During the January 15—19 stretch I took advantage of the free days to go to the Shedd Aquarium right on Museum Campus. The next round of free days won’t be until February 5th through the 9th. I recommend acquiring the tickets online so that there is no hassle, confusion, or wait upon entering any of the museums. When I went to the Shedd they can simply scan the barcode of the ticket on my phone. It has been years since I visited the Adler Planetarium or Field Museum so I will make it a priority to swing by when February comes.
As it turns out, there is a Stan’s Donuts less than a mile from my apartment. Upon entering I was disappointed with the low variety and quantity of doughnuts, but I was to blame because I did go in the evening. Nevertheless, there were some extraordinary flavors to choose from. I went with a Captain Crunch doughnut with a cream filling and when that fried pastry touched my palette, I realized the premium doughnut price tag was well worth it. There are Stan’s Donuts scattered across the city. I just ran into another one off of the Roosevelt Red Line. I recommend you go in, try one, try two, or maybe a dozen, and you will agree doughnuts are the best desserts out there.
The first thing you should know about the “ribbon” is that it is not like your typical skating rink. This set of ice snakes along Millennium Park and features slight alterations in elevation. Located not too far from the Millennium Park rink by the Cloud Gate, I chose the Maggie Daley Ribbon because it was less busy and actually bestows a larger square footage of ice. The cost to rent skates ranges from twelve dollars to fourteen dollars depending on the day (weekdays are cheaper). If you’re an avid skater, I’d recommend buying your own skates since they’ll probably fit better and an ill-fitting pair of skates will make your time on the ice miserable. Admission is free to everyone every day, so there really is no excuse to not give skating a chance. The Ribbon opened in mid-November and will remain open to the public until the beginning of March.
Tommy Hilfiger Long Snorkel Coat
If you saw me in the prior two years during temperatures below fifty degrees you would have seen me wearing a Loras college jacket. I learned the hard way that a bomber jacket stands no chance against the Chicago winter and I looked to a parka for warmth. This Tommy Hilfiger parka is literally my lifesaver for the commute to classes.
Uniqlo Heattech Extra Warm Tights
With my torso and arms not feeling a slightest of breeze, my legs on the other hand still suffered. Jeans just would not cut it and I found myself with numb legs after every excursion outside. The answer was quite simple: just put on another layer underneath. That is why these skin-tight and cozy long johns are a game changer and like the parka, are the first of its kind I have ever owned.
Timberland Nelson Chukka Boots
I learned quickly freshman year that if you don’t own waterproof boots, you’d come back to your dorm with wet and cold feet. I chose these particular boots because they’re waterproof, but also a lower cut and feature black nubuck, thus making them adaptable to casual and formal outfits. I used to wear my gym shoes to the gym, but I nearly ruined the pair with all the salt on the sidewalk and stepping in dirty snow.
Timberland Solid Watch Cap
This is simply a black beanie to match the black boots. As much as I hate what a hat does to my hair, my ears will always thank me for wearing one.
Polo Ralph Lauren Quilted Field Gloves
Wearing gloves was something I’d only do when playing in the snow or shoveling the driveway. I have never been a person to wear gloves casually, but once again, these Chicago winters will change a man. These gloves are like a jacket for your hands. Fleece interior lining, leather palms, and nylon for the back, I am not afraid to wear these for an interview or just to class.
There are obviously plenty of other things to consider for dressing in the winter like thick socks for your boots, a warm inner layer like a crewneck sweatshirt, or a thick pair of jeans, but these are the everyday staples of my wardrobe. Despite the fact I am, for the first time in my life, properly equipped for winter temperatures, I still cannot help but look forward to summer and laying on the beach once again.
When searching Google for the best value food in Chicago, I came across Hot “G” Dogs as a recommendation. Let me first tell you that you will not find any bargains here (with sausage at the eight dollar mark) but you will walk into a restaurant that mimics the style of Hot Doug’s. The gourmet toppings for their specialty sausages are indescribable, but they surely compliment the sausage in an unimaginable way. The menu features some of the same items, even right down to the duck fat fries. I always ask people if they had the luxury of visiting Hot Doug’s in the past, but now I will have to ask if they will go to Hot “G” Dogs sometime soon.
