Cricket World Cup 2019

There are much excitement and fanfare spanning across the globe for the 2019 Cricket World Cup.  This year’s World Cup is being hosted by England and Wales from May 30 through July 14.  This is the 12th l tournament being held by the International Cricket Council.  The tournament is held every four years.  This is the fifth time that the World Cup is being held in England and Wales.  The last time the tournament was played there was 1999.

This year’s World Cup features 10 teams.  In past years, there have been as many as 14 teams.  Matches will be played throughout England and Wales, and are expected to attract large crowds from around the world, says Gaurav MohindraIt is scheduled for matches to be played in Birmingham, Bristol, London (Lord’s), London (The Oval), Manchester, Cardiff, Chester-le-Street, Leeds, Nottingham, Southampton, and Taunton.

The teams participating in this year’s World Cup are England, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, India, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Australia, and West Indies.  England was never won the World Cup, yet many oddsmakers are considering the home team to be the favorite this year, says Gaurav Mohindra.  England has earned a 2nd place finish on three past occasions of World Cup Tournament play.  They’re most recently 2nd place finish happened to be in 1979 when they were hosting the tournament. 

While the winner of the World Cup certainly earns bragging rights, there is also a considerable monetary prize in place.  The World Cup winning team gets $4,000,000.  The 2nd place runner-up team gets $2,000,000.  The semi-finalists each get $800,000.  Each league winner gets $40,000.  All teams that do not pass the league stage earn $100,000.  There is a total of $10,000,000 in prize money distributed amongst the teams.

While the prize money may seem impressive, it’s a pittance compared to what the ICC earns in broadcasting rights, says Gaurav Mohindra. The World Cup is a global event that will broadcast around the world.  Many countries will be able to access the matches vis Fox Sports (Australia), Hotstar (Europe), ESPN (Carribean Islands), Star Sports (India, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives), Digicel (Oceania), Sky Sport (New Zealand), Willow TV (USA, Puerto Rico, Guam, Virgin Islands).

While Cricket is not a very popular sport in the US, there will be many fans watching the World Cup throughout Chicago.  Chicago has a large and diverse population including many immigrants from countries where Cricket is popular.  It’s always exciting to see fans root for their teams throughout the city.

Vegandale Festival – Chicago

On June 22, the Vegandale festival is coming to Chicago.  This event attracts an array of visitors to celebrate the vegan lifestyle.  As veganism is increasingly becoming more popular – this event will surely attract many visitors, says Gaurav Mohindra.

The Vegandale festival is the culmination of the Toronto based Vegandale brand.  The Vegandale brand has numerous vegan storefronts and product offerings in Toronto – from foods and clothes, but also encouraging the vegan lifestyle.

The festival celebrates the vegan lifestyle which is the practice of abstaining using animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals.  The lifestyle has been popular throughout the world and is becoming increasingly popular for its health benefits, environmental impact, and animal welfare mission.  Accordingly, it’s refreshing to see such a large, well-coordinated, festival visit Chicago this year, says Gaurav MohindraThere are numerous vegan restaurants in Chicago, but there are more non-vegan restaurants starting to offer vegan fare for customers.  The diet, which was once viewed as “fringe”, is becoming more accepted.  I wouldn’t call it mainstream as yet, but definitely more widely accepted and understood.

The Vegandale festival is in various cities this year, including Chicago, Toronto, Miami, Houston, and NYC.  The festival attracts thousands of visitors and hundreds of vendors.  They have a large social media presence and have been advertising the festival by showcasing foods and large crowds on Instagram and Facebook.

The Chicago Vegandale festival will be hosted in Grant Park on June 22.  The festival will open at 11:00 AM and close at 7:00 PM. 

Some of the out of state vendors visiting the Chicago festival include:

Imerative (Tornot, ON)

Eggloo (New York, NY)

Snackrilege (Portland, OR)

Evolution Burgers (Los Angeles, CA)

Superieur Electrolytes (New York, NY)

Having the out of state vendors in Chicago will provide local Chicagoans access to new vendors and foods they typically could not try in Chicago, says Gaurav Mohindra.  Along with these vendors, there are dozens of Chicago vendors who will be present as well, a partial list including:

Art of Dosa

Higher Healing

Buddy’s Italian Ice

Crazies and Weirdos

Juice RX

DOTERRA

Chicago’s Doghouse

Asian Outpost

Sprout

El Campeon

Joycoast

Tubby’s Taste

Smashbowl

The Guiltless Garden

Jamaican Me Krazy Vegan

Alongside all of the food, there will be DJ’s and MCs throughout the day keeping the energy live and activities running.  Tickets can be purchased online at the festival site or purchased on location.  Early-bird tickets are $10 through June 17 and increase thereafter.  This will surely be a fun event for all food-lovers, says Gaurav Mohindra.

