and water.

In a time when more brands are entering the non-alcohol beverage category, O’Doul’s wanted to shake up its look for long standing brand fans, while enticing new consumers to drink responsibly and in moderation this summer.

My Dad, Happy Fathers Day

When I looked up the definition of father, I was amazed at how many categorized fathers we have today. From the weekend/holiday fathersurprised father, stepfathersecond father to just mothers partner or husband; all of which define “the Dad”.  And, believe it or not, there is the DI Dad who is the social/legal father of children produced via donor insemination.

Father is also considered a founder of a body of knowledge or institution like George Washington; the Father of Our Country. And now I can understand why fathers are seen as authority figures and are suppose to possess experience and knowledge in life to pass onto others. That is what being a father is about; the active father who speaks of wisdom and guidance.

My father passed away when I was twelve and Fathers Day was not a Hallmark occasion that was at the top of my list. He was several years older than my Mom and always wanted a little girl. My mother never re-married and someone said that a father is a girl’s first love. Only he could push me on my new swing set at our home in Chicago.

With time, I realized my father, John, was gone and could not be replaced though I would always be grateful for the strong memories of his love for me. Some didn’t have any example in their lives. And as the years passed, I figured out that I could have as many fathers as I wanted; a trusted male friend who nurtures and helps you live a more fulfilling life.

They can be a neighbor that offers support when you struggle, comfort when you are down and their snow blower when there is a foot of snow in your driveway. They can be a manager who reminds you that you are truly worth it regardless of your awkward stumbles at work. They can be a co-worker that offers you a smile, something to laugh at, thumbs up and a cup of coffee when you are having a bad day.

They can be a brother who offers unconditional love and commitment regardless of how you frustrate him. They can be any relative who is protective, concerned and sees your success rather than incompetence. They can be your best friend’s father who spent hours tutoring you in math and building your self-esteem in a subject you never thought possible.

They can be the salesman or contractor that is really looking out for your safety and best interests. They can be your postman who always makes sure your mail is delivered on time and doesn’t rush off without saying hello. They can be teachers and role models to all children of any age and family.

Most of all, they can be the one above…you may not be able to see, but truly loves you.

(Re-posted-originally published June 17, 2018)

Chicago Public Library, libraries and book mobiles

I have a distant memory of a bookmobile standing outside our school once though I do not remember selecting any books. However, in elementary school at Buckingham we did not have a library and the Chicago Public library came to visit us. We met in the gym and specific grade level books were placed in carts and disposable chairs were seated in front of the carts. When called, we could select books. I am not sure how many minutes or days we attended. We also had a storeroom that was situated in the gym and books were shelved from floor to ceiling. These were not our books but were leased from the Chicago Public Library and librarians would travel from school to school at that time.  In third grade, I remember getting ready to select books to take home and a lady from our main office was crying over the loud speaker announcing that our president, John F Kennedy had died. I remember looking at the clock that was located by the speaker; it was about 1:15. We did not pick out books that day because we were instructed to go home.

The Chicago Public Library (CPL) is the public library system that serves the City of Chicago in the U.S. state of Illinois. It consists of 80 locations, including a central library, two regional libraries, and branches distributed throughout the city’s 77 Community Areas.The American Library Association reports that the library holds 5,721,334 volumes, making it the 9th largest public library in the United States by volumes held, and the 30th largest academic or public library in the United States by volumes held. The Chicago Public Library is the second largest library system in Chicago by volumes held (the largest is the University of Chicago Library). The library is the second largest public library system in the Midwest, after the Detroit Public Library.

According to American Libraries, bookmobiles have a proud history of service dating back to the late 1850s, when a horse-drawn collection of books began making the rounds in Cumbria, England. Here in the United States, the first bookmobile is widely attributed to Mary Lemist Titcomb, a librarian in Washington County, Maryland, who in 1905 posited “Would not a Library Wagon, the outward and visible signs of the service for which the Library stood, do much more in cementing friendship?”

Today, bookmobiles still exist especially in rural areas where Internet access is not the best. Though the number has dropped, Aurora Public Library in the western suburbs loves their Bookmobile that visits schools on a three-week rotation throughout the school year. The Bookmobile also delivers materials requested from the collections at the Santori Library, Eola Road Branch, or West Branch.   In addition, the Bookmobile has community stops conveniently located throughout the city to serve customers of all age and is available for special events.

