Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Bittersweet: Dead Week 2013

Monday, March 11th, 2013

The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth…

Need I say more?

Starbucks by the Numbers

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

“Starbucks: It’s NOT Meyer”

I have a love-hate relationship with Starbucks. On the one hand, I downright refuse to use the term “Tall” to order the establishment’s smallest serving of coffee. Ditto “Grande” (meaning “large” in Italian, according to my friend Google Translate) to order a medium-ish size. Ditto “Venti” for an all-nighter-inducing sized cup. Ok, admittedly the last one does make a smidge more sense than the other two – apparently a “Venti” is, in fact, twenty ounces of fluid. But seriously, for a company that has 20,400 almost identical stores, you’d think they’d adopt a similar level of consistency (if not common sense) when it comes to their sizing practices.

On the other hand, however, they do brew a pretty decent cup of coffee. I also like their little cheese and fruit boxes. And, most importantly, I have learned to love the establishment for their work environment. And by that I mean the environment in which I do MY work. This year’s fall course guide spent about a week and a half gestating in a Starbucks across the street from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and ever since I have had a certain fondness for the institution’s mass-produced ambiance. I can’t tell if its the “handcrafted” wooden tables, good lighting, endless outlets, or simply the fact that it’s not Meyer, but I’ve found that I’m surprisingly productive working in a place with heavy foot-traffic and lots of people hyped-up on mocha frappucinos. As such, I’ve spent a great deal of time in Tressider’s latest installment, enjoying both the salted carmel lattes and the sublime people watching that comes with them. So, without further ado, I present to you Starbucks by the my numbers*: (more…)

You Know You’re in Turkey When…

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

(An American of Turkish heritage in Turkey)

By: Peri Unver

*These observations are not generalizations but merely my own personal ones that I have made this summer.

1.  You take your life into your hands whenever you’re in a car as drivers think the middle of the
road is the way to go.  Also, it’s not a complete day until you’ve been honked at least forty times.

2.  You are greeted first by a hello, how are you, kiss on both cheeks, and a comment on how much
weight you’ve gained.

3.  You can fist-pump to the break-up songs.  At first, it’s hard to tell that the song is telling someone off and it’s unsettling to then hear “Shake your booty on the floor now” (inevitably in the remix).

4.  People on the street are gladly willing to help direct you someplace or help you get out of a
sticky parking situation.  However, smiling (especially in the grocery store) is seen as a sign of weakness.

5.  The food is mouth-watering good everywhere and hole-in-the-wall, home-food places are best
(as in New York).  Places to eat are so clean that even in the food court in the mall there are fresh, open salad bars and buffets.

6.  The color of the ocean simply cannot be replicated and it is easy to see why the name is
turquoise, or “Turkish blue.”  It is easy to scoff (especially when you’re from California) at those with surf boards asthere are no waves in Turkey.

7.  The understanding of making a line at a bank or another established location is a circle.

8.  The price of everything, from clothing to food, is negotiable.

9.  It is a prerequisite that you must be able to sing and dance in order to become a Turkish
citizen.  You must also know the lyrics to Turkish songs as questions about that are always asked on game shows.

10.  In almost anyTurkish home you enter someone will be able to read your fortune from Turkish
coffee grinds (“fal”).

11.  The concept of personal space is a foreign one in Turkey. Wherever you are, someone might be virtually sitting in your lap and not even notice it.

12.  When you are going to watch a show at night settle in because you’ll be there for the long
haul, at least three to four hours.  When asked if the show is still on the answer will always be yes.  (It’s no wonder when on the Turkish version of Wheel of Fortune one of the slots is “tell a secret” and song and dance breaks are taken frequently.)  Also, during commercial breaks, you can indeed make a sandwich, take a shower, visit a neighbor, and still be in time for the next portion of the show.

13.  The relatively new law (2005) requiring accessibility for people with disabilities unfortunately falls short, as I personally witnessed this summer as I used a wheelchair.  Almost everywhere is not
accessible and the ramps are of varying widths and scarily, angles.  (Places from the movie theater and even an orthopedist’s office have a hill of steps and no lifts, ramps, or even handrails.)

Even with all of its quirks, it is a beautiful country to visit with much history, nice people, and amazing food.  So hos geldiniz (welcome) to Turkiye!

Good one, Arrillaga.

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Intended as motivation for finals...?

I’m pretty sure I’m an involuntary participant in some sort of psych experiment right now.

