Archive for the ‘bingo’ Category

Too hot for soup

June 5, 2010

Gone to play BINGO.

Soup (and bingo) report

May 5, 2010

I was on duty last Wednesday at the Hideout, checking my Facebook feed and dusting off the Scrabble board to bust out a game with my one regular, when a young woman charged into the bar. Face full of expectation, she stopped short just inside the door, and surveyed the empty room. “Is the soup thing happening tonight?” she asked, with a grimace that said she was just then figuring out the answer.

I broke it to her gently. Soup season is over for now — but we’ll be back next winter! And,  in the meantime, Veggie Bingo starts up again in June.

“Oh …. OK,” she said, backing away, shaking her head. “Bingo, huh?”

I felt bad!

So to her, and to anyone else wondering where the soup went, I’m still catching up on recipes, and will be posting them over the next month, including a trove of terrific bread recipes courtesy of Soup and Bread associate the Lone Baker, Rae Hill. Just as soon as I can sit down with Rae and translate the bakers’ measurements into teaspoons and cups for normal people.

And, yes, there will be bingo. Tentative start date: June 18 16. More details to come, just as soon as we hammer them out.

I’m working on a few soup-related projects for the summer, as well, though those remain, for now, on the DL. This weekend, though, I’m cooking up a pot of soup for the Great Collaboration, a benefit for the Fire This Time fund. Fire This Time is a “creative justice giving circle” that raises money to support artists, activists, and educators working for social change.

Or, in their words:

  • We prioritize the channeling of project-based funds to informal groups working in atypical ways, inside and outside of the non-profit model, without access or ties to extensive institutional support.
  • We encourage innovative, experimental and radical ideas and models of action.
  • We support creative cultural as well as creative, community organizing and education projects that provoke critical thought by raising awareness or dialogue around justice issues.

All of which we at Soup and Bread can get behind. Come check it out! I’ll be serving soup from 5 till the crock runs dry. Not sure what’s on the menu yet, though — I’m open to suggestions.

Don’t feel like leaving the house? Watch this space for more recipes, more from the soup beat, and breaking news on the imminent return of Veggie Bingo. Irv and Shelly are back on board as sponsors and I’m starting to line up callers this week.

Summer is here. Feel it.


Bingo apology, cookbook update, and chicken noodle soup

October 27, 2009



I keep meaning to post an update from the final night of bingo — when we raised $357 for the Chicago Rarities Orchard Project — but the guy I borrowed a camera from never sent me the photos. Dave, if you’re reading this, help a girl out!

At this point, tho, it may be silly to dwell on the bingo past. Looking forward to the soupy future, here’s the latest update on Kickstarter funding for the Soup and Bread Cookbook. We are SO CLOSE to meeting our goal.

If you click through to the Kickstarter page you can also get a better look at the sample spread from the book posted above. It’s for chicken noodle soup a la Gapers Block, and it’s looking pretty good today.

Bingo 10/7: Everybody’s a winner

October 11, 2009


We had SEVEN grand prize bingo winners this week — an unprecedented event that had us scrambling for bottles of Tito’s, Hideout t-shirts, and just about anything else we could lay hands on to beef up the prize basket. Thanks to Kent Lambert, who showed up late with a bag of cucumbers and eggplants fresh from his garden, we even had some extra veggies!


Our callers David Kodeski and Diana Slickman gracefully oversaw distribution of all the prize booty, which was accomplished without blood or tears. Everyone went home happy … and David even got to go home with a bottle of vodka, as his boyfriend was one of the lucky seven.


Outside, a small contingent of patio diehards bundled up and soldiered on.


Inside, things were warmer, but no less serious  …


Though Slick kept things light with, apparently, the occasional pelvic thrust.


We made $251 for our friend Vera and her Videnovich Farms. Can’t you just feel the excitement?