The Rise of Plant-Based Burgers

There is a fast-growing new trend in the burger industry. And surprisingly, it’s not meat. Plant-based burgers have quickly become a rage throughout the country and becoming increasingly available in popular fast food restaurants, grocery stores, and on the dinner table throughout the country, says Gaurav Mohindra.

Vegetarian or “Veggie” burgers are not a new concept. Vegetable based burgers have been around for years and available in the frozen food section of grocery stores. However, the rise in plant-based burgers that getting much recent attention is different. These burgers look and taste like beef burgers. They go as far as having a similar texture, smell, color, and look – of typical burgers. With the similarities being so striking, the transition for meat eaters to sample the new plant-based burgers are rather simple. In addition, the plant-based burgers are healthier than their red meat, nitrate-laden, and counterparts – and leave a smaller ecological footprint. As consumers become more health conscious and environmentally aware, these alternatives are becoming more attractive, says Gaurav Mohindra.

Burgers Chicago

Beyond Meat made recent headlines with their IPO last month. The IPO shot up in value and received significant attention by earning a large valuation. Beyond Meat is a Los Angeles-based producer of plant-based meat substitutes founded in 2009 by Ethan Brown. The company’s products became available across the United States in 2013. In May 2016, it released the first plant-based burger to be sold in the meat section of grocery stores, on an international basis. The company has products designed to replace chicken meat, beef, and pork sausage. Beyond Meat is offering its burgers in a number of fast food restaurants, such as Del Taco, Epic Burger, Angel Stadium, Harvard University, Stanford University, TGI Fridays, Yankee Stadium – they are in over 15,000 restaurants, stadiums, and universities.

Impossible Foods Inc. is another plant-based burger company that develops plant-based substitutes for meat and dairy products. The company was founded in 2011, and headquartered in Redwood City, California. The Impossible Burger recently made headlines by testing an Impossible Whopper at Burger King Locations in the St. Louis market. The test was wildly popular and resulted in an increase in over 18% foot traffic for the participating locations. As a result, Burger King decided to expand the offering to all of its US locations by the end of the year. The fact that a large fast food restaurant is willing to provide the offering is a testament to the existing demand, says Gaurav Mohindra.

Goodman Theater Chicago’s favorite theater

The Goodman Theater is a popular theater in Chicago for ensemble plays and productions.  The theater was founded in 1925 and is located in the Chicago Loop.  The theater has received numerous awards and accolades over the years, says Gaurav Mohindra.

Goodman Theater

One of the theaters most popular yearly productions is A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens.  The theater has been running A Christmas Carol every December since the 1970’s.  The production attracts visitors from the city and from around the country and is widely lauded for its strong production value and acting, says Gaurav Mohindra.

The current production running at the Goodman’s Albert Theater is The Winter’s Tale.  The Winter’s Tale was written by William Shakespeare and is directed by Robert Falls.  It will run through June 9, 2019.  Many critics have applauded Robert Falls direction and the entire production for providing a modern twist on a classic tale.  From the Goodman’s website, The Winter’s Tale is described as:

A jealous king accuses his wife of infidelity, setting off a calamitous series of events. But what begins as tragedy evolves, unexpectedly, into a fantastical journey—from wrath to redemption to reconciliation. Following his celebrated productions of King Lear and Measure for Measure, Robert Falls reimagines one of Shakespeare’s most wildly theatrical tales.

Tickets are available at the Goodman’s website and vary in price based on availability, date, and time.

With the Goodman theater being centrally located in Chicago’s Loop, there are numerous dining options within walking distance to grab a meal before or after the performance.  The following are some of the popular establishments nearby:

The Dearborn – Classic American fare with a large bar for cocktails.

Petterinos – Classic Italian fare, it’s often a good idea to inform your server if you are rushing to attend a show.

Pueblo – modern Mexican and latincusine.

Catch 35 – popular seafood options

With of all of the dining options in the area, one can plan for a memorable experience while attending a show. 

