Author Archives: Penn Appetit Staff

  1. Welcoming Spring with Beefsteak

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    Article and photos by Justine de Jesus

    I have to admit – I haven’t always been the biggest fan of salads. As a self-professed carnivore, treating myself meant indulging with a typical burger at Shake Shack, or xiao long bao at Dim Sum House. Salad never fell under my list of cravings; salad was always the supporting character. I didn’t hate it (hate is a strong word), but it was never the highlight of any meal. It was less about the taste and more about making sure I didn’t OD on the unhealthy stuff.

    The campus food scene has certainly tested my limits – turns out you can’t actually eat ice cream EVERY day. But funnily enough, it has also managed to change my attitudes towards the humble salad. Honeygrow, Sweetgreen, Beefsteak, HipCityVeg, JustSalad: the rise of the healthy eating trend means that you can grab a salad at almost any block around campus. This variation also means that salad isn’t just a pile o’ mysterious green stuff: more and more restaurants are paying attention to making sure these salads stay fresh and innovative, so people like me don’t have feel like eating healthy is such a chore.

    The folks over at Beefsteak have mastered the art of staying fresh. This spring, they have updated their menu to provide Penn students with a new range of dishes sourcing the best, in-season ingredients. The other week, Penn Appetit’s Social Media Director Nicole and I got the chance to join Beefsteak for a private tasting for their spring menu, and trust me: we loved it.

    (1) The Beefsteak Burger

    If you know me, you know me + tomatoes = a big fat no. When the tray of Beeksteak’s returning favorite, the Beefsteak burger, emerged from the kitchen, fear was just one word to describe the expression on my face. However, the whole miniature thing was really getting to me; as a food blogger after all, I knew I had to be open to trying anything. In all honesty, if there was one thing to convert me from my tomato-phobia, this could be it. A fresh, hearty tomato paired with a vegan mayo and a perfectly golden olive oil bun.

    (2) Santorini Salata Bowl 

    Nicole and I were promised that the Santorini Salata Bowl was an explosion of flavors, essentially combining multiple salads in one. Although the bowl does in fact feature a wide array of components – a rich and smoky red pepper hummus, asparagus with garlic yogurt, wheat berry salad – the flavors complement each other perfectly, creating a bowl that reminds me of the flavors from my favorite Mediterranean restaurant. In my opinion, the best part about bowl was the hummus and curried cauliflower – when you do want to opt out of eating meat, the Santorini bowl is one way to still indulge in a savory treat.

    *quick drink interruption*

    Although not unique to their spring update, one of my favorite highlights from the tasting was Beefsteak’s Lavender Lemonade – never in my life would I think that I would like the taste of flower, but here I am, channeling my inner Mary berry and digging the lavender vibes.

    (3) Avo-Toasty Bowl 

    The last dish we tried was Beefsteak’s Avo-Toasty bowl. The first thing to point out is – CARBS. Again, as a recent salad convert, I jump at every time a salad dish includes a little side of toasted bread or crispy croutons. Needless to say, I think the photo says it all: Beefsteak is very generous with their beautifully golden toasted brioche bits. As hinted at in the name, this dish is perfect for all the avocado toast lovers out there – Beefsteak makes sure that the bowl isn’t too rich with their creamy avocado, which is paired with just the right kind of garnishes: pickled red onion, sprouts, and *drumroll* A. POACHED. EGG. I’m drooooling.

    As we’re powering into these last few weeks of the school year, make sure to take care of your body and fuel up with some healthy meals to get through those late night papers and daily finals!

  2. 60 Hours in Mexico City

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    Article and photos by Josie Shapiro

    Feature Photo by Leah Sprague

    Over spring break, I spent a couple of days in Mexico City with my parents. Although they were excited to learn about the history and spend time in museums, my priority was the food. I had four meals to allot and I intended to use them well.

    Our first dinner, we went to Fonda Fina. The chef at Fonda Fina had a creative take on classic Mexican dishes. My favorites include their squash blossom arugula salad and three milk rice pudding. Everything was delicious and the presentation was especially attractive for the squash blossom salad.

    The next day we were at the Saturday market, which has many local crafts, and we went to the San Angel Inn for lunch. It was quite near to the market and had a great outdoor courtyard for eating. We had some of the best beef tacos I tried the whole trip. We also ordered a cheese dip, however it was covered in some sort of insect, so I quickly lost interest in it.

    That night for dinner was by far my favorite meal. Dulce Patria, named one of the top 50 restaurants in the world, was recently opened by Martha Ortiz. She is one of Latin America’s best chefs and brings a new creativity to traditional Mexican food. All of the food was vibrant and aesthetically pleasing. The guacamole came with the initials of the chef in it, which was a fun touch. We tried multicolored quesadillas, which all had different fillings, such as different types of cheese, beef and chicken. We tried another squash blossom salad, which I have to say was not as good as the one we tried on the first night, but had a better presentation. For dessert, we tried a coconut flan with fresh pineapple. At the end of the meal they brought out a fun platter with some chocolates and candy … and a chicken ceramic.

    For our final dinner in Mexico City, we went to Contramar. Contramar is known for their tuna tostadas, which definitely lived up to their hype. We also tried the tuna sashimi, which was tasted incredibly fresh. We shared a full fish, which was half covered in a red chile sauce and half in a green parsley sauce. The combination of the two together was surprisingly good.

