Friday, April 12, 2013

Yelp's Elemental Experience

Come with SouthSide and experience the four elements of life like you have never before...

Recently, this reviewer took a much needed break away from the music scene for a fun evening basking within the dazzling glow of club lights and music with other Yelpers at YELP's Elemental Experience. Housed inside the newly renovated Castle (formerly known as Excalibur), this River North nightclub offered its participants an unique, mind-bending event which inspired as well as tantalized the senses. Each part of the Castle's four clubs represented the basic elements of life - the main floor was Earth, club Palladium (upstairs) was the perfectly named Wind, club Sanctuary was the ruby hot Fire and the pub underneath was relaxing Water.

Upon her arrival, SouthSide began her journey with Earth by sampling of Peckish's dried-frozen veggie snacks. Now, it may sound difficult to wrap your mind inside the concept of eating a frozen mixture of broccoli and other lentils as a snack but to this reviewer it was simply like popping a few kernels of popcorn into her mouth. She even took some home for the test audience to try ...and she couldn't stop eating the rest of the tiny sample! Next in her journey, she tried some Southside polish pizza (that consisted of kielbasa sausage, applewood smoked bacon and a hint of sauerkraut mixed with their secret sweet sauce), blogspot readers from Chicago Pizza Tours. In one word - yummilicious! You didn't really taste the sauerkraut in the pizza until it reaches the back of your throat ...and plus that pizza sauce gives it that sweet taste instead of that harsh sour cabbage odor. She completed her journey with other Yelpers on this floor at Koi for a delicious sample of Asian noodles (with peanut sauce and a hint of cilantro) with some California maki sushi rolls (with fresh mango and drizzled dressing) and vegan macaroni and cheese. Don't knock the vegan mac and cheese, blogspot readers, until you taste how creamy and yummy it was. Even SouthSide was fooled because it simply tasted like her mother's mac and cheese! Plus for live entertainment, there was a car racing video game and DJ spinning lively dance/club mixes.

Leaving Earth, she climbed up the steps to venture into the exciting element of Wind where most of the Yelpers congregated during the event because it featured more than just delicious samples of food and DJ, there was a seductive fire dancer and flash photo-taking. Here, this reviewer sampled more Asian dishes, sweets by Jaafer Sweets, some Filipino pork egg rolls and bihon by Isla, and some Mongolian soup. This reviewer did take a jab at her boxing skills with Reach Boxing Chicago and some exercises on the second level to work off the food eaten thus far. And to cool off a bit, she sampled some Pomegranate and (Not so) Sweet teas from Honest Tea. Both were good, blogspot readers, but she liked the (Not so) Sweet tea better. She then went to tried some sweet, tangy and a little spicy pulled-pork from the team of Porkchop and some more veggies (with some humus dip - first time trying it too) to balance out her tour of Wind before going back downstairs to visit the Fire room.  It was somewhat steamy and a little warm inside this room when she entered the ruby red room where the Fireball Whiskey and Four Loco girls greeted visitors. Here under this red glow, there was more pizza try and plenty of floor space to dance to the room's DJ spinning from the balcony.

By now, SouthSide took a quick breather to meet two organizations in the Earth room that were being featured by Yelp during this event. Delete Blood Cancer was there to inform participants about their fight against blood cancer in which you can register as a potential bone marrow donor, blogspot readers. This organization globally works to fight this disease with families, communities and organizations to recruit more donors for patients in need. As a donor, you would be helping others have a second chance at life ...and it's easy and quite painless to do. All you have to do is register online. For more details or to register, visit Also SouthSide met a representative from the Academy for Global Citizenship (located near 47th and Cicero) in which she was informing interested Yelpers about the school and their upcoming fundraising event. This school uses an innovative and holistic approach towards the education process by fostering systemic change and inspiring different ways society teaches students. Currently Kindergarten through 5th grade (will have start the middle school grade next school year), this school aims to show their students that the world is larger than where they live and provides organic lunches too. And there's a way to get involved with this school, blogspot readers, by attending their Chef's Playground that's happening on Thursday, May 16th. 14 legendary and famous chefs like Rick Bayless, Paul Kahan of Avec, Bill Kim of BellyQ, Jose Garces of Mercat and more will be doing to their unique take on school lunches to which participants will have a chance to sample throughout the night. The event will take place at Terzo Piano at the Modern Art Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago. For more information and tickets, visit

While in the Earth room again, this reviewer sampled more delicious eats from the Castle kitchen and highly suggests munching on the fat onion rings and juicy burgers served with cole slaw on the bun. These were the most sought after munchies by most of the Yelpers. Also she suggests trying a cool glass of Black Cherry Honey Sweet wine from Oliver Winery, blogspot readers. Then, lastly before saying "good night" to Castle, SouthSide went under the sea to spend a few moments in the Water element to relax like the many others who were sitting at the high tables or booths. Unlike the other three rooms within this vast nightclub, the underground pub/restaurant is mostly designed for friendly get-togethers without having the noise of the clubs above. You can either relax at the bar or enjoy a game (or two) pool on one of four tables.  Also while down there, view the rock memorabilia displayed along the walls from a photo of Lady Gaga to a cool photo of Jimi Hendrix rightly placed near the Women's restroom.

Overall, the event was smashing time. You should check out Castle which stays open until 5a Friday and Saturday. For more information, visit

Until next time, support your local scene,

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