Quite Possibly the Last Grad Lounge Feature – Saying Farewell With Spicy Tomato Dill Soup

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It’s true, this may very well be my last Weekly Grad Lounge post.  The Grad Lounge will be closing up shop for the summer after this Thursday (June 30th) and seeing that I’m no longer a grad student, the chances of me reporting back with more good eats from here come September are slim to none.  I’m sad that I won’t be able to make any more weekly posts because it’s been so much fun, but most of all, I’m sad that I won’t get to eat here and see the people who keep this place running like clockwork on a consistent basis anymore.  There’s no guarantee that I’ll have the job of my dreams (or any full-time job for that matter) by the time September rolls around, but even so, it’s looking like this meal may have been my last here. 

I’m saying farewell with a bowl of hot, spicy tomato dill soup with lots of yummy dill and chives and creamed tomato with a crunchy side of baguette bread.  I slurped this bowl of soup up real good.  I love dill, I love chives, and because I don’t shy away from tomatoes and enjoy a little bit of kick in my food (and evidently in my soup!), this was delicious.  Dunking my crunchy bread into the creamy soup and crushed tomatoes was delightful.  I’m going to really miss getting excited over new menu items, walking in to find out that there are daily special menu items written on the chalkboard I haven’t tried yet (and consequently, haven’t blogged about yet), and having a homey place on campus to have a wholesome, great meal.

Writing these weekly posts has been awesome; it’s given me focus, a way to get inspired, and a way to show everyone just how important The Grad Lounge has been to me during the course of my grad student career.  And to think that there are still menu items I haven’t blogged about yet!  I really hope someday I’ll be able to pick up where I left off and post more Grad Lounge meals here and there, but for now, it’s good-bye.  Thanks for the memories (and of course the delicious food!), it’s been amazing.

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The Grad Lounge is located at 166 South Ross at the York University Keele campus.  They will be closing for the summer THIS THURSDAY (June 30th) and will be open from 12pm-5pm for the next several days, so drop in to get your last fix of the summer and to give Mike and Paul a big thanks for all their hard work.

Weekly Feature: The Grad Lounge – Sweet Potato & Black Bean Soup, Channa Wraps, and Memories of Wet Boots

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There isn’t a story behind the sweet potato and black bean soup (other than it tastes good!), but there’s certainly one behind the channa wrap.  The channa wrap and I were introduced and acquainted during the cold days of winter 2008.  I was a first year masters student out on the picket line during a strike at school and the channa wrap…well, the channa wrap was merely a warm tortilla with stuffing just waiting to be eaten.  It was a tumultuous relationship from the get-go.  

On those bitter cold, dreary days, the food truck that provided us with these warm morsels of chickpeas for lunch was like a heavenly godsend, a desert oasis if you will.  On other days when I was tired of staring at the same traffic light and trudging along in repititive circles, the channa wrap was a sad reminder of how much I wanted pizza.  That and a warm, dry pair of boots.  I would hold my channa wrap in my mittened hands, sneer at it and think, “I am not in the mood for you today, I have a pool party going on in my boots!”  But that was then and this is now and I am in a much better place.  For one thing, I haven’t crossed that old picket crosswalk in over two years.  And for another, I chucked those wet wafer boots out.

Given our turbulent relationship, the channa wrap and I haven’t been reunited till now.  And I gotta say, the channa wrap tastes much more heavenly when you’re sitting down, enjoying a nice relaxing lunch, and you’re not cold to the bone.  Along with the vegan chili and veggie burritos, the channa wrap is a great vegetarian and vegan permanent, everyday menu item.  One of the things I really like about The Grad Lounge is how they provide a number of healthy vegetarian and vegan meals.  Anyone can claim they’re vegetarian by eating nothing by bread, pasta, and starches, but it’s a much bigger task eating vegetarian in a healthy, nutrient-rich way.  To my vegetarian friends and readers, you know the situation.  You’re at a place and all you can find on the menu is a veggie burger and fries.  Not your idea of a healthy, fulfilling, or satisfying meal.  Vegetarians and vegans alike can eat here without having to make sacrifices on health or waistlines. 

