All posts by amandatien

Calling new writers for Fall 2013!

Welcome back, foodies!  It’s the start of another season of Columbia University’s Culinary Society Blog.  We are currently taking applications for our new season of writers and photographers. Anyone can submit, so please use this form and share with your friends that are interested in contributing to the blog.  All submissions for this form are due September 30!  My assistant/co/will be Blog Editor Becky Pottash will be scheduling new writers after this date while I’ll be constructing and sending around a new Guide to Blogging to help everyone get started.  I’m looking forward to reading all the new series!

xoxo

Amanda

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Fika Fridays: Coffee Shop & Library Hours

Points if you can guess which library I'm in today. Can we make it a game? Like Where's Waldo, but the nerdy version?

So it’s not quite Friday and it’s not quite a Fika*, but for the last Culinary post of the semester (check back for a resumed schedule June 1), I’m here to fill you in on local library times and coffee shops so that way you can be super effective during this finals season.  Try out a new coffee place and a new library study location to help keep the mental taxation (somewhat, well, as much as it can be) refreshing!

COFFEE

  • 114th Starbucks: 6am to 2am
  • 111th Starbucks: 6am to 11pm
  • Joe’s in NoCo: M-F 8am-8pm, Sat & Sun 9am-6pm
  • Oren’s on 112th: 7am-9pm (closes on Sundays at 8pm)
  • Kuro Kuma near 124th: 7am-7:30pm (opens on Sundays at 8am)
  • Chokolat Cafe around 123rd: M-W 7am-9pm, Th-Fri 7am-10pm, weekend 8am-9pm/10pm
  • Brownie’s in Avery: M-Th 8am-6:30pm, Fri 8am-5pm
  • Uris Deli: M-Th 8am-5pm, Fri 8am-3pm
  • Carleton in Mudd: M-F 8am-430pm
  • Blue Java Dodge: M-Th 8am-7pm, Fri 8am-5pm
  • Cafe 212: 8am to 8pm
  • Blue Java Butler: M-Th 8am-2am, Fri 8am-9pm, Sat noon-6pm, Sun noon-2am
  • Artopolis: M-F 730am-11pm, weekend 10am-11pm
  • Hungarian Pastry Shop: M-F 8am-11:30pm, weekend 8:30am-11:30pm
  • La Toulousaine (106th and Amsterdam): M-F 7am-7pm, weekends 8am-7pm

See any coffee places missing? Post them in the comments and we’ll add the hours here!

LIBRARIES | hours during finals

*most libraries are closing at 5pm on Friday the 17th for maintenance 

  • Butler: 24/7
  • Lehman: 24/7
  • Avery: Sunday noon-10pm, weekdays 9am to 11pm
  • Engineering (Mudd): 9am-11pm
  • Geology: 9am-11pm
  • Geoscience: 9am-5pm (closed weekends)
  • Health Services: 8am-11pm
  • JTS: Sunday 10:30am-7pm, M-Th: 8am-8pm
  • Journalism: 1pm-8pm
  • Law school: 8am-midnight
  • Math: 9am-11pm
  • Dodge arts: 9am-9pm
  • NoCo (science): 9am-3am
  • Social Work: 10am-6pm, closed weekends
  • Kent East Asian: 9am-midnight
  • Teachers’ College: 8am-11pm

Good luck!

*What’s a fika? Click here to find out.

Fika Fridays: Where the Fika Have You Been? (Also, Pudding)

Sometimes, life gets weird.  It all happens in a very short period of time.  Coincidences, accidents, fate, luck, bad luck, good luck, providence, misfortune, destiny, doom, kismet, the way the cookie crumbles.   Whatever you want to call it, I’ve basically imploded emotionally this semester.  But somehow, I made it through and have kept going to class and going to club meetings and editing the blog, though with no posts of my own.  And so, I introduce my first post back in a while (and one of my last for the semester-finals are approaching and I’m all too aware of them) with this explanation for my lack of posts (and also as an answer to people who keep asking “Yo, where you been this semester?”).*

I’m not alone in this struggle, I know.  Students here are easily swept up in the stress of life, and for good reason, too.  We all strive to be our best selves, and even then, set goals for who we think we are and who we think we can be.  No one holds us to higher standards than ourselves.  Sometimes we try to blame it on the institution, or even our peers.  But at the end of the day, I know that I hold myself accountable for everything I do, and that’s one factor that makes being a student here so exhausting.  However, even in my darkest moments, I’m getting better about realizing that there’s always one thing that makes me feel a lot better: getting out of my room/library/office for a break with friends.

