dark matter coffee

I love upstart independent coffee roasters, so couldn’t help but be intrigued by this Western Ave. storefront in Ukrainian Village.

And this roaster has quite the origin story. Jesse Diaz served coffee at Star Lounge in 2007. Two months into his employment, the owners shared that they wanted to sell. So Jesse got a $2,000 loan from a childhood friend, and Dark Matter Coffee was born. The coffee is great, and the blends are quirky, edgy fun.

There is Unicorn Blood.

The Bourbons of Dr. Funkenstein. (Seriously, this artwork!)

And for Guns N’ Roses fans, Warm November Rain.

The staff at the mothership location could not be nicer, BTW.

kungsholm puppet opera

Can you imagine Swedish fine dining and an evening of miniature puppet opera (yes, miniature puppet opera) at a restaurant off Magnificent Mile in Chicago? Imagine, my friends. It was the Kungsholm restaurant at Rush and Ontario that operated the Kungsholm Miniature Grand Opera from 1937 to 1971. For real.

Highly detailed puppets in miniature.

The venue even had an orchestra pit (complete with hydraulic lift) sporting 52 players. This is the conductor Tosci.

The Swedish American Museum in Andersonville currently has this episodic/operatic amazingness on display. Enjoy.

chicago fire department (engine 96)

Zigzagging my way through the Austin neighborhood on the West Side and found this. A Chicago fire station–Engine 96.

Love the bright red doors and terra cotta building accents. Without the pale robin’s egg blue accents, the red doors might not be as red. Without the red doors, the blue accents might not be so warm in color.

great lakes yard

Open House Chicago was this past weekend. More than 350 buildings open for adventurers/explorers. Great Lakes Yard in Garfield Park was an interesting surprise.

Located in a large bow-and-truss warehouse on Lake Street, Great Lakes Yard salvages old growth lumber.

The warehouse is a natural history museum of sorts for visitors. A box of old mallets.

A clover-shaped stool fashioned from a tree trunk.

And random boards and boxes.

hoosier mama pie company on chicago ave.

Pie shops have a strong butter smell. Or should, anyway. Hoosier Mama Pie Company on Chicago Avenue smells exactly that: butter and more butter.

Owner/baker Paula Haney, an Indy native, opened her pie shop on Chicago Ave. in 2009, and her pies might be the best in the city. The pie crust is buttery, flaky goodness. The fillings range from strawberry rhubarb (my fave), apple (classic), Fat Elvis (chocolate, peanut butter, and bananas, natch), to different custards and chess arrangements. Dieters beware, pie lovers rejoice. You can fork the pie menu here.