The Grad Lounge – The First 20 Posts, and Two and a Half Years of Wonderful Foodie Memories

2 Comments

It’s been 5 months since I started this blog and within these 5 months, I’ve written 20 posts for The Grad Lounge!  20 POSTS!  I don’t know what to be more amused about: my dedication to this weekly feature or how much I eat here!  I am so proud of showing everyone some of the great food that Mike and Paul and the rest of the staff have cooked up since I started grad school two and a half years ago, and I am so happy looking back at all the yummy things I ate and all the sweet memories and friends I’ve made here. 

In the beginning, The Grad Lounge functioned as a place for me to get away from the noisy student centre and long line-ups elsewhere on campus (read: Tim Hortons).  It quickly turned into so much more.  It offered me a place to socialize.  It offered me countless warm, comforting meals in the dead of winter, and fun barbeques in the summer.  It gave me healthier alternatives that I so desparately craved.  It offered me a place to spend time with Richard when he and I started our sweet relationship, and for a very brief period of time it even offered me employment.  Eating here expanded my palate, introducing me to new things and so many great vegetarian and vegan meals. 

I think back to the first photo I took here and I snort at how bad it looks.  I couldn’t take a decent food picture to save my life.  In this respect, it has been a practice photography studio, a creative outlet, and an inspiration for me.  And I hope that these meals have given, and will give, inspiration to everyone else!  I haven’t written about The Grad Lounge only because I want to share what I’ve eaten here; I also have the hope that these photos and meals provide you guys with ideas of your own to try at home or to give you that push to try something new.  Even though I’ve finished grad school and will be graduating in June, I’ll still be posting photos and writing about the meals because I really enjoy it.  I’ll be kicking around 😉  Here’s to the first 20 posts and to all the great memories.

*****

The Grad Lounge is located at 166 South Ross at the York University Keele campus.  The 5 photos you see up at the top are my 5 favourite meals from the 20 meals I have posted thus far 🙂  The (v) indicates that the meal is vegetarian.

Advertisements

Weekly Feature: The Grad Lounge – Chickpea, Quinoa, and Red Pepper Stew

3 Comments

Yet another great healthy meal dished out by The Grad Lounge!  A warm vegetable stew of chickpeas, quinoa, and roasted red peppers served over rice with a side spring mix green salad.  It was the first time I had seen it on their daily specials menu and you know me and new things; I pounced on it!  Sometimes it really amazes me how many new things I’ve integrated into my diet over the past four years and how I can’t imagine my life without them now.  Lentils, falafel, avocado, okra, kale – I love them all, and I’m so glad that I’ve added quinoa to this list too! 

Pronounced “keen-wah”, it’s a great high protein, gluten-free alternative to wheat grains.  It’s a fantastic food for those who follow a plant-based diet and you eat it much the same way you would rice, corn, and cous cous.  When cooked, quinoa is fluffy in texture with a beady kind of bite to it.  It’s tiny-tiny like cous cous and is pale and a bit translucent.  The first time I ate quinoa was at Kale Eatery last September, with portobello mushrooms.  To me it tastes like cous cous, only a tiny bit chewier and fluffier 🙂  Although I enjoy rice, I really love eating other grains too and I’m excited to try other dishes with it and to use it in some breakfast yogurt!

*****

The Grad Lounge is located at 166 South Ross at the York University Keele campus.  Starting today (Monday, April 11th), The Grad Lounge will be changing their hours to summer hours until September.  Summer operating hours are from 12pm-6:30pm, Monday to Friday.

Weekly Feature: The Grad Lounge – Meet The Popular Veggie & Bean Burrito

1 Comment

Much like her popular cousin, vegan chili, the veggie burrito has her own faithful flock of followers at The Grad Lounge; one of those followers being me!  They’re available every day on the permanent menu and they’re ready to go as soon as you walk in.  If you love bean burritos, you will love this.  You will devour this and then want more.  I speak from personal experience.  Wrapped in a warm flour tortilla, it’s stuffed with refried beans, jack and cheddar cheese, green bell pepper, and tomato salsa with a side of sour cream.  The beans are super smooth and delicious and it’s the kind of flavour that envelopes in your mouth.  You get that crunch from the bell pepper, the slight saltiness from the melted cheese, and a taste of vinegar and lime juice from the juciy tomato salsa.  It’s a favourite go-to menu item for many people who come here to eat just because it’s an easy item to take away, it’s filling, it’s big, and it’s affordable ($5.45 if I’m not mistaken).

I finish off my side of sour cream every single time.  I’ll use a fork to slather it on, I’ll dip the burrito in it, and I’ll use the fork to scrape up the sides when there’s really nothing left.  You know you’re obvious about how much your love sour cream when you’re out with your family and your grandma sees you cleaning off your little sour cream dish and whispers to your mother, “she really likes that stuff, doesn’t she?”.  Yes, yes I do.

*****

The Grad Lounge is located at 166 South Ross at the York University Keele campus.  Starting today (Monday, April 11th), The Grad Lounge will be changing their hours to summer hours until September.  Summer operating hours are from 12pm-6:30pm, Monday to Friday.

