Tag Archives: Chicago

Los Surfos

Los Surfos photo archive

Here are many collected photos from the first 2 years of operation at the Chef Rick Bayless restaurants, Leña Brava and Cruz Blanca. They are grouped so as to offer a deeper appreciation of the Mexican fine art from the Bayless’ collection, currently on display at 900 W. Randolph St.  Spend enough time at this archive, and you will learn all about the artists who made them, their inspiration, and much more. Enjoy!

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 Cumbia de Los Surfos film

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFhvZBmmdU0

Feature length “cumbia-mentary” on the first 2 years of Chef Rick Bayless’ restaurants at 900 W. Randolph St., Chicago

Real talk: everybody who worked at 900 over the past 2 years has contributed to making something special. While the speed of life makes it challenging to find the time for reflection, please consider my amateur filmmaking an offering of 1 hour, 43 minutes. All of the staff deserve to feel proud for opening 2 amazing restaurants that will stand the test of time. The efforts put forth have compelled me to believe more than ever before, that anything is possible.” –Arturo La Cago

Watch the movie and celebrate 2 years of the people behind-the-scenes (Los Surfos) bringing to life the restaurants at 900 W. Randolph Street. This feature length cumbia documentary (cumbia-mentary?) is coming in hot… 

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Who are Los Surfos?

Los Surfos, a word meaning “surfers” in the Spanish language, here refers to the staff who worked during the first two years of operation (2016-2018) for the Chef Rick Bayless restaurants, Leña Brava and Cruz Blanca at 900 W. Randolph St. in Chicago. As for the meta-meaning, before I worked for Chef Rick Bayless (2011-2018), I worked for Chef Chris Schlesinger (2005-2011) in Cambridge, MA, at his restaurant, the East Coast Grill & Raw Bar, which centered around wood fire grilling and seafood. The map of the world with flames encircling the dark blue equatorial zone, pictured above, was the brunch menu cover for this restaurant, where I was the brunch captain. Amongst many positive attributes shared between these 2 amazing chefs, I am struck by their like-minded focus on staff education to achieve the best guest experience. And I was only employable in the first place due to the chefs’ joint promotion of an environment within their restaurants where people are allowed to shine by being themselves.

Anyway, back to the meta-meaning of Los Surfos. From what I have learned, Baja California Norte cuisine, is mostly unique amongst Mexican cuisine for its inclusion of ingredients from Asia, from which the region has received many migrants. It has also been called, “Baja Med,” due in part to the climatological synergy with the Mediterranean: hot days, cool nights, great wine-growing conditions.  One day while I was sitting in a staff education class about Baja cuisine taught by Leña Brava chef / San Diego native Stephen Sandoval, it all clicked in my mind. The old brunch menu cover map from the East Coast Grill highlighted regions of the world linked by cuisine that featured cooking with chile peppers. This equatorial region colonized by Mexico’s amazing chile pepper, is also where to find most of the world’s beaches most natural for surfing. Baja cuisine is kind of like a post-modern global-cuisine-conquering chile pepper surfer returning to its native Mexico, rediscovering the old truism, “You can’t go home again.”

In the restaurants opening, the staff shared daily updates on a now long-defunct private Facebook Group, set up to gel the communication and culture by sharing laughter. Many of the funny staff photos in the above archive, as well as the bonus video clips from the second hour of the cumbia-mentary, are from there. We called it Los Surfos: a digital meeting place for all of us surfing the big waves of Chef Rick’s newly opened restaurants at 900 Randolph.

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Hot Sauce Time Machine

Go back in time and have a look at some of the first Rick Bayless web content: mild, medium and spicy!