For out of town visitors, there are numerous hotels located within walking distance of the Theater.  One of the most popular is the Renaissance Hotel.

Gaurav Mohindra: Be sure to check out the Goodman’s website to check ticket availability and upcoming shows.  They typically list their upcoming shows on their calendar as far as 6 months to one year in advance, so visitors have ample time to plan their visit.

Chicago’s New Mayor – Lori Lightfoot

On May 20, 2019, Lori Lightfoot was sworn in as the new mayor of Chicago.  She became the first black woman and the first openly gay person to hold the office in Chicago’s history.  Her victory was widely lauded for changing the system and driving for improved policy throughout the city.  Lightfoot won the election over Toni Preckwinkle in a run-off election on April 2, 2019.

Prior to becoming Mayor, Lightfoot had practiced law at the firm Mayer Brown and served as the President of the Chicago Police Board.  She also chaired the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force. 

On Monday, during her swearing-in, she delivered a warm speech, addressing her desire to positively impact public safety, education, financial stability, and integrity, says Gaurav Mohindra.

During her inauguration speech at Wintrust Arena, Lightfoot vowed to challenge political corruption.  “You voted for change, and I plan to deliver change to our government. That means restoring trust in our city’s government and finally bringing some real integrity to the way this city works.”, said Lightfoot.

Lightfoot was busy on her first day in office as she signed an executive order decreasing aldermanic involvement in licensing and permits.  Chicago Alderman have previously been criticized for their role in influencing such services, says Gaurav Mohindra.

Lightfoot also discussed her desire to address incessant gun violence that has been plaguing Chicago for years and has become national news due to its widespread impact.  She has also expressed her commitment to neighborhood investment and improvement programs.  Lightfoot is inheriting a host of problems including a significant budget shortfall close to $700 million dollars.  Various City unions are also coming up on renewed contracts – including Chicago Police and Firefighters. 

Melissa Conyears-Ervin was also inaugurated as Chicago’s treasurer on Monday.  Conyears-Ervin is also a member of the Illinois House of Representatives for the 10th District.  She was elected to that position in 2017. Anna Valencia was also inaugurated as City Clerk of Chicago.  Valencia has a long history of political involvement in Chicago and Illinois.  She was previously a staff member for Mike Quigley’s campaign for United States Congress in 2005 and was a member of a Legislative Counsel and Government Affairs team for Mayor Rahm Emanuel.  Most recently, in 2015, she was a Senior Advisor for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s re-election.

There is a lot of excitement and hope with the City’s new leadership. 

Chicago Botanic Gardens – Fun Summer Events

The Chicago Botanic Gardens are a popular destination attracting visitors throughout the year.  However, their summertime free nightly concerts are a fun event that attract even greater crowds, says Gaurav Mohindra.  The Gardens are open until 9 p.m. from June through Labor Day.  Throughout the summer they offer concerts, and a fun atmosphere in a serene and beautiful setting.  The gardens are located at 1000 Lake Cook Road in Glencoe – Around a forty five minute drive north of Chicago.

Here are some of their scheduled concerts for this summer.

On Mondays, the Gardens host Carillon Concerts, which are a one hour musical concert of carillon bells.  The concerts provide an opportunity to meet the performers, tour the carillon, and even try ringing the bells yourself.  The concerts are scheduled from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM.

On Tuesdays, the Gardens host Music on the Esplanade, which includes a weekly concert of varying musical bands and styles.  Different kinds of musical genres include blue grass, swing, and big band.  A complete schedule and calendar of performers is accessible on their website.

On Wednesdays, the Gardens host Dancin’ Sporuts, which is a fun event for families and particularly children.  Musical performers focus their talents on kid’s songs – and there is a lively dancing environment for everyone.  The performances are scheduled from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM.  These performances are scheduled to be held in the Rose Garden.

On Thursdays, the Gardens host Hot Summer Nights, which is a concert of high energy music enticing you to dance.  The musical genres includes upbeat tempo and great deal of variety.  The performances are scheduled to be located in McGinley Pavilion.

Some things to note while visiting the Gardens and enjoying the concerts – picnicking is permitted, and visitors are encouraged to bring their own chairs.  There are also dining establishments within the Gardens that will be open during the performances.  The Garden Grille Café is located within the Gardens and provides a variety of choices for visitors.  There is also outdoor seating where visitors can enjoy the views while dining.  The newly opened Rose Terrace Beer Garden showcases craft beers from local breweries along with a limited dining menu. 

