April 3rd, 2013
To all you Bowdoin foodies who have been lamenting the lack of posts on this blog: hi. I hope you will feast upon this arrangement of beautiful, fresh, locally grown vegetables from the Locavore Dinner at Thorne this evening. The spicy black bean cake (hiding under the red pepper and topped with a ginger ketchup) was rich and satisfying, and the fresh greens were a treat, especially at this time of the year. In case you’re wondering, those purple and yellow bits atop my salad are shredded carrots. Who knew there were such cool vegetables growing in Maine these days?
Tonight’s dinner at Thorne honored the Lunar New Year. On the menu for us veggies: vegetable spring rolls, Cantonese-style vegetables, marinated Chinese cabbage salad, hot and sour soup, and fried tofu (which I doused with the sweet and sour chili sauce, a recent discovery at the oil and vinegar station).
I enjoyed the festive change of pace, though I have to say didn’t find anything hugely appealing. My friend had good things to say about the baked hoison chicken. Apparently it’s sweeter than the chicken Thorne usually serves. Look: I even included a photo for those of you feeling starved of meat as you read these posts.
Dessert was a curious adventure, with an “8 Treasure Rice Pudding” and Almond Cream with Kiwi Garnish. I usually love rice pudding, but tonight’s was lacking in creamy substance and sweetness. It was a little too much like your everyday rice for my liking, though I enjoyed the cranberry and apricot “treasures” (still not sure how the number eight entered into the mix…).
The almond cream was a delightfully sweet compensation for the pudding. I couldn’t help but feel sad for the lonely little kiwi sitting on top.
February 1st, 2013
January 31st, 2013
Let’s start off the new year at the BG with an all-star Bowdoin dessert: carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. Its moistness is rivaled only by the frosted banana bar, but the frosting is what makes this dessert truly exceptional. The blend of sweet-sour creaminess and spiced cake flavors was immensely satisfying with my customary vanilla yogurt on the side. -Lucy
December 15th, 2012
Just when some of us were unsure we’d make it through the heat of finals, Bowdoin dining came to the rescue with its annual holiday dinner. This plate of sienna-toned comforts was a warm reprieve from the cold and stress. Beside my bowl of pumpkin bisque, observe the roasted Maine root vegetables, cool waldorf salad, and slice of moist pumpkin bread (a little dessert with the main meal to whet my sweet tooth). The carrot & sweet potato tzimmes were my favorite of the veggies—so sweet, and cooked to tender perfection.
What a spirited hunk of cheese. Moulton really dished out the holiday cheer.
I was only temporarily torn between the various dessert options before I opted for the blueberry cobbler, my favorite of the fruit cobblers here at Bowdoin. Tonight, the buttery crumble atop the blueberry had just the right amount of mush to its crunch.
I shouldn’t sign-off without a brief tribute to the other dessert of the evening: the notorious Bowdoin Log.
Is it irreverant to admit that I’ve never been much of a fan of the Bowdoin Log? I enjoy the spirit of them, but chocolate-covered vanilla ice cream doesn’t do it for me like a bowl of blueberry cobbler and vanilla yogurt. I borrowed my friend’s serving for the photo op, though, so I can’t speak to the eating experience the other night. It sure looks beautiful, doesn’t it? –Lucy
December 5th, 2012
Oh, the comfort of fried chickpeas and creamy cucumber-dill sauce amidst the frenzy of the final week of classes. Perhaps this falafel wasn’t as authentic as some might like, but it was delicious nonetheless. The side of doughy, pita-like bread enhanced the general squishiness and comfort factor while encouraging a more creative eating experience. -Lucy
December 4th, 2012
Quiche. Just the word itself is foreign to me, let alone eating it. This semester, I have made a quick transfer from Moulton to Thorne breakfasts. However, the composition of my meal stayed the same- eggs, toast, and a cup of coffee. This remained true till I encountered the quiche at Thorne. Ever since, the quiche has become a permanent fixture to my breakfast routine.
Here it is, sitting beside the long time friends- eggs and toast. Today I have even elected some home fries to be part of the breakfast crew, they are the first to go so that I can get to the main players. Since the cheese quiche is never too overwhelming, I always choose to attack it the last.
After I smear the ketchup over the eggs, they go fast, as usual, I owe the smooth texture of yolk and white to Patty at Thorne’s. Now the leftover toast is there to soak up the brilliant yellow and red that’s left.
And then there was one-piece of quiche. As mentioned before, my history with quiche is short. I have only tried Bowdoin’s version. Here I speak of the Cheese Quiche.
