Thursday, December 22, 2011

Days 10-12 of Bridgeport Christmas!

10. On the Tenth Day of Christmas… Ten Pounds of Sausage
If your sweetheart is the curious type, take her along when you visit the pocket-wholesale-food cluster behind Henry Palmisano Park, on Poplar Street. Makowski’s Real Sausage has been making sausage back there since 1938. They sell sausage wholesale, but also to the public. Nicole Makowski says they sell cooked sausages in 5 lb packages, raw sausage in 10 lb packages. Prices range from $3.50 to $6.00 per pound. Nicole says they are best known for their smoked polish, which comes both skinless and in natural casing. They also sell Real brand franks and wieners, as well as bratwurst, knockwurst, chorizo and andouille.

11. On the Eleventh Day of Christmas… Eleven Bridgeport Coffee Company Roasts
If you love a coffee drinker, make sure you head to Bridgeport Coffee House to grab some of their locally hand-roasted beans for a great cup of coffee. This is not just great coffee–many roasts they offer are organic, fair trade, or direct trade, as well. You can pick up some beans at the Bridgeport Coffee House at 3101 S. Morgan Street, or order online (including 2 and 3 bag gift box options) at

12. On the Twelfth Day of Christmas… Twelve Savory Pies!
Bridgeport is fast becoming the place for savory pies in Chicago. With so much going on for the holidays, let one of our fantastic new businesses do the cooking for you–it will make your next holiday party much more relaxing! Pleasant House Bakery (946 W. 31st Street) has several Royal Pies and one pasty (pass-tee) on the menu, including Steak & Ale, Chicken Balti (curried chicken), Mushroom & Kale, and Cold Pork Pies. They also make additional seasonal savory pies. Give them a call or stop in for details and place an order for your next get together (

Days 7-9 of Bridgeport Christmas...

7. On the Seventh day of Christmas… Seven Moonshine Fish Lures
Henry's Bait and Tackle has been on Canal Street since 1972. Kyle, a young salesman who says he practically grew up at the store, is reluctant to make gift recommendations, because every fisherman knows what he/she likes. He says the Moonshine lures are really hot this year. They are “jigging” lures– you jerk them up and down in the water. Their bright colors can be made to glow in the dark, and they hold their charge for a long time. Moonshine lures sold so well in summertime, Henry’s is carrying some for ice fishing, too. Kyle also speaks highly of the Shimano Stradic reels (they retail for about $180). They turn smoothly and have an excellent drag system (an adjustment you make to the resistance that prevents a fish from pulling out too much line, without allowing it to snap the rod).

8. On the Eighth Day of Christmas… Eight Funky Records

When Neal Keller opened Let’s Boogie Records 35 years ago, he sold all new records. Over the years, technologies changed, and the shop evolved into a used record store, with some 8-tracks and cassettes. Now, vinyl is hip again in a retro-cool way, and some of the record companies are making reissues. Some are even issuing brand new albums on vinyl. Let’s Boogie has the new Tom Waits album on vinyl–he says the kids are rediscovering him. He still gets customers from Asia to Sweden who stop in to buy up large quantities of specific labels, or genres. Visit Let’s Boogie and you’re sure to find something you loved listening to, or always wanted to hear. Let's Boogie on

9. On the Ninth Day of Christmas… Nine Precious Oils
Augustine’s Eternal Gifts (3327 S. Halsted) is your best source for Frankincense and Myrrh, but they have scores of other scents, and they will mix custom potions from their wall of ingredients to meet customer requests. You can wear them, or heat them in a dish to suffuse a room. Augustine’s owner, Cathryn Hennes, says her family has been running shops in Bridgeport for 100 years–though earlier generations sold candy and ice cream. In addition to oils and incense, Augustine’s carries a wide range of other spiritual supplies, from prayer candles to crystals, amulets, and tarot cards.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Days 4-6 of Bridgeport Christmas...


4. On the Fourth Day of Christmas… Four Winter Cocktails
Are you in the mood for some artisanal cocktails to warm you up? Take your loved one to family owned & operated Nana’s (3267 S. Halsted St.) for some seasonal cocktails, and stay for dinner. If you like whiskey drinks, try the Fresh Fig & Seedling Orchard Cherry Old Fashioned, or if you like lemonade in summer, try the Fall Cranberry and Ginger Bridgeport Lemonade. Other tasty concoctions include the Fall Sidecar and The Prince of Fall cocktail. You can check out the full menu at

5. On the Fifth Day of Christmas… Five Chicago Sports Team Jerseys
Grandstand (600 W. 35th Street) sells jerseys and hats for all the Chicago teams (yes, including the Cubs). But you can buy jerseys anywhere, a Grandstand owner observes. She says people travel to Grandstand from across Chicagoland because they’ve got an amazing collection of other stuff. They have seasonal ornaments including miniature team Christmas trees, hand-painted tree-ornaments, and White Sox player-nutcrackers. They also have clothes from slippers, to socks, to negligees, plus a great assortment of toys, including team-themed Monopoly games and Mr. Potato Head.

