Hidden Gem Reviews: Rod’s Place & The Session Room

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By Joe Ramey

Whether you’re looking screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-11-40-50-amfor a snack or a sit down meal that doesn’t bust your budget, Rod’s Diner in Ann Arbor is the place for you. Highly recommended by students and Ann Arbor natives, Rod’s diner is a place to hang with friends and have a variety of different foods.

For our visit, we tried what is widely known as “Bipimbob” or the most notable entrée on the menu. This dish was a plethora of oriental goodness, with its rice base being accompanied by a variety of assorted vegetables topped of with your choice of meat and a sunny side-up egg. This particular dish was a standout amongst others because of its value and the overall enjoyability. Also, it was a very fun thing to eat because of the egg.

The dish was amazing, but wouldn’t have been complete without the pairing of a cup of fro yo labeled a “collider.” This frozen yogurt is nothing special compared to what other yogurt places provide, it’s just the manner the frozen yogurt is presented to you that makes this so special.

The inaugural reception of a yogurt cup from Rod himself is the initiator of the whole process. The rest is on you. The cup has multiple toppings on it, including different fruits, candies and cereals.

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-11-41-33-amNowadays, the going rate for frozen yogurt is flatout outrageous, but the prices at Rod’s are pretty similar to what you’d see anywhere else; $6 dollars for a plastic cup of fro yo and you’re set. This is what put this diner on the map.

 

All together, the slight flare of asian cuisine plus the overall atmosphere is what makes this eating experience a fun one. You can never go to Rod’s only once.

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By Ben Daugherty

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-11-41-12-amWhen we walked into The Session Room, its log cabin-esque interior made us feel at home. Although the parking lot was packed full of cars, we were promptly seated and greeted by our server, Ashley. She offered us a drink menu even though we are clearly not of age, which isn’t unusual since the restauranthas more of a pub-like feel. This is a place that you could go to with your family or to visit when you’re returning from college, but this is not a likely place to go get dinner with friends.

To start, we orderedtheir guacamole. It was incredibly bland. If you’re looking to enjoy a mouth-watering bowl of guac, you should definitely avoid The Session Room. The guac was so unappetizing that it remained untouched; our server returned to offer a box which we subsequently turned down.

We ordered the Mississippi – a pulled pork sandwich – with the hope that it would make up for the unfortunately awful appetizer. We were disappointed to find that french fries did not come with the entre and had to settle for mediocre chips instead. The sandwich was delicious until we reached the middle to take a bite full of fatscreen-shot-2016-10-11-at-11-41-49-am. The fat filled mess of a sandwich paired with it’s lack of fries left me with a bad taste in my mouth and $11 missing from my wallet.

Next, we ordered the Kale Salad, which, to our dismay, contained few ingredients other than chopped kale, making it impossible to achieve a perfectly balanced bite. The food you will find is most easily compared to bar food: it’s not terrible, but you won’t ever crave it. If you’re under the age of 21, The Session Room will likely leave you wondering why you just spent $30 on a dinner full of
disappointment.

Hidden Gems: Pieology & KouZina

By Jedidiah Howell and Caden Koenig

Subway, when it first started, became a pioneer for food service when we recognized its impact on ordering food. Subway set the bar for sandwiches, and now we see new people pushing that bar higher. In search of restaurants with a similar serving style, we headed to downtown Ann Arbor. This brought us to Pieology and KouZina.

Pieology

Only hearing about this new pizza place made us curious to how it would work with having a subway style order. Worries arose such as how long will it take? How much food will there actually be? Is it expensive?

Immediately walking into the restaurant some worries left as we scoped out pizzas from different tables on the way to the line. On the wall one menu stands with the best combinations of their pizzas, but they also let you create your own.

Photographer - Jed Howell
Photographer – Jed Howell

Along with the easy ordering process the atmosphere was nice. It was very modern and relaxed resembling a Chipotle-type vibe.

A big aid to the comfortable atmosphere was the customer service. The employees were easy going and well trained. After ordering and paying for our meal the waiting began. The music in the background and the comfortable booths made our five minute wait feel much shorter.

The fresh ingredients gave each bite its own flavorful experience. The only downfall to this pizza was that the eight pieces only lasted us about two minutes. To be fair there were three of us; however, for some it may be small for two people. This could change how the prices resonate.

At the $12 price point, one pizza would make a perfect lunch date or quick snack, but for a full dinner you may consider looking elsewhere.

The pizzas were very tasty, but if you are purchasing multiple pizzas the price starts to add up quickly. The overall restaurant was fantastic and we expect to be back soon. It seems Pieology has mastered the subway-serving style of one of the most beloved foods: pizza.

KouZina

As a fairly new restaurant in the Ann Arbor area, KouZina is relatively unknown, but we expect that to change. The first thing we noticed when we walked into KouZina was the modern, industrial style that occupies the space.

Another profound feature when entering the restaurant was the noise of the blaring music. The music was our only complaint concerning atmosphere. Once we got over the annoyance of the loud techno beats the experience was quite pleasant.

Photographer - Jed Howell
Photographer – Jed Howell

The ordering process began with the choice between a gyro, bowl or salad. We opted for the bowl mainly for sharing purposes. We were then helped down a line with a variety of toppings that we could add to our entrée.

In the end, we had a decent amount of food for under $10. The ordering experience was comparable to that of Chipotle or Subway. Personally, we thought the food was great; however, this was our first experience with greek food. We did find that we had an abundance of rice when comparing toppings.

The service was great as they were very quick allowing us to get in and out of the restaurant in less than twenty minutes. They were also quite friendly and helpful.

Our overall experience was positive, and we would definitely recommend for a lunch or quick dinner out.