This is the second concert I have attended that was sponsored by Red Bull. The first was a Soulja Boy concert freshman year. These Red Bull concerts are typically really cheap if you sign up for the mailing list. The Soulja Boy concert was five dollars, whereas the Young Thug concert was fifteen if you bought the tickets before they sold out in the primary market. Not only are the concerts really cheap, but also Red Bull will provide a lot of free commodities for those attending. Of course, there will be an ample supply of energy drinks, but you are given a token that can be redeemed for a concert tee or other merchandise branded for that night’s concert. I cashed my token in for a Young Thug concert shirt of pretty decent quality. Red Bull ambassadors also gave out slices of pizza to those of us waiting for hours in line before the show.
While it may be too late to buy tickets at fifteen dollars for artists like Migos (which I regret not buying) you can still purchase tickets in the secondary market- like StubHub. I still have one more concert in part of the 30 Days of Chicago and that is Khalid performing at the Aragon Ballroom on November 21. Check below for the full lineup of artists that will be performing throughout the month.
The other fried chicken unique to the Chi is Special Kudo. What makes this fried chicken different from the others I’ve had is that it uses halal methods: the Islamic form of slaughtering where the animals are killed swiftly. However, the butchering alone does make the chicken taste so good. You have the liberty of choosing between spicy and original for the batter used to fry. As a newcomer, I took the conservative route and did two spicy and one original. I personally prefer a little spice, but not to the point where I have to say out loud “oh wow”. In this case, the spicy was not too noticeable, but there are some seasonings that I cannot explain that make up the batter. You’ll notice green and red specks within the golden crispiness, and whatever they are, they are delicious. There is only one Special Kudo in the world and that is a block from where I live on Broadway Street in Lakeview. Their mission statement proposes they want to expand to every state in the Union, and with their great food and low prices, I anticipate Special Kudo will achieve that goal.
As for the movie itself, it is literally something I had never experienced before. Loving Vincent is the first fully painted feature film. Painted in Vincent van Gogh’s postimpressionist style, the film is a biographical drama that takes place in the weeks following Vincent’s death, with frequent flashbacks to his life. Not only is the movie composed of over 65,000 paintings that are contributed by 125 professional artists, it also features plenty of scenes from a multitude of van Gogh’s original paintings. Some are discreetly incorporated into the film while others are quite obvious such as the implementation of Starry Night as the opening scene. Honestly, the plot may be predictable and cliché, but this is a film you will assuredly appreciate. Loving Vincent is not shown in commercial theatres, but you can see the movie yourself at venues such as the Music Box, ArcLight Chicago, Landmark Renaissance Place Cinema, and Regal Lincolnshire Stadium 15 & IMAX.
First, let me tell you the good things about this place. Upon entering the atmosphere is something of the South, or just not Chicago at least. White picnic tables, mason jars, and red paisley bandanas as napkins all contribute to the homey feel of this place. Second, the menu is not extensive at all, which I kind of like because who wants to look through a Cheesecake Factory menu? Simply put, this place does chicken and just about only chicken.
There are other southern comforts like slaw, cornbread, beans, biscuits with jam, and alike. The bad thing about this place, I must admit, is the price. Eleven dollars for a chicken sandwich is crazy to me, but I can justify the price by its taste and supporting a local small business. That chicken sandwich can be made with no sauce, classic sauce, hot or x-hot sauce. Served on a brioche bun with pickles and slaw, this is one of the best chicken sandwiches I could have asked for. I got the hot finish for the chicken, to which the heat does creep on you after a bit - to the point where you’ll be asking for water refills. I vow that I will return to Budlong to try their chicken pieces with some sweet tea… after my next paycheck.
On the other hand, choosing to attend DePaul, or stay for that matter, solely based on the premise it is located in Chicago does not by any means constitute a valid reason to study here. Truth be told, I think it is the field experience - in terms of jobs and internships - that separates DePaul from most universities. I see firsthand the dedication of studying in honors programs, declaring multiple majors, working a job as a full-time student (whether it be on or off campus) and attaining internships before graduation; all to which typical DePaul students will have the luxury of accomplishing as opposed to those of a state school. I see old high school classmates in their state universities partying and tailgating, to which I must admit seems so fun, you know that stereotypical college experience. But, it is no wonder as to why parties are the dominant theme; they don’t have some of the world’s most renowned cultural institutions, corporate employers, and recreational parks in their backyard. There is a reason why Chicago is the first destination they flock to when summer break comes around.
