Bonté Wafflerie and Café

I cheated on breakfast the other day. The sugar-speckled, chocolate-drizzled, Eggo-sized pastry-of-wonder on my plate definitely classified as much more than breakfast. A meal characterized by soggy wheat and runny chicken embryos, breakfast was quite a different experience at Bonté Wafflerie and Cafe.

I stopped in at the main branch at 1315 Walnut Street, just a hop from Broad St. and across the way from Naked Chocolate Café. I ordered the Belgian Sugar Waffle with dark chocolate and walnuts.

The Belgian Sugar Waffle is the main specialty of Bonté, and can be eaten plain or with your choice of mix-ins (Dark Chocolate, White Chocolate, Banana, Strawberry, Blueberry, Pecans, or Walnuts). I was expecting something better than a frozen Eggo, but not much different from a standard Belgian. What I got was about the size of an Eggo, but far different.

The sugar-crystal-covered outside was crunchy and sweet—drenched in dark chocolate. Cracking through that layer brought an even greater surprise. The inside is soft and chewy as a muffin. The mix-ins are spread evenly throughout, making every bite incredible. It had all the makings of an amazing desert, but it still classified as breakfast!

I didn’t realize the secret to the Sugar Waffle’s amazing texture until I peeked behind the counter. They made the waffles with dough, not batter! Batter usually creates fluffy pastries (think pancakes and muffins), but dough gives the Sugar Waffle its heavy presence on your tongue. Rather than gulping it down, I chewed each marvelously dense bite.

Bonté also carries a wide variety of sandwiches and salads. The sandwiches are solid affairs, with thick slabs of cheese and interesting spreads like curry chicken salad. They also offer an extensive coffee menu with seasonally changing specials.

According to its website, Bonté began when its founder discovered Belgian Sugar Waffles (called Gaufré) in Brussels. Now with three locations, Bonté is spreading the love around Philly, making it three times as easy to be unfaithful to breakfast.

Bonté Wafflerie and Café

1315 Walnut St.

215.732.3223

www.bontewaffles.com.

You can contact Prasana William at community@campusphilly.org.

Elinor Tatum visits Temple

Elinor Tatum, publisher and editor-in-chief of the African-American-owned newspaper The Amsterdam News, recently spoke at Temple, highlighting her philosophies and ideals for the future of the black press.

She began by saying that the black press began one hundred and eighty years ago with Freedom’s Journal, with a credo that still defines this press today. Tatum explained that the black press is in trouble because others are speaking and writing about events, not those living them.

Tatum feels that the national news media are portraying negative and hopeless pictures for black people. By contrast, the black press is positive and speaks about the differences and achievements made by African Americans—giving hope to future generations. She feels that it is of great importance to continue the black press, because African Americans are otherwise forgotten.

The black press’s foundation was paramount because there was no other voice for African Americans at that time. The Amsterdam News, organized in 1909, began as a ten-dollar investment by James Henry Anderson, and went on to become one of the most influential publications of the black press. It was named for the neighborhood Anderson lived in, and began as a two-cent paper published every six weeks. During the Depression it became the first unionized black paper, due to the labor strikes within the community. As time progressed, the black press was the catalyst for civil rights, championing Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, and telling the stories that needed to be heard.

Although The Amsterdam News is located in New York, there is also black press in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia New Observeris a magazine covering race and ethnic news, and is a part of the Black Press USA. It is the only organization recognized as a part of the black press in Philadelphia.

In the digital age, The Amsterdam Newsis figuring out how to be innovative so as not to become obsolete.

“When you hold a black newspaper, you are holding a piece of history,” Tatum said. She also expressed that if there is no diversity in our workplaces, then we must strive for it; and if we part of a diverse company, then we must take a stand and share what we think is important to be shared with the world—good or bad.

She spoke of the importance of using our voice wisely, and giving fair, honest, and equal coverage. Tatum believes that the black press will be relevant for a long time to come, but that everyone needs to be a part of creating hopeful news.

You can contact Amanda O’Mahony at cameraeye82@yahoo.com.

Ryan Howard

What can Ryan Howard possibly do for an encore? Hit 60 home runs? Lead the Phillies to the playoffs? Find a cure for cancer?

