Purple Chopstix: Athens’ Hidden Dining Gem

There’s no lack of dining options for OU students. Cruise down Court Street and Chipotle, Pita Pit and Jimmy Johns– your typical quality chain restaurants– align the brick road.

They’re a safehaven from the everyday dining hall experience. However, Athens also has its fair share of hidden gems. One that made my senior-year bucket-list: Purple Chopstix.

It’s a little place I’ve heard about since my freshman year. This year, while constructing a bucket-list of places to visit in Athens before graduation, Purple Chopstix immediately came to the forefront of my mind.

Opening it’s doors in 1989, the unique, colorful restaurant located on Richland Avenue is within walking distance of South Green. However, its lack of proximity from the heart of OU campus keeps Purple Chopstix a secret sanctuary of eclectic food.

Purple ChopstixPassing by, you might not assume the little cottage would be home to savory, homemade dishes, and you might be shocked to learn that those dishes do not contain traditional Chinese foods eaten with purple chopsticks. However, the most surprising quality is that Purple Chopstix is BYOB.

According to owner and head chef Ed Fisher, his restaurant allows guests to bring their own alcohol — a concept that compliments the originality of the establishment, proving its appeal to college students — due to its lack of a liquor license.

“Going out to restaurants and bars to order drinks can be costly,” says Morgan Harkey, a senior at Ohio University. “I’m a broke college student, to have the option to get a cheap bottle of wine on your own with some friends and bring it to get a nice cooked meal is not only fun but keeps me from spending endless dollars on my own drinks.”

While the BYOB policy attracts intrigue, it is seen as a negative attribute for a restaurant from the side of those in the culinary business. “It definitely keeps would keep a restaurant from making more money,” says Jake Spiccia, the owner of Pizzazz On The Circle, a restaurant in Cleveland. “And especially for a restaurant in a college town, you just rack in the money from alcohol.”

In a town like OU, where partying is at the center of the social scene, you would think a restaurant that doesn’t serve alcohol would be quickly dismissed when choosing a place to dine. However, Purple Chopstix has been around for over 25 years. That’s because the food is what sells this restaurant to students and members of the Athens community.

Before going, I read some reviews to see what I was getting myself into, and they were raving. “Autumn S” claims on TripAdvisor.com says “You can’t get this food anywhere else on earth.”

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And “emilygood” promises that this a “must see when in Athens.”

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I was sold on trying Purple Chopstix after only reading a few reviews. The restaurant is only open Wednesday through Saturday for dinner from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday for brunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., so we made sure to make a reservation to just be safe.

Upon arriving, you instantly sense the quirkiness of your surroundings. From the colorful walls and artwork to the fun and personable employees. Before I had even tried the food, I decided I loved the place. To get a sense of the ambiance for yourself, check out the video below.

https://vimeo.com/145471434

The menu offers a wide variety of saliva-inducing plates ranging from curry dishes to Greek pizza. I went with “Sweet Potato Peanut Pasta” and was not disappointed. Purple Chopstix felt so homey and relaxing. We became friends with the waitress and even personally thanked Fisher, along with his son, Gabe.

4 tasty mug desserts to make in your dorm

Let’s face it: The dining halls don’t always cut it. Especially with winter coming, some times, all we want to do is indulge in a seasonal treat because trudging through the winter all the way to Shively or Nelson becomes a hassle.

But it’s also impossible to make quality treats in your dorm without access to a stove or oven — until now. So, to keep your winter warm and sweet, I present:

4 tasty mug desserts you only need your microwave to make for the holidays.

(All are made with ingredients conveniently sold at the markets).

1. Cinnamon roll in a mug

Mug Deserts No. 1: Cinnamon roll in a mug.
Cinnamon roll in a mug.

Ingredients Needed: Apple Sauce, Veggie Oil, Milk, VanillaExtract, Flour, Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Baking Powder, Salt, Cream Cheese, and Sugar.

You can read how to make this recipe in under three minutes in the link below.

(http://www.cookingclassy.com/2012/03/cinnamon-roll-mug-cake-made-in-3-minutes/)

 

 

 2. Banana bread in a mug

 

Mug Deserts No. 2: Banana bread in a mug.
Banana bread in a mug.

Ingredients Needed: Flour, Sugar, Brown Sugar, Salt, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Egg, Vanilla Extract, Veggie Oil, Milk, and 1 Banana.

To see how to make this in less than four minutes, click below.

(http://passthesushi.com/banana-bread-in-a-mug/)

 

 

 3. Nutella cake in a mug

 

Mug Deserts No. 3: Nutella cake in a mug.
Nutella cake in a mug.