A sandwich is that one food that no one can hate on. There has got to be that one certain sandwich in everybody’s life that just hits home. I believe Lucky’s sandwiches is my one certain sandwich. It should come as no surprise that I first saw this place on TV on Man vs Food. So, what makes Lucky’s so noteworthy? You could mention the size of the sandwich, you could mention the portion of meat you’ll receive, or that the coleslaw is thrown onto the sandwich, or that the fries are shoved between the buns as well. You could mention all those components, but at the end of the day, the sandwich just tastes so good.
Located in the heart of Wrigley, be sure to visit the small restaurant on a day when there is no Cubs game. I have been here about three times and for each visit, I ordered the same sandwich, the Two Bagger. This is corned beef and pastrami with the standard toppings of tomatoes, fries, and coleslaw. There is actually a DePaul-inspired sandwich called the Blue Demon that tops buffalo chicken with blue cheese and bacon.
In all honesty, finishing just one sandwich in itself is a chore, but for those with a serious appetite - or desperate need for notoriety - there is the challenge that landed Lucky’s a spot on Man vs Food . If you can eat three sandwiches in less than an hour, you will receive that meal for free and earn a picture on the wall. Personally, the temptation of free food is so enticing I just might put myself through the delicious pain of such a challenge.
Last week I was given a soccer-style jersey for Hispanic Heritage Orgullo Night. And since the Sox are neither as popular nor talented as the Cubs are as of now, tickets are really cheap. All I can do now is just look forward to next year, as I have been doing for too long now. On the bright side, the Cubs are looking to go far in the playoffs again. I’ll be turning twenty-one in less than a month, so hopefully, I can enjoy this playoff season more so than last year.
This is by no means a plug for Amazon, rather just a college student fascinated by the conveniences modern technology is able to revolutionize constantly. Amazon Prime was something I thought I would never give into, simply because I thought it was a hyped service. Then, I signed up for the free six-month trial available for students, which in itself is a pretty good amount of time for a trial. My six months are about to expire and I am contemplating on whether I should renew the membership for the student discount of fifty dollars for the year, which is half-off the normal rate.
The first thing to know with Prime is that their deals are not always a deal. It would be wise to search other sites or stores before buying a discounted item through Amazon. However, there are some pretty good bargains from time to time. Prime was able to persuade me to buy something I did not necessarily need, such as the Versace Eros Eau De Toilette Spray that was too tempting at 65% off, or roughly a hundred dollars off from its retail value. Another purchase I made was for my new apartment room. Once again, kind of unnecessary, but I was able to snag a leather bed frame that included sideboards, headboard, footboard, and wooden slats for a hundred and forty. The next day, the price jumped to its retail value of two hundred and ten dollars. A key feature to Prime is the free two-day delivery with Prime items. I’ve had things shipped to me that took two months, so the two-day benefit becomes quite handy in situations such as when you desperately need school supplies or textbooks.
With your Prime subscription comes the feature of Prime Now , which is free two-hour delivery from local restaurants and grocery stores. I’ve used this app a few times, ordering things such as Greek yogurt, vegetables, and even TGI Fridays once. But beware; this will ultimately culminate into a more solitary lifestyle where one will never have to leave the comfort of their home again. Okay, that may have been an extreme exaggeration, but it does hold some truth in it. I mean there were times I said to myself, “why make the trek to an Aldi or Target and haul the gallon of milk or cartons of eggs when I could have it brought to my doorstep.” That is why I limit myself to only purchasing items I prefer, that I cannot find at the Aldi by me, such as a certain nonfat Greek yogurt. I hope you try the trial yourself, for Prime is a college student’s life saver .
Upon moving in, I quickly realized the benefits, and drawbacks, from renting an apartment off-campus. What I like thus far is definitely having the luxury of your own bedroom. The room itself is about the size of the four-person dorm I roomed in freshman year, so to say the privacy and space is appreciated would be an understatement. The living room is the size of the entire room of the two-person apartment of Centennial I was in last year. These comparisons are not meant to downsize DePaul’s living accommodations, but more so to brag about how lucky we were to find this huge apartment. Living off-campus, you also get the sense of having more independence and less supervision - whether that supervision came in the form of checking into your building or having cameras on you wherever you go. However, where there are pros there are cons.