Music Review: Rachael Yamagata’s “Elephants… Teeth Sinking Into Heart”

By Kate Montero
Special for The Squall

Rachael Yamagata released her first album Happenstance in 2004, on RCA Victor. It took her a total of two years to finally release a two disc masterpiece, Elephants… Teeth Sinking into Heart, because of a conflict with the label.

She released Elephants… Teeth Sinking Into Heart in 2008 with Warner Bros. Record. Previously stated, the album is separated into two discs, each contrasting the other significantly.

The first disc, Elephants, has a dark, haunting and intimate tone. Starting off the disc is the actual song, “Elephants.” This song is powerful and sung with such raw and real emotion. The fragile strength in her voice paired with beautifully broken lyrics about love and lust make this song an absolute favorite. The album itself is told like a story.

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Music Review: Rihanna’s “Anti”

By Lisa Zuiderveen
Special for The Squall

Rihanna released her eighth studio album Anti on January 28, 2016. The album starts off well with “Consideration (feat. SZA).” The song has a very good beat and is entertaining. SZA also helps to create some diversity in the song other than just Rihanna singing. Overall, this was my favorite song on the album and the one with the best sound.  

Many have heard her song “Work,” track No. 5, and can’t seem to get it out of their heads because of the repetition. If you’ve listened to the song you’ve also heard, or not heard, her mumbling words that no one really understands, Rihanna thinks otherwise and confronted the issue by saying  that “You get what I’m saying, but it’s not all the way perfect. Because that’s how we speak in the Caribbean.”

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Music Review: Justin Bieber’s “Purpose”

By Courtney Fiegel
Special for The Squall

Pop sensation Justin Bieber, known for his most recent poor decisions, released his eleventh album since his first album, My World, was released in 2009.  Bieber needed an unforgettable comeback from his unacceptable behavior to redeem himself after the confiscation of his pet monkey in Munich, a DUI in 2014, and a brothel visit in Rio de Janeiro.  

Purpose was made available for purchase on November 13, 2015. Purpose is an album that consists of music that sounds like nothing you’ve ever heard before.  The album begins with “Mark my words” which is a slower tempo song but contains a deeper meaning.  Bieber says, “you’re the only reason why, oh I don’t wanna live a lie, mark my words, mark my words.”

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Music Review: Selena Gomez’s “Revival”

By Kelsey Crosby
Special for The Squall

In Gomez’s new album Revival she starts it off with the song “Revival” talking about how she’s breaking away from her old life in search for something better.

Selena’s first line is, “I dive into the future, But I’m blinded by the sun, I’m reborn in every moment, So who knows what I’ll become.” Selena has a variety of music in her album from slow, calm music like “Nobody“ to more upbeat and fast songs such as “Me & the Rhythm.”

Gomez pours her soul into every song she writes and sings with such grace. One of her songs, “Sober,” stands out in a different way; you can’t make an exact connection with a person she’s writing about. She says, “when the bottles done, you pull me closer.”

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Music Review: Coldplay’s “A Head Full Of Dreams”

By Owen Wesorick
Special for The Squall

When I first listened to the album A Head Full of Dreams, it confused me, because somehow, Coldplay managed to span an entirety of different moods in their music, including upbeat, sad, and everywhere in between; yet every single song managed to sound exactly the same.

That said, there was a definite difference in quality between several songs on the album. Some songs, such as “Hymn For The Weekend”, were actually really good. They included unique background beats and synth parts, which allowed for some much needed variation in the album.

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Music Review: Fall Out Boy’s “American Beauty/American Psycho”

A pop punk side project makes their way into the spotlight.
By Steven Li
Special for The Squall

Formed in a little village of Wilmette, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, Fall Out Boy made their way into our radios with their pop rock music. Rooting from Chicago’s hardcore punk scene, bassist Pete Wentz and guitarist Joe Trohman formed this band as a pop punk side project. Vocalist and guitarist Patrick Stump and drummer Andy Hurley would join the band later. This four man group hit the stage with their first debut album, Take This to Your Grave, in 2003. The band gained success and a dedicated fanbase and their music took off from there.

From lyrics written in a trailer, Fall Out Boy premiered their first single “Centuries” from their sixth studio album, American Beauty/American Psycho, September 8, 2014.

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Music Review: Tungevaag & Raaban’s “Russian Roulette”

By Jenniina Kortesalmi
Special for The Squall

Tungevaag & Raaban is Scandinavian dance music producer duo. It consist of two DJ/producers, Swedish Robbin Söderlund and Norwegian Martin Tungevaag. This is their first album together but separately they both have produced albums before at the same Electronic Dance Music genre. They became a duo and started to produce music together in 2015. Besides Tungevaag & Raaban, Charlie Who? was working with them to produce this album.

Russian Roulette was released on November 27, 2015. The album consist only of four songs: “Russian Roulette,” “Samsara,” “Parade,” and “House of Mirrors.” They are all EDM genre. Their single “Samsara 2015” reached No. 1 in Finland, No. 2 in Norway and No. 4 in Sweden. It also sold platinum in all three countries.

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Music Review: Beyonce’s “4”

By Maddie Wright
Special for The Squall

In Beyoncé’s album 4 there are a variety of mature hit songs that express love in relationships that will make an impact on you to last a lifetime. Beyoncé is a powerful artists that has an interesting  a way to communicate and relate to many situations in her life that her listers are can relate to. Her songs in 4 are never a boring listen and never run short on making you want to listen more.

Beyoncé is aiming for something challenging with album 4. The album 4 is relatively risky with songs that extended from a soft and eloquent vibe which resembles a similar artist to Beyoncé: Adele. Adele has stunning voice to which she can portray her emotions very well much like Beyoncé does in a variety of songs from 4.

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