22 December 2010

Edgewater Library Re - opens

The Chicago Public Library's Edgewater Branch has re-opened, with regular business hours.


11 December 2010

Edgewater Public Library's Heating

Due to failure of their heating system, the Edgewater Public Library is CLOSED until further notice. The library has provided no timetable of when repairs will be made.


09 November 2010

New Rogers Park Walgreens

This past weekend, I visited the new Walgreens, at North Western and West Granville Avenues, in Chicago's Rogers Park area. I was not impressed! I went there, specifically, for a carton of half and half; the dairy shelves were bare. In fact, there was not much of anything at that location. To me, there appeared to be fewer items; the store, scaled down. I would not consider this new store an improvement from their former location, less than half a block north.

So, it was off to Target, on Peterson, where I easily found my cream and checked out the rest of their new, expanded grocery aisles. There, bananas are priced, not per pound, but per piece. (When I shopped there on Saturday, they were $.19 each.)

Welcome additions: The new fresh meat section, bags of french bread, a slightly larger selection of Asian foods and condiments (I actually bought a bottle of Lee Keum Kee Oyster Sauce), and an open refrigerated foods section. I still would have preferred a 'Super' Target; but I guess I can settle for this minor improvement.


20 October 2010

Child Molested at Peterson Target

On Thursday, 7th October, 2010, a 6 - year - old girl was sexually molested by an Andersonville man at the Target located at 2112 W. Peterson, on Chicago's North Side. Loreto Gaspar, 68, was charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a minor.

Gaspar entered the store at approximately 5:25 P.M. and, shortly after striking up a conversation with the victim and her mother, approached and inappropriately touched the girl when she and the mother became separated.


11 October 2010

Less Traffic at ALDI?

I walked past the ALDI at 6221 N. Broadway this morning and it did not seem as busy as it has in the past. I am wondering if the debit card scandal has had an impact on business? There is also a Grand Opening of its rebuilt, 6220 N. California location on Thursday. It will be interesting to see how many shoppers show up.


08 October 2010

A More Fun Environment: Devon Avenue -- The Whole World (or a Lot of it) i...

A More Fun Environment: Devon Avenue -- The Whole World (or a Lot of it) i...: "Devon Avenue in Chicago's West Ridge exemplifies some of what's best about the United States. It is a place where everyone has something to..."

I consider myself fortunate to live within walking distance from Devon Avenue, a mostly Indo - Pak business district in Chicago's West Rogers Park area. It's fascinating!


04 October 2010

ALDI Helpline, Not Very Helpful

The toll - free customer service helpline ALDI has put in place for customers whose debit cards have been compromised at their stores, is a sham! The person who answered my call did not sound like he was at all interested in offering me any assistance. He put me on hold so he could give me the correct answer to a question I had asked. I'm assuming he was consulting his supervisor. Personally, I had the feeling he was being coached.

This debit card fraud at ALDI first broke on WISH 8 TV, by Indianapolis news reporter, Deanna Dewberry back on 18th September, 2010. She stated, when she called ALDI's coporate office to confirm security breach, they admitted that an investigation was already underway. It started as a local incident in the Hoosier State but, soon, expanded into 10 other States. In my opinion, the company has done a poor job keeping the public informed and advising its customers to monitor the activity on their debit cards.


02 October 2010

Aldi: We're being transparent on fraud

Aldi: We're being transparent on fraud

Aldi: Tampered terminals installed in stores

Aldi: Tampered terminals installed in stores

Additional information from the Indianapolis TV newscast that broke the Aldi/debit card fraud story about 2 weeks ago.


ALDI/Debit Card Customer Service Line

ALDI now has a customer service helpline for those customers whose debit card info has been compromised:
Also, on the grocery chain's website, a message from the company has been posted. On the letter portion of the message, the company states it "believes" the affected terminals have been removed. That does not sound reassuring, to me at least.

29 September 2010

ALDI Shoppers, BEWARE!

Just this morning, I was notified by my bank that my debit card information had been compromised and that several ATM withdrawals had occurred. I shop at the ALDI @ 6221 N. Broadway regularly so the fraudulent transactions at ALDI that we have heard and read about in the news recently is not only occurring in the suburbs, but in Chicago as well. I can now confirm that, unfortunately.


Robberies in West Rogers Park

In the 1800 block of West Granville, in the West Rogers Park neighborhood, there have been several home burglaries, including one known break - in and one attempted break - in on the property where I reside. One, possibly two, people are committing these crimes. One was on his cellphone outside one of our buildings (apparently, a lookout). Please be vigilant and report any suspicious activity or persons on, or near, your residence. And do not discourage nosy neighbors! They may be one your best defenses against becoming a burglary victim.