As the summer concerts are popular, visitors are encouraged to purchase parking passes in advance.  Good planning can help avoid some of the long lines and crowds that are anticipated for these events, says Gaurav Mohindra.

Summer Fun at the Brookfield Zoo, Chicago

From May 11, 2019 to September 29, 2019, the Brookfield Zoo has a new and exciting event for kids of all ages.  The Brick Safari event is a widely anticipated summer event showcasing a variety of animals constructed by Legos®. 

The life sized animals are constructed by millions of Legos® bricks having individual colors.  The attention to detail and sheer magnitude of the displays is impressive, says Gaurav Mohindra.  The event features around 40 life sized animals positioned along the east side of the park and located along a winding, wooded pathway making for easy touring.

The displays include a variety of life sized animals including a lion, giraffe, elephant, panda, snow leopard and pangolin.  Colorful graphics and interesting facts are listed next to each display to provide for an interactive learning experience as well.  There are plenty of great photo opportunities along the path including a Safari Jeep and life sized photo frame. 

The exhibit is open during Zoo hours and admission costs $5 for adults, and $3 for children aged 3-11.

Another fun event at the Zoo is Roars and Pours.  This event is for adults 21 and older and offers a chance to view your favorite animals while sampling wines and spirits.  The event will have music and food.  This is the first time the Zoo is hosting this event and it seems like a great idea to attract new visitors, says Gaurav Mohindra.

The Roars and Pours event is being held on Saturday, May 18 and tickets costs $65 for general admission.  There are discounted tickets for members.

The Zoo is also holding its annual summer night’s concert season.  The concerts are held on Fridays and Saturdays from June 21 through August 10.  There is a diverse group of musical acts that perform at the Zoo.  After each concert there is a laser light show finale.  The summer night’s concerts are free for Zoo members, and always attract a large crowd.

Another fun event at the Zoo is Zoo Brew, sponsored by Blue Moon beer.  This event is being held on August 24 and is open for adults aged 21 or older.  It’s a fun event permitting visitors to view animals while sampling a wide variety of beers.  There will be over 80 beers to try and tickets include free parking, zoo admission, and a commemorative tasting glass. 

The Zoo is a great place for people of all ages and has a variety of fun events to check out this summer, says Gaurav Mohindra.

Illinois Seeks to Legalize Marijuana

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker proposes to legalize recreational marijuana by the end of the year.  The controversial new bill has been the in works for some time now and was a key campaign point for the governor, says Gaurav Mohindra. 

The proposed legislation would permit adults, those over the age of 21, to purchase recreational marijuana from a licensed dispensary.  Currently, the state of Illinois only permits approved patients to purchase marijuana from a medical dispensary.  The new legislation will now provide marijuana access to all adult residents and non-residents of the state.

Residents would be able to hold as much as 30 grams of marijuana and would be permitted to grow up to 5 plants at home.  Non-residents would be permitted to hold as much as 15 grams of marijuana.

The Governor and supporting lawmakers made it a point to note that the legislation is equity-centric, says Gaurav Mohindra.  The proposal includes expunging hundreds of thousand marijuana convictions, permitting people with past convictions to work in the marijuana industry and provide a $20 million low-interest loan program for minority-owned businesses.

The Governor further discussed the impact that the projected tax revenues would have on the state.  He noted that a significant portion of the revenues, 25%, would go directly into communities that have been impacted by the prosecution of drug laws.  He projected that nearly 20% of the revenue would go towards substance abuse and mental health, 35% would go towards the state’s General Revenue Fund, and 10% would go towards a portion of the state’s unpaid bills.

Currently, a number of states have taken a position on the legalization of marijuana.  Many states have adopted policy and laws around the medicinal use of marijuana.  If the proposed legislation passes, Illinois would become the 11th state to permit the use of recreational marijuana.  Illinois would join Michigan, as another Midwest state to permit the use of recreational marijuana.

The proposed legislation is referred to as Senate Bill 7 and specifies the amounts in which people may consume the product and the policies around licensing dispensaries and growers.  It is likely that the bill may be further refined in certain areas prior to becoming law – but the fact that the Governor has already put forward this position illustrates his desire to see legalized marijuana become law in the near future.  In recent polling, there seems to be widespread support for legalization.

