The Great Meatball Matchup

Who knew such a big deal could be made out of meatballs?

This past Sunday, the American Swedish Historical Museum hosted “The Great Meatball Matchup,” a meatball-making contest. It was made up of two competitions. In the first, local restaurants battled it out for meatball supremacy; in the other, locals put their meatball recipes up against each other. In the restaurant competition, the people in attendance cast a ballot to vote for their favorites. On the other side, the chefs of the restaurants judged the locals’ meatballs.

Although the event was hosted by a Swedish society, the contest was not limited to Swedish meatballs. The Swedish ones were delicious (of course), but there were also Italian, Spanish, Asian and Greek meatballs. Some had tasty tomato sauce to go with it, while others—such as the ones from Nam Phuong—looked like a sushi roll with a meatball in it. The Vietnamese restaurant served theirs in a delicious peanut sauce. Regardless of the sauce, each meatball had its own unique taste created by spices infused when cooking.

The restaurants obviously had great-tasting meatballs. However, it was really interesting to taste some of the local people’s recipes, most of which were quite good. Anyone could tell that meatball-making was a serious thing for these people; much more than a mere hobby. A lot of time and preparation went into making them, and it showed in the final result. For many of these competitors, making meatballs has been a joy for a long time.

“I learned how to make my [Swedish] meatballs from my mother,” said one local contestant. “My family has always loved my meatballs, so I figured I would put them in the competition.”

The American Swedish Historical Museum (ASHM) is a little-known Philadelphia museum. It is located in FDR Park, which is a couple minutes’ walk from the sports complexes. It was founded in 1926 to preserve Swedish and Swedish-American heritage in Philadelphia. Throughout the museum, you can see Swedish artwork and other cultural artifacts. All the architecture in the museum is Swedish architecture. There is a room of maps showing the progress of Swedish culture in the United States and another room dedicated to famous Swedes and Swedish-Americans. The museum is a must-visit if you are interested in different cultures.

The Great Meatball Matchup was a fun experience; put it on your calendar for next year. For anyone looking to learn a little about different cultures and eat some delicious meatballs, this is the event to go to. Why not join the fun? The ASHS will accept entries from anyone who wants to sign up. For more information on the American Swedish Historical Museum and the winners of the competition, click here.

You can contact Nick Iuele at

Photo: ©

Spread Love this Holiday Season

This holiday season, everyone can give a helping hand to those who are less fortunate.

Temple University’s chapter of Lambda Theta Phi is holding “Spreading Love at Love Park,” a big barbeque at Love Park the weekend before Thanksgiving. Lambda Theta Phi is a Latin Fraternity that is dedicated to community service.

“We have a dedication…to our surrounding community because we live in it,” says Julio Viera, President of Lambda Theta Phi at Temple. “We try our best to help in matters we can, and we feel that by being involved in the community, we can do that best.”

The barbecue is not the main focus, however, but the celebration of a good deed. For each semester the last year and a half, Lambda Theta Phi has held a clothing drive for the poor. These clothes can be donated by whoever is generous enough to give, and they are collected on various sites on Temple’s campus. The fraternity works with Our Brothers’ Place in Center City, a homeless shelter to which most of the donations are sent. All other items get brought to Love Park for the barbecue and are given out to whoever needs them.

This event has been quite successful since its inception three semesters ago and has grown in the number of donations and attendance as well. This fraternity is sparking the generosity of college students—something that may not be the easiest task. There is much to be said about an organization dedicated to helping the community, especially during the holiday season.

“Spreading the Love at Love Park” is not only about getting some free food and enjoying the fall weather; it’s about opening up your heart and giving to a good cause. It’s about building community and helping people in need. Lambda Theta Phi is inspirational in the sense that they take time out of their lives to really interact with and seek out the needs of the community.

This type of event has a large, positive impact on the community. In one holiday season, a group of students, or anyone for that matter, can bring happiness to those who may not have the best living situation at the moment. Lambda Theta Phi is out to help those who are less fortunate by showing them a little love.

“The people that we help out feel as if people forget about them. This event makes them feel special and remembered even if it is for one day,” says Viera. “By having this event, the community comes together even for one day to do something good for others.”

Donating to this cause is very simple. One way is to contact Viera by telephone. Another way is to go to Temple and drop clothing items off at donation bins by the African-American Library or the Paley Library. They are also looking for donations of hamburgers, hot dogs and drinks for the barbecue. Viera has offered to personally pick those items up if need be.

Come out to Love Park on the weekend before Thanksgiving and spread some love of your own! For more information on Lambda Theta Phi or this event, click here.