28 September 2010

Re - opening Date of Rogers Park ALDI

14th October, 2010
The Official Grand Opening
@6220 N. California Ave
(West Granville/North California)
West Rogers Park/West Ridge
Newly - rebuilt!
As a general rule, ALDI grand openings occur without much fanfare, and they often open their doors to shoppers sooner than advertised.

14 September 2010

Taxi Crashes Through Dunkin' Donuts' Window

On 14th September, 2010, at around 9:45 in the morning, a taxicab crashed into the windows of a "Dunkin' Donuts," located at 6250 North Clark Street (Edgewater area @ West Rosemont). Injuries, unknown at this time. Several emergency vehicles were on the scene. There is significant damage to the building.


Rogers Park Porch Collapse

At an apartment complex, located at 1908 W. Hood, a porch collapsed. Two people were injured and taken to two separate hospitals. They were listed in serious to critical condition. Construction workers were present when the incident occurred.


UPDATE: A construction crew were building a wooden back porch, to replace the original one constructed of concrete. Workers were using a jackhammer at the time of the collapse.

08 September 2010

Car Crashes Dominick's Fence

On Wednesday, 8th September, 2010, at approximately 9:15 A.M., I observed the driver of a red Nissan in the Dominick's parking lot (6009 N. Broadway) who pulled into a space facing Broadway, drove up onto a planter, and slammed into the store's fence. The fence sustained serious damage. I alerted the Dominick's customer service desk who, then, called the manager. They told me that their security cameras would have recorded the driver's license plates. The driver seemed to make no attempts to apply the brakes.


23 August 2010

Rogers Park Chinese Restaurants & Takeouts

Chinese Restaurants and Takeouts in the Rogers Park Area

China Dragon
6214 N. Western (@ W. Granville )
Chicago, IL 60659
Hrs: Daily 11 AM - 11PM
Mainly takeout (w/limited seating), Delivery & Lunch Special

China Hut
7101 N. Clark (@W. Estes)
Chicago, IL 60626
Hrs: Mon. - Thurs. 10:30 AM - 10 PM
Fri. - Sat. 10:30 AM - 10:30 PM
Sun. 10:30 AM - 9:30 PM
Delivery, Takeout & Dine - In
How Lee Chop Suey
5664 N. Lincoln (@Washtenaw)
Chicago, IL 60659
Call for hours
Takeout, ONLY!

20 August 2010

Missing Library Books?

A staff member at the Rogers Park Public Library told me, that both of the two book return bins were unlocked and ajar when she arrived at work this past Monday morning, and were empty. Normally, these bins are overflowing with books returned over the weekend. They resemble oversize mailboxes. It is highly unlikely that no books were deposited from Saturday night to Monday morning. The only explanation is, a theft had taken place.


05 August 2010

The Original Maxwell Street Polish

The Original Maxwell Street Polish, at 6380 N. Broadway (N. Broadway & N. Sheridan, next to Popeye's), opened on 4 August, 2010. It's a new option to woo your palette. Their specialty is polish sausage.

Update: Well, I checked this place out yesterday afternoon. The verdict? I might as well get my complaints out of the way. There are no poppy seeds on their hot dog buns, and there is nowhere to sit. This place clearly caters, exclusively, to drivers. I had a hot dog with the 'woyks' and it was pretty good. The soggy french fries sported potato skins.


04 August 2010

Barwaqo Kabob

Barwaqo Kabob, at 6130 N. Ravenswood, replaces Falafel Shack (RIP). Barwaqo's cuisine is Somali. I am not familiar with dishes from Somalia but, it sounds interesting. My curiosity might get the better of me one day, and I'll actually give it a try!


03 August 2010

Open Letter To Alderman Shiller - Lake Effect News

Open Letter To Alderman Shiller - Lake Effect News

I stumbled across this letter from a resident who lives in Alderman, Helen Shiller's ward. The writer pleads with her to do something about the crime plaguing the Uptown community. Never mind that it was posted on the Lake Effect News' website, http://lakeeffectnews.com. The plea could be directed at any one of our elected officials. Street violence is not a Bronzeville problem, or an Englewood problem. It is a tragedy being played out in ALL our neighbourhoods and it won't be solved as long as our City's leaders pretend it doesn't exist. It can no longer be ignored.


