Food Blog

KIPlog cooks, eats (and drinks)

Food Blog is 7!

May 1st, 2009 · 19 Comments

The first post of Food Blog was May 1st 2002. Back when ‘Food Blog’ sounded like a brilliant, original name.

There was a handful of food blogs, and comparatively few (tens of thousands?) of regular blogs. Communities of food bloggers hadn’t organized, food blogging events hadn’t happened yet, and restaurants and cooks never heard of us, never mind feared us or offered us the same perks or service print reviewers got. I was questioned like a criminal when I first asked a PR firm to lend me a shot of a food product, to use to illustrate a post. And advertising? A store actually requested I remove a favorable post I gave them because they thought I would divert all the traffic about them away from their AOL hosted page.

Real work diverted me away from daily, or even weekly posts about 3 years into the adulthood of this blog, and I watched food blogging become a profession, and there’s even a food blogging movie now. Food blogs went from sloppy Angelfire sites to professionally photographed pieces of art. I’ve witnessed many fun, entertaining blogs turn into slogging daily grinds of PR campaigns and shills. Many more have come and gone – had their fun and success along the way, but inevitably, other duties, hobbies and pursuits fight for the attention, time and passion it takes to maintain a healthy blog.

I’ve never considered shutting this down, even after some periods of long dormancy. The reasons for starting and keeping this blog have always stayed the same. There was never any reason to give up, but there was never a reason to force posts, just to maintain readership, keep up traffic for advertising or for google juice. For many years this was the number one search result for ‘food blog’, and it may have deserved it. These days there’s many more out there that deserve to be found when newcomers start exploring the hobby/profession/business/whatever it is. This thing will always be around, but only when I have something to say, and I have time to say it.

I still get almost daily requests to get on my decrepit list, most are nothing more than vehicles for adwords. In fact I see many destined for failure, that the signs of a new blog’s motivation becomes obvious, and the predictions of their short lifespans are easy. But once in awhile I do see new inspired bloggers, passionate about food, photography, community, their heritage, their culture, writing, communicating, educating and entertaining. These new-comers are just as excited about the ‘medium’ as us ‘old timers’. Unlike most of the posts recently, I’m going to approve comments to this post, at least for a reasonable amount of time. I’m not normally able to edit the sincere requests from those who just want my google juice but I’m going to try, since I’m sure there are many how deserve to get some. I might even make a list…

In any case, thanks to any readers who are still around after all these years.

Long live the food blog*!

* I mean the food blog genre – you know what I mean.

→ 19 CommentsTags: Food Blogs

365 Beer update

April 27th, 2009 · 3 Comments

My attempt at 365 beers is going well – a little behind, but not to far off track. And I still haven’t been to Hopleaf or Map Room yet.

My reporting on the attempt is way behind though – I’m officially at 108. Number 100 was fittingly a Schlitz – the 60’s formula throw-back (with gusto). It was suprisingly good – probably the best of the fizzy American yellow lagers.

Some notable beers: North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout – my favorite so far this year, the mead-like Surly Three, on tap at Prairie Moon, Paramount Room, Small Bar and Twisted Spoke, the return of Bell’s Oberon – signaling spring (everywhere in Chicago) and Genesee Cream Ale on tap at the Twisted Spoke. Last time I had a Jenny Cream ale, it was warm and I was underage. Everyone with a Jenny story seems to have had one way before drinking legally. Even the Genesee website admits “A few of us first experienced Cream Ale sitting on our Dad’s lap. And let’s be honest again, for some, it was without our Dad. A whole bunch of us first experienced Cream Ale when Dad left the fridge in the garage unguarded.”

Some disappointments were found in bottles – New Holland’s Mad Hatter was one of the only beer’s I couldn’t finish this year – hoppy bitterness is good – astrigent bitterness isn’t. It might have been an older bottle. Also the Magic Hat HiPA wasn’t as bad – but still, the bottom of a bottle should be as pleasant as the first sip. Worst of the year so far – a Samuel Adams White Ale. I hate this style to begin with, and this one was an astringent pint of soap, pepper and coriander that I just barely managed to get down. The Bell’s version of the White was actually pretty good – balanced and much creamier version of the style.

You can follow my progress on twitter or see the full list and reviews on the 365 beer page

→ 3 CommentsTags: Beers on tap

National Corn Dog Day

March 20th, 2009 · 3 Comments

Almost forgot to remind everybody to get out and celebrate National Corn Dog Day Saturday, March 21st. I’m probably celebrating locally at Weiner & Still Champion, who’s running a dippin’ dog special.

→ 3 CommentsTags: Food News and Links

Lager Session

March 6th, 2009 · Comments Off

Some of the beer blogs have been doing a Beer Blogging Friday ‘Session’. This week’s Session focuses on lagers. Beer Nut sugests “…consider this a return to our roots as beer drinkers. Don’t even think about cheating the system: leave your doppelbocks and schwarzbiers out of this one: I want pilsners, light lagers, helleses and those ones that just say “beer” because, well, what else would it be?”

