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Black Watch Friday

I’m stuffed. Rather than fight the crowds, I’m going to stay home and cozy up on the couch with a good book and a warm blanket. Consider doing the same. Make your Black Friday a Black Watch Friday. [Read more...]

Faribault Woolen Mill x All Plaidout

When the time came to name this All Plaidout, a blog with posts about things that are not trendy, about the stories of style over fashion, about the stories behind the clothes we wear, I turned to the rich history of a cloth pattern known as a tartan. I chose the tartan most emblematic of my style, my appreciation of history, and the one that most often showed up in my closet from as early on as I can remember, the Black Watch.

A dark, neutral tartan, it was first worn by the watchmen, highly trained members of the Scottish military who’d combined their clan’s patterns to stand as one. Owed primarily to its widely appealing aesthetic quality, it has become one of the most popular and sought after plaids.

When collaborating with John Mooty at Faribault Woolen Mill on a Black Watch plaid blanket, he offered a unique suggestion.

“Let’s ground it in the threads of the U.S. Military blankets for which we’re most well-known,” he said.

By combining the green from the U.S. Army, the blue from the U.S. Navy, and the black from the West Point Academy blankets, Faribault has created a subtly new, beautiful, and altogether American take on a pattern with a rich and wonderful history.

To capture the evocative nature of the fall blanket, I turned to Carolina Mariana Rodriguez, whose self-portraits fill a frame with emotion and texture, a feeling that extends far beyond a model draped in a blanket.

As for the blanket itself, far from those rough ones I remember wrapping myself in while sitting on the bleachers at high school football games, these thick, warm blankets are made of the same MIL-SPEC yarns as those that protect those whose job it is to protect and serve the rest of us.

Finished with the flourish of a red-yarned whipstitch – which too nods to the various derivations in the Black Watch plaid, a red line in the pattern signified at times difference in rank or platoon – every effort has been made to ensure each blanket provides the utmost in functionality and comfort.

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Read Laura Pearson’s piece on blankets in the Chicago Tribune, featuring this blanket.

Available from these fine online retailers.*

Faribault Woolen Mill 
Ampersand Shops
Ewin’s
Old Faithful (Canada)
Orvis
The New York Times
TRNK

All photos courtesy of Carolina Mariana Rodriguez and Kyle Smith.

*Ask for the “Shadow Plaid Foot Soldier” blanket with the All Plaidout label anywhere Faribault Woolen Mill products are sold.

Whole Larder Love: Practiculture

Who is excited for Camp Wandawega now?

One Part Plant: Dude Edition


The multi-talented über-connector Jessica Murnane recently asked me to host one of her For Reals Meals for her plant-based site, One Part Plant. You may recall my girlfriend co-hosted one last year.

plant (8 of 15)Murnane was adamant on two fronts:
1) ALL PLANTS.
2) YOU CAN’T KNOW ANYONE YOU INVITE.

One was easy. Though I might share innumerable photos of the insides of diners and dive bars, colorful images of gravy slathered breakfasts and late night burgers, I actually try to eat relatively well. I love to make colorful salads. I am a big believer in finding balance. The grosser the meal the night before, the better I try to eat the next day. I haven’t done the best job this year, what with my job taking me in and out of many of the best bars and restaurants in the country on a frequent basis, but on my days off I’ve learned to simplify: cut out salts and sugars, cut back on coffee and drinks, load up on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lots and lots of water.

I was excited to see how my guests might take to my plant-based cocktails.

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plant (6 of 15)The first person I thought to invite was Michael Ciapciak, whose Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood has become something of a community center for me and my friends. Michael and I are both from St. Louis, and yet he and I have only a passing familiarity with one another. I loved having the opportunity to work with Michael on a gathering such as this one, and he definitely brought his A game: housemade pickles, a zucchini crudo (served on a roast board), a crudité of romesco with an assortment of tri-color carrots (served in a cast iron skillet). This red pepper sauce had a delicious, nutty quality. It was so filling. He also made a special Rhubarb Syrup just for me (!), which I put in a cocktail with Basil Hayden’s, basil leaves, mint leaves, amber agave and soda water.

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plant (3 of 15)The next two guys have long been heroes of mine. The co-founder of Goose Island Beer and the founder and current owner of Virtue Cider, Greg Hall is — to say the least — a major factor in the United States’ impressive growth of both microbreweries and the emerging boom in cideries.