    Having only spent 60 hours in Mexico City, I definitely feel as though I did a pretty thorough job with the food scene.

  3. New In @ Pret

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    Article and photos by Victoria Wu

    Feature photo courtesy of Pret A Manger

    Every day, no matter what time, Pret a Manger (on the first floor of Huntsman Hall), is filled with Penn students. Pret a Manger, though opened only last year, has been a popular destination to grab breakfast, lunch, and even study. Pret offers a wide variety of convenient grab-and-go breakfast options, including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free options, that are perfect for the busy Penn students. Below, I have broken down the three most popular breakfast options.

    Avocado Smash

    Responding to the ever-so-popular avocado toast, Pret now offers the Avocado Smash. Served on a fresh, chewy Artisan baguette with a creamy avocado spread spiced with red pepper flakes and drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice, the Avocado Smash is a fulfilling option that is healthy yet trendy.

    Acai Bowl

    Looking for a nutrient-packed breakfast? The Acai bowl is perfect: it includes the superfruit acai, topped with pomegranate seeds, apple slivers, banana and granola. This gluten free and vegan option also has the nuttiness and creaminess of almond butter that adds the perfect addition of texture. At first bite, you can taste all of the flavorful fruits. As you chew, you get an extra crunchiness from the almond butter.

    Almond Butter and Banana Energy Bagel

    On the shelf of Pret, there are a wide range of bagel options. The Almond Butter and Banana Energy Bagel offers a sweet yet savory option amongst the other bagels. This bagel is packed with rolled oats and sandwiches the sweetness of banana and raisins but also is topped with a spread of almond butter that elicits a hint of savory and nutty flavoring. Like the Acai Bowl, this option is also vegan friendly.

  4. Bursting the Penn Bubble

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    Article by Mer Fagliano

    Feature Photo by Justine de Jesus

    Having been through some midterm and finals seasons at Penn, I have realized that I always have this need to study in a place different from my residence. Four semesters in and I am completely, truly, 100% tired of studying in my room. How can I concentrate when my bed is two steps away. Lounges and study rooms don’t do the trick either; they are too close to my room. The library is nice but, similar to studying in my room, I grew tired of it soon. In the effort of looking for more places to study, some of us have found the bliss of studying in coffee shops and tea rooms. Coffee shops make studying enjoyable. Between the coffee, the food, the free wifi, the silent atmosphere and the working environment that characterizes our campus, it is easy to focus.

    Despite fulfilling all these requirements, coffee shops at campus have become so crowded with familiar faces that it is hard to focus there. Whether you go to Saxbys, Starbucks #1, Starbucks #2 or Starbucks #3, you are bound to meet someone you know. If you are anything like me, you say hi, you talk and you seat together. This is the perfect formula for avoiding work. Besides, during midterms or finals, get full really fast. I have lost count of the amount of times that I went to Saxbys, in the morning, and could not found a seat. Therefore, I took the matter into my own hands and went around Philly to find good study spots. One of my conditions, however, was that the place had to be easily reached with public transport. I was not about to waste money on an Uber or Lyft to find a place to study. Wherever I went needed to be Septable.

    Each study spot has its own thing. Some places are prepared to have people working with their laptops. Others, prefer the reading and writing crowds. In my search, I found different types of places that I have catalogued for different forms of studying. So, it doesn’t matter how you want to study, I promise you can go to any of the following.

    Elixr Coffee Roasters (207 S Sydenham)

    It was around 9 am when I arrived at Elixr. The first thing that I noticed was how energetic, funny and nice the staff is. With a smile and a “Good Morning”, they give you the good vibes to start a productive day. The place is not huge but it has enough tables and outlets to support several people working. Between that and the chill, relaxing, music, the mood is set for you to write that essay for your class, read that book for the other, and practice your math for another. Elixr is ready with free wifi and nearby outlets for you to be there all day in your computer if you need to. Of course, you don’t want to be the only one working while everyone else is chattering with their friends. Which is why Elixr was great. I was there a total of 3 hours and there were always more people working than socializing. To complement that, the place is not loud, so for those of us who prefer (need) peace to concentrate, the atmosphere is perfect.

    From what I could gather, the food and drinks are pretty good too. At that time in the morning, my body needs coffee and food to be able to function. I decided to be simple and ordered a small coffee (no cream, no milk, no sugar; pure coffee) and a bagel. Although the coffee was not amazing, it was good enough for the price I paid. The bagel, on the other side, was great with the honey cream cheese spread I paired it with. My breakfast was good and set.

    After two hours of studying, I decided that I need to order another drink. Because I had already tried the coffee, and because I noticed several people around me having it, I ordered some tea. Before describing the tea, let me tell you something about myself. One of my biggest pet peeves is to pay, at a cafe, for people to put a tea bag in hot water. There is something about paying for tea-bag tea that I hate. The flavor might be similar but the experience is entirely different. In my head, if I am going to pay for the product, taxes and tip, I expect loose-leaf tea. Luckily for me, the Happiness Tea at Elixr fulfilled my expectations. This loose-leaf, green tea, proof to be relaxing and appropriate for a nice reading time. The taste was simple. The herbs did not overpower each other. Overall, it was some really good tea, served nicely with the pot and small cup.

