Want to get all spiffed up on the weekend and take to downtown to knosh and groove? This week’s “Date of the Week” from BTDT encourages you to dress up in your Friday’s best and head to Harrisonburg for an “RGT,” aka a Real Good Time.
This date actually starts at home with some tunes and a bottle of wine. Surprise your date with a nice Cakebread Cabernet Sauvignon or, if you’re on more of a budget, a Toasted Head Chardonnay. While you’re both getting ready, play some tunes to get prepped for the night ahead of you. May I suggest visiting JMU Beats for awesome pre-made playlists?
After you’ve finished your bottle of wine, take a cab downtown to get a lite-bite at Little Grill (nobody wants to get stuffed before bustin’ a move…!). Not only is the food delicious, but you’ll feel even better about Little Grill’s mission which is a worker-owned collective with “with an emphasis on getting along, wholesome home-cooked food, and having a positive impact on the community that surrounds us.” Once it’s your time to order, try the Tempah Reuben sandwich or the Go Ask Alyce falafel. For a full list of dinner options, check out their menu here.
After you’ve wined and dined, it’s time to head to Blue Nile (just a short walk from Little Grill) for a killer set from DJ Neals Barkley. Doors open at 10 pm and there is no cover! However, make sure you’ve got the credentials to get in…this party is 21+. Once you get in, buy your date a drink at the bar and dance the night away to the best hip-hop and party classics. Trust me…this party is one of the best in The Valley that you won’t want to miss out on.
As the night winds down, make sure you have a sober ride home.
Here’s a few numbers for cab companies so that you
end this awesome night the right way:
ABC Cab: (540) 564-1214
Royal Cab: (540) 438-7777
Yellow Cab: (540) 434-2515
Every holiday season, we are reminded of how many special people we have in our lives, and one of the major themes is reconnecting with friends and relatives.
Here are two fantastic ways to bond with loved ones this Friday!
For dinner, head over to Blue Nile, a traditional Ethiopian restaurant in downtown Harrisonburg.
I’m betting that most people haven’t been somewhere quite like Blue Nile before. When you sit down, the server will have to decode the menu for you, explaining what the Ethiopian words mean. After perusing the choices and ordering something most likely unpronounceable, the real surprise comes when your food is delivered.
Following Ethiopian tradition, the dishes are served on a giant platter of himbasha, which is a flat, spongy Ethiopian bread. Most of the entrees are curry-like, with sauce and meat placed artfully on the platter, surrounded by all kinds of pickled and flavored vegetables and side dishes.
What’s even more unique is the way you eat your meal. Extra helpings of himbasha are served in rolls reminiscent of carpeting, and guests rip pieces off to wrap around the foods arranged on the platter.
As you can see in the above photo, Ethiopian food is finger food!
Almost immediately after this was taken, it was all hands on deck, and the dishes were devoured, bread platters and all!
This unique style of eating can really bring a family together, as someone reaches across the table to get a handful of the lamb, and you can hear others exclaiming “Try the chicken in the red sauce! It’s delicious!” or “What’s this yellow stuff? It tastes great with the lentils!” between mouthfuls of food.
Imagine if Thanksgiving dinner was served like this! It would really bring a whole new meaning to “the family table.”
After dinner, head outside and bundle up to watch the Annual Harrisonburg Holiday Parade! The participants will be marching down Main Street TONIGHT (Friday, December 2nd, 2011) at 7 p.m.!
This year’s theme is “Snowmen on Parade.” As always, the parade will feature local organizations, retailers, restaurants, committees and high schools, along with the JMU Marching Royal Dukes, who will be kicking off the parade!
Afterwards, stick around for more holiday cheer in Court Square! The Marching Royal Dukes will perform crowd favorites from their 2011 season and then Mayor Richard Baugh will light the downtown Christmas tree.
It’s an event you won’t want to miss! To help those in need, bring canned nonperishable food items to donate to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. Collection bins will be located around court square. Donations are especially appreciated during the holiday season.