Howard enters the 2007 season with as much fanfare as any player in the National League. His mantle is already lined with trophies, and his statistics are more impressive than most players compile over their entire careers.

His resume reads like this: Rookie of the Year, Home Run Derby champion, All-Star, Silver Slugger, Hank Aaron Award and Most Valuable Player.

Howard burst onto the scene in 2005, when he filled in for the injured Jim Thome and belted 22 home runs in only 312 at-bats. With that effort in mind, people wondered what the lefthanded slugger could do over the course of a full season.

Those questions were answered in loud, clear and historic ways last year as Howard smacked a team-record 58 homers and drove in a major league-leading 149 runs. He hit .313

Johnny Chang’s

This new Asian restaurant on S. Broad, located only about five blocks from the sports complex, boasts a great mix of Chinese and Japanese food with a distinct South Philly atmosphere. The large dining room features plenty of room for large parties and a sushi bar against the far wall.

The food is pretty standard Chinese fare, flavorful and suitably greasy, and the portions are large. A decent selection of soups (including my personal favorite, miso) and some appetizers round out the menu.

Sushi lovers should definitely check out Johnny Chang’s. Heaping plates of sushi and sashimi are available a la carte or in various combinations. The sushi tastes like it was just hauled from the ocean, served in thick slices over wasabi-flavored rice.

Prices are about average. An entrée will run you somewhere in the neighborhood of $10, while two pieces of sushi are about $3 – $4. Not bad, considering the quality of food.

Service comes with a smile and the kind of curt attitude you can only find in South Philly. Local waitresses run the show efficiently, despite their tendency to chat with patrons about just about anything.

Johnny Chang’s is currently a BYOB, but the restaurant is in the process of acquiring a liquor license, so expect a full bar soon.

Johnny Chang’s Asian Restaurant

2601 S Broad St

Philadelphia, PA 19148

215.551.3000

You can contact Zack Engel at editassist@campusphilly.org.

Bonté Wafflerie and Café

I cheated on breakfast the other day. The sugar-speckled, chocolate-drizzled, Eggo-sized pastry-of-wonder on my plate definitely classified as much more than breakfast. A meal characterized by soggy wheat and runny chicken embryos, breakfast was quite a different experience at Bonté Wafflerie and Cafe.

I stopped in at the main branch at 1315 Walnut Street, just a hop from Broad St. and across the way from Naked Chocolate Café. I ordered the Belgian Sugar Waffle with dark chocolate and walnuts.

The Belgian Sugar Waffle is the main specialty of Bonté, and can be eaten plain or with your choice of mix-ins (Dark Chocolate, White Chocolate, Banana, Strawberry, Blueberry, Pecans, or Walnuts). I was expecting something better than a frozen Eggo, but not much different from a standard Belgian. What I got was about the size of an Eggo, but far different.

The sugar-crystal-covered outside was crunchy and sweet—drenched in dark chocolate. Cracking through that layer brought an even greater surprise. The inside is soft and chewy as a muffin. The mix-ins are spread evenly throughout, making every bite incredible. It had all the makings of an amazing desert, but it still classified as breakfast!

I didn’t realize the secret to the Sugar Waffle’s amazing texture until I peeked behind the counter. They made the waffles with dough, not batter! Batter usually creates fluffy pastries (think pancakes and muffins), but dough gives the Sugar Waffle its heavy presence on your tongue. Rather than gulping it down, I chewed each marvelously dense bite.

Bonté also carries a wide variety of sandwiches and salads. The sandwiches are solid affairs, with thick slabs of cheese and interesting spreads like curry chicken salad. They also offer an extensive coffee menu with seasonally changing specials.

According to its website, Bonté began when its founder discovered Belgian Sugar Waffles (called Gaufré) in Brussels. Now with three locations, Bonté is spreading the love around Philly, making it three times as easy to be unfaithful to breakfast.

Bonté Wafflerie and Café

1315 Walnut St.

215.732.3223

www.bontewaffles.com.

You can contact Prasana William at community@campusphilly.org.

