Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

End of the Year – lists

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

So, we’re back home. And it was a great holiday break (short sleeves, really?) But as always, even though it seemed like we were always visiting, we still didn’t manage to see everyone. Hopefully, we will see all those we missed on our next trip back South. Of course, I took photos, which I will load on Flickr today or tomorrow. Until then, I thought it would be appropriate to end the year with a few End of the Year lists. So, here we go:

Top 10 Favorite Songs of 2008
10. Dent May – Meet Me In The Garden
9. TV on the Radio – Family Tree
8. Silver Jews – Strange Victory Strange Defeat
7. The Avett Brothers – Murder in the City
6. Bon Iver – Re:Stacks
5. Arthur Russell – Love Is Overtaking Me
4. Breathe Owl Breathe – Playing Dead
3. Fleet Foxes – White Winter Hymnal
2. Destroyer – Foam Hands
1. Vic Chesnutt – You Are Never Alone

Top 10 Concerts of 2008
10. (tie) Harlan T. Bobo – Schubas/Caleixco – Millennium Park
9. Dolly Parton – Chicago Theatre
8. Ornette Coleman – Chicago Jazz Festival
7. Radiohead – Lollapalooza
6. Jarvis Cocker – Pitchfork Music Festival
5. Magnetic Fields – Old Town School of Folk Music
4. Girl Talk – Lollapalooza
3. Animal Collective – Pitchfork Music Festival
2. Bill Callahan – Millennium Park
1. Andrew Bird – Millennium Park
Honorable Mention: Vanilla Ice – Cans

Top 5 Cities Visited (work related) in 2008
5. New York
4.New Orleans
3. Charleston
2. Boston
1. Reno/Lake Tahoe

Top 5 Places Visited (non work related) in 2008
5. Mount Horeb
4. Memphis
3. Nashville
2. Greers Ferry
1. McGregor/Prairie du Chien

Top 5 Celebrities met in 2008
5. Bill Rancic
4. Mark Wahlberg
3. Garrison Keillor
2. Cookie Monster
1. Svengoolie

Top 10 Tourist Stops of 2008 (in no particular order)

  • Mustard Museum in Mount Horeb
  • Sears Tower Skydeck
  • Architecture Boat Tour, Chicago
  • Hopper/Homer Exhibit at the Art Institute
  • Fenelon Place Elevator Cable Car in Dubuque, IA
  • College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, IN
  • Cafe du Monde in New Orleans
  • Mississippi River Museum in Dubuque, IA
  • Cheers Bar in Boston
  • Weird Chicago Tour

Top 5 Most Memorable Moments in 2008 (other than Obama)
5. Sox win the AL Central.
4. Apryl graduates from IIT.
3. Eva gets cancer. And is okay.
2. The Tigers play in the NCAA Finals.
1. McKenzie Hayden Madden is born.

Top 5 Favorite Personal Photos of 2008 (in no order)

Sox seats


Lake Tahoe

Apryl Graduate

house show

Perhaps more lists to come later. Perhaps not. Either way, here is a selection of other photos from the past year. Goodbye 2008!

Hayden, Apryl, and Pie

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

Apple Photo

Our official photo (taken as we turned our pie over for judging) at last month’s Bucktown Apple Pie Contest.

Pumpkin Carving Party 08

Sunday, October 19th, 2008


Check out photos from our Pumpkin Carving Contest from this past Saturday.

I’ve Been Working

Sunday, August 31st, 2008


I had a good shoot in Reno last week. The best part, though, was when we went out to Lake Tahoe for an amazing dinner at the Gar Woods Grill and Pier Restaurant. Absolutely, the best shrimp and lobster bisque I have ever had! And what a view!

Lake Tahoe

More Reno/Lake Tahoe photos here.

When I got back home, I had a shoot the next day with Stephen Baldwin. Yes, that Baldwin.

City of New Orleans

Monday, July 7th, 2008

New Orleans Bridge

Crescent City Connection Bridge

Jackson Square

Jackson Square

Market Cafe Group

Jazz group performing at The Market Cafe.

Cafe du Monde Night

Cafe du Monde at night.

Cafe du Monde 2

Outside service at Cafe du Monde.

Cafe du Monde Beignets

An order of three beignets and iced cafe’ au lait. Worth the trip alone!

Santa's Quarters

You will see many strange things in New Orleans. This is one of them.

Boston and Charleston and New York, Oh My!

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

In the last three days, I have been on seven flights that took me to video shoots in Boston, Charleston and New York. This was my first time in Boston and New York, though there wasn’t much time to go sight seeing. Most of the trip was spent at the airport or in the air, though there were some highlights.