You can contact Nick Iuele at

Photo: ©

The Bryn Mawr Film Institute

The Bryn Mawr Film Institute is not your regular movie theater. They offer one-night-only showings of artistic films, classics and cult classics; they often have shows that highly encourage audience participation. If you’re tired of the typical movie experience, the Bryn Mawr Film Institute is your answer.

You may have read Louis Sachar’s book “Holes” back in the day. Yes, it’s random, but they will have a screening of the 2003 film adaptation of this book on November 13th. The movie stars Shia LaBeouf (before he grew up to be the GQ man he is today) as the main character Stanley Yelnats. Even though this film is a part of the Kids Matinee Series, that shouldn’t stop you from taking advantage of the $5 ticket to see a fun movie with an imaginative and enthralling storyline.

If you are into something a bit more sophisticated and artsy (and don’t mind subtitles), then Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar’s “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” (1988) is perfect for you. Almodovar is known for his hilariously melodramatic films that highlight female characters, bold colors and creative cinematography. The film features the main character Pepa in a desperate search for her ex-lover before he goes on vacation with another woman. Ironic and ridiculous situations occur along the way. A young and almost unrecognizable Antonio Banderas plays his career-defining role in this film; you won’t believe that the Banderas you see Almodovar’s film would one day go on to play Zorro. Another well-known and successful actress, Penelope Cruz, was also cast in another Almodovar film early in her career. You don’t have to understand Spanish to think “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” is absolutely hilarious and artistic. This film’s screening is on December 7th at 7:00 p.m.

Just in time for the holiday season, “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946) will be played on December 18th. Follow George Bailey on Christmas Eve as he is shown what the world would be like if he was never born. He eventually learns to appreciate his life with the help of his guardian angel, Clarence. Not to get all warm and fuzzy, but it doesn’t get much cozier than a warm theater, “It’s a Wonderful Life” and someone you love

Taste of Philly 2010

Did you ever wish that you could summon all of your favorite restaurants to one location to avoid any tough decision-making? Dream no further, because Philadelphia Weekly already has something in mind. Well, actually, they’ve had it in mind for a while now, because The 4th Annual Taste of Philly took place on October 20th at the Crystal Tea Room.

The event didn’t always take place at this spot, though. The first year (2007), the event was held at The Academy of Natural Sciences and was a sell-out. The second year, the event took place at The Franklin Institute, which resulted in another sell-out! Believe it or not, last year’s event at the Crystal Tea Room was a sell out as well, even though it was a clinching game for the Phillies! Quite clearly, this is an event that Philadelphians can’t help but check out, year after year.

You may be wondering how restaurants get involved. First, it must purchase an ad in the glossy TASTE magazine. Afterward, its participation in the event is free. Philadelphia Weekly provided each restaurant with all of the supplies it needed to create its presentations—all it had to do was bring the delicious goods for the guests.

Restaurants are highly encouraged to create unique displays that stand out amongst the other restaurants. This event also helps bring in new customers; restaurants get the chance to give guests a taste of what they’ve been missing out on. They were welcome to hand out business cards, customized napkins, and to sell merchandise and gift cards. No wonder so many restaurants were willing to participate!

Over 30 Philly restaurants participated this year. Amongst these restaurants were Valanni, Mexican Post, and Elephant & Castle. A whopping 1200 were in attendance, which resulted in an eclectic mix of people to mingle with.

It gets better. Guests, who bought tickets for $30 in advance or $35 dollars at the door, were entitled to a night of unlimited indulgence. Food is not all this event had to offer; there was a DJ, along with four cooking demonstrations throughout the night. If you’re a Phillies fan, you’ll know that the only thing missing from this picture is being able to watch the game. What city do you think this is? Of course the game was on during the event.

Just when you think this couldn’t get any better, surely, it does. Funds from this event went towards The Food Trust Organization, which works to make healthier foods available to people who are most in need. It raises money to bring these healthy foods to corner stores and schools, as well as to bring more farmers markets and supermarkets into neighborhoods. People who attended this event are ultimately helping someone attain healthy, affordable food that wouldn’t normally be able to do so.

This was an event that – not just the guests, but everyone – benefited from. Taste of Philly has been a complete success for four years in a row. This probably means that they will continue the event for years to come. Be on the look out for next year’s event, and get your tickets early.

You can contact Gia Lombardi at

Photo: ©

Philly Food Trucks: Cheesesteaks

At Campus Philly, we want you to avoid the strictly junk food-diet that seems to go hand-in-hand with college. That’s why we’re proud to bring you our Philly Food Trucks blog series every Wednesday (and by “food trucks,” we mean it literally—it’s gotta have wheels and an engine!).