So I begin. Chipping off the tip to take my first bite, I notice the three textures blending in my mouth. First, the light middle hits the tongue, then the top caramelized cheesy layer and flexible crust introduce itself. These layers have been constructed to remain distinct yet they hold together. Not only does the texture contribute to the eating experience, but also the blend of cheese, egg, and scallion brought out by the lightly flavored crust. As I make my way down the quiche wedge, the best part approaches- the crust. As I bite into the end of the quiche piece, the soft of the center transitions smoothly into the lightly salted moderately crispy crust. The combination is surprisingly easy for the palate. There is a melt in the mouth texture to the crust that still retains a light crunch. On its own, the crust is a natural palate cleanser. It does not exude hints of neither cheese nor scallion and can stand-alone.
On the whole, the quiche is one of Thorne dining hall’s prized menu items. It was proudly served as one of the main selections at the regalia pick up brunch during convocation this year. Its tripartite textural composition, tapered flavors of cheese, scallion, and off along with a crust that soothes my appetite justifies its induction to my breakfast team.
My only advice to Bowdoin quiche eaters is: a cold quiche is no quiche. – PhuiYi Kong ’15
November 28th, 2012
The Bowdoin dining halls are host to many a bar: maple bars, chocolate chip bars, pumpkin chocolate chip bars, princess bars, frosted banana bars… the list goes on. Now that the frosted banana bar has had its moment in the spotlight here at the BG, the time has come to celebrate my other favorite Bowdoin bar.
Behold the beautiful Lemon Bar (less popularly known as the “Lemon Square,” though I’ve yet to see one of these guys that looks more square than rectangular). The power of its sweet, lemon flavor emanates in its vibrant yellow hue. The lemon bar achieves a squishiness and density unprecedented by any of the other bars: its texture is almost pudding-like, yet it holds its beautiful rectangular shape with ease. Beneath the layer of sweet-tart lemon, you’ll encounter a light, sweet pastry. The subtle buttery, sugary taste is just detectable below the high-pitch of the lemon.
Beyond its taste, the lemon bar possesses a special (dare I say magical?) quality that I haven’t experienced with other desserts here. Basically, whenever I’m feeling particularly overwhelmed by life, I see lemon bars at the dessert station. They have a way of appearing when I need them most. They’re not just there amidst the day-to-day stresses, but at those precise moments when the busyness reaches its climax. I can’t explain it. At those times, all I need is that magical lemony taste–with a side of yogurt–to momentarily sweep me away. And the lemon bar never disappoints.
November 18th, 2012
As I mentioned in an earlier post, my lunches tend to get repetitive. I would like to think if them as a classic lunch choice. If you are willing, and happy to return to a similar meal every day, then there must be something good about it, right? Otherwise, where would the draw be? Of course, it’s easy and logic to think what you chose is good. But how do you know if others would feel the same way about your culinary preferences? Once I considered blogging about it, I had to take into account whether it would be an interesting choice for others. Over my time at Bowdoin, I have had several comments about my salad, hearing everything from “how can you keep eating the same meal over and over again? to “I could never have a salad everyday, I would get too hungry” to “wow, that looks awesome!” and “what to you add to your salad? It looks good”. The beauty of a salad is that you can add anything that fits your mood and it doesn’t really matter if the salad bar is missing something. There are always enough vegetables and condiments to make it interesting. So here is my standard repertoire of elements: carrots, spinach/dark greens, peppers, cucumbers (keeps the salad from tasting too dry), celery (enhances the texture), garbanzo beans and red kidney beans (the beans cut the acidity of the peppers and salad), balsamic Dijon dressing, my own balsamic (it’s sweeter than the standard one and works really well with their Dijon dressing), olive oil (melds the two balsamics together), feta or parmesan (the cheese adds a lot of flavor) and finally roasted soy beans and sunflower seeds (adds a bit of crunch and feels like the missing touch to any salad). So that is why and what I add to my salad. If you are feeling adventurous go for something new. It took me a while to figure out what it takes to make my salad feel complete. But in the end I figured out what worked for me, every single lunch.
November 15th, 2012
Tonight I am thankful for: roasted vegetable pot pie with a homemade vegan biscuit, mashed potatoes, dressing, Maine butternut squash, steamed peas, Bowdoin Organic Garden pumpkin bread, and candied sweet potatoes. I was especially grateful for the sweet potatoes: comfortingly mushy and sweet, subtly seasoned with cinnamon. I could have eaten another helping for dessert. The vegetable pot pie was delicious, too–so warm and rich and flavorful. Thank you, Thorne.