After our shoot in Boston, I walked around downtown for a few hours, taking in a city that I have been wanting to visit for years. Below are a few photos I took:

Boston Hotel Room

Boston from my hotel room.

Boston Public Library

The first public library in the United States.

Boston Church

Church across from the Boston Public Library.

Boston Public Toliet

I know I probably looked silly taking this picture, but I was fascinated by a public restroom that takes credit cards.

Public Garden

As soon as I got to Public Garden Park, I knew I was close to the Cheers bar. The park, which overlooks the business district, was shown a lot during the series to transition from scene to scene. I took a few photos, but none of them do justice to the park’s beauty.

Boston Public Park Photo

Another section of Boston’s Public Garden Park.


The Bull & Finch Pub, better know worldwide as the Cheers bar, is located just outside of the Public Garden. Sure it might be a tourist trap, but being a huge fan of the television show, I have been wanting to see it for myself for some time. Of course, the exterior was the only part of the bar used for the show, though it did claim to be the original inspiration for Cheers. I bought a T-shirt for myself and a postcard for Apryl.

That night, Mike (the camerman) and I ate at a sports bar near our hotel. While eating New England clam chowder, we watched as both the Boston Red Sox and the Boston Celtics lost their games.

After our work was done in Charleston, we attended a baseball game of the River Dogs, a minor league affiliate of the New York Yankees. That night, they were taking on the Greenville Drive, affiliates of the Boston Red Sox. Our front row box sets cost a whopping ten bucks! The Drive won 3-2 in 11 innings. The best part? The ball park was two blocks from our hotel!

Charleston River Dogs

I never even had the time to take out my camera for the New York part of the trip. We got into New York around noon and headed straight to the location for the shoot. When we were done around six o’clock, we headed straight to LaGuardia for our flight. The best part of the trip in NY, other than the fact that I can now say I’ve actually been to the city, was that our shoot was in the Chrysler Building. I’m looking forward to the day when I get to go back and visit for real.

Next week, we head out to Tulsa.

Hey! Look at me!

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

My love for Chicago style hot dogs has got me mentioned in the Weekly Yelp in a feature they’re calling “Yelp Diggety Dog!” (I’m Hayden J.) Funny.

Vienna Factory


Winners and Losers…

Monday, February 25th, 2008

On Saturday night, Apryl and I, along with our friends Brooke and Jeff, joined the University of Memphis Alumni Chicago Group to watch the Tigers/Vols game at Junior’s Sports Lounge. Of course, the less said about this disappointing night the better. However, I’ve got to mention that while the Tigers lost, I won! Below, check out the U of M blanket I won in the raffle:

Hayden and U of M blanket

For the Oscars, Apryl and I threw a theme party with our friends Trey, Rachel, Alison, Michael, and Colleen. We had stove top popcorn, movie candy, nachos, homemade pizza, and hot dog desserts (ala Marge Simpson’s creation).

And, of course, we all competed with our official Oscars ballots. In second place, Trey won with 11 correct picks, which earned him a Gift Subscription for 1 movie at a time for a month from Netflix. The first place winner was Alison with 13 correct picks, which got her the Gift Subscription for 2 movies at a time for a month from Netflix. I had an embarrassing night with only 6 correct categories. (It should be noted that Apryl tied with Trey but took herself out of the running.)

Photos below from the evening:

Popcorn and Candy

Eva on the Red Carpet

Oscar Watch Party

Eva makes Dessert Dogs

Dessert Dogs

My Dad’s Visit

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

This past weekend my dad made his second trip to visit us in the Windy City. Last time it was around Halloween, before it got as cold as it is now. You see, my dad actually enjoys the cold weather. And while we did get some cool temperatures, nothing like the single digit lows this week. Anyway, I digress.

My dad rolled up in his pickup around 3 o’clock in the afternoon. After settling in, I drove my dad around a few of the neighborhoods near us, including Logan Square, Wicker Park, Ukrainian Village, Lakeview, Wrigleyville, and Lincoln Park. He seemed to be amazed at how they all seem to flow into each other yet are all unique to themselves.

That first night we stayed in our neighborhood and walked over to Nick’s Pit Stop for some tasty charbroiled chicken dishes. Evidence below:

Dad outside Nick'sDad inside Nick's

After we stuffed our bellies, Apryl and I continued to overload with some desserts from Margie’s Candies. Yummy!

On Sunday, my dad and I had tickets for the Chicago Blackhawks hockey game. But before, we took the train over to the sub shop Bari Foods on the Near West Side. My dad had heard about the wonderful subs here and wanted to try them out. We were both surprised to find that the sub shop was in the back of a small grocery store. A small sub is a 9 inch, and they wrap it in white paper. Both of us got the Italian Sub, and I believe we were both satisfied.