Last night, after a particularly intense roller coaster day, I was prepared to curl up in my bed and hide from everything when I decided to go out with my friends for dinner at Max Soha.  We ate outside, and it was delicious and lovely.  My roommate Allison went back early for orchestra rehearsal for the Varsity Show (which opens tonight and you should all go see!), so Christin and I went to Kitchenette next door for some dessert.  While Kitchenette (Amsterdam near 123rd) is a favorite of mine for brunch and hamburgers, I had never had the desserts (even though they’re a prominent local bakery).  Christin showed me the wonders of the dessert case.  We were scrambling for small change, and our nice cashier told us she’d take the six dollars flat for my dessert but Christin and I scrounged up 80 cents in dimes and pennies and made it work.

Christin likes tulips and pie, as many people do

Christin and I went for a walk over to “Broadway Malls,” a mini-garden with a plethora of spring flowers and a cozy sitting area.  It’s finally warm here in New York, after a very long winter, and even though I was still a bit anxious, the lovely weather and the great company of the evening just made everything better.  Christin shared bites of her banana cream pie (delightfully crunchy crust, smooth pudding texture) and I ooh-ed and aww-ed over my pudding.  Sold in a little jar (and they even give you the cap), Kitchenette’s dark chocolate pudding varies in density depending on how long it’s been allowed to set.  I actually enjoyed this–the top part of the pudding was thicker and more viscous, whereas the middle section was still light and creamy.  Probably unintentional, I enjoyed this peculiarity anyway.  Flavor wise, the pudding was spot on.

To be fair to the nature of the fika, it wasn’t the food that I ate that made this fika so special.  It was, to be honest, the joy and pleasure and relief of being reminded that there are people who genuinely care about me.  These are people who not only put up with my silly shenanigans (jumping on benches to sneak up on them) and with my sad/stressed out nonsense (mood swings), but love me in spite of and perhaps even because of the combination of the good and the bad.  While this semester has been very difficult for me personally, I really do feel so lucky to realize that there are some people who always come through for me.  And I hope I do the same for them, because they make life here worth it.  With every fika and non-coffee-related-hang-out, these friends have brought me literally out of my sadness and out of my room.  So shout-outs to these friends: Allison for putting up with everything and picking up milk for my room-fikas and taking tea breaks, Christin for always being game for every possible fika location, Rachel for making me coffee for 10am Brit Lit, Nicole for the cupcakes (yum), Eddie for more cupcakes and fueling my caffeine addiction, my mom for sending me Nespresso capsules on rush order and getting phone-conversation coffee with me, Allie for the late night Starbucks visits, Ben and Amelia for being too loud in Hungarian Pastry Shop, writing folks like Ryan and Davis and Kal and more Ben for pizza and ice cream, the exec board staff of Culinarian for just being boss, and to all my other friends who have been down to grab a fika.

I know this is a long post, and it’s only a little bit about pudding, but I recommend to all those who read this who find themselves a bit under the weather to take a break and change it up.  Go to a dessert place you’ve always wanted to try.  Switch up your morning routine and grab a new cup of coffee.  Text that friend that you keep meaning to text about getting coffee.  Especially that last one–it’s friends, and coffee breaks with them, that will make our undergraduate career far more rewarding than tearing ourselves down in our rooms over our doubts and our regrets and our studies.  I love you, my fika-mates.

Also, now that it’s finals season, I’m pretty much down for coffee at any time, so send me a text and hit me up.  A Turkish proverb says, “Bir fincan kahvenin 40 yil hatiri vardir” which translates to “One cup of coffee remains in the memories for 40 years.”  So, y’all ready to have some really awesome coffee conversations that we’ll remember for (at least) 40 years?  Because I sure am.

Also, not sure what a fika is?  Click here to find out.

