Showing posts from March, 2015

Six Pack Of Vintage Schlitz Beer Koozies

At the Antiques Mall out in Naperville, I came across this sealed six pack of vintage Schlitz koozies.  They wanted like $20 for the set, so I passed as it was too rich for me.  There's got to be somebody out there that would die to have these and I'm hoping they'll find their right place at some point.  They're Styrofoam, so I don't know how sturdy/long-lasting these will be?

But, it seems like they deserve to be used and not just sit on a shelf.  Nothing better than camouflaging that ratty Bud Light can you're drinking than behind this 70's era beauty.

Tow Mater Topiary At Epcot's Flower And Garden Show - 2015

This beautifully-crafted Mater was one a few topiaries that we had not checked out/viewed before on our other trips to the Flower and Garden Show.  He is over by Test Track and tucked into a little pocket that includes a nice playground for little ones.  The Bird played and played there and we had to drag her out screaming so we could go on Soarin'.

Hyacinth Popping Up - 2015

That snowstorm from earlier this week can't hold Spring back in our yard.  The hyacinth bulbs are springing up and bursting through the mulch.  I chronicled these same bulbs back in 2011 exactly 4 years ago to the day.

The ferns and tulips and allium can't be far behind.

Ted's Montana Grill: Coaster Collection

I posted this Illini Coors Light coaster earlier this week, and it looks like that might start a trend here on the blog.  We went to Ted's over the weekend and I had a pretty amazing burger.  The coasters?  They seem to give some pretty solid advice.

Sushi Time Elmhurst: Now Open

Sandwiched right between Fitz's Spare Keys and the York Furrier on York Street in Downtown Elmhurst is a 'new' place called Sushi Time.  3 Years ago, I posted about how this same restaurant changed over from Elmhurst Chop Suey to the Pagoda Bistro.

Now, they're (I think?) trying to give the Sushi Nest a run for it's money by focusing on Sushi.  The reviews - thus far - on Yelp seem pretty positive.  With all the vacant storefronts in the City Centre, it is good to see another entrepreneur try to make it.

Sticker Shield - For Your Vehicle Stickers

Out in Elmhurst, we're required to put vehicle stickers on our car every year.  That could be a pain if you had to scrap and scratch to get them off each year.  But, since I found this Sticker Shield product at the check-out line of Menards, I've kinda secretly enjoyed pulling off and putting on the stickers in the cars each year.

Sticker Shield just feels like something I would have posted about here on the blog, but a quick look through the archives doesn't turn anything up.

This stuff is pretty great - if you use it right.  You take your vehicle sticker and 'stick' it to one side of the Sticker Shield.  Then you cut the Sticker Shield to just a bit 'bigger' than your vehicle sticker.  Then...apply *that* to the inside of your car window.  Basically it makes your vehicle sticker into a super-strong 'window cling' that can be peeled off with your fingers pretty easily.

Wouldn't think about putting a vehicle sticker on my cars without this stu…

Soupman Soup: (No) Soup For You, Menards!

The Soup Nazi has shown up at - of all places - Menards.   And it is on sale.

But, either the package designers are lazy or they're super savvy.  Why?  Because...check out the photo below:  they mention the show, but call it "Sinefeld", not "Seinfeld".  Typo or purposeful typo so they wouldn't have to deal with royalties/copyrights, etc?  Guessing....just plain 'ole dumb mistake.

You can see from the photo below that the Soup Nazi's real name is Al Yeganeh - and it seems he's growing!  There's the ability to franchise his stores and he's signed up Shaq as his spokesman.

Will admit, we passed up these cartons of soup from Menards mostly because I don't normally *think* of Menards as the place to get my soup.  But...maybe we missed an opportunity?

New Illini logos On Coors Light Coasters

We were out at Fitz's on St. Patrick's Day and I spotted these coasters on our table.

Good to see the 'new' Block I out there being used (notice the inside curves on the top/bottom of the I).  Too bad that the squad not only missed the Big Dance, but also got run out of the gym in the NIT.

Winning the Chicago market for the team means being in/around sports bars.  This small touch - these coasters - is a nice move for the team and the brand.

Guessing this is coming out of the relationship that was established when the Illini named Coors Light the 'official beer' of the Fighting Illini back last fall.  Nat got me a shirt for Christmas with the new branding on it, but I still have LOADS of the old stuff in my drawers/closets.

Senator Mark Kirk At Elmhurst College - April 9th

Elmhurst College - here in Elmhurst - have posted their latest posters around town inviting the public to a session as part of their "Government Forum" series featuring Senator Mark Kirk entitled:  America's Challenges: At Home and Abroad.  It is going to be moderated by the Chicago Tribune's Bruce Dold.   I took this photo of the poster in one of the storefronts in the City Centre.

