My blog is like 80% about food so what’s another food-related post in the grand scheme of things? Baltimore has some great eats, and there are tons of places relatively close to campus. Everyone has their own favorite spots and opinions on the food in Baltimore (Barcocina vs. Waterfront Kitchen for brunch? Charmery vs. Taharka for best ice cream?), but here’s my personal list of favorite Baltimore eats.
(Noticeably missing is a pho spot, because I’m still trying to figure out where my favorite place is. Will update.)
UniMini is the crowning jewel of Hopkins late-night food. Don’t get me wrong, the $2.50 garlic knots at Maxie’s are a fantastic deal. And Insomnia Cookies can really hit the spot at 2am, I know this for a fact. But there really isn’t a better one-stop-shop on any given night than UniMini.
UniMini is stocked with tons of snacks and goodies, but the star is their deli. One can order anything from fries, to jalapeno poppers, to sandwiches (including steak/egg/cheese, shwarama, chicken parmesan, and my new personal favorite — falafel and hummus). Most importantly are their mozzarella sticks, which are quite the campus phenomenon.
In the spirit of fried food and dangerously high levels of sodium, I decided to make a BuzzFeed quiz that’ll tell you your UniMini spirit animal equivalent. The answers and results are all made in good fun! Also note that the pictures are not actual pictures of food from UniMini. (It’s really hard to find an accurate picture of a “special with hash”.)
film a short documentary about food deserts and swamps (… eventually! This is for my term project in one of my classes this semester.)
filled out a week-long food diary to discuss food waste
This last one was for one of my classes this semester, The Environment and Your Health. The intended takeaway from the assignment was for me to become more cognizant of my own personal food waste. And I did! But I also realized that I am just weirdly fascinated by learning what people eat. This makes sense, because I lovewritingaboutfood and almost all of my YouTube recommendations are cooking or those “what I eat in a day” videos. So, similar to this food diary assignment, I decided to take note of what I ate in the last 5 days. Let’s see if there’s anything interesting about my eating and cooking habits.
I know I’m just about out of groceries when I have to buy breakfast. I try to always eat breakfast at home to save money, plus it also encourages me to wake up earlier. But, on this day I think I was running late for work, and plus I had no more breakfast food, so I bought a breakfast sandwich from Eddie’s Market, which is a small grocery store just a block away from my house. They have this great deal where you get a free coffee with the purchase of a breakfast sandwich. I was sold.
I usually eat pretty light for breakfast, so I wasn’t super hungry for lunch before my class at 1:30. I grabbed a pre-made pasta salad and a yogurt from Levering, and ate it right before class started. Quick and dirty.
For dinner, 3/6 of the guys in my house had a treat-yo-self Friday and we made ourselves some steaks. Some roasted potatoes and steamed green beans on the side and we were food coma KO’d for the rest of the evening.
Saturday – 10.29.16:
Breakfast: everything bagel + hummus + coffee
Lunch: turkey/havarti/tomato/arugula panini
Dinner: butternut squash soup
Again, still no groceries, so I got a bagel with hummus and a coffee from Brody Cafe and was working on a group project on Saturday morning. After a bit of struggling, our MATLAB code finally worked (@JHU_Emily was a witness!) We tried to interpret our output but got stuck so we decided to call it a day.
Immediately after, I went to Trader Joe’s in Towson to stock up on groceries finally and made myself a panini when I got back home. I tried out my housemate’s George Foreman panini press for the first time and it was a complete sandwich-game-changer.
For dinner later, I heated up some leftover butternut squash soup I had from earlier in the week, and got into costume for Halloween festivities. My friends and I went as, you guessed it, Trader Joe’s workers. Low effort, maximum wow factor.
I slept in, so I made myself a nice, sizeable brunch with all of my new groceries. My group needed to continue working on our project, so I packed myself some snacks for the library and made a pit-stop at Carma’s Cafe for literally the best cold brew coffee in the Charles Village area.
