The Independent

The Independent

Small North Park Chocolate Shop is Still a Big Hit

Small North Park Chocolate Shop is Still a Big Hit

March 6, 2013

The name Beijo de Chocolat is part Portuguese and part French and means “Kiss of Chocolate.” And that is exactly what you’ll get when you...

Scientology Explored

Michelle Kuehlhorn, Staff Writer

October 3, 2012

Filed under Neighborhood

In 1952, Hubbard used the Dianetics framework and published a new set of teachings as Scientology, a religious philosophy. In 1953, Hubbard incorporated the Church of American Science, Church of Scientology, and Church of Spiritual Engineering in Camden, New Jersey. On February 18, 1954, Hubbard gave his blessing to his followers...

The Wormhole

Jon-Paul Kreatsoulas, Staff Writer

October 3, 2012

Filed under Neighborhood

              When approaching the Wormhole on 1462 N. Milwaukee Ave. in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago, one need not worry about dirtying clothes or breaking any limbs once falling in. Upon entry, customers will literally become younger as their eyes gaze upon the numerous pop culture remnants of the 1970’s and 80’s. Countless artifacts draw the eye and embolden the mind from the Spielberg and Lucas era of filmmaking. Scantily clad Princess Leia action figures strewn about the establishment evoke every Star Wars fan’s secret crush, and Doc Brown’s DeLorean takes visitors “back to the future” while remaining comfortably parked inside. After the visual geekfeast wears off, then one remembers they came into the Wormhole because the word is they serve a good cup of coffee. Aside from a shop of nostalgia, the Wormhole is ultimately a cafe that offers everything from a standard cup of black coffee to the most intricately flavor-infused hot beverages that can be constructed from a latte or an espresso base. There is also a wonderful array of hot brewed teas available upon request from the Wormhole’s extensive list. If customers are looking for something more than drinks to sip on while grieving over homework, freshly baked delectable edibles are on the menu as well. Speaking of homework, the Wormhole is an ideal place to do some as it has free WiFi and an abundance of power outlets. The Wormhole is also the perfect place to finish a screenplay, curl up with a book on couches with cushions to literally sink into, play “Duck Hunt” and “Super Mario Brothers” on the original Nintendo while enjoying a steamy cup of goodness, or just sit and marvel at the vintage Ghostbusters and The Goonies posters. The collection of dated cartoon character-themed tin lunchboxes is impressive as well. Racking up a respectable bill of $5-$10 per person is well worth the wait in line at the Wormhole because you’re paying for an experience that is more than just being handed a cup of coffee over a counter in exchange for cash. The coffee chemists at the Wormhole exact precision and care with every cup that is created. A trip down the Wormhole is a true adventure....

