Tag Archives: Dining

Are birthdays meant for indulging in Michelin starred dining?

By Lakshmi:

The answer is a resounding YES!  Especially when you happen to be living in a town that has a Michelin starred restaurant in its backyard.  And when you spot the restaurant’s exact location during an intense hike, your desire to indulge is escalated to astronomical proportions.

This is how I ended up at Shaun Hill’s much raved about restaurant, The Walnut Tree.  A last-minute call for reservations, an open table, a short cab ride and we found ourselves seated for lunch in a packed dining room filled with professionals, couples and families.  I spent the first few minutes telling my date (my teenaged daughter) how lucky she was to be eating in a Michelin starred restaurant.  Her expressions appeared to be saying that I have a crazy mother and this mad dash to eat is another example of her love affair with food!

My fleeting thoughts on not getting enough value as a vegetarian evaporated as soon as we saw and tasted the offerings.  Let me walk through this lovely meal with pictures and you can tell me if you can’t wait to try this place out for your own special celebration!  Of course if you wanted to make it über special, you could stay at the inn adjacent to the hotel and make it a true romantic getaway! You can find out more about The Walnut Tree Inn at http://www.thewalnuttreeinn.com/Food

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Tapas restaurants line La Rambla–Barcelona’s buzzing shopping avenue

By Rohan:

Having never tried tapas prior to my Spanish adventure earlier this summer, I was told by friends and family alike that the cuisine was solely geared towards carnivores. This stung quite a bit, as I was hoping to have my first experience with this Spanish staple while exploring Madrid and Barcelona. A quick Google search did not help, as every response seemed to warn vegetarians like myself that tapas simply isn’t for us.

Luckily, that’s all a load of garbage.

Tapas can be vegetarian-friendly, and the wait staff at many authentic Spanish restaurants are willing to cater to vegetarians by substituting meat out of popular dishes. Even the veggie options on tapas menus are to die for, as they are composed with an eclectic range of vegetables and topped with savory sauces and spices.

While walking down La Rambla in Barcelona on our first day in the city, we encountered a quirky tapas bar named Luzia. The interior was beautifully decorated, and featured a 20-foot-long paper-mache dragon hanging from the ceiling–quite a way to make a first impression.

The menu had options that were to die for, especially for our limited diets.

We fell in love with patatas bravas, fried potatoes with a drizzle of spicy tomato aioli and mayonnaise.  I didn’t even know I liked mayonnaise until I tried this Spanish favorite.

Fried artichokes and crispy corn also found their way into our meal, and by the end, our bellies were filled with flavorful, authentic dishes and of course, plenty of refreshing Sangria.

Overall, the meal was an absolute blast, and proved that vegetarians can enjoy a traditional Spanish meal without feeling left out. For more information about Luzia, visit

http://www.bcnrestaurantes.com/eng/barcelona.asp?restaurante=luzia

Freshman 15? It’s Not Mandatory

By Rohan:

When I started here at Syracuse University, I noticed two things. One, the outdoors is a scary place. Granted, I should’ve expected that, coming to one of America’s snowiest cities to pursue my degree. Secondly, college dining halls serve a lot of garbage. Throughout high school, former students would come back, telling tales of the ominous and “unavoidable” Freshman Fifteen. They made it sound like it was a part of the college experience. Living on your own, taking challenging classes, and attending sporting events was on the same level as binge-eating in the dining centers. Something didn’t seem right.

Truth is, the Freshman Fifteen is completely avoidable. And you aren’t missing out if you don’t fill your tray with greasy pizza, fatty burgers, or sugary sodas. A few simple switches can make you feel less stressed, more energized, and ready for those formidable exam weeks.

The day before we had to move into our dorms, I scouted out every fitness center on campus, paying special attention to ones that were near my classes or near my residence hall. I made it a point to work out for 45 minutes every day, knowing that was an ambitious goal, considering new seasons of Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones were waiting for me back at my dorm and ordering pizza was always an option.

Much like my favorite television programs, after two or three workouts, I became addicted. The high after a rigorous workout is energizing and exhilarating. It keeps your blood flowing, your heart pumping, and your mind focused. But that was only part of my battle plan to fight the Freshman Fifteen. Eating healthy had to follow my new exercise routine.

With an excellent pizza place around the corner, a cafe that serves delicious Belgian-cut fries, and plenty of unhealthy options to devour in the dining halls, I knew constructing a healthy diet would be a challenge. For some reason, when doctors would tell me about the importance of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, it never sounded appealing. I don’t want to eat rabbit food for the rest of my life – wrap sandwiches in lettuce and not get to enjoy any ounce of flavor.

Believe it or not, most college dining centers have healthy options. Unfortunately, they keep them hidden, because they know students will come back if there is food that they like. Watching peers come back to the table, plates piled with french fries and sugary desserts, I knew that I did not want to fall into that trap.

I went to my dining hall’s sandwich bar and tried to construct the healthiest sounding sandwich I could imagine. Hummus, 12-grain bread, packed with veggies and a few slices of swiss cheese. It looked like an absolute monster, but after one bite, I was in love. Healthy food can taste good. And unlike its unhealthy, greasy counterpart, it can make you feel good. It powers you through a study session, refuels you after a workout, and makes you feel refreshed and rejuvenated. Approach health as a lifestyle, and you’ll find yourself more focused, sharp, and ready to conquer anything that gets in your way.