Mixx Restaurant in Villanova

If you’re looking for a menu that’s both eclectic and economical, look no further than Mixx(789 E. Lancaster Ave.) in Villanova.

Just a short R5 ride out of Philly, Mixx is a chic restaurant geared toward a young demographic. Upon first walking in, the restaurant resembles a trendy Manhattan eatery complete with exposed brick walls, modern furniture and dim lighting. Sunny yellows among the wall décor contrast the black and white furniture of the restaurant, and create a youthful and hip environment.

The menu blends comfort food with the sophistication of an urban hot spot. As the restaurant is geared toward a younger crowd, it’s best to start the meal with an appetizer to share. The hummus and pita bread platter was ideal for the group; not too filling, but perfect for a table eagerly anticipating their entrees.

The main course arrived promptly following the appetizer, and each plate featured generous portions. Highlights on the varied menu included the Filet Mignon burger and the Crab Meat Linguine. The food was tasty and the fact that each dish was under ten dollars made it all the more enjoyable.

Mixx’s menu is the product of its corporate chef and its chef de cuisine. Takao Iinuma, the corporate chef, was born and raised in Japan. He trained at the Hattori Nutrition College and competed on Iron Chef Japan. Chef de cuisine Chay Anuwat trained at the Art Institute of Philadelphia. Together, they’ve created a menu that is both eclectic and reasonably priced, as well as perfect for a college student on a budget.

The wait staff was quick and efficient, though somewhat over eager. Several members of the staff approached the table multiple times to ensure the meal was going well. Being that the restaurant is so new, it is understandable that they would want to make sure things were running smoothly.

Mixx is the latest establishment opened by Win and Sutida Soomboonsong. The couple owns several restaurants along the main line, including Mikadoin Ardmore.

You can contact Maggie Mallon at entertainment@campusphilly.org

Providing More Than Just Books

College students are needed to volunteer at Tree House Books, not to stock shelves, but to help out young Philadelphians.

Five years ago, a community development group came to revitalize the Susquehanna section of North Philadelphia. The development group asked residents what they would like to see in the neighborhood and the answer that stood out the most was a used book store. However, the bookstore took another function, and it was molded into a creative space for local school aged children to get tutoring and do creative activities.

Tree House Books currently has 10 to 20 college volunteers and they are all students from nearby Temple University. The center welcomes any college students to volunteer as long as they help the children with their homework and are positive role models.

Volunteers help with after school tutoring, assist the kids with creating the Tree House Books magazine and host a workshop on whatever skill they are great at. Tree House Books is open Monday through Saturday, no earlier than 10 a.m. and volunteers create their own schedules based on their free time; the center is incredibly flexible. If you are brand new to Tree House, you will receive an orientation that teaches you about the bookstore and how to deal with kids.

Tree House Books strives to encourage children and volunteers’ creativity and “empower volunteers to showcase their talent,” said Program Coordinator Michael Reid.

This volunteer opportunity may be good practice for education majors but you do not have to be in that particular field.

“I want to go into urban studies in graduate school and my English professor told me about the Tree House,” said Lily Sitron, a volunteer at Tree House Books and anthropology senior at Temple University.

Volunteering at Tree House Books and the interaction and organizational skills it teaches you looks great on a resume. But the volunteers who continually come back say there is a strong pull to do so.

“Knowing you will be able to help, knowing you’ll help a community flourish, I love it,” said Satia Koroma, Tree House Books volunteer and Temple University student. “It allows me to connect to the community.”

Volunteers are greatly needed to keep the busy average group of 15 to 20 children a day supervised and given one-on-one time. Any interested volunteers can e-mail Tree House Books at web@treehousebooks.orgor stop by the store at 1430 West Susquehanna Avenue in Philadelphia.

You can contact Victoria Hudgins at communityeditor@campusphilly.org

Chris' Grill in Rosemont

With midterms hanging over our heads in the next few weeks, we’re going to need a break from campus food to fulfill our cravings during those late night study hours.

Chris’ Grill Sandwich Shop(908 Conestoga Rd.) is the perfect eatery to tame those cravings and recharge those over-exercised brain cells when they’re begging you for sleep.

Open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. with all day delivery, my friends and I admittedly order from their delicious menu several times during every exam period while cooped up in a library cubicle or all together in a big study room. We’re never too shy to stop by for pick-up throughout the semester either.

