Sunday, October 28, 2007

Two Good Meals, One Great Day

Fresh off of eight hours of sleep, I started off with brunch at Lowell House again. (Apparently Lowell was a after-party battleground the night before, but I didn't see any broken chairs.) While Lowell brunch was pretty good, the point was that I got my Veritaffles with no wait at all.

(Veritaffles (n.): 1. Waffles stamped with the Harvard Veritas crest. 2. Why freshmen stand in a thirty minute line at Annenberg. 3. The subject of a future post, not to mention shout-outs every Sunday.)

I then headed down to Chinatown. For those of you who have heard of the "Harvard bubble": yes, this was my first time to Boston in a very long while. I managed to stock up on Asian cookies (including a new member of my Pocky collection - more on that later) and followed that up with a bakery trip for sponge cake (tomorrow's breakfast!) and sesame balls (deep fried rice flour balls, coated with sesame seeds and stuffed with sweet red bean).

Four hours later, I stumbled onto mindblowingly fresh sushi. Teaser: let's just say that sometime this week, there will be a post comparing two of Boston's sushi superpowers.

And then I topped that off with another visit to Berryline.


Since I'm all hyper from the Yard-wide cheering for the Red Sox victory sweep, I thought a good trivia fact would be a good way to close: Did you know that Red Sox reliever Hideki Okajima has his own cocktail named after him at Boston's InterContinental Hotel? It's called the "Oki Doki Mojarita."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Dinner at Lowell House

At the risk of sleep deprivation (that is, my necessary eight hours), I'm a-catching up on my reviews, so here we go.

Tonight I went to Lowell House to meet a friend for dinner. (One of Harvard's twelve upper-class houses, it's probably best known for its set of Russian bells.) Of course, the company was better than the food, but surprisingly enough, the food wasn't that bad either. In general, the houses tend to have better food than the 'Berg (more on that later), the general assumption being that there are culinary consequences of cooking for 1500+ freshmen instead of about 400 upperclassmen.

Each dining hall has its own distinct vibe, and like most freshmen, I've made it my goal to eat at least a few meals at each house. Lowell House's dining room, like any other house, is relatively cozy for its size, and it's got a yellow-mustard tinge to its walls. But the long windows that face the courtyard are lovely.

Back to the meal. I went for the salmon, spinach-apple-onion mixture of my obligatory vegetable serving and some canned mandarin oranges. The salmon was pretty good, and the spinach wasn't bad as it sounds. In fact, the sour-sweet apples helped pep up the somewhat bland flavor.
And no one can complain about canned oranges.

Then I found my heart's desire: the cheese table.

I should probably point out at this point that I have never really had a connection to cheese. My sister's adolescent addiction to mac-and-cheese (and none of that Velveeta stuff, kay-thanks-bye) never really spread to me. In fact, except for pizza, I would vehemently scrape the stuff off of my plate.

After several minutes of pacing and rationalizing to myself that "blue cheese isn't always evil," I hesitantly took a cracker with cheese. It crumbled in my mouth. Mmm, good; I took a plate. Ditto for the cheddar, and for the Swiss.

Two more things about the Lowell dining hall that I don't want to forget:

1. They have Tazo tea (at least sometimes, my friend explained). I've become a tea addict over the past year, partially because I really don't think the caffeine kick is that high and then, it actually turns out to be that way (this blog post sponsored by green tea, thanks!). My brew of choice was Tazo lotus tea, but after it suddenly disappeared from the grocery shelves, I was left leave-less this fall. Lowell doesn't have Tazo lotus, but they have the next best thing: Tazo green ginger. With or without honey, it leaves a spicy tingle in your throat that somehow manages to soothe it as well.

2. The froyo situation. My dormmates know that I'm addicted to frozen yogurt. In fact, the first thing I do upon entering an upperclass dining hall is check the froyo flavors. I was really excited when I went into Lowell because the choices were "German" chocolate and "strawberry with real strawberries"...and then I was warned.

"You should probably eat it with a blindfold," my friend informed me.
" it mushy?"
"It just...doesn't look very appetizing," someone jumped in.
"Can I eat it in a cone? Is it liquidy?"

Indeed, they were right - the froyo was ugly. And by the way? Melty strawberry and chocolate don't mix. Luckily, coconut ice cream (another reason why I go to upperclass dining halls: real ice cream, if you're lucky) was there to save the day. I don't even like coconut - I fully intend on donating any earned Almond Joys to my roommate on Wednesday - but it was good. It was like frothy coconut milk...and with that in mind, I left my tray on the dumbwaiter and stumbled out to the courtyard with another green ginger tea.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

An Update

Halfway across the country from Minnesota - and two months later - I'm sitting down in my dorm room, eagerly - and perhaps foolishly - avoiding my problem sets to blog right now.

A brief update on my status: in early September, I packed my bags and hummed the same Augustana tune as thousands of other apple-cheeked freshmen. ( absolutely begged to be used in a sentence.) And now I'm a new "citizen-scholar" (if you will?) of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

It feels like such a long time since then. With Opening Days came icebreakers and nonstop noshing of Herrell's ice cream. Now, I've just finished my first midterms, and you can imagine that the post-exam celebration involved food. Boston, Cambridge, even the Harvard bubble if you will - has some great places to eat. Thankfully, I haven't hit the freshman 15, but I've got the rest of the year. (Not that I'm trying to, of course.)

I've got lots to share: my new addiction (as my dormmates insist on calling it) to Berryline, why I recommend Bartley's Burgers to the high school seniors on college visits, and how living on a floor crammed with amazing cooks pays off. And of course, we can't forget the culinary roller-coaster that is the Harry Potter dining hall: Annenberg, where tourists fear to tread upon hungry freshmen (...not. Man, I hate flash cameras).

In short, this won't be the only hello you'll hear from me: I'm back on Foodivia.