Aldermen who may be leaving :: Chicago Sun-Times :: Photo Gallery

Aldermen who may be leaving :: Chicago Sun-Times :: Photo Gallery

Savoring its Swedish roots : SearchChicago Homes : News

Savoring its Swedish roots : SearchChicago Homes : News

26 July 2010

The story of why they won't stop shooting in Chicago :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Metro & Tri-State

The story of why they won't stop shooting in Chicago :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Metro & Tri-State

Very troubling story about the street violence in our City. The law - abiding citizens of Chicago (in ALL parts of the City) deserve a better quality of life than this!


24 July 2010

Photos of New Uptown Target

Fabulous photos of the ribbon - cutting celebration at the new Target in Chicago's Uptown community. As you can see, this new location offers more grocery items.



21 July 2010

At Edgewater Library, No Relief

If you are in search of a cooling facility to escape the summer heat, DO NOT go to the Edgewater Public Library, unless, you like to sweat. Air conditioning is, virtually, non - existent. They often turn on fans that, simply, do not do the job of good ol' AC.


Shiller Giddy At Opening Of New Wilson Yard Target - Lake Effect News

Shiller Giddy At Opening Of New Wilson Yard Target - Lake Effect News

06 July 2010

Pigeon Massacre

This morning, I observed several dead pigeons underneath the Metra underpass, at West Granville and North Ravenswood (6200 N. & 1800 W.). Don't know how they met their demise but, there were babies covered in down as well as adult birds. Most of the dead pigeons were on the street at Granville; inevitably, they had been flattened by passing cars. Perhaps they were poisoned or shot before they ended up on the road.


01 July 2010


On Wednesday, 30th June, 2010, at 2:00 P.M., I boarded a CTA bus at North Broadway and Ridge, in the city's Edgewater area. As the bus pulled out from the Clark and Ridge stop, I pulled the cord to signal to the driver that I wanted to exit the bus at the next stop. HE REFUSED TO STOP! In fact, the asshole passed two bus stops before he FINALLY stopped and allowed myself, and two other passengers, to exit the bus. I stood at the rear exit and yelled at him to stop and let me off but, as I said, the prick refused!

After recently increasing fares, eliminating routes and reducing the number of buses on the streets, the CTA , and the vermin on their workforce, need to treat its riding public better than this!


22 June 2010

Taste of Chicago Survival Tips

Taste of Chicago Tips

  • Here are some suggestions for surviving and, even, ENJOYING Chicago's biggest block party: Taste of Chicago:

  • June 17th - 24th, 201o, you can purchase Taste of Chicago food tickets at Dominick's. A limit of 4 strips, per family, can be purchased at $6.00 for strips of 12 (a discount) A Fresh Values Card is required.
  • Things to Bring: Sunscreen, hand santizer, napkins and plastic forks & spoons (restaurant vendors don't always supply utensils, and there will be times when you will find that using them will make eating a whole lot easier).

  • Weekdays and 11:00 A.M. are less crowded. Opening day of the Taste is one of the busiest.

  • Do NOT go to the festival at NIGHT. Criminal behaviour tends to escalate, both in and around the event.

  • Bring a roll of toilet paper. This may sound strange but, those porta - potties are a little iffy in the T.P. department!

  • Request the "taste portions" whenever possible. They are less expensive.



Taste of Chicago Restaurants

Taste of Chicago Restaurants

For those planning on attending the Taste of Chicago > The RESTAURANT/MENU list.


21 June 2010

Mugging on Catalpa

Mugging on Catalpa

This took place in my former neighbourhood. Be careful out there! And not only when the sun goes down. This crime was committed in broad daylight.


16 June 2010

A Hot Dog Program

'Grand Re-Opening of HOT ROD GRILL'

'Grand Re-Opening of HOT ROD GRILL'

Even though I prefer the Wiener Circle, in Lincoln Park, and Patio Beef, in Edgewater, Hot Rod Grill serves up some of the best hot dogs in the West Rogers Park neighbourhood. The extra seating should be a welcome addition. (Their burgers are pretty good, too!)


02 June 2010

West Peterson TARGET Store Expands Grocery Department

Fresh Target markets in city :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Business

Renovation at the Target at 2112 W. Peterson, to make room for their expanded grocery department, is scheduled to be completed by October, 2010.


19 May 2010

Celebrate Clark Street Festival

July 24 and 25, 2010
Saturday and Sunday
1:00 P.M. til 11:00 P.M.
Clark Street, between Morse and Touhy
  • Live World Music
  • International Cuisine
  • Children's Activities
  • Arts and Crafts



Neighborhood developments from Town Hall meeting

Neighborhood developments from Town Hall meeting

18 May 2010

Edgewater/Rogers Park Neighborhood Grocers That Are Easier on Your Budget (revised)

Neighborhood Grocers

That Are Easier on Your Budget

(Edgewater and Rogers Park)


6221 N. Broadway

Chicago, IL 60660

Basic pantry - fillers, such as sugar, vegetable oil, flour, and canned fruits and vegetables, are insanely cheap. Their private - label food products are top - notch. Their frozen shrimp stir fry rivals most Chinese take outs! Bonus at this location: No quarters required to use grocery carts!