Located in convenient Rosemont, Chris’ is nestled among several other popular restaurants along the road, but able to stand out amongst the rest, especially when it comes to college students’ appetites.

Proudly serving up quality food, Chris’ sandwiches are grand in size and quality. They only include the best ingredients like Boar’s Head Brand Meat on their cold deli sandwiches and Italian meats like Sopressata and Genoa salamifor their hoagies.

“We use quality ingredients and all our food is prepared fresh in front of your eyes,” said Chris’ Grill employee and college senior Alex DeTrano.

DeTrano raved about his new favorite sandwich: Grilled chicken, spinach, roasted peppers, fresh mozzarella, and balsamic vinaigrette. But the real deal at Chris’ is my favorite, which can be found at the back of the menu: the Greek Specialties. From souvlaki to gyros to kebabs, the Greek specialties at Chris’ Grill are a testament to its Greek owners.

These specialties all come together with the help of Chris’ tzatziki sauce. If you’ve never had tzatziki, it’s time you’ve tried it. This dipping sauce is made of yoghurt, cucumbers and spices. While that may sound strange to some, you can’t knock it till you’ve tried it. It’s a condiment you can dip any Greek dish into, especially my regular, the Chicken Souvlaki.

The small sandwich shop is known for its delivery and catering for the most part, which is why its quick delivery is perfect for midterms week.

While the inside of the restaurant has limited seating (a long booth with a few stools against the wall), it’s worth checking out the quaint surroundings for the people alone.

As the menu boasts, Chris’ is “family owned and operated,” and you can tell that’s the truth from the moment you walk in the door. If they aren’t actually related, you can tell that the employees operate like family. They are always welcoming, striking up a conversation with you while you’re waiting at the counter for your order. Their cheerfulness alone could have you coming back for more.

You can contact Nicole Dinten at artsculture@campusphilly.org

A Pennsylvania Paradise

Though temperatures hit the mild mid 40’s this past weekend, the ubiquitous mounds of snow throughout the greater Philadelphia area are an unfortunate reminder that fair weather is far from near.

For anyone tired of the cold, Longwood Gardens (1001 Longwood Road) in Kennett Square is the perfect place to shake a case of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

During the spring, the garden boasts multiple indoor and outdoor exhibits. As there is still a foot and a half of snow on the ground, the indoor Conservatory is the spot to be during the winter months.

From now until Mar. 31, the Conservatory is hosting the Orchid Extravaganza. The Orchid House within the indoor facility features over 3,200 types of orchids. The combination of a sweet floral fragrance and the vibrant colors of the flowers is a perfect break from the winter doldrums.

In addition to the Orchid House, the Conservatory includes half a dozen rooms of botanical bliss. Other notable exhibits include the Rose House, the Tropical Terrace, and the Bonsai Display. The Conservatory also houses the Children’s Garden, complete with whimsical fountains, intricate marble tiling, and winding paths that are fun for visitors both young and young adult.

While being rich in botanicals, Longwood Gardens is also rich in history. A Quaker man named William Peirce purchased the garden from William Penn in 1700. Though it originally served as a farm for his family, his descendents created an arboretum that contained one of the largest collections of trees in the nation. Pierre S. du Pont purchased the property in 1906 and in 1946 the gardens were opened to the public.

Traveling to Longwood Gardens is an easy drive along the Route 1 (just 30 miles outside of Philadelphia) and is well worth the ride. This beautiful collection of flowers is the perfect place to spend a weekend afternoon. Students receive a discount, so be sure to bring your I.D.

For anyone looking for a real-life paradise, look no further than Longwood Gardens.

You can contact Maggie Mallon at entertainment@campusphilly.org

Local Frat Cooks for Haiti

This weekend, the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity will put aside its Kappa Kane for a moment and hold “Dining with the Kappas” to raise money for Haiti relief.

The “Dining with the Kappas” event takes place on Saturday, Feb. 27 at the Kappa Achievement Center (5521 Germantown Avenue) from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Members of the Philadelphian chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi, who are also members of Real Men Cookare preparing the food, including a variety of dinner favorites ranging from baked chicken, fish, collard greens, sweet potatoes, baked ziti and much more.

Dinner plates at the event cost between $12 and $14 and desserts run for $3 to $5. You don’t have to be a Kappa member to participate and there is no need to reserve your spot ahead of time; just stop buy, see what you would like to eat and pay at the door.