Also exciting — and a little sad — is the news about next week’s bingo. It is the LAST BINGO OF THE SEASON (sad) — but it will be hosted by BOBBY CONN (exciting!). Proceeds go to benefit the Chicago Rarities Orchard Project, or “CROP” — an ambitious new community orchard initiative dedicated to preserving rare and heirloom fruits. This recent Time Out story has the low-down.

After this week we’re gonna take a little break and finish this dang cookbook, before we start dusting off the crock pots for the return of Soup and Bread, currently slated for January 6. Watch this space for more information — and please come on out on the 14th for one last round of b-i-n-g-o.

See you then!

The view from Videnovich Farms

October 7, 2009


A few weeks ago I took a field trip to Michigan. Destination: Videnovich Farms, the family land where my friend Vera raises chicken, sheep, and vegetables. Vera and I used to work together at the Reader, and for years she ran a small, Reader-only CSA program, which had her delivering bags of vegetables to the office once a week all summer and fall.   After she was laid off in 2007 she decided to try and make a go of farming full time.

After hanging out with her for an afternoon, all I can say is I don’t know how she does it. And those vegetables? They’re underpriced by any minimum wage standard.


She shares the land with two of her four brothers, one of whom raises peppers that he sells to the Serbian community.


The other raises soybeans and white Concord grapes, which he sells to Welch’s. When the grapes are ripe on the vine, the whole farm smells like a lunchroom full of first graders.


On her corner of the farm, Vera specializes in rare, Old World vegetable varieties that reflect her Serbian roots. Eggplant, okra, beans, cucumbers, radishes, peppers, and more peppers. Sadly, her tomato crop, like so many, was devastated this year by blight.  The carnage — rows of mangy, rotting, inedible fruit — was painful to see.


But on the day I visited the okra, though late in ripening, was bountiful. And, beautiful.


I helped her pick a row — down once side and back up another. After about two hours this is what we had. Also, I had a little sunburn.


When Vera’s out there, she sleeps on the sofa in the main house, which is otherwise uninhabitable. The bathroom is in the barn. And every square foot of the farm’s uncultivated land seems to be full of old cars and rusty farm equipment, which her brothers buy at auction and then sell on the scrap metal market.


But there is also a passel of brilliantly colored chickens.


And some seriously adorable sheep. In the off-season, Vera spins their wool into yarn and knits sweaters and other wooly goods to sell at craft fairs like this weekend’s Handmade Market at the Empty Bottle. (Next weekend, for all you yarn geeks, she and her portable spinning wheel will be at YarnCon at Pulaski Park.)


Vera sells at the Andersonville and Logan Square farmers’ markets, and distributes her CSA at the Hideout. After seeing first-hand how hard she was working, we decided to dedicate this week’s bingo proceeds to her. OK, it’s not exactly “urban agriculture,” but independent entrepreneurs like her are in the vanguard of the movement to find creative, small-scale ways to bring farm-fresh produce to the city. Today, she says she’s going to bring some ajvar — Serbian pepper relish — to donate to the prize pot. You don’t want to miss this stuff; it is DELISH.

So, see you tonight, with our guest callers David Kodeski and Diana Slickman, of BoyGirlBoyGirl and Theater Oobleck. That’s from 6 to 8 PM at the Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia. Bingo, beer, and hot dogs (and their veggie friends) — what more could you want?

Bingo 9/30: Now with special guest recappers!

October 1, 2009

[Ryan and Jessica appointed themselves guest bloggers for this special edition of Veggie Bingo. Which — way above and beyond, dudes, and THANKS SO MUCH. Here’s what they have to say about this week’s bingomania.]


It was Henry Hinchsliff’s 7th birthday.  The family had just come from the Cubs game, where Max Crawford had given them a tour of the scoring box and even let the boys enter some stats onto the scoreboard as well as putting their names up on the big board.


Bingo started a little early (6:15) as Julia [Cardis, who paid her dues in high school as a teen bingo waitress] was rarin’ to go.


Tony had to duck out from his grilling duties at the last minute so Ick [father of Henry and Beckett] stepped up to the grill like a champ.


It was a little nippy outside but that didn’t stop a couple of die-hards …you’ll notice the earmuffs and hands folded between the knees.