The wrap is full to bursting with soft chickpeas, onions, herbs, and spices, bathed in curry sauce with coconut milk.  It’s soft, warm, hearty, and flavourful with that little bit of curry kick.  You don’t realize just how filling this is until you eat it but let me tell you, it packs a punch and for $4.95 each, that works for me.  I love my legumes, so I had me a bowl of sweet potato and black bean soup to go along with my channa wrap and that rounded out my vegetarian meal quite nicely.  The hungarian mushroom soup has to be my favourite soup at The Grad Lounge, but this sweet potato and black bean soup was really good too.  They have a rotating daily selection of soup and from what I’ve seen, a lot of the soups are stocked with veggies and protein-rich beans, lentils, and other legumes.

Twas a warm, welcoming reunion between me and channa wrap.  Go chickpeas!

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The Grad Lounge is located at 166 South Ross at the York University Keele campus.  The Grad Lounge’s summer operating hours are from 11:30pm-6:30pm, Monday to Friday.  It is a graduate student space on campus, so please ensure that if you wish to come here that you are either a York grad student with ID on hand, or that you are accompanied by a grad student if you aren’t one.

Weekly Feature: The Grad Lounge – An Irish Inspired Menu and A Bowl of Potato & Cabbage Soup

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I was so crushed that I didn’t get to do the fun St. Patty’s day things I wanted to do, but as luck would have it, The Grad Lounge totally came through for me on Thursday with an Irish-inspired menu!!  Oh gosh, I was so ecstatic!  Think lamb stew, corn beef, and what I ordered: potato and cabbage soup!  So I did end up having something Irish that day it made me real happy.  I’m a big fan of The Grad Lounge’s soup (and the corn muffins!) and the selection changes on a daily basis.  Thus far, I’ve had the hungarian mushroom, spring vegetable, butternut squash, and the lentil, and although I love them all, the hungarian mushroom is definitely my most favourite, with the lentil one coming in at 2nd place. 

A regular bowl of soup is $3.50 and is served with your choice of white or whole wheat bread roll, or corn muffin, and a large soup is available to-go for $4.25.  This one had soft chunks of potato and crunchy shredded cabbage, and those black flecks you see are just some black pepper I sprinkled on because I love black pepper on everything, ha.  So this is me really happy that I got the chance to eat something Irish on St. Patty’s, yay! 😀

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The Grad Lounge is located at 166 South Ross at the York University Keele campus.  They offer a number of daily specials in addition to their permanent menu, and provide numerous vegetarian and vegan options.

Weekly Feature: The Grad Lounge – Vegan Chili to Warm Up the Winter

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On winter days, after a grueling day at work or school, waiting out in the cold for the bus, and shovelling the never ending heaps of snow off your driveway, you crave warmth and comfort.  Something you can curl up with on the couch with a blanket in front of the television.  Maybe a bowl of soup, or a warm bowl of rice or noodles in broth…or maybe chili.  I’ll be honest, I was never the biggest fan of chili.  Between soup and chili, I would choose soup any day.  But I’m very pleased to say The Grad Lounge gave me a newfound appreciation for it, and I think I know why.  I hate meat chili.  Okay, maybe hate is too strong a word, but it makes me go “blech”.  And The Grad Lounge’s chili is vegan with enough vegetables to cover a corn field and it SO hearty and juicy and yummy and GOOD.  It’s the kind of food where each spoonful is just as enjoyable as the last and you can’t seem to get yourself to eating it.  THAT GOOD.

Now, I may cancel out the vegan and make mine simply vegetarian by adding a dollop of sour cream (because I love sour cream the same way I love cream cheese!  Wow, what a dairy whore I am), but the chili on its own is accompanied by a roll or corn muffin, and comprised of chopped green and red bell peppers, onions, celery, and jalapeño peppers, as well as plenty of red kidney beans, green lentils, black beans, crushed plum tomatoes, and corn.  The vegan chili is seasoned with Mexcian chili pepper oregano, ground cumin and coriander, and sprinkled with a bit of salt and pepper.  This is a Grad Lounge staple; it’s available every day, hot and fresh and by far the best chili ever! 😀  This owns meat chili any day and I’m so glad this bowl of awesomeness brought me over to the other side of the pond!  This item has quite the faithful following and fanbase.  It should have an appreciation club.  I’d totally be a member.

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The Grad Lounge is located at 166 South Ross at the York University Keele campus.  And just a reminder that The Grad Lounge and GSA are hosting a Dinner & Dialogue event tomorrow in the Grad Café from 5:30pm-7:30pm.  Free movie screening (Spike Lee’s ”4 Little Girls”) and free food with some thoughtful discussion about the movie afterward.  All grad students are welcome!  And thank you again to Mike and Paul for helping me out with the ingredients, I really appreciate it!