This little unkranian village cafe has the meraki vibe as you enter off the street: laid back with the aroma of passion and epic food. The staff genuinely is there because they enjoy what they do, the company of their co-workers, and it shows in their flow from service to stocking: synchronicity is present.
As for the food, all I can say is, wow! I ordered a staple of any breakfast joint: Eggs Benedict. The layers of flavor burst on your taste buds like the yolk does to your fork. Arugula, grilled slices of ham, and pimento cheese smothered with a Hollandaise Sauce that brings this classic to a new level of life. My taste buds were dancing to the rhythm of my chew. The goodness dissipated in a swallow, just to be followed by another explosion of what they call mashbrown.
Every meal should be followed by dessert and their meals are no exception. The AM Bread is served warm with a sprinkle of powdered sugar, like a coffee cake french toast, followed with a sip of their signature Dark Matters Coffee, and the soul is satisfied and ready to take on the challenges of the day. It is a higher price than I would normally spend for breakfast, but worth every penny. This place was a real treat !!
Street art graffiti invites you to travel into the rabbit hole and the service, food, laughter and giant Jenga on every table keeps you there.
Six TV screens internally circle the encompassing bar to keep the sports enthusiast satisfied from every angle, while music spirals from one genre to the next with a flow that just keeps the good times rolling. As you walk in, you are greeted by the invitation to play rabbit pong; calling you to drop the days issues at the door and embrace your “you-time”.
Now, the man with the plan to set you on your travels for your your time here is Camron. He has been at this location for 10 years, and basically is contracted with the building because of his dedication to a good time, good food and good service. He is a bartender, manager and community icon. One has to be to work and/or manage this location thru 4 owners. The Current Owner is Chris Ryan, a Chicago Icon of his own. Several long-standing successful bars including The Original Mother’s can be contributed to his involvement. His new investment: The Rabbit Hole, has the ambiance of a local watering pub where friends and neighbors gather to enjoy a moment in life together. I just fell in love with this family style community environment. The bouncer doubles as a game show host to the masses fora game of Hangman as well as greeting everyone and inviting each guest to enjoy a great time. Upon witnessing his talents, local Katie Umph guessed this puzzle in an impressive time with only 2 letters…how much fun can you have at a neighborhood hangout?
The music that plays in the background is produced by a DJ named Milkman Matt, who milks the artful tastes from the visiting clientele and feeds the souls of the room with a celebration of style that satisfies everyone. If you are in Chicago and want to embrace the excitement of recaptured youth Chicago style, this is a great place to visit!
I had the privilege to meet and amazing local man who has found a way to turn wasteful spillage from a blast furnace into significant art sculptures. His name Is Justin Sule and he is a 3rd generation steel mill worker who has a family history of about 100 years in the industry. He has been working on the blast furnace for 8 years and has a unique eye for opportunity. The above original can be seen anchored to the wall at Zorn Brewery here in Michigan City, IN. Hopefully, he will be also participating in the First Friday Art Walk displaying his artwork for sale. I will keep you all posted !
In short, sometimes the blast furnace acts like a woman with a mind of her own, and when she has an emotional outburst, she splashes molten iron out of the trough and makes a mess of things. When this happens impurities can become imbedded into the cooling splatter and renders it useless. But, with special approval, Justin has been able to take these solid iron quagmires and capture his creative talent turning it into amazing sculptures. It is a long process for each piece to remove the slag, coal, and other impurities with hand grinding and polishing the finished piece by buffing the anomaly into imaginary perfection.
He is married and has full support of his wife but pointed out that his pieces are fairly large and she doesn’t feel it contributes to the modern farm decor she has worked to establish in their home, and this is more an industrial abstract art. That’s ok, she thinks they are an ideal asset to any gallery, business, or man cave setting.
Tragically, his garage caught fire and he lost most of his collection recently, and all his dedicated hard work. No worries he is currently working an a new piece despite the setback, and will be rebuilding his collection to share with the world. I will be excited to see the end product from this rough spoilage. I will update this post with the after picture when it is complete: Here is the rough stuff he is starting out with, or you can find him on instagram: @theironcain.