Chicago Cubs beat Seattle Mariners

On Tuesday, April 30, the Chicago Cubs defeated the Seattle Mariners 6-5 in Seattle, Washington.  The Cubs victory was largely confirmed by Kyle Schwarber’s 8th inning home run.  With two outs in the top of the 8th inning, Kyle Schwarber hit a 2-run home run giving the Cubs the lead.

Cubs pitcher Brad Brach earned the win.  Brach is 3-0 for the season so far and provides a sense of reliability on the Cubs roster, says Gaurav Mohindra.

Cole Hamels started the game for Chicago.  He provided a great start by striking out seven in 5 1/3 innings.  He gave up four runs and six hits. Seattle’s Brandon Brennan struck out Javier Báezfinishing the seventh inning and got the first two outs of the eighth. Schwarbercrushed Brennan’s pitch into right field giving the Cubs the lead, and eventually the win.  It was Schwarber’shis first home run since April 8.

Seattle continued to fight to the end, as the first two batters reached base in the bottom of the ninth.  The game concluded when Tim Beckham grounded into a double play and Jay Bruce struck out to end the game.  The strikeout was a called 3rd strike with a runner in scoring position.  Nonetheless, the Cubs held on for the win.

Chicago

It was an exciting game between the Cubs and Mariners.  The Mariners led 5-4 in the 7th Inning.  Edwin Encarnacion hit a homerun giving the Mariners the lead.  It was his eight homerun of the season. 

There was a large Cub fan presence in Seattle for the game.  It was the Cubs first game in Seattle in 6 years.

The Cubs are playing Seattle again today at 5:40 PM.  Afterward, they are back in Chicago for a 3-game series against the Cardinals.  Yesterday’s win provides Chicago its third consecutive victory and positive momentum entering into May.   Currently, Chicago is in second place in the National League Central Division.  The St. Louis Cardinals are leading the division with 19 wins.  It’s still very early in the season, but it’s anticipated that the Cubs and Cardinals will be the main contenders, says Gaurav Mohindra.

In May, the Cubs will be playing the Floriday Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers, Cincinatti Reds, Washington Nationals, Philadelphia Phillies, and Houston Astros. It will be a busy and important month for the Cubs to gain a solid positioning in the Central Division. 

Chicago – Things to Do This Summer

After a cold and long winter, it’s time to step out and enjoy the many attractions Chicago offers, says Gaurav Mohindra.

There are great museums, events, and tours that operate throughout Chicago that are always popular attractions when the weather is nice, says Gaurav Mohindra.  Below is a collection of some of the most popular things to do in the city.

Shedd Aquarium:  Located within Museum Campus the Shedd offers numerous attractions to visitors of all ages.  Some of their upcoming programs include Private and Personalized Tours.  These tours are led by one of their marine experts who can customize the tour to focus on things one is particularly interested in.  Another exciting event for children is Asleep with the Fishes.  At this event, you may spend the night exploring the aquarium and learn about marine life through a scavenger hunt and presentations.  The Shedd is also having a Mother’s Day special event in May for families.  For adults, the Shedd is offering a Penguin Party – where attendees can spend an evening at the Shedd with cocktails, eats, and penguins. 

Shedd Aquarium chicago

Art Institute:  Located near Millennium Park, the Art Institute is easily accessible for a visit.  The museum is considered to have one of the best art collections in the world.  Some of their upcoming exhibitions include Rembrandt’s Portraits, which is running from March 3 – June 9.  Another exciting exhibition includes Connoisseurship of Japanese Prints which is running from April 6 – June 22.  The museum is open daily from 10:30 – 5:00 PM, and on Thursdays, it is open until 8:00 PM.  The general admission for adults is $25, however, if you are a Chicago resident the fees are discounted to $20.

Art Institute

Adler Planetarium:    The Adler Planetarium provides visitors a showcase on space science.  They offer a number of exhibits, events, and shows for all ages.  Their current shows include Planet Nine, Imagine the Moon, Skywatch Live, Welcome to the Universe, Destination Solar System – amongst others!  One of their most popular exhibits is Mission Moon which provides the personal experience Captain Jim Lovell as he made the impossible possible.  One of their highly anticipated events for adults is Adler After Dark.  One of the Adler After Dark events in April is Cosmic Caper where attendees follow clues, solve puzzles, uncover the mole, and look to solve a caper.  The event will offer special drinks from Empirical Brewery, a talk from astronomer Mark Hammergren, and a special performance by Lakeside Pride Music Ensemble.