Category Archives: Food

Unofficial Orientation Series 2018: Middletown Eating

This is an updated repost of sophie’s repost of maya‘s repost. Please note: this is by no means an exhaustive list of eating options in Middletown, as this perfunctory Yelp search will show you. Feel free to add your own recommendations in the comments! 

This is part of our 2018 Unofficial Orientation Series. A quick reminder that you can check out the welcome post here and past years’ series here.

Middletown has so many fantastic dining options that at first you might feel like this turtle: faced with an almost insurmountable mountain of deliciousness. Much like the above turtle, though, you’ve got to start somewhere. We’re here to give you a head start.

From coffee-shop casual to awkward-family-dinner upscale, there’s food in Middletown for every occasion. This is our guide to some of the best places to eat in town.  Prices are on a $ to $$$ scale. Also worth noting is that a lot of Middletown restaurants accept Middletown Cash, so save up some of that laundry money for your dining excursions. Wesleyan also provides a nifty guide to restaurants in and around Middletown, if you need more guidance (though theirs doesn’t come with student feedback and that special Wesleying flair)! Read all of our food list after the jump!

Just Food Dinner

Long Lane Farm, the North End Action Team and Bon Appétit are co-hosting a sit-down charity dinner to support the North End Farmer’s Market:

The North End Farmers Market is a wonderful and vital space in our community, and through its double dollars program it makes fresh, local, organic produce accessible and affordable for everyone! 100% of the proceeds from this dinner go directly to the double dollars program. Come enjoy some delicious food, generously catered for free by Bon Appétit, meet organizers from NEAT and Long Lane, discuss food justice, and support your local farmer’s market! Suggested minimum donation is $25 for adults, $15 for students and youth, cash or check. Donating gets you a three course meal, no extra charges! Check Facebook for the menu, vegan options available.

Date: Tuesday, May 8
Time: 6:30-8:30pm
Place: Daniel Family Commons, 3rd floor Usdan (45 Wyllys Ave.)
Cost: $25 minimum donation for adults; $15 minimum donation for students/youth, cash or checks made out to “North End Action Team”
FB

If you can’t come, but still would like to support the Double Dollars program, you can donate at this You Caring page.

Food Review: Mongolian Grill

For Educational Purposes Only:

Mongolian Grill (Barbecue) has a slightly misleading name since it is a stir-fried dish that was first developed in Taiwan during the early 1950s—not in Mongolia surprisingly. However, stir-frying meats on a large, open surface is supposed to evoke Mongolian foods and Mongolian traditions. The preparation can also be traced back to the Japanese-style teppanyaki, which was a very popular food choice for the Taiwanese back then. Interestingly enough, some American Mongolian Grill restaurants claim that soldiers of the Mongol Empire actually gathered large quantities of meat, prepared them with their swords and cooked them on their upturned shields over a large fire.

How it works here at Wesleyan:

What the Hummus: HOW TO MAKE HUMMUS!

A few weeks back, I wrote a feature ranting about Usdan’s hummus. The next day, I very sadly paired my sad Usdan salad with sad Usdan hummus, and it was not a highlight of my life.

I’m finally settled into my home for break, which means a few things: I have not left the house unless it’s for work or for IKEA, I have eaten approximately 567 loaves of bread, and I’ve spent a particularly significant amount of time in the kitchen.

“Making my family proud of my ability to take care of myself,” aside, my house is currently under construction and the kitchen is one of the only places where I can’t either fall through a ceiling or trip over some wood planks.

On the way home from IKEA, I force my mom to make a pit stop at the local halal market. Once home, my mom gave me her recipe, and I cross-checked with some Turkish recipe site for measurements, and I made a…beautiful…batch of hummus. Seriously, it’s really good. I posted a short recipe on Instagram, but I decided this recipe deserves a home on the blog because of my past writing on the subject. Here we go:

Food Review: What the Hummus?????????????

It’s been four semesters since I’ve had home-cooked Turkish (oh, wow, here’s Melisa talking about being Turkish….again) meal, and to be completely honest, at first it was great. There are only so many times I can manage to “enjoy” kale stew (side note: kale translates to “decoration cabbage” in Turkish) and I was infatuated with the copious amounts of coffee and soft-serve ice cream that I was honestly blind.

It’s been four semesters, and the coffee and soft-serve ice cream can no longer make me complacent. As Wesleyan’s local and very vocal Middle Easterner™, there’s a very serious matter that we need to discuss: the “hummus” that is offered at Usdan. It’s time to call it for what it is, and that certainly isn’t fucking hummus.

