Saturday, July 28, 2012

After almost 6 months, I finally decided to fine tune the article I wrote for the school newspaper discussing the different dining options offered on campus.

Senior Sarah Wompler finds it convenient to eat in the Dining Commons, given her demanding schedule.

Senior Lindsay Dutton stops over at Hoot n’ Scoot multiple times throughout the week to pick up food before work.

Senior Lauren Wallace enjoys walking through the Student Center and picking out something to eat before her strenuous day of classes.

Keene State College students could find that the meals offered on campus are either a balanced one or a quick fix that will keep them energized throughout the day.

The school offers a variety of options to choose from when students find they are craving something to eat: The Zorn Dining Commons, Hoot n’ Scoot, Bean and Bagel, Sizzlers, and Lloyd’s Marketplace.

The DC  made up of large glass windows doesn’t stop students from going to eat on a regular basis.

“It is hard to make a balanced meal, so it’s easy to come to the dining commons,” Wompler said. “I like eating here. I can read a book, and check my email.”

The DC has a number of stations, offering a salad bar, vegan station, sandwich station, and a grill section, along with a main line.

“It is easily accessible,” said Junior Ryan Fay. Fay acknowledges the short distance between the DC and his dorm room.

Sophomore Victoria Patt adds “It is a good gathering place.”

Patt brought the attention of the themed meals the DC hosts once per semester. A chef from another country shares different cuisines that are from his native home. She also likes the annual Italian dinner along the main walkway of the school at the start of each fall semester.

Hoot n’ Scoot offers a place to get a meal on the go, which students appreciate when they are hustling and bustling throughout the school day. “There are a good number of options to choose from,” Dutton says.

Besides taking an entrée, a snack, side, and drink are offered as well.

The marketplace, located at the heart of the Student Center, provides different stations, from different grilled options, to soups, sandwiches, along with Italian classics.

“It is easy to find something healthy like a sandwich or salad,” said Wallace.

Drinks and prepared sandwiches are also offered on the side in the refrigerated section. “I like the late night options and the food selection in general there,” Dutton said.

A unique combination of pita bread, a choice of meat, veggies, and an array of sauces draws in a rather large crowd during lunchtime. Sizzlers are served to students from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, on the second floor of the Student Center in the Night Owl Café.

Senior Lauren Wallace adds, “They are a good alternative to the DC.”

Whether students find themselves in the DC, eating a sizzler, or buying something from the marketplace, they will always have their options opened to them. It is just a matter of what they may be in the mood for that particular day.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

        Who doesn’t love peanuts!? Okay, okay, I retract. It is unfortunate the severity peanut allergies cause, because they are delicious! The saltyness, and creaminess of the nuts makes for an excellent treat. And have you ever noticed how versatile it can be, found anywhere from trail mix to pasta sauces to Reeses, served either warm or cold, any time of day, with any meal or snack. It’s hard to turn them down.
So back from my rant. Yesterday I traveled with my friend’s family up to visiting day to see her at camp. It is her first summer as a counselor there, and I wanted to see how everything was going.
After visiting day concluded, I went with her mom and aunt to the outlets. The walking seemed endless, but it was all worthwhile. The shopping trip proved successful as I walked away with a Vera Bradley laptop case for almost half the price.
Next stop was Palisades Mall. Wow! Never have I seen a mall of this magnitude. Four floors with one dedicated to eating. All different restaurants were offered, even Tony Romas, which I haven’t seen in almost a decade.
It’s a tradition in their family to eat at Stir Crazy after visiting day. (Her brother has been going to camp for 9 years now). Since the wait was supposedly forty minutes, we sat ourselves at the bar and enjoyed a cocktail.
My friends aunt and I ordered Pineapple mojitos, while my friends mom opted for the mango one. I was a bit disappointed, as the mango seemed bright and vibrant, while ours was pretty much clear and the pineapple flavor was obsolete. This could also be because pineapple wasn’t on the menu, so we specially ordered it.
Once we sat down we were ready to feast in. We started off with two appetizers, wings and chicken satay. The wings couldn’t fall off the bone any easier, and the sweet, salty sauce, made a nice glaze for the chicken. Topped with sesame seeds, it was definitely was a treat for the palate.
The tenderness of the chicken made the satay all the more flavorful. I dipped the poultry in the peanut sauce, which had a crunchy consistency, bursts of cilantro with each bite. I knew peanuts were the direction I was heading for the night.
For the main course, we all ordered stir fry. We were handed a bowl, and a mini size bowl for the sauce. We went to the back, and picked our vegetables that we wanted in the dish.
After that, there was a display of sauces to choose from. While choosing from the vegetables, I had an inkling that peanut sauce was going to be offered.. Once I finished filling the bowl with broccoli, cauliflower, water chestnuts, scallions, spinach, zucchini, snap peas, and of course peanuts, I found my match. I filled the cup with the peanut sauce, unsure of what measurement I should do.
After woking the beef, vegetables, my rice noodles, and mixing in the sauce, my dish was ready. I sat down and delved right in.
The saltiness and creaminess from the peanuts made for a fantastic flavor mixed with the vegetables and pasta. I find vegetables to be bland sometimes, but when cooked with sauce, the flavor infuses onto the vegetables. The noodles were flat and thick, so they held a good amount of peanut flavor. There was an extra crunch to my dish with the water chestnuts, and peanuts. Since the noodles are soft, they made an excellent pairing.
Before we went to pick our vegetables, my friend’s mom was telling me that the first time there she “saw a lady fill her bowl up so much we stared.” I had to stop myself while filling my bowl or else I would have received that same attention.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Oftentimes, a person may judge a places based off of how crowded it is. Mixed Grill is not one of those places. It may be overshadowed by La Piazza next door, or just the unawareness of the restaurant, but when I told my friend we were going to meet there for dinner, she let me know she never heard of it. Ironically enough, it is located a few stores over from the bagel place we often attend.
Although we ate early, the place was nearly empty. There was one other family present, and all the other tables were just another piece of furniture in the restaurant. The Mixed Grill offers everything from gyros to hamburgers. Their fries are outstanding, along with other sides listed on the menu.
I ordered the Spinach Pie platter, which I have eaten before. On the plate, a giant square with a crunchy, flaky phyllo dough crust lay. Inside, what seemed like an inch thick of spinach filled the dish. The flavor of the spinach was not overpowering, and sautéed with garlic and onions, it made for a perfect match. It has a great savory flavor, and it keeps you wanting more.
On the side, more than a handful of very well done French fries were served, crispy and delicious, along with three long broccoli spears. The broccoli tasted as if it was placed in a pool of garlic oil, and sat overnight. The softness of the broccoli florets strengthened the garlic flavor. I kind of wish they served me more of the greens than the French fries, an odd request, I know.
The dish cost $13.00, and there was more than enough served. I wasn’t able to finish, so I brought the rest home and enjoyed it for late evening snack.