For a night that is sure to spread the holiday spirit and bring loved ones closer together, check out Blue Nile and the Harrisonburg Holiday Parade!
Don’t feel like partying this Friday? Want to go to a concert that’s sure to be incredible instead? It’s your lucky day because INGRID MICHAELSON is coming to James Madison University on Friday, December 2nd!
The concert will open with Andrew Rohlk at 8:00 p.m. in Wilson Hall at JMU. Doors will open at 7:00 p.m.
Tickets are available at the Warren Business Office. Each person can buy up to 5 tickets. Tickets can be purchased for $25 online or at the Warren Business Office or for $22 to students with JAC cards. Tickets can be purchased with flex, cash, or check. Credit cards are only accepted online.
BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!
WANT TO WIN A PAIR OF MEET AND GREET PASSES?
There are 3 ways to do this according to the UPB Facebook event page:
- #TweetandMeet Mention @ingridmusic and @UPB in a Tweet and be entered to win!
- Be the first person in line for the concert on the day of the show
- Check into Wilson on 4Square and leave a tip about the Ingrid Michaelson Show and be entered to win
Don’t know who Ingrid is? Her top charting songs include The Way I Am, Winter Song (featuring Sara Bareilles), Be OK, You and I, and Maybe. The singer/songwriter has three albums (not including the Everybody Bonus Track CD and the Live Session album): Girls and Boys, Be OK, and Slow the Rain.
Still don’t know who Ingrid is? Her song The Way I Am was used in an Old Navy sweater commercial. Her songs have also played in shows such as The Hills, One Tree Hill, and Grey’s Anatomy. Also, her remake of Can’t Help Falling In Love is played in the trailer for the new movie Like Crazy.
Do you still not know who Ingrid is? Well, I’m out of references, but hopefully you’ve clicked on enough of these links to figure out who she is on your own.
Ingrid’s song range from slow to fast, from pop to indie, and from sad to upbeat. Her vocal range is extraordinary and I’ve only heard good things about her concerts.
This concert is a must see. According to The New York Times, Ingrid is “singing her way from obscurity to fame.”
So do a little youtube-ing, iTunes song previewing, or even start downloading Ingrid’s songs (illegally or not, whichever you prefer). Start listening to her music. Come to her concert this Friday and you’ll Be OK.
Reddish Knob is terrifying to get to. Besides that, it’s a great place. It starts with a long snakey road. Make your way up it, avoid the wildlife, and pop out onto a giant parking lot shaped rectangle of asphalt. It’s the perfect spot to go to if you’re dating someone, or trying to.
A friend of mine ran into a deer on his way. I happened to get lost with my girlfriend. By the time I made it, it happened to be pitch black.
But I’ve been told the sunset I COULD have seen would have been excellent. Even though I missed it, the stars made the trip worthwhile.
- Describing Reddish Knob gets awfully sappy, so I asked a few romantic friends of mine to take the bullet and drop a few quotes so I wouldn’t have to:
- “Reddish knob is a place of escape, and a place of rejuvenation.”
- “Reddish knob allows you to find comfort in the company of friends.”
- “It is a great place to rendezvous with a significant someone.”
- “Reddish knob is a romantic getaway that happens to be in JMU’s back door.”
- “You can see three states from the top of the hill”
- “The view is breath-GIVING. It can cure cancer.”
Those last two quotes were obviously from single people. Reddish knob should be on every JMU students bucket list. The deadly drive is all worth it when you come over the top of that hill. Bring someone, bring a pillow, and get ready to snuggle.
Every night, you toss and turn, tranquil slumbers interrupted by a dilemma that every college kid faces: where can I get some delicious pizza?
Although a bit melodramatic, knowing where to get the most scrumptious ‘za is right up there with getting the right professors and picking a cool roommate in terms of collegiate importance.
When it comes to getting the most slam for your slice (hey, I tried), there’s several factors to consider. Let’s take a look at several of Harrisonburg’s most frequented pizza depots and see how they stack up.