It’s Time to Rice ‘N’ Roll

Linda Monacelli, Copy Editor

October 3, 2012

Filed under Neighborhood

    Erick von Alroth, NEIU alum and owner of Frankenstone Art Center, right next door to Rice ‘N’ Roll initially recommended the restaurant.Located at 3312 W. Foster Avenue, Rice ‘N’ Roll is truly a gem of a hole-in-the-wall within a five-minute drive, or 20-minute walk, from Northeastern. Michael’s mom, Ruentip Tiemchaiyapum, a native of Thailand, prepares 98% of the meals. Michael’s sister Alisa came up with the name for the restaurant and her husbanddesigned the cute logo. Rice ‘N’ Roll serves Thai, Chinese, and Japanese cuisine. The prices are truly a sight for a poor college student’s sore eyes. Their “All-day Special” includes one Thai or Chinese entrée plus two vegetable egg rolls, all for $5.95. While this price excludes tax, it’s still one heck of a deal. Their most popular Thai dish, Pad Thai, earned GrubHub’s Golden Grub Award for Customers’ Favorite dish. Again, for $5.95, you get a generous serving of Pad Thai, generous as in occupying the majority of a 12-inch plate. Their Thai curry dishes are also popular. Customers ordering Chinese food usually get the Mongolian beef or chicken, orange chicken, or General Tso's chicken. Popular Japanese-influenced items include the Godzilla and dragon mega rolls and regular-sized California and Philly rolls. Having tried the chicken Pad Thai, it was the most flavorful Pad Thai I’d had in a hot minute. The thin flat noodles were al dente, perfectly cooked, and the peanut sauce was just strong enough to not be overwhelming and ruin the dish. Tender yet crisp chopped scallions balanced the sweetness of the sauce. The chicken pieces were small and thinly sliced, making them convenient to eat and proportionate to the other ingredients. Crunchy bean sprouts and scrambled egg pieces add further texture. Overall, the Pad Thai, as well as other dishes Rice ‘N’ Roll serves up, including the Pad Kiemow and Tom Kha soup, taste super fresh and flavorful. What makes this place even better is that it’s BYOB, has free Wi-Fi, and the customer service, a.k.a. Michael Tiemchaiyapum, the manager, is friendly. He even remembers his customers and what they’ve ordered in the past! Michael, named after Michael Jackson, whose music his sister loved back in the ‘80’s, asked his parents to give him a Thai nameso that he could feel closer to his cultural heritage. In response, his parents, Saroj and Ruentip Tiemchaiyapum traveled to a Thai temple in Chicago and acquired the name Montri, but their son still goes by Michael with most people, including customers at his family’s restaurant Rice ‘N’ Roll. Rice ‘N’ Roll can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp. Also check them out on their website www.riceandroll.com. They’re open 6 days a week: Monday thru Saturday, 11:30am – 9:00pm. They are closed on Sunday. Plan your next study group, or social date at Rice ‘N’ Roll. It’ll be the best decision you made all week. Also, don’t forget to say hi to Erick and check his awesome space at Frankenstone Art Center next door!...

Orga Café and Tea

Lina D. and Christos Liardakis

September 19, 2012

Filed under Neighborhood

  From the exterior, Orga Café is reminiscent of those street-side pizza joints that the quintessential teenager and all of her gum-popping friends hang out in. Though the ‘N Sync trading cards and girls that yell for ketchup were absent, it was an oddly pleasant environment. The food was not terribly priced and came to an average of about $9 per person and about $2 for iced tea. Besides offering Middle Eastern cuisine (falafel and shawarma abound) Orga’s menu also offered some fast food classics such as hot dogs, fries and burgers. To begin with, Orga Tea lived up to its name. The tea was actually quite good. There were a variety of flavors to choose from with the basic white, green, black teas and a few fruity things added into the mix, including a tea made from rose hips. The food, however, could not boast the same claim. The meat was over- spiced; the falafel was just okay and the hummus and eggplant dip were both disappointing. The salad was actually pretty decent. Most unsettling, was the small strand of hair found in the rice. While the rice was a pretty sunny yellow color, the hair raised hygiene questions. Still, if students want convenience, it is close to campus and is a decent alternative to Lean Cuisine. Orga is located on the corner of Bryn Mawr and Kimball....

Cumin, Take it to Go

Emily Haddad, Editor-in-Chief

September 19, 2012

Filed under Neighborhood

  Wicker Parkians, trek no longer to Devon to quell those Indian food cravings. At Cumin, you can expect great food. They serve what is billed as delicious Nepalese food, but in consistency, spice and flavor, it is much closer to Punjabi cooking. The butters and creams are liberally present in the curries and the flavors...

