Portrait of a Saxophonist – Roy McGrath

Several months ago I met Roy McGrath at an activity for the Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center in Chicago. I like the intensity, the sharpness of the music he play, I like that crosses musical styles. But above all he is a leader in the music world and workhorse.

I find Roy very fascinating to photograph.


Empanada Heaven – Melao Restaurant – 3941 N. Lincoln Ave. Chicago

Colombian Empanadas

I have always dreamed of a Colombian Empanada heaven nearby. I dreamed of an empanada that was as good as my wife’s without the work of making it. I found it and to me they are really good at Melao Restaurant, 3941 N. Lincoln, Chicago,  almost at the corner of Irving Park Road. It is crispy enough and the meat mixture inside is just perfect. No fancy flavors here, just Beef, chicken, mushroom and a spinach variety. Personally the Beef is for me. It evokes Colombia!

Kala Rojas and Madeline Solarte with Parillada Colombiana

I started going to Melao as an alternative to another Colombian restaurant that became inconvenient to my daily travels. The restaurant site had a Colombian restaurant there previously. The main attraction at the beginning was the lunch menu price of $5.95 for steak or chicken , corrientaso (Daily Special) with rice, beans and salad. What a deal!, since then it has gone to $6.95 for a healthy, well cook and very tasty meal well worth the price and very convenient working lunch. The owners Kala Rojas and Madeline Solarte both from Cali, Colombia, moved to Chicago with big dreams.  Kala an industrial engineer by trade and Madeline a journalist and Dj, saw their American dreams come true in Melao. There restaurant is mostly Colombian with dishes and appetizers from Latin America.

The menu at Melao is very varied fare from Latin America but mostly Colombian. The parillada pictured above is cooked to perfection and the meat is very well seasoned and tender. When you get rice and beans with your order the rice is exquisitely seasoned with garlic very typical of Colombia, when I eat I recalls wonderful family times in Colombia for me. Several visits ago we had the Bandeja Paisa, its good!

Melao is BYOB and check their Facebook for varied activities like Latin Jazz nights.