All quarter long, the entrance doors to Arrillaga Family Dining Commons have been mysteriously difficult to use: some open one way and some don’t, and this usually switches from day to day.  If you’ve eaten at Arrillaga recently, chances are good that you’ve also tried a perfectly good looking door, only to find yourself looking like a moron in front of the impatient food-seekers behind you.  “Way to go,” their raised eyebrows convey, “you’ve only been opening doors for the last, what, sixteen years?”

For the past week, the doors have been emblazoned by rotating labels.  The first day they explicitly demarcated “pull here” or “use other door.”  Secretly gleeful, I proudly opened the door on the very first try and joined my fellow diners in a small happy-dance upon our successful venture.  But they’ve changed ever since, becoming less immediately user-friendly, and significantly more challenging for the running-on-empty-omigosh-it’s-Dead-Week brain.

What’s up with the sassy doors?  I have four theories:

  1. Psych 1 student having a little too much fun with his or her final project.  “I have to inform human subjects about their rights as participants?  Whaaaat??”
  2. Really bored Arrillaga employee.  There are only so many times you can arrange the salad bar according to John Arrillaga’s specific instructions (alphabetical, by last letter of county of origin, in French, in case you were wondering).
  3. Annoying publicity for some student start-up.  Note the QR code.  Not cool, kids.
  4. Blame Cal.

Top 13 Things to Make You Feel Productive When You Are Actually Procrastinating

Monday, December 5th, 2011

#1. Do your laundry. You can only turn your socks inside out for so long.

#2. Vacuum your room. Thoroughly enjoy the sound of all the little grainy particles getting sucked up through the tube.

#3. Download all of the updates your computer keeps reminding you about. Resist the reflex to hit “Remind Me Later”.

#4. Make/Confirm/Reconfirm your travel arrangements for Winter break. And Spring Break. And Summer break…

#5. Refill any prescriptions you might have.

#6. Create the perfect holiday playlist. Nothing rings in the holiday season like hearing “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” or “The Night Santa Went Crazy“.

#7. Find the perfect gift for that person who is impossible to buy gifts for.

#8. Figure out an exit strategy for when you run into that awkward ex over break.

No, you don't need a third glass of eggnog...

#9. Go to the gym/go for a run/do an ab workout. Armies of  gingerbread people are marching out of ovens as I write this. Here is my motivation.

#10. Buy/make stationary and/or thank-you notes. You’ll be needing them shortly.

#11. Call your parents/grandparents/other extended family. They love hearing from you and it has been a while…

#12. Download apps like Concentrate and/or SelfControl. Use them.

#13. Make a list of everything you have to do during dead week/finals and create a schedule for when you’ll get it all done. Starting… eventually.

Bonus! #14. Write a post for The Unofficial Stanford Blog. It works. Trust me.

Disgust. It’s What’s for Dinner.

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Well looking back, it is better than the crap they served in middle school.

Having recently become interested in the popularity of being a foodie, and having just come from faculty dinner, I’ve caught myself thinking a lot about dining halls and how mysterious these places are.  Really, who hasn’t complained about dining hall food at least 349683 times?  Don’t get me wrong, I love that Wilbur tries to give you good ingredients (thanks for leaving the cinnamon out for me to play with, Wilbs), I would give Ricker an A every time I’ve been there (granted, that is actually a total of 3 times), and I love Indian-food-Sundays at FloMo, but on the whole I’m a bit disenchanted with dining halls and the whole Stanford food situation as of late.  And as you probably already know, we at TUSB are encouraged to bitch about things at our bi-weekly staff meetings (I’m only sort of exaggerating).

So while I’m not a journalist, and I am basing the following off of only my own experiences and perceptions on dining at Stanford, here goes all my thoughts on Stanford dining.  Something that everyone seems to want to complain about, but no one ever really seems to want to change.  And really, what has your dining ambassador ever done except spam your email list?  I submit, nothing.  (Sorry to all the DA’s of the Stanford world, you’re probably still good people … maybe).  (more…)

New University Policy Reveals Distrust in Student Body

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

NEWS FLASH: Gone are the days when Row houses can openly use the social dues for alcohol.

For those of you who, in the midst of the “easy” class list drama, have neglected to read the Daily’s other articles, they recently published an article regarding the University’s decision to refuse to allow Row houses to use their social dues for alcohol.  Essentially, the University changed their policy (read:ResEd wanted the Row house policies to be more like the rest of the dorms) so that underage students couldn’t effectively buy alcohol through the University.