But I mustn’t forget the wonderful showing at the salad bar. Below, admire the Baby Spinach & Pear Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette. Oddly, I tasted more lemon than raspberry in the dressing. It wasn’t overpowering, but blended quite pleasingly with the spinach, pears and feta. My only wish was that the pears were slightly riper, but it was a beautiful salad nonetheless.
November 15th, 2012
In honor of Diwali, Moulton featured a selection of Indian foods at dinner on Tuesday night. My sweet tooth instinctively drew me to the coconut laddoo: sticky-sweet balls of toasted coconut with a hint of intriguing flavor that I couldn’t identify. I loved their gooeyness, though they left my fingers quite sticky. -Lucy
November 8th, 2012
Tuesday was a fantastic day at Moulton – bibimbap and chicken nuggets, plus Hungarian mushroom soup. Rice, beef, shredded vegetables, and eggs all cooked right in front of you – what could be better? I love the variety of color and texture, with cucumber and carrots, pickled vegetables, hot meat, perfectly cooked eggs, and meat all in one bite. Moulton displays are fun too, because you can talk to the people cooking for awhile. Plus, I love ginger so I was happy about that as well. The chicken nuggets were also great – I’m still not sure whether I prefer plain nuggets with an assortment of sauces or an assortment of pre-sauced nuggets, like there were last night, but the buffalo nuggets were delicious regardless. One last note: Monday night at Thorne there were the most delicious paninis with avocado and sprouts – there should always be sprouts. They are delicious.
November 7th, 2012
Observe the perfectly browned tofu pieces in the ensemble of sauteed broccoli, mushrooms, cabbage, and carrots. I complimented my stir-fry creation with rice and assorted goodies from the salad bar, including a sample of the “Balkan Salad,” which featured some delicious radishes, red pepper, carrot, and celery slices.
November 4th, 2012
I don’t like to admit this, but I am prone to recreating the same lunch every day, all year long. It’s pretty straightforward: a salad, a piece of toast, a fruit and a glass of milk with a square of dark chocolate. Although this may seem like a repetitive and mundane meal to have so frequently, for me, it’s exactly what I feel like at lunch. It’s tasty, filling and has just enough variety to keep me interested. However, after hearing my friends frequently ask me why I didn’t switch it up every now and then (because, for them, salads are definitely not the best option on the menu), I started to wonder why I liked my salads so much, and why I didn’t tire of them. One day it hit me that there is one thing I add, one final touch that brings it all together: balsamic. No, I am not talking about the bitter, generic balsamic they offer with all the other condiments. Yes, that one is decent, but it’s not good enough to compel you to want to have a salad everyday. I’m talking about the rich, bold, complex and slightly sweet and sour balsamic you can find at Morning Glory (Brunswick’s natural food store, a few stores down from Gelato Fiasco). If you go there, you will see near the register two large metal containers, one of olive oil and one of balsamic, with several glass bottles on either side of it. Although it may be on the pricey side ($10.99 for a full bottle of balsamic, and about $9 for refills), Ariston Balsamic Vinegar (a product of Modena, Italy) is definitely the missing element that will complete your salad. I discovered how balsamic can enhance not just your salads, but also many other dishes (ranging from meats and vegetable to desserts – such as balsamic covered strawberries), while I was on my gap year in Perugia, Italy. Italians take their balsamic very seriously. Not only do supermarkets offer hundreds of different brands but so do wine shops and other specialty/families run stores and markets. Prices there range from € 3 (about $4.7) to over € 100 (about $130). Like fine wines, Italians know the importance and wide variety of balsamic. So if you are intrigued by balsamic and are looking to enhance your salad, give it a try. I promise you, it will not disappoint. Mix it in with a splash of olive oil and a bit of Parmesan or feta cheese and enjoy! Who knows, maybe you will be sneaking in your bottle of balsamic to Thorne or Moulton as well.
Sarah Wood ’14
November 2nd, 2012
November 1st, 2012
As evidenced by the random, vibrant abundance you see above, there were just too many tasty veggie possibilities at Thorne’s Dia De Los Muertos dinner tonight. Let’s see if I can remember everything I put on my plate (or look it up on the Bowdoin Dining website).
First, you’ll notice the triangle of Cilantro Lime Grilled Tofu and the bowl of Roasted Red Pepper Soup With Roasted Corn and Cilantro. The tofu was a little overcooked for me, but the soup was incredible: a little spicy, a little sweet, with an interesting, grainy texture punctuated by bits of corn and beans.
Unfortunately I’ve forgotten the names of some of the salads I heaped beside the tofu. I remember being happily surprised by the addition of bamboo slices to the mixture of beans, corn, and red pepper in the Mexican Chop Salad with Jalapeno Lime Dressing. I appreciated the slight kick and refreshing hint of lime.