    Parliament Coffee (30 S 15th Street)

    Compared to Elixr, Parliament had a more professional vibe. While the former cared about presenting a relaxing atmosphere, the latter had a more active environment where, apparently, many people like to work at. With open space and big windows looking at the street, this coffee shop is very well lit and has that positive sensation that we all need when doing our work. What I liked the most about the shop was that nearly every table had available outlets. I sat at the communal table where many people, who do not need a whole table for themselves, prefer to work. Despite being in the center of the room, I had outlets at the table to plug my computer and work as long as I wanted. Other tables against the wall, or couches in front of the window, also have their outlets nearby. It seems that regardless of whether you sit, Parliament is not going to let you use lack of battery as an excuse to avoid your work. Similarly to Elixr, there were several people working while having their daily cup of coffee. However, this place, seemed to be louder. On the bright side, the noise was not so loud that it was impossible to do my work. But it was loud enough that I, sometimes, had to put on some music to cover it. Otherwise, Parliament has a nice working environment.

    Parliament’s specialty is, clearly, coffee. Aside from offering the typical options of latte, cappuccino and americano, this coffee shop adds the option of ordering light or dark variations of coffee. True to my caffeine-addicted self, I ordered a dark coffee (again, pure coffee, without sugar, milk or cream). To be honest, I do not think I have ever had such a tasteful coffee for so little money. For the inexpensive price of $2,50, I had a coffee that, compared to cheaper options from around campus, did not taste like they had burned the grain or watered down the infusion. The flavor was there 100%. In terms of food, the shop is prepared with sandwiches and salads for you to eat while working. Therefore, if you plan to stay a full day at Parliament studying, you are at the right place.

    Joe Coffee (1845 Walnut)

    For me, Joe combined the best things about Elixr and Parliament in one place. Placed in front of Rittenhouse Square, Joe Coffee had the perfect environment for me to fully enjoy a whole day of working. Between the natural light coming from the windows and the clear furniture, the place has the vibrant and positive environment that I love. The staff are extremely nice and welcoming, greeting everyone with a smile. At the same time, the place had several people working too. Although there were not many outlets, that I could see, the ones there were always available and at accessible places so that you do not need an extremely long charger to work. Combining this with a silent enough environment, Joe was good at preserving a study spot for me to peacefully read.

    At Joe, because I noted the amount of people having tea, I decided to order some of their tea variations. Throughout the whole day, I had a total of three tea flavors: emerald spring, king crimson, and chamomile. Although not all of these passed my loose-leaf-tea-policy, all of them were incredibly tasty. The emerald spring offered the relaxing experience that any green tea should. Given to you with the pot and strainer, this tea offered a pretty good combination of flavors for you to enjoy. King crimson was a whole different experience. Because of its fruit base, this tea was really sweet. Despite not loving sweet teas, I must admit that this one was very nice. If what you want is to get some energizing tea, this one might work. Or, at least, it worked for me. Besides, if you are a fan of instagramable food, the vibrant pinkish, purplish color of this tea is perfect. Finally, the chamomile tea, was another dive into relaxation drive. Also served as loose-leaf tea, this infusion was what I needed to conclude a long day of studying.

  5. A How To: Eating Healthy at Penn’s Dining Halls

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    Article by India Allen

    Photos by Justine de Jesus

    This is the year you will be healthy. This is the year when you start going to the gym, when you start drinking more water, when you start eating healthier. However, Commons did not seem to get the message. With hot dogs, burgers, fries, and desserts galore at your fingertips, it is difficult to roll out of the dining hall without having eaten your weight in ice cream. Whether you are fighting off the freshman fifteen or attempting to beat the resulting sophomore saddlebags, you have found the right article.

    You probably expect me to start with, “Go for the greens!” Although that is a good piece of advice, a better start is, “Go for the water!” Both Commons and Hill offer “fresh” fruit infused water at every meal. When you start you dining hall spree with a large glass of water, not only will you be less likely to make a beeline for the soda pop, you will also fill your stomach with water rather than tater-tots. If you are feeling really motivated you could even start the meal with a cup of tea!

    This is when I tell you to eat your veggies. Wrong. Do a scope of the place. Instead of rushing in, grabbing a plate and piling it high with whatever you come across first, take a moment to see what is being served and what looks good or edible. I like to start by sampling the soup, a great first course for a healthy meal. If you are feeling really ravenous and ready to consume anything that is sloped onto your plate, hit the fruit bar. Eating a bowl of sometimes fresh fruit will fill you up before you have time to inhale three pieces of pizza and a piece of chocolate cake. Pineapple even aids in digestion!

    Now for the green stuff. Okay. We all know that “steamed in small batches and seasoned to perfection” usually means either boiled into mush and lacking salt or raw and dripping in oil. However, that is no excuse to skip out on the foliage. Grab a bowl and fill it with some kind of vegetable (no, potatoes are not vegetables!), whatever vegetable you think you can stomach. Then dress it up! You can put anything on a salad; fruit, grains, other veggies, even cottage cheese. Put a little of whatever tastes good to you (a burger doesn’t count) on top of that bowl of greens and enjoy! If spinach smothered in olives, raisins, artichoke hearts, and balsamic vinaigrette still won’t go down, you might just need to develop some self-discipline.