Furthermore, according to the Daily article, “ResEd is also hiring a new staff member for the Row Office; this staffer’s job will be responsible for scanning weekly receipts turned in by FMs.”  This to me was the most shocking part of the article.  Here at Stanford, students are expected to abide by the Honor Code and the Fundamental Standard, which reads as follows.

“Students at Stanford are expected to show both within and without the University such respect for order, morality, personal honor and the rights of others as is demanded of good citizens. Failure to do this will be sufficient cause for removal from the University.”

I was always under the impression that, like with the Honor Code, we were trusted to obey the Fundamental Standard, and so the University did not take extreme measures to ensure that we followed the rules.  Yet, it seems that the University is expecting the Row House FMs (financial managers) to disobey this policy change, thus requiring the staff addition. (more…)

Failtastic Love Songs

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

"A boombox is not a toy." TheLonelyIsland

Oh yes, it’s that time of year again.  CVS has become a glycemic nightmare, the LikeALittle posts are increasing in frequency and desperacy, and you can’t take a walk around campus at night without stumbling upon canoodling couples.  Awkward.

Bust out the Disney pop-out valentines and the predictable romantic comedies, ’cause it’s almost Valentine’s Day.

This post serves primarily as a warning to any intrepid young men hoping to pull a John Cusack boombox scene like in Say Anything: some love songs are stupid.  Yeah, sure, well-intentioned, maybe.  But stupid.  Follow along as I assess some of Western culture’s favorite love songs… and why they’re so dysfunctional.

Your Song – Elton John

His gift is his song and this one’s for you.  “How wonderful life is while you’re in the world.”  Awww.  Until he gets to the part where he, um, forgets the color of his sweetheart’s eyes.  Boys: you should know this.  If you don’t, Facebook-stalk your girlfriends, quick!  Girls: if he can’t remember the color of your eyes and doesn’t have amnesia, he’s not exactly committed.  Run away, run away!


Don’t Fear the Reaper – Blue Öyster Cult

This song attempts to romanticize death.  More specifically, an allusion to the death of Romeo and Juliet.  In case you weren’t paying attention in eighth grade English class, Romeo dies by poison and Juliet stabs herself with a dagger.  Um, creepy much?

Every Breath You Take – The Police

In what is also known as the stalker song, Sting insists that no matter what you’re doing, he will be watching you.   He dreams and “can only see your face.”  Yes, it’s a catchy song, but the level of obsessive adoration and devotion approaches that of a psychological disorder.

You May Be Right – Billy Joel

“Friday night I crashed your party / Saturday I said I’m sorry / Sunday came and trashed it out again.”  So he trashes your parties.  Routinely.  “I may be crazy / but it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for.”  Remember Jack Nicholson in The Shining?  Ladies, I can assure you that you’re not looking for a lunatic.

Bad hair day, Bowie?

Rebel, Rebel – David Bowie

Even the driving guitar riffs and British accent aren’t enough to make up for the fact that he calls you a “hot tramp” and “tacky thing,” admits a degree of confusion about your gender (“not sure if you’re a boy or a girl”), and he’s encouraging your use of sedative-hypnotic drugs….  At least the catchy song puts some fun in the dysfunctional?


The Cool Cafe Beyond The Gates of Hell

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

The Cool Cafe patio by the Cantor Arts Center, located off Palm Drive.

Getting a good meal on campus can require a bit of creativity, particularly on weekends. Midway through last year I was getting pretty tired of greasy dining hall food, long waits at the CoHo, bland Tex-Mex from Treehouse, and even the panini offerings at Coupa. Despite the welcome addition of Ike’s, I still longed for a nice spot without a big line where I could just sit down, soak in the ambiance, and enjoy some quality California organic fare.

The Cool Cafe at the Cantor Arts Center has filled the void. Accessible by a quick stroll through the world’s second largest collection of Rodin sculptures, including his monumental Gates of Hell, this delightful lunch locale is one of Stanford’s best places to eat on campus.

Here you will find tasty sandwiches, fresh salads, rich soups, a great selection of sodas and juices, and delicious deserts. My typical order is a grilled chicken sandwich with bacon, avocado, lettuce, and chipotle aioli on a baguette, a Martinelli’s sparkling apple juice (we all want to act like we’re six), and one of their chocolate brownies. All of the food is delivered to you outside or inside by waiters. The menu is displayed above in good ol’ handwritten chalk, so you make up your mind pretty quickly as you stand behind the counter.

