Monthly Archives: March 2011

Tour de Hamdel: Three Musketeers Edition

More bread, meat, and cheese than any human should consume: find out more about the Tour de Hamdel here.

Last time I had the All-Star.

Friends come and go like old books piled on shelves and long forgotten—even those friends that have faded from immediate memory tend to reemerge exactly when you need them. As a kid, I loved Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers—at least the movie and made-for-television versions. Eventually, I bought the book, a weighty tome bound in blue cloth, complete with a fancy ribbon to mark your spot. Shoved into my bookcase, The Three Musketeers languished for a half decade before I finally started reading it. I discovered that reading Dumas’ dry prose is no easy task and that some books are better left on shelves until the reader gains a certain degree of maturity. All this Dumas drama unfolded when I was 12—maybe now it’s time to pull The Three Musketeers out of retirement and try again. A story of loyalty, political intrigue, and romance seems perfect for a student finishing his sophomore year of college, a time when high school friendships continue to atrophy and newly forged college friendships come under fire.

As a high school senior, I found Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo a much more entertaining read than The Three Musketeers. After reading Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, which uses Monte Cristo as a framing device and supernarrative structure, I tackled Dumas with renewed vigor. Although I still found his style stodgy, the text’s romantic leanings resonated with my late adolescent self.

This week, I returned to the Monte Cristo, at least in its sandwich form. At Hamdel, the Monte Cristo comes with turkey, ham, bacon, Swiss cheese, lettuce, and tomato on a hero. Continue reading

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Filed under Columbia University, New York City, Tour de Hamdel

Espresso Expeditions: A Study Kaffe?

Lorenzo L., Columbia University

Don’t know what I’m blathering about? Read the intro to this recurring segment. As spring break continues to fade into the past and April begins to invade our present, we, as responsible Northeastern college students have only one thing on our mind: summer FINALS.  So, if those final papers begin to draw nigh and your reading remains resolutely unfinished, or if (God-forbid) you are working on your thesis, get your quality artisan coffee in a place that caters to your cram-related needs: Kaffe 1668. Continue reading

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Filed under Columbia University, Drinks, Espresso Expeditions, Lorenzo L., New York City

Top 5 Under $5 at 5: Columbia Edition

Eating out in college usually means eating on a budget. Every week, we’ll take a look at the best cheap eats around a different college—defining cheap eats as anything hovering under $5. Why $5? No particular reason—it’s an arbitrary value chosen for its easy convertibility into change and synergy with other “5’s”—a top 5 list published at 5 pm.

New York City presents unique challenges for student restaurant goers. High rents translate into magnified restaurant prices, making dining out on spare change especially difficult. For all the complaining (and shrill whining) about Morningside Heights, Columbia’s backyard hosts numerous student-friendly (and student-targeted) eateries. In fact, picking the best dishes under $5 was tough, what with all the famous(ly greasy) student food for sale. Continue reading


Filed under 5 under 5 at 5, Columbia University, Dining Suggestions, New York City

Best Of UDelaware’s Happy Hour

Erica C, University of Delaware

With Spring break approaching and the end of senior year coming right after, students are finding excuses to hit happy hour more often than usual. While most seniors have tried out Sante Fe Grill, a prime happy hour spot on Main Street- it’s time to get creative and sample some of the other superior options.

Whether you’re more into margaritas or dying for some Dogfish Head bear, students are lucky enough to have a variety of options close by and of course, everyday of the week.

Here are some of the best happy hour options: Continue reading

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Filed under Drinks, Dining Suggestions, Erica C., University of Delaware

Marathoning: The Long Run

Before beginning a multi-hundred mile trek, Stebbins climbs “onto the lowest branch of a pine overlooking the road and was eating what looked like a jelly sandwich.” Stebbins sustains his energy throughout the trek with jelly sandwich after jelly sandwich, an endless parade of white bread and jam. In The Long Walk, Stephen King (writing as Richard Bachman) describes a dystopic death march—a bunch of teenage boys start out on a walk that ends when only one competitor remains standing. Stebbins’ jelly sandwiches fascinate the narrator throughout the text, providing a counterpoint to grim scenes of macabre exercise.