*There are a lot of long sentences and parenthetical statements in this post.  Just as a warning if you’re not down for lots of thoughts that may or may not be directly connected.

Fika Fridays: Comedy, scrumptiousness, de Wafels!

Not sure what a fika is?  Click here to find out.

For the student on the go, food trucks are quite possibly one of the most beautiful things to ever grace the city’s streets.  Food trucks can vary in size and food offering, but each attracts its supplicants with rich smells, loud music, and colorful side boards.  Every time a new one appears on Broadway, students flock to its sides, investigating its contents.  One of my favorites is here on 113th and Broadway on Mondays, and that is Wafels and Dinges.

What’s a dinge, you ask?  To be honest, I really have no idea.  The Belgian waffle food truck company, however, seems to take great delight in recognizing that I, amongst many others, squint in confusion at the word.  No matter what a “dinge” is supposed to mean, it effectively translates into a wide assortment of glorious toppings that can grace the surface of your liege waffle.  Wafels and Dinges has expanded since its founding in 2007; every day, several trucks and carts parked throughout the city fulfill the waffle needs of New Yorkers!  The company was rated the number one food truck in the city by Zagat in 2010, and for good reason.

The waffles are crispy and crunchy on the outside, giving them the perfect texture that leads so many people to proclaim the waffle’s victory over the smoothness of the pancake.  On the inside, the waffle is a peculiar mixture of chewy and fluffy (read: you’ll be really full after eating this waffle).  The variety of dinges allow for customer creativity.  The first dinge is free, the second is $1, and for $2 you receive unlimited dinges (or as the menu says, a WMD: Waffle of Massive Deliciousness).  You can choose the waffle combination that beat out Bobbly Flay’s version, or craft your own from the myriad of toppings including ice cream, Belgian chocolate fudge, walnuts, strawberries, bananas, nutella**, maple syrup, dulce de leche, whipped cream, and/or spekuloos spread.  Spekuloos spread is a delicious gift of flavor and texture.*

I know.  I’m hungry now, too, even though I literally just had two of these waffles in the last few days.  Wafels now has a new permanent location in Verdi Square on 72nd and Broadway, a quick ride on the 1 train or a pleasant walk from campus.  My favorite Wafeleur companion, Garin, hailing from de olde colonial lands of Virginia, visited just to get some of these waffles (might be a slight exaggeration).   He and I made our way to the heavenly smelling truck on Sunday.

Then, a few days later, my dad was in town and while we were at dinner, I told him I had recently gone to Wafels and Dinges.  My dad casually asked, “Oh, did you want to go again tomorrow?”   And I replied, “We could actually go tonight, I think the cart’s there til 10pm.”  A few minutes later, we were in a cab heading to 72nd.  Our mecca to Wafels was well-received by the waffle-maker who boisterously welcomed us into the world of heavenly dinges and even took a photo with us.

Overall, Wafels and Dinges is just a fun, delightful fika option.  The truck’s design and its packaging are bright and entertaining.  Take time to read all the funny little placques on the truck and look for all of the text (especially the fine print!) on your waffle box, spekuloos cookie, and coffee cup.  Wafels and Dinges clearly makes a point of finding amusement and joy in its own work, sharing the waffle love and laughter with its customers.  This continues even onto the truck’s Facebook page.  Daily updates let you know what the secret code is that will let you get a free dinge (some recent ones have included: acting like a flying squirrel, telling a joke to your Wafeleur/Wafelette, or pretend you’re smoking from a corn cob pipe).  The coffee is pretty good actually, a lot better than what I’d expect from most food trucks (plus you get a free cookie!).  My personal favorite combination, in case you were wondering, is a liege waffle with spekuloos spread, whipped cream, walnuts, and strawberries.  Yum.

You can find the location of various trucks by clicking “Find Us” on the company’s website, checking their Facebook, or following them on Twitter.  Scroll down to see my gallery (sorry, cell phone pics) of my waffle journey!

*I did some research, and here’s what I found: Speculoos is made from caramelized gingerbread cookie which was traditionally baked for consumption on St. Nicholas day in Belgium.

**While finding gifs for my post, I also discovered that there’s apparently a really intense internet love for nutella (one, two, three, four, five)…which honestly is unsurprising considering the recent outpouring of commentary about how much nutella Columbia students alone reportedly consume. (Nutellagate?)  So, my fellow students, if the nutella pangs are just too much for you…hit up 113th on Mondays, and just literally pour a whole jar of it onto a waffle.

 

Foodie Flicks: Stranger Than Fiction

Stranger Than Fiction is one of my favorite films of all time.  In fact, I’d even go so far as to say it’s tied for first with Amelie, Beverly Hills Cop, and Casablanca.  I’m being serious.  So if you say that you don’t like this movie, I’m not sure we can be friends.  My point?  It’s great if you have an opinion and all, but if it ain’t in support of this movie…keep it to yourself.

Why am I willing to risk the possibility of our could-be amazing friendship for the sake of a movie?  Because Stranger Than Fiction is an incredibly perfect combination of several things about which I am passionate: sassy Maggie Gyllenhaal, serious Will Ferrell, eccentric writers, delightful motion graphics, and baked goods.

Stranger Than Fiction is more about the line between the real world and the fictional one, and what happens when the two merge together than food, but that’s not to say it doesn’t appreciate the culinary arts.  The film follows Will Ferrell as a morose IRS official who one day realizes that his life is being narrated by a mysterious voice ( Emma Thompson) who seems to know everything about him.  I won’t give any more away because I think part of the joy of this film is unraveling it, but I can promise you that it will be a rewarding experience.  The scene that I’ve included at the top of this post is one of my favorites, and I credit it with being one of the earliest influences of my writing style and my desire to have a bakery.  And to love all Gyllenhaals.

Click on the names of these films if Stranger Than Fiction doesn’t do it for you…

  • Jiro Dreams of Sushi – beautiful, inspiring documentary about a Michelin 3-star rated, 85 year old sushi chef (available for streaming on Netflix!)
  • Kings of Pastry – documentary about competitive pastry chefs, food porn to the max (available for streaming on Netflix!)
  • Ratatouille – a Pixar film featuring a rat who becomes a gourmet chef; this film won the Academy Award for Best Animated feature and has a great soundtrack to boot
  • Big Night – the brainchild of actor and gourmet foodie Stanley Tucci, this film tells the story of two brothers struggling to save their Italian restaurant
  • Waitress – a heartfelt story about a pregnant waitress with a powerful penchant for pies and creative names
  • Pressure Cooker – inner city kids compete in this documentary for culinary scholarships that could change their lives (available for streaming on Netflix!)
  • Romantics Anonymous  – two hopeless romantics unexpectedly fall in love while working in a chocolate factory in this lovely French film (available for streaming on Netflix!)

Quirky Food Gifts

Alright, time for confessions. I really enjoy online window shopping. Sometimes I buy things, yes. However, more often than not, I just enjoy the delight of looking at odd things that I probably wouldn’t spend money on but given the right circumstances of available cash and impulsivity…I might. Luckily there’s a website that has been experiencing a boom of popularity and that serves my online window shopping well. Fab.com allows large and small vendors alike to share their products with a wide audience with weekly sales. Every day, I get an email that shares multiple “stores” in different categories. Today is Foodie Sunday.

Obviously, it is my favorite day.

Today I liked one store so much that I felt it pertinent to share with the blogosphere.  Living Royal hosts a variety of novelty food items that add an extra spark to normal kitchen life.  On Fab, co-owners Mariya Rakhman and Michael Elyash are quoted:

The items, clothing, and gifts on Living Royal breathe fresh life into shopping and household necessities. That’s what it’s about, and that’s what everyone should be trying to do. The same old boring stuff just isn’t going to cut it anymore.

You can shop the discounts of Living Royal here.  My personal favorites from the shop include the Donut Mug, the Robot Tea Infuser, and the Gingerdead Men Cookie Cutters.  My birthday’s in September.

Fika Fridays: Cupcakes in the Snow

Not sure what a fika is?  Click here to find out.

