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.


Robert said...

Glad to hear you are exploring the dining halls, Heidi. Next time your in CA, you have to check out Pinkberry ( It's rapidly expanding and Howard Schultz's (Starbucks principle) venture firm just invested heavily in them. Look for them near you soon if he follows the Starbucks model... although froyo was a bit of a fad back in teh late 90's (actually a place called Heidi's Yozen Frogert in San Diego was my favorite!)

Heidi Liu said...

Actually, there are a few good substitutes here. Yoberry is one; Berryline (which is a mere walk away in the Square) is the other. A review for the latter will be coming up soon, seeing as we're there all the time :) I still have to try Pinkberry, though.