    The final strategy I will share is plate limiting. If you find yourself carrying three plates and a bowl over to the dishwashing station after each meal, you are probably eating too much. This is where the self-discipline comes in again. At home, you probably had one plate to fill each meal. Maybe you went back for seconds but your kitchen wasn’t an all you can eat buffet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Make the same rule for yourself in the dining hall. I limit myself to one plate and one small bowl (usually for fruit or an extra helping of vegetables). After finishing your plate and bowl, leave the dining hall (don’t forget to snag a few bananas on your way out!). With these tips, a little self control, and maybe a visit or two to Pottruck, your New Year’s resolution doesn’t have to die down.                     

  6. Behind the ‘Coffee Chat’

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    By Justine de Jesus

    Dear reader,

    Before coming to Penn, the concept of ‘coffee chats’ was completely foreign to me. Over the long weeks leading up to my first fall semester, coffee shops had become my sanctuary – I spent afternoons there seeking refuge from the summer heat, eternally ordering lattes and finally reading for fun. Chatting, however, was not a part of my coffee shop routine – I simply put in my earphones and tuned out, entering my own little bubble of ‘self’.

    I became fascinated with the idea of the ‘coffee chat’ after I heard the term thrown around left and right by students here. I understand that the term can be polarizing: for some, the ‘coffee chat’ is undeniably imbedded in the everyday lexicon of clubs, conjuring up the thought of interviews and images of blazers and button down shirts. Yet, I find the term to be the exact opposite – though still associated with club life, it is a break from all the formalities. While I didn’t necessarily look forward to serious club interviews, it was the opposite effect for the coffee chat – to me, they are whole-heartedly casual, confidently open, and unapologetically candid.

    As someone with a paralyzing fear (and equal ineptitude) for small-talk, it was certainly a challenge going for my first coffee chat, and even more of a surprise when I ended up loving it. If, reader, you are like me and find the first few minutes of conversation painstakingly awkward – I offer no other remedy than to simply get through it. However, if you do make it through the awkward lapses in conversation and the stiffness from smiling a little too wide (and too much, for that matter), the reward is more than worth it. These coffee chats have offered a chance for me to step outside my little bubble and peek into the life of another. It was getting the chance to ask someone about their day, and hear more than just ‘okay’ – as simple as this sounds, it really is equal parts strange and wonderful when you get more than just a one word answer.

    It offered a break in the topics of discussion – there comes a point when sometimes, I’m just too saturated with talk about the next midterm, summer internships and grades. I, too, am guilty of trending towards these same topics of discussion – when your life really is consumed by the impending doom of that next paper, sometimes that is the only thing on your mind, and the only thing you feel like ranting about. However, when you get the chance to meet someone new through these coffee chats, I am realizing how little I accomplish by falling into this routine. Soundbytes about my life come out, but cease to mean anything beyond the surface. I’m reaching out for reliability, but too often I’m entangling myself in the world of the generic – I am no closer to knowing the person I am facing, just like the only thing they know about me is that I have a paper due tomorrow.

    From cooking with insects to personal writing blogs, the ideas and stories that I’ve had the pleasure of listening to during these coffee chats have drawn me out of the monotony of the mundane. I won’t lie and say that I’ve become instant best friends with those who were most likely strangers to me before our first coffee chat, but I can say that I feel a much stronger sense of closeness with these people. While I know a school of this size means it is impossible to know every face – let alone be friends with thousands of students – the sheer vastness of Penn shouldn’t stop us from taking the time to really get to know each other.

    In all its unassuming form, I still believe it is nothing short of a small act of bravery to venture beyond our normal routine. It is certainly true that the more we give, the more we receive.

    So, reader, I thought of starting my own little series of coffee chats. Though real coffee I can not offer, stories I can. From books and articles that I’m currently reading, to restaurants and recipes that I’m loving, this is what I would share with you if we did actually have the chance to sit down and simply chat. It won’t just be me sharing my own stories – ‘Coffee Chats’ will also be featuring other members of Penn Appetit’s board, our amazing committee members, and all around Cool People™ around Penn: here we go.


    (1) The window seat at United by Blue: although seemingly avoided until there are absolutely no seats left, the bar stools at United by Blue have become my new favorite work spot. I have to admit, the space is not the most functional – the chairs are awkwardly placed, leaving little room to move about — which forces you to be productive I guess? Huge windows for optimal lighting (and #basic coffee pics – sorry not sorry), long counter space for spreading out piles and piles of readings, and solid coffee.

    (2) Two words: TEHINA. SHAKE. Although the prices at the new Franklin Table are a little hard on the wallet, the tehina shake gets me every single time. Available at the Goldie’s stall, the Turkish Coffee tehina shake is the perfect afternoon treat. The (arguably) best part of the shake is the mysterious cookie crumble they sprinkle on the top. If they happen to be out, stand your ground at the counter and refuse to leave until they come back from the kitchen with a fresh batch – you will not regret.


