The Independent

In The Neighborhood: Charcoal Delights

Roine Dryer Michaels, Writer

May 16, 2018

Filed under Arts & Life, Neighborhood

Charcoal Delights, a family owned restaurant located at 3139 W. Foster Avenue, is actually more of an institution than a local restaurant. They have been cooking great eats that are both healthy and indulgent for 55 years. The operation is well-seasoned when it comes to making your food right and serving it promptly with a...

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!...

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