Perhaps the undisputed king of the late-night drunk dial, Chanello’s is the first word in cheap college pizza. Though most agree that Chanello’s is yummy at 1 AM in the dorm after a couple of drinks, this is not your casual dinner pizza. The pizza is ordinary and un-exciting and relies basically on a build-your-own style rather than specialty slices. Being a more prominent conglomerate, you can order both online and over-the-phone and the amount of cars usually makes delivery speedy. Although convenient and generally cheap (a large plain is $9.99), Chanello’s is the best drunk-dial you could ever make, but certainly not a sober decision.
One student says: “The perfect late-night pie. Before the party, though? Not so much.”
For some JMU students, Franco’s Pizza is a best-kept secret: authentic New York-style slices in a casual environment. The slices are big and full, the proprietors friendly and passionate. Located only a bus-ride off-campus in the Walmart shopping center (just a few doors down from Qdoba), Franco’s is a great place for an inexpensive, fulfilling sit-down meal. In addition to their delicious slices, Franco’s offers mouth-watering garlic knots and meaty wings, a perfect compliment to their pizza. Not being a chain has its ups and downs; though more attention is paid to the pizza, delivery times are slower and there is no online ordering system. However, this is a small price to pay when considering the appetizing morsels at your disposal.
One student says: “A good date night eatery located just a tad off-campus. I wouldn’t necessarily order from them.”
The Goliath of pizza peddlers in the United States, Domino’s Pizza has an unsurprisingly large presence in the gastronomical lifestyles on JMU students. Though many students may have local allegiances, the pizza company isn’t too bad, offering much-improved pies at competitive prices. Domino’s presence is unrivaled: students will rarely wait more than 20 minutes for their order to arrive. On top of tasty pizza (which you can get hand-tossed, deep-dish, thin-crust, Brooklyn-style, and artisan bread) Domino’s has began to offer pretty good sandwiches, bread-bowl pastas, Cinna-Stix, and Cheesy Bread. It’s hard to go wrong with Domino’s, as they are one of the most consistent options at JMU.
One student says: “Good pizza, but plenty of other great options. A no-brainer delivery option.”
Tutti Gusti is located on Port Republic, just a short stroll from the Lakeside dorms and just down the hill from such popular apartment complexes as Hunter’s Ridge and Westport. TG offers slices similar to Franco’s with a similar ambiance. The differences? The pro: Tutti Gusti offers quality Italian dishes like Penne Vodka. The con: Prices are a bit steeper all-around. If you’re willing to splurge a little bit, Tutti Gusti is a neat alternative to the low-quality grind.
One student says: “Another cool date place. A little extra dough (money-wise), but not too shabby.”
There are two winners…
-Domino’s for Best Delivery
-Franco’s for Best Sit-Down
HAPPY EATING, PIZZA-LOVERS!
Harrisonburg is great, but its always nice to explore somewhere new! For a quick excursion, head down to Staunton, VA, which is just 30 minutes down route 81.
Dinner: If you’re looking for an upscale night out, enjoy some “southern cuisine” at Zynodoa Restaurant. Zynodoa is unique because they buy their ingredients from local farms, dairies, purveyors, wineries and breweries. They boast “farm to fork” meals that are natural, fresh and most importantly, delicious.
Their menu changes daily based on local and seasonal availability, so you’ll be delightfully surprised when you arrive. Their fettuccine with cream sauce and mushrooms was to die for, which should bode well for the rest of their selection. However, because their food is so fresh, the wait time between placing your order and being served is a tad longer than one would hope.
The atmosphere is semi-formal, with low lighting and expensive art decorating the walls. (Check out the video post above to see for yourself!) The ambience, unfortunately, comes with quite the price tag. Entrees range from $20-30 per dish, and the portions are sufficient, but not heaping.
Overall, Zynodoa is a place worth checking out, but only if you’re willing to fork over some cash. Maybe give it a try for an anniversary or birthday dinner. Or, better yet, wait ‘til your parents are in town!
