March Madness 2021: Medium Rare Bracket predictions

March Madness 2021: Medium Rare Bracket predictions
Note – If you want to dive right into the picks, click here. You can also skip ahead to the Final Four or a specific region. Final Four West Region East Region Midwest Region South Region But if you don’t mind reading my yearly March Madness reflection, hey, let’s begin! When I was a senior... Read more »

Medium Rare turns 300: Writing at a grace pace

Medium Rare turns 300: Writing at a grace pace
This is the 300th Medium Rare blog post. With each milestone (100th post, 200th, 250th) I reflect on a couple questions. “Why keep writing Medium Rare?” or “Where’s the finish line?” Here’s what I said in the earlier posts. Why do it – Writing is the one thing I could spend my entire life trying to master and, even... Read more »

The Tell-Tale Heart: A Return Policy

The Tell-Tale Heart: A Return Policy
Background – I saw a headline that certain retailers are allowing customers to keep the product they purchased and still receive a full refund. This led to the idea: What if there was a customer who couldn’t accept this generous return policy. He was wrecked with guilt that he couldn’t return the product. Then what if you took... Read more »
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Zoom fatigue and the return to work

Zoom fatigue and the return to work
On Monday morning, there was a Zoom call. 8:30 am. The manager had Mike send out the link. Mike, Carol, and Meghan signed in first. Terrence and Lincoln joined shortly after. Kris had somehow spent the last seven weeks in the Zoom waiting room. “Great, looks like we’re just waiting on Catherine,” the manager said. “And Jack from Del... Read more »

Brys Estate: A glimpse at paradise

Brys Estate: A glimpse at paradise
On a sunny fall day in 1975, Walt and Eileen Brys toured a winery in Napa Valley. Some number of tastings in, a dream started to form in their imagination. The Brys wanted to create their own winery. The two returned home. Back to reality. Walt went to his job, Eileen stayed at home raising their three kids. The years went... Read more »

Ms. T's: I tried a restaurant without checking Yelp first

Ms. T's: I tried a restaurant without checking Yelp first
In the late 13th century, Marco Polo departed from Venice and journeyed all the way over to Turkey, India, China. Two hundred years later, Christopher Columbus made it over to the Americas. Neither explorer had GPS. No smart phones. They just went on an adventure. Today we honor them with a holiday and a game of... Read more »
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Stella's Diner: A place to call home

Stella's Diner: A place to call home
“Do you have a favorite memory of Gus?” “Oh God, so many come to mind,” Maria replied. Maria Mavraganes is Gus’ younger sister and the current Owner/Manager of Stella’s Diner here in Lakeview East. The story of Stella’s Diner begins all the way back in the 1950s with Gus and Maria’s parents. The two immigrated... Read more »

Chefs for Change: Thanksgiving Edition

Chefs for Change: Thanksgiving Edition
If someone were to build the perfect way to feed a community, I think it’d look a lot like a farmer’s market. Douglas Callegario would be there with freshly baked breads. All Grass Farms would have a table with eggs, milk, tons of fresh produce. You’d pickup what you needed and then meet with Leyla and Ahmet... Read more »

Empanada Mama & The Pie Man: Believing that we will beat this

Empanada Mama & The Pie Man: Believing that we will beat this
Empanada Mama & The Pie Man. A small storefront in Lakeview East run by two guys who opened their doors six months into a Global Pandemic. Where does that type of courage come from? Chasing a dream regardless of the current circumstance. On Facebook, the two describe their mission like this: We’re just two guys (Oreste... Read more »
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DryHop: Lakeview East's neighborhood brewery

DryHop: Lakeview East's neighborhood brewery
Two of Chicago’s most famous local breweries are Revolution and Half Acre. But if you lived in Lakeview East back in 2013, these weren’t easy to get to. Revolution was three and a half miles away. Half Acre about three. Plus, back then, Uber was still pretty futuristic. So getting to Revolution involved taking a... Read more »