6. On the Sixth Day of Christmas… Six Bike Maintenance Workshops
Winter is the perfect time to take your bicycle apart and rebuild it. And Blue City Cycles at 3201 South Halsted is offering a winter series of bike maintenance workshops that can teach you, or the lucky gift recipient of your choice, to do just that. Workshops are $30 each, or $150 for a 6 class series that starts with the basics (fix a flat and make simple adjustments) and progresses through brakes, derailleurs and each of the bearing systems, and culminates with the fine art of truing a wheel. But act quickly, classes are limited to 3 students each – the number of bike stands in the shop.

(PSST - Issue 4 is now out at your local businesses - pick up a copy today!)

Monday, December 19, 2011

12 Days of Bridgeport Christmas (condensed version)

We're posting the 12 Days of Christmas article here in installments over the next 4 days to give you some ideas of what you can grab in the neighborhood for your gifting needs. Enjoy!

The 12 Days of Christmas: A Bridgeport Gift Guide
By Kristin Ostberg & Lynn Barnett

Been procrastinating with your shopping? Well, we’ve got the gift guide for you. We bet there’ll be at least one thing on this list that will surprise you – and it proves you don’t have to leave the neighborhood to get great gifts. It has been a tough year for retailers, which is an even better reason to spend your money here in Bridgeport!

1. On the First Day of Christmas, My True Love Gave to Me… One Traditional Tattoo

If you want to get your sweetheart something that will last forever, but don’t want to choose the wrong thing, consider buying a gift certificate to use at Bridgeport Tattoo Company (3527 South Halsted). Bridgeport Tattoo has walls full of traditional designs, and a reputation for doing very good work, safely, and for a fair price. The folks in the shop say a tattoo the size of a deck of cards typically runs about $150, but they can do smaller or simpler designs for $100 or less, or much larger ones for $100 an hour.

2. On the Second day of Christmas… Two Diamond Earrings

A friend of the Bridgeport International raves about Oscar’s Watch & Jewelry, now at 3505 South Halsted. Our friend had scoured Jeweler’s Row on Wabash, looking for an engagement ring. Then he walked into Oscar’s and found the perfect, distinctive, ring-set right here in Bridgeport. He says the quality was as good as anything he’d seen elsewhere, and the price was better. Oscar Serna first set up shop as a jeweler in Bridgeport in 1977. The shop has many types of fine jewelry & watches, and also repairs both on the premises. Want something extra special? They offer custom design work, as well.

3. On the Third Day of Christmas… Three Brawling Monsters

Monster Island Toys (3335 S. Halsted) carries a wide range of action figures, but it’s best known for its Japanese monsters, including Godzilla, and the other beasts he fought with. Owner Loris Basso says he is the only Godzilla dealer in Illinois. He has customers who drive days from Canada to shop the store in person. But lately, between the recession and the big box sore options, there haven’t been enough of them. He may close the store at the end of January, depending on how the holiday sales go. Now’s the time to stock up! Some of the figures become collector’s items rapidly. A model of Ghdorah –a 3 headed dragon on display in the store’s counter–retailed for $25 when it came out a few years ago, and is trading for $100 today.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Winter Issue Soon

The Holiday Issue of the BI Will be coming out soon!

A recipe from this month's issue:

Wiki that Cocktail: The Flip
with Edmar

Since it is the BI’s holiday issue, I thought I would share a delicious recipe that we made for our bar, Maria’s Packaged Goods and Community Bar.

A flip is a class of mixed drinks. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term was first used in 1695 to describe a mixture of beer, rum, and sugar, heated with a red-hot iron (“Thus we live at sea; eat biscuit, and drink flip”). The iron caused the drink to froth, and this frothing (or “flipping”) engendered the name. Over time, the proportion of eggs and sugar increased, the beer was eliminated, and the drink ceased to be served hot.

White & Snowy Flip in Bridgeport
Recipe by Ken Zawacki and Eric Olson of Maria’s.
Our flip is a cold gin flip using Junipero Gin. Junipero is made by Anchor Brewing Company, one of the first major craft breweries in the US who got their hands dirty with distilling spirits. Their gin is made by hand in the classic “distilled dry gin” tradition, utilizing more than a dozen botanicals in their natural state, in a small copper pot still at their little distillery on Potrero Hill in San Francisco. You can try a Dutch Gin as a substitute.

1 and 1/2 ounce of Junipero Gin
1/2 ounce of simple syrup
1/2 to 1 ounce egg white
Two dashes of nutmeg
One cinnamon stick
1 1/2 ounce Knudsen’s Spiced Cider

Add ice gin, simple syrup, egg white, and cider into a shaker. Shake vigorously for 20-30 seconds
Pour in a chilled rocks glass.
Add nutmeg and cinnamon stick