State Rep: Wage Not High Enough

Pennsylvania’s hourly minimum wage rate increased for the first time in nearly a decade on Jan. 1. This month, state Rep. Mark Cohen, D-Phila., renewed his efforts to push it even higher.

Legislation signed into law by Gov. Ed Rendell last year pushed Pennsylvania’s hourly rate from $5.15 to $6.25. On July 1, it will climb to $7.15, which in Cohen’s opinion is still not enough to keep pace with inflation.

Under his proposal, the state’s hourly rate would incrementally climb as high as $9.35 in 2010, after which adjustments would be provided in the years that followed based on the regional consumer price index. The legislation (HB 349), which was introduced on Feb. 9, has been referred to the House Labor Relations committee.

“Generally speaking, states across the country are looking to raise their rates further,” Cohen said. “I think there’s a widespread belief that people who work at the minimum wage should be able to support themselves.”

If adopted, the legislation would push the state’s minimum wage to $8.15 next year, to $8.75 in 2009 and to $9.35 in 2010. Cohen views the bill, identical to one he introduced after the state’s initial wage increase was passed, as providing family-sustaining wages.

The National Federation of Independent Business sees it as a threat to business growth and job creation.

“This could be one of the most anti-business proposals that has been introduced to date this session,” NFIB State Director Kevin Shivers said. “If the cost of doing business continues to climb in Pennsylvania, it’s going to be very difficult for employers to continue to grow and create jobs.”

Among the hardest hit will be teenagers and other entry-level workers, Shivers said. The state’s employers are already examining whether they can justify paying the increased cost of the hourly minimum wage to such workers with little or no skills, Shivers said.

With a new legislature on board and armed with new information available since the passage of the last increase, Cohen hopes to get the bill to the governor’s desk in this legislative session. The bill received strong support from House Democrats last year, he said.

“Inflation goes up every year, we know that, it’s not a secret,” Cohen said. “My proposal is designed to [ensure] a person who works 52 weeks a year, 40 hours a week would not be living in poverty if they had two dependents.”

The governor’s press office declined to comment on whether Rendell would support Cohen’s bill.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Feb. 23 issue of the Philadelphia Business Journal. You can visit the PBJ online.

You can contact Athena Merritt at merritt@bizjournals.com.

Philadelphia’s Winning Team

While the Flyers and 76ers scuffle, and the men’s college basketball teams epitomize mediocrity, Temple’s women’s basketball team has quietly won seven straight games.

The lady Owls (22-5) have won all 12 of their Atlantic 10 Conference contests, and have lost just once since mid-December. They have reached the 20-win plateau for the fifth time in Dawn Staley’s seven years as coach, and are poised to make the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time during her tenure.

Temple has two games remaining in its regular season – a road meeting with lowly Duquesne on Feb. 23, and a much-anticipated showdown at No. 9 George Washington two days later. Considering the way the Owls have played of late, there is no reason to think they can’t play with the league-leading Colonials.

After all, Temple has won 18 of 19 since opening the season with a 4-4 record. The Owls’ last five victories have all come by double figures, and only one of their opponents in that stretch has exceeded 55 points.

But it’s not exactly like defense is a newfound concept for the Owls, either. They have shone on the defensive end all season, holding the opposition to only 58.3 points per game on 39 percent shooting. Temple notches 8.6 steals per game – with all five starters averaging at least one swipe – and also blocks 3.5 shots on average.

Offensively, everything Temple does runs through Kamesha Hairston, who leads the team with averages of 19.8 points and 8.8 rebounds. Lady Comfort averages 13.4 points and 6.5 boards per game, while Fatima Maddox chips in 11.4 points. The trio is also loaded with experience, as Hairston and Maddox are both seniors and Comfort a junior.

But Staley’s squad has a nice blend of upper- and lower-classmen that should leave the team in solid shape even after this season. Temple’s other two starters – Shenita Landry and LaKeisha Eaddy are a sophomore and a freshman, respectively – and the bench consists of three freshmen and three juniors.

Whether your focus is on the present or the future, the Owls appear to be in pretty good shape. Staley has helped mold the team into a perennial contender in the A-10 and a national recruiting presence. In fact, Temple has only one player from Philadelphia on its roster, which includes recruits from Colorado, Wisconsin, Florida and Canada.

