For many Cornellians, Waffle Frolic has been a Sunday brunch staple for years. Founded by two Ithaca college students in 2010, the Ithaca Commons establishment pledged to combine the spirit of Ithaca with urban edge in its unique mission. Waffle Frolic was the only specialized waffle eatery in Ithaca up until its closure on Oct. 15. According to the Ithaca Voice, the owners attributed the close to the rising cost of raw materials over the past few years as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, which made it difficult to stay in business.
After I received my Cornell acceptance letter, I dove head-first into every Google search about campus, wondering what the food would be like. It seemed silly, but it was something that mattered to me. Navigating campus eateries, both on and off campus, I’ve mastered the perfect places to visit for every scenario. Here are the best places to eat on campus for oddly specific scenarios that I’ve encountered (while living on North Campus):
When it’s nearing 2 a.m. and you have the munchies, you go to Bear Necessities on North Campus. Those churros hit different.
As my first semester at Cornell wanes, I have had moments where I felt like I have known everything about dining here. I can proudly say that I have been to most of the dining halls and eateries on or around campus. But alas, I am only a freshman. Many seniors — those who have braved the Ithaca winter for four years, somehow continued to go back to Okenshields repeatedly and have experienced everything that Cornell has thrown at them, are the ones with the actual knowledge. Although the COVID-19 era of Cornell Dining may taint their opinions, I decided to sit down with a few to hear their views on Cornell Dining eateries around campus.
In the early 1970s, Americans were experiencing their first strong wave of vegetarianism, as hippies and environmentalists alike were embracing the meatless movement. The people were speaking up, and they were speaking loudly, calling for vegetarian meals to become normalized and incorporated into everyday dining. At the same time, in wintery upstate Ithaca, a group of young adults banded together, not knowing yet the legacy they were soon to create. Some were Cornell students, while others had traveled to Ithaca to join the Lavender Hill commune, a coterie of LGBT+ hedonists. Together, they formed the Moosewood Collective, serving as founders, owners and operators of Moosewood — what is widely recognized as one of the longest-running vegetarian restaurants in the United States.
Since its genesis in 1973, Moosewood has expanded, renovated multiple times and has become the name behind one of the most popular vegetarian cookbook series of all time.
To the Ithaca native, Aldi might just be another supermarket to hit on the list of Sunday errands. To me, Aldi seemed like a store full of adventure. I was driving back to Ithaca from a weekend away visiting family upstate. My mom asked me the classic going back to college question: “Should we stop and get some snacks for you?” I answered the question with a wide smile. “Of course!”
With the word “snacks” being thrown around, my mind automatically went to Trader Joe’s.
Although the 12 inches of winter snow we got this month begs to question whether or not spring will be on its way, the slow changing of temperature indicates that spring is nearby. Another measure to assess the changing of seasons: the return of Shamrock drinks at McDonald’s. Since the 1970s, McDonald’s has been offering the Shamrock Shake, a light green, minty-flavored milkshake to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Every year like clockwork, the fast food chain sells this drink across stores in the US, Canada and Ireland.
Home-cooked Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food is exactly what Collegetown needs, and Loumies has blown away all expectations. Inspired by the flavors of the Middle East, Persia and North Africa, Loumies has created a delicious blend of tasty dishes for Ithaca’s students and residents. They offer scrumptious dishes including Kufta Meatballs, okra stew and Labneh sandwiches, with flavorful sides of hummus, “Seven Spice” rice and more. Loumies is a family business. While there, I got a chance to speak with the chef, Rania Chidiac Kaldi and her husband, Raed.
When I recently joined a fraternity, I held onto some skepticism about the lifestyle. Perhaps the biggest question was the quality of the food. Most Cornell students have visited frat houses; we’ve seen the sweaty dance floors packed with people, and we’ve smelled the puke in the corner. To put it lightly, I was a little scared to try the food that my fraternity had to offer. However, my doubts soon dispersed.
The components of a cuisine, from common spices to dietary staples to preparation styles, vary widely across the world. However, the biggest divide between different food cultures may arise not in the cooking, but what comes after. I learned the importance of dining style through two specific eating experiences, which began continents apart and ended up a mile from each other here in Ithaca. One crisp autumn night, the brisk wind pushed my friends and I out into town to find something warm and fulfilling. We eventually spotted a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant filled with steaming food and locals digging in, enjoying their eating experience together.
Picture this. You’re a teenager in Santa Cruz in the 90s, hanging out with your friends after a long day of school. You’re all pretty hungry, so you turn on your computer and order a pizza. Pretty normal, right? Wrong.