During my interview with him I found out this is not the only talent he possesses. He is also deemed a Wild Mushroom Identification Expert and goes by the name: @Im_a_fungi_mushrooms on instagram and has a great business offering multiple types of mushrooms including shiitake and oyster – to name a few- for local restaurants and personal purchase: He also offers logs that are infused with spores that you can obtain to start growing your own supply. This is a guy worth taking the time to know and I felt privileged to find this diamond in the rough in our community. I am looking forward to following his progress to success and sharing it with my readers!!
I was recently visiting a friend in Chicago for a birthday party and needed a place to rest up and refresh for the evening activities, so I quickly scanned for the cheapest and closest location. I found the Chicago Hotel only a mile away and for only $97 with taxes. WHAT A FIND!! As an art lover and advocate for artists, I was amazed that the universe directed me to a place that inhabited everything I was needing with the unexpected bonus of a community art gallery, at no extra charge!!!
The annex is clean and elegant with an array of displayed art and an explanation of the supported foundation: The Shirley Ryan Artlab, an art therapy program facilitating art as a rehabilitation program for those who suffer strokes, spinal injuries, brain injuries and debilitating diseases such as MS. The hallways aa 4 story gallery, displaying photos, and paintings along with placards that identify the artist, their story, and usually a quote from the artist regarding the purposeful passion behind their captivating works.
But it doesn’t end there! They have full size wall murals in the rooms painted by various local street artists.
This place was more than a hidden gem, it was an exuberance of community spirit filled with passion, hope, and concern for others.
As for the rooms, the renovations we’re we’re welll-noted from a full size refrigerator, microwave, a Keurig, big screen TV, iron, ironing board, hairdryer, and a nice size personal room safe. They even have rooms with bunk bed style double beds: twin on top and full size on bottom.
I was a little disappointed by no continental breakfast but once I found out that 10% of their minimal room fees are donated to this fantastic art therapy program, I was grateful for the flavored creamer in the lobby with fresh coffee and water as well as vending machines in the stairwells.
I am so excited to go back and take more time to view all the art and read about all the artists, some of the paintings are even for sale, but the passion from the artists and for the artists that this Hotel displays is priceless!!!
Have you been here recently? Do you know of any other great finds like this in the City? Please share your stories of finding hidden art.
Check out their site and enjoy the passion of the neighborhood!!
This little hidden gem brings back the nostalgia of the 80’s getaway. When it was purchased in 1986 it was renovated and added two more buildings to accommodate guests with breathtaking views and the privacy to enjoy all the amenities it has to offer. Walking up to the third floor was worth the sunset views. Keys given with identifying seahorse building medallions were an enjoyable touch. The little things that are overlooked by corporate owners were definitely not missed by this family-owned and run home away from home. Being greeted by the most helpful staff at the front counter, Megan provided transportation options like the free trolley service until 10 pm and the Monkey Bus that operates solely on tips and will pick you up anywhere and take you anywhere on the island. She also gave suggestions of local establishments that enhanced our experience of Anna Marie Island. They also provide a very reasonable and great personal massaging service that will come to your room or provide their services in a tiki hut on their private beach. This is truly a one of a kind great find!!
About 6 years ago, a life-altering opportunity was presented to a young server, Stelios Mitris, who was born here in the states, raised in Greece, where he worked as a server when his patron offered financial support of his dreams. Now, having been a server before, this happens more frequently than people realize without avail: Goals and Direction – revert back to Just a Dream. This person saw something in Stelios and had no doubt his investment would be successful. There are no words to describe the intoxication that showers you when you meet him: Warm fuzzies, smiling hearts, dancing feet, and and a singing soul, is the best I have. Selios Mitris has a passion for serving people that was acknowledged, rewarded, and exudes from his aura today. With a patrons’ support, he purchased Sophia’s a little over 3 years ago, and has a flare for ownership with a suave management style. The restaurant was named Sophia’s in honor of the original owners daughter, and translates from Greek to mean Wisdom. Stelios made the wise choice of keeping the name we all know and love.