Upon moving to Chicago, one of the first things I signed up to do was volunteer at the Green City Market, the city’s biggest farmer’s market, and one of the best in the country. At the end of my shift, Peter Klein of Seedling has always provided me with my traditional treat: a fruit smoothie made entirely using ingredients from his Michigan farm and orchard.

I’d only met these guys on a handful of occasions, and we’d never actually spent any time talking at length. To have the opportunity to learn about their businesses was a true treat. Greg brought two of the driest ciders I’ve ever tried, one of which a single orchard variety, The Ledbury, made its way into a cocktail he told me about, the Stone Fence, one of the very first “cocktails,” which is simply equal parts whiskey and cider. Pete brought the spiciest brandied cherries I’ve ever tasted and some special cherry bitters he made in collaboration with the guys at Bittercube in Milwaukee.

plant (5 of 15)Mike Ader of Midnorth Mercantile recently moved to Chicago from Minneapolis / St. Paul, where he was famous for his haircuts, his vintage clothing bazaar, and, well, his mustache. “My fiancée says I can’t call myself ‘Mustache Mike’ any longer.” Probably a good thing, Mike. I am always enamored with Mike’s finds. He has a treasure trove of vintage sporting goods, canvas sneakers, leather deck jackets, army fatigues, and recently, according to Instagram, a bevy of truly antique men’s and women’s swimwear.

Grant Legan the photographer and brand strategist whose travels inspire lush, interesting compositions which he graciously shares via Instagram. I’ve been a Grant Legan fan for a couple years, and though we live in the same city, our paths never crossed. I was determined to make it so, and he graciously accepted my invitation, regaling us with stories from his time driving a luxury car around the streets of New Orleans. Rough life.

And last, but certainly not least, there’s Mr. Super DangerAlex Maier, the musician and and filmmaker whose photos you’re currently enjoying. Alex and I have been in the mutual appreciation club for some time, and I’m happy to report since hanging out at Bang Bang, we’ve had occasion to share bourbon and burgers on a windier-than-expected day in Chicago’s West Loop.

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plant (12 of 15)The relationships we make as men are hard fought, owing mostly to the realities of growing up, settling down, over-committing at work and at home. It goes without saying, I really appreciate these guys. And of course, none of this would’ve been possible without one really special woman. So thanks to Jessica Murnane and all these dudes for taking time out of your weeks to spend it with the likes of me. It was a true pleasure to share this simple story of a plant-based fellowship.

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Big Sadie

I was excited to learn this morning of the newly formed Big Sadie, formerly EB & The Moores, fronted by friend, the multi-talented designer, musician, writer, photographer, chef, and all-around good person, Elise Bergman. Alongside her husband, guitarist Collin Moore and fiddle player Jess McIntoshElise and band have been performing their own brand of bluegrass at a few locations in Chicago.Big Sadie

This is My Denver


Thanks to a partnership with entertainment site The A.V. Club, Basil Hayden’s is putting me on the road to mix it up with fans of our bourbon and fans of their site. We call this tour “This is My….” Starting in Denver, we’ll be traveling to several cities across the country to document a collection of people in each city doing interesting things centered around a theme. Our theme for Denver was après ski, that time when you ditch your gear and curl up with some good food, good friends, a good movie, and a good cocktail (or two). Special thanks to Williams & Graham’s Chad Michael George for crafting the Red on the Rocks cocktail and to Winter Session’s Tanya Fleisher and Roy Katz for sharing their story and their space for our first event.

The Illustrations of Christine Mitchell Adams

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So incredibly stoked for my friend N’East Style’s Christine Mitchell Adams’ new site. Some of you may recall that when it was time for us to create the logo for Buckshot Sonny’s, Christine was our first call. When Basil Hayden’s asked me to create an image to go along with my title of “Cultural Bloodhound,” well, you know the rest. As she tells it, “99% of my comSessi us t="dat have beefolksly apoachtting mthe rougwordns-om/soull. with m; new sing, //will bf-promoling Mitpping e-illustratind seice>As for the firstimet). Thiisam a biMiclt leest for mt sincd I time talking aboul myse. B put iy doinsocd Iop me to collaborern with s wirin rgtle ooncerants cluddoing

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