Sunday, December 2, 2018

Staff Night Showdown

Fun fact about Ray Reiss, the namesake of Ray's Bucktown Bed and Breakfast, he's a crack-shot poker player. Once a year he makes a point of showing off these well-honed poker skills at staff poker night. This year, though, the staff also came to play. After a long and uphill battle of chips and wits, it was not Ray but our Manager, Kelly who came out victorious. It was truly epic, y'all. I'm sure Ray is already looking for a rematch.

That poker game wasn't the only competition of the night. Pre-poker, we had a Taco Showdown. First, we ordered beef tacos from every taco joint within a 3/4 radius (that's six places!). Then, we took notes and voted on the quality of tacos, and yes, I finished all six. The winners are as follows:

Aurturo's Tacos, Western Ave. Good meat/ onion balance, great salsa.
Las Asadas, Western Ave. Great beef.
Flash Taco, Damen Ave. A hipster favorite.

And, if we've inspired you to either play poker or get into the Latin-American spirit, here's some inspiration for ya:

1. National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture, Humbolt Park. The only museum focused solely on Puerto Rican Culture in the US, free parking and admission, and close to Ray's, surely the making of a lovely afternoon.

2. Pilsen Murals, Pilsen. This walk of mosaic and mural, established by the Chicago Urban Art society, makes for a lovely outing in an eclectic neighborhood.

C3PO, 1452 W. 16th Street, 20133. National Museum of Mexican Art, Pilsen. With one of the largest collections of Mexican Art in the US, this awe-inspiring museum is a can't miss.

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4. Horseshoe Hammond Casino, Hammond, IN. If you're looking for a real casino experience, the drive out of Chicago is certainly worth it!

5. Gamblers, Albany Park. Darts, Poker, Pool, drink specials, what more could you ask for?

Friday, October 26, 2018

All Hallows B&B

Lions and tigers and bears? Oh yeah! It’s about that time y’all, that spooky scary time where the leaves are turning, the air crisping, and the storefront that was once the home of a dodgy Ponderosa is now a neon-orange Spirit Halloween. The biggest decision of my year is about to be made: what to be for Halloween? I’m thinking Zombie Jackie Kennedy, demon big bird, or Hot Abraham Lincoln. All the staff here at Ray’s love Halloween. I’m not sure if Ray does himself, but he’s enough of a character that he still fits in.  

Halloween in Chicago is an entire weekend extravaganza, with Halloween on a Wednesday this year, there’s no shortage of festive activities to fully tune into your witchy side. What kind of Halloweener are you? Haunted house type? Costume dance party type? Eat so much candy your body physically explodes and you turn that into a zombie costume type? All of the above?  Chicago’s got events for ya, and Ray’s will always be here to cushion your sugar fallout post- Devil’s Night. 

If you’re not a fan of Halloween, go to a few of these events and open your mind to the possibilities of becoming a fun person. I believe in you. Anyways, Halloween events as follows:

In the Neighborhood:
Looking for a safe space to get some free candy? This map of safe businesses and homes has all you need to get them sweet sweet snickers bars. 
2.    Boo-Pallooza
Dog costume contests, food, dancing, this daytime events has a ton of live music and activities to get you into the Halloween Spirit. 

Around town:
1.    Hell’s Gate Haunted House, Lockport IL
A multi-level mansion filled with horrors. There’s a fright slide, and if you find the skeleton key hidden somewhere in the mansion, your ticket is free. 
2.    Masque Macabre, North Center
Interactive, Poe-inspired theatre. As an audience member, and integral part to the show, walk through an art gallery where horror comes to life.

The Classics: 
1.    Jack’s Pumpkin Pop-Up, River West
Sponsored by Goose Island Brewing Company, there’s a corn maze, live performances, and good beer. Not so spooky, but definitely so fun. 
This family friendly event at Wrigley field has trick or treating, farm animals, and a screening of “Casper the Friendly Ghost.” Simple, innocent, classic Halloween fun.
You can actually see those lions and tigers and bears! Plus, crafts,  hay mountain, a Ferris wheel, live music, and fall-themed zoo activites. 

Friday, September 28, 2018

New Season, New Me

It’s been a maxin’, relaxin’ week here at Ray’s B&B. Temperatures are dropping; the jalapeño plant on the deck is in overdrive, trying to grow 15 peppers before the frost hits. We do love fall, but I find that I am always a little sad to see our busy, bright summer go. If you’re also feeling a bit of Jon Snow-dread that Winter is Coming, not to worry. Ray’s will remain cozy and pancake-ready no matter the weather, and there’s a bunch of fun, funky upcoming events around town that will keep fall fresh and exciting.            

This week two of our guests took a cooking class at Naveen’s Cuisine, right around the corner on North Avenue. They had a blast, and raved about how much they learned and how good their dish was. Naveen’s specializes in Indian and Thai cuisine, so definitely the place to go if you’re looking to spice things up- literally. 

A bit less literally, but still spicy, the Wild Party Variety Hour is a late-night cabaret show featuring risqué burlesque numbers, comedic slapstick, and who knows what else. Put on by the Silent Theatre Company on North Milwaukee Ave., if you’ve been curious about Adult Theatre, take the plunge and hit these artists up.       

Trying to pick up a new, healthy hobby this fall? The Chicago Marathon is right around the corner, Sunday October 7th. Have someone you know in the race? An app is available to track your favorite runner! Or, if a marathon is a little too wild for ya, Saturday, Sept. 27this the Bucktown 5k, a lovely little route along our neighborhood. It’s not too late to register, but if the thought of jogging makes you somewhat nauseous, try and steer clear of Bucktown that morning, parking might be a challenge. Lucky for you, the CTA Blue line has added new cars, making public transportation from Ray’s faster and more accessible than ever. 
Take the blue line a little further into Chicago for more out of the box activities, like the WNDR Museum, an art and science pop up in the West Loop. There’s a Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirror Room, Instagram-worthy installations, everything you need for a quirky contemporary art experience. 

The resemblance to Ray: uncanny.
If you’re more of a film buff, the Music Box Theatre is having a Universal Horror series Sept. 29th- Oct 28th, it’s never too early to get ready for Halloween. Or, if you’re looking for something a little tamer, the Lincoln Park Zoo Fall Festival is happening every weekend until October 28th. Bring the kiddos for some fall themed crafts and enrichment activities. It’s fall in Chicago, there’s a little something for everyone, whether at Ray’s or the Loop!