Fortunately, the marathon concludes after 26.2 miles, not when all the racers expire from exhaustion. Although eating jelly sandwiches, dinner rolls, turkey, and chocolate chip cookies is common during ultramarathons, most marathoners eschew eating such heavy foods. Instead, race nutrition involves “gels”—little packets of gooey syrup that only taste good when the body truly screams for sustenance. I didn’t use gels during my first marathon, and I don’t intend to this time—I found that I only benefited from gels when completing multiple long runs consecutively: two 17 mile runs in a row, for instance. Continue reading

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Tour de Hamdel: Smash Mouth Edition

What’s this Tour de Hamdel spiel? Read more about my magical mystery tour of sandwiches here.

Last time I tried (and did not particularly enjoy) the Americana.

I spent most of the 1990s playing with Super Soakers, fighting pirates and battling it out for backyard territory. On Saturday mornings, I watched Doug, Recess, and Rugrats—One Saturday Morning ran on ABC, and I settled down with comics in one hand and cereal in the other for an hour of bleary-eyed-bliss. Although I enjoyed a FoxTrot fueled childhood—a budding science fanatic, I identified with the wonderfully geeky Jason—I missed out on an era of distinctively terrible pop music. I abhorred Britney Spears and all things boy band. Instead, I listened to country music, ’70s rock, Chopin, and Vivaldi. So when Smash Mouth reached its apogee of popularity in the late ’90s, I remained oblivious to its corny, syrupy brand of ska. My main exposure consisted of Kidz Bop—the horror, the horror—commercials on afternoon television.

Of course, today I look back on Smash Mouth with false fondness and nostalgia. “Oh, the ’90s, how I miss those simple, fun days of sunny naivete!” Admittedly, “All Star” (1999) delivers an addictive hit of Captain Crunch subsidized vocals and electric guitar. “All that glitters is gold,” except that which is merely gilded. “All Star” belongs to that brand of vacuous teenybopping fun—meaningless earworms masquerading as adolescent profundity. Not everything, however, needs complexity, depth, poetry. Sometimes, you feel like a Big Mac and a ride in a red jeep to the public swimming pool.

At Hamdel, the All-Star consists of roast beef, turkey, American and Swiss cheeses, cole slaw, and Russian dressing. Are these ingredients the all stars of the Hamdel pantry? Clearly not, judging from customer preferences for chicken cutlets, giant burgers, egg sandwiches, and hot heroes. After all, the All-Star comes cold, and Hamdel’s cold sandwiches invariably pose a serious risk: they tend to taste like bad leftovers scrounged from the back of a flophouse fridge. Is this sandwich a representation of the ’90s? Maybe in some deli counterman’s distorted fantasy land. Continue reading

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Remember It, It’s Chinatown

After living in New York for nearly two years, I still feel like a tourist when I wander into Chinatown. With its precariously curling streets and crowds of shoppers, Chinatown seems to extend infinitely in all directions; Manhattan recedes from the viewer, leaving only an alien microcosm. Indeed, I am a foreigner here: I do not speak the language, I cannot read the signs, I stand outside the world and look inwards. There, I find mysterious spectacle and exotic flora, submerged history and the terribly familiar. Subway, Citibank, and Häagen-Dazs stand next to vendors hawking grapes the size of bull testicles, dried mackerel, bean curd, and dragon’s beard candy—hand-pulled threads of sugar folded into wispy bundles. Constantly expanding, Chinatown colonizes nearby neighborhoods while falling victim to the colonizer, too; even as it swallows up the last scraps of the Lower East Side, Chinatown faces its own parasites: the homogenizing gaze of the multinational corporation, the sanitizing wipes of wealth, the sterilizing wash of “assimilation,” “incorporation,” and “post-industrialization.” These bugs carry their own peculiar disease, a variety of forgetting that erases the physical remnants of the past. Where history has been inscribed on the cityscape, McDonald’s rewrites; where the past pokes through layers of urban sedimentation, a new condominium sandblasts history smooth. Finding outcroppings of history in Chinatown proves more difficult with every chain store and supermarket that emerges. Continue reading

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Filed under Columbia University, Dining Suggestions, New York City, Restaurants, Reviews, Travel