Ingredients Needed: Flour, Sugar, Egg, Cocoa Powder, Nutella, Milk, Veggie Oil, and Cream (for the icing, if desired).

Click below to see step by step directions on how to make this tasty treat in your microwave.

(http://livelovepasta.com/2011/05/nutella-mug-cake/)

 

 4. Fudge s’mores cake in a mug

 

Mug Deserts No. 4: Fudge s'mores cake in a mug.
Fudge s’mores cake in a mug.

Ingredients Needed: Graham Crackers (crushed into crumbs), Butter, Sugar, Egg, Vanilla Extract, Flour, Cocoa Powder, Baking Powder, Salt, and Marshmallows.

The link below tells you how to make this in your dorm in just five minutes!

(http://www.howsweeteats.com/2012/02/5-minute-chocolate-fudge-smores-mug-cake/)

 

All of these mug desserts contain ingredients that can be found at the markets, on campus or in the CVS on Court Street. Luckily, all contain similar ingredients, so do some experimenting with each one in the comfort of your dorm this coming winter!

7 Things You Didn’t Know About The Athens Mall

And the first isn’t that there is a mall in Athens! Formerly known as the University Mall, the mall is now referred to as the Market on State. Very few people know that this exists, but now that you do, here are 7 things you should probably know about it.

 

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 11.14.19 AM1. It’s located on East State Street.

Many students are well aware that East State Street is home to the Walmart, Kroger, and Pet Land, but the commercial strip also is home to A MALL. Say what? I know it’s shocking, but at 1002 E State Street, there is an indoor mall full of all types of surprises.

 

2. There’s a Bath and Body Works.

This is number two because, honestly, it shocked me the first time I walked into the mall. This highly commercialized soap and scent store has a nice little home in the mall, so students can purchase all their high end soap, body mist, and candle needs.

3. There’s a BMV.

Lose your ID after a night out on Court Street? Have no fear, the Athens Mall has a Bureau of Motor Vehicles that can take care of that for you.

4. There is a spa.

The Infinity Salon can take care of all your aches and pains. It offers services that span from hot stone back massages to body waxing. They also offer hair salon services for a full day of treating yourself.

playarea15. There’s a Children Play Area.

Creepy? Yeah, I kind of think so too….

 

 

Photo: http://eaststatestreetdevelopment.com/marketonstate.html

wall-of-art

6. The mall is home to lots of art.

Each month, the mall holds an art contest for a different grade level in the Athens Community. The artwork is featured in the mall that month, then judged by mall visitors. The top three winners are awarded prizes! It’s possible that those prizes come straight from the very mysterious mall….

Photo: http://eaststatestreetdevelopment.com/artmarket.html

anchor_store_elder_beerman_thumbnail7. The mall has it’s very own “Mall Walkers” group.

An essential to every big-time mall is that there are regulars, who come to the mall to just simply enjoy walking around the mall. And after learning all these amazing things about the mall in Athens, I leave you with the fact that there is a specific group of individuals known as the “Mall Walkers.” You can probably guess what their group entails, but in case you can’t, they get their exercise in by walking around the mall, dubbing their group the “Mall Walkers.”

Photo: http://eaststatestreetdevelopment.com/artmarket.html

 

Big Blog, Small Town: Fashion Blogging in Athens, OH

Blogging is taking the fashion world by storm. What once used to be considered a hobby is now a full-time profession.  Readership and influence of fashion blogs has grown tremendously over the past few years. According to The Independent Fashion Bloggers, bloggers have grown to over 48,000 from just 3,000 in 2011. Since prospective shoppers rely on the input and opinions of these self-proclaimed fashionistas, designers are constantly courting young bloggers with invitations to fashion shows and events, free clothes, and opportunities to collaborate with fashion brands. But what is it like when you’re audience is a little different from those bloggers who reside in New York City and Los Angeles? And how do you maintain a blog’s aesthetics when you’re living in a small town like Athens, OH?

Reagan Canaday, a Junior here at Ohio University, started her blog Linens & Lipstick this summer while living in Tennessee. We talked with her about the struggles she faces maintaining her popular blog after coming back to OU.

Court Street Stories: What originally inspired you to get into fashion blogging?

Reagan Canaday: I was working in Maryville, Tennessee as a wedding planning intern for RT Lodge. Part of my job was to read wedding blogs everyday to learn about current trends and popular styles within the wedding industry. Most event planning companies use blogs to share photographs of their work to potential clients. I started reading fashion blogs in my free time and I felt like I would enjoy creating one on my own. I was introduced to Katie Lee, a fashion blogger who runs Pearls & Twirls (http://www.pearlsandtwirls.net/). She’s been blogging for 4 years, has a solid following, and has attended many blogging conventions. We met for coffee over and she gave me a bunch of tips on how to run a successful blog. She gave me the extra push to get started. 

