Monday, February 28, 2011

Free Pancake Day!

With all of the trendy new brunch items dominating the menu, the old-fashioned pancake is being forgotten. Stand up for our childhood breakfest friend during National Pancake Day!

Tomorrow, from 7:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m., you can gorge yourself on a free short stack of pancakes at IHOP locations around the country. What's the catch? All you have to do is consider making a donation to your local children's hospital through Children's Miracle Network.

Don't think you can wake up early enough to make it in before work? IHOP will give you a "celebrity" wake-up call. (And by "celebrity" they mean NFL player Steve Young, 2011 Miss America Teresa Scanlan, entertainer and Children's Miracle Network co-founder Marie Osmond, Dukes of Hazzard and Smallville star John Schneider, American Idol star David Archuleta or his band One Call.)

Fun Fact: Believe it or not, this isn't a completely made-up holiday. It's based on a centuries-old English tradition of using the last of the dairy supply to make pancakes before Lent, as it would all go bad during the 40 days of Lent. Dairy was prohibited during this time year. Thus, the day was known as Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day.


Friday, February 25, 2011

A Nice Day for a White Castle Wedding

With my own wedding just over a week away, I'm pretty much on wedding overload and can't even wrap my mind around anyone else's big day. That is, until I read about the couple that got married in a Bronx White Castle.

In what appears to be some sort of radio station-sanctioned tragedy, a youg couple agreed to get married at White Castle while the station's DJs followed them around with cameras. After a ceremony, performed in front of the sales window, guests danced around the plastic booths while enjoying the White Castle feast.

Now, I love White Castle more than anyone you'll probably ever meet. But this is too much. Click here for the full gallery of photos.

 White Castle Wedding Recap: Danielle & Hector

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Live Production of "Best in Show"

This weekend the International Kennel Club of Chicago will celebrate its 150th dog show at McCormick Place, and I absolutely recommend that you go. Now, before you poo poo the idea of going to a dog show, let me tell you that it's awesome. Because it's exactly like "Best in Show." In addition to the adorable doggies everywhere - YAY!!!! - it's the best people watching, second only to the Auto Show. (And even the people watching can't draw me to the Auto Show anymore.)

There are the crazy dog people that yell at you not to touch their fluff balls. (Yes, I have been yelled at. I can't help it. They're so fluffy!) Then there are the people who look like their dogs, profusely brushing and talking to them. And, of course, there's everyone else. We're talking fanny packs and more dog-themed sweaters than you could ever imagine.

I do have to confess that I originally went because I was hoping it was like a doggie petting zoo. The nicer people will let you pet their dogs, but it's sort of a tactile disappointment. But I keep going back because it's a fantastic spectacle.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

You Can Rahm, But You Can't Hide....

Whether you voted for him or not, having Rahm Emanuel as mayor-elect of Chicago has been pretty exciting, and a bit overwhelming. Lots of press, lots of speculation and more jokes/puns than we know what to do with. Here's a few of my favorites that have popped up since last night's victory:

@MayorEmanuel, the fake Rahm Emanuel account, is absolute hilarious and even has the Chicago Tribune talking.

Ten Ways Rahm Emanuel Can Make Chicago a Jewish City

The Fifty/50 is offering $3 Rahm & Cokes

And I'm not usually a fan of The Heckler, but this is pretty funny: "Cubs Replace Kraft Noodle with "Rahmen' Noodle to Honor New Mayor"

Monday, February 21, 2011

Porn & Chicken Monday

Mondays suck. Perk yourself up with porn and free wings at Evil Olive.

Enjoy a hardcore DJ dance party while snacking on free wings and watching porn on one of the bar's many TVs. According to the Porn & Chicken website (Facebook page): Porn & Chicken remains a safe haven for all things lewd & crude, lascivious & licentious. The craziest Monday night banger brings all the best kind of freaks out of the woodwork every week in Wicker Park.

Drink specials include $3 Old Style and $7 Old Style with a shot of whiskey.

And the next time you're completely hammered at 2:00 a.m. and you just don't want to go home, head over to Evil Olive. This always classy establishment is open from 10:00 p.m. until 4:00 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. on Saturdays.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Modern Glass Slipper

I have a new obsession. I'm loving all of the stupid kitschy Prince William and Kate Middleton wedding memorabilia. I mean, the royal condoms are hilarious, but that's a gag gift. This is for real!

My first float in the parade of royal wedding crap is this delightful pair of Keds.
Have you been wishing that you were in Miss Middleton's shoes? These slip-on sneakers are the next best thing! Truly fit for any princess, they're both comfortable and lovely. Wearing these are an absolute must as you watch the royal wedding on TV, sitting on your cat hair-covered couch in your snuggy, drinking Yoo-hoo. And if you're looking for a more subtle nuptial display, be sure to check out this pair.

Stay tuned for many more monarchy-inspired memorabilia...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Chicago Quirk's Favorite Things: The House of Crave

Fact: White Castle is the most delicious thing on the planet.

(I may have already lost you. In which case you are lame, but I ask that you keep reading.)

White Castle is definitely a Chicagoan's fast food, and for me there's nothing better than that first bite of a slider. It causes me great sadness that as a teenager I could eat 10, but now my maximum is four. Fortunately, (smooth segway into topic) I can enjoy the scent of a White Castle slider without worrying about destroying my innards. The White Castle Scented Candle!

The White Castle e-store, called House of Crave, sells these gems and various apparel and other tchotchkes. I feel that I do have to be honest and say that I haven't actually smelled this candle, and it may be a complete olfactory assault. In which case, you can choose not to light it and simply have a delighful talking piece.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Chicago question stumps 'Jeopardy' computer

I don't really understand this whole Jeopardy super computer situation. Two dudes who kicked Jeopardy's ass are now going up against an IBM machine called Watson? Is it just a question of whether or not the programmers uploaded enough data to this "contestant?" Are we talking AI? Seriously, I don't get it, and it makes my brain hurt.

I was, however, quite pleased to find that the biggest upset of the game was when Watson got a Chicago question wrong. See the story below.\

The computer brained its human competition in Game 1 of the Man vs. Machine competition on "Jeopardy!" but bombed on the final answer where the correct question was: What is Chicago?

That Final Jeopardy answer: "Its largest airport is named for a World War II hero; its second largest, for a World War II battle."

Both champs Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter knew the right response was Chicago.

Watson, their IBM supercomputer nemesis, guessed doubtfully, "What is Toronto?????" It didn't matter. He had shrewdly wagered only $947.

On the 30-question game board, Jennings and Rutter managed only five correct responses between them during the Double Jeopardy round that aired Tuesday. They ended the first game of the two-game face-off with paltry earnings of $4,800 and $10,400 respectively.

Watson emerged from the Final Jeopardy round with $35,734. The winner after today's round will win $1 million.

Tuesday's competition began with Jennings (who has the longest "Jeopardy!" winning streak at 74 games) making the first choice. But Watson jumped in with the correct response: What is leprosy?

He followed that with bang-on responses Franz Liszt, dengue fever, violin, Rachmaninoff and albinism, then landed on a Daily Double in the "Cambridge" category.

"I'll wager $6,435," Watson (named for IBM founder Thomas J. Watson) said in his pleasant electronic voice.

"I won't ask," said host Alex Trebek, wondering with everybody else where that figure came from.

But Watson knew what he was doing. Sir Christopher Wren was the correct response, and Watson's total vaulted to $21,035 as the humans stood by helplessly.

Watson blew his next response. But so did both his opponents. He guessed Picasso. Jennings guessed Cubism. Rutter guessed Impressionism. (Correct question: What is modern art?)

Back to Watson, who soon hit the game's second Daily Double. But even when he was only 32 percent sure (you could see his precise level of certainty displayed on the screen), Watson correctly guessed Baghdad as the city from whose national museum the ancient Lion of Nimrud ivory relief went missing (along with "a lot of other stuff") in 2003. Watson added $1,246 to his stash.

He even correctly identified the Church Lady character from "Saturday Night Live."

One answer stumped everyone: "A Titian portrait of this Spanish king was stolen at gunpoint from an Argentine museum in 1987." (Correct response: Philip.) Jennings shook his head. Rutter wrenched his face. Watson, as usual, seemed unfazed.

Even when he bungled Final Jeopardy, Watson (with his 10 offstage racks of computer servers) remained poised.

The bouts were taped at the IBM research center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., last month.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Just When I Thought I was Famous....

I was googling Chicago Quirk yesterday, for funsies, and I came across my Mayoral Massages post on a creepy site called Chicago Asian Massage. I was excited at first that someone liked my blog post enough to steal it while still linking back to my page. Until I saw the other blog posts they had on their site.

Let me treat you to a few of the post titles:
It is gay to massage a man with a happy ending for a job?
Big Girl Makeup Bar & Spa Deal of the Day
Cohen met ex-girlfriend at spa known for prostitution

I'm so proud.

Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner; Free Screening Tonight!

Got a last minute, post-Valetine's Day date night for you: a free screening of "Dirty Dancing" at Landmark Century Cinema. Moviefone is working it hard with a free cocktail and snack hour at 7:00 p.m., showtime at 8:00 p.m. RSVP here, and be sure to get there early.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Quirky Valentine's Day: Last Minute Gifts

I've always wanted to be one of those crafy people who can create an HDTV-worthy room with dollar store merchandise. Unfortunately, I wasn't gifted with DIY abilities, but I think even I could undertake this fun project.

Today's Daily Candy Chicago had the coolest personalized Valentine, courtesy of Chicago designer and Suitor owner Jessica Murnane.

You’ll Need:
Favorite photo printed on printer paper
Glue stick or double-sided tape
Ruler or a tape measure (or just wing it)

Step 1: Find a matchbook, ideally one that is blank on the inside flap (you will be writing your note here).

Step 2: Open the matchbook so it lays flat. Eyeball or measure its width and height, making sure to leave the striker pad uncovered.

Step 3: Choose your favorite photo (vertical works best) from a trip, night out, or special occasion. Reduce it to the size of the matchbook and print it on thin printer paper.

Step 4: Cut out the photo and swipe the blank side with a glue stick or cover it with double-sided tape.

Step 5: Place the photo over your matchbook and smooth down. Cut any excess paper from the edges.

Step 6: Fold matchbook flap over, making sure the photo is pressed securely on the creases at the top.

Step 7: Write a cheeky message on the inside flap. (Some ideas: C’mon, baby, light my fire; burning up with your love; you’re my perfect match; my eternal flame.)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Lie Back and Think of England

The royal cash cow that is the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton has reached a new height: souvenir condoms. This requires no commentary. Simple read the product description below, and be prepared to be amazed.

To celebrate the engagement of Prince William of Wales to Ms. Catherine Elizabeth Middleton, Crown Jewels Condoms of Distinction has commissioned a unique heritage edition Royal Wedding Souvenir boîte de capotes.

Combining the strength of a Prince with the yielding sensitivity of a Princess-to-be, Crown Jewels condoms promise a royal union of pleasure. Truly a King amongst Condoms.
  • Presented in a timeless souvenir heirloom collector's box.
  • Contains three individually wrapped condoms.
  • Includes a collectable portrait of the Royal Couple as they might appear on their wedding day – exclusively created for Crown Jewels.
To purchase our fine condoms, click here.

To stock Crown Jewels in your own emporium, inquire here.

Crown Jewels Royal Wedding Souvenir Condoms are not supplied to, or approved by, Prince William of Wales, Catherine Middleton or any member of the Royal Family.

Crown Jewels Royal Wedding Souvenir Condoms are a novelty condom not suitable for contraception or protection against STDs.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Early Warning: Bacon Fest 2011!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, bacon. I love you. And I couldn't be more excited for the bacon explosion that is Bacon Fest. On April 9, the UIC Pavilion will be packed with over 50 of the city's greatest chefs serving up their own bacon concoctions. We're not talking a bunch of divey breakfast places; they're bringing you places like The Girl & the Goat, MOTO Restaurant, Perennial and David Burke's Primehouse. For a mere $65 you can stuff yourself with innumerable bacon delights. Tickets go on sale sometime at the end of February, although the actual date hasn't been announced yet. Check out the website and sign up for newsletter to be notified.

To celebrate the upcoming Bacon Fest, here are a few of my favorite bacon products:

Bacon-Flavored Envelopes

Licking envelopes will never be gross and boring again! Just grab a few of these envelopes with bacon-flavored adhesive, and enjoy with a side of eggs.

(Disclaimer: This isn't the actual site that sells the envelopes, but since the company is called Eat Me Daily, it keeps getting blocked on my work computer as pornography.)

Bacon Bandages

 Your wounds never looked so good.

Maple and Bacon Lollipops

I literally just ordered this.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Countdown to a Quirky Valentine's Day: Pay What You Can Thai Food

Diva Thai and Sushi Bar is doing cash-strapped Valentine's Day revelers a solid by offering a pay-what-you-can special on Monday night from 4:00 - 10:00 p.m. This includes anything on the menu! When you get your bill, just pay whatever amount you can. (Cash only.) You also have the option to pay more than the menu price for your meal, and the difference will be donated to charity.

Mmmmmm, Pad Thai....

