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  • Car Con Carne – #60: Pita Inn with Sean Lenart of Victorian Halls

    What do you do when your band guest is vegetarian? Feed him falafel. Sean Lenart, frontman of Victorian Halls joined me in Skokie for a conversation over Middle Eastern food at Pita Inn.

    We talked about the band’s long history, as well as:

    The latest album, Hyperalgesia (Victory Records)
    Victorian Halls’ love/hate relationship with Taco Bell
    The importance of girl/girl action in music videos
    The Sega Genesis game which has come to define their road experience
    and
    The dumbest… seriously, the dumbest… story of a band doing DIY car repairs while on the road.

    “The World’s Only Food Podcast Recorded in a Car,” hosted by Chicago media personality James VanOsdol. James and guest hosts visit new restaurants for each episode, taking their meals “to go,” so they can record a radio show from inside James’s Mazda 3.

    Follow James VanOsdol on Twitter
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    CarConCarne.com
    Support Car Con Carne on Patreon

  • Car Con Carne – #59: BRGRBELLY TV Pilot Rehearsal With Lauren O’Neil

    Welcome to a truly behind-the-scenes episode.

    Car Con Carne is shooting a TV pilot this summer; a for-real, I’m-not-kidding, television show, produced by some of the most talented TV people in Chicago. Before that happens, there are a lot of audio, video and content questions that need to be figured out. To address those, we held a pilot “rehearsal” today at the original BRGRBELLY (Portage Park, 5739 W. Irving Park Road).

    101 WKQX midday host Lauren O’Neil was gracious enough to be my guest for the rehearsal. She was a trouper, totally game to hang out as the tireless film crew and team at BRGRBELLY worked through several interior and exterior shots. Once that camerawork was done, Lauren and I retreated to my car for food and conversation. You know, typical Car Con Carne stuff.

    Because this was a rehearsal, you may notice some audio issues (overmodulating microphones, for instance). Any issues you hear are part of today’s learnings, and will help the production team make the pilot as good as it can be.

    Featured in this episode:

    -Will the Dashboard Jesus bless the TV rehearsal?
    -Lauren’s choice of burger means she ingested roughly 5000 less calories than me.
    -Lauren seems to think six napkins is plenty, leaving me to ask, “How dainty of an eater do you think I am?”
    -We learn that one should never mess with Lauren when she’s hangry.
    -The importance of the local music scenes in Chicago and Gainesville is discussed.
    -I question whether Lauren’s the only person working at 101 WKQX.
    -Lauren will totally get me a job in her pizza place.
    -Lauren has eaten gator. It tastes like chicken.

    “The World’s Only Food Podcast Recorded in a Car,” hosted by Chicago media personality James VanOsdol. James and guest hosts visit new restaurants for each episode, taking their meals “to go,” so they can record a radio show from inside James’s Mazda 3.

    Follow Lauren O’Neil on Twitter
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    CarConCarne.com
    Support Car Con Carne on Patreon

  • Car Con Carne – #58: Irving’s for Red Hot Lovers with Mancow (Part Two)

    This episode picks up where the last one left off, as Mancow and I eat hot dogs in the parking lot of Irving’s in Wilmette.

    The eating-and-talking-in-a-car concept may not have worked for Mancow. He calls me out at one point (“You’re talking with your mouthful and you’re spitting. It’s very rude.”)

    We also talk about:
    Must-see movies (“Die Hard,” “Beastmaster”)
    80s music (OMD/Depeche Mode/Heaven 17)
    Super hero movies
    Uber drivers
    Yoga pants
    Religion
    and the big question… “Where do you see Mancow in five years?”

    “The World’s Only Food Podcast Recorded in a Car,” hosted by Chicago media personality James VanOsdol. James and guest hosts visit new restaurants for each episode, taking their meals “to go,” so they can record a radio show from inside James’s Mazda 3.