    HAVING A KITCHEN NEXT SEMESTER. With 6 weeks left of school, I have already run out of dining dollars (rip @Pret), and can not wait for the days when I no longer have to pay $10 dollars for steamed vegetables (love u @Beefsteak, but really?) Some recipes that I’m dying to try include Wood and Spoon’s Coffee Cake Muffins and Bon Appetit’s Steak and Rice Noodle Salad (it has the word salad so it has to be healthy right?)


    1. The latest season of Buzzfeed’s Worth It is BACK *screams*
    2. Peaceful Cuisine – check out their Youtube here for more ways to spend time NOT doing work
    3. Riepe Cookie Night – not all heroes wear a cape, and my hero is Dr. Deturck. Every Wednesday night, Dr. Deturck bakes trays and TRAYS of cookies for Riepe’s hungry residents to enjoy. Without leaving the Quad, I can walk down to McIlhenny 102 in my pajamas and snack on a cookie (or three). Thank you, Dr. D!

    Peacin out,



  7. Ravioli Dolci

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    Article by Ty Ciatto

    Feature photo by Leina Betzer

    Working in the railroads was an inevitable part of life for Italian immigrants in the early 20th century. This was the reality for my own family in the 1920s who, fleeing the oppression of Mussolini, traded in the shores of southern Italy for the Reading Railroad. They left behind much of what they owned, but couldn’t bear abandoning their cultureespecially their food.

    There’s one dessert in particular that stands out in the memories of my grandfather: ravioli dolci or ravioli cookies. Named for their visual similarities to traditional raviolis, ravioli dolci are filled with ricotta and other sweet ingredients.

    Makes 3 dozen cookies


    3⅓ cups flour

    ⅓ cup sugar

    1 tablespoon baking powder

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    1 stick butter

    1 egg

    ⅓ cup milk

    ½ teaspoon vanilla extract


    2 cups ricotta

    1 egg

    2 tablespoons cinnamon

    1½ teaspoon vanilla extract

    ⅓ cup confectioner’s sugar

    ⅓ cup sugar

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Whisk the egg and vanilla extract, and add it into the flour mixture.
    2. Knead well for five minutes, adding milk gradually until the dough reaches a firm consistency. Roll the dough out to a ¼ of an inch in thickness. Cut the dough into 3 inch circles.
    3. Combine all ingredients for the filling in a separate bowl. Put one rounded tablespoon of filling on each piece of dough. Fold each cookie in half, moistening the edges with water so the two sides stick. Crimp down the edges with a fork. Place a small slit across the top of each cookie with a knife.
    4. Bake for 18 to 25 minutes, or until the cookies turn lightly-brown. Remove from the oven, and set on a rack to cool.
  8. Krazy for Keto

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    Article by Maya Moore

    Feature photo by Alice Deng

    Imagine a diet where you’re free to eat cheese, butter, and meat and still lose weight? Well, thanks to the ketogenic diet, your dreams have become a reality. The ketogenic diet, or keto diet, as it is commonly called, has become greatly popularized in the last year. According to U.S. News it was one of the ten “most googled diets in 2017” and has joined the ranks of many well-known diet fads like Atkins, South Beach, and Whole30.

    This diet, high in fats, moderate in proteins, and low in carbohydrates makes miracle promises of almost immediate weight loss when followed properly. But what makes this diet different than any other fad of the time is that it is actually supported by science! The keto diet actually dates back to the early 20th century when doctors began using it as a way to treat childhood epilepsy. With next to no carbohydrates, the diet was intended to mimic the metabolism of fasting by supplying ketones, or broken down fat molecules, to the brain, thus decreasing hyperactivity in the nervous system. But in the midst of the obesity epidemic over the past several decades, keto emerged as a remedy for rapid and effective weight loss. In the absence of glucose, which comes largely from carbohydrate-rich foods, the body breaks down these stored fat molecules as a source of energy. The end goal of the ketogenic diet is to force the body into a metabolic state called ketosis. So after three or four days of eating a diet high in fat and almost no carbohydrates, the body enters into ketosis and start burning stored fat for energy. Sounds like a holy grail diet right? But let’s not forget that in order to enter ketosis you must eat no more than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. That is no easy feat considering an apple contains nearly 30 grams of carbs!

    Despite its unconventional nature, numerous celebrities, athletes and fitness enthusiasts from Lebron James to Mick Jagger are hopping on to the diet trend. Still not convinced that the diet really works? There are hundreds of journals with published research claims on this science so be sure to check it out!

    But for all you readers who are are already convinced, read on for my top 3 favorite keto recipes below, featuring keto-ready recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

    Keto Banana Pancakes:


    • 1 Medium ripe banana
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
    • ⅛ tsp salt
    • ⅛ tsp baking powder

    Use a dinner fork to thoroughly mash the banana to a pudding-like consistency. Add vanilla extract, salt, and baking powder. Whisk the eggs and add to mixture. Place the pancakes on hot griddle at medium heat and flip when ready. Add desired toppings. I like to add just a little bit of honey and a handful of blueberries! Serve warm.

    Layered Taco Salad:


    • 1 lb of extra lean ground turkey
    • 1 head of iceberg lettuce
    • 1 packet of taco seasoning mix
    • 1 cup of sour cream
    • 1 15 oz can of your favorite beans (drained)
    • 1 15 oz can of sweet corn (drained)
    • 12 oz of shredded cheddar cheese
    • 8 oz of tomato salsa
    • 1 can of black olives (drained)
    • 2 jalapeno peppers sliced

    Just layer, chill, and cut into cake-like pieces.

