Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Housing Day: Dining Hall Edition

FlyBy beat me to their haus reviewz, but here's another look at the dining halls (as fast as I can write before my quiz and before I make posters extolling LOWELL HOUSE LOWELL HOUSE LOWELL HOUSE):

Adams: don't listen to FlyBy. Any place with draconian dining restrictions needs to go. And the high-backed chairs aren't suitable for those of us under 5' 6" -- it's like being on a high chair during Thanksgiving dinner with the big kids. Food's ok, though -- just try not to think of the roaches.

Cabot: I actually like their dining hall, carpeted as it may be -- it's my favorite in the Quad, having spent late nights there for psets. They most frequently have flavored coffee - hazelnut, baby - too, and the servery isn't particularly closed off when the kitchen closes (I was able to make a waffle one Friday afternoon). One time there was Chex Mix for brain break, too, and like, you know, I was like obvs going to jack the buffalo chips and stuff 'cause I liek them a lot. Grill is prompt, though salad bar and pasta stuff runs out fast.

Currier: I'll repeat what others have said: assisted living home. Not the bright, sunny kind, too -- the plants-in-corners let's-play-bridge kind. Which, I guess, is fine if you play bridge...Now I know that the Quad houses share a kitchen, but the Currier food just feels inferior. When I go (if I'm not at Cabot), it just tastes dry, and the kitchen/dining area feels too forcibly separated. Maybe this goes with the rationed-jello-theme of assisted living - which wouldn't jive with the one time they had Tazo. Oh, Tazo, where has HUDS taken you?

Dunster: Wait, why would I walk all the way down to eat there? You've confirmed it -- the only house I haven't eaten in. Though it is pretty on the inside, and you know, like, stuff.

Eliot: Meh. The whole thing is a meh. Feels like Adams, but trying too hard. Probably the dark interior, though bigger is not always better, and darker does not mean batcave. The setup for food inside is complicated (why is there a drink machine across from the food in that two person aisle?) and cramped.

Kirkland: Definite like. The white-themed, naturally-lit servery is excellent for breakfast, as is the room layout (you travel for hot food, then enter the next room for salad/soups/etc). It actually feels like a home, down to the little wooden "LOVE" letters above the silverware. As I mentioned before, loose with dining restrictions..and since IOP fellows have their dining privileges here, you might be able to catch one of them.

Leverett: Their brain break, with multiple trays of cookies, and the round tables in the dining hall redeems Lev. Otherwise, the meals, not so much. Like Kirkland, their dining hall has a split layout but isn't quite so successful - the salad bar is delegated to the back, and drinks and dessert are all cramped in the dining area. Having the dining hall staff directory and interviews in the actual area was a good idea, though.

Lowell: Overwhelmingly classy, though not just because of its residents. Who can't resist pastel-yellow walls and three chandeliers, plus the stylish chessboard tiling? Food is usually high quality, but goes quickly. Specialty make-your-own dishes are especially well made and organized, and I would argue that the Sunday brunch is the best of all the houses (tasty and classy!) But brain break only recently got our fair share of bagels, and unfortunately, hot water is always gone by 10:30. Blame Lowell House Opera.

Mather: After the fact, I would have wanted to be in Mather, had I not already gotten the best house. Bright - I've always liked the modern dining halls because they have enough lighting and nondescript design to study well - but Mather has those funky hairball pseudo-chandeliers on top, which make it classy too. Having had most of my Mather experience during late night Brain Break, the edge over Lowell is that hot water is still there at 2am. ZOMG, though the tea is limited. Food is a solid choice as well, though grille is on-and-off.

Pfoho: Cabot only recently surpassed Pfoho, which I liked for the two dining hall floors (I have yet to try the loveseat - the two-person table on its own second-floor platform - and I fear it will be awkward). This was because of Pfoho's lackluster Brain Break as well as its deadly-quiet night presence. Also, the L-shaped servery and the hidden desserts in the corner. Now that I think about it, the coffee/tea location is kind of random, too. Also, having gone to Pfoho's dances and seeing the second floor columns as the third pizzarty of some skizzank action kind of freaked out the Minnesota Lutheran in me.

Quincy: Modern meets 70s, or the downgraded version of Mather d-hall. Yes, we all agree that the mural is kind of crappy. I would also note why the heck the fireplace is there, especially if there are random seasonal pictures blocking it. A little too crowded at (unusually good) brain break night, though there is a nice back room to study in (it closes at midnight though). Not very conducive for a relaxing brunch, though their baked desserts are usually fresher than that of other houses'. Also, their grill is pretty fair in that you put your orders in a box and they take them out every few minutes (no manipulating the order by sliding your plate in front).

Winthrop: Another meh. At first I thought that metal ramp that they slid your grill orders on was kind of cool, but then I realized it was based on a simple machine, which was like, so fourth grade. The little back area where the drinks are is nice, but again, same complaints as I had for Lev about their dark kitchen. Winthrop can feel pubby, but I suppose that's only a realistic assumption after one has actually had a few. Otherwise, the equivalent of Adams' creepy tunnels.

If you're wondering what I said last year as a impressionable frosh:
Dinner at Lowell House
Quick Hits: Six Dining Halls
There's also a separate post on "Why we hate Adams House," but the reasoning behind that should be fairly obvious by now.

Two of my favorite things are now together

Mind you, they don't include bacon.

Eat me daily
(which, surprise, I read daily) reports that food-inspired typefaces are now available to the public. For those of you who hang out with me, you know that I spend most of my classes practicing the alphabet, as a sort of D-list handwriting designer/greeting card person. (This causes problems when I've written the Schumpterian model in swirly cursive.)

Not so much a fan of the "square doughnut" font depicted in the post, but I think the garlic-clove inspired font is clever if not particularly usable for my papers. After checking out the VetteLetters site, I've decided I'm a fan of the Irish Stew. The top-heavy letters are simple and just enough quirky (HUDS should make an investment in these. After all, Yale has their own typeface!)
As someone who punctuates her real-life conversation with "ZOMGs" and "I can haz?" this sort of thing will not be curbing my web-speak anytime soon. (Although the discovery of Megan Joy Corkrey as a font designer only raised my opinion of her by about .4%.)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Hamburger cupcakes

(via Flickr)

One of the better food shots coming through my Tumblr feed. These cupcakes definitely beat the garish green lettuce of hamburger cupcakes past, and strike a lethal blow to all stale hamburger gummies.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

New favorite site:

Possibly the Tumblr I most fervently follow.

I appreciate their all-black background, coupled with their series of Vietnamese sandwiches. Great theme and lots of color; definitely not for the pastel-minded cupcake princesses.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

FedEx's new ads, running on Slate

I like the ads quite a bit; I usually like FedEx's clean design but this one especially appeals to me -- it's so realistic. I would know, considering I once made a fake sandwich for my fifth grade nutrition unit out of rubber gloves, construction paper and dishwasher sponges. (I handily won "most realistic" -- one of the prouder moments of my artistic career.)