The games were fast and furious as a result of Julia’s expertise and dead-pan delivery.  Her brother also stepped in as guest caller, followed by the birthday boy Henry himself.  He’s getting to be an old pro …calling the “H” game, repeatedly checking w/ the gamers to ask “is anyone close yet?”


Katie Tuten provided a nice cake for Henry from alliance bakery, and the whole crowd sang the birthday song.  The worm poop [from the greenhouses at Pacific Garden Mission] proved to be a hot-ticket item.


The grand prize was a tie (on the blackout game, no less), and naturally the produce and the vodka went to their respective happy homes.

[Martha again: Come back next week for the SECOND TO LAST BINGO OF THE SEASON, with callers David Kodeski and Diana Slickman, of BoyGirlBoyGirl and Theater Oobleck. Proceeds benefit the lovely Vera Videnovich, proprietor of Videnovich Farms, and purveyor of all those veggies you’ve been seeing lying around the Hideout on Wednesdays. Vera has distributed her CSA at the H/O all summer, and took to dropping by the bar  after the Andersonville farmers’ market — and bingo — to give away whatever produce she couldn’t sell. We hope next week’s bingo nets her at least enough to hire a little help, if not take a spa vacation. October 7. Hideout. 6-8 PM. See you then! Wear your mittens.]

Bingo 9/23: Night of the fancy dogs

September 29, 2009


Last week we had not only bingo, expertly called by smooth Jim Cooper of Baby Teeth, but we also had gourmet chicken sausages courtesy of Jim’s lovely wife, Elaine.

Here Elaine, center, and two friends dish up two varieties of dogs: one blueberry-feta, and one Italian-inspired, spiked with sun-dried tomatoes and spice. The dogs were being sold for cash money, but rest assured this was a one-time deal. This week we return to our regularly scheduled program of free beef dogs made by the artisans at Restaurant Depot. And, never fear!, veggie dogs.


Inside — and I must again apologize for the crummy photo quality here — Cowboy Jim kept the games rolling along. We don’t have audio, but believe me, this guy has a voice MADE for bingo. 

Our games last week benefitted the gardens at Eckhart Park at Chicago and Noble. The gardens there are kept up by a small group of committed neighbors, not the Park District; the $186 we raised on their behalf will go to buy bulbs to be planted this weekend. You can see the results in full bloom next spring.

I won’t be around for this week’s bingo, but I’m leaving you in the capable hands of caller Julia Cardis, who spent her teen years as a bingo waitress. She came and scoped it out last week and declared, “Yup. Looks like bingo!”

Proceeds from tomorrow’s game benefit the gardens at Drummond Montessori and Oscar Mayer schools. Have fun, and I’ll see you next week, when the talented and charming David Kodeski and Diana Slickman (BoyGirlBoyGirl; Theater Oobleck) take a turn behind the the bingo cage.

Bingo 9/16: Get ’em while they’re young

September 18, 2009


Very few of my photos came out this week — blurry, dark, several shots of the floor. What was going on do not know. I blame my broken zoom lens.

This one, however, captures one moment in all its unbearable cuteness. Anastasia roped in some helpers in the forms of two sons, one niece, and a nephew. They took turns calling the numbers on the “Crazy H” game. Sorry about the annoying flash, Beckett!

For more, better photos, look here.

And .. that’s it for this week. I have nothing else to say and am staring down rush-hour traffic to Michigan. Come back next week when caller Jim Cooper, of Baby Teeth, lives out his lifelong fanstay of calling bingo. For real. He said that. 

And check out the Kickstarter page for the forthcoming Soup and Bread cookbook. I can’t believe it is almost soup season already — but it is.

ADDENDUM! I would be remiss to not mention that last week we handed over a wad of cash to NeighborSpace. $3,445 to be precise. That’s a lot of mulch.

Last week’s bingo, in turn, benefitted the Advocates for Urban Agriculture. Still hammering out who The Eckhart Park Gardeners (second item) will be the recipient of this week’s take, and are donating homemade soaps to the prize bucket.  Oh, the suspense!