I posted another of these back in 2013 that featured (now Governor) Bruce Rauner coming to Elmhurst College here.

The series is the creation of former Illinois House Speaker/Minority Leader Lee Daniels.  Daniels started the "Government Forum" at the College.

Senator Kirk's session, however isn't taking place at the college.  Instead, they've moved it to Drury Lane.  Guessing they're expecting a much bigger crowd?  Also...the Rauner event was 'free' where-as this Kirk event costs $40 and includes lunch.  From the Elmhurst College site:
The Elmhurst Colle…

We Met The Mayor Of Disney World's Main Street, USA

Christopher George Weaver is the Mayor of Main Street USA at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.  "Pull the lever and vote for Weaver!" is his slogan.

Did you even know that Main Street, USA at Disney World had a Mayor?  I'm not sure I did. we entered the park one morning, Nat spotted him walking around Main Street.  We chased him down and asked for a photo.  He pulled his card out and gave us one.  Mr. Weaver said that this card would get us in the 'back of any line in the entire park'.  After a little chit-chat, we took a photo with him and the girls and he couldn't have been a nicer guy.

And who doesn't like his honesty, right?  All politicians should be so forthcoming with their intentions...

Disney's 'Direct To Room Check-In' Worked Perfectly

We got back from our trip down to DisneyWorld in Orlando and I wanted to share some of the new 'things' that we experienced.  I'll do that over the next few days, but wanted to share one that impressed me quite a bit out of the gate.

We've been to Disney the past few years and wore MagicBands.  They're always worked flawlessly (for us!).  But this year, right before we went on our trip, we read about a new 'Direct-to-room' program where Disney will alert you via text and/or email that your room is ready and you can just arrive there.  The impressive part here is that your bands will just *magically* work!

So, we arrived in the mid-morning, checked out gear with the Bell Desk and then headed out to one of the parks.  Sometime in the mid-afternoon, I received a text and this email above telling me that our room was ready and what the room number was.  (I blurred it out...not sure why...but figured it was just better to not have it posted here!).

This work…

Mixing Up The Toppings? Don't Mind If I Do

Just yesterday, I showed a few 'progress' shots of my latest Detroit-style pies.  While I'm pleased with how they're turning out, I think I've been stuck in a rut in terms of what they're made out of on toppings.  I go with sausage/pepperoni or soppressata almost everytime on one of the pies.  BBQ chicken is another common one.  I think I need to mix it up a bit.  

For the past two weeks, I've been staring at this post by Adam Kuban on Slice/Serious Eats from 2012 that shows a pie called the Saint Louie from a joint in Brooklyn.  It has provel on it - which all pizzanerds know about as a St. Louis exclusive.  And...I won't be copying that, but the toppings are interesting to me and I think there's likely a way to go a bit more "Chicago" by thinking about using giardiniera instead of the pickled peppers?  That kinda takes it away from 'nachos', though?  Ever had a pizza that reminded you of nachos?  The photos below tell the story.


An Update To My Detroit-Style Pizza (A Progress Report)

I took this photo a week or so back ago at my in-laws place.  I was able to make a few pizzas for our Sunday night dinner over there.  On the left (in portrait mode) is a sausage and soppressata combo and on the right (in landscape mode) is a half bbq pulled pork (on the left) and cheese/tomato (on the right).

A few notes:  The pie on the right was baked in one of my primary pans. is well seasoned and has no trouble coming out of the pan.  On the left, that pie was cooked in one of my 'newer' pans.  I've been trying to rotate one of them in (I have 8 total!) on occasion to build up the seasoning on each of them a little bit at a time.  The problem is that I RARELY need to have all 8 going at once and usually only cook two pies at a time.  That means, my primary pans are in tip-top shape, but the other 6 go idle most of the time.  Unfortunately...when that once a year occasion arises and I have to cook more than 2 pies, I always stress about the shape of my …

Shopkins Are The Devil

Have you heard of these little things called Shopkins?  You haven't?

Well, let me tell you:  they're the devil.  My daughter is obsessed with them.  Seriously.  O-B-S-E-S-S-E-D.  They cause the biggest smiles AND the biggest tears in my house.  Yet, I can't divorce myself from them totally.  I keep enabling her with them.  For shame, Jake.  For shame.

Our MagicBands - 2015 Edition

Our bands arrived.  Our bands arrived.  Our bands arrived!

Just like last year, I went with orange.

The big difference?  There's a few more in the set this year than last.

