DeBlogs > Willy Subach
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!
Almost nine years after my first Spanish class, I’ve
officially completed my Spanish major. After I finished my last Spanish class
last fall, I realized that I never have to take another Spanish class again. Pretty bittersweet. Two
months later, my friend, who knows four languages and makes me feel terrible
about myself, told me about the DELE test. Let’s talk about why I’m kicking
myself for not taking a Spanish class this quarter.
The DELE test is basically a Spanish fluency exam endorsed
by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science. So when my friend mentioned it, I
imagined it being like the ACT or SAT. I thought I’d casually go in and take a test and
they would tell me how fluent I am. NOPE. It’s no joke. You register to test
for one of six fluency levels and then it’s 4+ hours of writing, reading, listening,
and talking. If you pass, you’re certified at that level. If you don’t pass,
then you just end up wasting $150. That stresses me out. By the time I take
this test, it will have been five months since I was last in a Spanish class. Of
course no one told me about this test when I came back from studying abroad in
Spain and was at the top of my Spanish game. I basically sounded like a
telenovela at that point in my life. Now I can barely pronounce the menu at a
Like a geek, I bought the big study book in order to prepare
myself. A day later, I’m already realizing that I’m in over my head. You may be wondering
why I’m doing this to myself. I’m sort of wondering that, too. In all honesty, I just
think it’d be nice to have an official certificate saying that I’m fluent at a
specific level, rather than just saying that I majored in Spanish. I think it’d be something nice to have on my resume.
Furthermore, since I’m done with Spanish classes, my Spanish is only going to
get worse (unless, of course, I somehow get a Spanish-speaking job or move out
of the country or become famous for my rendition of "Genio Atrapado"). If I do move, the certificate is internationally recognized
and if I pass the level that I’m attempting to test into, I will officially be
fluent enough to enroll in Spanish universities. Since it’s permanent and I’d
never have to take the test again, I might as well take it as soon as possible.
It’s not like I have anything else going on in my life right now.
Go on a Walk
Whenever I get stressed, I constantly go on walks. I don’t
know if that’s me subconsciously trying to run away from responsibility or me
trying to work off all of the food that I stress eat, but I’m always walking.
Fortunately for me, Lincoln Park is an amazing place to walk around. Who could
blame me for always walking when I get to walk on the beach and see the
Obviously, it goes without saying that going on a walk can
constitute a workout. In fact, I’d be lying to you if I told you that I’ve never
gone on a walk to an ice cream store and then called it my workout for the day
(truthfully, I did this three times last weekend). But still, for some people, walking
outside doesn’t have the same effect as going to gym and jogging on the
treadmill or hitting the weights. Working out can be especially helpful if you’re
struggling to focus or if you just can't sit still and you have to use up some energy.
Treat Yo Self
I feel like I say this in every other blog post: I’m a
stress eater. I always joked about being one, but I recently realized I genuinely
stress eat without even noticing it. So instead of passively letting myself
stress eat everything in sight (the other week I ate a burger, a sub, a bowl of
soup, and three desserts from Sweet Mandy B’s just for lunch), I have started
taking a more active approach. If I feel myself getting super stressed or if I
know that I have a stressful day coming up, I try to stock up on my favorite
healthy snacks and buy only one dessert from Sweet Mandy B’s instead of three.
Take a Break
Duh. If you know that you’re starting to get overwhelmed,
shut it all down for a while. The other night, I was once again stressed about
a different paper that I had to write. I woke up super early (which was my
first mistake) and had been working on it all day. I was getting hangry and burnt out, it was just not a good situation. So I just shut everything down and took a break. I ordered a pizza from
Pizza Hut (they messed up my order, but that’s another story that I’m still
bitter about) and watched The Craft. An hour and a half later, I was back to
working on my essay and in a much better mood.
A lot of people unwind by cooking, baking, drawing,
painting, writing, or knitting. Taking an hour to create something or continue
working on a project can help take your mind off of schoolwork. Plus, some
people find it especially therapeutic to be able to see the finished product or
the progress they’ve made. When you return to schoolwork, you might find that
you can focus on your work much more easily.
Let me know if you have any special ways that you cope with
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 cheap stuff to do during this quarter. Luckily for
you, I’ve found a ton of stuff to do over the next two and a half months!
I love to 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 by that. 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. Every Thursday night, DAB
hosts DePaul After Dark at the Student Center. Each week has a different theme
with new activities. It’s always free and usually includes some sort of free
food and giveaways. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’ve ever looking
for stuff to do on a Thursday night.
It goes without saying that DAB does way more than just
DePaul After Dark. This quarter, in addition to a ton of smaller events,
including a Superbowl Party and an Oscar Viewing Party, DAB is going to host
two of its biggest annual events: the Blue Demon Dance and Polarpalooza. The
Blue Demon Dance is the culminating event of Blue Demon Week, a week dedicated
to fostering school spirit at DePaul. This year, the Blue Demon Dance is being
held on January 29th at Crystal Gardens on Navy Pier. Tickets are
only $10 and totally worth it.
Last, but definitely not least, is Polarpalooza, DePaul’s
free winter concert! 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). Tickets are free, but limited, so you have to be on your
game if you want to go. Every winter, 600 students fill up Lincoln Hall for a
private concert with an up-and-coming music act. Be sure to check out their website on January 22nd when they reveal the artist who will be
When I told you that I found a ton of stuff to do this
quarter, I wasn’t exaggerating. Check back next week to find out about more free
events happening on campus 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.
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.