    Zucchini Pizza Boats

    • 6 small zucchini
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • Salt and ground black pepper
    • 1 cup of marinara sauce
    • 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
    • ⅓ cup parmesan cheese
    • ½ cup of mini pepperoni slices

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Cut each zucchini into halves through the length. Pat insides dry with paper towels. In a bowl, stir together olive oil and garlic then brush lightly over tops of zucchini. Sprinkle with salt and pepper then brush 1 tablespoon of marinara sauce over each zucchini. Sprinkle tops with mozzarella cheese. Add italian seasoning for flavor. Bake for 12-18 minutes depending on desired crispiness. Remove from oven and sprinkle with oregano. Serve warm.

    Recipe source: Cooking Classy

  9. A Drinker’s Guide to the Galaxy

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    Article by Isami McCowan

    Photos by Jess Moh

    To find traces of our world in science fiction, you don’t need to venture further than the liquor cabinet. Though the realms of aliens, witches, wizards, and Vulcans are tumultuous, alcohol has remained their constant for generations because it illustrates humanity. In sci-fi, it is the vice shared among galaxies that reveals the non-negotiables of our existence.

    In the Harry Potter series, Firewhiskey is a popular drink among witches and wizards known for its burning heat that fills the body with courage. Harry and his friends raised glasses of it to toast to the memory of recently deceased Professor Alastor Moody. Firewhiskey illustrates the presence of human nature in a fantasy world: it is consumed when solidarity and escapism are needed. The act of toasting a glass of whiskey in someone’s honor, in all it’s simplicity, illuminates the community element of the Harry Potter series that allows readers to see themselves and their friends in the characters.

    Star Trek’s characteristically blue, highly intoxicating Romulan Ale stirs up memories of the Prohibition era. It was illegal in Star Trek’s Federation from roughly 2280 to 2370, but beloved Captain James Kirk was still able to sneak some for his crew at a formal dinner. When told it was illegal, Kirk shrugged it off as “one of the advantages of being a thousand light years from Federation headquarters.” Like Prohibition-era drinkers, the attractiveness of alcohol was only heightened by the ban in the eyes of Kirk and his team. Though Kirk himself is human, much of his society is not. He reasons that he’s in a position of power over the Federation because the distance is too great for them to arrest him. Not many things could tie our psyche with that of aliens and futuristic Starfleet officers. But as shown through Kirk’s surreptitious Romulan Ale, the nature of human desire for power and control over vices is universal.

    The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy introduced us to the most legendary fictional cocktail of all time: the Pan-Galactic gargle blaster. The drink’s effects are said to resemble “having your brains smashed in by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick.” Though protagonist Ford Prefect is a hitchhiking space alien, his use of alcohol as an agent of mystical transport, not unlike how college students use it, brings him down to Earth. It’s surprisingly easy to compare the weight of saving galaxies to that of learning a semester’s worth of material during finals week—Ford’s intergalactic drinking reflects the escapism from stress via alcohol that many of us know too well.

    The idea that a fictional alien displays human-like drinking patterns offers an exploration of the meaning of consciousness, showing that the intellect of science fiction creatures overlaps with ours–the power of the mindfulness is our common thread. Alcohol is a defining aspect of human society, but has also established itself as one in other worlds. It is this commonality that lets us see ourselves in science fiction’s most beloved characters, whether through the familiarity of community, escapism, or the intrigue of a vice. Science fiction offers us the rare opportunity to see alcohol as a unifier rather than an agent of divisiveness.

    Goblet of Fire



    1/2 oz blue curacao

    1 oz vodka

    151 rum


    1. Combine the vodka, blue curacao and lemonade in a goblet and stir.
    2. Float a shallow layer of 151-proof rum on top, then set alight using a long match or lighter.
    3. Sprinkle cinnamon over the flames to generate sparks. Blow out the flames or let them die down, then drink.

    Royal Blue Lagoon Martini


    Coarse sugar, optional

    1/4 cup cranberry juice cocktail

    1 oz vodka

    1 oz blue curacao

    1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

    Lemon wedge


    1. Add cranberry juice, vodka, curacao and lemon juice; cover and shake.
    2. Strain into martini glass and serve with a lemon wedge.
  10. A Date ‘Offishally’ Gone Wrong

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    By Breanne Mastromarino

    *A Penn freshman couple walks into a Philadelphia restaurant*

    Boy: I can feel it from my head to-ma-toes that this will be an amaizing dinner!

    Girl: Me too- I hope this beets the dining halls!

    Boy: I bet it’s going to be pearfect.

    Waiter: Gouda evening, may I offer you both something to drink?

    Boy: No way Rosé, I’m still hungover from last night’s BYO at Banana Leaf.

    Girl: I’ll man-go for a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon please. I need something to wine down after pulling an all nighter writing a lit review.

    Waiter: Okay, I will brieturn with the Cabernet!

    Waiter: *brings wine and knocks over entire glass of red wine on girls white dress* So sorry, that was my miSTEAK! *Walks away*

    Girl: Oh my gourd, that was so embarrassing.