They usually ship these bands to you a month or so before you go and I have a feeling that in most households, the arrival of this box gets the kids all fired up.  But in ours?  I think I geeked out the most.

As I said last year:  I couldn't be more excited to share all my personal identifiable information and payment details with a corporation!  Let's get after it.

Thanks, Google Now!

When Google Now read this out loud, I had to run the query again and have Nat listen because it was too funny to me.  She humored me by listening to it over my giggles.

"Large buttocks".

That gold, Google Now.  Gold!

The Last Thing This Guy Is Qualified To Give A Tour Of Is Reality

What's is this?  Pizza Poundcake?

That's a line I mutter to myself a lot when I hear people say "What is this?" or "What's this?". will too.

The Bird Reading To Her Little Brother

I probably should have put 'reading' in quotation marks.'s the Bird giving The King of The Ball Tossers a lesson in how cats can cross the road.  He seemed to be into it.

Girl Scout Samoas

At the office, I bought a few boxes of Girl Scout Cookies from one of my coworkers and instead of bringing them home for me to devour by the sleeve, I did what I thought was the honorable thing and put them in the common area for my team to enjoy.

But...I'm not an idiot.  I absconded with one of my boxes and brought it home.  Samoas are not my favorite (more into the frozen Thin Mint, fyi), but they're a favorite of somebody special in my house.  You know what they say:  Happy....

Higher Love - Steve Winwood

A week or so ago, I posted this 'Finer Things' video from Steve Winwood and discussed how there isn't a more divisive artist in the Parrillo household.  (Well...maybe Nina Simone?  But...that's for a different post!)

Someone I am connected with on Facebook posted this video this am and I *had* to share it here.  It sure makes me smile and move.  With the horns in this one, it sure seems to be more in Nat's wheelhouse than the synth-driven 'Higher Love', right?!?

Wall Calendars Turned Over To March

Back in February, I posted about the two wall calendars I now have up in my office at the Aon Center.  Both a University of Illinois and a Disney one.

It being March 11th, I thought it was instructive to note that it took until yesterday to flip both of these calendars over to March.  Can't say I didn't predict that I'd have trouble with keeping these things current.

Here's what they look like:  On the left Disney is highlighting the 20th Anniversary of the opening of the Indiana Jones' Adventure in Disneyland.  On the right, the U of I has a photo (with no snow!) of Boneyard Creek up by the Engineering Quad.

Goodwill Won't Even Take That Massive TV Of Yours

Picture isn't great, but you get the point.  That massive, heavy tv you have in your guest bedroom or basement....Goodwill won't even take them any more.

To the curb you go!

Which...reminds me of one of my MOST favorite Simpsons moments (maybe only second to the time when Homer was in the Witness Protection Program).

Hey...I can call my Ma from up here!

The BEST Disney Pin Backs

I've already told everyone that I'm a Disney Pin Trader. girls are the ones who actually trade pins, but I'm the one who's pushed them into the action.  On our next trip, I've set up the kids with bags of pins for each day of the trip and a new lanyard for this trip.  They're each labeled and portion'ed out for use on each of the days we're in the parks.  
But, importantly, I've also set them up with some metal pin backs.  These are the ones that they should use when they trade a pin for something they want to keep.  Those keepers?  They should get one of these metal pin backs.  Why?  Because the black plastic Mickey ears pin backs fall off a lot. 
But these?  They don't.  

So, where do you get them?  From this dude on eBay called the DisneyPatriot.  They're not cheap, but they just flat out work.  That's why they're the BEST Disney pin backs that money can buy.  
If you're going to Disney and planning on pin trading. …

Bakerstone Grill Pizza Oven Box At Costco

On my most recent stop at Costco, the item that caught my attention the most was this Bakerstone grill pizza ovenbox.  On their site, they list it for $129.  What's most interesting to me is that this thing has a baking stone at the bottom - but ALSO at the top - of the box.

From the description:
The BakerStone Professional Series Pizza Oven Kit provides you with everything that you need to turn your grill into a restaurant quality pizza oven and transform your backyard into a gourmet pizzeria. With the BakerStone Professional Series Pizza Oven Box, you'll be able to bake gourmet pizzas in around 2 to 4 minutes, bake artisan quality breads, sear and roast steakhouse quality steaks, pork chops and fish, roast vegetables, and even bake bakery quality cookies and other delicious baked goods.The BakerStone Professional Series Oven is easy to use. Just place on the cooking grates of your grill and preheat like normal. The BakerStone Pizza Oven Box absorbs the heat produced by …

Will Forte As A Sex Offender And Fartface (Things I Missed The First Time)

A few weeks back, I posted a SNL sketch featuring Will Forte doing a halftime dance.  Hilarious stuff.  Last week, I was reading an AMA with Will Forte and there were a few sketches that were mentioned that he pointed out that I had not see before.