3201 W. Devon Ave.

Chicago, IL 60659


Plenty of parking, both adjacent to the store and across the street. The store also features impressive deli and bakery departments.


1440 W. Devon Ave.

Chicago, IL 60660


I purchase the majority of my meat, poultry and fish at Devon Market. Frequently, they have specials on lamb and veal cuts. I have bought whole chicken here for a little over $3 each!Inside their rotisserie oven (along with their chicken), Devon Market also offers fresh, hot tamales. Their on-site bakery produces great French bread.

Warning: By the time their produce makes it to the display area, it is already overripe. So if you buy fresh fruits and vegetables here, use it right away!

Note: Don't overlook drug stores as grocery destinations, such as Walgreens!


5515 N. Clark St.

Chicago, IL 60640


Parking can be a real headache at this Andersonville produce market. (And don't even think of parking in Jewel's lot across the street!) This fruit and vegetable market features a great selection of reasonably - priced meats and deli products.


7401 N. Clark St.

Chicago, IL 60626


One can not deny, Rogers Park Fruit Market has held its own in the shadows of the gargantuan Dominick's. From the moment you walk in the door, you notice its international flavour. (In my observation, their customer base appears to be Latinos, and African immigrants.) Especially on weekends when this place is buzzing with activity. The meat counter is an excercise in persistence and patience, as shoppers wait their turn to place their orders. And the quality of the produce? Pretty good! I have bought some of the sweetest black plums on the planet, green - with - envy bananas (but they're delicious once ripened) and other purchases I have considered to be of excellent quality. There is limited parking. Easily accessible via CTA, the business is located within steps of the #22 Clark and PACE buses, as well as the Howard St. Red Line and bus terminal.



2434 W. Devon Ave.

Chicago, IL 60659


If you have spent any length of time on Devon Ave, especially between Western and Kedzie, then you already know that parking in this bustling neighborhood can be a nightmare. Nevertheless, a trip to this mom - and - pop produce market is worthwhile, with its cheap prices and abundant stock of Indian foods and every kind of rice you can think of! A 'halal' meat counter is in the back of the store.


Compiled by: Jackie L. Tajiri

Bike the Drive

May 30, 2010
5:30 A.M. til 10:30 A.M.
Due to The MB Financial Bank Bike the Drive,
Lake Shore Drive will be closed.

15 May 2010

Consumer Focus: 10 Types of Shoppers in 2010

Consumer Focus: 10 Types of Shoppers in 2010

Posted using ShareThis

Body found in back seat of vehicle on N. Side :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Chicago Crime

Body found in back seat of vehicle on N. Side :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Chicago Crime

The 2010 Downtown Evanston Farmers' Market

The Downtown Evanston Farmers' Market
Saturdays 7:30 A.M. thru 1:00 P.M.
May 8th through November 6th, 2010
Intersection of University Place and Oak Avenue
Contact: Zollie Webb 847.448.8138

Over 30 vendors offer fruits, vegetables, meat, flowers, cheese, milk, eggs and baked goods. Performances by musicians from the Evanston community. Purchase grocery bags at the Market or bring your own! This Market accepts the LINK card.


14 May 2010

11 May 2010

Rogers Park 'Real Men Cook

Fundraiser Benefitting
Rogers Park Youth and Families

26th June, 2010
12 Noon - 5 P.M.
Willye B. White Park
1610 West Howard St.
Chicago, Illinois

$5 Adults
$3 Kids under 12

Grilling and Cooking Competition Fee: $20

Panel of judges

Awards for Meat/Veggie Main Courses, Side Dishes and Desserts

"School of Rock" band performance, DJ spinning, family food and fun, refreshments.


The 45th Annual Midsommerfest

The 45th Annual Midsommerfest will take place in the Andersonville neighborhood, June 12 & 13, 2010; on North Clark St. from Foster to Catalpa. (Drivers are reminded that there will be street closures during this event.) The festival usually starts at 11:00 A.M.

There is a suggested donation of $5. Kids under 12, and seniors over 65, FREE. During past Midsommerfests, items for sale have included food, jewelry, clothing and more! There is usually at least one musical stage.