    Boy: Maybe we should merlot-er our expectations for this meal.

    Girl: Ugh, that spill totally kaled the vibe!

    Boy: So, I bREAD some reviews online and it seems like this place is wayyy better than the dining halls.

    Girl: I actually heard the old chef pastaway and now they’ve got some new guy in the kitchen.

    *waiter returns to take order*: What will you be spaghettin tonight?

    Girl: I’d like a pizza the…

    Boy: Oh crepe, I’m not ready yet.

    Waiter: How about I come back to take your order when Açaí you’re both ready?

    *Waiter returns 5 minutes later*

    Girl: I’ll try the pork loin with mashed potatoes and asparagus. Seems so eggsquisite!

    Boy: I’ve offishally decided on the salmon.

    *20 minutes later, the waiter brings food and the  couple begins eating*

    Boy: Finally, lettuce enjoy our meal…

    Girl: I’d love to, but something on my plate is smellon pretty bad.

    Boy: Can I try a pizza that?

    Girl: Go ahead, I don’t carrot all because whatever it is, it’s gross.

    Boy: Oh no, I feel like omlettin you down.

    Girl: There’s not mushroom left in my appetite after tasting whatever that was.

    Boy: Is it too choco-late for you to order a different entrée?

    Girl: Yeah, I think I’m muffinished for tonight.

    Boy: Let’s order you something else since you caviar disappointed.

    Girl: How about cocoNOT.  no s’more food for me.

    *Waiter returns*:  I cannoli imagine how much you both are enjoying your meal!

    Girl: I don’t even want to taco bout this awful food.

    Waiter: What would you like to hors d’oeuvre instead?

    Girl: Nothing because I have a partea i’m going to be late for.

    Boy: Avocadon’t you think you’d like something else?

    Girl: Fork you. I’m brocolleaving! *Gets up and walks out*

    Boy: Ugh, she desserted me.

    *Waiter brings complimentary filet mignon*

    Waiter: It seems like there were some issues lobstirring up in the kitchen, so this is on us tonight.

    Boy: Well I guess I’ll appeachate this free entree that I have all to myself.

    Waiter: Finally some peas and quiet. What a cham-pagne in the bass!


  11. St. Patrick’s Day Cupcakes

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    Recipe and photos by Marisa Wong

    In preparation for St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to bake some cupcakes!  These are perfect for a party or just a fun night in with friends.



    • 1 package of boxed cake mix


    • 4 cups of powdered sugar
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) of room temperature butter
    • 3 tsp of vanilla
    • 2 Tbsp of milk (can use dairy-free milk)

    TOPPINGS (optional)

    • Mini marshmallows
    • Rolo candies
    • Green sprinkles
    • Gold sprinkles
    • Airheads Extreme Rainbow  candies


    1. Preheat oven to 325OF (or other temperature depending on cake mix).
    2. Line the cupcake pans with cupcake wrappers.
    3. Follow the package instructions on the cupcake mix; I used flax eggs rather than real eggs to make it egg-free (1 Tbsp ground flax seed mixed with 3 Tbsp water to make one egg substitute).
    4. Let the cupcakes cool.
    5. To make the buttercream frosting, beat powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, and milk until creamy.
    6. Add green food coloring to the frosting until desired color is reached.
    7. Spread or pipe frosting onto cupcakes.
    8. Add desired toppings.

    After preheating the oven and lining the cupcake pans, I added water, vanilla, butter, and flax egg substitute to the yellow cake mix and mixed it.   

    Instead of using 3 eggs, I made combined 3 tablespoons of ground flax seeds with 9 tablespoons of water and let it sit for 10 minutes.  This is a great way to make egg-free batter, and it’s an attempt at making this dessert slightly healthier. Of course, you can still use regular eggs!

    I repeated the same steps, adding, then mixing, water, butter, and the flax egg (no vanilla this time) to the chocolate cake mix.  

    I poured both batters into the lined cupcake pans and then baked them for 18-23 minutes.  

    While the cupcakes cooled, I started making the buttercream frosting.

    For the frosting, I added the powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, and milk (I used almond-coconut) to a bowl and mixed until creamy.

    I then added about 5 drops of green food coloring to match the St. Patrick’s Day theme.  

    I piped the frosting onto the cupcakes.  An easy way to do this is to put some frosting into a gallon ziploc bag and cut off one bottom corner to the desired thickness of the frosting.  Then just apply to the cupcake.

    I finished the cupcakes by topping them with mini marshmallows, Rolo candies, and some green sprinkles!  You can put some frosting onto the Rolo’s to make green or gold sprinkles stick. Also feel free to add some rainbow candy, e.g. Airheads Extreme Rainbow candy, to the cupcakes.  

    Inspired by:

  12. Marigold Kitchen: An Interview With Chef Andrew Kochan

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    Article by Sophia Yang

    Photos by Leah Sprague

    West Philly is becoming known as a culinary hotspot for up-and-coming cuisine via mom and pop style restaurants, and Marigold Kitchen serves as a perfect example. It’s outside appearance of a traditional Victorian home on a quiet residential street may give the impression that there’s nothing to see, but looks can be deceiving. Stepping through to the elegant dining room, you’re put at ease in an atmosphere perfect for the experimental tasting menu to come. We headed to Marigold to meet with Chef Andrew Kochan and find out more about who they are, what they do, and how they make the magic happen.

