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Miga named one of the top 5 restaurants in Illinois by OpenTable

When Champaign-Urbana shares a state with Chicago — quite literally a world-class city — it often gets overlooked for various "best of Illinois" lists that tend to focus exclusively on our massive megalopolis to the north. Today, however, is a shining exception to the rule, as OpenTable.com have named Miga as the fifth-best "Diners' Choice" in the entire state (including Chicago).

The ranking, which is based off of patron reviews, is no surprise, as Miga and sister restaurant Sakanaya have been consistently battling for the #1 and #2 spots on TripAdvisor for Champaign, as well. If this doesn't convince you to get out and check these places out, I'm not sure what will.

Read the full OpenTable ranking here, and in case you need a refresher, here's our review of Miga from July.


bacaro hosting Le Tre Venezie wine dinner

bacaro is hosting a wine dinner on Wednesday, October 14th featuring vini from the northeastern part of Italy:

Wednesday, October 14th, you are cordially invited to join us for an unforgettable Italian wine dinner, where we invite you to eat, drink and and mingle with some of the best in the business. 

The three wine regions in the northeastern corner of Italy are often referred to as the Tre Venezie, or Three Venices, because they were once part of the Venetian Empire. Each of these regions produces red and white wines that are counted among the most popular wines in and outside of Italy.

Make your reservation here

And in the meantime, check out the tasting menu:

85 USD

Fried Potato Soup
osetra caviar, espelette powder

Oven Roasted Shellfish
mixed pepper sofrito, smoked butter, toasted baguette

pork ragu, pecorino, parsley

Sea Scallop
prosciutto, charred squash, spinach, brown butter, olio picante

Seared Bison Filet
roasted shallot, shiitake mushrooms, polenta, honey balsamic

Drunken Goat
bacaro honey

Roasted Acorn Squash Pudding
vanilla bean creme fraiche, cinnamon tuile

And wine pairings:

35 USD

Foss Marai Prosecco Superiore GUIA, Italy NV

Cantarutti Ribolla Gialla, Italy 2014

Nicolis Valpolicello DOC Classico, Italy 2013

Cantarutti Schiopettino, Italy 2004

Nicolis Amarone, Italy 2010


Urbana Boulders opening October 17th

It seems like a lot longer than just six months ago since Urbana Boulders got "off the ground", so to speak — but now, they're having their official opening on October 17th. After a successful Indiegogo campaign to get their venture started, they'll be celebrating with this event next Saturday.

They're located at 1502 N. Cunningham Drive in Urbana.

Check out the information from the Facebook event, also linked above:

Help us celebrate our opening and get your climb on!

Saturday October 17th from 10am - 10pm

Food, Games, Prizes, and Climbing!

New to climbing? Great! See what this exciting activity is all about. Our friendly staff will be ready to guide you through the basics.

Are you a climbing vet? Well have we got something for you! Check out what we've done to this old transmission shop and sign up for the Opening Day Boulder Rally! A friendly competition to see who can tick off our opening problems.

We'll be raffling off some nice prizes including day passes so make sure your here for the fun!

See you then!


Seoul Taco to take over space in Campustown

By the looks of it, there are a couple of new joints that will be taking over the old Wendy's location (608 S. Sixth Street) in Campustown — Seoul Taco and Strange Donuts.

Per STLToday:

Seoul Taco, the Korean-Mexican mashup food truck and restaurant, will open a location in Champaign, Ill.

"We just signed a lease," owner David Choi said on Tuesday. "We're slated to open in January for the next semester" at the University of Illinois.

This will be the second college-town address for Seoul Taco, which opened a joint location with Strange Donuts in Columbia, Mo., in March.

The article goes on to quote Choi saying it's in the "heart of Downtown", but we'll forgive him because, well, tacos.

Top image from Seoul Taco's website.

UPDATE: 4 p.m.

A little misinformation, but apparently this will be JUST Seoul Taco, which is still awesome. Thanks for the tweet back at us, Seoul Taco.


Courage Connection announces Domestic Violence Awareness Month events

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), and Courage Connection, a Champaign-based non-profit, is partnering with many other local organizations to raise awareness and let victims know that someone is there for them.

Courage Connection will be hosting Paint The Town Purple on October 7th, and a fundraiser dinner at V. Picasso on October 26th. For specifics on any and all events surrounding DVAM, click here.