The addition of an outside patio is a great touch, and I cannot wait to come back in the summer and enjoy sitting in a little area or serenity in the midst of this hustling business area.
His employees speak very highly of him, they have the utmost respect for him: He has created a family essence among the staff. His beautiful soon-to-be wife, Teresa – greeting, hosting, and helping wherever she can, displays a Vogue-like appearance: Enhancing the ambiance of an experience there to the top-notch level it deserves. The decor is one of sophistication and tidiness upheld and reflected by the staffs immaculate efforts as well.
I was greeted immediately upon entering the establishment with a friendly smile and offered a table while I waited for a friend to join me. My designated server, Alyssa, was quick to greet me with coffee in hand, and a pleasant patience for the short delay in ordering. The menu offers every kind of breakfast you can think of and a variety of lunches. My Favorite: Stuffed French toast.
This is a masterpiece of 3 texas toast blocks that are satiated with a mascarpone cheese – an italian cream cheese with lemon juice originating from southwest of Milan around the 17th century. Though mascarpia translates to ricotta, it is made from cream and ricotta is made from milk, giving it that custard like dreamy goodness!!! Add bananas foster for a nominal charge and you have a dish that is orgasmic to the taste buds, but dangerous for diabetics. Top that off with a glass of their daily fresh-squeezed orange juice and the spirit is flying high with vitamin C.
They have also included gluten free choices as well, creating limitless accommodations for all tastes, and health options. They have daily specials that are presented on a seperate menu and fluctuates seasonally for quick reference and 2 varieties of freshly made soups daily that are displayed as you walk in. The portion sizes are certainly above expectation for the price and deceptively lower in cost than the stature the establishment presents.
My server was just great!!! Knowing when to walk by the table, when to offer more coffee, when to interact with customers: her follow-up skills were impeccable. After my guest arrived, and her timing was again, perfect. Our meals came expediently and hot. She served us without interrupting and came back to see how everything was at the appropriate time. Stelios nails the customer service aspect and summed it up when he said,” I hire for attitude and train for skill.” Well done!!!
I have been a server before and this was one of the places I worked. As a server, many patrons will offer to support you and your directions in life, but his story captivates the epitome of hard work to success. His success has earned him the Winning 2019 Readers Choice Award. I left feeling very blessed to have met the new owner and re-visiting one of my favorite old stomping grounds.
Inspired by a post from Ben Wilder on Out of the Wilderness, I started writing a comment, and as bloggers all know once we start writing sometimes we can’t stop. so I thought I would share my thoughts on trees with y’all. This is a tree I found in the back corner of a parking lot at Manatee Beach on Anna Maria Island.
For the Hippie in me, Trees have a magical energy. They are my spirit plant if you will. Each one has a unique character that exemplifies the power from 4 main elements: earth , water, wind/air, and sky. First, it it rooted in the ground with a vast intertwining network of extensions ,solidifying it place and strength of being united with the ground. It absorbs the water dropped from the sky seeping it’s way through the grass and dirt with it’s only purpose of quenching the trees thirst and encouraging its growth. As it grows, the branches reach out as if to share itself in appreciation of the air around it; pulling toxins out (carbon monoxide) and capitalizing on it own ability to purify the air while refurbishing the poison into a supplemental food source to the absorption of sun collected by the extended leaves. The air turns into a breeze or wind moving the branches as if its appreciation of purification is natures music allowing trees to sway and sometimes dance.. Too much wind can be as intoxicating, just as too much alcohol can be to the human soul, and if too drunk the dance becomes a tumble or a fall: sometimes even breaking. The sky collects the moisture that form clouds and rain, and the tree grows, reaching out to the heavens with a fortitude of majestic stature. Each tree has its own energy or level of vibration and you can walk by many of the same types of trees, but it is the one that matches your souls vibration level you notice.
