Wednesday, October 31, 2007

We all go through it...

Blockage. No content. Nothing to write about. But we still have to keep the baby fed.

More to come.


Friday, October 26, 2007

Sirloin on Madison

Third Rail Tavern
1133 W. Madison St.
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 432-9107

Friendly and comfortable, the Third Rail Tavern has seemingly everything you would want in a neighborhood bar. Located about 6 blocks East of the United Center, it’s the perfect stop for a bite pre-Bulls/Blackhawks game.

Stick to the Sliders as an appetizer or go for the Tavern Burger, both are made from fresh ground sirloin. The sandwiches (notably the Turkey Club) are so-so at best and look like they were made at White Hen. Check the sign outside the front door for daily specials.

The bar is spacious and well ventilated. Metered parking available in the surrounding area, although parking in the West Loop is always scarce.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Chicago's New Original & Best?

Piece Pizzeria & Brewery
1927 W. North Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 772-4422

About a block East of the Bucktown/Wicker Park epicenter is a pizza joint in every sense of the word. Aside from the customary Chicago diet staples of pizza & beer, Piece offers live music every Friday with Karaoke & Live Band Karaoke on Thursdays & Saturdays respectively.

But with three distinct styles of pizza, Piece has figuratively taken pizza outside the box. A “Red” pizza is served with the traditional tomato sauce & mozzarella. A “Plain” pizza is w/out cheese and a “White” pizza is w/out tomato sauce; plenty of toppings to choose from as well as gourmet toppings like clams and banana peppers. House Brewer Jonathan Cutler brings his 9-years of brewing experience and TLC to each of Piece’s award-winning draft beers. If you like the brew that much, take home a 64 oz. Growler of your favorite.

Whether you eat your ‘zza in the spacious bar (Plenty of Hi-Def TVs) or carry out, make Piece your new pizza destination in Chicago.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Canadian Wind, oh so cold...

It all looked good on High of 63 & Sunny.

In an attempt to maximize every last minute of playable golf weather, I patiently sat through morning traffic on the Ike today in order to make it out for a 9am tee time at Cantigny (Wheaton, IL).

Now let me backtrack a bit. I mentioned that it all looked good on What I neglected to see or perhaps discredited altogether was the 15-20 mph wind out of the Northeast. For those that are not meteorologically inclined, a wind from the Northeast is one cold MOFO.

Coming down from our friendly Canadian jetstream, a Northeast wind tends to make play hard on the body and the course. The extremities tend to go numb, the golf club can vibrate on poorly hit shots and can sting the hands. And even though the wind is out of the Northeast, it still blows the ball in all sorts of directions.

Back to Cantigny, I stood like a shivering moron on the first tee and squeezed off a good shot, straight through the fairway and into some high grass. I was in my car and back on the Ike faster than a cop at a Krispy Kreme. I sat through traffic and finally made it back to my apartment. I came in from the cold and JP had made a pot of coffee.

I poured a cup. It never tasted so good.

And then it struck me. Golf season is all but over in this town.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sammiches Galore!

Jerry’s Sandwiches
1938 W. Division Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 235-1006

You may have to take your time in deciding exactly what to eat at Jerry’s. There are 100 sandwich combinations on the menu, each named after a friend of the owner’s or an employee of the establishment. If you don’t trust the name or the sandwich, you can opt for the ‘Milton F’, which entails your specific combination of meats, cheeses, bread and garnishes (over 70 ingredients to choose from).

Wash your sandwich down with your choice of the best microbrews that North America has to offer. On draft or by the bottle, be sure to read through the lengthy descriptions that Jerry’s offers on their drink menu so that your beer choice complements your sandwich. Various Martinis and other cocktails available.

Jerry’s also has a location in the West Loop (1045 W. Madison) near the United Center, making it perfect for a Bulls/Blackhawks pre-game bite. An upscale atmosphere with a gourmet twist on an American lunchtime fave makes Jerry’s a destination for all ages.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Another Busy Saturday...

Means that I'll have more in the very near future. I'm looking to see how the golf is in warmer areas and last minute flights out of MDW and ORD. Do spontaneity and golf mix? In my world they do.

More to come.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Diamond Dave is back!!!

Van Halen
Allstate Arena
Rosemont, IL
October, 16, 2007

I’m not going to write and tell the reader that the Van Halen concert was the music event of the year, but then again maybe you wouldn’t get it. Not unless you understand why David Lee Roth is someone who can still make you smile at the very sight of his.