Entertainment: Zynodoa starts serving dinner at 5 p.m. on Wednesdays through Saturdays, so afterward, you’ll have time to check out the Blackfriar’s Playhouse, the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s original indoor theatre. During the 2011 fall season, the resident troupe is performing Shakespeare’s “Henry V” and “Tamburlaine the Great,” among others.
Last fall’s performance of Macbeth was stunningly accurate, as the troupe does everything they can to imitate the original Elizabethan conditions.
Tickets range from $16-$40, depending on where you’d like to sit, and they can be purchased in advance or at the door. You can also receive a discount if you present a student ID. Mimicking the original playhouse, guests can sit on benches or balconies surrounding the stage, or on stools onstage, to get up close and personal with the actors.
Take a virtual tour to view the beautiful venue. A night at Blackfriar’s is sure to present Shakespeare’s work as you’ve never seen it before. It’ll be an interactive experience you won’t forget.
Dessert: To satisfy your sweet tooth, walk over to the Split Banana Company, “Staunton’s Super Gelato Shop.” They have all kinds of flavors, the favorite being Virginia Peanut Butter, and offer ice cream, gelato and sorbet.
Indoor seating allows you to enjoy your frosty treat in the warmth – even in the winter! They stay open from 1 p.m. – 11 p.m., so you’ll be able to get that sugar rush after seeing a show!
Hopefully these options will make for a wonderful night of unique food and fascinating entertainment! Happy trails!
There’s this thing called rain, and sometimes it interferes with our plans. Despite the weather forecast apps we have on our phones, we can’t always rely on what they tell us. Here in the ‘burg we never really know what the weather will actually be like. One minute the sun is bright and beaming and then within five minutes dark clouds roll in and the rain pours down. We no longer want to chat on the quad, eat lunch outside, or walk to the library to study for that test that counts for 25% of our grade.
Rain. It ruins everyones plans.
But why not take advantage of this weather? This is the universes way of telling us we aren’t meant to go to Carrier to study for that test tomorrow or risk grass stains on our pants. Nope. This is a day for yourself. Some “me time.”
Here are some ideas as to what you can do while stuck inside:
- Read a book: Whether it’s for class or not, sometimes just curling up on the couch with a nice cup of tea and a good book can be so blissfully relaxing. You finally have time to read that book everyone has been talking about. Get away from your life for a few hours and get lost in someone else’s.
- Catch up on TV or movies: As college students, we all have our must-see-TV shows, but extracurriculars and homework tend to interfere. Go to hulu.com and catch up on shows you missed out on, like New Girl. On this past weeks episode you can learn what not to do with a turkey… Not behind on any of your shows? What about a movie? RedBox has a wide variety of movies to pick from that are semi-recent. They’re cheap too! You can find RedBoxes at Walmart or Sheetz. Don’t have a car to get there? Ask a roommate or a fellow hallmate if you can borrow a movie. Grab a blanket and some popcorn and enjoy the show!
- Bake: Everyone loves desserts especially on rainy days. Comfort food right? Try Oreo stuffed chocolate chip cookies. All you need is Oreos and cookie dough and wallah! Two cookies become one delicious treat! If you’re not human and don’t think this looks amazing, try browsing through the food category on Pinterest. It’s an addicting website (you’ve been warned) where people post and repin things they like. Start scrolling until you find something you think looks tasty. Just click on the image and it will take you to the original site where there will hopefully be a recipe.
- Clean: Do you prefer to be productive on your day off? Why not clean? You’ve been telling yourself for weeks you need to tidy up your room. This rainy afternoon may be the perfect time (and the only time with your busy schedule) to do it. Vacuum, dust, do laundry, make your room sparkle! Pump up the tunes to make the time go by faster.
- Catch up on the news: Read your online school newspaper. Read a couple articles from the New York Times. It doesn’t hurt to stay informed. If you’re like me and aren’t a fan of the hard news stories about politics and those long articles, then maybe scroll through some blogs and see what they find news worthy. For instance, The Daily What blogged about a new Marcel The Shell With Shoes On. Be the first to know about soon-to-be-viral-videos instead of the last.