Thybony Moving

Thybony, at Clark and Catalpa, is moving to a new location to make way for a new Walgreens. The home design business's new location has yet to be announced.


Forest Preserve Officials Urge Respect For Coyotes - WBBM 780 - Chicago's #1 source for local news, traffic and weather

Forest Preserve Officials Urge Respect For Coyotes - WBBM 780 - Chicago's #1 source for local news, traffic and weather

Posted using ShareThis

28 April 2010

An Obstacle Course

I am an avid walker. However, getting around on two legs is getting just as challenging as traveling on four wheels during road construction. On North Ridge, between Devon and Pratt, heavy equipment has reduced the sidewalks to rocky sandboxes. Due to the torn - up pavement, I have had to forgo Dominick's as my local grocery shopping destination. Devon Market is part of my contingency plan until the project is completed. But even then, I have had to use a detour because the sidewalk in front of the now - shuttered Hollywood Video has also been torn up.


23 April 2010

Customer Lost in Translation

The other day, I came home to find a stack of sale circulars from a local Hispanic grocery store. The entire flyer was printed in Spanish. I am assuming that this business wishes to reach a Spanish - only customer base because, they failed in their attempt to lure me (a non - Hispanic) into the store. The ad was automatically destined for the trash!

I appreciate the diversity that exists in Chicago and the unique character of its ethnic neighborhoods, but this all - Spanish mass - mailing limits the demographic of the people who will walk in the door. In addition to Spanish - speaking recipients, the flyers landed on the doorsteps of those whose primary language isn't Spanish (I among them). In my case, the ad went from my doorstep to the paper shredder. And whenever I see a store sign printed in a language other than English, I immediately assume that the owner welcomes customers who only speak that specific language. As a result, I dismiss the business as a regular destination for me and spend my money at one that is more inclusive.


20 April 2010

Teen Is No Snitch, Takes Killer's Name To His Grave - WBBM 780 - Chicago's #1 source for local news, traffic and weather

Teen Is No Snitch, Takes Killer's Name To His Grave - WBBM 780 - Chicago's #1 source for local news, traffic and weather

Posted using ShareThis

This, clearly, illustrates what Chicago Police and communities are up against in the battle against street and gun violence. The code of silence lives on, in death.


Digital Photocopiers Loaded With Secrets - WBBM 780 - Chicago's #1 source for local news, traffic and weather

Digital Photocopiers Loaded With Secrets - WBBM 780 - Chicago's #1 source for local news, traffic and weather

Posted using ShareThis

If you own a digital photocopier, or work for an employer that does, this news article contains warnings concerning the devices and how they can compromise privacy and be used by ID thieves. It's a wake - up call!


19 April 2010

Aldi Shopping Carts Now Require a Quarter

I guess the folks at the Aldi store, at Broadway and Granville, were tired of chasing after shopping carts. So, using one now requires a quarter (but you get it back when you return the cart). It just didn't feel like an Aldi store without the feature, anyway:)


13 April 2010

Neighbors to the North

Suburb Looks At Putting Wind Farm In Lake - WBBM 780 - Chicago's #1 source for local news, traffic and weather

Posted using ShareThis

Our neighbors to the North, in Evanston, are considering installing a wind farm in Lake Michigan.


McDonald’s remake: Consultant suggests McDonald’s wants to be more like Starbucks - chicagotribune.com

McDonald’s remake: Consultant suggests McDonald’s wants to be more like Starbucks - chicagotribune.com

Posted using ShareThis

Somehow, I can't form a mental picture of sofas at the Golden Arches. The kids would be jumping on them and getting ketchup on the upholstery:)


10 April 2010

Hundreds Of Chicago Taxis Being Pulled From Street - WBBM 780 - Chicago's #1 source for local news, traffic and weather

Hundreds Of Chicago Taxis Being Pulled From Street - WBBM 780 - Chicago's #1 source for local news, traffic and weather

Posted using ShareThis

Why am I not surprised by this revelation concerning taxi vehicles putting the public at risk? I stopped taking cabs long ago due to rude drivers, drivers who aren't fluent in English and, most importantly, hazardous cabdrivers.


09 April 2010

Stop Yellow Pages delivery

Stop Yellow Pages delivery
Are you annoyed by those useless phone books that arrive at your doorstep? Here is a way that you can opt out, if you so choose.

01 April 2010

New Uptown 'Target' Opening Soon!

For job seekers: The new Target store @Broadway & Sunnyside, is scheduled to open in July 2010. Employment applications will be available online and in paper form, starting 11 April 2010.