Fresh, Hot, and Just Down the Block

Grace Caruvana, Staff Writer

September 19, 2012

Filed under Neighborhood

    Pizza is the stereotypical staple of a college student’s diet. Why this is true is uncertain, but it is certainly convenient that near most colleges there are at least a few big name and mom-n-pop pizza parlors that deliver to the campus. Safe to say, the same is true for Northeastern Illinois University’s (NEIU) main campus, despite it being a commuter school. There are so many pizza parlors to choose from that it all comes down to three things when selecting a place to order from: Location - how far from campus is it and is it worth paying extra for de- livery if the store is within walking distance; What is the price of the pizza in relation to the quality - are you getting your money’s worth; and finally, variety - because more topping options are always better. Several different pizza parlors were considered, and a local shop on Bryn Mawr was found to be most satisfactory in each category. Sergio’s Taqueria and Pizza at 3253 W. Bryn Mawr, is the closest to the NEIU main campus at less than one mile away (0.4), compared to Pizza Hut (1 mile), Domino’s (1.1 miles), Sarpino’s (1.2 miles) and Little Cae- sar’s Pizza (1.9 miles). Open all week long from early morning till late at night (the aver- age time being 10 a.m. till 11 p.m.), Sergio’s is ideal for the college student’s erratic schedule. Sergio’s al- lows for both carry-out orders as well as dine in, and for those who wish not to leave the relative com- fort of campus, delivery. A medium 14” thin crust cheese pizza is only $9.99 (before tax), which is a fair price for what is considered a large at most other big name pizza vendors. If dining in, pizza can be purchased by the slice and the slice given is larger than average, making it well worth the money. When it comes to variety in a menu, no other pizza parlor can touch Sergio’s. Not only is the menu diverse in the types of pizza and toppings, but the food selection in general crosses borders and an entire ocean give you not only a taste of the Americanized Italian cuisine but also a heaping helping of some- thing south of the border. Sergio’s also offers a few “special” north of the boarder items, making it well worth the money and time spent to walk over and have a fulfilling meal in a decent-sized gap between classes....

NEIU Student Glams Up Glenwood Arts Fest

Janean L. Watkins, Staff Writer

September 6, 2012

Filed under Neighborhood

        Phots by Janean Watkins   Flirtatious, amusing, and undeniably blunt greeting cards by NEIU Sociology student Simone A. Bruch filled a rented space at this year's Glenwood Ave Arts Fest. Bruch and her friend Eti Berland have loved greetings cards, and have been creating their own under the name ‘ironwoman cards.’ The Glenwood Ave Arts Fest was held in Chicago’s Rogers Park community. Over 50 businesses and organizations came together to sponsor the event. The festival was complete with interactive artwork for the kids, and the lovable puppet bike. Patrons were able to shop, enjoy live music and even have a $10 chair massage by one of the massage therapists of Rogers Park Center for Massage Therapy.  ...

Do You Want to go to Dawali’s

Brisa Becerril, Staff Writer

September 6, 2012

Filed under Neighborhood

  Dawali’s Mediterranean Kitchen at 4911 N. Kedzie boasts gluten-free food and veggie options, which is good news for anyone on a gluten free or vegetarian diet! Tucked into the corner of a small plaza on the corner of Kedzie Ave. and Ainslie St. in Albany Park, Dawali’s has free parking in the lot and a welcoming atmosphere. Dawali’s is casual, serving the big university community that surrounds it. It’s a good place to go if you have a long break between classes and are looking for a place to study or read. This was my first time eating Mediterranean food, so I was excited to try the food. The waitress was really nice and attentive. However, she got the order wrong and came back with the beef kabab, instead of the lamb we ordered. No biggie though, because the beef was the bomb. I went with my son and mom and Dawali’s is kid-friendly! However, I don’t recommend going there, or anywhere for that matter, with an eleven-month-old; you won’t be able to fully enjoy your meal. The falafel appetizer was great. It was crispy and had the right amount of seasoning. The iced tea was okay, but it came from a fountain drink dispenser. The spinach and lamb bread pies we ordered were good, but they could have been crispier. We went with the combination choice, which included several meat choices, basmati rice, grilled veggies, pita bread, and sauce. We chose the chicken shawerma and the lamb kabab. Everything was seasoned well, but the chicken shawerma was a little dry. The lamb kabab order never arrived; instead beef was served. It was good and juicy but not what was ordered. We didn’t order dessert because they didn’t accept a coupon we had. Apparently, they don’t accept the “Buy $35, get $25 off” coupon anymore, which was a shame because I was really looking forward to the crème brulee that their website advertises. So for all the food we ordered, we paid around $35, counting the tip. The portions they serve are big, but for $35, I expect better food quality. Also, the actual menu at Dawali’s differs from the one online. The desserts are not on the menu and neither are the drinks. That threw us off when we ordered because we already had an idea of what we wanted. When we got there, we had to switch things up a bit. Overall, I had a good experience and I wouldn’t mind going back. Perhaps next time I’ll be able to try the desserts....