The first thing to note is the location. Yes, Lakeview is a very nice neighborhood and not far north, but it still does not compare to living on campus where I would leave five minutes prior to when my class starts in Lincoln Park or having the Ray and CTA trains conveniently located minutes away. Another downside is the monthly expenses you have to set up and pay for. Cable, Internet, heating, AC, electricity, water, laundry, and printers are all provided on the room and board expenses. As of now, we only have Wi-Fi in our apartment. No TV channels, pay $1.25 a load for laundry, and the electricity bill. For our place, water and heat are covered but the heat it is not controlled inside the units and is in the form of steam that comes from radiators. We also have no AC.
I realized I did not want to live at DePaul forever, and getting an apartment off-campus was ultimately the only option for me unless I commuted from home. I’m not advising as to which form of housing you should go for, but to look into the expenses for both.
It was a beautiful early summer night following a late night excursion to Oberweis. Rather than take the brown line back, I decided to walk - given the warmth and stillness that is otherwise rare during the day. Making my way south down Sheffield, I walked through an empty street lined with a set-up of tents. Turns out I was amidst the aftermath of the first day of Lincoln Park’s Greek Fest.
The next day, in between apartment showings, I thought it’d be a good time to check out the fest and maybe even taste some food from a different culture. Free admission…nice. Live music and dancing…nice. However, it is the food I am most focused on. Looking at the menu I notice the familiar gyros, but many others that are exotic. I kept true to my word of venturing from the familiar and asked someone what certain items are, such as moussaka, pastitsio, and spanakopita. I decided to go with the pastitsio, which can be described as Greek lasagna made with macaroni, ground beef and béchamel sauce. I thought the twelve-dollar price was typical for a festival, but the portion was not. Served with a side of rice, this was a fulfilling portion that should have been considered my dinner.
I was glad to have popped into Greek Fest, even if it was just for a quick meal. I made sure to visit at least one cultural fest this academic year since I missed Pilsen’s Mole De Mayo for the second year in a row. Word of advice, give up the burger and fries for a day, look for a festival in your area, find something on the menu you cannot pronounce, and order it.
Since I saw it on television years ago, I always wanted to visit Gene’s Sausage Shop and Delicatessen
in the Ravenswood
Community, so I finally made the effort up there since I now live not too far from there.
If you’re familiar with the Denver-based Casa Bonita, the one from South Park, this is pretty much its deli-sister. This place has it all; pierogis, cheeses, and you know there is an ample supply of sausage. However, the main attraction is the rooftop restaurant. Unfortunately, due to the rainy weather, it was closed.
But, what I did not expect was running into another as seen on TV restaurant right across the street. Jerry’s is a restaurant that specializes in sandwiches, and I love me a good sandwich. From a college student budget, it can get a tad bit pricey, but you won’t be disappointed with whatever you decide on because these aren’t your brown sack lunch sandwiches your mom packed you for school.
Besides the food, the area is unlike anything I’ve seen in Chicago yet. The restaurants are nestled on a cozy, narrow street with a small-town atmosphere that brought me back to my hometown, except there is no fountain back home. If you want pure and good food, Gene’s and Jerry’s will satisfy a sandwich craving.
Although it has taken a while, warmer weather has finally set in, and just in time for finals. If you’re like me, then you have totally checked out and are finding it difficult to focus on school. I just want to go outside. After some time now, I realize that there are ways to do both.
First, take advantage of Chicago’s beaches. Most notable is North Avenue Beach
. This is my go-to choice because it is just a walk down Fullerton, and the walk itself can take off some of that stress. There is also Oak Street Beach and
even lesser known ones such as 12th Street Beach in the shadow of the Adler Planetarium. I remember my freshman year going to the beach was a weekly thing. Nothing helped me forget about my responsibilities like taking much-needed naps in the sand. These are also great opportunities to catch up on your reading as well.
Another spring habit was visiting the parks. Oz Park is
not too far the Lincoln Park campus and is my ideal spot for throwing around a Frisbee, and there is plenty of trees available to set up a hammock and study outside. Side note, the outdoor patio space on the 11th floor of the DePaul Center is open and I highly recommend checking it out. Pretty neat to eat or study amongst the high-rises.
But these are only suggestions to get started. If you want to find your own secluded spot where you can feel a moment of isolation in a bustling city, go on a walk. Whenever I choose to walk rather than take the CTA
, I am astounded by how very little I know about Chicago.
