May 4, 2011

Best Cheap Desserts in Ithaca

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For too many college students, dining is an exercise in mathematical dexterity as we try to balance the costs of a meal with the change in our pockets. However, having a tight budget does not mean you have to give up the most important part of a meal, in my opinion: dessert. Here are some dessert options to fit any college student’s budget.

Fried banana ($3.95) from Sticky Rice Thai and Laotian Cuisine, 401 E. State St. Sticky Rice offers over 70 different options of savory and spicy Thai dishes, but they do an excellent job with their limited dessert menu too. My favorite of the four desert options, which also happens to be the most affordable, are the fried bananas. Banana sticks are wrapped in spring roll paper and deep fried till crispy and golden brown, then topped with honey, raisins and cashew nuts.

Belgian Waffle ($3.46) from Maté Factor Café, 143 E. State St. While most would consider waffles a breakfast item, my love for waffles spans across all meals. Mate Factor Café uses stone round organic spelt flour in their waffle batter, giving the waffle a unique nutty flavor that cannot be found with regular dining hall batters. The freshly griddled waffle is served with melted butter and authentic maple syrup. I suggest spending that extra $1.25 for a scoop of vanilla ice cream to perfect this dessert.

McDonalds Ice Cream and FriesWhen it comes to low-prices, nothing beats McDonald’s. This combination might sound absolutely repulsive, but it really is a match made in fast-food heaven. It delivers effortless complexity: You get the hot with the cold, the salty and the sweet. Buy a plain vanilla ice cream cone (or if you have some extra change, an oreo crumb laden Mcflurry), a pack of golden fries. Dip. Consume and enjoy.

AffogatoAffogato, translated as ‘drowned’ in Italian, is one of the simplest desserts that I have come across: simply pour a shot of espresso over vanilla gelato. If, like most ordinary college students, you do not own you own personal espresso maker, use any super-strong brewed coffee. Get a tub of your preferred vanilla ice cream from, scoop, and dunk. If you feel compelled to dress it up, try chocolate or dulce le leche ice cream, or sprinkle chopped nuts, or even flavor your coffee with amaretto. Sip and ‘drown’ yourself in dessert bliss.

Betty Crocker’s Fudge Brownie Pre-MixMost people would never admit to using pre-mix when baking desserts, but they really do give you a bang for your buck. I recommend Betty Crocker’s fudge brownies, which should cost you less than what Starbucks charges for a brownie slice. Follow the instructions on the box, bake and enjoy. Don’t forget to share the extra — and just tell your friends you made it from scratch!

Original Author: Ethel Hoon