In each of the last two NCAA Tournaments, Temple has received a No. 6 seed, only to not survive the opening weekend. Staley certainly hopes things will be different this time around. If she can’t be confident leaning on a player named Lady Comfort, then when can she be?

You can contact Drew Silverman at silvermansports@yahoo.com.

Four Rivers Chinese Restaurant

I learned two things the hard way about dining in Chinatown this weekend:

1. Always call ahead and make sure that sweet little hole-in-the-wall your friend recommended has not been replaced with a travel agency.

2. Don’t even try to find room for a party of nine without reservations on Chinese New Year.

Fortunately, after splintering off from the monstrous party of nine, I stumbled upon Four Rivers—the epitome of hole-in-the wall Chinese between 9th and 10th in Chinatown. The décor is not much to speak of. Where the walls of the tiny dining room weren’t covered in mirrors, they were coated with garish, baby-pink paint and porcelain masks. You’re practically back-to-back with your fellow diners, but don’t let the atmosphere (a bit noisy because of the New Year) dissuade you.

Though it’s no swank Ikea-influenced shrine to China, Four Rivers delivers when it comes to the food. I ordered the Moo Shu Chicken, a mix of mushrooms, shredded carrots, cabbage, and scallions served with a salty brown sauce and pancakes. Before this, my only experience with Moo Shu had been the annoying red dragon in Disney’s “Mulan,” so the pancakes caught me off guard.

They were thin as Indian roti, but the size and color of tortillas, so I made mine like a burrito, and rolled the sauce and Moo Shu (which www.HowStuffWorks.comtells me was the right thing to do). The brown sauce was overpowering and a bit gritty, but used in moderation, it really accented the chicken and vegetable mixture. My friends ordered the Chicken with Vegetables and Szechuan Chicken, which came out delightfully spicy.

If you’re looking for a place for basic good Chinese, Four Rivers is great. The menu is full of the usual take-out items and some unusual dishes, like Cherry Chicken. On a block full of neon signs claiming to have the best of Chinatown, it’s hard to know which restaurants are quality, but take my word—if you choose Four Rivers you won’t be disappointed.

Four Rivers Chinese Restaurant

936 Race St. at N. Hutchinson St.

Philadelphia, 19107

215.629.8385

You can reach Prasana William at community@campusphilly.org.

Job Fair Dos’ and Don’ts

Philadelphia is a great place for recruiters. With so many great colleges in and around the city, the area is a recruiting hub for huge corporations, small businesses, non-profits and everything in-between. However, because of Philadelphia’s high number of qualified job-seekers, there are a lot of people competing for those positions, so in order to get hired, you need an edge.

Job fairs are a great way to get your foot in the door and meet employers face-to-face (who might have otherwise tossed your resume in a pile). A great resume is half the battle, but human contact is also an integral part of the game.

Here are some tips for great job fair performance:

1. Dress for the job you want.

Many companies have interviewers present at career fairs, and your first impression will be pretty miserable if you are wearing jeans and a sweatshirt to a suit-and-tie interview. Even if you are not being interviewed, you should always look professional. It helps recruiters envision you at their company.

2. No limp handshakes.

If you’re going to shake hands with whomever you’re speaking with, commit to a firm grip. Having just run a table at a job fair last week, I can tell you that there is nothing that makes me feel less interested in talking to someone than the limp, fish-like handshake.

3. Do some homework.

I was most impressed last week with those students who came right up to me and said, “I am really interested in your organization because of X or Y. But can you tell me more about Z?” That is the best possible icebreaker. This will also help you not waste any time visiting the tables of companies or organizations you are not interested in.

4. Be able to tell recruiters about yourself in a few sentences.

In the business world, this is called an elevator pitch – an idea that you can present in the time it takes to ride down an elevator with an executive. It can be as simple as, “Hi, my name is Joe. I’m a senior at Temple studying creative writing. I write for our school paper and Campus Philly, and I saw that you have positions available for writers.”

5. Keep up your energy level.

Job fairs can be daunting and draining after hours of walking around and talking to recruiters. Keep in mind that the next table you stop at could be the company you work for, so keep your energy level high, smile, and stay focused on each interaction.

