Diary of a Foodie

Summer has once again manifested that achingly wonderful temporal twirl; the days are slow and simple, but we find ourselves on the cusp of August, less than a month from the inception of a new Customs Week and school year. In keeping with the time-twist, my recollections of this summer have centered on Bachelorette happenings (one-f-Jef?!) and memorable meals.

I’m a huge foodie. I feel supremely at home in the kitchen, experimenting with and crafting formal and imagined recipes, and going out to dinner at some delectable eatery is always my choice excursion. These past few weeks have been a foodie’s dream; here are some highlights:

A couple weeks ago, I met my dear friend and former blogger, Franklyn Cantor, in the city for a belated birthday meal. I hopped on the Paoli/Thorndale SEPTA train-line (there are two stops just a few minutes off campus) and 20 minutes later, Franklyn and I were standing outside Banana Leaf, a Malaysian restaurant and our dining venue for the evening. Our friend Juliana joined us with a friend from her abroad adventures along with a couple orders of roti, a crispy Malaysian pancake with a rich curry dipping sauce, Malaysian style spare ribs, spicy water spinach, and beef chow fun. Supremely delicious and inexpensive, Banana Leaf embodied both elements of my ideal dining experience. Ignoring our burgeoning bellies, Franklyn recommended/ensured a trip to The Franklin Fountain (all vanity aside, he made sure to emphasize) for the best ice cream in the city. We ordered the Mt. Vesuvius:

“A mountain of CHOCOLATE or VANILLA ice cream ERUPTING with chocolate brownie pieces, CASCADING with hot fudge and BLANKETED in malt powder. A dollop of whipped cream indicates her smoking signal.”

Get it. It’s so good. As we were walking back to the train station, some belated fireworks erupted. Happy bellies, lovely company, and a free light show – what a magical night.

Juliana’s mom came to visit the other week, so I had the absolute pleasure and honor of joining them for dinner. We walked to Verdad, a “Latin-influenced tapas” style restaurant in neighboring Bryn Mawr (also the college locale), and indulged in strawberry, habañero guacamole (the exact right balance of heat, sweetness, salt, and hints of acidity) and the most incredible paella. Mounded in a massive wok, perfectly golden brown, and literally swimming with chorizo and maritime goodies, this paella is as beautiful as it is delicious. And a whole lobster chills on top. Juliana and her mother were wonderful company and our evening together was one of my favorites of the summer.

As part of a CPGC internship (see www.haverford.edu/CPGC/ for more information on the CPGC’s mission and offerings), my friend Stuart has been dutifully tending to the HCA garden. The garden has very kindly spared me much produce shopping, as fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, zucchini, herbs, and more have been spilling out throughout the summer. I’ve enjoyed many a delicious stir-fry, salad, and pasta dish courtesy of the produce. My favorite has been homemade tabouli salad – cous cous, onions, cucumbers, peppers, tomato, feta, garlic oil, lemon, and fresh mint. Eat. It is good and good for you too!

Food locales — ranging from urban escapes, to suburban strolls, to my literal backyard — are also a wonderful representation of the urban-suburban balance here at Haverford. It’s perfectly easy to stay in the immediate area and sate cultural and culinary cravings, but Philadelphia offers an urban jolt whenever necessary. Beyond food, being able to take advantage of Philadelphia’s vast offerings while maintaining a suburban home has been one of my favorite aspects of my Haverford experience.

The summer’s close is coming hard and fast, but I intend to soak up as many rays of the sun and indulge in as many further food indulgences as possible. And then it’s back to Seattle for salmon!