Craving something in particular? Suggest a Philly Food Truck topic for us, and we’ll be right on it! Have a favorite food truck? Drop us a line on Twitter or Facebook, and we’ll be the judge.

And, now, to get to the good stuff. . .

(Note: Our ratings are on a five-star scale.)

John’s (33rd & Market Sts.)

Reviewed by: Elisabeth Harby, La Salle ’11

Time is always of the essence, especially during the schoolyear. If you’ve only got 20 minutes to eat and get to class, slow lunch trucks aren’t going to cut it. That’s why John’s, situated in the hustle and bustle of Drexel‘s campus, is so great. Its two owners (both named John, hence the name) serve up good food fast. The menu at John’s is the quintessential Philadelphia lunch fare, with hoagies and hot dogs lining the truck’s window. A cheesesteak is only $4.25, and toppings include onions, ketchup and mayo. Other options include $3 hoagies and $1 hot dogs. The truck’s wait is rarely long, even with a small crowd queued up. A hungry patron in a rush could easily snatch up a satisfying lunch. The foot-long cheesesteaks are solid and meaty without being messy, including just the right amount of melted American cheese and ketchup. If you need lunch on the go, John’s is the stop for you.

Tommy’s (Norris St. toward Broad St.)

Reviewed by: Nick Iuele, La Salle ’12

Tommy’s makes a solid cheesesteak. But, what stands out about this truck? It offers a variety of different steaks, from regular to chicken to pizza. You can also add mushrooms or onions to your steak. The mushroom chicken cheesesteak is pretty good, but not the best steak ever. The service is efficient enough, but the prices can be a little steep ($6.50 for a steak is hefty considering there are place to get it for under $4). Located in a busy part of campus, Tommy’s is square in the hustle and bustle of college life—meaning it could occasionally get crowded. Overall, not a bad spot to grab a steak on the go.

Memo’s Lunch Truck (33rd & Arch Sts.)

Reviewed by: Gia Lombardi, Temple ’11

Memo’s Lunch Truck, located on Drexel’s campus, sells chicken and beef cheesesteaks for crazy reasonable prices. You can choose from a small for only $2.75, or a large for only $3.50. If you want lettuce and tomato, it’ll be $4.50. That beats paying over $6.00 at any other restaurant in the city. However, Memo’s could go a bit heavier on the cheese, and they could cook their onions for a bit longer. Other than that, even the small steaks are generously portioned (equivalent to the size of a shortie hoagie from Wawa). The server is extremely friendly, and don’t get too comfortable while waiting for your cheesesteak; it’ll be done before you know it!

Check back next Wednesday for our next Philly Food Trucks topic: international foods!

Photo: ©

Campus Philly Fall Online Internship Fair

If you’re even slightly considering an internship for this spring, don’t hesitate!

The Campus Philly Fall Online Internship Fair, taking place from October 25th until the 31st, is the #1 way to find an internship in the Greater Philadelphia region. No matter what your field of study, you’ll be able to find and apply for an internship that excites you, free of cost. By filling out only one application, you can apply for multiple positions.

All you have to do is create a Campus Philly account, if you don’t already have one. After you’re logged in, you can upload your resume, and begin the search!

The application process isn’t complicated, either. You will be able to go online at any point during the week of the fair to browse internship postings, to apply, or to check the status of your applications. This means you won’t have to deal with printing out multiple resumes, or getting them wrinkled and coffee-stained by the time you go to hand them in.

You should apply for an internship even if you’re not sure exactly what you want to do after you graduate. Chances are, you’ll love your internship. But if you don’t, then you’ll be able to narrow down your desired positions when you apply for another internship or job in the future.

A misconception with internships is that they aren’t completely necessary for the future, and that students only get them for extra experience. False. The Employer Partnerships Director at Campus Philly, Alethia Calbeck, reinforces the idea that internships, “are necessary, not just suggested.” As they do provide for great experience, employers expect you to have completed an internship before you graduate. Look at it this way: Would you hire someone without internship experience over someone who has completed an internship?

Internships increase your credibility amongst employers, and prepare you for the grown-up world. Instead of being freaked out by the idea of becoming an adult, you will realize that you’re fully capable of working in the real world. At an internship, you will most likely be making significant contributions to the company or organization you work for. As you will probably feel challenged and pushed to work hard, your accomplishments will raise your confidence level when you next apply for a job, and will increase your self-esteem in general.