Nationwide Kappa Haiti relief fundraisers began in January 2010 under the fraternity’s International Kappa Action Relief Effort(iKare). The profits made from the dinners and deserts sold on Saturday will go to iKare and additional Haiti relief efforts.

The Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity began at Indiana University in 1911 as a predominately African American student organization and was founded on academic and civic achievement.

If you’re interested in joining the Kappas, you have a lot of universities to choose from. Active local chapters of Kappa Alpha Psi in Pennsylvania can be found at Bloomsburg University, Bucknell University, California University of Pennsylvania, Cheney University, Clarion University, Edinboro University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Lehigh University, Lincoln University, Lock Haven University, Millersville University, Penn State University, Shippensburg State College, Temple University, University of Pittsburgh and West Chester University.

Even if you are a Delta, Sigmaor not a member in any fraternity or sorority, “Dining with the Kappas” is still available to you and is a great way to give to Haiti, show the charitable attitude sororities and fraternities have and esat great food!

You can contact Victoria Hudgins at communityeditor@campusphilly.org

PDP Presents 2010

Do you like “Dancing with the Stars” and “So You Think You Can Dance”? Wish you can see “America’s Best Dance Crew” live on stage instead of behind your TV screen?

You’re in luck because Philadelphia Dance Projects (PDP) will launch its second annual dance series Philadelphia Dance Projects Presents 2010 this month.

Beginning Feb. 26 and running until Mar. 20, this four week-long program will leave its mark on 2010 through innovative performances, workshops and discussions led by some of Philly’s and the country’s leading artists and performers.

And it all takes place right here in Philadelphia!

Curated by Executive Director of Philadelphia Dance Projects, Terry Fox, this series will feature The BodyCartography Project, the Jacinta Vlach/Liberation Dance Theatre and so many more at its three venues.

The venues, The Performance Garage, International House and Temple University’s Conwell Dance Theatre will be host to PDP Presents’ Local Dance History Project (LDHP), Next Up, Motion Pictures, Red Thread and SCUBA National Touring Network for Dance.

LDHP and Next Up will kick off the series on Feb. 26 at the Performance Garage where the 1980 presentation of “Dance and Dancers” will be recreated with a variety of Philly dance artists.

On Feb. 28, LDHP will hold its Project Forum, a free all-day event featuring dance classes, panel discussions and presentations. Along with featured dancers, musicians, playwrights, visual artists and journalists will be present.

Don’t miss the second part of LDHP on Mar. 5 and 6 as the work of two LDHP dancers–Fox and Jano Cohen– along with Next Up artist, Chis Yon is showcased.

Motion Picture is a part of the series that uses film and video to parallel dance. See documentaries, previews and experimental shorts beginning on Mar. 4 when this dance film series will start off its ninth year with Philly-cased choreographer Kate-Watson Wallace’s “Everywhere” at the International House.

Experienced dancers can attend a class with the Red Thread project artists on Mar. 10 at the Performance Garage. No matter your dance experience, you can see the World Premiere of Red Thread featuring dancer Lisa Kraus Mar. 12 and 13. This cross-generational piece interweaves the talents of three dancers in their late fifties with three in their twenties.

To round out the PDP series, SCUBA National Touring Network for Dance will perform at Temple University’s Conwell Dance Theatre Mar. 19 and 20. Don’t miss this final opportunity to see such talented dancers so close to Philly!

Last year’s inaugural season of PDP was such a success, with sold out shows for every performance that they’ve decided to continue their movement and sashay into 2010 with even more spectacular shows.

The upcoming second annual series will combine past and present by pairing choreographers from the Philly dance scenes of the 1970s and 1980s with the next wave of 21st century contemporary dance artists.

With a blast from the past and leap into the future planned, PDP Presents 2010 seems like it will prove to be even better than the first installment, looking into dance trends and styles.

When choreographers with over 30 years of experience team up with some of the best new, young talent from today, the possibilities are endless.

If you’re interested in seeing this moving series, look no further than the Dance Box Office website or dial (215) 546-2552 to order tickets.

You can contact Nicole Dinten at artsculture@campusphilly.org

Saddling Up: Drexel's Equestrian Team

At the beginning of every class, professors always ask you to share your name and your favorite hobby. People inevitably give me a blank stare when I say, “Hi my name’s Monica, and I do equestrian.” Though it’s a relatively common sport, even boasting a spot in the Summer Olympics, many students have no idea that most colleges have equestrian teams either at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) or club level.

