DeBlogs > Willy Subach
Meet the Cookie Dough Brownie in the photo above. It’s a brownie (obviously) covered in a thick layer of cookie dough, then splashed with some chocolate ganache, and topped with some chocolate chip cookie crumbles. My mom and I both loved it (my dad got his favorite—the lemon bar).
I am now officially a graduate student! This week, I started my summer graduate class. This is my first summer staying in Chicago. Let me tell you, things at DePaul work a little differently during the summer. I’m taking one night class during the summer. While night classes usually meet once a week for ten weeks during a normal school term, the summer term is actually divided into two five-week sessions, so my night class meets twice a week for five weeks. It’s short, but intense.
Actually, my whole schedule is intense (at least for these
five weeks). Following my own advice, I found a great full-time summer
internship. So I work at my internship from 10am-5pm Monday-Friday. After work,
on Mondays and Wednesdays, I then run to work at my other job at the Lincoln
Park campus library from 6pm-10pm (because my internship is unpaid and I need
money). On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I head over to my summer graduate class from
6pm-915pm. And then in all my free time, I will try to finish all the
coursework for that class. It’s looking to be a super relaxing summer. Despite
my overwhelming schedule, I’m still hoping to find time to enjoy my first
summer in Chicago, especially after my class ends in early July. There’s so
much to experience during the summer.
To be completely honest, I just really want to go to The SpongeBob Musical. If you haven’t heard, there’s a new Spongebob musical that
is premiering in Chicago before it moves to Broadway. The super unique thing
about this musical is that rather than a single composer writing all of the songs,
a bunch of famous musicians each composed a single song. So imagine a musical
about Spongebob Squarepants featuring songs composed by Lady Antebellum, John Legend, Panic! At The Disco, T.I., and David Bowie, among others. I cannot
imagine what a T.I. song about Spongebob sounds like and I need to find out.
If you’re not into Spongebob though, there are plenty of
other things to do in Chicago during the summer. If you like music but aren’t
as interested as I am about hearing a Panic! At The Disco song about Spongebob,
you can try to find tickets to Lollapalooza. You can find the lineup for
Lollapalooza here. Or if you’re more like me and you’d rather spend your money
on food, you can always try to brave the crowds at Taste of Chicago. I’ve
always wanted to go to Taste of Chicago, but I’ve never gotten a chance, so my
goal this summer to is find time to make it to Taste of Chicago.
I’m so excited to finally be able to spend the summer in
Chicago. Let me know if you have any exciting plans for your summer!
had a really rough start at DePaul and almost dropped out. I don’t think I had
emotionally prepared myself for such a big change in my life. I was so homesick
and overwhelmed that for the first month of school, my dad would drive to
Chicago all the way from Madison every Thursday, pick me up right after my last
class, drive me home, and then drive me all the way back to Chicago on Sunday
night. I remember my parents begging me to just try to finish out the quarter. I
had a similar experience with International Studies as well—after I finished
the first course, I contemplated dropping International Studies as a major
because I thought I wasn’t smart enough and I just wasn’t good at it. I just
felt so inadequate.
I first came to college, my goal was just to graduate. I did not have high
expectations for myself at all. And when I think about that, I realize that
I’ve accomplished so much more than I ever thought I was capable of doing. All
throughout high school, I knew that I wanted to study abroad at some point
during college, but I sort of doubted that I would ever actually go through
with it. Not only did I study abroad in Madrid, but I discovered that Spanish
political history is pretty interesting. I got back from studying abroad and
applied for my master’s (which never even crossed my mind in high school) so
that I could study Spanish political history. The kid who almost dropped out of
DePaul and International Studies because he thought he couldn’t handle it is
staying at DePaul for a fifth year so that he can get his master’s in
summer will be the first summer that I’m staying in Chicago rather than going back home. It’s sort of bittersweet because I feel like it means that I’m
finally officially an adult, but I’m also excited because I have a great
internship lined up, I get to work on my thesis, and I'm just ready to start a new phase of my life.