Back at home, I made myself another George Foreman panini before hanging out my friend’s place for a small potluck gathering. I baked some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, she made some homemade sushi, and another friend brought some pita and hummus. We feasted.
Monday – 10.31.16:
Breakfast: granola bar + grapes
Lunch: pumpkin soup + bread
Dinner: sausage + potatoes + green beans
I realized that running late to things in the morning was becoming a pattern, so I decided to load up on granola bars and portable breakfasts at Trader Joe’s. This morning, I tried out one of their bars and it’s pretty darn good! They’re the Trader Joe’s Raises the Bar ones, if anyone really cares. I ate a side of grapes at work, while @JHU_Genevieve and I worked on designing some pages of this year’s Insider’s Guide!
I didn’t pack lunch and I needed to find food that I could eat while doing some last-minute review of material for a quiz I was taking that afternoon. I settled on some pumpkin soup and fresh baked bread from Levering and chose a seat at the bar in Levering Lounge, one of my new favorite study spots.
For dinner, I needed to whip up something quick in order to get to a meeting. In under 30 minutes, I had myself some delicious chicken sausage, a side of potatoes, and some green beans! The sausage is again, from Trader Joe’s, and I swear to you — it’s the best chicken sausage on this entire planet. It’s their Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage and it’s delicious sweet and savory and maple-y — ugh, they’re amazing.
Tuesday – 11/1/16:
Breakfast: coffee + free doughnut
Lunch: yogurt + granola
Dinner: soba noodle stir-fry
And today! This morning was rough and I needed to treat myself to a coffee from Brody. I saw that a student organization was handing out free doughnuts outside on Tyler Terrace, so I snagged one and settled on a seat in the library to knock out some work. A bit later, I got hungry again, so I ate some yogurt with granola I packed for myself that morning. I had actually packed it for breakfast, but the free doughnut changed the status quo.
During classes, I snacked on an apple while ironically, learning about pesticide use. By around 5, I was about ready to make dinner, and so I whipped up my go-to soba noodle stir-fry, pictured here:
made a purchase for 1/3 of my meals
visited on-campus dining options 5 times: twice at Brody Cafe, and three times at Levering
65% of my meals were vegetarian
drank coffee 4 out of the 5 days
enjoyed free food 3 times
In conclusion, it is indeed possible to cook for oneself the majority of the time, especially living off-campus with access to real, big-people kitchens. I find that I enjoy my meals so much more when I make them myself. Cooking is also a great stress-reliever for me, and I always try my hardest to carve out 1-1.5 hours for dinner on most nights. Plus, it’s always fun to cook and eat with people, like I did with my housemates and my friends at the potluck!
However, eating on-campus is inevitable just because it’s convenient and pretty good! As a junior, I don’t have a meal plan, so I frequent Brody Cafe, for coffee and snacks and Levering Food Court, for lots of quick lunch options. Other common on-campus dining options for me are Levering Cafe and Bamboo Cafe.
Eating more vegetarian meals was kind of an unofficial goal of mine; I’ve been trying to explore different types of proteins, both animal and non-animal, and plus eating less meat is, besides having fantastic health benefits, cheaper! Eating less meat also reduces my carbon footprint, so that’s always good, too!
Honestly, coffee is a very important part of my morning ritual nowadays. I think I should start making my own coffee though to save money, because it does add up… but speaking of saving money, it’s great when you’re a college student because there’s so much free food on and around our campus.
In an attempt to salvage 3/4 of a semester’s worth of daily 1-second clips for a film project I lost track of, I created this “mini-documentary” featuring two of my favorite things: food and friends. As I was looking through the clips I had, I realized that I filmed a lot of meals, and meals that I shared with people. There were the moments more worthy of being captured: trying fermented shark in Iceland, meeting my friend’s family, eating a delicious, homemade dinner made by my fraternity brothers. And there were the smaller ones: grabbing a slice of pizza from Maxie’s, a Carma’s sirloin panino study break, indulging in Doritos in Gilman Atrium in the late of night.
