WVON 50th anniversary

This year I was honored to go to the 50th Anniversary of WVON! How amazing! The historic program featured top personalities who shared the WVON Story and featured a performance by Grammy Award winning R&B Artist, Toni Braxton. Many came out to celebrate the city’s pre-eminent African-American radio station marking its 50th anniversary.

“This is an absolutely incredible night,” said WVON President Melody Spann Cooper. “It’s spectacular. It brings tears to my eyes.”

The star-studded gala was a veritable who’s who of Chicago’s African American community, as well as its entertainers, and politicians. And yay me! I was there!

Good Food + Good FoIks = Good Fun

Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 9.57.10 AMThe Good Food Festival and Conference is the leading food event in the country! It includes a Financing Conference, Trade Show, School Foodand Food Policy Summits, and a Saturday Festival that celebrates Good Food. There truly was something for everyone! 

Last week, on Impresario Radio we spoke with Jim Slama from Familyfarmed.org. Slama is the creator of this awesome festival, has  desire to promote environmental sustainability. His mission is to expand the distribution and production of locally grown produced food to enhance not only our consciousness, but the health of our communities. [Listen to that Show Here]

I went to the Saturday Festival with my co-host of Impresario Radio, the Downtown Diva and had a blast! The festival and conference brought together the “best of the best” in global brands like Google and Clif Bar, celebrity chefs such as Paul Virant and Rick Bayless, local  farmers from around the Midwest, game-changing businesses like Door to Door Organics, and scrumptious vegan restaurants (The Chicago Diner and B’Gabs Goodies) to further the conversation surrounding how we must transform our eating as well as thinking as it relates to power food and produce.  

Paul Virant pickling turnips!

Paul Virant pickling turnips!

I was able to go to some amazing workshops  to watch and learn about making cheese at home and also pickling from the awesome chef Paul Virant. During the festival, we talked with Jim Slama again about how fantastic the event was Saturday.



9 Scary Junk Food Facts!


As Discussed on Impresario Radio. Junk food is scary! Check out these facts!

1. The Cheeto is a modern miracle.

2. Subverting “sensory-specific satiety” is the key to junk-food success.

3. At least since 1999, the industry has known its products are contributing to a massive public-health crisis.

4. Like the agrichemical industry, the food industry has become adept at selling questionable solutions to the problems it has generated.

9 Surprising Facts on Junk Food

Yassa African Restaurant


Last week the crew and I from Impresario Radio with to Yassa African Restaurant.

Yassa is run by a family from Senegal, a former French colony whose cuisine, apart from fresh-baked pain francaise, bears little resemblance to anything European. The restaurant has Exotic cuisine with Jamaican and Asian spices.

Yassa is grilled marinated chicken covered with a sauce of mustard, onion, carrot, and palm oil and served on a bed of rice.

The restaurant has nice decor and the food was pretty good! My favorite thing at the restaurant was its Ginger and Pineapple juice (gingembre is fresh ginger root, pounded and sugared in the kitchen)


It’s Menu has much variety such as Chicken, Lamb, Fish and more.  Just reading the menu gets your mouth to water a tad…

The portions were nice. I ordered the vermicelle, a thin pasta type dish with vegetables and seasoning. It was very good and filling even to just be a side dish. Chef Cliff got the lamb dish and from the quietness at the table… I’d say it was good…

Overall, we will be back

Yassa African Restaurant

716 E. 79th St.
Chicago, IL 60619

Sushi Samba Chicago

For my cousin’s birthday we decided to go to Sushi Samba in downtown Chicago. Sushi Samba features a very unique blend of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian cuisine & design. Originally opened in New York in 1999, Sushi Samba is located in Chicago: 504 North Wells. The menu prices range but you could go and spend about $20 per person (not including drinks) and be truly happy…. Or you can spend $50 and still be happy, just happier. The wait staff is phenomenal and catered to our every need.

Of course the night began with something safe and something adventurous! For appetizers the safe: edamame ($5) and the adventure: 

Sawagani: flash fried japanese river crabs

Sawagani flash fried japanese river crabs ($12) and by flash fried they mean the little crabs were happily living their life in captivity until the big mean cook grabbed them and threw the little crabs into the burning hot oil. I will admit because of this, the little crabs had some interesting poses. The most exciting part about this is you eat the ENTIRE little crab…. shell and all. I can’t eat the crab because I eat kosher,  however, my cousins said it taste like a crab flavored potato chip.

For the rest of the night we stayed on a tuna and salmon selection (minus my cousin’s eel roll. Starting with traditional Salmon sake, we decided to let the waiter choose the rest of our selections… I think he did good: Unagi Tamago freshwater eel, zuke tuna, cucumber, tempura flake, wasabi crema ($16)

We finished the night sharing my cousin’s FREE birthday desert: a Banana Chocolate brownie unlike any other I’d ever tasted (and I hate bananas but this was soooo good!) topped with yummy vanilla bean ice cream. Then right before we left the bartender bought us a round for a great bday ending! This drink was DELISH: Nina Fresa® Svedka vodka, muddled strawberry, orange liqueur, lime, guava.