The most memorable moments from my freshman year was not the overall freedom of living away from home, but the concerts. I am not going to say I will look down upon anyone who hasn’t gone to a concert in Chicago, but I will say you are missing out. A few concerts I can remember:
If you have the means of getting there by car, I attend most concerts at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in
Tinley Park. Besides that venue, there are plenty of venues here in Chicago. As I mentioned before, I worked a basketball event at the Aragon Ballroom but definitely want to see a show there. I like to think I attend a good amount of concerts, but I am just scratching the surface. I have yet to see the Chicago Symphony Orchestra ,
or some country band perform at Wrigley, Lollapalooza, Country LakeShake and so on.
of concerts, don’t forget to buy your tickets for DePaul’s FEST
As I mentioned before, I have an intermittent job as a brand ambassador that I do on the side. Recently, I was offered to do a quick, one-day job for American Express x Uber at the United Center
during a Bulls game. With a high wage (not disclosing) for a short duration of six hours, I saw this as an easy way of earning extra money.
The gist of the duties were simple; greet the Platinum rewards members who won the contest at the gates of the arena, walk them through the entrance along with the free amenities being provided to them, and gather them all up after the game for an exclusive meet and greet with a legendary Bulls player. My assignment was to man the gate, and guide the members through to their next step of receiving a complimentary snack box to enjoy during the game. I could not have been assigned an easier task. The interesting part of the job was the behind-the-scene access I was granted towards the United Center’s new atrium that now houses the Jordan statue. I was briefed on my responsibilities in the atrium’s office in a room called the Scottie Pippen office (hint for later on). After three hours of manning the gate, we brand ambassadors were given a short break where we were actually given some of the extra snack boxes, so a free lunch on top of my pay is always a plus.
Then, we were directed to the United Center’s Stadium Club where we would set up for the post-game event. Since I was not chosen to gather up the members, I was able to just relax even more in the Stadium Club and watch the Bulls overcome the Atlanta Hawks in the last remaining minutes of the game. All I had to now was to greet members into the meet-and-greet and check IDs. During that time, the Bulls legend Scottie Pippen
walked by. I admit a little excitement came over me but I had to keep composure while on the job. After everyone was inside, my responsibilities pretty much ceased. I was given the option to leave, but I stayed around longer hoping I could get a picture with Scottie or snag an extra complimentary jersey of his that were being handed. Unfortunately, I was not able to do either of the two, but nevertheless I enjoyed this one-day job, as I usually do with the other brand ambassador events.
For my HON 101
World Literature class I was given the opportunity to see a live-action rendition of Death of a Salesman
, the play we were analyzing in class. Aside from the extra credit affiliated with attending, or that Professor Williams hooked his students up free of charge, I was eager to see the play live since I was exposed to the play through text and film only. Regardless of the thirty dollar ticket, the Redtwist’s
version of Death of a Salesman
was riveting and unique.
Upon entry, I was notified that the theatre only seats about forty people. I liked the sound of that since it would imply that I would be pretty close to the actors, the stage, and that I could get a good view rather than having to observe from rows away. However, when actually stepping into the theatre I was shocked to see its setup. The room was long and narrow, with the seating around the perimeter of the set and props, meaning that the play would unfold at the center of everyone attending. Sure enough, when the play began the actors were only a couple of feet away from me, with every detail in their facial expression, every word in their speech clear. The setup of the theatre gave it a communal environment since other spectators were in your view and you were all sharing this unique moment.
Besides the setup, the actors were no less impressive. Our class was able to witness one of DePaul’s very own Zach De Nardi play the role of Happy Lowman with phenomenal execution. Located off the Bryn Mawr stop, Redtwist is a storefront theatre that will surely not disappointment.
As a part-time job I serve as a brand ambassador for different companies when given the opportunity. The most memorable event I worked was the Mountain Dew and NBA three-on-three basketball tournament that took place last summer. This was a nationwide tour, but it had a stop in Chicago at the Aragon Ballroom. For three days I worked on the courts facilitating events such as skills challenges, three-point contests for the fans, and distributing prizes. Every now and then I would promote involvement and work alongside with NBA stars such as Gary Payton
and Frank Kaminsky
Given that the contests would only occur intermittently between basketball games, I was pretty much being paid to stand around and watch good basketball games while receiving some free Mountain Dew
along the way. I had a great time working with the NBA and Mountain Dew brand and look forward to working, or even just attending, any more Chicago promotions that are to come.
What’s become pretty much a tradition in my family is going the annual auto show in Chicago. Although my interest in cars is subtle because neither do I not drive with the commodity of free public transportation nor do I have the money to look for a vehicle of my own. However, the auto show is still something I look forward to and attend every year to burn a few hours out of a day.