Try the strawberry lemonade on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

The biggest cons from a student’s perspective are the prices, but you can easily get a solid meal there for under $12, especially if you bring your own drink in a water bottle. In addition, the cafe is just a great place to hang out and get some work done. The patio is gorgeous in sunny weather, which this winter has occurred with remarkable regularity, and there is just the right amount of background noise to make you feel like you’re somewhere lively but peaceful. Children often amuse themselves in the field that extends from the cafe steps, and old couples will crane over the tables discussing the ways in which they are trying to enjoy their remaining years. The whole experience is a wonderful reminder that there is a world outside Stanford, but without shoving it in your face or forcing you to go through the hassle of driving and parking. Stanford’s WiFi is also easily available, so you can work the way you would anywhere else on campus.

The cafe is open Wednesday–Sunday from 11:00 a.m.–3:30 p.m.. Its hours on Thursdays extend to 8:00 p.m., and it is not open on Mondays or Tuesdays. It can get crowded from 12 noon – 1:00 p.m., but otherwise you should have no trouble acquiring a table outside.

Trees and Cacti and Sculptures, Oh My!

Monday, January 10th, 2011

There comes a time in every rightly-constructed boy’s life when… he has a raging desire to go somewhere and dig for hidden treasure.”

Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

From the foothills to the bay....

Stanford consists of 8180 acres.  That’s mildly ridiculous.  Let me put that into perspective: if you count just Disneyland Park itself, that’s roughly 96 Disneylands.  So Stanford waaay outranks Disneyland as the happiest place on earth!  Q.E.D., right?!  But seriously, folks: we students rarely encounter the vast majority of this immense, beautiful campus with which we have been blessed.  And I think a change would do us good.

Just like Twain’s rightly-constructed boy, I implore you, the rightly-constructed Stanford student, to explore the hidden treasure concealed before your very eyes in Stanford’s beautiful outdoors.  Channel your inner Tom Sawyer and ready your treasure map, because this post is all about ‘sploring the outdoor wonders that Stanford has to offer.

Bring me a shrubbery! Ahem, tree….

No, not that kind of Tree.

We have over 27,000 trees growing on central campus.  Whaaaat?  We have so many trees that we have an online encyclopedia of them, with precise bookkeeping identifying essentially every tree on central campus.  In case you’ve ever wondered, you can check out these freakishly thorough tree maps to plan your own adventure.  Rare, old, and historically important trees can be found here, and an assortment of special gardens and alluringly flowering courtyards can be found here.  In the springtime, check out the seasonal blooms along this route of hidden treasure.   In the fall, you can see Stanford’s best fiery autumn leaves by following these instructions.  There’s even a Stanford flora and fauna podcast!

Don’t consider yourself an arboreal connoisseur?  Well, have you ever gazed longingly at the tippy-top oranges on the trees by the Post Office and wondered where to find more?  Halt your awkward fruit-gazing and check this out: a listing of all edible fruit trees on campusKumquats, tangerines, and peaches are just a few of the tasty treats you’ll be able to find around campus.  For additional help, here’s an earlier TUSB post with a partial map.  Please be courteous and leave a fair share of fruit behind for your fellow scavengers!

Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve

The elusive checkerspot butterfly.

Jasper Ridge has been the site of scientific research since Stanford was opened in 1891, and to this day its researchers work “to contribute to the understanding of the Earth’s natural systems through research, education, and protection of the Preserve’s resources.”  There are approximately 60 projects going on at any given time, focusing on the four major areas of environmental and biotic change, structure of ecological communities, geology and geophysics, and direct human influences.  Current projects range from long-term studies of the checkerspot butterfly to testing of camera-trap mammal monitoring to earthquake prediction from electromagnetic anomalies.  Cool stuff!


The Thai Cafe Reopens!

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Sure, the line looks long, but it moves so fast.

For you upperclassmen who remember the good ol’ days of the Thai Cafe, those are no longer: it’s back! Had I been more on top of things, I would’ve posted yesterday after I went, but instead you get a quick hit here as I rush to get the news to you.

So what’s new with the Thai Cafe? Not a lot, fortunately, because the menu was great and continues to be great. What’s news is that it now has its own specially-designed kitchen and a window facing out into the math courtyard. The food is good, everything is $6, and it is all served lightning-fast. Definitely make your way over for lunch someday soon. My personal favorite is the chicken saute served on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but just about everything is worth it.

Sandwiches for Engineers Or: How Ike’s Place Began at Stanford

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

I have often (though perhaps unfairly) lamented the lack of good food on-campus. Although Palo Alto is but a bike ride away, the Stanford Bubble traps me to dining halls, Subway, Olive’s, Treehouse, and the like. The latest buzz in campus eateries, however, is the opening of Ike’s Place in Huang Engineering Center.