If i was a huge drinker, this would be my drink! Nina Fresa® Svedka vodka, muddled strawberry, orange liqueur, lime, guava

My own lil Snack Pack!


It’s been almost 6 months since I sat in a classroom and today I was back at it. While sitting in the class, the usual occurred. I was hungry and count focus on anything but what to eat. I had forgotten the most important part of my survival kit: food. I didn’t want to make many unhealthy choices and eating while at school, or even work is often difficult. The vending machines haunt you, the dining hall screams of oil and the surrounding restaurants crave to empty your pockets. So what’s a girl to do? Starving is not an option. And sometimes you just don’t want a bar….

The easy answer is pack a lunch, well if you say that… My response is easy. It’s not going to happen everyday. I’m rushing or too busy or even worse I forget the lunch at home. Therefore, during my undergrad adventure I came up with the idea of a snack pack: the healthy way to munch without a lunch.

This isn’t as simple as grabbing some chips and a soda as you leave the house. Empty calories are a no-no, and I also need something that can stay in my big Barney bag without spoiling or making a mess. I also want it to be healthy and nutritional: a little it of healthy fat, carbs and protein.

Here’s what’s in my snack pack and why:



This food is very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Riboflavin, Magnesium and Manganese, and a very good source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol). Vitamin E also helps with less cognitive decline as we age. And here’s a piece of random info…. Almonds are nuts, they are actually drupes.

Dry-Roasted Edamame
A quarter-cup serving contains only 130 calories and packs about one-third of your daily recommended fiber intake and 14 g of protein. “It’s high in fiber and protein!

Dried Fruit (Ashley’s pick is cranberries)
Let me be the first to say I was not a fan of dried fruit. But after fruit getting smushed in my bag and ruining books, my computer and everything else, I had enough. But I needed my fruit fix so I tried Dried apples, pears, and more all a no go until I found dried cranberries. Even if you don’t like regular cranberries you’ll like these sweet, semi juicy cousins of the raisin.

Pretzels are one of my fav! It’s great for us bread lovers and also satisfies my chip cravings! This food is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Folate, and a very good source of Manganese.

Dark Chocolate
Here’s a bit of a treat! Dark chocolate has natural stimulants synch as caffeine that can help increase focus and concentration. This is a much needed aspect for being in a class for 3 hours.

Ashley Aviyah’s Top 6 Restaurant Apps

Sorry puppies… I think smart phones are a man’s best friend. (I would apologize to diamonds but I think they are still winning) Since smart-phones are now “Man’s Best Friend”, and food is a close runner-up, what could be better than linking the two?

Although there may be something pleasurable about opening a stained yellow pages, smart-phones can make finding a new place to chow down a bit easier, and a bit better. Being a food lover I’ve downloaded a few food apps on my phone and researched plenty more… I’ve compiled my thoughts on the top 6 restaurant apps for smart-phones.

6. For the… relaxed individual… (Yes, I tried to think of a more clever way to say lazy) there is GrubHub. I will admit this made the list because it is my favorite. GrubHub shows you everyone who delivers to your address. It also shows places you can call-in the order. I focus on the delivery aspect however. GrubHub is free, which makes this ten times better. This app also tells you how much places charge for delivery (some are no cost). Also you can pay for your food online or with cash. This makes it great for if you want to send that special someone a pizza while you are away.. (food beats flowers in my book)

5. Zagat has been called the “king of restaurant reviews” for foodie cities like Chicago. This $9.99 app gives you restaurant reviews for an entire year. Even better, you don’t have to be online to access the app. Zagat also uses GPS Location to find restaurants close by, reservations and FourSquare. Zagat can be used on iPhone, iPod, Android, and Blackberry devices. This app gets a five on the list because it does not cover every city.

4. Do you ever see people shaking their phones? Well this is a fun feature apps like UrbanSpoon take good advantage of. Urban spoon takes the slot machinesque approach to finding good food. You can pick between price, location and food type… Lock in one or two or none and let the games begin! There is also a feature to check in, add pictures, track your friends via Facebook and map the location via Google Maps. UrbanSpoon is free and available on iPhone, Blackberry, Kindle Fire, iPad and Android.

3. OpenTable is designed to make it easier to make restaurant at over 15,000 restaurants. Not only can you view menus and ratings, but the app also lets you reserve tables in real time. Open Table is available on iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone. Open table is (our favorite word) free.

2. Every vegetarian knows that eating out can be a very difficult task. VegOut makes this a bit easier by giving you a large international listing of vegan, vegetarian and vegetarian-friendly restaurants through your best friend(not the puppy). Listings can be found by your exact location or via address. VegOut is $2.99 and sadly only available on the iPhone.

1. FoodSpotting is for us visual thinkers. For that moment when you do not want to red a long review, but you actually want to see the what’s good. Users can take pictures of the food and write a mini review on the item. You can also find restaurants by pictures and location. It can help you pick not just where to eat, but what you want to eat also. This app is free and available on iPhone, Android, Windows Phone and is getting ready for Blackberry users as well. Users can also like or favorite photos, and trade “wants” and “noms” for dishes they want to try and or truly love. Foodspotting’s visual approach to trying new food is what makes this app number 1!


Bookmark and Share