Now I may sound like a cheapskate or some extreme couponer, but I take advantage of the auto show for the free stuff. The ticket price for an adult is thirteen dollars, however, you can expect a reasonable return on investment if you play your cards right. After one visit, I managed to get two ten-dollar gift cards and a fifty-dollar Visa gift card. There are plenty of small booths that offer a free game such as spin the wheel or shooting a puck at the Blackhawks
booth. Last year I recall my friend winning free White Sox
ticket at one of these games. This year however I took the time to sign up for the test drives that are offered to attendees. Granted that I did not actually drive the car (because I haven’t driven in years and don’t trust myself) but rather ride as a passenger, I still received a free gift card from Mazda
test drives. In addition the to the twenty dollars worth of gift cards, I received a fifty dollar Visa gift card from Ford.
So, if the presentation of innate automobiles doesn’t excite, then the opportunity of receiving free gift cards, money, and prizes surely should. If it does, make sure to visit the Chicago Auto Show
when it rolls around every year.
When it comes to desserts, donuts (or doughnuts?) are the pinnacle of sugary indulgences. Although I believe there is no such thing as a bad donut, there are surely some that stand above others. Do-Rite Donuts’
claim to fame is their technique of making donuts in small batches, never more than thirty-six at a time. Additionally, you have the option of selecting from gluten free and vegan donuts. Where can you find these little tastes of heaven? You can actually find these at the Student Center
where they are available for sale (and you can use your meal plan to buy them).
Nevertheless, if you want the full Do-Rite experience, you can choose between their two locations at 233 E. Erie St. (Do-Rite Donuts & Chicken) and 50 W. Randolph Street (
Do-Rite Donuts & Coffee)
. I’ve only been to one of the two, Do-Rite Donuts and Chicken. Although I got a small taste of the entire menu, I recommend anyone who stops by to try the Cheese Danish Donut and The Sweet Heat. The latter is something I’ve been dreaming of for years. There is a fried chicken patty between a glazed donut bun. I mean seriously, I could not think of a better duo other than donuts and fried chicken.
Don’t agree? Check out one of the two locations and become a believer yourself.
When it comes to getting around the city, the CTA system is my go-to means of transportation around ninety percent of the time. In fact, even if I want to go home in the suburbs I still rely on my Ventra Pass in order to get to Union Station. With that being said, although your Ventra plays an essential role to your education at DePaul, it does come with risk and responsibility as I have learned through personal experience.
The first caution to consider is one that concerns nearly every college student and this money. Of course, your Ventra provides unlimited accessibility to the CTA train and bus routes, but once you lose that pass it will cost you to replace it. There was a night when I went to a concert and decided not to take my wallet and just put my id’s and pass in my pocket. On the way back I used my pass to get onto the blue line, but ironically managed to lose it in the time I got on the blue line and transferred to the red line. A replacement Ventra costs fifty dollars and it takes a week to receive a new one, so I had to spend an additional thirty in temporary passes until I received my new Ventra card. Therefore, I recommend always using your wallet, and if you have it on you, securing your wallet in a backpack or bag.
Another risk of riding the train or bus is the rare occurrences like assault and robbery. Yet, there are simple and obvious precautions to take to lower the chances of such misfortunes. Most effective is to not venture out late at night alone. Even on campus where there is Public Safety there have been reports of students being victim to crimes. When it comes to traveling somewhere unfamiliar or at a risky time of day, there is strength in numbers. Of course, if you are feeling uncomfortable in a certain situation and don’t feel safe taking a train or bus, just pay for a taxi. Yes it’ll be costly, but there is no cost too high for your safety.
Being the lover of food that I am, I sometimes like to watch the Travel Channel and one of its shows, Food Paradise. This show basically showcases some of the most popular and unique restaurants in America that are infamous for their one of a kind creations and tastes. It comes to no surprise that Chicago is mentioned pretty often throughout the seasons of Food Paradise, and I have been fortunate to visit a few of the restaurants I’ve seen on TV. However, there is one restaurant that I’ve been yearning to go to for a while and finally went. Deemed as the unofficial most manly burger joint in America, Butcher & the Burger is one of the few restaurants that I went into with high expectations and still managed to exceed them.