If you’re ready to put these tips to use, here is your 2007 regional job fair calendar. Everything with a * next to it is sponsored by the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, so you can go to www.philly.com for more details. All other fairs can be found at http://jobcircle.com/jobfairs.

March 7, 2007

Celebrate Wilmington! Career Fair

The Chase Center on the Riverfront, Wilmington, DE

March 21, 2007

Diversity Job Fair*

Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia, PA

April 10, 2007

South Jersey Career Fair*

Clarion Hotel and Conference Center

April 12, 2007

Celebrate Diversity! Philadelphia Career Fair

The Kimmel Center for Performing Arts, Philadelphia, PA

April 24, 2007

Healthcare Career Fair*

Hilton Philadelphia City Avenue

April 25, 2007

Celebrate Diversity! New Jersey Career Fair

New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark, NJ

May 9, 2007

Chester County Career Fair*

Inn at Chester Springs

May 23, 2007

Jobs Gone Wild! Baltimore Career Fair

Power Plant Live!, Baltimore, MD

July 11, 2007

Grand Slam Career Fair

Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA

September 19, 2007

Mega Career Fair*

Lincoln Financial Field

October 4, 2007

Celebrate Diversity! Philadelphia Career Fair

The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia, PA

October 17, 2007

Diversity Job Fair*

Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia, PA

October 30, 2007

South Jersey Career Fair*

Clarion Hotel and Conference Center

You can contact Emily Schiller at emilyaschiller@yahoo.com

Kingdom of Vegetarians

I recently went to Kingdom of Vegetarians (a vegan Chinese restaurant) for the hundredth time to write this review- and every time I go there I leave happy.

I had the usual sweet and sour mock chicken lunch special, and my dining partner had the mock General Tso’s Chicken lunch special. We started off with Won Ton Soup with mock pork filling. The broth was better than any I’ve had before. The dumplings could have been more plentiful, but were delicious. For six bucks, you can’t beat the special.

The mock chicken is made from wheat gluten, battered and fried. If you’re a person who can’t have wheat, some mock chicken and pork dishes are made with soy. The General Tso’s is served with broccoli and white or brown rice, and the sweet and sour chicken is served in a glaze made with tomatoes, bell peppers and pineapple and white or brown rice.

The service at Kingdom is friendly, though there are at the most two servers. One is the owner, Ming, who answers all questions and always recommends Dragon & Phoenix, a combination of mock chicken and mock fish.

Upon being seated, you are served water and a pot of delicious hot tea while you choose your meal and wait for service. The atmosphere is quaint and mildly quirky. When I went this cold afternoon, there were love songs from the 80s and 90s playing on the stereo. The walls are painted red and adorned with artwork for sale. The room is tiny but cozy. None of the tables are cramped, and everyone dining seems to be enjoying their experience.

Kingdom is 100 percent vegan—which means they use no meat, dairy, or honey in their food. It has mock chicken, shrimp, fish, pepper steak, and dumplings of all kinds. It also has vegetable dishes, lo mein, and many appetizers and soups.

The $12 dim sum is pretty much all you can eat. The servers bring you plates of appetizers until they think you’ve had enough. I’ve had the dim sum, and while it’s mostly dumplings, the food is quite tasty and worth the money- especially if you’ve never tried the appetizers Kingdom has to offer.

For the end of the meal, Kingdom serves delicious fried bananas or vegan cheesecakes from Lotus Cake Studios. When my dining partner and I went for lunch, we had the vegan pumpkin cheesecake, and it was honestly breathtaking. For those looking for a healthier option, Kingdom also has a variety of juices and smoothies.

The restaurant is spoken highly of by Philadelphia vegans and vegetarians and their friends. I’ve actually taken meat-eaters to the restaurant and they loved the food.

Kingdom of Vegetarians opened in 1996 and is certified Kosher Vegan.

Read more about Kingdom of Vegetarians and its sister restaurant New Harmony on their MySpace page.The page lists the full menu and announces monthly events.

Kingdom of Vegetarians

129 N. 11th St.

Philadelphia, PA 19107

215.413.2290