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More Quake 2 CTF Maps

xhalls2 wmcchmbr talkischeap shew rpg pla2b jsoup gra2 gra1 fwar ejay1 dctfstyle1 baricade q2ctf tastyspleen acmectf railwarz ctf legacy fatal kid fatal2way quake 2 quake2 instagib hook 3rdarm donde reefer

I spent a few hours using the archived internet to find some Quake 2 CTF maps we haven’t played before (AFAIK). I tried to learn from the disaster that was my recommendation of the Thunderwalker2 small maps – I left A LOT of maps behind in the dustbin of history and am putting forward ONLY THE CHOSEN FEW LEBRON JAMES MAPS that I thought would be actually fun to play.

xhalls2 wmcchmbr talkischeap shew rpg pla2b jsoup gra2 gra1 fwar ejay1 dctfstyle1 baricade q2ctf tastyspleen acmectf railwarz ctf quake 2 quake2 instagib hook 3rdarm donde reefer

PiPeLiNe KiLl TiMe – shew.bsp

Small map, lots of fun to hook, would probably support up to 4v4.

xhalls2 wmcchmbr talkischeap shew rpg pla2b jsoup gra2 gra1 fwar ejay1 dctfstyle1 baricade q2ctf tastyspleen acmectf railwarz ctf quake 2 quake2 instagib hook 3rdarm donde reefer

RPGed, by Dragon – rpg.bsp

Small map for 1v1 or 2v2.

xhalls2 wmcchmbr talkischeap shew rpg pla2b jsoup gra2 gra1 fwar ejay1 dctfstyle1 baricade q2ctf tastyspleen acmectf railwarz ctf quake 2 quake2 instagib hook 3rdarm donde reefer

TALKisCHEAP, by Kabo – talkischeap.bsp

Small map for 1v1 or 2v2.

xhalls2 wmcchmbr talkischeap shew rpg pla2b jsoup gra2 gra1 fwar ejay1 dctfstyle1 baricade q2ctf tastyspleen acmectf railwarz ctf quake 2 quake2 instagib hook 3rdarm donde reefer

DCTF Style, by HyNcH – dctfstyle.bsp

Small map for 1v1 or 2v2.

Continue reading

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Tilted Grid

3rdarm bridgeport south side chicago tilted grid slanted william archer avenue rectilinear street system buffalo path

The Great Fire of 1871 never blazed south of the river. To walk through Bridgeport today is to glimpse part of a city as it looked a century ago. Many streets defy Chicago’s quadrants with their own private logic (all streets are designated “south” even though they might run east/west). My neighborhood is on the “tilted grid” set up in 1836 by Col. William Archer.

3rdarm bridgeport south side chicago tilted grid slanted william archer avenue rectilinear street system buffalo path

Where I stay, I am aligned with the former buffalo path which is now Archer Avenue. The tilted grid, patterned when the canal digging began, does not follow what Burnham’s 1909 Plan of Chicago calls the “rectilinear street system.” Rather, it follows the logic of the river and Indian trails.

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New City

3rdarm chicago arthur mullen south side bridgeport tilted grid archer avenue buffalo path

I went with New City for my recent move to the South Side. This was a beast of a move: my old apartment was on the 3rd floor of an old building on the West Side, and new place is a 4th floor walk-up in Bridgeport. Fortunately, New City provided the ace team of Richard, Cruz and Santos.

3rdarm chicago arthur mullen south side bridgeport tilted grid archer avenue buffalo path

Even with all the physical labor, these guys were still smiling and in good spirits. We were talking about how every apartment, no matter how good it seems at first, there is always “the catch”. Thank you guys for the hard work and great job!

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Me Voy Enamorando

raven beauty harper 3rdarm chicago sunset

Now that I am all set up above the dojo and officially a South Sider, when I reflect back on the hard week behind me, I’m just gonna remember the good stuff like taking in this last rooftop sunset… falling in love, etc.

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Via Crucis

raven roly poly cat 3rdarm cat dinner chilaquiles verdes rojos 5 rabanitos pilsen chicago 3rdarm

It was a particularly interesting and beautifully brutal week of Easter. Large crowds began to line 18th street early the morning of Good Friday, selling crosses made of palms and steaming hot cups of champurrado. Around noon a procession of Roman soldiers walked Jesus to the park, where he was crucified before the thousands assembled.

raven roly poly cat 3rdarm cat dinner chilaquiles verdes rojos 5 rabanitos pilsen chicago 3rdarm

I worked Saturday and Sunday with no busser, no food runner, no support whatsoever, doing hundreds of covers, sometimes even needing to run the dish machine, never having enough of anything: we have a lot of work to do for our service! The unexpected moments, like Roly Poly sitting for tacos with Raven, or a mariachi singer just showing up and belting out requests in the middle dining room, brought pleasure along with the pain.