While I dont usually do blogging events, the idea of good, sessionable beer being important is one that gets forgotten is these days of high ABV, over hopped, behemoths.

Okay, I kind of broke Beer Nuts suggestion, I found Köstritzer Schwarzbier, a German black lager on tap at the Paramount Room last night. At least it’s a lager. It’s deep black, but the taste is definitely lager. Clean and crisp, but roasty with a sharp, almost rye, bitterness balanced in. Nicely drinkable because of the lightness that you don’t expect from it’s appearance.

I’ll try another to fit better into the rules of the session: Prairie Moon has Metropolitan Dynamo Copper Lager on tap. Locally brewed in Ravenswood, it’s a nice clean, slightly sweet malty, good drinking beer. Nothing outstanding, but a good basic beer. Definitely sessionable, or satisfying when trying to come down off of some 10% punch-you-in-the-palate beer. Metropolitan has a blog so you can find out what they’re doing.

Comments OffTags: Beers on tap

365 beer

March 2nd, 2009 · 2 Comments

Unbeknownst to the readers of this blog (until now), I’ve been reattempting 356 beers. The site which tracked the attempt a few years ago is dormant, so I’ve been using Twitter to document the feat.

As a long time blogger, I’ve been trying to find a reason to use Twitter, and this is as good a reason as any.

For those of you not familiar with what Twitter is – it’s where all your favorite bloggers went off too. Simply put, it’s blogging in 140 characters or less. But more than that, it’s also an aggregator to follow the updates of people you select. Part popularity contest, part important tool for the future, etc, etc, [insert rehash of everything we talked about in 1999 when discussing blogging as an important tool for the future]. Many are using it very effectively, many are just letting us know each and every time their cat does something silly.

It’s a good excersize to describe a beer in 140 characters, as it really hones ones’ writing – as long as u dont strt typng lk ths. Unlike many, I don’t update in real time – usually taking the time to get the beer name and notes right the next day.

But back to the attempt – 365 different beers within a year, mostly on tap, is quite a feat, and I’m on track at this point, but financing a beer a day might be difficult after tax time. Unless my accountant figures out how to write off least year’s drinking.

The on tap angle will be a challenge, although having some great beer bars close to work and home that rotate taps often will make things easier. Twisted Spoke is the best at this for me – they’ve got what seems to be 4-5 different taps each time I go in (once a week at most). Prairie Moon is another closer to home that will help me along, although there’s only one or two taps changing every couple of weeks. Dozens of other good beer bars around town will need visits for the cause.

At a count of 61 already, I’ve hit the most common taps you’ll find around town, with the exception of most of the AB products and some stuff I usually don’t go for (Wit’s, beers that come with fruit, etc).

I’ll be reposting my beer tweets here from now on, but you can see the whole list so far at and follow tweet by tweet at

→ 2 CommentsTags: Beers on tap · Drink

Ciao, chow James Ward

February 27th, 2009 · Comments Off

James Ward, the colorful food reporter for ABC News here in Chicago passed away yesterday.

I had the pleasure of working with James on a travel magazine and some other projects years ago, and once even wound up eating dinner with him in footage of a St. Patty’s Day report (he recruited me off a barstool when he walked in a pub and recognized me).

His Bread & Circuses reports were fun fare, but I don’t think the format and the audience really let him express the range of local dining possibilities nor the true brashness of his opinions. I relished the short times I got to talk food with him, when I could get some of his more serious knowledge of food and dining around.

He was always articulately professional, while at the same time always a truly unique character, and a whole lot of fun.

Comments OffTags: Food News and Links

Obama Food and Drink

January 21st, 2009 · 2 Comments

Spotted some Obama head cookies at Bennison’s yesterday. They have First Lady Michelle heads too.

Obama Cookies

I’ve also been looking for ‘Obamagang’ or more legally, Inauguration Ale, from Ommegang. Links and a list of bars in Chicago with it on tap at that link.

→ 2 CommentsTags: Beers on tap · Exotic Food Products

Food links

January 15th, 2009 · 1 Comment

Brief Jerky

Turbaconducken (Turducken Wrapped in Bacon)

A fork shaped like an airplane, to help fly veggies into kids’ mouths.

Nothing worse than opening a box of chocolates and finding… That’s worse than finding out they’re all coconut.

→ 1 CommentTags: Equipment and Tools · Exotic Food Products · Food News and Links

I went to Hopleaf

December 8th, 2008 · Comments Off

A Grimbergen at Hopleaf. Also notable was the Pere Noel, from DeRanke. Not an over-the-top spiced Christmas beer, but still spiced enough to put you in the holiday spirit. I forgot to try the local mead from Wild Blossom Winery.

I personally like to drink at Hopleaf before the dinner crowd comes in. So I don’t get in there very often anymore. Before 5 is recommended if you want a seat at the bar, and a bartender’s attention.

Comments OffTags: Beers on tap

Food links

December 5th, 2008 · Comments Off

Just in time for Christmas – bacon tree ornament

3 historical food fights – cows and indians, breadfruit and the Bounty, and Cod and NATO

A comic illustrating a trip to Alinea

Comments OffTags: Food News and Links