    Follow Mancow on Twitter
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    Follow Car Con Carne on Twitter
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    Support Car Con Carne on Patreon

  • Car Con Carne – #58: Irving’s for Red Hot Lovers with Mancow (Part One)

    Media superstar Mancow jumps in the passenger seat for “My Dinner with Mancow (Part One): An intimate conversation over hot dogs”(at Irving’s for Red Hot Lovers in Wilmette).

    I’ve worked with Mancow off and on for years, and remain in awe over how he builds and puts on a radio show. We talk about radio, specifically Mancow’s time away from the industry before returning to host the Loop’s morning show:
    “I walked away… left a TV show… left some radio stations… I was done. I didn’t miss it.”

    We also talk about what else is on the dial:
    “I haven’t listened to another radio show in a decade… I was shocked at how awful it was.”
    “The new reality of my world–and your world–is really awful.”

    Mancow’s earliest memories of rock are discussed, from his first concert to the Kinks song that changed everything for him.

    He also said we’re living in dark times, and explains how he’s responding to it:
    “I think this is it. I think this is the end of it. Something has to give. … I want to be the band playing as the Titanic sinks.”

    “The World’s Only Food Podcast Recorded in a Car,” hosted by Chicago media personality James VanOsdol. James and guest hosts visit new restaurants for each episode, taking their meals “to go,” so they can record a radio show from inside James’s Mazda 3.

    Follow Mancow on Twitter
    Follow James VanOsdol on Twitter

    Follow Car Con Carne on Twitter
    CarConCarne.com
    Support Car Con Carne on Patreon

  • Car Con Carne – #57: Pearl’s Southern Comfort with Baconfest co-founder Seth Zurer

    Baconfest co-founder Seth Zurer, answering whether it’s possible to get sick of bacon:
    “First of all, it’s a ludicrous proposition.”

    James VanOsdol:
    “Second of all, shut up.”

    Baconfest Chicago takes over the UIC Forum on 4/30 and 5/1, with dozens of Chicago’s finest restaurants serving up unique bacon creations for all attendees to sample.

    With Seth Zurer sitting shotgun, we visit Pearl’s Southern Comfort in Edgewater to sample their Baconfest creation, Tasso Bacon Pimento Cheese on a Cracklin’. I couldn’t stop eating them.

    In Zurer’s words, Baconfest is “like a bacon wonderland.” We talk about some of this year’s menu highlights, the origin of Baconfest, and I read this year’s bacon poetry contest winners. Yes, bacon poetry.

    “The World’s Only Food Podcast Recorded in a Car,” hosted by Chicago media personality James VanOsdol. James and guest hosts visit new restaurants for each episode, taking their meals “to go,” so they can record a radio show from inside James’s Mazda 3.

    Follow James VanOsdol on Twitter
    Follow Car Con Carne on Twitter
    CarConCarne.com
    Support Car Con Carne on Patreon
    BaconFestChicago.com
    Follow BaconFest on Twitter

  • Car Con Carne – #56: The ‘Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work’ Special Edition

    This week sees the return of the annual “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work” Day, and Car Con Carne is a proud participant!

    For this special edition, I took my daughter and son to the Grayslake location of Dog’n Suds, the well-known drive-in chain. Over footlong hot dogs and root beer, we talk about pressing concerns like:

    Nap habits
    Favorite snacks and meals
    Favorite subjects in school
    “Snack” hot dogs
    The “ceremonial” aspect of serving vegetables for dinner
    The children’s general interest in becoming broadcasters (spoiler warning: OUCH.)

    Warning: There’s a dangerously high concentration of adorbs-ness in this show. Proceed with caution.

  • Car Con Carne – #55: Fulton Market with Jason Novak

    The industrial music-heavy festival Cold Waves was started four years ago by Jason Novak (Acumen Nation, Czar, Acucrack, Cocksure) as a way for the community to rally after respected colleague Jamie Duffy took his life in June, 2012.

    Cold Waves continues to grow and gather momentum each year. This year’s event (9/23-9/24 at Metro) is stacked, featuring performances from Meat Beat Manifesto, Clock DVA, The Cocks, Pig, 16Volt and more. The kickoff show on 9/22 at Double Door features nothing less than the 30th anniversary performance of the reunited Stabbing Westward.

