November 20, 2012

The Stressed-Out Chow-Down

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We have finally arrived at the point in the semester when you can choose to either give up and sleep your stress away, live at the library and read your stress away or, my personal favorite, study and eat your stress away. You can still be productive while gobbling down goodness, that is mounds of junk food, or you can use the time as a break to dig into a sit-down, hearty meal. This is the perfect excuse to skip out from campus for a bit and walk down to the Commons.

Ithaca Ale House isn’t exactly hidden away, but it’s often forgotten about. As I left a show at the State Theater the other night I found myself craving a burger. I sought shelter from the night’s chill in the Ale House and looking at the menu didn’t exactly change my mind, but certainly found something even more appropriate for my growing appetite. I couldn’t resist indulging in what is epically named, “The Fat Kid Burger,” consisting of a burger in between two grilled cheeses accompanied by a large side of fries. Unfortunately the meat itself was only decent at best, a little overcooked and lacking a little juiciness. The grilled cheeses, due to the meat sitting on top of the bread perhaps too long, were soggy and the inside cheese wasn’t nearly melted enough. The flavor of the cheese however was delicious and left me wanting more considering it only featured a single, flimsy piece between the smushed, wet bread. The unexpected highlight of the meal however was the fries. They were exactly what we expect fries to be, but rarely get: piping hot, crispy, light, slightly salty and … unbelievably addicting.

Despite being slightly disappointed with the main part of the meal, I would certainly go back to grab some pizza, reevaluate some other choices, and meanwhile dig in to one, maybe two, even possibly three orders of fries. There are also plenty of other dishes to choose from, including appetizers such as the Guacamole Brie Melt, Buffalo Chicken Spring Rolls and even seafood specials like Crispy Shrimp, Blackened Seared Tuna or Calamari. An entire page of the menu is devoted to burgers, but as my experience with this particular choice was only so-so, I’d recommend turning to their array of sandwiches and flatbread pizzas. In the past I’ve repeatedly chosen the simple, but ever-revered Traditional pizza, but there’s no mistaking great choices in The Margarita, Three Meat or Garlic White. They seem to present the classics well and although certainly introduce interesting alternative options, as a newcomer, you may want to stick with recipes you recognize. No matter what reason you venture downtown however, be sure to bulk up for winter and stop by the Ale House for drinks, appetizers or again, a whole sit-down chow-down.

Original Author: Danielle Diniz