You might be thinking “rain, rain, go away, come again another day,” but I hope these indoor ideas make you sing to a different tune.
Tacos El Primo is a local eatery conveniently housed in a grungy looking sky blue truck right off of Resevoir Street. Out of it they serve comida Mexicana (come on guys it means Mexican food) and fruit-flavored Mexican drinks; including tamarind, mandarin, pineapple, strawberry, apple and sangria.
Their menu is beautifully straightforward. They know exactly what kinds of food people want when they think Mexican. Tacos; soft corn tortillas with meat smothered in fresh cilantro, onion, salsa, and guacamole. Tortas; a mexican variation on a sandwich with every ingredient you could ever want. Burritos that rival Chipotle’s (okay not really), and Quesadillas that melt in your mouth. Seriously, I had one. Dipping the crispy tortilla in guacamole was incredible.
The food was great, but their logo was even better. There was no way I could miss it walking up to the order window. A stereotypical Mexican hombre, with heavily lidded and half shut eyes, a gigantic sombrero, and an absurdly thick mustache that rivaled Tom Selleck’s. His dumb grin almost deterred me from getting their food. They may need to work on that.
Also, their location. They are in a truck…so this shouldn’t be too difficult. At the moment, they are sitting on quite the awkward section of pavement. Sure it’s on a very busy street, but there is definitely a noticeable lack of pedestrian traffic. Move the truck somewhere downtown, and attract a whole new kind of walking Harrisonburgians (Harrisonburgites? Harrisonburgans?). Also, they should hire a web designer to improve their website, at least to something better than what their current site provides.
But hey, it’s a perfect cheap meal. Go there during the summer or on a random warm day and take a spot under the umbrellas in the vacant lot. Harrisonburg needed some spice to its cuisine, and this hand-made Mexican food fits the description perfectly.
So you’ve asked the pretty girl who sits behind you out on a date. After a few rendezvouses downtown, you’ve decided to invite her back to your place. Here’s a few tips from a guy’s perspective to help you keep the romance alive and the first date night in a success:
DO: Cook. If you’re especially privileged in the culinary department, go out and buy something special. If you’re close to any of the girls’ friends, try and figure out her favorite food and surprise. Chicks dig talented guys in the kitchen.
DON’T: Eat anything heavy. A bean burrito at Chiptole may be delicious, but there will be “unforeseen” consequences down the road. When it’s just you and her, there is nobody to blame your gaseous emissions on.
DO: Play jazz. Trust me on this one. Jazz and romantic dinners were made for each other. A little bit of Dave Brubeck can go a long way.
DON’T: Play Justin Bieber. Mostly because Justin Bieber sucks.
DO: Inform your roomies of your date’s presence ahead of time. Most college students are sharing their living spaces with 2 or 3 others; the last thing your roommates are going to want is to unexpectedly be kicked out.
DON’T: Forget to introduce them to your date; a girl will only like you more if they like your friends (although keep your most charming roommate away from her!).
DO: Rent something funny. Going with a classic comedy like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off will make you both feel good. In awkward times, a little laughter can totally help out.
DON’T: Rent The Notebook. You’re a man, for god’s sake. Act like one! Romance movies will only make you both subliminally compare your relationship to the one on-screen (and if this is only your first date night in, you’ve got a long way to go before you’re crying making out in the rain…).
DO: Use the little boys’ room before she comes over. Stock up on Febreeze. Nothing turns a girl off like a messy, stinky bathroom.
DON’T: Poop during the date. Trust me, it’s going to be awkward.
DO: Put your arm around her and utilize the patented “Spencer Dukoff Shoulder Rub.” It works 100% guaranteed. It’s a circular caress with a light scratch thrown in for good measure.
DON’T: Start making out right off the bat. Ease in to it. Everything in moderation. And if you’re really using the “SDSR” to its full potential, its only a matter of time.
If you follow my lead, a casual hang-out can become a night you’ll never forget! Be confident, classy, and courteous and she’s yours.
And if you’re in need of some creative date ideas, check out these fun blogs: