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Category: Carly Patent (page 1 of 3)

“Spring into Spring” by Carly Patent

Every season has something special. Summer is known for its heat, its pool parties and barbeques, sugary sweet watermelon, and sun burns that turn us into lobsters. Fall calls for comfy sweaters, pumpkin spice everything, apple picking, Halloween candy, and the bright hues of leaves. Winter is a holiday of lights, snowmen, gifts, family, friends, and fireplaces, candy canes, hot chocolate, and Elf. But spring is sometimes the forgotten season. Yes, we all love that after a long winter, we can finally come out of hibernation and break out the shorts and t-shirts that had been buried in our drawers for so long. We love that the flowers are blooming, with their sweet smells filling the air as we walk. Green grass and allergies go hand and hand in springtime, giving Claritin the boost that its been waiting for ever-so-patiently. And pastels – whether on our clothes, our decorations, or our Easter Peeps – make everything cheerful and bright. But, while these are just some reasons why we love springtime, we often don’t make the most of our sunny and 75° days. Especially for us Blue Hens, who spend the majority of the spring season at school – unlike other college students who have most likely been out of school for weeks already – it’s important that we soak in spring and everything that it has to offer. For that reason, I’ve decided to share my top five tips on how to make the most of spring in our final weeks here at the University of Delaware.

  1. Ice Cream at UDairy

It’s no surprise that as the temperatures get hotter, we naturally want something to cool us down. And, it doesn’t hurt that we have a creamery located right on campus to provide us with every flavor under the sun, well, not every flavor, but they’re getting closer and closer every day to that. The proximity of UDairy offers an excuse to put away the books for a little and treat yourself for making it this far into the semester. Gather up your friends, take a walk to UDairy (to burn off a few calories before inhaling a double scoop in a waffle cone…with blue and yellow sprinkles, of course), and try one of their many, many flavors. Raspberry Lemonade Sorbet would be a refreshing treat on a hot day, while their new Candy Crackle Pop, cotton candy ice cream with Pop Rocks, is the perfect thing to transport you to your summer days spent at carnivals or baseball games. After cooling down with a much-needed treat, giving you the sugar high you need to keep powering through with assignments, enjoy the walk home (to continue to walk off the ice cream). Or, if you’re feeling a food coma, there’s nothing wrong with taking the bus back either!

  1. Dining Al Fresco

Continuing with the theme of food (clearly the best theme there is), another way to make the most of spring here at Delaware is to eat outside. Whether you’re getting takeout from Russel or Pencader, setting out a blanket and enjoying it on the turf, or scouting out a table on Main Street – there’s nothing better than eating in the cool, crisp air. Places like Klondike Kate’s, Finn McCool’s, Stone Balloon, and HomeGrown all have a lot of outdoor seating, so I’d suggest hitting those up first. Another great option is to get takeout from SNAP, MOD, or El Diablo to set up a picnic on the Green. An additional perk: as you’re eating al fresco, it’s very likely you’ll either spot dogs going for their nightly walk or little kids going for a stroll with their families. Either way, prepare for a cuteness overload!

  1. Outdoors Exploration

To find a way to work off all of the eating, spring is the perfect time to get outdoors and have fun! Aside from being prime sunbathing locations for those attempting to get a little color before summer, our turfs and the Green are great spaces to throw a football, toss a frisbee, or kick a soccer ball. Pro tip: if you have chosen the sunbathing route, definitely don’t close your eyes for too long as you never know when a frisbee throw might go awry (I must admit that I’m definitely not pro when it comes to getting my frisbee to actually go to the person I’m throwing it to…so look out). Having lived on both East and North campus, I loved seeing all of the activity going on outside when the weather got warmer, it always inspired me to do my work more efficiently – and take less breaks – so that I could get outside quicker. Additionally, campus has a ton of basketball and tennis courts for open use as well. For those looking to truly get away from the hustle and bustle of college life, White Clay Creek and the reservoir are a nice escape. Going through the trails can help your momentarily forget about the reading, the paper, and the group project you have due, offering a true getaway. On a sunny day, there really is nothing better than getting outside. It’ll leave you feeling refreshed, renewed, and reconnected. Just be sure to bring water!

  1. Local Excursions

The theme of exploration emerges again as our location in Newark allows us the ease to take numerous day or weekend trips that are perfect in springtime. The plethora of Delaware beaches offers an amazing choice for a hot day with nothing to do, if one friend has a car, then you’re in luck. Load up the towels, the snacks, and the sunscreen for a fun day away. Bring a good book (or a textbook…it’s sure to be a better experience reading with the sound of waves crashing than the sound of train rolling by) and some good music, and you’ve got yourself a day of fun in the sun! Sporting events can also be an inexpensive and easy way to get out and get away. For Phillies fans (the best fans!), Citizens Bank Park is just a short drive or train ride from here, and truly nothing in the world can beat Chickie’s and Pete’s crab fries drenched in melted cheese sauce. Finally, Longwood Gardens, just a thirty-minute drive, comes alive in spring, making this the time to go. Be sure to bring a camera to get some pictures of the breathtakingly colorful flowers and gardens, it’s very likely that you’ll get a prime Insta, as well, so dress accordingly! If you’re terribly afraid of bees, though, take caution!

  1. Campus Gems

Finally, use this time to relish in everything that our beautiful campus offers. Although the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. has since passed, our cherry blossoms are in full bloom and can still be seen lining Memorial Hall, the bridge to North Campus, and the sidewalk across from the ISE Lab. If you’re looking for an activity, Ag Day, which is on Saturday April 27 this year from 10:00-4:00, offers everything you could ever want: UDairy, farm animals (including an actual Blue Hen), plants, food trucks, and fun shopping! It’s definitely a day not to miss and something that I personally look forward to…not to mention that UDairy is revealing a new flavor this year! Lastly, with the weather getting nicer, head out to support some of our sports teams, whether it’s lacrosse, tennis, or baseball, make it your goal to go to at least one of every game to cheer on your fellow Blue Hens!

For seniors or those of us who cannot help but acknowledge that another year here has come and gone, spring is the time to take advantage of all that the longer days and warmer weather has to offer, whether that’s studying at the tables outside Morris, sunbathing on the Green, or devouring some buffalo chicken nachos on the Kate’s porch. It’s official: spring has sprung, and it’s time for us to fly from the nest to see all that this weather has to offer!

“Hi, I’m Carly, and I Studied Abroad in Italy” by Carly Patent

With Winter 2020 Study Abroad interest meetings currently taking place and application deadlines soon approaching, I thought that I would take the chance to share my experience studying abroad on the LING/ENGL Italy program this past winter. As one of thirty-one students who were given this amazing opportunity, I was able to see sights that pictures cannot do justice (even though the thousands of pictures on my Camera Roll would prove otherwise), eat authentic pasta, pizza, and gelato that even my favorite Italian restaurant could not match, and soak it all in with a group of people that I likely would not have met or even passed by on my daily walk through the Green to class.

I had gone on numerous family vacations out of the country to places like Aruba, St. Martin, and Cancun, but traveling to Europe was always on my bucket list. Fortunately, I knew that I wanted to study abroad while in college and looked into Delaware’s winter study abroad program to help me meet this goal. While our almost two-month long winter break can drag and literally make you go stir crazy (I still have flashbacks to freshman year when I went to the mall every day, found random trips to the grocery store entertaining, picked my brother up at school just to get out of the house, and baked enough cookies and brownies to feed an army), winter break offers the perfect opportunity to travel, earn a few credits, and delight in the wonders of a brand new country.

Each program is different, but I found mine to be especially rewarding. Whereas some groups stay with host families and other groups stay on college campuses or in hostels, we bounced around from city to city and hotel to hotel. The constant hustle and bustle kept the trip exciting, with each transfer introducing us to a new culture and new way of living. We started in Sorrento, made our way to Rome, Siena, Verona, and Florence, and then returned back to Rome for our departure. Interlaced within these bigger cities, we took excursions to Pompeii, Amalfi Coast, Capri, Naples, Caserta, Monte Cassino, Orvieto, Venice, San Gimignano, and Pisa. We made our own pizzas, took gondola rides, went on boat and ferry rides, saw a donkey, chilled on the beach, climbed towers, tossed coins, squeezed underground, and watched sunsets; clearly, I could go on for hours about each day’s adventure and everything that I did and saw, but I’ll spare you.

To conclude my sales pitch, I now leave you with some of the hidden gems that I picked up on my time spent last month in bella Italia:

Fifty pounds is a lot less than you would think, and getting rid of sixteen pounds in the airport is in no way possible.

You’ll likely only pay attention to the first two movies that you watch on an eight-hour plane ride.

When you see rocket on a menu, it actually refers to arugula.

Many Italian hotels require you to hand in your key when leaving the hotel and pick it up at the front desk upon returning.

Italian ZARA tops any American ZARA.

Bread and oil are a must before every meal.

Showers in Italy only have half of the shower door, leaving a flood of water on the bathroom floor.

Their version of hot chocolate is literally chocolate soup…not complaining about it though!

Italian gyms are not a thing.

Good pasta needs nothing but tomato sauce.

When scrunched, good leather actually goes back in place.

Pineapple juice will taste like an actual pineapple as opposed to the stuff you get in a can.

Falling asleep on the bus may be the best sleep you’ll ever get.

A gondola ride typically takes less than the advertised thirty minutes.

The Lime and Pink Pepper Piu Gusto chips are the best.

The train makes two stops in Florence – do not freak out if are not able to get off at the first stop.

Look for gelato that is not mounded and does not have a lot of artificial colors – this is the authentic stuff.

Pork is everywhere.

Pompeii has a brothel complete with a stone bed.

To get to the main road in Siena, do not go over a sketchy bridge.

Soccer is life. It’s harder to get into a Roman soccer game than it is to get on a plane home.

Italian Coca-Cola tastes so much better than the American kind.

When taking a picture at the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the person taking the picture should move around to get the right angle as opposed to the person posing.

There is indeed McDonald’s in Italy…and they do have Big Macs.

Italian outlets are circular and only contain two prongs, meaning that adaptors are a must.

Mercedes makes the best coach buses.

For guys, adding a scarf to any outfit will instantly make you look more Italian.

There is nothing better than stracciatella gelato.

Pinocchio is everywhere!

Italian dogs are gorgeous and oh-so-well behaved, while I cannot say the same about the pigeons.

Chicken parmesan and spaghetti and meatballs do not exist.

Leggings and sweatpants are not a thing.

Hopefully, what my laundry list of random facts illustrates is that going abroad is an experience that seeing pictures, reading books, and watching videos cannot emulate. To truly take away all that I have and all that is possible, you must immerse yourself in the country and the culture. I can 100% say that anyone looking into studying abroad should take full advantage of Delaware’s winter session and the opportunities that it provides. I am so grateful to have been given the chance to study abroad in Italy, somewhere that I only once dreamed of going. In just thirty days, I was able to gain thirty new friends, eat all that I could, see all that I could, and make memories that will last me a lifetime, but that’s not to say that I haven’t already started planning my return to the beautiful country that is Italy. Andiamo!

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger by Carly Patent

It’s that point in the semester when the going gets rough. You have a professor who thinks that her class is the only one you’re taking. You have to go see a mandatory play for your theater class and must spend your Saturday night doing so. You have approximately fifty-three pages of reading – complete with an after-reading quiz, of course! And finally, the cherry on top, you have a group project due next week and seem to be the only person in the group who not only knows anything going on in the class, but also the only person who knows how to email/text/respond to GroupMe. So, what do you do to cope with all of this built-up stress? You go grab a burrito loaded with toppings on Main Street, wrap yourself into a burrito in bed, and watch the same episode of The Office that you’ve watched on repeat for the past week.

Wrong! You know what you should actually do to deal with this pent-up stress? Put the burrito down, unwrap yourself, and say goodbye to Netflix. Put on a pair of sneakers, and get moving! Throughout my college experience, I’ve learned that the best way to not only deal with stress but also feel my best is to be active. Luckily, here at the University of Delaware, we have tons of ways to do so, and I’m here to share my insider tips and tricks for how I never miss my workout (shoutout Chance the Rapper for those wonderful lyrics).

Wake up Early

My first tip is something that I know many people will instantly hate, but just hear me out. I’m not saying to wake up everyday at 5am, run 10 miles, and then go sit through hours of classes and homework. I’m saying that if your schedule permits it, try waking up before the sun rises and engaging in some form of physical activity at least once a week. It’s amazing how accomplished you’ll feel knowing that you not only got your daily workout out of the way but that you now have the rest of the day to use as you wish. You might find that you actually enjoy waking up early and will make that a part of your daily routine. Personally, I love going to the gym when it’s dark out and leaving when the sun is just rising; it makes me feel like I already have a head start to my day. An added bonus is that the gym is basically empty in the early hours of the morning, giving free reign to any machine you could possibly want. If motivation is an issue, try laying out your gym clothes the night before, setting only one alarm which will automatically force you to get up, or planning your workout routine ahead of time so that you have a goal in mind. As I’ve found, waking up early to work out has given me the jolt of energy that I need to carry me through my busy days.  

Try New Things

I first came to college relying mostly on three different activities to keep me fit: playing tennis, running, and bike-riding around my neighborhood. With a whole gym at my fingertips, however, I soon learned that there were so many more options from which I could take advantage. Not only does the Lil Bob have every machine and device imaginable – including a rock wall – but the tons of group fitness classes are fun and exciting. While I still play tennis for the Club Tennis team and make that a regular part of my exercise routine, I’ve branched out and have tried things that I never had before. Last year, I took my first BODYPUMP class, having a break in my schedule that coincided perfectly with the class time. At first, I had no clue what I was doing, but having continued doing BODYPUMP for a year, I can not only recognize which tracks coincide with certain launches but have also been able to improve my form and increase my weights. I’ve also fallen in love with Cycling, Barre, and Butts n’ Guts, classes that I had never done before coming to college. And, finally, I just recently started doing Pilates (shout out to Mini who keeps me coming back for more each week!). I signed up for Pilates on the fly one day and went to the class not having any expectations. But, having gone numerous times this semester, I now cannot see my week without it. I look forward to my Friday mornings when I can de-stress and get a good workout in – the perfect start to my weekend. I really enjoy group fitness classes because I commit to being there for a set amount of time and cannot just decide to cut my workout short. What this hopefully shows is that being active can take many shapes and forms. Try new things, and find what moves you, literally!

Mix up your Workout

Going along with trying new things is the idea that mixing up what you do can give you an even better workout. Running on the treadmill everyday or doing the same ab routine can get boring, causing a quick loss in motivation. In addition, your muscles can get accustomed to doing the same workouts and will, in turn, remain the same, not producing great results. From my own experience, I’ve found that I feel best when I’m doing a variety of different activities, whether it’s cardio, weight-training, or balance and flexibility exercises. On an average week, I try to include at least one day of each and then fill in my other workouts with whatever I’m feeling for that day. In addition to mixing up your actual workout, change up the intensity of your workouts, as well. If I push myself really hard one day, I will likely do a less-strenuous workout the next day. By constantly varying your workouts, you’ll not only never feel like Phil in Groundhog Day, but you’ll also maximize your results.

Involve Friends

This one is simple: get yourself a workout partner! While some people prefer to workout alone and do their own thing (which I totally get), having a friend right alongside you can actually be a great motivator. Seeing your friends push themselves can make you push yourself to the same degree. There’s nothing like a little healthy competition to get the juices flowing. And, even better, there are so many different ways that you can incorporate partner moves into your workout whether that means spotting each other, having a catch with a medicine ball, or doing plank hand slaps. Additionally, making plans to go to the gym with someone holds you accountable; skipping out on the workout affects both you and your friend as well. Bringing a buddy to the gym is a surefire way to work hard and have fun while doing so.

Make it Exciting

My last tip is to make working out exciting. Sure, we all have those lazy days when we just want to lounge around and only get up off the sofa to refill a bowl of popcorn. But, if your workout is entertaining and lively, then you’re more likely to actually want to do it. For me, the biggest thing that can make or break my workout is music. If I have a killer playlist – filled with Kanye, Chance, and Post – then I can zone out and just focus on the music, as opposed to the fact that I’m dripping sweat and most likely look like a sunburnt tomato. If you’re planning on doing a more stationary workout such as running on the treadmill, using the elliptical, or riding on a bike, then another way to make those workouts less monotonous is to watch something, whether it be your favorite TV show or a movie. Getting engrossed in what you’re watching is a guaranteed way to keep your eyes off of the clock. I sometimes even save watching my favorite TV shows for when I go to the gym so that I have something to look forward to. Encompassing the entire workout experience is something that oftentimes gets overlooked: your outfit. I have always gone by the motto that it doesn’t matter what I do as long as I look good doing it. While this is not always the case, feeling good in what you wear is definitely a way to increase your confidence. A new tank top or pair of leggings can be just the push you need to get going. And, finally, my last tip for making workouts exciting is to think outside of the box. Not every workout needs to be done in the gym. Throw a football, go for a hike, run up and down the stairs until you feel like your lungs might fall out. This past weekend, my roommates and I spent an hour jumping on our neighbors’ trampoline and playing “popcorn.” If that doesn’t scream college, I don’t know what does!

Being active is a great way to break up your everyday routine. Classes are only going to get harder, and having something to depend on to de-stress is critical. Working out can clear your mind and provide you the energy to deal with anything that this semester has to offer. That being said, as with everything, never push yourself too hard. If you’re not feeling it one day, that’s okay, and you should never feel guilty for not working out. Listen to your body and what makes you feel good. Going off of that, feeling good is not just about doing push-ups on a regular basis or increasing how much you can lift. There are so many other factors to focus on from balancing your social life with your academics, finding clubs and organizations that really speak to you, maintaining relationships with family and friends, and eating foods that will fuel you to keep this all going (shameless plug to my next blog post on healthy eating tips and tricks!). Without a doubt, you’ll be feeling harder, better, faster, stronger in no time!

House Hunting: College Edition by Carly Patent

When you think of college, a few things likely come to mind: football games, roommates, clubs, dining halls, parties, freedom, classes (of course), friends, Greek Life, and junk food among others. One aspect of college, however, encompasses all of these elements to truly make or break one’s experience. And that detail is none other than the stereotypical college dorm.

Late into the summer every year, incoming freshman make the transition from the comfort of their very own bedrooms to what may be deemed measly “shoeboxes”—which would be shared with another random human being—and a communal bathroom down the hall. Advertisements for college essentials are widespread. Husband pillows, patterned bedspreads, shower caddies, shower shoes, storage bins in every size and color, string lights, bulletin boards, command hooks, and bed risers magically pop up during the month of August. Personally, I was apprehensive about this new living situation, but I knew that I had no choice but to accept this fate. There were so many questions buzzing through my mind about the dorm experience. Did I bring my clothes to the shower to change into or risk walking back in a towel? Would I be able to even get into my bed if it was raised? Was my room in a prime location for meeting people? Were the lounges quiet enough to actually get work done? Did I have enough storage space to hold the bulk boxes of Goldfish and Rice Krispie Treats that I had purchased?

Luckily, like everyone else, I quickly figured out the answers to my questions. While the move from my own bedroom to a shared dorm room was difficult to get used to at times, I truly loved living in my dorm. I not only was fortunate to meet some of my best friends on my freshman floor, but I liked that there was always something going on. East campus was abuzz with people playing volleyball and other games on the turf, making POD runs for late-night snacks, and scrambling to figure out how to survive without their parents. Communal bathrooms actually fostered conversations in that people were forced to leave their rooms. There was constantly someone in the lounge and something going on in the hallway. Floor events were numerous—and, to my benefit, almost always included free food. Living in Redding, I was lucky enough to have been provided with one of the nicer dorms, complete with non-cinderblock walls, spacious lounges, and bathrooms on each wing. But, either way, a freshman dorm is a freshman dorm. I do have some great stories, but you truly had to be there.

Next, we’ll go to my sophomore year, which I am currently in the process of completing. This year, I made another transition in that I moved away from East campus and made the big step up to North campus. For all of the people who are unfamiliar with what this actually means, North campus is about a fifteen (ten if you’re a fast-walker like myself) minute walk from the rest of campus—separated by what some consider the world’s longest bridge. While there is an increasing amount of freshman living on North campus, it consists mostly of upperclassmen, making it the perfect step in between dorm living and off-campus housing. This year, I lived in Independence Hall East (also known as “Indy”) which is a suite-style dorm. Through a bathroom, my room connected to another room housing my two suitemates. Giving us the opportunity get ready together, to talk to each other while in the shower, and to meticulously color-coordinate and decorate our bathroom, Indy, to quote Hannah Montana, was the “best of both worlds.” We were no longer freshman dealing with communal bathrooms, but we were also not fully-fledged renters. The nearby turf and dining hall reminded us of East Campus but also offered a welcoming new environment. Independence provided me the perfect Goldilocks experience for my sophomore year.

And, finally, we transition to my plans for junior year. Following the lead of most undergraduates, I, along with four of my friends, will be moving off-campus for my junior year into a townhouse. Let me just say that the process of actually renting a place on campus is no easy task; whether it’s researching available locations, touring those locations, going through paperwork, signing a lease, applying for renter’s insurance, setting up utilities, or actually furnishing a home, this step truly makes you feel like an adult. I am very excited for this next step in the housing experience. I cannot wait to have my own bedroom and sleep in a full-size bed. It’ll be nice to have a kitchen in which I can actually make all of the foods that I have been craving. I will actually be able to chill on a sofa and watch my favorite reality television shows on an actual flat-screen. While there is a lot that goes into moving off-campus (my friends and I have a color-coded spreadsheet denoting anything and everything that we could possibly need), moving off-campus is the next step towards telling myself that I’m becoming an adult. That’s not to say that I won’t come downstairs on Sunday mornings to watch Zoey 101 re-runs in my pajamas while eating Lucky Charms, but, hey, it’s a work in progress.

The various living transitions that students make—from homes to dorms to suites to apartments and houses—keep the college experience exciting and new. It’s been fun to live in a new place every year and to meet new people in doing so. I am enthusiastic about what is to come as I move into my townhouse! Let’s just hope that I haven’t said too many of the stereotypical house-hunting lines in the process; cue “It needs an open floor plan” or “Where are the walk-in closets?”

Main Street’s Top Five Eats by Carly Patent

When touring colleges, a few elements were integral. I needed a nice dorm, preferably one that did not have cinder block walls and that did not look like a jail cell (Redding, check!). I looked for a nice gym so that I didn’t gain the stereotypical “Freshman Fifteen” that was mentioned at least once on every college tour (Little Bob, check!). I wanted to feel like I was actually on a campus speckled with cherry blossom trees, grass, and pretty brick buildings (The Green, check!). Clubs and activities were also an important part of my checklist in that I wanted to meet new people and get involved (Alpha Phi Omega, Club Tennis, Honors Blog, check!). Oftentimes overlooked by potential college students, academics were also a significant factor in the main reason why I would be going to college in the first place (#81, check!). While all of these elements were critical in making my decision, there was one factor that seemed to affect my choice even more than the rest: the food. Known as “gourmet girl” by my parents and known for my obsessions with the Food Network, cooking, baking, and Tasty videos—I placed a strong emphasis on the need for the university that I would select to offer numerous options when it came to keeping my stomach satisfied. Now in my sophomore year here, I can definitely say that the University of Delaware campus has pleased my request for a food-filled campus. While most students rely on the dining hall for meals, Main Street is what really got me. The mixture of chains and local restaurants, the variety of options, cuisines, and price ranges, and the overall quality of dining gives Main Street its appeal (check!). So, without further ado, let me present to you one of the most difficult lists that I have ever had to compile: Main Street’s Top 5 Eats (in no particular order because that’s simply just asking too much of me, as if these decisions weren’t tricky enough).

1. Catherine Rooney’s

I feel like it would be sacrilegious for a Blue Hen such as myself to not include at least Catherine Rooney’s or Klondike Kate’s; they’re both classic Delaware favorites offering everything from traditional “kid” food of chicken fingers and fries to comfort food classics. Recently among my friends, however, has emerged the debate of the century, and let me just say that I’m team Rooney’s. I had not actually been there until this year, and boy was that a mistake. The atmosphere of the restaurant is homey and cozy (I first went around Christmastime when the place was decked out in rustic red and green trinkets). My go-to, thanks to a friend’s recommendation, is the Jameson Burger, one of their signature items. Topped with Applewood smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, crispy onions, barbecue sauce, and as if that were not enough, coleslaw, this burger is truly one of a kind. Pair it with their sweet potato fry wedges, and you’ve got yourself a meal that really sticks to your bones—perfect for a cold winter day!

2. Grain

Ah, good ole Grain. My stomach cannot help but rumble when I think about it. Everything is just oh-so scrumptious. This year, it is safe to say that I’ve been here an unhealthy amount of times, making me an expert on the best of the menu. I’d like to start out by saying that if you have not been here and have never had them, the nachos are to-die-for. Unlike a lot of the other nachos found on campus (which I’m most definitely not dissing…shout out to Klondike Kates’s buffalo chicken nachos, especially when they’re half-price on Tuesdays), Grain uses queso cheese sauce instead of the traditional melted cheese that you would normally find. Then, they load the pile of chips dunked in cheese with pulled chicken and all of your traditional nacho toppings—pico de gallo, jalapeños, sour cream, and guacamole. I forcefully demanded that my friends agree to order these when we went there for my birthday, and I can safely say that we almost fought over who was allowed to lick the plate clean (since it was my birthday, I rightfully won this battle). Another of my top menu items from Grain is their version of a Philly cheesesteak. As a Philly girl myself, I’d say that I know a great cheesesteak from a good one. The bread is pillowy, the onions are salty and the perfect amount of fried, the meat is juicy and tender, and the cheese sauce is creamy, gooey, and melty all in one. Pro tip: upgrade your meal with their sweet potato fries which come with a side of caramel sauce, making them almost dessert-like. Grain is one of my top five because of the fun yet intimate atmosphere, and the high-quality ingredients that compose their traditional yet amped-up menu items. And even better, try going in the spring when you can sit on their porch under the twinkle lights!

3. El Diablo

A University of Delaware favorite, El Diablo has become my recent obsession. While I hate to actually admit this, it’s become my Wednesday night go-to this semester after my weekly Butts n’ Guts class. Incomparable to Chipotle (just down the street), El Diablo offers an extreme number of toppings that cannot be found at similar restaurants. At El Diablo, you can pick your type of cheese, add pineapple salsa for a tropical flare, top off your burrito or bowl with jalapeños and pickled onions, and drizzle it with one of their homemade dressings. My classic is a brown rice bowl with chicken, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, sour cream, mild salsa, pineapple salsa, and corn salsa. The quality of the ingredients shines through every time I go—each component of my bowl is fresh and vibrant, bursting with flavor and color. Additionally, for all of the broke college students out there, El Diablo serves enormous portions for such reasonable prices; you can get a burrito or bowl—loaded with as many toppings as you’d like—for around $9.00. Does it get better than that? I only started getting El Diablo this year, but I must say that for those of you that like California-style Mexican food, be careful because it is truly addicting.

4. Newark Deli and Bagels

I feel like it wouldn’t be okay if I made this list and didn’t include Newark Deli and Bagels, better known as “NDB” to students here. For a quick bite in between classes, a quality lunch that will keep you full, or something to bring you back to life on a Sunday morning, Newark Deli and Bagels is where it’s at. Not to diss the dining halls, but for most of the student population from New York and New Jersey, those bagels just don’t cut it in terms of quality. Newark Deli and Bagels, however, offers a little piece of home in their quality bagels and toppings. My favorite is either a cinnamon raisin bagel with plain cream cheese or sausage, egg, and cheese on a whole-wheat bagel lathered in ketchup. In addition to their everyday menu, at times, NDB even has rainbow bagels for when you’re feeling spirited—including a festive green bagel for St. Patrick’s Day! I’ve sat in class counting down the seconds until I could make my way to Main Street for one of their warm bagels and have kept my eyes pressed on their bright green awnings as I darted across Main Street to get there before closing.  There is no greater joy than seeing the chef walk out of the kitchen with a pile of shiny-wrapped bagels and call your number. I think it’s safe to say that I personally could eat a bagel for every meal of the day (the combinations are truly endless), and Newark Deli and Bagels is always there to satisfy my cravings—that is until they close at 3 pm!3

5.Café Gelato

The final addition to my Main Street Top Five is none other than Main Street’s fanciest establishment. I will say that Café Gelato is the place to go when you have family in town who would be willing to treat you to the polar opposite of dining hall food. Café Gelato features an upscale menu and an elegant dining experience. Whenever I walk along Main Street and look into Café Gelato, I see what I still consider “grown-ups,” people who are not my fellow college students running all over the place and eating whatever they can get their hands on first. Going to Café Gelato is a transformative experience. One of my favorite menu items is the four-cheese tortellini in Parma Rosa sauce. The pasta was tender, and I could have licked the bowl clean of the sauce (that is, if I wasn’t in a fancy restaurant!). And, to make it even better, a meal at Café Gelato would not be complete without gelato, of course. Be sure to try the coconut and the salted caramel because you most definitely won’t regret it. Overall, Café Gelato is the place to go for a special occasion, to celebrate good times with good people over really good food!

 

At the University of Delaware, we’re so lucky to have such amazing options right next to campus. Food is such an easy way to connect with people and to make new memories. The options are endless – that is, until you get too full and need to be rolled home. I hope that my Main Street Eats list has been mouth-watering, tummy-rumbling, and palate-awakening!

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