One such school is Drexel University which competes as part of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA). IHSA was originally founded in 1967 as an attempt to provide the opportunity for riders of all levels to compete while minimizing costs. At the NCAA level, competition is extremely fierce and riders must often own a horse which makes participation expensive.

“IHSA is just a whole lot more relaxed. Everyone is just there to have fun,” explains Brielle Weinstein, a senior on the Drexel equestrian team.

IHSA has developed a technique that does not favor competitors with their own horses. Riders must draw a horse randomly for every class in each show. This ensures that riders with their own horses are not favored and also offers a unique challenge. Riders will agree that each horse is different, thus you have to get used each horses’ particular rhythm and personality. Drawing horses randomly tests the riders’ ability to adapt to any horses particular rhythm and still display excellent form.

Drexel’s team was started in 2005 and began competing in 2006. Since then, many people have joined of all experience levels.

“It’s about half and half right now with experienced and beginners,” said Weinstein. “A lot of people have always wanted to ride ever since they were little, and this was a way to do it.”

So if you’ve always wanted to try out equestrian, college is the perfect time. Many of the schools in the area have an equestrian team including Temple, Villanova and the University of Pennsylvania. All you have to do is head to those schools’ activity fairs or check out the schools’ webpages!

You can contact Monica Mazzoli at sportsrec@campusphilly.org

Wonderland at the Rosenbach

Whether it was through Lewis Carroll’s story or the Disney adaptation, Alice in Wonderland captured our imaginations as children and had us chasing white rabbits wondering if they would lead us to Wonderland.

Just because you’re older, your wonderment with this magical world and its characters probably hasn’t gone away. Which is why we’re in luck that not only is Tim Burton about to release his major motion picture, Alice in Wonderland,, but the Rosenbach Museum & Library has an ongoing exhibit entitled Moore Adventures in Wonderland.

Currently on view through June 6, Rosenbach’s Artist-in-Residence, Sue Johnson has curated an exhibit that is both poetic and imaginative. Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass,” the exhibit takes inspiration from Modernist American poet and writer Marianne Moore.

The Rosenbach, which houses The Moore Collection, takes it one step further by using her work to create this exhibit which is sure to stimulate the imagination no matter what your age is.

Moore was a Philadelphia product herself, graduating from Bryn Mawr College before she made her mark on Modernism with her irony and wit. Now her inspiration has returned to Philly in this miraculous exhibit.

Through photography, painting and digital collage, you can see how scenes from Carroll’s stories are recalled in an installation that will have you feeling a lot like Alice by the time you leave the Rosenbach.

In a press release from the museum, the exhibit is said to “[lead] the viewer on a journey through a conceptual rabbit hole, only to realize at the end of the journey that, like Alice, one hasn’t really travelled at all, but sees the surroundings in a new light.”

Along with the exhibit, the museum will feature gallery talks, hands-on tours and special events, such as the upcoming Feb. 24 talk, “Curiouser and Curiouser” and a Feb. 28 tour, Marianne Moore, Modernist Poet.

On Mar. 10, come back to the Rosenbach for another tour focusing on Carroll as man and author in Lewis Carroll/Charles Dodgson.

Don’t miss A Mad Tea Party on Mar. 3 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. which will toast to Carroll’s books and sample teas with Scott Hoyt and Alexis Siemons. Hoyt is the director of the documentary “The Meaning of Tea” and Siemons is Philly’s very own tea enthusiast and founder of the blog Teaspoons and Petals.

Interested in learning more about Moore and her works? Swarthmore College professor Nathalie Anderson will lead a Marianne Moore Reading Group, a four-part course, starting Apr. 7.

Don’t miss this wonderful exhibit of Wonderland, and be sure to check out Burton’s epic 3D fantasy adventure, Alice in Wonderland, giving a twist on the original, opening in theatres everywhere Mar. 5.

You can contact Nicole Dinten at artsculture@campusphilly.org

Ace Enders at Villanova University

Ten years ago, Hammonton, N.J. native Ace Enders was a staple of the Drive Thru Records scene. As the front man of The Early November, Enders joined the ranks of pop punkers The Starting Line (Philadelphia natives!), New Found Glory and Midtown. He and the band built a name for themselves within the music scene of South Jersey and Philadelphia before breaking out on the national level.