In addition to the options in the servery, a display table in the dining area offered up assorted salsas and carnitas from Lola’s Taqueria, a local brunswick business. No carnitas for this vegetarian, but I loved eating the various salsas, especially Lola’s hot sauce, with my salad. Me encantan!
If you can believe it, I didn’t sample the churros for dessert. Fortunately, my friend PhuiYi tried them (four times). She reports: “They were on the verge of melting in my mouth, though they looked deceivingly crunchy.”
October 29th, 2012
Tonight Thorne featured one of my favorite combinations – Chicken parmesan and tomato-basil-mozzarella salad. Hot chicken parm covered in melted cheese and pasta is just one of the most delicious things you can eat on a cold windy night. It’s actually one of the most delicious things you can eat on any night, but I especially appreciated it today. Although a little of the cheese on my chicken was more burnt than melted, the sauce was nicely sweet and fresh tasting. Add some green beans for color and vitamins, and you’ve got yourself a great meal. But wait; there’s more. Fresh tomatoes, little cubes of cheese, and basil – what more could we ask for? Caprese salads are one of my favorite things in the world, and though tof course at the bulk the dining halls operate at super fresh mozzarella isn’t really possible, the fresh basil still makes me feel unbelievably spoiled. Finishing the meal with a cannoli, which I think have gotten better over the last few years in terms of filling texture, made the night feel like a celebration. The cheering as the lights flickered didn’t hurt either. Don’t worry about tomorrow though – even if Bowdoin loses power, Thorne has a generator.
Finally, at lunch on Friday I believe there were Maine yellow eye beans in the salad bar – or at least something that looked a lot like them. I’m not sure if I’ve just been missing them in the past, but I’ve never noticed them in the dining halls before, and thought they were a delightful change of pace – a little sweet, and very filling. I forgot to snap a picture, but Maine yellow eyes look a lot like overgrown black-eyed peas (which I also love), and make delicious savory baked beans. Here’s hoping we see more of them, and other unique local produce as well. And lobster all the time!
Happy hurricaning. Be safe!
October 28th, 2012
There is only one way, in my opinion, to end a meal: a square of chocolate. Sure, you could count milk as part of it. But in my case, this ritual is strictly limited to dark. Dark, as in anything above 70%. That is why, no matter where I go, I always have a few squares on me. Would this be considered an addiction? Maybe, but who cares. It completes any meal. I rarely derail from this habit. However, Bowdoin does create a one desert that fulfills the craving: Sin City. Many of my friends consider it too rich or too chocolaty. Nonsense. It’s amazing, rich, dark and sinful. It fulfills everything you may be looking for in a chocolate desert. And it is definitely the one thing that can replace the stash I carry with me. Next time you see it features as a desert and haven’t tasted it yet, give it a try. You won’t be disappointed. If you want something to cut the richness, grab a glass of milk or vanilla soy. Or if you are looking for something a little more exciting, add a bit of the vanilla soft served. Any of these options will help to balance the flavors and ease you into the chocolatiness of it all. The only thing left to do is keep an eye out for it and have it complete your meal.
- Sarah Wood ’14
October 27th, 2012
Crispy battered fish -
like a day in London,
but more convenient.
October 25th, 2012
I had the opportunity to spend this past weekend in Denver with people from Udi’s Gluten Free, as well as fellow gluten-free people from all across the country. It was an enjoyable time, and though we had some delicious Udi’s productes (which we are so lucky to have here in our dining halls), we were also served some delicious items that weren’t actually a “specialty” product but were instead what I sometimes call jokingly “normal people food.” While I think most of us gluten-free fellows love to have bread and the like that does taste good, there are so many fantastic naturally gluten-free foods. So many times I’ve been asked, “But if you can’t eat bread and pasta and stuff, what can you eat?!” As long as it isn’t prepped in a gluten-y way, a lot! The fact that I was treated to so many different kinds of good gluten-free food over the weekend made me want to post about how there are many great options of the gluten free variety beyond special products. And so, without further adieu, a three plate vignette…
So now you’ve seen a bit into the “deprived” live of someone eating gluten-free…as you can see, not a matter of deprivation at all. It is a bit easier for me, because I eat meat and can eat dairy products…the gluten-free/vegetarian or gluten-free/dairy-free or gluten-free/dairy-free/vegetarian folks have it a bit harder. Beyond avoiding the obvious gluten-ful items like bread and pasta, the next most commonly gluten-ful items are processed foods, so to have access to all sorts of fresh things is very fortunate indeed.
Gluten(free) Nacht! (a variation on Gute Nacht, if you didn’t catch that)