The Vic is a popular concert venue located close enough to campus that I routinely
pass it while I walk to get ice cream. When The Vic isn’t hosting a concert,
The Vic becomes The Brew and View, one of the most underrated and
underappreciated institutions in the area. In a pinch, The Brew and View can be
the quintessential cheap date; most nights, you can go watch a double- or
triple-feature for only $5. Where it can become pricey (for me, at least) is food and beverages (shocker).
For whatever reason, The Brew and View sells White Castle hamburger sliders and I can
never say no.
you and your special someone have eaten too many White Castle sliders
yourselves (or you just want to enjoy a nice day), it might be time to finally
try out those blue bikes you always see everyone riding. Divvy Bikes offers a 24-hour pass
for just $10, allowing you to take an unlimited amount of trips for a whole day. The caveat to
this deal is that you can only take a bike out for up to 30 minutes at a time
before you have to return it to any Divvy station (but once you return your bike, you're free to immediately take out another bike!). Divvy bike stations can literally be found all over
the city (as evidenced by the map of Divvy bike stations), so finding a station
is never too much of a hassle.
you and your not-so-secret admirer are both DePaul students, why not spend a
few hours becoming cultured at the Art Institute of Chicago? While tickets for
the Art Institute can usually be a little expensive (especially on a student’s
budget), you can get free tickets just by showing your DePaul ID at the ticket
desk! The Art Institute is home to some of the most famous paintings,
sculptures, and installations in the world. Suggesting the Art Institute is a
surefire way to impress your significant other.
You can never get enough of Garrett Popcorn (but
really everyone calls it Garrett’s and I just learned it’s actually Garrett).
There's a reason that there's often a line out the door for it. Garrett Popcorn
is best known for their Garrett Mix (formerly, and more popularly, known as the
Chicago Mix until a trademark kerfuffle forced them to change the name), a mix
of cheese popcorn and caramel popcorn. No one does cheese popcorn like
Garrett’s. Note: ask for extra napkins. If you thought Cheeto dust was hard to
get off your fingers, just wait until you try Garrett’s cheese popcorn.
Embarrassing story: throughout my first year in
Chicago, because I’m stupid, I always heard Illuminati whenever people said Lou Malnati’s and I would wonder why they’re talking about the Illuminati and
pizza. Luckily, Lou Malnati’s has no known affiliation with the Illuminati.
But, they are known for having some of the best Chicago-style deep dish pizza
in all of Chicago. And since Chicago is obviously going to have the best
Chicago-style pizza, that means that Lou Malnati’s probably has some of the
best Chicago-style pizza in the world. Even better, there’s a Lou Malnati’s a couple blocks off of DePaul’s Lincoln Park Campus, so it’s convenient as well!
While people will always argue over the authenticity
of different Chicago-style hot dogs, Portillo’s is definitely one of the more
popular and more common places to get a hot dog. Or if you're brave, try out
The Wiener’s Circle, which is right in Lincoln Park. The Wiener’s Circle is
legendary not just for its food, but also for its “feisty” late night interactions
between staff and customers on the weekends.
I'm not totally sure if Chicago has any claim to a
famous dessert, but if it does, it might be the chocolate cake shake at
Portillo's. Hypothetically, that means you can kill two birds with one stone if
you get a hot dog and a chocolate cake shake at Portillo’s. The chocolate cake
shake is exactly what you’d think it would be. It’s literally ice cream and
chocolate cake blended together. What could be better than that? Now Portillo's
is a chain with restaurants all around Illinois, so it may not be a big deal to
people from Illinois, but to this Wisconsinite, it's the biggest deal.
Like I’ve said dozens and dozens of times, I love walking
around Chicago. Walking relaxes me. I’m a very high-strung person, so I need
all the relaxation I can get. Even though every full-time student gets a
U-Pass, I try to avoid taking the L and try to walk everywhere instead. My
favorite place to walk though is easily Lakefront Trail and I have one
particular route that I take all the time.
