Tag Archives: college

Weekly Snapshots

8 Nov

Lunch at one of my favorite places in L.A. I have an entire post dedicated to this lovely spot coming up. In the mean time, can any locals guess where this is?

As the end of my first semester of college draws near, I have been swamped with endless reading assignments and essay deadlines. I cannot believe time has passed so quickly–my weeks spent mostly in the library, nose buried in a pile of books. My workload has not allowed for much experimentation in the kitchen, nor have I longed to do so, quite honestly. While I maintain a healthy diet, my meals have slipped into a monotonous pattern dictated by simplicity and efficiency.

This past week, anything that I could pile onto whole wheat toast (homemade tuna salad, almond butter and bananas, and scrambled eggs with basil) qualified as dinner. My breakfasts have been sad repeats of a granola bar and fruit, usually wolfed down while power-walking to class. So this weekend, I look forward to indulging in foods I crave during the school days. This means obligatory visits to my favorite breakfast café and the newly opened Din Tai Fung Dumpling House in Glendale. That’s what weekends are for, right?

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Every week, my mom surprises me with a different, hand-made flower arrangement in my room. One of the top three reasons I love coming home (after a good, long shower and clean sheets).

Flatbread pizzas from The Bread Lounge in the Downtown Arts District.

Homemade salad topped with the most perfectly soft-boiled egg. Eggs add richness and satisfaction to any vegetarian meal.

My family and I went out to our first dinner in months at Connie & Ted’s in West Hollywood. It doesn’t get much better than classic American desserts, done right.

A College Student’s Guide to Farmers’ Markets

11 Oct

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In the first edition of “Weekly Snapshots,” I expressed joy upon discovering my university’s on-campus farmers’ market. I was so excited that I bought everything that caught my eye, not planning how I would utilize all of my new ingredients. I returned to my apartment with a motley of produce and artisan products, much of which spoiled because I had overestimated how much I could consume. Since that first visit, I have learned to approach the farmers’ market with a college student’s outlook. In this comprehensive guide, I provide students with advice and essential tips for navigating farmers’ markets on a budget.

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1. Choose produce wisely. The farmers’ market should be your one-stop shop for fresh produce. As a student, you must select items that will stay fresh throughout the week and easily transform into meals. I recommend sturdy fruits and vegetables such as apples, citrus, carrots, zucchini, and squash. Steer clear of produce that ripens quickly, such as stone fruits and tomatoes. As tempting as that $5, three-pack of ruby-red strawberries is, remember that it will become a mushy mess in less than two days.

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2. Sample with discretion. Everyone loves free stuff, and college students rarely turn down free food. Despite your urge to stick a toothpick into every sample, you should only taste items that you wish to purchase. You do not want to reach a state of palate overload–when all of the flavors have morphed together and you have forgotten which fruits reigned supreme.

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3. Get to know your vendors. Farmers and artisans are usually very friendly people who love to talk about their products. They care about what they sell, and will passionately answer your questions. If you develop relationships with particular vendors, many will provide “loyalty discounts” or throw in additional products for you to try. Farmers often reserve the best quality produce for their regular customers.

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4. Look for healthy snacks. Snacking defines college eating patterns (especially during exam periods). When you crave something to get through that midnight study session, nutritious snacks should always be on-hand. The farmers’ market offers a wide variety of delicious munchies that can energize students without making them crash. Some of my go-to options are fresh veggies dipped in hummus, mixed nuts, and dried fruits. Buy different snacks every week to avoid falling into a boring routine.

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5. Take advantage of prepared, ethnic foods. We all know how monotonous the cafeteria gets after just a few weeks of school. Ethnic food purveyors offer an escape from bland dining hall options, often for very low prices. Two authentic Salvadorian pupusas each the size of my hand, with a side of salsa and crema, only cost me $5. If I’m not in the mood to cook or don’t have time, I buy extra for dinner and simply reheat it in the microwave.