If you’re like me and the idea of getting on the train or bus to go to a restaurant more than thirty minutes away turns you off don’t worry because Butcher & the Burger
is located in Lincoln Park on Armitage right off the Brown Line stop
. Sure, you could get on the train for one stop or walk ten minutes, either way it’s altogether a pretty short distance. Upon walking in you’ll find yourself staring at a large chalkboard detailing all that can go onto your burger. The process is broken down into simple steps: choose your meat, your seasoning, your bun, your toppings, and then other additional things such as fries, drinks, etc. I chose a bison burger with backwoods game seasoning on a split-bun with bbq sauce, Swiss cheese, tomato, lettuce, and pickles.
I can admit the burgers can get a tad bit pricey, especially if you order premium toppings like brisket or grilled mushrooms, but once I took that first bite into what would be the best burger I’ve ever had, all concerns for currency disappeared as quickly as my burger did.
This Butcher & the Burger is only one of many destinations I’ve seen on TV that I look forward to visiting to. If I go to major cities in the country that are home to a “food paradise” restaurant I always try to stop by. Some other popular local hotspots I went to are White Knight Diner in St. Louis, Missouri or The Varsity in Atlanta, Georgia. Nevertheless, there are plenty of infamous Chicago destinations available to us DePaul students. Check out this link
for a list of these local favorites.
Last week I detailed which ways one can stay active and physically fit amongst the freedom of doing (or not doing) what you want and eating what you please. This week I want to focus precisely on the eating component. Like I said before, I could eat Chinese food just about everyday, however, considering sweet and sour chicken is not the healthiest choice I took it upon myself to seek foods that are tasty yet nourishing. For simplicity, I am going to divide these foods between on and off campus.
Being a freshman or even an upper classmen living on-campus such as myself, the Student Center offers an abundant variety of food at almost anytime of the day. There are times when I was guilty of eating mozzarella sticks and burgers at midnight or ice cream for sup
per, but there are healthier options available to those stuck within the limitations of a meal plan. Both the Student Center in Lincoln Park and the DePaul Center cafeteria in the Loop offer a “garden bar” with options such as vegetables, tuna, or low-carb pastas. If you’re like me then you’ll get tired of the usual offerings provided by DePaul, but not to worry, there are limited time platters that change on a weekly basis.
Additionally, since I have the luxury of an apartment with a full kitchen, I like to take some vegetables and other ingredients from the garden bar and use them to cook a little something of my own at my place. I often use the chopped onions, peppers, mushrooms, and spinach for omelets, burgers, or pasta.
Of course, DePaul’s on-campus dining does provide a limited amount of offerings. Being in Chicago, you can just walk a block and surely find a refreshing alternative. Living in Centennial, there is literally a Whole Foods beneath my feet. I’ve only eaten there twice now, however there is a wide assortment of healthy foods available there. What makes Whole Foods unique is that it serves as a grocery store with an on-campus-style of eating as well. There are buffet counters in the center of the store where one can simply fill up a plate or to-go box just as you would at the Student Center. But besides Whole Foods, the city is bountiful of restaurants for the occasions when you want to treat yourself or not put up with having to cook or do the dishes afterwards. Going to a Walmart, Costco, or Target is also always a safe way to go for a greater assortment of ingredients and other packaged snacks.
Last weekend was my birthday, and my family decided to treat me to a meal I’ll never forget. Of course, going back home away from the bustle of the city to just relax by a bonfire and being able to appreciate the fall weather was great in itself, but it was where I ate that is the real highlight of my weekend. Here are two restaurants that are located in Chicago that I highly recommend trying out. Flat Top Grill
– 30 South Wabash Avenue
Flat Top Grill is a create-your-own stir fry, meaning that you ultimately have control what ingredients are going into your bowl. Now, considering you are given a relatively small bowl to fill with vegetables, rice, noodles, sauces, and many other options, you can strategically stack your ingredients in order to get the most of your money. Additionally, you are given the opportunity to choose two meats, as well as other add-ons such as eggs, cheese, tofu, and roti bread. Once all thrown together and cooked by the chef, you are presented with your unique dish (such as the one shown above) in a surprisingly big portion. What I like about Flat Top Grill is that it can be worth the money. For lunch, one bowl is $10 and $13 for dinner. For an additional $4, you can go up to put together as many bowls as you wish, but I have never been able to create more than two. Fogo de Chão
– 661 North Lasalle Street
This restaurant is a Brazilian steakhouse, or churrasco. Granted that I went to the one in Naperville, there is also one in Chicago. One of the best meals of my life, Fogo de Chão is an endless buffet of meats. You are given these coasters that have a green side and a red side. The green side is a cue for the waiters who are walking around with meats such as filet mignon, top sirloin, rib eye, sausage, chicken, and lamb and offer if you would like to try whichever they have at the time. You can refuse any particular item, but when you are full or want to take a break, turn the coaster to its red side so that you’ll no longer be approached. There is no possible way you will leave hungry, for you’ll still be eating even when you are full. Yeah, the food is that good. WARNING. This place will break your bank, for just between two people the cost was around $120. If it weren’t for a gift card, I most likely would have never tried this place. However, the food was so delicious I think I have devoted myself to come back at least once a year for a special occasion. Therefore, I recommend only going here if you are comfortable paying big money or simply wanting to treat yourself.