From Courage Connection:

This year’s DVAM theme ‘Silence Kills’ is a reminder of the importance of speaking up about domestic violence,” said Isak Griffiths, Courage Connection Executive Director, “Too often, friends, family, and our community can be afraid to discuss domestic violence, which in turn sends a message to those who are suffering that they should keep silent as well. Courage Connection is here to listen, to help, and to educate.


Check out the new technology being utilized at Parkland College

Check out this blog post by Parkland College, which talks about some of the new technology they're utilizing. Seriously awesome.

They'll be on site for the Pygmalion Festival's TECH Demo Day on Friday, September 25th at Krannert Center.

Below, Biology Professor Lori Garrett shares how Parkland’s new Anatomage table, with its high-tech virtual dissection technology, is helping students learn. Plus, check out an exerpt from her upcoming video to be shown during the Pygmalion Tech Fest.

**Parkland is a presenting partner of the Pygmalion Festival, September 23-27, which includes a Tech Festival on Friday, Sept., 25 at Krannert Center in Urbana. The Tech Festival is FREE for all Parkland students with a valid ID.**

Parkland is amazingly fortunate to have an Anatomage digital dissecton table. These state-of-the-art, high tech tables were developed primarily for the medical field, and there are only about 500 in use worldwide, with only a little over 200 currently in use in the U.S. Those are primarily located in hospitals and medical schools. It’s such a high-tech piece of computerized equipment that I attended a two-day User Group meeting in San Francisco in August for in-depth training, and we’re just starting to really appreciate all we can do with it ourselves.

What the Table Does and What We Can Do With It

The Anatomage is like two giant, touch-screen computer monitors with highly sophisticated software behind them. The image banks were developed at Stanford University and are based off of real human CT scans and anatomical models. It provides us with life-size 3D renderings of three different individuals, and we can dissect through them. We can approach the anatomy from the surface and scroll down through the tissue layers, or isolate individual organs and organ systems. Various icons allow us to cut through, or section, any of the body parts, view X-ray images, isolate organ systems, see soft tissues, and more—and everything’s rendered in three dimensions, rotatable, and zoomable. We can add labels, place pins on structures for examinations, and add our own notes all on screen.

We’re really excited for the promise the software holds for advancing our science and medical instruction. With the Anatomage’s InVivo software program, we can take CT or MRI scans from anyone, anonymize them, and then have them digitized and rendered in 3D. This will let us use real-life case studies in a cross-curricular manner for our students moving into the health professions. We can also use the software to isolate any organs, save the digitized data, and then use 3D printing to develop our own anatomical models.

What Students Think about the Anatomage Table

Our students love the Anatomage table because of its technology. We’re integrating the table in our anatomy classes, where we already use plastic models and human cadavers. The table allows our students to learn anatomy from life-size renderings of real cadavers, which makes their cadaver study much easier. In the cadavers, we can’t isolate whole organ systems or rebuild the body like we can on the Anatomage. Being so tech-savvy, our students embrace it and need little guidance—they are used to touchscreen computers and phones.

We sometimes give tours for high school anatomy classes and let the students try the table after a brief introduction and demonstration. Being digital natives, they take to it with no effort at all.

The Anatomage allows us to bridge the gap between simulators and real people. It lets us visualize organs, vessels, tissues, and more without worrying about torn structures or extra tissues and clutter as we see in the real cadavers. The Anatomage is life-sized like our cadavers, but without the “delightful” aroma of the chemical preservatives, and we know our students really appreciate that!


The Pygmalion Festival’s 2015 Official Guide is here

The Pygmalion Festival starts next week (!) — and we've been here all along the way to update with lineup announcements, scheduling details, and all that good stuff. Now, the Festival Guide is available for all to see, and you'll be able to find a copy of it at the festival and in various places around town leading up to next week.

Check out the Festival Guide and plan your week/weekend between Music, Tech, Lit, and Made events.

Festival passes and single-show tickets are available, but are moving quickly, so get yours while you still can. Stay tuned for our Pygmalion Festival takeover week on this very magazine to preview the festivities.


ESPN’s Darren Rovell loves Black Dog

There are a variety of ways you might be aware of who Darren Rovell is. Perhaps you just know him as a guy on ESPN, or the guy that is trolled a comical amount on the brilliant Deadspin and PFT Commenter platforms.

Anyway, it's still worth noting that he loves Black Dog, as most normal human beings do. I mean, it's kind of the best. He posted about this yesterday on Twitter, and if you're looking for a laugh on a Friday, take a look at the replies.

Though, I'm still wondering why this post comes a year and a half after he ate it, somewhat randomly posting it.