If you’re a junior or senior, now is the time to apply! Graduation can really sneak up on you. Campus Philly is providing you with an incredibly easy way to reach out to employers, so you’re highly encouraged to take advantage of that. If you have any questions, you can contact Alethia Calbeck.

You can contact Gia Lombardi at


The Philadelphia Film Festival

The 19th Annual Philadelphia Film Festival has come and gone.

The Philadelphia Film Society presented a 10-day-long festival of cinema, which started on Oct. 14th and finished up on the 24th. It was held at various theaters and cinemas around Philly, including the Prince Music Theater, International House, and Ritz Cinemas.

No matter what kind of film you are interested in, the Philadelphia Film Festival had it. From comedy to drama, documentary to animated, there was a movie showing for everyone. Some carried well-known actors and actresses, while others showcased first time performers. This festival also featured international directors, providing a variety of films from different countries.

There was also a mix of old and new movies. For example, “Unbreakable” staring Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis was shown at the festival, and that came out in 2000. But, of course, there were many films shown that came out in the past two years, and some even made their premier here within the duration of the festival. “Black Swan,” starting Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis, was among the most anticipated films in this year’s festival.

There are some films that created a buzz in last year’s round of film festivals that were featured this year in Philly. One of those films was “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” a Swedish film based off of the best-selling book. This is a thriller, where the lives of a journalist and a troubled young woman cross paths in order to get to the bottom of a 40-year-old suspected murder case. The film really showed the quality of the films in this festival. There was also an opportunity to see two other films that are sequels to this one.

The main point of having this film festival was to promote independent and major films, while spreading knowledge about film to the people of the city. There are major film festivals in this country, including Tribeca (New York City), Sundance (Park City, Utah) and Chicago. Philadelphia’s festival, in particular, is popular among filmmakers because it offers a good mix of films.

So, if you missed your opportunity to catch a film at the Philadelphia Film Festival, mark it down on your calendar for next year

For more information on the Philadelphia Film Society, go to this website.

You can contact Nick Iuele at


Have No Fear; VWVOFFKA is Here!

You can add another stop to your First Fridays in Old City. VWVOFFKA may take a few attempts to pronounce, but it’ll only take one visit for you to know you’ll be back for more.

VWVOFFKA uses its storefront space as a venue to expose Philadelphians to art, education, and culture. In other words, if you want to experience musical events, art exhibits, lectures, performances, community meetings or poetry readings, VWVOFFKA is the place to be.

For example, they displayed an art exhibit by the name of “Small Objects”. The exhibit was on display for October’s First Friday, featuring the work of Linnea Vegh and Seven Streisguth. Their work included sculptures, prints and found objects.

One of the more unique events at VWVOFFKA this past summer was “Olfactics” presented by Vincent Finazzo, Michael Chadwick and Andrew Molholt. People were welcome to smell bottles of odor specimens, recording what each smell reminded them of. The interesting factor here is that everyone had different conceptions of each smell. For example, someone wrote, “salmon cooking,” and another person wrote “belly button” for specimen #105. Other interesting responses included three different people perceiving “bed & breakfast house soap”, “baby wipes”, and “suntan lotion” for specimen #123. However, some specimens resulted in similar responses. #122 seemed to be distinctly minty, but people still expressed different types of mint. One person wrote “peppermint (kissing),” while another wrote the oddly specific “Boston mint tea.”

More recently, WVWOFFKA held a Horror Word Exchange on October 21st. This event encouraged people to come dressed in costume with their favorite horror story in hand ready to read out loud to the guests. People were welcome to read their own work, or the work of other authors. The spirit of Edgar Allan Poe was even in attendance! Guests were treated to hot chocolate and an assortment of scary (but tasty) snacks.

The Word Exchange is a reoccurring event at VWVOFFKA. They don’t have a theme every time, which allows for you to get as creative as possible. You could read just about anything, from poems to short stories, or you could just run your mouth for a few minutes. And, of course, you are welcome to be on the listening end of it all.

Make sure to keep checking back at VWVOFFKA’s website for upcoming events, readings, and First Friday events. You should definitely stop by. Temple student Jordan Rice-Sarantis is avidly involved with VWVOFFKA’s events. He encourages everyone to attend VWVOFFKA’s events because “awesome people work there, and the events are always worth attending.”

VWVOFFKA is located at 2037 Frankford Ave. in the Fishtown area of Philly.

You can contact Gia Lombardi at


Dracula Comes to the Rosenbach

Why not spend the Halloween season with Count Dracula?

The Rosenbach Museum & Library is hosting its annual Dracula Festival throughout the month of October. This museum is the keeper of “Dracula” author Bram Stoker’s original notes for the masterpiece. The main reason for the Dracula Festival centers on the museums heavy interest in literature. Also, Stoker actually wrote the last two chapters for his horror classic in a Philadelphia hotel.

