Category Archives: cooking

Best Darn Festival there is Every year!


Next Gen Rockers!

“I’m David Kindler’s plus one (Thanks David!)”  With those words I entered into what I consider the best music festival I have ever attended. David is a friend and photographer extroardinaire (his photos below), plus fellow music geek.  I know many paid big bucks to see the last dead shows at soldier field but they could of saved a lot of money if the goal was many great bands for a great price.  Running for four days every summer around Independence Day.  The American Music Festival at Fitzgerald’s in Berwyn has been running for 34 years and my only regret is missing the first 32. My thanks again to David Kindler (photographer extraordinaire)  for introducing me to this great festival. On to my personal Highlights…


  • School of Rock kids from across the world jamming their hearts out.
  • Tom Cimm’s fantastic Cajun Food!
  • AmySarah Muscle Shoals
  • Sarah Borges and Amy Black and the Muscle Shoals Revue.  A great tribute to some of the greatest music ever made. Those women can flat out sing!
  • Meeting Val (Thanks David Kindler)! of Val’s Halla Records in Oak Park. Your recommendation to see the the band below was spot on!
  • What Four –  Thank you Scott Ligon, Casey McDonough, Phil Angotti amd Matt Warren in the sidebar. The pure joy and harmonies were amazing!
  • Luke Fitzgeralds
  • Luke Underhill. The young man of 19 has a great voice, solid songwriting and a bright future.
  • Terrance Simien
  • Terrance Simein and the Zydeco Experience. He always seems to be the one having the most fun! His band brings it too!
  • Cochombo!!! Best Sandwich Ever. Seriously.
  • Marcia Ball crushing it as I returned after a short hiatus.
  • Cold Beer starting at $3 a can!
  • Water stations
  • The bartenders, waitstaff, cooks, security, and anyone else working this event do an incredible job working very long hours on little Sleep.  Job Well Done!

Fitzgerald family

  • The FitzGerald Family for bring this amazing event to the masses for the 34th year.

Fitzgerald Venue


Maybe I’ll see you there next year…


My TV debut

I arrived 15 minutes earlier than the prescribed 10:30 call as I wanted to be ready for action when I did my 4 minute cooking spot for WGN news Firehouse cooks segment.  I had just unpacked all my gear and food, getting everything ready when I realized I had forgot the turkey.   Being that turkey is in the title of  the 2-11 Turkey Chili this was a bit of a setback.  It was actually back in the fridge at home where I had left it.  Well I let Christine (person assisting me I forget her title) know and quickly drove over to the local supermarket, purchased items and returned to the studio in 15 minutes.  Lucky for me I had already had everything else staged and prepped (chopped and diced the night before).  It was now ten minutes to 11am and I had to be ready by 11:22am for the promo shot.  No problem.  My pre-made chili was warming up and the water for my hot dogs was ready as well. (If your making chili you should always make chili dogs!)  The meat was sauteing with the onions and peppers. I left half a green pepper ready for the promo shot giving me something to chop (so I could look chef-ly). Dropped in a jar of salsa and crushed tomatoes. and got ready with my re-fried black beans and regular black beans to put in on camera. I was hooked up to a mic and ready to go. At this point that I am cooking on an electric stove top on wheels and it has digital slide control.  My pre-made chili is warming, my hot dog water is boiling and the new chili is simmering nicely… or so I thought.  So we get to the segment and Steve Sanders is a mist gracious host and makes me look good. I am also wearing a new firehouse t-shirt as to not embarrass the wife with a stained old one.  You ask how did most of my firehouse t-shirts get stained?  Cooking in the firehouse. But I digress… Steve immediately gives a plug for the Poochamungas and our first CD Mud, Mommies and Mayhem. We then segue into the chili I am making and why I choose to use black beans instead of chili beans and you can see it all at the link below.  Well right after I answer that he asks the question of where the band is playing next.  It’s Lincoln Hall on March 8th for the Band Together benefit.  He then wraps it up and I smell something burning.  Seems my simmering pre-cooked chili is now on high and burning. Oops.  No idea how that happened.  Not only that now we gotta get everything out of the set because there is another cooking segment coming up (making baby food) and I pour Steve a bowl of the burnt chili and warn him. The stage hand says time to leave.  We place all of the materials on a cart and we are out.  In the hallway I set up the hot dogs, chili and chips for the station workers to eat.  Pack up all my pots, pans, spoons and knife and head out to my car.  In all the hustle to get ready I forgot to take pics.  Here is a token pic of the buffet I left behind.  20140227_114802What is amazing is how much work and preparation it to  shoot that 4 minute segment.   I’d also like to thank the WGN staff for their help.  Maybe one day we’ll get the band on there.  Perhaps…  Check out the link below for the whole segment.

4 minutes of fame

Pooch head starsTomorrow I shall be on the WGN afternoon news cooking up some of my world famous Turkey Chili.  I signed up for the spot back in September when I was looking for PR for the new Album.  They have a weekly segment about cooking in the firehouse and I was a firehouse cook for a long time. We’ll the album isn’t as new but it seems the TV people have gotten around to having me on the show so perhaps a mention of the kids band may or may not happen.  Either way you should pay attention because I do make the finest bowl of turkey chili known to man (that ain’t bragging) and I’m gonna share it on national TV .  It’s should be fun!