25 March 2010

Emergency in Front of Hayt Elementary

Wednesday, 24 March, 2010, at around 8:45 A.M.: I observed a CFD ambulance and police cars just outside the entrance of Hayt Elementary School. A student was hit by a car after exiting a vehicle driven by a parent or guardian. A nearby crossing guard told me that kids are supposed to be escorted from the car to the school entrance, by the person dropping them off. The victim that was hit was not accompanied while on his way into the school.


23 March 2010

Andersonville Screenz RIP

I first walked into a "Screenz" Internet cafe, back in 1994, at their Clark and Diversey location. Surfing the Net and email were alien to me. And to me, Spam was mystery meat in a can. But after a staff member sat me down in front of one of the store's 40+ computers, and instructed me on how to start an email account and access a website, I was well on my way to becoming a wiz speeding along the information super highway. Since then, I have created a website, used draw programs and begun my own blogs.

Sadly, the Screenz at Clark and Foster has closed! Though I still do not own a computer, I am able to use those at public libraries, for free. The last time I was at a Screenz, they were charging 16 cents per minute, and 39 cents for each printed document (and that's just for black and white!). I was adept enough to wean myself from Screenz, and so I found more affordable ways to get on the Internet. May Screenz in Andersonville rest in peace!


19 March 2010

Fat Cat

Another feline cutie!

Happy St. Patrick's Day from my cat!

On St. Patrick's Day, or any day your spirit needs a boost, this cat video will do the trick.

Disturbance on Granville

A large group of young black males were seen trespassing on private property in the 1800 block of West Granville, about a dozen individuals, total. They ranged in age from about 14, to 7. The youths appeared to be fighting. Police responded to the disturbance and the group left the property.


15 March 2010

Clark & Granville Hollywood Video To Close

The "Hollywood Video," at 6201 North Clark St. (@ West Granville), is closing. It is a sign of the times and yet another case of advances in technology nudging video rentals out of business. With services, such as those offered by Netflix, and movie downloads, Hollywood Video seems destined for obsolence.


22 February 2010

Andersonville of Yesterday

George's Ice Cream Shop
A & P,
Nelson's Bakery,
Mom's Bakery,
Villa Sweden,
and Neisner's.

If these names ring a bell and mean anything to you, then, you are (or were) a longtime resident of Andersonville, the Edgewater neighborhood on Chicago's North Side.

The above long gone businesses began to pop up in my mind's memory bank, as I read an article in the neighborhood newspaper, NewStar, that Thybony at Clark and Catalpa will be replaced by a new Walgreens. The article stated that inquiries regarding the status of Thybony - whether it will re - locate or go out of business - have yet to be answered.

Now, a few names from my memory file: Friday nights, for me, meant that my family would be enjoying dinner at Augie's, (Clark & Balmoral) a longtime eatery in the neighborhood. There, they knew me by name and knew exactly what I wanted: Twin cheeseburger and fries, and a vanilla milkshake!

The smell of pizza would waft from Neisner's, (Clark & Berwyn) a well - loved dime store, that was the first employer for many of the neighborhood's teenagers.

At Toguri (Clark & Balmoral), Mom would pick up fresh tuna, sembei (Japanese snacks), shoyu (soy sauce), and rice in huge cloth bags.

And I expanded my waistline, thanks to George's Ice Cream Shop, (Clark & Balmoral) and their belt - busting banana split!

Andersonville's younger residents would not recall that there was a time when Jewel - Osco had a rival grocery store:

A & P! (Clark & Catalpa) There, at checkout, transactions ended with the issuance of Plaid Stamps, which customers would collect and use to purchase various types of merchandise. (A & P was housed inside the very building Thybony will vacate.)

I guess change is good for a neighborhood. Nevertheless, it is nice to visit the scrapbook of my mind and recall childhood events and smiles the above businesses generated.


20 February 2010

Future Walgreens in Andersonville

By the fall of 2010, Thybony, at North Clark St. and West Catalpa in Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood, will be supplanted by a new Walgreens.


14 February 2010

Bus Changes, A Week Later

Well, it has been a week since the draconian CTA bus and rail service cuts went into effect, and I can't say that I have noticed the difference. It is the same old crappy service as always ):-(


06 February 2010

'Doomsday' Arrives on February 7th


Adjust your schedule in preparation for the 'doomsday' changes in CTA bus and rail service that go into effect SUNDAY, 7 FEBRUARY, 2010. Starting tomorrow, crowded buses and trains, and longer wait times will become the new norm. Gone, are the days of buses arriving every 10 minutes and passengers placing their belongings on the seat next to them. For those who do not drive these service cuts will adversely affect their commute to work, school and doctor appointments. For some, it may mean paying insanely - expensive cab fares because service on their bus routes will end earlier than it does currently.