Lakefront Trail is an 18-mile-long biking/running/walking
path that runs right alongside, you guessed it, Lake Michigan. Lakefront Trail
(and Lake Michigan) is only a 15-20 minute walk directly east from DePaul, so
it really couldn’t be easier to get to. When I go walking though, I usually
walk north first and enter Lakefront Trail at Belmont Harbor. I do this for three
logical reasons: 1. I can stop at Wow Bao on the way and get a chocolate filled
bao to eat, 2. After I finish my bao, I can stop at Ann Sather and get some
cinnamon rolls, and 3. There’s a dog beach near Belmont Harbor and it makes me
happy to watch the dogs swim around. I highly recommend all of these pit stops,
especially the dog beach.
When I’m lucky, Forever Yogurt, a frozen yogurt shop, will
have a pop-up trailer at the other end of the bridge inside of Lincoln Park.
It’s super convenient because by the time I cross the bridge, I’m usually just
starting to feel healthy and that frozen yogurt stand ensures that I never have
to feel healthy. I usually walk north in Lincoln Park towards the Lincoln Park Zoo. It is important to note that the path in Lincoln Park that borders Lincoln
Park Zoo has maybe the best view of the Chicago skyline that you can imagine.
I’ve probably walked this path 100 times, yet I still take a picture of the
skyline almost every time. And from here, it’s only a twenty-minute walk back
This is totally my favorite path to walk in Chicago. Let me
know if you have anywhere you love to walk!
Like I’ve been saying, I’m fully aware that I literally only
post about foods that are either fried or covered in cheese, but DePaul
actually offers a ton of healthier options (and they also have recently started
selling egg-free cookie dough in little cups, so I can feel like a rule breaker without worrying about salmonella). In addition to an impressively
extensive salad bar, DePaul sells some pretty delicious sushi. I generally
avoid seafood like the plague, so I typically opt for the veggie rolls, which
substitute avocado for crab. For those who always opt for veggies over meat, it
seems like they’re always adding new vegan and vegetarian options.
Especially now that it’s getting warmer out, I sometimes
skip the gym and decide to go for a run along the beach instead. Just to stay
more active, I usually try to walk everywhere instead of jumping on the L. I’m just lucky that Lincoln Park is so nice to walk around and that there are so many
ice cream shops within walking distance. It all balances out in the end.
case you didn’t know, the application period for most summer internships is right now. You can only imagine my
reaction when I found out that I had already missed the deadline to apply for
some summer internships (one of them literally closed on January 1st).
The sooner you start looking, the more options you will have. Also, if you need to get any letters of recommendation or if the application has any unique requirements (like a written response to some prompt), you're going to need time to prepare and complete your application.
What You’re Looking For
you even start searching, sit down and figure out what you’re looking for. Are
you able to work full-time or can you only manage part-time? What is your availability
during the summer? Can you afford an unpaid internship or do you need to be
paid? If you need to be paid, what’s the minimum you need to be paid? Figure
all of these questions out before you even start looking so you don’t waste
your time looking at jobs that won’t work for you.
finding interesting jobs can be the hardest part sometimes! Luckily, there are
so many resources available to you. For just a standard job search engine, I
like to use Indeed. But if you didn’t know, DePaul also has its own job search
engine called Handshake. In addition to listing on-campus interviews, after you
make a profile, Handshake points out all the jobs listed that you’re qualified for.
It’s a great tool, especially if you’re new to looking for jobs. Also, after you’ve
declared your major(s), make sure you’re receiving (and opening) all of the
emails sent from your department! Most departments regularly include job
listings in mass emails. And finally, talk to your professors and friends. Your
professors have most likely seen hundreds of students search for and
secure summer jobs in Chicago. They can tell you with which companies or
organizations past students have been successful. Your friends can do the same.