Everyone at the Allstate Arena was treated to a two-hour, 20 odd-song mixed set of Van Halen’s radio friendliness and obscure rock anthems. Alex Van Halen came to the office and never lost a beat, sweating through a mid-set drum solo that brought the house down. Sixteen year-old Wolfgang Van Halen (son of Eddie) more than held his own, even with Roth seemingly patronizing the kid onstage. Eddie Van Halen was timeless, shirtless with cropped hair, blazing his way through the set with driving force and his signature hammer-on solos.

But back to Dave. Seeing DLR ham it up on stage was great, even though the voice has lost an octave or two and the leg kicks reek of lower back pains. Dave got most of the lyrics right throughout the evening, but when the words to ‘Dance The Night Away’ eluded him, even he had to smile at the folly of it all.

For this reunion was seemingly never supposed to happen.

Yet there they were, Dave and Eddie hugging and displaying amity for the crowd. The fans rocking out to their favorite VH tune. The drums were loud. The guitars were louder. The lights were bright. The air reeked of kind bud. The only thing that seemed out of place was the exorbitant ticket price.

But just to see Dave, it was worth every penny.

Set List (Unofficial)

You Really Got Me
Show Your Love
Running With The Devil
Somebody Get Me A Doctor
Beautiful Girls
Dance The Night Away
Everybody Wants Some
So This Is Love
Mean Streets
Pretty Woman
Drum Solo (Alex)
I’ll Wait
And The Cradle Will Rock
Hot For Teacher
Little Dreamer
Jamie’s Crying
Ice Cream Man

Ain’t Talking About Love

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Birthplace of Golf Is In... West Chicago?

St. Andrews Golf & Country Club ($$)
3N441 Il Route 59
West Chicago, IL 60185
(630) 231-3100

Part of the Jemsek-Hinckley Golf Facility family, St. Andrews Golf and Country Club’s 36 holes will test even the most seasoned golfer with its rolling, wooded fairways. Both courses play relatively straight up but its swales and hilly, narrow approaches can muck even the straightest of shots. Each 18-hole course, St. Andrews and Lakewood, are both well maintained for their age (designed in 1926 and 1929, respectively), each retaining the wooded native beauty of the area.

The practice area boasts a full pro-shop and a sizable driving range with ample space on the grass tees for that full pre-round stretch, Plush chipping and putting areas just a cart ride away. Friendly service, a full bar & restaurant awaits you in the clubhouse for that post-round meal. St. Andrews also caters/specializes in golf outings, to which I can personally attest as being first rate.

Monday, October 15, 2007

What Is In Between 18 #2

Remember, this ever-evolving thing called 'In Between 18'?

Sometimes, epiphanies happen in the strangest of places, like the shower. You know the shower. We sing like nobody’s around when we’re in there and ideas come to us in moments of “Alas” and “Eureka”. Right around the part where I got shampoo in my eye during a stirring acapella rendition of Saint Dominics Preview, another idea came to me.

In Between 18 is:

A place where you can find my writings and reviews of golf courses, eateries, cultural points of interest and the like.

A place where you can find me.

A place where you can you can agree and/or disagree with me and my opinions, statements and other remarks.

A place where you can tell me where to go, even if I’ve been there before.

Uncle Julio's is Cerca De Everything

Uncle Julio’s Hacienda
855 W. North Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 604-8769

Border-style Mexican food is pretty easy to find around the city, but Uncle Julio’s Hacienda certainly makes a case for convenience. Its location to various big name retailers (Crate & Barrel, Banana Republic, Best Buy, et al) and Chicago’s famous Steppenwolf Theater makes this casual eatery a good place to eat and run.

The tortillas are made fresh daily and the chips are so light they nearly melt in your mouth. Various combination plates of tacos, enchiladas and tamales are available, as well as a wide selection of entrees like the Costillas (mesquite smoked pork ribs). Uncle Julio’s has a steady flow of frozen margaritas to choose from, or you can customize your own.

Plenty of space of larger parties (call ahead for availability). It can get a little crowded at times, so plan accordingly.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Autumn Chill

The last few chilly days have effectively brought autumn to Chicago after a heat spell brought hordes of LaSalle Bank marathon runners to their knees. You would have to go Mardi Gras to find more people passed out on the pavement.

But the cold weather is bringing the Chicagoland area golf season to a close. It’ll be back indoors if we want to practice and play. There are a handful of golf domes surrounding the area and there’s always a simulator at the local golf outfitter or Dave & Buster’s.