Ten years later, Enders continues to make a name for himself with his latest projects. Though The Early November went on indefinite hiatus in 2007, Enders continues to produce music with several solo efforts.

On Fri., Feb. 19, WXVU, the campus radio station at Villanova University welcomed Enders for an intimate acoustic performance.

Held in the Belle Aire Terrace at the Connelly Center, the event attracted an eager audience of students—some long time followers, some new fans, some completely unfamiliar with his work—ready to watch Enders perform an intimate acoustic set.

“He was very humorous, very down to earth,” says Chenchen Cao, a senior at Villanova University.

Enders primarily performed songs from his two solo projects: I Can Make a Mess like Nobody’s Business and Ace Enders and a Million Different People. He was friendly and personable, and actively sought out audience participation. Enders also made conversation with the people in the front rows and took requests from the audience.

“He was very gracious,” said Andrew Moriarty, the General Manager of WXVU. “He put on a good show, and there were lots of throwbacks.”

In addition to his solo material, Enders’ set featured several Early November favorites including “I Want to Hear You Sad,” “Baby Blue” and “Sunday Drive.” He noted that he hadn’t performed the songs for a long time and even forgot some of his own lyrics. However, he just asked the crowd to help him along and they eagerly obliged.

His engaging performance even won over some new fans.

“Even though I didn’t know him before, it made me interested in him and his music,” says Cao.

This spring, Enders and I Can Make a Mess will be embarking upon a nationwide tour. He will return to Philadelphia on Mar. 5 opening for Copeland at the Theatre of the Living Arts.

You can contact Maggie Mallon at entertainment@campusphilly.org

John Mayer Comes to Philly

The views expressed in these interviews included do not necessarily reflect those of Campus Philly.

“Love the music not the man” was the general response from local college students after popular musician John Mayer’s contentious interview in Playboy.

In his latest controversy, the Grammy winning singer/guitarist was interviewed by Playboy contributor and entertainment journalist Rob Tannenbaum where he talked about his past collaborations with rappers Jay-Z, Kanye West and Common and his female African American fans in what was viewed at the most as a disrespectful and derogatory manner, and at the least insulting and uncouth.

After the backlash, Mayer apologized on his Twitter stating, “Using the ‘N word’ in an interview: I am sorry that I used the word. And it’s such a shame that I did because the point I was trying to make was in the exact opposite spirit of the word itself. It was arrogant of me to think I could intellectualize using it, because I realize that there’s no intellectualizing a word that is so emotionally charged.”

Using another multimedia tool, a Youtube video was posted where an emotional Mayer apologized in concert for his actions.

Just a few weeks after the storm, Mayer’s Battle Studies tour hit the stage at South Philly’s Wachovia Center on Sunday, Feb. 21.

Outside of the Wachovia Center, on a breezy but not cold winter evening, fans were waiting for the 8 o’clock show to begin. There were reports that Racial Group Unity USA would be on the grounds protesting Mayer, but at a little after 6 o’clock there was no protest, just waiting fans.

Most fans agreed that Mayer’s statements were insensitive and an apology from him was probably the respectful thing to do. However, Mayer’s statements didn’t break their support of him.

“I think he didn’t think before he was talking,” said Mansfield University student Angelica Deprimo, who attended the concert. “He’s an [expletive], but I still like his music.”

“I love John Mayer,” said Nick Hakun from Temple University, who also went to the show. “I really don’t think what he says should taint how you view his music. His music speaks for itself.”

As expected, those upset by Mayer’s statements wouldn’t have bought a ticket to the Battle Studies tour, but not all local college students were willing to sweep the musician’s comments aside.

“That’s the consequence of voicing anything aloud,” said Kathryn Moran from Temple University, who did not attend the concert. “People are going to respond to what you say.”

In the end, it turns out Mayer’s actions may speak louder than his words. You can bet young fan Austin wouldn’t have one bad thing to say about the singer after this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Mayer is signed to Columbia Records, has released four studio albums and has won four Grammy awards. His largest hits have been “Your Body is a Wonderland”, “Daughters” and “Waiting for the World to Change”. Mayer has also been known to grace celebrity tabloids and gossip sites for his highly publicized relationships with the likes of Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Aniston.

You can contact Victoria Hudgins at communityeditor@campusphilly.org