After looking at weather forecasts that call for temperatures ranging from high 50’s to low 70’s, the trees losing their green colors, and noticing that I have to wear a sweatshirt everywhere I go now, it dawned on me that summer is officially over. Sadly, that means no more beach days until another eight months or so for me. Despite the days getting shorter and snow just around the corner, there are many things to look forward to until the next summer comes around.
As much as I do enjoy the summer, the fall is ultimately my favorite season. In October, there is so much to look forward to. I may be biased in saying that October is the best month because my birthday is in it, but there is much more to it than that. Yeah, all the leaves changing color is pretty and that, but it is the haunted houses and decorations for Halloween I find most comforting.
After signing up through OrgSync
, I am going to Statesville Haunted Prison
with a few friends. The event is being put together by the University Apartment Communities and we’ll be bused to and from the haunted house all for free. Another thing I want to check off my list before the month is over is going to Fright Fest at Six Flags Great America. Mix rollercoasters, haunted houses, and cool autumn weather, it ought to be a good time.
Perhaps even more exciting for a lot of people is the start of the basketball and hockey season. Whether it’s college or professional, both are right at your doorstep in Chicago.
Personally, I like to watch most Bulls and Blackhawks games in the comfort of my room with my big HD television, but if I do ever want to go to a game I always have the luxury of getting discount tickets through DePaul at the Student Center and just hopping on the train. If I stick around long enough into December, I can experience the CTA Holiday Train
this year or even the Christkindlmarket
, both of which I’ve never done even though I’ve lived in the Chicago suburbs my whole life.
Although I am sure I missed plenty of seasonal activities available during the winter season ahead, it is always helpful to look on OrgSync for event postings. I mean, if there is something free, why not try it!?
Who I Am
: Hello students of DePaul, my name is Logan and I am the newest member of the DeBlogs team. I am a sophomore within the Driehaus College of Business
ring in Accounting and Management Information Systems
. I am from the southwest suburb of Yorkville, IL which is about an hour outside of Chicago. I went from driving 70 down country roads with a view of cornfields to riding the train everyday with a scenic skyline I can take in from my apartment. I was a member of the Education and Development Grant for Employability (EDGE) Program with the Career Center freshman year, but I am always seeking new means to get more involved on campus.
What I Do: There are a few things you should know about me and what I am interested in outside of the classroom. First and foremost, I have a slight obsession with Chinese food. Whether it’d be takeout or a buffet, you know I’m always down for it. After an entire academic year I’ve spent here at DePaul, I have yet to find someone else who enjoys country music as much as I do. That being said, I often go to country concerts, an average of ten a year to be exact. However, I am a fan of nearly all music. My favorite concert so far was Nicki Minaj and Rae Sremmurd, but then after that the best concerts were Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, etc. I enjoy exploring the city, always seeking new restaurants to try out. I often go to the Ray to play pickup basketball, workout, or play intramural volleyball. You can also catch me at the beach trying to relax and escape my academic responsibilities by playing sand volleyball or just sleeping.
Why I Do This: As much as I would love to explore the city, visit every Asian restaurant, and blog about how awesome the food is, I want to share all my experiences on and off campus, the good and the bad, so that hopefully others can learn from them to get the most out of their experience at DePaul. Between keeping up with two honors programs, maintaining physical shape, looking for jobs and internships, and trying to make friends along the way, I realize it all can seem overwhelming. Although these fours year are meant to pursue an education for your desired career, it can be much more than that. Studying at DePaul in a great city like Chicago is a unique experience!