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.

Lyle Lovett x All Plaidout x Hamilton Shirts

Lyle Lovett Hamilton All PlaidoutI recently took a trip to Houston, and while I was there, fourth-generation shirt maker, David Hamilton measured me for this custom Lyle Lovett for Hamilton Shirt. I’ll be sharing photos from the factory very soon, but I couldn’t wait to share the shirt.

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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The Manual

_MG_4983-Edit-2I was interviewed about some of my favorite things today for The Manual’s Worn Out Wednesday. Check it out.

Photo c/o Carolina Mariana.

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 Collective Quarterly: Issue Ø

Today marks the launch of The Collective Quarterly, a travel magazine told from the perspective of a group of creative individuals brought together to collaborate with one another. Each issue focuses on a single locale: its people, places, and things. For those who have traveled to the place in question, the hope is that fresh surroundings will stoke the creative fire, infusing their work with elements of their discoveries while on the trip. For the locals featured, the hope is chiefly to be inspired by them, and secondarily, humbly, in their meeting this motley crew of writers, artists, artisans, and photographers, it may trigger in them a desire to further explore the potentials within their own craft. Pouring together this unique combination, reading about how it has come together in the pages of the publication, we think readers will aspire to more deeply explore their own passions.

I’m proud to have been asked to help with the creation of this publication from some of its earliest stages by its founders — photographer Jay Gullion, illustrator Jesse Lenz, and writer Seth J. Putnam – prouder still to have been asked to participate and have my work featured in this, Issue Ø.

The beta run of The Collective Quarterly is focused on the city of Marfa, Texas and its surrounding area. While on the trip we slept in tipis and vintage trailers, crossed the border in a row boat, learned some life lessons from our mezcal-swigging barkeeps, and garnered an inside look at the work of a number of the town’s artists and artisans. You’ll have to buy a copy and read all about it.

You’ll notice The Collective Quarterly is more than just a magazine. There is also a retail component featuring a collection of products made by members of the collective and inspired by the trip. As future issues develop, they will dive deeper into the creation of those products, documenting the people responsible for them and the sui generis story that lead to their creation. For issue Ø, Faribault Woolen Mill’s John Mooty made a blanket inspired by the colors of the wide skies of West Texas. That blanket was then incorporated into the manufacture of a backpack and a quilted vest.

In wrapping up, I thought it best to share the story of how I came to become involved with this incredible group. At one of our regular bar stool elbow-rubbings, one of my closest friends Seth Putnam asked me what I knew about Marfa. When I explained that — coincidentally — I had been planning a trip there with Basil Hayden’s in tow, he recruited me to help launch this ship on its maiden voyage, and thus began the process of reaching out to other shipmates — some of our favorite people, local folks in Marfa, clothing brands, clothing stores, advertisers, and other participants. That was followed by a crazy week-long stay in one of the most inspiring places I’ve ever been, and followed again by months of work on the part of all involved. Now, nine months later, Seth’s baby is born… well, Seth’s, Jay’s, and Jesse’s: Three Men and a Baby. Ladies and Gentlemen, The Collective Quarterly.

Pertinent Information:

The issue is for sale here.

The Collective Quarterly
The Coveted Man
The Midwest Style

The Collective:

Chris Mantz of Drift Eyewear

John Mooty of Faribault Woolen Mill

Kevin Russ, Photographer

Duncan Wolfe, Photographer and Filmmaker

Alternate Route

Coming tomorrow from the brand new Esquire Network is Matt Hranek’s show, Alternate Route.

A few years ago, Matt and I connected through our blogs. His, The William Brown Projectnamed for his 130-acre farm in upstate New York focuses on a life well-spent: hunting, fishing, camping, and working land not far from where he grew up. One of my favorite of his posts is the recipe for Kill Zone Granola, which I first enjoyed while staying the weekend in Delaware with the Gannon family (That reminds me: I need to make a batch this weekend).

Matt is a Brooklyn-based photographer who has spent the last 20 years traveling the globe, turning his lens and writing about some of the world’s most enviable destinations for many editorial and commercial clients such as Travel and Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler and Martha Stewart.

Through his travels, he’s been exposed to incredible people, places, and things. Until now, he’s shared them on his blog. As of tomorrow, this show will allow Matt to share his discoveries with a televised audience.

I first learned of Matt’s show while on the phone with and old high school buddy who is producing Matt’s show. My buddy and I were trying to figure out if there was something we could do with Made Right Here. While the jury’s still out on our show, Matt’s show is set for a splashy debut tomorrow night. Be sure to tune in. And stay tuned! He stops in Chicago on the 18th of December. Don’t be surprised if you see some familiar faces.


Alternate Route
Esquire Network
Wednesdays at 10:30pm EST / 9:30pm CST

Good Beer Hunting x Buckshot Sonny’s at Camp Wandawega

GBHBSSGLast year, Good Beer Hunting’s Michael Kiser and I held an epic collaborative weekend at Camp WandawegaSee Michael’s recap of last year here.

Well, this year, it’ll be as epic if not more so.

This year, October 4-6, we’re filling the weekend with more great beer, coffee, and food than last year, by collaborating with several of our friends from The Great Lakes Region: Context Clothing, FountainheadIntelligentsia, KickapooLongman & Eagle, Penrose Brewing, Publican Quality MeatsSolemn Oath Brewery, and I’m certain many more.

Sam Macon, one of the directors of Sign Painters is screening his flick while we sip cocktails made by Seth Putnam of the Overserved Society.

Today, some space became available. We’d love for you to join us for this incredible dudes’ weekend! That’s right, ladies. I’m sorry, but NO GIRLS ALLOWED.

If interested, send me an e-mail, max (at) buckshotsonnys (dot) com for more information. Act fast, as this will fill up.

Stock Mfg. Co.’s Kickstarter


Chicago’s Stock Mfg. Co. recently launched a fundraising campaign via the website, Kickstarter, a crowd-sourced funding site perfect for the small, local designer. With nine days and about $7,000 to go before hitting their goal of $20,000, I spoke with one of the partners, an old acquaintance of mine Areill Ives, about what he and the other Stock dudes hope to accomplish post-kick.
[Read more...]