If you’re unfamiliar with it, Ike’s Place began in San Francisco as a sandwich shop on an unsuspecting city block. Soon, lines began to wrap around the building with hungry customers anxious to taste the freshly-baked bread and “dirty sauce.” Offering over 100 sandwiches with silly names such as “Backstabber,” “Napoleon Complex,” and “[Name of Girl I’m Dating]”*, Ike’s Place has become a neighborhood staple with its own rabid fan base, even if it maybe isn’t supposed to be there.

I'm standing at the end of the line.

Likely attracted by the glitz and glamour of our new Engineering Quad, Ike’s Place lies in the heart of the excitement on the main floor of the octagon in the middle of the quad. By the current decorations, you might never know as there isn’t even a sign to indicate its presence. What might tip you off, however, is the long line of what appear to be mostly graduate students. Although it has been open for no longer than maybe a week, business was still strong when I dropped by around 1, hoping to miss the main mealtime madness.


The Best Burger on Campus

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Cheeseburger in Paradise

Stern Dining is not known for its delectable, alimentary fare. However, every Wednesday at lunch, a magical transformation takes place. If you are prepared to brave long lines and silverware shortages, you, the diner, will encounter the best burger on campus.

Burger builders will doubtless have their differences, but the following selections tend to accrue widespread approval. For the hungry and ambitious (see picture), I would suggest two grass-fed beef burgers, two slices of cheddar cheese, two slices of crisp bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, guacamole, ketchup, and Cholula hot sauce. For the less hungry but still ambitious, use one burger. For the less hungry and ambitious, eliminate the hot sauce, onions, and mushrooms. Swiss cheese, when available, is also highly recommended.

Hidden Treasures: CCSR Cafe

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

The bustling CCSR cafe at lunchtime

My hidden treasures series would not be complete if it didn’t highlight one of the most important elements of student life at Stanford: food.  We are all aware of the not-so-secret Olives or the newly opened Coupa Cafe, but few have heard of Lutticken’s Deli.  Located on the ground floor of the architecturally awe-inspiring Center for Clinical Sciences Research (CCSR), the deli – also known as the CCSR Cafe – offers, in my opinion, a delectable lunchtime option.  Forget Subway, the CCSR Cafe can whip you up a mouthwatering sub that you can then sit and savor amidst the swaying bamboo and warm sunshine filtering into the outdoor lobby of the CCSR.  A perfect getaway from the Tressider (or in my case, Stern dining) scene, the CCSR Cafe is a gem – both for it’s economic and delicious mealtime options (I personally recommend the meatball sub, but that may be the Italian in me speaking…) and for its visually-stunning location.  Definitely worth the walk.

A night time view of the CCSR

Directions: Just head keep heading past the Clark Center (that building with the glass walls east of Campus Dr.) and it’ll be the second building on your left.  For superior directions, I suggest campus map (just type in CCSR as your search term).

Starbucks @ TAP

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Thumbnail image for starbucks-coffee.jpgFor those of you who have grumbled over being unable to get your Starbucks candy-coffee cravings satisfied on campus, grumble no more. As for those who take issue with rampant consumerism and what have you, don’t shoot the messenger.
The Axe and Palm added the Starbucks chain’s selection of beverages to its menu last week. Now you can order your favorite caffeinated confection right at the counter. The sizes available are tall and grande (small and medium, in layman’s terms) and all drinks are available except for the cold teas and frozen drinks. Yes, that means no frappuccinos now, but the manager is looking into a getting a blender. If a certain favorite drink of yours is missing, let the managerial staff know and they’ll try to hook you up. The prices reflect all Starbucks prices, so “Fivebucks” still applies. If you’re looking to get a cup of Komodo Dragon Blend (it exists), look somewhere else: TAP brews two kinds of whole bean coffees, preferring Fair Trade and organic blends. You can have it your way–but don’t get crazy. I would avoid any “I’ll have a Venti-quad-non-fat-peppermint-mocha served at 273 degrees” jargon.
The Starbucks addition is one of a few changes taking place at Axe and Palm (have you noticed the new compost/recycle bins?). Based on the mixed reviews the restaurant has received, this is likely a good thing. Like I said before, the managers are really open to suggestions and appreciate whatever feedback you may have for them. Complain as I might about the prices, etc., I will likely be purchasing a mocha in the not too distant future.