Ask them if they have heard of any openings or if they have seen anything that
might fit you (and obviously, if you see a job listing that sounds perfect for
someone you know, be a good friend and tell them about it).
should go without saying. Just like when you applied for college, don’t put all
your eggs in one basket. Apply to as many jobs as you find interesting. The
more options you give yourself, the better chance you have at actually getting
hired. Even after you've applied to several jobs, make it a habit to regularly search for any new job listings. I usually check every three to four days to see what's new. It can only help you.
After you’ve found some potential new jobs, it’s time to get some letters of
recommendation and polish your resume! Check back next week for more tips on
how to write the perfect resume and how to ask professors for recommendations!
Barn and Company is seriously four or five blocks away from campus (not to mention pretty hard to miss), yet it seems like no one knows it exists. That’s a shame. Barn and Company has some of the best barbecue I’ve ever had. It’s worth mentioning that I once talked to the owner who casually mentioned that Dave often stops by when he’s in town. Who is Dave, you ask? The Famous Dave’s Dave. That Dave. If it’s good enough for Famous Dave, it’s good enough for you. I highly recommend going for their Friday special: the $12.99 Chicken, Pork, and Ribs Platter.
Branko’s Sandwich Shop is absolutely one of the most underappreciated restaurants I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s located directly across the street from the Quad on Fullerton. The family who runs it is comprised of the nicest, sweetest people you could imagine. I genuinely don’t have enough good things to say about them. Branko’s is the greasy diner you’re always looking for. Whenever I have a craving for cheese fries or a Pizza Puff (one of my favorite foods in the world), this is where I go. The unexpected winner on the menu: the Grilled Chicken Sandwich. If you know anything about me, you know I wouldn’t recommend a chicken sandwich if it weren’t absolutely spectacular.
Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! is getting a mention because I have such a sentimental connection
with it. I’ve written about my experiences studying abroad in Madrid. I’ve been
back for over a year and I still miss it. One of the things I miss most is the
food. Luckily for me, DePaul is near one of the best Spanish tapas restaurants
in Chicago. Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! just celebrated its 30th anniversary
and trust me, there’s a reason that it’s been around for so long. If you go,
get the croquetas. They are the food I miss most from Madrid and they’re
amazing at Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!
but not least, State Restaurant is literally my life. You can ask anyone who
knows me and they will tell you that my life revolves around State. It’s
located a block off of campus and I have their weekly specials memorized. Why would I memorize the weekly specials? Because the weekly specials are amazing. Every Wednesday, almost everything on the menu is $5.99. On Thursdays and Fridays, almost everything on the menu is $6.99. Where else can you get a truffle burger for $5.99!? I’m not ashamed at all to admit that I’m obsessed with State. State also apparently hosts some intense trivia contests (with cash prizes) every Tuesday night and I want to go so bad. Let me know if you’re a walking encyclopedia so I can have you on my team.
Speaking of food, if you’re anything like me, you’re
currently broke because you spent all your money buying new clothes to disguise
the fifteen pounds you gained over winter break. If that sounds like you (or
even if you’re lucky and didn’t gain fifteen pounds over break), you’re
probably looking for some free things to do during this quarter. Luckily for
you, I’ve found a ton of free stuff to do over the next two and a half months.
Every quarter, I write about the DePaul Activities Board’s
event calendar. DAB always hosts events you actually want to go to. You all
know what I mean. Unfortunately, by the time you read this, you will already
have missed (or maybe not, I don’t know if you went) what may have possibly
been the event of the year: DePaul After Dark: Harry Potter. I’m not sure what
Battle of the Brands: Happy Chocolate Cake Day is (you better believe I will be
there to find out on January 27th), but it will probably help get
you out of the pit of despair that you fell in when you found out you missed
Harry Potter night. And I haven’t even mentioned Polarpalooza, DePaul’s free
winter concert! They haven't announced who is performing yet, but I give DAB credit for somehow always picking acts that get way
bigger right after performing at Polarpalooza (see: Fun., Walk the Moon, Chance the Rapper).
