All posts by harrisonliao2020

Big men steal show at skills challenge

By Arman Tondravi
Medill Reports

Jimmy Butler may be in a little bit of debt following Bam Adebayo’s three point shooting at the NBA’s skills challenge.

“That’s $1,500, so I’ll be expecting my check in the mail,” Adebayo said. The money Adebayo is referring to stems from a bet he and his Miami Heat teammate Butler placed earlier this season, with Butler fining Adebayo $500 for every game Adebayo doesn’t attempt a three point shot.

Adebayo was the first to sink the concluding three-pointer in each of his three rounds during the Skills Challenge on All-Star Saturday night, and afterward he let the public know about the ever-evolving role of the modern big man.  

“It just shows where this league is going,” said Adebayo. “It’s scary because, when you got guys that are 6’10”, classified as centers or power forwards, I don’t believe it’s any of that anymore.”

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2020 NBA Rising Stars game doubles as college reunion

By Harrison Liao
Medill Reports

Some college reunions take place at a pub or a restaurant. Some, like that of former Duke teammates RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson on Friday night, take place floating over 10 feet in the air on national television.

In the third quarter of the 2020 NBA Rising Stars Challenge, which Team USA won 151-131, Barrett streaked down the court to greet his friend by doing the impossible: Stop the tsunami that is a Williamson fast break.

Barrett and Williamson rose up together, like a wide receiver and a cornerback leaping for a jump ball, and it was Barrett that won the duel. The United Center crowd groaned and booed as they realized what had happened: Barrett had robbed them of what they came for, a gravity-defying, rim bending, Williamson alley-oop.

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Mapping the way to five of Chicago’s spiciest restaurants

By Harrison Liao
Medill Reports

In a way, the term “spicy food” is a misnomer. Adding heat to a dish is a global game changer for the palate but  can be achieved with myriad techniques and ingredients – from herbs to pastes and sauces to fresh chili peppers and peppercorns. Spice, in this sense, can taste and mean something different for almost everyone.

Here in Chicago, that diversity finds zesty representation in the city’s culinary subculture of spicy food. There is no committee of judges or unified industry association to deliberates on whether to serve something hot – and when it’s hot enough. But many Chicago restaurants feature spiciness somewhere on the menu, all for different reasons.

Every spicy dish, it turns out, has a back story. Here are a few of them you can encounter as you trek to restaurants across the city.

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Dew Suriyawan shares the art of authentic Thai food

By Harrison Liao
Medill Reports

I didn’t know anything about Chinese food until I found out how much I didn’t know about Chinese food.

My parents immigrated to the U.S. in the 1990s from Hunan, a landlocked province in central China. They had me in 1994 in Ann Arbor, while they were pursuing graduate engineering degrees at the University of Michigan. The first food I ever put in my mouth was sourced with simple, affordable ingredients and recipes passed down to them from my parents’ upbringings. I thought this was Chinese food in its totality.

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How Cesar Izquierdo started a premiere Chicago Peruvian restaurant

By Harrison Liao
Medill Reports

It’s no “fu fu restaurant.” That’s the first thing Cesar Izquierdo tells you about his restaurant, Taste of Peru in Rogers Park.

Irene Ulbrich, owner of Caleo Cafe in Angola, Indiana, and a Peruvian native that frequents Cesar’s restaurant when she visits Chicago, says it’s what makes Taste of Peru so special.

“Other Peruvian restaurants serve these really pretty, very yummy dishes, but the Peruvian food I grew up with is like what Taste of Peru serves,” she says. “A plate full of food and flavor. Lots of food.”

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Meet TV Chef, Inventor, and ‘Fit Foodie’ Mareya Ibrahim

By Harrison Liao
Medill Reports

For today’s health-conscious eaters, it is all too easy to get lost within the maze of contradictory nutritional advice.

Nearly 80% of Americans surveyed  “come across conflicting information about food and nutrition,” and 59% reported that “conflicting information makes them doubt their choices,” according to a 2018 study conducted by the International Food Information Council (IFIC). Although more people believe they are eating healthier now, what that really means is more confusing than ever, according to the same study.

That’s where Mareya Ibrahim — author, TV Chef and inventor of Eat Cleaner products  – hopes to enter the fray. Her products are designed to wash fruits and vegetables more effectively than water, removing potentially harmful particulates and keeping produces fresh longer, according to Ibrahim.

“The only all natural, patented produce wash, Eat Cleaner® is the tasteless, odorless and lab-tested line of food wash and wipes that is up to 99.9% more effective than water in cleaning wax, pesticide residues and soil from commercially and organically grown produce,” according to the Eat Cleaner website.

She has been featured in segments on ABC, Fox News, the Food Network, https://eatcleaner.com/USA Today and other media as “The Fit Foodie” chef. She also has a new free Thanksgiving recipe book available to everyone.

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Meet ‘Big G’s’ Spicy Pizza Pioneer Jaime Gamez

By Harrison Liao
Medill Reports

Picture your dream pizza.

Whether it’s monstrous Chicago deep dish or a bright, red Naples style pie, you can envision a few common savory traits — cheese stretching at the seams with the physics-defying grace of an Olympic gymnast, steam rolling off of shimmering tomato sauce and crust decorated with deeply blackened blisters.

But one feature that might not come to mind for most pizza lovers? Sizzling spiciness.

That’s one thing Jaime Gamez, 38, hangs his hat on at his Chicago pizzeria, Big G’s in Wrigleyville at 3716 N Clark St.

Gamez believes, “without a doubt,” that he has the spiciest pizza in Chicago. He calls it the “Dance with El Diablo.”

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NASA space-weather satellite launches after one-day delay

By Harrison Liao
Medill Reports

Due to weather and communications problems, NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer satellite (ICON), initially set to launch Wednesday, remained grounded for an extra day.

At first, precipitation held back Northrup Grumman’s L-1011 Stargazer aircraft, ICON’s courier into the fringes of Earth’s atmosphere where it would launch. When weather finally cleared up Thursday, aircraft communication issues prevented the launch of Pegasus XL, the rocket designed to carry ICON into orbit.

With those problems solved, ICON began its journey into orbit at around 10 p.m. EST on Thursday and hit its orbit at 39,000 feet. Continue reading