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Countdown to a Quirky Valentine's Day: All Need Love Festival

You may not like the Hallmark-ified version of Valentine's Day that we celebrate today, but I think everyone can agree that we could use a few more days out of the year dedicated to celebrating love.

The Field Museum has created an evening of love, art and culture called the All Need Love Festival. This one-night event features five stages worth of performers and speakers, including musicians from around the world, percussionists, DJs, distinguished mentalists and even the Second City cast. Event attendees can wander through the various rooms and activities and even take in the museum exhibits.

If you're a single guy or gal, be sure to make it over to the Zodiac Room for a mix and mingle event where you can actually use the pick-up line "so what's your sign?". With the help of a few lively MCs, hopefully you'll find your steller match. (You have to pre-register for this event, and cost is included in the admission fee.)

This event is a bit pricy, but I definitely think it's worth it for all that you get:
General Admission: $115 - Entrance to 12 museum exhibits, unlimited martinis from the 7 martini bars located throughout the event, admission to all five performance stages and a raffle ticket.
VIP Admission: $175 - Entrance to 15 museum exhibits, unlimited martinis, access to the VIP open bar area, priority seating for all performances, dedicated coat check, access to two hors d’oeuvres/dessert stations, raffle ticket and a $55 gift voucher from Lester Lampert.
Gold VIP Admission: Unless you already bought tickets, this option is no longer available. (Which sucks because it included a really yummy looking candlelit dinner.)

Tickets will NOT be sold at the door, so be sure to purchase your tickets ASAP!

I love fancy museum events!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Iron Cupcake

The cupcake trend isn't going away anytime soon, but there always seems to be a new and wacky flavor combination. Well, here's another one: soft drinks.

Chicago bakery Beautiful Cakes is hosting another one of its Iron Cupcake Chicago events, challenging bakers to use carbonated beverages in their recipes. Cupcakes can be made from scratch or from a doctored up boxed mix. Entries will be judged on both flavor and presentation. (No word on what the grand prize is, though.) The event will take place on February 21 at 6:30 p.m. at Mrs. Murphy & Son’s Irish Bistro. If you would like to participate, e-mail by February 18.

And if you're more motivated to eat than bake (like me), you can sample these creations and vote on your favorite. Admission is $5.

Adorable cupcake magnet brought to you by Funky Recycling

Friday, February 4, 2011

For those with no interest in Super Bowl Sunday....

I could NOT care less about Super Bowl Sunday, and my plan was to hunker down and wait for daylight. However, the Windy City always provides activities for those in need. Check out a few of these alternatives to beer nuts and belching.

Gejas Cafe is offering a romantic spin to the evening. On Sunday and Monday, diners who purchase a Premiere Dinner will receive a second Premiere Dinner for free. Gejas calls itself one of the most romantic restaurants in the city, and normally a claim like that would annoy the crap out of me, but I have to agree. The food is amazing and the atmosphere just exhudes romance. My fiance and I actually had dinner here the night we got engaged.

Celebrate 4709, the Year of the Rabbit, in Chinatown with a colorful parade of marching bands, lion teams, floats and the Mystical Dragon. The parade steps off at 1:00 p.m. and heads down Wentworth from 24th St. to Cermak. Be sure to stick around for dinner at New Chinatown Chop Suey.

This is not yo mama's craft fair. Check out the February Craft Fairy at The Nineteen Hundred & One Gallery/Theater for over 15 local dark crafters and artists. Browse through homemade jewelry, knitting, accessories, clothing, candles, incense and baked goods.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Celebrate World Nutella Day!

I think we can all agree that Nutella is heaven in a jar. I purposely don't buy it for fear of developing a very real addiction...and thunder thighs.

But I'll make an exception for World Nutella Day on Saturday, February 5. Head over to Chicago's very own celebration at Multilingual Chicago from 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. for an array of Nutella pastries, crepes and even hot cocoa. Admission is free but the pastries are not, so be sure to hit the ATM hard before you go. If you want to attend, just RSVP to so they have an idea of how much food they need.

And while you're there, learn some Italian at the free classes for adults and kids. Why Italian? Because Nutella was created in Italy. I don't know why, but I thought it came from Austrailian. Don't judge me.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snowpocalypse 2011

As I'm sure you've heard (or experienced), Chicago has had a few snow flurries within the last few days. It took me four hours to drive home last night. Fortunately, my office declared a snow day today, so the fiancée and I had to frolic in the snow. And by frolic, I mean log roll down the embankment from Lake Shore Drive.

Click on the image for the full action shot.