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La Michoacana

La Michoacana pilsen chicago 18th blue island 3rdarm arthur mullen mangonada

The intersection of 18th, Loomis and Blue Island is the perfect place for an ice cream stand, and La Michoacana fits that role like destiny.

La Michoacana pilsen chicago 18th blue island 3rdarm arthur mullen mangonada

The place is brightly lit and clean, but we all know the real reason to go is La Michoacana’s amazing mangonadas (sweet, refreshing, spicy, limey, salty, damn) and liquados… nevermind so many flavors of delicious paletas!

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Mount Bridgeport

mount bridgeport palmisano park chicago arthur mullen 3rdarm spring 2016 raven beauty

Right down Archer Ave from the dojo is Henry C. Palmisano Park. Now covered in prairie nature, this was the former home of Chicago’s first limestone quarry.

mount bridgeport palmisano park chicago arthur mullen 3rdarm spring 2016 raven beauty

After almost a century of extraction, enough limestone had been carted off to create a nearly 400 foot hole in the ground: that’s what makes the park’s lake surrounded by steep limestone cliffs.

mount bridgeport palmisano park chicago arthur mullen 3rdarm spring 2016 raven beauty

At the turn of the millenium, designated a future park, what had become a landfill was buried under topsoil, creating a high point with spectacular views of the neighborhood that is now referred to as Mount Bridgeport.

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Superdawg Equinox

sunday equinox chicago superdawg sunset hotdog 3rdarm

On the equinox, Raven and I drove up to the drive-in and she had her first Superdawg. It was a beautiful Sunday evening, the start of spring.

sunday equinox chicago superdawg sunset hotdog 3rdarm

Afterwards we stopped at the last large newstand in the city, and browsed magazines. We worked up enough appetite to share fresh cut French fries and a milkshake at Susie’s on the way home.

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AMOR HIVERNADO

3rdarm west town chicago sunset setting sun equinox 3rdarm arthur robert mullen shadow colors dusk twilight gloaming city skyline

Mi amor habla en silencio…
Al tiempo no le corta espacio…
Surge de dentro, y no se extingue
Como las llamas del zarzal…

3rdarm west town chicago sunset setting sun equinox 3rdarm arthur robert mullen shadow colors dusk twilight gloaming city skylineY un suave olor de rosas
Con promesas hacia el cielo
Me traspasa tras de un velo
Que me lleva a un nuevo mar.

3rdarm west town chicago sunset setting sun equinox 3rdarm arthur robert mullen shadow colors dusk twilight gloaming city skyline

En el mundo que tú reinas
Hay opiniones bien opuestas
Casi un enjambre de protestas
Que se mueven con dolor

3rdarm west town chicago sunset setting sun equinox 3rdarm arthur robert mullen shadow colors dusk twilight gloaming city skyline

Visiones de un futuro
Percepciones de un ocaso
No hay triunfo ni fracaso
Cuando haces callar la voz

Sensaciones de hace años
Guardadas en los armarios
Momento que ya no son nada
Porque el tiempo los venció

3rdarm west town chicago sunset setting sun equinox 3rdarm arthur robert mullen shadow colors dusk twilight gloaming city skyline

Mi amor obra en silencio
Como en sueños congelado
Eternamente acariciado
Por la mano de algún Dios

3rdarm west town chicago sunset setting sun equinox 3rdarm arthur robert mullen shadow colors dusk twilight gloaming city skyline

La noche impregna el Alma
El viento aúlla en la ventana
De lejos oigo las campanas
Que resuenan con mi voz

3rdarm west town chicago sunset setting sun equinox 3rdarm arthur robert mullen shadow colors dusk twilight gloaming city skyline

Y espero tus llamadas!
Yo siempre supe que ahí estabas
Mi amor es pleno de esperanzas
Que al hielo fundirán.

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