This museum and library is the home of manuscripts and first editions of many famous works of literature, such as Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” James Joyce’s “Ulysses,” hundreds of Shakespeare titles and many Charles Dickens and Herman Melville works. It also holds many interesting works of art. The museum is actually a house with three main floors. The first floor is the lobby, the second holds the museum’s special exhibits and the third is the main library.

One of the special exhibits on the second floor this October is a Dracula exhibit, in which Stoker’s notes are presented. This shows the evolution of the story/character through the years. This exhibit is the centerpiece of the festival, as all the events in the festival are about “Dracula” or the notes themselves.

The “Whistling through the Graveyard” event was recently held, a series of writing workshops on how to write scary short stories and poetry. There is also an ongoing reading group in which a distinguished “Dracula” historian reads passages from the 1897 novel and analyses the text in various ways. The Rosenbach mixes art with literature in “Those Ghastly Grimms,” a lecture by the curator in which the connection between artist Maurice Sendak’s paintings and the Brothers Grimm’s short stories is discussed.

It’s not all about the literature, though. It had a Dracula Do-It-Yourself, in which people made Dracula inspired arts and crafts. Another part of the festival is a Halloween party for families, where participants dress in costume and have some Halloween fun with the community.

The keystone event in the festival is called “The Growth of Stoker’s ‘Dracula’,” which is a hands-on tour of Stoker’s notes. The museum librarian, Elizabeth Fuller, goes though Stoker’s thought process, as well as how he got the idea for the character of Count Dracula. Even if you think you know the whole story about “Dracula,” this hands-on tour will teach you something you didn’t know before. It’s amazing to handle notes from the 1890’s, knowing that a famous novel was the final result of them. The museum does it right, positioning this event right in time for Halloween. It makes you want to read “Dracula” as soon as you get home.

So, come out to the Dracula Festival while you still can. If you can’t make it this October, take some time to make a trip to this wonderful museum and library this year. They have the first edition of any famous book you can think of, so fans of literature will always find something of interest. The Rosenbach is a hidden gem of Philadelphia, and the Dracula Festival makes it even better.

You can contact Nick Iuele at


International Dragon Boat Festival

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to race a dragon boat down the Schuylkill?

On Oct. 23rd, the annual Philadelphia International Dragon Boat Festival was held along the river. It was originally scheduled for Oct. 2nd, but bad weather forced the event to be postponed until the 23rd. This event is the largest of its kind in North America and consisted of over 100 teams.

But wait, what is the Dragon Boat Festival? Well, it is a huge dragon boat race down the Schuylkill River, annually held in October. A dragon boat is a long paddle boat generally made of teak wood. It can have many different designs, shapes and sizes, but it is usually molded to a dragon design. Each team consists of 20 people, including a steersperson (prepares the boat/team), launch driver (responsible for safety of the boat and paddlers) and drummer (essentially the captain of the team).

Dragon boat racing originated over 2000 years ago in China. It is based off an old Chinese legend of a man named Qu Yan, who was an advisor to the king. After a misunderstanding lead to Qu Yan being exiled, he threw himself into the Milou River. However, some local fisherman saw this and speedily came to his rescue in their paddle boats. Dragon boat racing today is based off a re-enactment of this significant event. These festivals are prevalent in China and the South Pacific, but also in select large cities and other places with high Asian populations.

The Philadelphia edition of this cultural wonder started in 2002. It welcomes anyone who is interested in getting in on the fun of dragon boat racing from ages 8-88 and of any fitness level. Teams from all over the country, and even some from outside of it, enter the race. In 2009, the festival had 154 teams, and a combined number of close to 25,000 participants and spectators.

“We have hosted a blind team, deaf team, mentally challenged team, a homeless men’s team, and an Asperger’s Syndrome High Functioning Autistic Spectrum team. It is all about 20 hearts beating as one,” says Carol Lee Linder, Founder and Executive Director of the festival.

The main principal of the Dragon Boat Festival is to bring culture and camaraderie to Philly. It posed a good chance to get out and meet people from different places and learn about an event that is not an everyday occurrence. It was held at the Schuylkill River Race Course, so anyone who attended could enjoy all that Fairmount Park has to offer. It was a chance to see the Philadelphia culture of row homes and boat races on the Schuylkill infused with Chinese culture in a one-of-a-kind event.

For more information on the history of dragon boats, the festival, and the winners of the race, click here.

You can contact Nick Iuele at