Bari Foods

After giving up on the bus, we decided to walk over to the United Center. It wasn’t that bad of a walk and probably helped us walk off our lunch a bit. Below, the stadium:

United Center

Wikipedia, we attended the United Center’s largest crowd for a hockey game (21, 715). Amazing!

Blackhawks face off

Other observations of note: 1) Even with a lousy team, fans of the Blackhawks are very passionate about their home team 2) Fights are more celebrated than goals 3) Hockey is far more exciting in person than on the tube

Wilco bass player at Blackhawks game

Above, John Stirratt (bass player of Wilco) attempts a goal during the 2nd Period break. He missed.

Below, my dad poses outside with a Blackhawks statue:

Dad with Blackhaks statue

We took the bus back to Wicker Park where we stopped in at Myopic Books, which is one of Chicago’s oldest bookstores. My dad picked up a copy of the Chicago Tribune to take back to my nephew Jackson who was writing a school report about Chicago weather. Good luck, Jackson!

Later that day, I drove my dad around to a few more neighborhoods such as Lincoln Square and Chicago’s Indian district, West Rogers Park. During the sight tour, we shopped for some DVD’s which we watched later that night. For dinner we walked a few blocks from our apartment at John’s Pizza and Lounge (home of the “football pizza”) where we all enjoyed some pasta dishes in this 51 year old restaurant.

On our last night, we hung out at the apartment watching a couple of episodes from my DVD purchase of The Very Best of One Step Beyond and my dad’s pick, Los Gavilanes (The Sparrowhawks), an old Mexican western completely in Spanish. Yes, we went to bed very confused.

My dad left Monday morning around 6 o’clock. I got up to tell him goodbye and then went back to rest up for a shoot later that day with the Oprah show (this time it wasn’t with Oprah herself but with Valerie Bertinelli for an upcoming episode). As with the last time, the weekend went too fast. It was so fantastic getting to see my dad in Chicago. It certainly means a lot to me that he was able to visit. I only wish we had had more time together.

Dad and Eva

Eva checking out Sampaw.

A Super weekend

Monday, February 4th, 2008

It was a good weekend.

On Friday, our friend Trey invited me and Apryl to a house party that was going on in our neighborhood. The party was being hosted by Trey’s friend Jim, a very talented photographer. At the party, there was a musical performance from the legendary Sally Timms (The Mekons) along with Janet Bean (Eleventh Dream Day, Freakwater, etc.), and Jim Elkington (The Zincs). To call the performance intimate would be an understatement. Below, the group playing in Jim’s amazing apartment (above his studio):

Sally Timms and Co.

Since there was no cover, it was up to Pepsi Co. and their new drink Tava to help provide the funds for the band and the pizza. Because of the Tava sponsorship, you weren’t allowed to drink anything other than Tava until a certain time. And while you sipped away on the Tava, a photographer roamed around snapping photos of you, and a video crew took random folks downstairs to the studio to interview them about their Tava experience. I kid you not! So if you see me and Apryl on a billboard chugging down Mediterranean Fiesta, you know how it happened. And that our payment was pizza.


Saturday, the owners of the company I work for a lot were screening a film they just produced called Senator Obama Goes To Africa at the Music Box (where we watched White Christmas). I believe that anyone who watches this film, no matter what your political outlook is, will get to see Obama as more than a politician, also as a keen listener, and an individual who is honestly sensitive to others’ hardships. Beyond the subject matter, this low-budget film is quite a technical achievement and makes me proud that I get to work with this company.

That night, Apryl and I got Mexican DELIVERED. How great is that? Most importantly, it was good.

On Sunday, Apryl and I ventured out to our friends Brooke and Jeff’s apartment in Edgewater to watch the Super Bowl. And what a venture it was. We were waiting for our bus for close to forty minutes until we finally got a cab (our first time in Chicago). Well, our cab driver was from the suburbs and didn’t know how to get to Edgewater without me telling him. On top of that, he only had three dollars in change. What?!? So instead of having him take us all the way, we had him drop us off at the Fullerton train station, where we took the Red Line to Edgewater. We got there about five minutes before half time. Oh well, the real action took place in the second half, right? What a game! I would have to go way back to remember a better Super Bowl. Congratulations, Giants!

Apryl in Edgewater

During the game, it starting snowing really hard outside. Above, Apryl humors me for a second as I take her picture walking back to the train station. Notice the Tupperware in her hands, which contains leftover homemade brownies and butter cookies. Yummy!

Thorndale Stop

The Thorndale train stop in the snow. Luckily, we didn’t have to wait long. Instead of dealing with another late bus, we decided to take the Red Line all the way to The Loop (downtown) and transfer over to the Blue Line. A little out of the way, but we didn’t have to wait outside in the snow.