The city was able to secure funds for the 2016 Olympics; yet no one seems able, or willing, to fund public transportation to take taxpayers to their jobs or the supermarket. For residents in 'food deserts' (communities that lack a full - service grocery store), it may mean eating more fast food which are plentiful in these 'food deserts'.


29 January 2010

Brown Line Mugging

There is alarm among both police and residents following the mugging of a woman on Tuesday, 26th January, at around 7:30 P.M. She reportedly was on her way home from the Francisco stop of the CTA Brown Line when, three males began to follow her. They attacked the woman and tried to grab her purse as she was unlocking the door to her apartment building; but she managed to enter the building and lock the door before the thieves could wrestle the purse from her.


CTA Reps on WBBM Radio

At 9:30 A.M. and 9:30P.M., on Sunday, 31st January, 2010, two CTA representatives will be the guests on 780 WBBM's "At Issue" program. They will discuss the Chicago Transit Authority's upcoming system - wide service changes that are scheduled to take effect on 7th February, 2010. Several express bus routes are being eliminated and most, if not all, of other bus routes will see reductions in service, starting later and/or stopping early. Countless Chicago citizens will be impacted!

If you are a Chicagoan who relies on public transportation, or know someone who does, this will be an informative hour devoted to the CTA's service changes, and other related issues.


27 January 2010

Dominick's Haiti Relief

The next time you are shopping at your neighbourhood Dominick's supermarket, consider making a contribution for Haiti earthquake relief at the checkstand. Donations will go to the American Red Cross and UNICEF.


26 January 2010

All Things Jewish!

Rosenblum's World of Judaica

2906 W. Devon Avenue

Chicago, IL 60659

(773) 262.1700

Are you curious about Jewish traditions and history? Are you planning a trip to Israel? How about CD's of Israeli hip hop? Would gifts from the Holy Land appeal to you? Wherever your curiosity leads you, visit Rosenblum's World of Judaica on Devon Avenue. They offer a plethora of Jewish gifts, CD's, books, Hebrew learning tools, and jewelry. If you are looking for something specific, the friendly staff sales personnel will help you. I have found great music here and guidebooks to help me improve my Hebrew skills.


RTA Trave Information Center

Due to shut - down of their building's water supply, the RTA's Travel Information Center will be closed from 7:00 P.M., Friday, 29 January, 2010, and will re - open at 7:00 A.M., Saturday, 30th January, 2010. While the TIC is out of service, go to http://transitchicago.com for travel information.

23 January 2010

CTA Service Cuts and Thefts

Effective February 7th, 2010, CTA bus routes will be reduced in frequency, or eliminated altogether. Fewer buses on the street will mean longer waits and more standing passengers. Buses will begin running later or stop running earlier once the changes go into effect. Several express buses are being discontinued.

For further details, visit http://transitchicago.com

Also, there have been a rash of robberies on the CTA Red Line, especially on the North Side. In at least one incident, the crime was committed by young males from Senn High School. Many of the robberies have occurred in broad daylight. The mantra is, be on your guard!


21 January 2010

New China Buffet

Whether I am by myself or with a friend, I like to go to New China Buffet in Chicago's West Ridge neighbourhood. I guess you would consider me a regular customer because, the servers bring me my usual Diet Coke almost before I've taken off my jacket.

New China Buffet is located in a shopping center at 7566 N. Western Ave., on the Evanston border at Howard Street. I have been coming here for years and the one constant is that I always make a beeline for the egg foo young (my all - time favourite Chinese dish). But I also enjoy their Mongolian Beef, golden fried rice, sushi and seafood delight. Usually, I conclude my meal with a cup of their soft - serve ice cream that comes in three flavors: vanilla, chocolate and a combination of both! Their tapioca pudding is another one of my favourite New China Buffet desserts.

After I'm done with my meal, I will often walk a few doors down to the Dollar Tree and pick up a few cheap treasures, at a dollar each!



16 January 2010

What's in a Brand Name?

What's in a name? Well, where consumer products are concerned, a great deal! For years, I was of the mindset that brand - name items were superior to private labels, or store brands. National brands carried a great deal of weight for me, as I figured the quality of the less expensive store brands was substandard.

These days, however, I am more likely to avoid national labels in favor of those bearing the name of the store I happen to be shopping at. Does it have to be Lipton Tea? Can't I settle for a private brand? I answer that question every time I reach for the store brand; and the cheaper tea tastes just fine. Actually, it tastes better because I saved money. (The only item I won't skimp on is soy sauce; I have stubbornly stuck with Kikkoman.)