Le Fleur de Lis Restaurant

Janean L. Watkins, Editor in Chief

April 17, 2012

Filed under Neighborhood

                                  La Fleur de Lis, located at 301 E. 43rd street is a quaint and unassuming Creole style restaurant in the heart of Bronzeville. Since its inception in October of 2010, New Orleans native Allen J. Rochelle Jr., has given Chicagoans leisurely southern style cooking from NOLA to satisfy the fast-paced northern appetite. Upon entering the restaurant for their signature Sunday brunch, patrons are virtually teleported south into a Creole style restaurant - complete with Mardi Gras masks, original paintings, and a live band. The all-you-can-eat brunch lasts from 11 AM to 5 PM and costs $15. On arrival, you’re seated and graced with a free mimosa – a tasty orange juice and champagne blend. The first of these bubbly drinks are free, and every mimosa thereafter is $2. Because brunch is buffet style, patrons are entertained by a live band, the Andley Reid Trio, while selecting from such southern delicacies as creamy grits, Louisiana crab cakes, turkey sliders, and jambalaya. Though this restaurant has a very southern feel and serves southern dishes, I would be remiss not to suggest that the wait staff prepare drinks within the kitchen. Not every patron is fond of orange “drink” in place of orange juice. But recovery was made with the food, the desserts, and a glance at their regular menu. They offer such sig- nature cocktails as, Hurricane - a tropical fruit punch infused with rum and one shot of 151. They also provide bottle service, starting with a $45 Pink Sparkling Moscato. The head chef, Sydney Johnson, serves up fresh omelets – made to order. At an egg white omelet request, the chef didn’t bat an eye. He promised to deliver at the next Sunday brunch. Depending on its popularity, this could become an- other staple of Le Fleur de Lis. “I try to give the public what they want,” said Chef Sydney. Overall, this Le Fleur de Lis earns three and a half stars out of five. The restaurant’s quaint ambiance, tasty food, and live music made this a spot worth visiting at least once for a down-home southern treat. I stand by my suggestion to keep some preparation behind closed doors – or better yet, serve actual orange juice. I would also like to see the service move a little quicker, even when delivering my cucumber water. Big props to the bartender and manager, Richard Johnson for his friendly demeanor, and love for creating new drinks that rival the favorites that he’s perfected.  ...

Out on a School Night:

Zac Schon, Opinions Editor

February 21, 2011

Filed under Neighborhood

When someone says the phrase "epic fail" in real life, I roll my eyes. It's trendy, not really that funny, and often, over-exaggerated. But as I sat in Dark Cloud: Urban Coffee Lab, located at 2122 N Halsted St. on a Friday afternoon, the phrase did come to mind. Before I bash, let's first focus on what is positive. Ideally,...

Asado Coffee Co: the best cup of Jose in Lakeview

Zac Schon, Opinions Editor

February 7, 2011

Filed under Neighborhood

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 coffee mugs Lakeview is a Mecca for coffee shops, since both Clark and Lincoln have a Starbucks every half a mile (along with an independent coffee shop at the same ratio). When often we think of an independent coffee house, we think of the image of exposed brick, worn books on a shelf on the wall for...

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