Bingo and Mekons: 9/9/09

September 13, 2009

Jon and Sally

“Eyes down!” announced Sally Timms at the start of each bingo game this week — and the crowd obeyed like dutiful schoolchildren. Timms and her partner, Jon Langford, kept it simple: straight lines, Xs, and Ts; no “martini glasses” for this pair. But Langford  seemed to get restless near the end when, having divested themselves of the bag of Fresh Picks bounty, they found themselves with ten more minutes on the clock and quickly whipped together a new game.

“Glam Rock Bingo!” crowed Langford. “G11: Gary Glitter’s legs …..”


It was a beautiful night and bingo players were out in force, finding ever-more creative ways to  maximize every inch of horizontal Hideout space.


Inside, we listened to Obama school the nation on health-care — and the difference between “socialism” and “human decency and common sense.”


Here, grand-prize winner Brian shows off his haul.


First-timer Julia took home a bottle of hot sauce.


And I believe her pal Loren walked away with twin bottles of liquid fire — though she declined to model them for the camera.


Here, NeighborSpace executive director Ben Helphand soaks up the final day of official NeighborSpace-sponsored bingo. In ten weeks this summer we raised more than $3,000 (!!!) for the local community gardens under his umbrella, so with the extension we’ve decided to spread the wealth around. From now through October 14, each weekly game will benefit a different gardening and/or urban ag concern — starting with this week’s game, on September 16, whose proceeds go to Advocates for Urban Agriculture. (Did you know that Chicago was recently named one of the five best cites for urban gardening in the country?)


There’s a certain crisp clarity to the nights lately, as it gets darker ever-earlier, but we will continue to fire up the grill as long as the weather holds. This week Tony doles out the dogs as the Hideout’s own Anastasia Davies Hinschliff, with perhaps a little help from ace bingoers Henry and Beckett  — spins the cage and figures out how to keep “O-69” family friendly. 

So come on out! We’d love to see you.

Bingo 9/2: Special guests and blurry photos edition

September 7, 2009


September 2, 2009: Irv and Shelly in the house!

Above, Shelly presents  winner …. [name? oops] with his grand prize of a double box of Fresh Picks booty. On the left, caller Chris Salveter rests his eyes.


It was a beautiful day for bingo — a relief given the crummy weather for the two Wednesdays prior. But, no rain delay this time around. Instead, all were free to luxuriate on the dry, tent-free patio. At one point I looked out the window and the line for hot dogs stretched almost out into Wabansia Street. Don’t mob the grill man! He is there to help.


Inside things proceeded smoothly, despite some early-evening technical difficulties and despite Chris’s dogged reluctance to stick to the predetermined shapes. (Artists. What can you do?)


Rather, in his zeal to give away prizes, he had the players doing tricks. Above, I fail to capture one game young lady, who expertly performed a freestanding handstand in exchange for the prize of an EcoSpout. Later, two more contestants powered through the recitation of all 50 states in alphabetical order. Only one of them made it, but I forget what she won. Have I mentioned that it’s really hard to document this and tend bar at the same time?


Here’s owner Katie, pictured with friends Jen (left) and Arthur (in lap).


And here’s a photo of the whole Fresh Picks family: Shelly (front), Irv (rear) and their daughter (on lap). It was really a treat that they came out to see what we were up to. Come back any time guys!


They — and you — have six more chances to get some bingo action this fall. Coming up, on September 9, on the eve (almost) of this weekend’s Bloodshot Records 15th Anniversary Beer-B-Q, we have roped in Mekons Sally Timms and Jon Langford as callers. Who on earth knows what may happen there.

Still lining up callers for the rest of the run, but so far it looks like bartender Anastasia Davies Hinschliff on the 16th; friend-of-Hideout and teenaged bingo waitress Julia Cardis on the 30th, and monologuist/bingo die-hard David Kodeski on October 7.

Come out and play!