    For this episode, Novak sits shotgun for a trip to the Fulton Market location of taqueria/sandwich shop Cemitas Puebla. To summarize: The tacos are poquito and the cemitas have a grande amount of bread.

    Over dinner, Novak talks about the evolution of Cold Waves, focusing on the memory of Jamie Duffy (“I think he would have been overjoyed at this”). He says the success of Cold Waves feels bittersweet (“You’re constantly reminded that this shouldn’t even be happening”).

    We also talk about Cold Waves kickoff band Stabbing Westward’s ascent in the 90s. Novak says, “I remember (Acumen) being the junior version chasing after them.”

    We chat about the 90s scene, industrial music, Wax Trax, Revolting Cocks, and Pop Will Eat Itself. Novak also talks about his charity, Darkest Before Dawn, which aims to provide support to Chicago’s service industry and live entertainment workers, people whose schedules and isolation leave them “susceptible to depression, anxiety and suicide.”

  • Car Con Carne – #54: Herm’s Palace with Tim Virgin

    I’ve known and adored fellow radio personality Tim Virgin for a very long time. For this week’s show, Tim met me at Herm’s Palace, a long-standing hot dog joint in Skokie. I had the Polish sausage with pastrami, he had the fried salami.

    Here’s what you’ll learn in this episode:

    Chest hair doesn’t grow as fast as facial hair.
    Tim’s dark stools match his dark heart.
    Tim is a one-man Audubon Society.
    Everything good in life causes problems.

    We chat about the career paths we should have taken, the authenticity of Tim’s voice, Coachella vs. Bonnaroo and Tim’s time working in the record business. We also talk a lot about music (shocker), including lengthy discussion of Phil Collins-led Genesis, GnR, Rush, Yes and Adam and the Ants.

    Other highlights:

    “Those shorts are falling down her hips!”
    “The one with the beard is clearly a bear.”

  • Car Con Carne – #53: 90 Miles with Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano

    This episode has it all: A daring escape from Cuba! A daring yoga escape! An escape from typical mall food!

    Chicago’s broadcasting power couple, Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano, join the show for lunch at 90 Miles in Lincolnwood. It’s the third location for the Cuban restaurant, tucked away in an otherwise depressing mall (e.g. Kohls, Auntie Anne’s, Family Chiropractic).

    The cool, kitchy decor of 90 Miles doesn’t match the rugged charms of the Mazda 3, so Sirott and Murciano jump in the car to talk about:

    • Their new-ish website (susosfork.com)
    • How Marianne’s family escaped from Cuba
    • Suburban mall rankings
    • Marianne’s pet monkey
    • Hot dogs (Bob names his favorite places, which totally line up with some of mine)
    • Taking feedback from radio/TV bosses
    • The secret to blogging and podcasting success
    • Whether Bob slid into yoga pants on a recent yoga retreat

    As a bonus, listen as Marianne slid into “mom mode” when she saw me spill all over myself.

  • Car Con Carne – #52: Dough Bros with Jessica Altieri

    Wine Channel TV host/sommelier/wine judge Jessica Altieri jumps in James VanOsdol’s Mazda 3 to eat pizza from Dough Bros in River North and answer some key questions:

    • What’s a good wine for spring drinking?
    • What kind of wine should you drink with artichoke pizza? (Selfish question: That’s what I was eating in the car.)
    • Is there a future in car-based food podcasting?
    • We talk about her path to TV host, starting as a basketball-playing jock and ending up on camera with a glass of wine in her hand.

    “Kiss My Glass” (Jessica’s wine guide for everyday, non-snooty wine drinkers) is discussed, too.

    I also make the observation that Jessica’s like a specific Talking Heads song, which leads me to wonder in hindsight which Talking Heads song I am.

    And did you know Walgreens has wine ambassadors? Jessica used to be one.