But no matter how quick, or how expensive, or who I’m with, all of these moments represent a very important part of each day: enjoying a meal, with a friend or two. Because through the ups and downs of this semester, this year, my entire time at Hopkins, it’s always been that — enjoying a meal with a friend — that remains constant, and that I always look forward to.
It was our fall break this past weekend, meaning us Hopkins students got an extra long weekend to not do homework we’re supposed to do. Some friends and I rented a Zipcar for the day on Saturday and took a trip up to the greatest city in America, sorry Baltimore –
P H I L A D E L P H I A.
Baltimore is the perfect location – only an hour and a half drive away from home, which puts me only two hours away from Philadelphia. Plus, you’re an $8 MARC train ticket away from Washington, D.C., and trips up to New York aren’t out of the question either. Here is my trip from last Saturday, as told through food.
We zipped up 95, with friends commenting on how picturesque “East Coast” the drive was – a beautiful autumn view with trees of warm shades and highways full of people who can’t drive properly. We took a quick detour to surprise my family back home — and I remembered very quickly how charming the ‘burbs are. My parents, sister and I chit-chatted, the gist of the conversation being –
I absolutely murdered my differential equations midterm
My sister hates AP Biology
My mom’s new job is making her design an indoor mini-golf course in her office (???)
We’re going to our grandma’s for Thanksgiving again
Then, I picked some persimmons from our tree in the backyard and my friends and I snacked on what felt like the first piece of fresh fruit I’ve had in ages (not good, should probably eat more apples or something).
I grabbed my wool jacket from home (I forgot what cold felt like) and my friends and I headed up to Philadelphia. It takes 20-30 minutes to get to the city from my house, but we spent a lot of time just finding parking — shout-out to Michelle for parallel parking probably more times that day than I did in my entire life. We headed into Chinatown to get some Shanghai-style dim sum with some other Hopkins friends who were also in Philly for the day. I got no pictures – but it was my first time ever dim-summing (just coined a new verb) and it was great, great, comfort food.
After sharing our soup dumplings, we split back up and I gave my friends a tour of Reading Terminal Market — a food market selling every food you can think of – Cajun food, Indian food, ice cream, pastries, cheese steaks, fish and poultry, local produce, Amish deli — and I settled on a spoonful of my friend Justin’s pumpkin and coffee ice cream he got from Bassett’s.
We picked the car back up from the overpriced lot and before leaving Chinatown, picked up some bubble tea (boba?? I’m not from the West Coast??) and headed to South Street for some walking and sightseeing.
We stopped by the Philadelphia Magic Gardens (which is super touristy, I know, but there WAS a new Saner exhibit that was cool to check out for the first time).
After admiring some art and taking some family holiday photos, we headed to the Rittenhouse Square area to shop and also crash a Jefferson medical school alumni event to use fancy bathrooms. Somewhere along this timeline, our friend Jilliann had missed her bus back from New York to Baltimore and luckily was able to catch us in Philly and took a bus to meet us in the city. We picked her up from 30th Street Station and headed to our final food destination in Philly – the best cheesesteak place in Philadelphia, Pat’s King of Steaks, whose obnoxious neon lights challenge those of their rival directly across the street, Geno’s Steaks. After indulging in the holy experience that was a “provolone, wit” (steak with provolone and onions, for those who cannot translate between English and the Philadelphian language), we started on our drive back to Baltimore, which takes me to the most important part of our entire trip – our pitstop at Wawa in Newark, Delaware.
Wawa, named America’s favorite convenience store, is only found in the Greater Philadelphia Area. Think of it as the best version of a hybrid between 7-11 and Uni Mini. Its walls, adorned with shelves of half gallons of iced tea and hoagie-ordering computer stations, are sacred. I got myself a Wawa iced coffee and was a happy boy all the way back to Baltimore, ready to kick it into gear until Thanksgiving when I can eat my way back home again.
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