Weekly Feature: The Grad Lounge – A “Brunch” Sandwich with Egg Salad and Crispy Bacon

3 Comments

For whatever reason, I am on a huge sandwich kick these days.  I mean, sandwiches were always a staple for lunch during all my years in elementary and high school, and to a lesser extent, university, so it’s surprising to me that I’m not sick of it.  I guess it’s because I’ve become so inspired by different fillings and fresh bakery breads as of late that it has once again become exciting for me.  I think we all go through phases like this.  Sometimes you fall in a rut and you’re inspired again by something new and different.  I’m currently excited to create a tofu scramble sandwich on crusty bread so we’ll see how that works out in the next few weeks! 🙂

I’m quite fond of sandwiches on rye bread so whenever The Grad Lounge has a sammie using rye on the daily specials menu, it’s hard to pass up.  Pastrami, corned beef, tuna salad, tuna melt, I’m all for it.  Especially when it’s a sandwich with egg salad with the option of adding bacon!  Sometimes you just want something smoky, salty, and crispy and bacon fits the bill.  And my oh my did this sandwich ever taste YUMMY with the bacon!  It was like a lunch version of a breakfast sandwich except much fresher in flavour and without all the grease!  Egg salad with chopped celery served with lettuce and crispy strips of bacon on marble rye with a spring mix salad on the side.  It was crunchy and crispy and savoury and all sorts of awesome.  My way of getting in a “breakfast food” fix at lunch time 🙂

*****

The Grad Lounge is located at 166 South Ross at the York University Keele campus.  Spring and summer hours will most likely begin within the next few weeks, so check back for updated hours of operation.

Weekly Feature: The Grad Lounge – Rosemary Chicken on Mashed Potatoes, Bring on the Gravy!

2 Comments

Call me easily amused, but I get excited whenever I see mashed potatoes.  Like I wrote in my post a week and a half ago on my beloved spuds, they’re so versatile and I love them with gravy, sour cream, green onions, chives, cheese, mixed veggies, peas, etc. etc.  Not only do they taste delightful, but how many foods out there don’t require you to really chew?  For me it’s great because according to my mum, who has apparently watched and observed my eating habits at the dinner table, I chew my food an average of 22 times before I swallow.  It’s no wonder I eat so slow most of the time.  And it’s no wonder my jaws are kind of sore by the end of my meal.  Oh well.

I refer to this Grad Lounge dish as rosemary chicken stew on potato mash.  Shredded rosemary seasoned chicken served with mushrooms, cooking onions, shallots, and mushroom gravy on top of a big pillow of soft mashed potatoes and a side salad of mixed greens.  It’s like the ultimate meal for softies! 😀  You know, the kind of meal that’s good for when you need something soft and mushier.  The gravy is really flavourful from the mushrooms and chicken and another one of those nice winter comfort meals.  Not to mention the pairing of chicken with mushrooms is a classic (don’t pretend like you don’t snicker when you hear people non-Chinese people saying “moo-goo-guy-pan”!). 

The Grad Lounge does two variations on this dish and they’re both a part of the rotating daily specials menu.  This one is the shredded meat version and the other is 2-piece rosemary chicken thigh dish.  Given the weather we’ve been having as of late (read: wet sleet and wet snow and freezing rain, oh my!) a nice plate of steaming hot chicken and potatoes does the job.

*****

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 – Make Way For Bruschetta!

3 Comments

You know the bruschetta is delicious when even my picky eater of a sweetie who hates tomatoes likes it!  I love bruschetta because of its versatility.  I have a weakness for things like prosciutto  with olive oil and capers, or smoked salmon, or mussels and oysters, and I’ve tried bruschetta made in different ways from different places like the avocado bruschetta from Southern Accent which is yummy as hell!  Crunchy grilled bread rubbed with garlic and olive oil would make anybody drool just by thinking about it and The Grad Lounge’s dish of bruschetta is a vegetarian version, juicy and fresh with lots of diced veggies and a reeeeally nice helping of melted cheese! 

The appetizer dish (3 for $3.95)  comes with 3 wedges of crispy bread topped with diced green bell pepper, juicy tomatoes, red onion and lots of melted marble cheese!  The bruschetta is available on The Grad Lounge’s daily permanent menu and comes in 2 sizes, one with 3 wedges and the other with, I believe, 5 or 6.  This is SO good.  There’s so much yummy stuff on it that you can’t even see the bread underneath.  The cheese is ooey and gooey and the combination of juicy and melty is perfect because the veggies and cheese balance one another well, and the veggies don’t make the bread soggy.  Good for sharing, or good for stuffing your own face.

*****

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 – The Melty, Toasty, Crunchy Tuna Melt

2 Comments

The tuna melt  is one of my favourite Grad Lounge dishes!  It’s funny, when we were in elementary or high school, sandwiches were one of those things that we often brought because 1) hey, that’s just what our parents used to make and if you didn’t like it you didn’t get lunch, 2) they didn’t need to be microwaved, and 3) they didn’t leak and make a mess all over the place (hopefully).  We brought them so often, day in and day out, that we would get bored of them and the last thing you’d want eating out was a sandwich.  And here I am eating a schooltime staple at the age of 25 and loving it: tuna salad.

Now I know it may seem like your regular sammie, but this ain’t no boring schoolyard lunch in a lunch box.  It’s one of my favourites because it incorporates 2 of my sandwich loves: tuna and cheese!  Served together or separately, I’m quite fond of tuna salad and you all know how dearly I adore cheese.  The tuna melt is fab.  It’s served on 3 slices of  toasty, crusty marble rye bread with tuna salad, slices of cucumber, melted marble cheese, and dried parsley flakes sprinkled on top with a side salad of mixed greens and sun-dried tomato dressing.  I love how toasty and warm and soft everything is and the melt gets brownie points in my book because the tuna salad is made in my favourite way: with chopped celery!  It’s how I make my tuna at home and it makes me all squealy knowing others make it and serve it the same way 😀  The tuna melt is part of the permanent Grad Lounge menu, so you can order it any day of the week and it is all sorts of warm and comforting.  Our schooltime sandwich is all grown up.  Awww.

*****

The Grad Lounge is located at 166 South Ross at the York University Keele campus and have extended their hours to 9pm in the evening from Monday to Thursday, and until 7pm on Friday.