This would be a great place for a super smooth transition
into talking about another on-campus entity with fun events, but I don’t have a
good transition. I do have another on-campus entity with fun events, though! I’m
currently taking my Honors Capstone and my professor is
the director of the Humanities Center, which I had never really looked into prior to taking the class. After he passed out a
flyer in class with all the events for this quarter, I was instantly devastated
that I had missed out on years of these… eclectic events. While these events
may be slightly more academic than you had hoped for, there’s a reason that I’m
so excited about them. Let me give you an idea of the insanity that has
apparently been taking place at the Humanities Center for years without my
knowledge: Next quarter, there’s an event about Moby-Dick that includes a
screening of Star Trek II. Let that sink in.
During this quarter, the Humanities Center is hosting five
events and I will be at all of them. My two favorites? On February 8th, you have the
opportunity to attend an event about Noah’s Ark comprising of an opera
performance, a lecture on Noah and animal rights, and a climate change
scientist giving his interpretation of the parable of Noah. Or perhaps you want
to join me on March 7th for the newest installment in the “Hungry
Hungry Humanities” series, “Eating is Understanding.” At this event, billed as
interactive foodie event,” the first 100 audience members get a bento box
filled with food to eat throughout the presentation.
Let me know what you're planning on doing this quarter!
besides the copious amounts of food, there’s only one thing getting me through
finals right now: winter break. While I’m going back home to Wisconsin for
break, if you’re staying in Chicago, consider yourself lucky. There are tons of
amazing things to do in Chicago during break.
lot of families, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a tradition on
Thanksgiving Morning. But if you’re not from Chicago, you may not know that
Chicago also has its own Thanksgiving Day Parade. The McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is held on State Street and runs from Congress to Randolph at 8am on
Thanksgiving morning. It’s huge. The route is a mile long and the projected
attendance is 400,000 people. And to top it all off, David Arquette is the
Grand Marshal of the parade. If that doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what
long as you’re on State Street, I don’t know why you wouldn’t go see the famous window displays at Macy’s (R.I.P. Marshall Field’s). This year, the
story is “Santa’s Journey to the Stars,” everyone’s favorite Christmas tale of
the child who uses a magic telescope to celebrate Christmas on different
planets before ending up back at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. While I
was skeptical of the story at first (I’m still unsure if it will enter into the
holiday canon), the windows are actually beautiful and absolutely worth going
to see. The windows will be up until January 10th, so you have
plenty of time to check it out.
Christkindlmarket is a Chicago (but really German) tradition that has to
be experienced. In the middle of Daley Plaza, a little German Christmas market
pops up from November 20th-December 24th. It’s a very big
deal. If we’re all being honest with ourselves, everything is a little
overpriced, but just the experience of walking around is worth it. Actually, in
reflecting on that point, I don’t think I’ve ever purchased something from the
market. It just makes me feel good.
year I say I'm going to go ice skating at the rink at Millennium Park.
Literally, every single year. I have yet to go. But I swear this year is the
one. Or next year. But I'm feeling good about this year. I get bitter every
time I see pictures of people ice skating in front of the Bean while I’m
sitting at home watching Elf for the 74th time. For the record, I’m
not complaining about watching Elf, that’s just what I’m usually doing when I see
the pictures and become bitter. This year (or next year) will be mine, though,
and I will have that picture for myself. I have plenty of time to try to
squeeze it in this year: it runs all the way until March 6th.
have any favorite things to do in Chicago during the holiday season, let me
Olivia and I go way back. We first met while doing community theatre together when I was in fourth grade. That’s eleven years ago (that realization was brutal for me)! I had no plans for the weekend and neither did she, so we had a quick brainstorm of things we could do. Twelve hours later, Olivia and I were standing in line at the Bank of America Theatre, waiting to buy tickets for the musical A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.