Originally, my spending habits changed about eight years ago, due to financial hardship. I had to forgo products so prominently advertised on television, for those lesser known. But something happened: I realized that 'cheap' did not necessarily mean poor quality. Today, selecting private label items is routine whenever I shop for groceries. I save even more when I buy my groceries at independent supermarkets. I now buy store brands by choice, not necessity.

So what's in a name? The next time you're at the supermarket , answering that question can determine how much lighter your wallet will be when you leave.


15 January 2010

Aldi Product Spotlight

Grandessa Mini - Eclairs

They sit there in the freezer section seducing you. You know you want them, they practically have your name on them. They are mini - eclairs and they're at your local Aldi waiting to be enjoyed with a cup of coffee. For $3.99, you get over 40 of these little gems filled with custard and covered with chocolate. I've seen boxes of 30 of these babies for $6 and up at traditional supermarkets. Aldi not only gives you more eclairs but it does so at a lower price. Usually, I allow the eclairs to thaw in the refrigerator. On hot summer days I like to eat them while they're still semi - frozen, because the custard filling tastes like ice cream.

Note: I also recommend the Grandessa Cream Puffs, which are just as hard to pass up.


10 January 2010

New Year Off to Grinding Start


Last month, I received a coffee grinder as a Christmas gift and was eager to try it out. I recalled seeing bags of whole - bean coffee at Aldi at Broadway and Granville; so off I went, bringing home three varieties of the store's 'exotic' blends: Costa Rican, Zambian, and Guatemalan. The Costa Rican blend is on the mild side; the Zambian blend, bolder; and the Guatemalan blend, a little in between. All in all, Aldi's coffee gets a 4 - star rating from me. Either would be a perfect morning brew or a pleasant climax to a satisfying dinner.

Who needs pricey gourmet coffee shops? In this, and other edible categories, Aldi rules!


05 January 2010

Andersonville McDonald's

Well - Dressed Panhandlers

This past Sunday morning, I went inside the McDonald's located at North Clark St. and Bryn Mawr in Chicago's Andersonville neighbourhood. Before I could even get in line to place my order, a nicely - dressed woman and a young girl (between 12 and 13 years of age) approached me with a box of assorted candy bars and asked me if I would like to buy candy to help her keep her daughter in school. I shook my head, indicating that I was not interested. But the woman persisted and followed me to the register, pleading, "But it's for a good cause." By now, I was getting perturbed by what I considered panhandling, no matter how well - dressed the beggars. This time, I made no gesture and I simply ignored her.

I found it annoying that these people were not asked to leave by restaurant management. I should have known better than to go to this particular McDonald's, as it has had a serious problem with loitering beggars and street people (many of whom reek of urine and months of not bathing) inside its building, for years. After this woman finally got the message and left me alone, she sought out other victims and began her harassment of other customers as they entered the restaurant. I find it unsettling enough when a business allows this kind of activity outside its building; but I am very indignant when it occurs inside it.

Finally, a McDonald's employee approached the well - dressed panhandlers and ordered them to cease soliciting their candy to their customers. But, to my dismay, the offending duo were not escorted out the door! Via my cellphone, I called the McDonald's toll - free, customer phone number to air my complaint. Hopefully, this will curtail scenes like this. But since this particular location has allowed unsavoury characters like this to harass their customers, I am not holding my breath and will not return as a customer.


02 January 2010

Falafil Shack Update

Recently, during a recent visit to the new Edgewater/Rogers Park eatery, "Falafil Shack," I told the owner that he needs more customers, noting that I was the only soul inside the restaurant. He lamented that building a customer base takes time, and added that once a steady stream of patrons becomes a common sight at Falafil Shack, he will raise the prices, because his business won't survive if he continues to charge such cheap prices. There are some kinks at the restaurant that need to be worked out. For instance, on this occasion, I ordered the grilled chicken legs that was listed on the menu. "No! It takes too long," the owner replied. It takes too long? Rather than leave in a huff, I ordered an alternate: the combo featuring kifta (ground lamb and beef), a chicken kebab, and rice. If customers get this kind of response too often, they will stop coming. If the dish is too time - consuming, he either needs to hire someone to cook the food while he writes down the orders; or omit the item from the menu.

I go out of my way to support mom - and - pop businesses, as opposed to spending my money at an establishment run by a corporation. I hope that Falafil Shack can work out its problems, because, I really want the restaurant to succeed. It is a brave soul who starts a business while a recession is in - progress.