CSS: What were your goals with your blog?

RC: My goals were to create a space where I could express myself creatively. I was attending a lot of events such as award shows, concerts, and traveling to cities I’ve never been, so my blog was a way I could share my experiences with my friends and family back at home. It was my way to stay connected to the world and it’s fun for me to look back at my blog to relive the memories I was making. 

CSS: What is the most difficult aspect of maintaining a fashion blog in a small town?

RC: The most difficult thing about maintaining a fashion blog in a small town is there isn’t much going on around here. There aren’t many locations on campus to go out and photograph that people haven’t seen before. I’ve found that people are most interested in blog post that catch their curiosity. Everyone knows Athens inside and out, so it’s difficult to generate that curiosity that keeps people interested. Also, blogging takes a lot of time. It’s truly a part time job and I don’t think people realize that. I mean, I would spend 30 minutes to an hour taking the same photograph to make sure that it was exactly what I wanted. Then you have to edit the photo, create a story to go with it, edit your post, and finally publish your work. And you’re supposed to post one story a day to increase traffic on your page?! Trying to keep up with all of that while staying on top of school work, and maintain a social life would be extremely difficult. 

CSS: Fashion blogging has become so big recently. Where do you think it will go in the future?

RC: I think fashion blogging is a brilliant way for brands to market their products. All they have to do is send their merchandise to a blogger, they model and photograph the merchandise for free, and then post it to their followers (big time bloggers have thousands or even millions for followers). I think blogging will continue to get bigger and it might even change the fashion industry. I think these bloggers are becoming models are bringing a more realistic body type to modeling. 

CSS: What are you hopes for the future of you blog?

RC: I’ll continue blogging post college and over summer because it’s something I truly enjoy. I hope to find a job in a city that has many opportunities to post about. In that time in my life, I will be living separately from my family and friends once again, and I’d love to keep them as close by as possible. Thank god for social media for allowing us to do that!

 

Why OU students need to see ‘The Hunting Ground’ ASAP

The lights dimmed on the jam-packed Athena Cinema on Court Street. As the chatter from Ohio University students came to complete silence, students were exposed to a video PSA from OU administration members. Administration gave a stern and serious warning that sexual assault on Ohio University campus is taken “very seriously” and will not be tolerated — a message that will soon be mocked in the documentary that follows it.

The mood quickly changed from serious to lighthearted as the documentary began by showing YouTube reactions of individuals across the country finding out they have been accepted to their dream school. Laughter ensued as the students likely reflected on the moment they found out they had been accepted to Ohio University. However, the laughter quickly died down. For the next hour and 45 minutes, the documentary, “The Hunting Ground,” directed by Kirby Dick, shows the dark side to college campus nightlife through tear-jerking testimonials from survivors of sexual assault and morbid statistics of this epidemic that is plaguing college campuses all over the country.

Some of the startling statistics are shown in the film’s trailer below:

The film tells the haunting tales of what is happening to college men and women at a diverse range of campuses in EVERY state. After leaving the film, there is absolutely no denying that sexual assault is happening everywhere. It’s not limited to a specific race, gender or geography.

While some question the validity of the statistics in this documentary, the film brings to light an extremely important issue. “The Hunting Ground” might just be the most important film you and your fellow college acquaintances see all year. It has thrown fuel into a fiery debate going on in our country and has ignited the conversation among students on campuses across the nation. To insure this debate continues on after viewers leave the theater, individuals are urged to keep the discussion going and speak out via social media using the hashtags #TheHuntingGround and #ItsOnUs.

A beautiful ballad used in the film, sung by Lady Gaga and created for the documentary has also taken social media by storm. The music video could be disturbing to some viewers, as it artistically depicts scenes of sexual assault.

The video now almost has almost 10 million views on YouTube, and has been used as platform for viewers to comment about their unique stories to continue the conversation and to make strides toward change in how college campuses educate students and deal with sexual assault cases. Not only is this film important, but this film has caused bonds through social media to remind survivors of sexual assault that they are not alone.

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The Hunting Ground will continue to play at the Athena Cinema through Thursday, September 24, 2015 at Ohio University. Admission is free and showtimes can be found here. The documentary will premiere in theaters in March, but the national conversation should not stop there, and the conversation at Ohio University should not stop Thursday. There is no doubt this film portrays a very real issue happening to America’s youth, and the only way it can be stopped is to continue the conversation, because it is indeed on us.