I am blessed that the Downers Grove Library is close to home and thankful for the Internet that I may reserve books. You can reserve books that have not been published yet and coming out sometime that year. I make sure I order a combination of old historical fiction and the latest bestsellers. That is one thing I cannot do…… finish one book without another waiting by my side.

You are never bored if you love to read.

Dr Michelle Radwanski – Argonne Animal Hospital: A true gift

I sat in the chair in my living room rocking him gently, as he rested his face in my neck, purring.  For eighteen years, we had done this routine when he was sick or just needed special attention but this time I was deeply sobbing knowing what the rest of the day might bring.  He was seeing a new vet in a few hours. She was a Mom to a student at school and we talked about Joe Bo briefly on a school field trip.

We waited in the exam room, Len and I, taking turns holding him and I thought of our last cat who was the same age when she had died at home two years before. It was a holiday weekend and horrible to watch her fail without a vet’s assistance.

Dr. Radwanski, owner of Argonne Animal Hospital in Lemont, Illinois, walked in ready to examine Joe Bo. She had a thorough knowledge of explaining what was happening with the cat as she gently explored his body especially for not having seen him before or any  past veterinarian records. She was extremely skilled in determining that he was in his declining days as she communicated clearly and also mentioned some medical options that may prolong his life a few days, a few months. However, we knew as a family with advice from Dr. Radwanski, that euthanasia was best for him and the procedure was completed that day without pain. Joe Bo’s quality of life had been greatly reduced and the doctor cared only about his welfare and that he did not suffer any further.

Dr Radwanski completed her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine with honors in 2000 at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Since then, she has over 18 years of experience caring for animals in the western suburbs of Chicago. She is skilled in diagnostics, anesthetics, surgical, and dental procedures. She holds a special interest in preventative medicine, senior care, dermatology, pain management, and dentistry. Most of all, she has become a respected community veterinarian.

A true angel was brought into our lives that day in Dr Radwanski at Argonne Animal Hospital as we said goodbye to Joe Bo. If we get another kitten or maybe a puppy, he or she will be immediately attended by the doctor for the first annual exam, crisis, or whatever comes first. There are no other words to express her honest love and true calling for the animals she treats.

Please feel free to call her office anytime or visit her website at argonneanimalhospital.com

National Best Friends Day on June 8

By Caryl Clem: 

Recovering from the Great Depression was a task that required Americans to join together and work hard for each other. The pleasures in life were limited, annual wages for the average family was $1,160.00. Over 1/3 of the movie cinema’s had closed.  The news featured real life stories of survival, and started public opinion polls to encourage the public responding to issues.  In 1935, Congress passed the Social Security Act. Another act during this year to build public confidence and trust, Congress passed a Best Friends Day on June 8th and Friendship Day for the first Sunday in August.  At the core of American values is the desire to respect each other and discover what we can share together.

Discovering the depths of friendship occurs naturally as children play together. As a kid, do you remember counting down the days to the arrival of the summer carnival? My favorite friend coached me into my first roller coaster ride. I felt fearless beside her, ready to try anything.  We screamed in unison during the thrilling ride. Excitedly, we quickly decided to get in line to buy another ticket.  Good times were magnified in her presence. When I felt disappointed or angry, she found a way to help me see a “brighter” side.  A few years later, she told me she was moving with her parents to another state.  A parting hug with tears in my eyes was the last memory. I did not realize what I had until she moved away.  I was 11 years old.

Through the years, having a best friend that understood my personality and emotions saved my sanity and provided someone to share the range of experiences in life.  You never feel alone when you have a best friend as songs on this theme prove.  I love to listen to Christina Aguilera’s, “I’ll Turn to You.”  She sums up in a few words what a best friend means. Time deepens your relationship. To me, Best Friends are like a fuel that helps us achieve our top performance, increase our mileage and stay on the road of life longer. Touch base with your Best Friend on June 8th and celebrate what you have shared together.

PepsiCo partners with the NRAEF to train Chicago youth

PepsiCo Partners with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation to Invest in a Community Collaborative

This is just one example of PepsiCo’s investments to create career pathways for youth in the city of Chicago.

CHICAGO, IL – PepsiCo and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation(NRAEF) announced on Sunday a new community collaborative between local restaurants, nonprofits and its Restaurant Ready program to train young people disconnected from the workforce and formerly incarcerated populations in work-readiness skills to prepare them for careers in restaurants and food service.

The announcement kicked off with a ribbon cutting ceremony during the National Restaurant Association Show with appearances and remarks from local and national leaders supporting the initiative, including Merary Simeon, Vice President, Diversity andEngagement, PepsiCo; Hugh Roth, Senior Vice President, Chief Customer and Business Development Officer, PepsiCo Foodservice; Stanley Moore, Cook County Board Commissioner; Harry Alston, Jr., Ph.D., Vice President of Strategic Planning & Development, The Safer Foundation; and RobGifford, Executive Vice President of the NRAEF.

“The community collaborative presents an incredible opportunity to grow the work of the Foundation to serve the local community in Chicago,” said Gifford, Executive Vice President of the NRAEF. “We are ecstatic to bring together these local partners that already effectively train and employ young people who are not currently working and previously incarcerated individuals looking to reenter the workforce.”

The joint initiative looks to bridge the gap between community organizations and restaurant employers to connect career opportunities to the individuals who need it most, leveraging restaurants and food service companies as a first-step to employment – and ultimately, serve as a national model to bolster workforce efforts across the country.

“We’re deeply committed to empowering our associates and the communities we serve,” said Merary Simeon, Vice President of Diversity and Engagement, PepsiCo. “Joining forces across nonprofit, public and private sectors is a phenomenal way to drive real change for young people who can thrive in our communities when given the right support.”

“One of the biggest challenges facing Cook County and in particular Chicago is employing underrepresented young adults. Every young adult on every block in the region should be equipped and trained to secure a job where they are earning livable wages. Collaborations between the community,businesses and government are essential to addressing this problem. I am proud that the National Restaurant Association is partnering with the Safer Foundation and PepsiCo to launch the Restaurant Ready program in Chicago that puts young adults on the track to get jobs in the restaurant industry and on the path to independence,” stated Cook County Commissioner Stanley Moore (D-4).

With PepsiCo’s funding, the NRAEF will unite the key organizations which serve as experts in successfully training both populations in Chicago, including:

• The Hatchery, a Chicago non-profit food and beverage business incubator that enables local entrepreneurs to build and grow successful businesses, which create economic growth and new job opportunities;
• The Safer Foundation, one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit providers of services designed exclusively for people with criminal records;
 Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (IRAEF), a nonprofit dedicated to building Illinois’ hospitality workforce and will identify key employers and connections to industry for disconnected youth and previously incarcerated individuals;

The program will officially begin June 1.

This partnership is another illustration of PepsiCo’s continued commitment to address local workforce needs in the City of Chicago. Last year, PepsiCo partnered with the City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) to create career paths for students in manufacturing, and transportation, distribution and logistics (TDL) by providing employment in specialized positions at PepsiCo. Since the launch in March 2018, hiring events have resulted in 36 students being hired for frontline roles including drivers, warehouse helpers, and merchandisers; 14 PepsiCo scholarships were awarded to students at Olive Harvey College who are studying TDL, and students at CCC’s Daley College who are studying Advanced Manufacturing Maintenance; and PepsiCo Beverages North America will host 2 CCC students for a 10-week paid internship to gain meaningful work experience with the Integrated Supply Chain team.

About PepsiCo PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers more than one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated more than $64 billion in net revenue in 2018, driven by a complementary food and beverage portfolio that includes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, PepsiCola, Quaker and Tropicana. PepsiCo’s product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including 22 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales.

Guiding PepsiCo is our vision to Be the Global Leader in Convenient Foods and Beverages by Winning with Purpose. “Winning with Purpose” reflects our ambition to win sustainably in the marketplace and embed purpose into all aspects of the business. For more information, visit http://www.pepsico.com.

About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation
As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant
Association Educational Foundation is dedicated to enhancing the industry’s training and education, career development and community engagement efforts. The NRAEF and its programs work to Attract, Empower and Advance today’s and tomorrow’s restaurant and food service workforce. NRAEF programs include: ProStart® – a high-school career and technical education program; Restaurant Ready –partnering with community based organizations to provide “opportunity youth” with skills training and job opportunities; Military-helping military servicemen and women transition their skills to restaurant and food service careers; Scholarships – financial assistance for students pursuing restaurant,food service and hospitality degrees; and, the Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship Project – a partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Association providing a hospitality apprenticeship program for the industry.

Visit ChooseRestaurants.org to learn how to get involved with the NRAEF and its work to build pathways to meaningful jobs and careers in restaurants.