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**Alright, I am obviously way behind the eight-ball when it comes to posting this.  When May appeared I knew what I wanted to do, but hadn’t fully researched options for the list.  Then this thing called guilt took over and I felt so bad for being behind that I sort of shut down and avoided blogging altogether out of shame.  I do that a lot.  Instead of just moving forward I recoil and let feelings of woe-is-me take over and dictate my life.  But you see friends, it is my hope that these lists might interest…dare I even say  inspire… you to get out and explore in your own cities. There are no rules when it comes to making them.  There are no failing grades if items don’t get accomplished.  They are merely a compass.  A little set of guide posts to assist you on the road to discovery**

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On Monday I began rehearsals for my newest theatrical endeavor with Baliwick Chicago.  It’s a world premiere play titled Mahal by Chicago playwright Danny Bernardo.  We open July 1st at Stage 773.  Put it on your calendar 🙂

In a nutshell, Mahal is a new piece about a Filipino-American family which is mourning the loss of their mother and examining their individual cultural identities.  As I am whitey-white-white I am clearly not part of the central family, rather I play a young interior designer who is hired by the father to redo the house now that the matriarch has passed.  It should be a grand old-time that is for sure.

Several scenes in the play revolve around gathering, or attempting to gather, for dinner.  On thing I have learned about Filipino’s so far: they are all about food and family.  Lucky for me, our first read of the script back in February was held at an amazing restaurant called The Pecking Order which serves up amazing Filipino inspired fried chicken, and some of the best rice I have ever consumed.

Discovering a culture through food is by no means a new idea, but even after living in Chicago for almost twelve (!) years, there are still many ethnic neighborhoods and dishes I have yet to experience.  So in a case of life imitating art I am going to set out own my own little edible expedition through several neighborhoods to fill my mind, and stomach.

May/ June Resolution List: Neighborhood Nibbles

Exploring culture through cuisine

1) Try some street cart food on Devon Avenue (Indian)

2) Have some Pho on Argyle Ave (Vietnamese)

3) Experience some Korean BBQ at San Soo Gab San (Korean…you probably already figured that out)

4) Visit a Herbalist in Chinatown (Chinese…yeah…clearly)

5) Stand in line at Mario’s Italian Lemonade and get an Italian Beef Sandwich at Al’s in Little Italy (Ok…this is getting redundant)

6) Explore Beverly by getting a sweet potato pie, a rainbow cone and a pint (Irish)

7) Take all I can eat at the Red Apple Buffet (Polish)

8) Visit the Pilsen Neighborhood Favorite Nuevo Leon (Mexican)

9) Have some Hefeweizen on the roof of Gene’s Sausage Shop in Lincoln Square (German)

10) Try my hand at making my own version of a Jibarito (Puerto Rican)

Fitting this all into a six-day-a-week rehearsal schedule will be tough…but when food is involved, I usually find ways to make things happen.

My stomach is grumbling just thinking about all of this…

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