Brooklyn-based food writer Kara Zuaro peeked into the tour buses of more than 100 bands for I Like Food, Food Tastes Good (Hyperion, $17.95), out in April. Favorite on-the-road recipes range from the gourmet (Chicago’s Aluminum Group’s pasta bolognese) to tour bus chic (Death Cab for Cutie’s veggie sausage and peanut butter sandwich). What’s so special about that Aluminum Group pasta sauce? “It’s love on a spoon,” says the band’s John Navin. “Even the Italians I’ve made it for say it’s really up there.”
Green thumb’s up:
Orchids-those fickle beauties-really are “tough little plants,” says Kate Sadowski, a Chicago Botanic Garden horticulturist. Is she for real-or just drumming up business for the Mid-America Orchid Congress Show and Sale on April 28th and 29th (847-835-5440, chicagobotanic.org)? Even a novice, Sadowski says, can tame “Sherry Baby"-a chocolate-scented hybrid orchid.
Pedals and petals:
“I like to do graffiti, and my mom wasn’t happy,” says 18-year-old José Nuñez, who has since poured his artistic energy into a public display that’s-look, Mom!-sanctioned. Nuñez and other teenage artists in the city’s After School Matters program have fashioned 40 sculptures from salvaged bicycles; for a month starting April 16th, the structures will line tulip beds along Michigan Avenue from Oak Street to the river.
Look who’s talking:
What makes The C Student’s Guide to Success (Tarcher/Penguin, $23.95) legit? Author Ron Bliwas, now president and CEO of the Chicago ad agency A. Eicoff & Company, was a so-so student himself. “Everybody has a bit of a ‘C student’ in them in some aspect of their lives,” says Bliwas.
After ten years and hundreds of acts, Chicago Improv Festival founder Jonathan Pitts knows good improv (it’s not, he says, when an audience member is prompted for a party location and blurts “in my pants”). Here Pitts recommends four acts to catch during the fest, which runs April 23rd through 29th at 11 different locations (773-935-9810; chicagoimprovfestival.org): (1) Chica-go-to-L.A. pair Razowsky & Clifford, “one of the best duos in the country”; (2) local female trio Switchboard, “who really know how to bring the funny”; (3) Annoyance Theatre alums Bassprov, who always surprise with a celebrity comic guest; and (4) headliners the MADtv cast who for the past three years have played to “huge adoring Chicago crowds.”
We’re not sure what we love more: There’s the Meg Ryan– movie–worthy story of Jennifer and Alec Yannoulis, who met while working at Pizza D.O.C., married, and have launched their own brick-oven pizza venture named Sapore di Napoli (1406 W. Belmont Ave.; 773-935-1212). Then there’s the couple’s “Arucola,” a perfectly crisp thin-crust pie ($15) topped with a mound of fresh arugula, cherry tomatoes, shaved Parmesan, prosciutto, and a splash of olive oil. All potential health perks are quickly nullified by two scoops of gelato ($5), which the couple get fresh from a local they don’t care to name, lest the competition find out.
Illustration: Wes Duvall Photography: (Orchid) Robin Carlson,
(Madtv) John Abbott, (pizza) Todd Urban