Have you have wondered where your food comes from, or how it got on your plate? Have you ever been upset upon hearing how much water was used to process those veggies or that steak? Have you ever thought, “Hey, I could do a better job than that?” Well, this is your call to action.
It’s basically a ritual for newly arrived, over-eager freshmen: Flock into Collegetown on a blustery weekend night and live it up in one of the many fraternity annexes surrounding Eddy Street. After we’ve had our fill, this sizable portion of the Cornell population stumbles back to Collegetown’s late-night cafes and restaurants, exhausted and ravenous from a long day of studying and partying.
Our role in the dining section is to tell stories about food. Whether it be through a restaurant review, a personal narrative or coverage of a special event, we want to get you thinking about how food impacts us as individuals and as a society. That is why sitting through four Democratic presidential debates — in which the Democrats spent more than 90 minutes talking about health care — and not hearing any of the candidates speak about health itself was disheartening.
The entrance to the Collegetown favorite is recognizable by its yellow signage. Customers pass through its black doors into the eatery, arriving at wooden tables that stare into the restaurant’s open kitchen. A side wall divides the restaurant into two dining rooms co-serving Cantonese-influenced cuisine and Vietnamese specialties, and frequent patrons to the restaurant cross-order dishes from the two menus. The sidewalls are simply decorated with a Southeast Asian influence, exemplified by the woven bamboo patterns and the floor’s turmeric colored tiles. Here, owner Helen Wong serves a variety of authentic Vietnamese specialties created from her memories. Helen had left her home country of Vietnam to come to Ithaca as a refugee in 1979.
My “college cooking” expectations quickly confronted reality during my first few weeks back at school this year. Since the last few months of my freshman year, I planned the big move into my first apartment, as well as built my website, the Collegetown Kitchen. I drew from my knowledge as a home cook, my experience working at a bakery and the advice of many trusted cooks to curate the perfect recipe for college cooking success. I wrote lists of pantry-staple ingredients one can’t do without and what to use them for, named every piece of cooking equipment a student might need, explained basic food safety and published over 3o recipes and articles adapted to a minimalist kitchen and a college budget. And then a couple of days after arriving in Ithaca, mono hit.
I got my job as a writer for the dining section of The Sun about the same time I got my job working at Cornell Dining’s Cafe Jennie, each about 17 years after developing my love for food. In one, I wrote of my appreciation for Ithaca’s food scene, defined by restaurants, diners and groceries that never cease to surprise and impress as they rival the best of big cities and small towns across the country. In the other, I learned to appreciate both the world of food service and, perhaps above all, my team in that little corner of The Cornell Store.
In true Ithaca fashion, Apple Harvest Festival is something caught between a nostalgic, agrarian county fair and an eclectic, trendy Brooklyn food festival. It’s a celebration of all things apple — apple pies, apple cider and candied apples — but more than that, it’s a celebration of the Finger Lakes area and the people who shape it. With millions of acres of farmland (52,000 of which are devoted exclusively to apple orchards), Upstate New York is a mecca for farmers, chefs, bakers and wine makers who come together one weekend in late September to share their passion for food with the masses.
This past weekend, the Sun dining department’s writers ventured out to the 37th Annual Apple Harvest Festival to experience one of the most iconic food festivals Ithaca has to offer. We’ve recounted some of our most memorable moments and favorite delectable delights from the event, noting local favorites and treats from farmers far and wide.
If you ask any undergrad here what their favorite campus eatery is, they’ll likely say Terrace, Trillium or Zeus. Each one is delicious in their own right, but let’s be real — making it through the lines at these places is hard work. Even in the late morning, you’ll find long lines filing out of most popular campus eateries. Although no eatery could ever replace my beloved Terrace salad or Zeus soup, I’m getting a bit tired of spending my entire lunch break waiting in these lines, leaving me to discreetly eat my lunch in the back of the lecture. My solution? The Atrium Cafe.