About 40 years ago a successful local realtor by the name of Marjorie Gondeck was in charge of the sale of a building at 809 Franklin Street, Michigan City, IN, when she was inspired by her passion and hobby of collecting trinkets and treasures. They found a home in this vacant space and her dreams paved a new direction when she purchased the building instead of selling it, and launched Rainbow Trades.
Now, Mrs. Gondeck was an innovative business woman who invested in many rental properties within the community, and even struck a deal with a costume shop to rent part of her storefront every October. Her daughter was so enamoured by the imaginative magic of the first costume her mother bought for her, A Genie.
The sparkle in her daughter’s eyes inspired Marj and her husband to go to their first costume convention in Indianapolis where they bought 25 get-ups and Costume World was born in 1989: A place to rent a costume anytime of the year! Dressing up was not just for halloween or Christmas anymore: For Michigan City, Superheroes could show up to a birthday party at anytime and Parades came to life. Sadly, she passed away in August of 2015, and yet her spirit presents itself with every laugh and moment of joy her costumes bring to those who wear them. Sue Copeland was that daughter, and I had the privilege of listening to her share these memories. She took over the family business and carries on the family legacy. According to Sue, “I still have and rent the costume that started it all”, as pictured Sue with the genie costume.
According to Sue, “Costume World has over 1200 costumes to rent from as little as $15 to the most expensive at $125 with an average cost of $25-$65 and some for purchase…” but this store offers so much more: Mustaches to masks, heels to boots, wigs to coffins, real costume makeup (not the cheap stuff from Walmart, but the real stuff they use on sets), kids to adults, superheroes to mascots, sassy to sexy, furies to firemen, this place comprises every accessory needed for the full effects of a theme party.
I just love the creative mind this store offers our community and to have this family business here for 30 years truly enriches the art district. During her off season, she usually is open by appointment only, but with the help of supportive friends, she will be participating in the First Fridays again. Thanks Sue for carrying on the delightful family traditions your mom started in our community!! Not to mention, I finally found a place to buy clothes in my style !!!
I love the beach where you can dig your feet into the sand feeling rooted to the earth. Surrounding yourself with the elements of earth, wind and water, place your soul in the mix as the 🔥.
Empower yourself. Find your passions. Figure out your boundaries. You may not know what it is you want, but we all know what we DON’T want from our life experiences: thru that we discover our boundaries and can determine their strength; Which ones bend and which ones are unbreakable. Define yourself and your destiny will be visible with clarity. The power of becoming one with the elements of the earth (grounding) allows us to obtain power from nature and not from people. A dependable power that never falls short , never fails, and always there. Your destiny is in your hands and this tool in your toolbox is a great tool to use when rebuilding one’s self.
Another tool in my tool box is Tai Chi. I have found a trainer online thru you tube that encompases the powers of nature into his routines. I have tried Yoga but found my clumsy sense of balance does not assist in my success. Whereas, Tai Chi is a fluid movement focused on breathing, and grounding . Check out Jake Mace Tai Chi on You Tube for many videos that are easy to follow along if you want a 15 minute work-out / mind vacation.
As the sunsets in the horizon, the warmth of it’s colors embrace the moments of the day and brings joy to the soul.
From the lighthouse in Michigan City, IN – feelings of release and clarity fill the soul and spark an inner flame of endless possibilities.
Seeing a peaceful moment thru the obstacles placed before me, I find contentment.
Even though things get twisted and seem to grow in different directions, the strength comes from the deep grounded roots and commands attention to its beauty.
When life gets heated, the cooling colors of a winter sunset can surrender the beast of hostility.
When you reach a destination along your journey and the sand beckons for the touch of your bare feet, the waves call out to mist your face, and the serenity is heard in every sound….. ya just can’t unpack fast enough !!!!!
The world presents limitless prospects of triumphant magnitude from a desolate sand dune.