    Can you talk about Marigold’s history, and how you became involved?

    Marigold has been around making food for a long time. Somewhere around 16 years ago or so, is when Steven Cook took it over. Mike Solomonov worked underneath him, and was a sous chef for a year or two…Steven Cook sold it to Rob Halpern, who was actually my boss. Rob owned it for, I want to say 8 years? I was around for the last year or so…I started here, and I went to school with Tim, my partner who’s the sous chef. We got promoted up, and he became the chef du cuisine, I became the sous chef and– we were able to buy the place. That was 3 years ago.

    When you guys took over, what changes did you make?

    Rob had worked at a restaurant called Alinea. It’s very modernist. They do weird stuff, like sugar balloons that are filled with helium. We didn’t want to push those same boundaries, because– frankly, I don’t think this city was ready for a place that was going to do like 24 courses, just pure craziness. We do anywhere between 12 to 14 courses, and stepped back a little bit from being modernist. What people would call molecular gastronomy, it’s involved here, but it’s not mission critical.

    Where did you work before this, was it in the food industry?

    No, I worked for JP Morgan– and I hated it. I sat down with my dad and was like “Look, I hate everything about what I’m doing, you’re going to kill me if I change directions?” And he was like, “No, but what are you going to do?” And I said, “Well everything in my life has been about food, in terms of how I make memories. Stuff with family, stuff with friends, it’s always centered around food. I either want to work in the restaurant business somehow, or, I want to go and work for a conservancy group saving manta rays in the Maldives.” And he said, “Well, you’re not going to get paid diving with manta rays in the Maldives.” (Laughs)

    What is it that you enjoy about what you do here, as not a “typical sit down meal”?

    I can’t imagine being pigeon-holed, into one specific thing. Like, if all we did was pasta, I’d get bored. I’d get bored fast. (Laughs) But, the fact that we’re pushed to create. We’ve never done a cheese plate where we actually just put cheese, and nuts, and fruit and whatever onto the board, but we’ve done 15, 16 iterations now. Right now, it’s a push pop– goat cheese with orange blossom and cinnamon and walnut. Because we don’t have a regular menu, it allows for us to be a little more creative in whatever direction we want. We’ve had a thousand ideas, and we get to just test out ideas, skills, and things we’ve never tried.

    Are there any dishes that come back, because you enjoyed them so much?

    No. When we first took over, we said from the very beginning, we’re not going to repeat things. It’s a blessing and a curse, because it’s awesome that we’ve never repeated anything, but it’s also a nightmare.

    Why do you always want to be making new courses?

    If you’re not pushing forward, then you’re going to fall back onto something that’s easy. And then as soon as we start saying, well we’re never going to get rid of the scallops dish, it’s too easy and everybody likes it, we’ll just make parm broth all the time now. Then, whoever makes the parmesan broth is going to start getting sloppier and lazier, not as good.

    Can you give us an example of a dish that’s unique to what Marigold does?

    I wanted to do a pumpkin pie dessert, but it turned into our float finisher. So, it’s a maple soda with pumpkin ice cream and a gingersnap cookie. It’s pumpkin pie, but it’s not in the form of pumpkin pie at all. We try to take things out of their element.

    Okay, last question. You do a bunch of crazy things to food, what’s been the weirdest?

    So, I’d say it’s caramel gel that we’re doing right now. It was the most ass-backwards thing I’ve ever done. There’s all these rules that you follow for caramel. You start the heat, let it caramelize, liquify. Your job is to dab anything on the sides so that it doesn’t burn and cause a chain reaction, where one crystal will cause others to form, and then ruin the whole batch. So for this gel, you make a nice perfect caramel, but overcook it so that it hardens to a rock. Then, you let it cool, add a bunch of water, and boil it back down to nothing. So, essentially you make something difficult, then destroy it immediately. Then, you set it with agar-agar, which is from red algae, cool it, take it out, cut it into small pieces. At that point, it’s like weird caramel gummies, and then blend that with heavy cream. It comes out like an amazing ganache. It’s really good.



    Basil Seltzer, Reduced Balsamic

    French Onion Ravioli

    Gruyere, Brioche

    Foie Gras Lettuce & Tomato

    Mache, Sourdough, Roasted Tomato

    Eggs Benedict

    Quail Egg, Hot Sauce Bubbles, Scallion

    Scallop Crudo

    Yuzu Jus, Sake, Cilantro Ice

    Habeñero Gnocchi

    Grilled Pineapple, Pico de Gallo, Guava

    Duck Maki

    Black Garlic, Maitake, Dashi

    Curry Tofu

    Fennel, Leek, Mango

    Lemon Sorbet

    Pink Peppercorn, Black Peppercorn

    Striped Bass

    White Bean, Arugula, Niçoise, Cured Yolk, Pepper


    Wild Mushroom, Corn, Golden Beet, Concord Grape


    Manchego, Ricotta, Kirsch, Honey, Walnut, Cubeb

    Rice Pudding

    Cinnamon, Brandy, Raisin, Wild Rice, Orange


    Sweet Corn, Chipotle, Dark Chocolate