They're both hilarious.  And while I've always liked Forte, these both make me appreciate him even more.

Maybe you've seen them already?  They were both new to me.

First up?  Trick-or-Treat Sex Offender:

And second?  Fartface.  Yeah...Fartface.

New Android Spot: Handshake

Love this new Android video spot called "Handshake".  It is part of the 'Be together. Not the same.' series.

I first saw it on the final episode of Parks & Rec last week.  Seems like we're seeing quite a bit more of the little green guy these days and that's a good thing.  While I'm an Android Fanboy, I think they've found a nice message there by talking about the sameness of the competition.

You can take the boy out of Google.  But you can't take the Google out of the boy, I guess.

Dole Whips In Glen Ellyn?

Brace yourself folks.  

There are Dole Whips to be had in Glen Ellyn.  At a place called Skinny Sweet Frozen Yogurt.

Don't know what a Dole Whip is?  Well...that's too bad for you.  But, if you've been to Disney World, you likely know what a Dole Whip is and like me, you probably can't wait to get another one.  
Well...there's good news if you live out in the Western Suburbs.  This guy dropped me a line yesterday to share the good news.
Hey Jake,I stumbled across your blog, I am reading back and have really enjoyed it.  I also live in Elmhurst, and own 3 yogurt shops (skinnysweet) and I see you're Disney obsessed - we are currently running Dole Pineapple Whip in our Glen Ellyn store, which Disnerds go crazy for.Take care,XXXXX Here's the quandary I'm in:  we have a Disney trip planned for this Spring.  Do I hold out and go for the original at the park and NOT spoil myself?  Or, should we make a family outing over to Skinny Sweet as a kind of 'pr…

Animal-Style Burger + Well Done/Animal-Style Fries

I'm one of those guys who have totally bought into the In-N-Out narrative.  Every trip to California includes a stop for some chow.  This past trip, I made a stop and ordered Animal-style fries for the first time.  They were awesome.  Gross.  But awesome.

I've had a few meals that I can recall at a moment's notice in my mind like Buddy's in Detroit or John's Pizza in NYC and now I think this double Animal-style'd meal is on that list.

How The Other Half Fly (Or American Airlines Finally Gets Around To Updating Their Planes)

I was on a flight home from the West Coast a few weeks back and I had seat 3A.  In the armrest was this tethered 'remote' and in front of me was this touchscreen (below).  On it, was a series of movies on demand, some tv shows and it seemed even games.

I spent the time ONLY in the movies section and watched two pretty great movies:  Whiplash and St. Vincent.

The plane I was on was one of the 'new' American jets and it was pretty nice.  Seats were comfortable, clean and the technology was nice.  I didn't get to look around, but I'm guessing that these screens are in *every* seat?  The movies were free, which was great, but not sure of the experience elsewhere.

I usually travel on longer flights with a movie or two pinned to my tablet.  And because I don't know when/where I'll get one of these new AA jets, I'll probably keep doing that.  But...when luck shines on me and I get this setup, I'll enjoy it.  It was preeetay, preeetay, prettay nice.…

The Finer Things - Steve Winwood

Admittedly, this song sure is a slow starter, but when the chorus kicks in, there can't possibly be a person in this here world who doesn't want to sway back and forth to the tune and get a smile on their face, right?

Just pure gold, Steve.  Gold.

But...the reason for this post is to point out a major rift in our house.   I don't actually think there's a more divisive artist in our household than Steve Winwood.  Nat thinks he's all synth and sounds sooooo specific to a period of the 80's.  I, on the other hand, love just about everything he puts out.  #SynthFTW.

My Detroit-Style Dough Formulation - Baker's Percentage

For the past few years, I've been toying (well...a little bit more than toying!) around with a Detroit-style dough formulation that was based solely on this formulation from PizzaHog on the forums.  But, the dough was never quite 'enough' to fill the pans to all four corners.

So, over the past few months, I've taken to the baker's percentage calculator (Thx, NYU!) to 'up' the size of the total dough ball in volume, but keep the percentages equal.  So, I've take the flour up from 273 grams to 300 grams and the calculator factor'd the rest.  With the extra 25 grams, the skin flows out to the corners and fills up the pan all the way.

The past few times I've made pizza at home, I've had to turn to the calculator each time I wanted to make pizza.  Now, I'm planting this here on the blog, so I can turn to it when necessary.