For me, I will be using my Wonder-Twin powers (work with me on this one, people) to make myself into a goose and fly south for the winter… for more golf. Ah, it's but a destination down the road. I am still amidst moving in to my new apartment and trying to get things off the floor and onto shelves, moving crap from one end of the apartment to the other. It all seems monotonous and never-ending

There is something to look forward to this weekend, aside from football on Sunday. I’ve got a scramble coming up on Saturday, which makes for another course review.

More to come.


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

I've Been A Bit Remiss

I just moved into my new place and things need to be organized. It’s a long, arduous and necessary process. Golfing and reviewing have taken a back seat, for now. Bear with me, more to come.


Sunday, October 07, 2007

Bring Your Appetite For Destruction

Kuma’s Corner
2900 W. Belmont Ave.
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 604-8769

Established in 2005, Kuma’s quickly staked claim to Chicago’s best, if not most intriguing burger; a unique gastro-experience starting with a ½ lb. of ground Black Angus on a pretzel roll, with a plethora of head banging combinations. The food literally rocks. Bring out your inner Lemmy with the Motorhead (w/ goat cheese, kalamata olives, oregano, tzatziki, onion & tomato), or go for the Kuma Burger (named after the owner’s pet Akita) with bacon, cheddar and topped with a fried egg. Chicken breast and Garden burgers can be substituted for beef and a side salad can be substituted for fries/chips, proving you don’t have to be a carnivore to rock, there’s something for all. Plenty of beers by the bottle and on draft, Jack Daniels on tap.

With heavy metal blaring from the speakers, tattooed staff and fiery grill, Kuma’s industrial ambience is a nice alternative to the Sunday brunch lot.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Learning On The Road

I had never stayed in Bed & Breakfast before, until this past Tuesday. I can’t even begin to tell you how dirty it was.

Not the B&B so much. My room was a bit garish and a couple of spiders lingered in the Jacuzzi tub, but it was a nice room altogether. It would be a hoot if I were here with my girlfriend or spouse.

And then the light went on in my head. And then I realized that it was I who felt dirty. A single guy at a place geared towards couples. Needless to say, I turned in early. The next day at breakfast felt very awkward between myself and two other married couples in their 50s. The silence was deafening as I tried to focus on eating a breakfast of microwaved sausage, rubbery potato pancakes and scrambled eggs with little bits that looked like Styrofoam particles.

I was out the door and on the road faster than you can say check out. And I’ll stick to hotels and flophouses.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Flying Colors at White Hawk

White Hawk County Club ($$)
1001 White Hawk Drive
Crown Point, IN 46307
(219) 661-2323

About 60-70 minutes Southeast of downtown Chicago is a blitzkrieg of lakes, wetlands and fescue known as White Hawk Country Club. Each 9 (color designated Grey, Black, Red & Silver) is a challenging par 36, with water reachable on 28 of 36 holes. Silver Hawk measures the longest at just over 3,700 yards. The course is well maintained, especially the various multi-tiered and raised greens. The slick, manicured dance floors can spell 3-putt if you’re not smart with your approach shots.

If you’re between a 8-15 hanidcap, think twice about playing from the tips. Grey Hawk #4, a par-5, measures at 620 yards. The back-to-back par 5s on Black Hawk can give you back-to-back snowmen. This course is testy, so hackers shouldn’t feel too bad if they feel the need to move forward a bit, because it may save golf balls and frustration.

White Hawk is worth the drive and will put your golf game to a serious test… bring your ammo.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Valpo's Gem

The Course at Aberdeen ($$)
245 Tower Road
Valparaiso, IN 46385
(219) 462-5050

Opened in 1997, this spacious course is laid out amongst rolling, breezy hills with a mix of native forest and marsh filling out the landscape, as well as providing some hazards. Water comes into play on 12 out of 18 holes, but hackers shouldn’t be daunted as there is decent relief at the forward tees.

The 12th and 13th holes certainly make for an interesting round. The 408-yard, par-4 12th has a split fairway with a partially hidden green; club choice is important at the tee box. The 300-yard, par-4 13th will have bigger hitters trying for the green in one, but the right-side lake can and will make the eagle dream die.

Wide open fairways and negotiable rough makes The Course at Aberdeen appealing to those still trying to straighten out their snap hooks and leaky slices. It’s about 60-70 minutes from downtown Chicago, but its plush fairways, well-maintained greens and attractive scenery make Aberdeen worth the drive.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Going golfing soon...

I'll have more to write then.

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