If you weren’t aware, Usdan offers hummus on the kosher line, oftentimes paired with some sort of panini. See, I was super fucking excited when I saw this, because I didn’t grow up with ranch or cranberry vinaigrette (?), and I wanted to supplement my bland salads with the spread that is responsible for my sanity. And so, wide-eyed first-year me walks onto the kosher line, excited to get a taste of home. Why I thought that this hummus would remotely resemble home considering the general lack of spices in Usdan (seriously, WHY DON’T WE HAVE RED PEPPER FLAKES ANYWHERE? And don’t tell me about that bullshit red pepper that’s by the pizza) is beyond me. I was hopeful that perhaps Bon App got things right for once.

Oh, was I wrong.

Here are some general notes about the hummus that I have succumbed to time and time again at Usdan, in which each time I have considered just transferring to any school in Turkey based exclusively on food:

Lunch with Rabbi Jonah Pesner ’90

Talia Kaplan ’18 writes in:

Join Rabbi Jonah Pesner ‘90 director of the Religious Action Center (RAC), for a conversation about why pursuing social and economic justice is core to Judaism and how Jews can join with people of all faiths and no faiths to combat white supremacy, systemic racism, and transform communities to effect positive change. Recently, Rabbi Pesner has been involved in calls for a clean Dream Act: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/rabbis-arrested-daca-protest_us_5a5f8b13e4b046f0811c6213

This lunch is a collaboration between the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship and the Wesleyan Jewish Community (WJC). All are welcome, regardless of religion and political views. Free, vegetarian food provided.

Date: Tuesday, February 27
Time: 11:50 PM
Place: Allbritton 311
Facebook Event

Need to Figure Out Co-Op Shares? Use this Spreadsheet!

Most of this is just recycled text from ~last semester~

The deadline for filling out the Local Co-Op Survey is Saturday at 5PM. If you’re a first-timer, co-op can be really confusing. There are at least 9 different co-ops to choose from, and the distribution method for each one can be different. Things only get more complicated if you live in a program house, a low rise apartment, or a senior house and are trying to form a group of 4 or more people, bUT yOU AlL wANt DifFFeREnt ThINgs!!!!!

It’s actually a huge problem. You may not want a full share of anything yourself but, as per co-op rules, your group must buy in whole numbers of shares. And, it’s somewhat difficult to figure out all these ratios as you are filling out the survey. Only one person can fill out the survey, and so if you don’t already know everything you want, your entire group has to be in the same room looking at the survey together.

davíd made a google sheet last semester that addresses these issues. You and your group members can use the sheet to get a preliminary feel for how much each person wants to contribute to your weekly co-op cornucopia. More after the jump:

Film Series: The Cakemaker

2017. Israel/Germany. Dir: Ofir Raul-Glazer. With Tim Kalkhof, Sarah Adler. 105 min.


A German baker who had an a air with an Israeli businessman travels to Jerusalem upon learning his lover has died. The passionate pastry chef seeks out his lover’s widow and insinuates himself into her life, working at her cafe? while keeping his identity a secret. Can he sustain this deception as the lies accumulate? And at what cost?

Tonight / 8 p.m. / Goldsmith Family Cinema / Free

Usdan Jams: Pastability by Lorde

It was late for a Usdan night, approaching the 7:30 mark. The only people left getting dinner were the night owls, squinting in the bright Marketplace lights. It is at this time of night that Usdan becomes very simple; gone are the lines that make cheesesteak night or Pastabilites so urgent and the air has taken on a new tone. As the first blue notes of Lorde’s “Liability” flowed through my earbuds, it was matched with another sound:

“Go ahead!”

I looked up, and something clicked. How had I not seen it before? The signs were all too obvious. It had been hidden in plain sight. Somehow, somewhere, Lorde’s healing anthem was connected to Wesleyan’s own Pastabilities. And, since Pastabilities is Tom the Pastabilities Guy, somehow he and Lorde are connected.

“Go ahead!” I hadn’t realized it was my turn. I was too busy staring into Tom’s eyes, trying to figure out when/how he had hurt Lorde, or perhaps vice-versa. After apologizing profusely and getting my alfredo with white (sauce first, I wasn’t that distracted), I ate with haste and went back to my dorm to do my research, window shades down, glasses on.

Thankful Dinner

From Haven Hall HM Jennifer Gagne ’19:

It’s that time of year again: time to start spending time with the ones you love. It doesn’t have to be family. Doesn’t have to be what everyone else thinks is traditional. Every day is your life and you deserve it. It’s also time to be thankful for those who have helped you, all of us, get to where you are today. Spend time with some of your fellow folks on break and celebrate with a dinner of gratitude and thankfulness with Haven Hall and Questbridge/First Class.

Date: Thursday, November 23 
Time: 6:30 – 9:00 PM
Place: Haven Hall, Nics 6 Basement