Now, if you’ve never done student rush for a musical, you’re missing out. Almost every popular musical does some sort of student rush (or lottery) nowadays. Each show does student rush a little bit differently, but for A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, the tickets went on sale when the box office opened at 10am (but Olivia and I got there around 9am so we could be close to the front of the line because I stress about these kinds of things). The show sells whatever seats were still open for $25 to any student/senior/veteran. Other shows (like Wicked) use a lottery system where you can put your name into a drawing, and then two hours before the show, box office agents will pull 10-12 names. Each chosen person can buy up to two tickets for $20-$30 (it depends on the show – for Wicked, the seats are usually $25 and in the front row).
The show itself was great and we had amazing tickets. I can’t lie though: the highlight of the evening was the woman sitting behind us that was just absolutely confused by everything that was happening in the show. She spent the entire 15-minute intermission trying to talk through who had died (one man plays eight parts and she could not tell them apart at all) while I tried to discretely wipe my tears away from laughing so hard.
All in all, it is days like these that I’m grateful that I live in Chicago. Ten-year-old me would be very proud that I chose to live somewhere where going to see a Broadway tour is something I casually decide to do with a friend on my free time.
Why did I insist on living in the city if I wasn’t going to take advantage of it? I’m that person who always dismisses everything as being “too tourist-y”, while always secretly wanting to go up to the Skydeck. So I decided to bust out the (figurative) fanny pack and try to approach Chicago like a tourist would! Since this spring, I’ve decided to abandon my pretensions and make it a point to actively seek out tourist-y types of activities (although I have retained my dignity and continue to refuse to take a picture of my reflection on the Bean).
At the same time, I’m (obviously) a student, so I have no time for tourist prices. Honestly, I only finally went up to the Skydeck because I realized I could use my airline points from my flight to Madrid to buy passes. Because you can’t use points on everything, I have a few discounted suggestions for fall and winter.
I’m not going to lie: I used to be a theatre nerd. And I still love theatre. Tickets can run super expensive though, so I’m constantly on the lookout for ways to score cheap tickets. Like I’ve mentioned 1001 times, the Office of Student Involvement sells discounted tickets for at least one show per quarter, so they’re always my go-to. Another great resource is HotTix,
literally a website dedicated to discount theatre tickets. I also regularly
check Broadway in Chicago’s website for special offers. This is where they will
announce if a show will be doing lottery or student rush. This is how I got to
sit in the front row of Wicked for only $25!
After Dominick’s closed (R.I.P.) and before the Whole Foods
opened up on campus, I would walk to Trader Joe’s to get all my groceries. The
weather was beautiful today, so I decided to walk there and pick up a few
things. One of my favorite things about Trader Joe’s is its huge assortment of
seasonal goods and decorations. Now as I’ve said, I’m an easily excitable person,
so you can imagine my reaction when I walked into Trader Joe’s today and saw
pumpkin flavored everything, including Pumpkin Spice Cookie Butter. If you’ve
had Cookie Butter, you know why this is so exciting. If you’ve never had Cookie
Butter, you better have a good reason why not. If you’ve never heard of Cookie
Butter, go read this famous blog entry about it. After 25 minutes on the phone
with my mother, narrating every pumpkin flavored item I found to her, I was
finally prepared to check out.
Now this is where my story just gets straight up shameful and embarrassing. I’ve truly hit a new low in my life. I’ve hit rock bottom. To paint the picture: my dad had just called to tell me about this showing of Hocus Pocus at a cemetery in Chicago in a few nights. As a child of the immediate gratification generation, I immediately want to watch Hocus Pocus, but I’m obviously not home yet and I’ve lent my DVD player to someone who hasn’t returned it (you know who you are). So here I am, walking home with both my groceries and a burning desire to watch Hocus Pocus.
After I get home and recover from my shame spiral, I grab some apple cider and my pumpkin pie flavored yogurt and I surf the web, as the kids like to call it. I’m pulling up sources to write my blog when I inevitably end up on DePaul Activities Board’s website. I notice an event I had not noticed
before: a Halloweentown Party. Even though they aren’t showing my favorite, Halloweentown High, you better believe I have literally cleared my schedule in order to go. I expect to see you all there with me, eating as many pumpkin flavored baked goods as you can handle.