One of my biggest non-academic goals that I set for myself at the beginning of this semester was to make the most of these next four months while I’m here on campus. As cheesy as it sounds, there’s nothing worse than focusing so intently on school to realize that four months of your life just whizzed by and you have nothing other than test grades and all-nighters to remember them by. By no means am I implying that you should disregard your academics, but every so often, you have to step away from the books- at least if not for your mental health, for your physical health.
Since the beginning of Spring semester last year, I noticed that all of the stress and pressure that I was putting on myself was becoming detrimental to my well-being, and it was affecting my relationships. I felt like I wasn’t “living,” just merely going from point A to point B.
So, with this new outlook of mine, I returned to school this year refreshed and made a promise to myself that in the few years that I have in college, I am going to make the most of my time and enjoy the simple things in life that bring me happiness. At the end of the day, it’s the memories you make with your friends, not that single bad grade you earned, that really fills your life with meaning and love.
Judging by the number of times that I went out to brunch (2!!) with my best friends and the amount of photos we took, I’d say I did a good job of honoring my promise! What can I say? I just want to take advantage of every free moment that I have to hang out with my friends and enjoy all of the fine cuisines that Ithaca has to offer before my weekends turn into all-day study sessions at the library. I’ll take a leisurely walk down to the Commons over seeing nothing but the inside of a library any day.
Without a doubt, the Carriage House Cafe in Ithaca is my favorite brunch spot on the weekends. Just be warned though, it can get packed within an hour of opening so go early if you can to avoid waiting. I ended up eating here both days this weekend, but I didn’t mind at all because that just meant that I could try more things on their menu!
Exhibit A. It’s almost unheard of to college students to set an alarm at 8:30am on Saturday morning, much less set an alarm at all, so we made sure to caffeinate as soon as we arrived at the Carriage House. Our early wake-up call paid off, as we beat the crowds and were seated immediately. Don’t you just love that feeling of walking into a restuarant and not having to wait for a table?
An almond milk machiatto was my beverage of choice on Saturday, and when it arrived, I was completely taken aback by its presentation! I’m more well-versed in the language of tea vs. that of coffee, so seeing this teeny tiny cup of espresso being placed in front of me definitely surprised me. I was expecting something a little bigger, like the size of a latte, but hey, it tasted delicious and that’s all that I can ask for 🙂
Exhibit B. To celebrate our first visit to the Carriage House this semester and to kick-off brunch season, I decided to order my faithful go-to- Smoked Salmon LT. Listen to this: slices of house-cured pastrami-style salmon with sun-dried tomato pesto and greens on homemade Ithaca Bakery nine-grain bread. How could you not love this delightful breakfast sandwich??
After some meetings and a walk around campus in the beautiful sunshine, the good eats continued.
Exhibit C. Every once in a while, the dining hall will serve up something special, and Saturday night just so happened to be shrimp tacos! Ok, not exactly, but with my savvy dining hall tricks that I picked up after 2 years of dining hall experience, I was able to whip up these tacos using the various components of the dishes that were being served.
Onto Sunday’s eats…
After learning my lesson from Saturday morning, I stuck with what I knew and ordered an almond milk cappuccino. Gotta get my caffeine fix for the morning!
For brunch round 2, I was prepared and knew exactly what I wanted. The day before, the Special of the Day, a French-rolled omelette filled with kale, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and onions (basically all my fave foods), caught my eye and I knew I just had to have it. You can’t really see the filling in the picture below, but you’ll just have to take my word that it was pretty darn good.
Do you see that bottle of hot sauce front and center? Yup, it just further proves my insane addiction to anything SPICY!! I have developed such a high tolerance for spiciness that I can’t eat something without adding either hot sauce or red pepper flakes or chili powder.
After our brunch excursion in the morning, the rest of the day was spent tutoring general chem and studying microbio. Very exciting, I know.
Any weekend that I am able to get brunch at the Carriage House is a wonderful occasion, but eating there twice? That makes for a fabulous weekend, if I do say so myself. Another weekend for the books.