This past Sunday, my roommate Allison led some friends and I down to Chinatown for the Chinese New Year’s festival (it’s the Year of the Snake now, in case you want to be culture savvy).  Allison and our friend Josh impressively climbed to the top of a large red sculpture on the playground and were able to see much of the festivities.  Those of us less inclined (cough, not coordinated, cough) goofed around in the snow and tried to find food.  Of course, since it was New Year’s, most of the Chinese eateries in the area were closed for the celebrations.  After the resounding cracks of lightning fireworks echoed off of the surrounding brownstones in a crescendo of smoke and sound, and after the dazzling area of colorful confetti floating through the air, our adventurous group walked back up Prince Street to a bakery we had passed on the way.

Little Cupcake Bakeshop is quite possibly one of the cutest places in New York.  I’d be willing to bet money on it.  Situated beneath several apartments (whose residents must be very lucky), Bakeshop has a picturesque white awning and an old school fluorescent sign welcoming patrons in.  The coffee menu is extensive, though not as varied as the baked delicacies filling the wide glass cases.  It helped, of course, that the Bakeshop was decorated for Valentine’s Day, warm pinks and reds filling up the bakery with affectionate whimsy.

I loved my helping of the Oreo cheesecake, and Christin devoured her almond chocolate cupcake.  My latte was decent, not exceptionally unique, but solid and warm in the aftermath of standing in the snow for two hours.  The frosting on the coconut cupcake was delicious though the actual cupcake was a bit dry and disappointing.  Next time, I’m looking forward to checking out the full fledged cakes.

Overall, it’s the atmosphere of this fika locale that captures the charm.  With teas and a variety of baked goods, Little Cupcake Bakeshop is an ideal stop after shopping in SoHo or even an early breakfast.  I envy the people who live above this charming eatery.

Oh, and the bakery had a 90s playlist that caused employees (and the female half of my group) to start singing to Bowling for Soup and Counting Crows.  I feel this is pertinent.  It was a fresh musical approach to a truly delightful fika.  Click through the photos below to share my fika adventure!

Little Cupcake Bakeshop was established in 2005.  The Manhattan location is on the intersection of Prince and Mott.  It opens at 7:30am on the weekdays, and 8 on the weekend (open til 11pm or later every night).

 

4 New Series

Along with our Spring 2013 line-up posted a few weeks ago, Culinary Society is now going to host four more new series! Make sure to check these out:

  • Of Noodles and Dumplings – Matt checks out dim sum restaurants in Chinatown and reports back with the best selections.
  • What the Gourmet Ate – Yvonne reaches out to the professional foodie with upscale reviews and recipes.
  • Midnight Munchies – Natalie creates adventurous and exciting snacks, all in a dorm-friendly kitchen.
  • The Cooking Corner – Follow Lida’s meals by reading about her anecdotes and recipes.

Foodie Flicks: Indian Food & French Films

As a French version of The Sound of Music‘s “I Have Confidence” begins to coax scenes of brick factories and lovelorn chocolatiers, I scoop a mound of hot basmati rice into a glass bowl and pour my spicy masala sauce on top in a whimsical swirl.  I am watching the 2010 French rom-com Romantics Anonymous whilst eating take-out from local, family-owned Curry & Kebab (106th and Amsterdam).

I’ll begin with the Indian food.  Curry & Kebab was actually my first real taste of Indian food.  I didn’t grow up eating a lot of this cuisine, mostly because there didn’t happen to be a lot of Indian restaurants in the middle of the Mojave desert or in the southern agrarian towns of Germany (#armybratlife).  When I came to New York and my friend Christin took me to Curry & Kebab, I was ecstatic.  How could I have possibly have been missing this all my life?  Sure, I’d eaten Roti Roll and yeah I’ve had Chinese-Indian fusion, but this was a far more thrilling venture into flavor.

Christin and I happened to eat on a sunny afternoon that day, and the small black tables extended out onto the sidewalk.  Curry & Kebab has sari blankets and wraps hanging across the ceiling and down the walls, giving it a homey and pleasant atmosphere.  At night, the mood lighting comes on.  An upbeat mix of traditional music and contemporary Indian songs begin to play loud enough to be heard but not enough to interrupt the private sanctity of your meal.  Additionally, in my opinion, Curry & Kebab offers some of the best table toppings.  I love their cilantro chutney (the smooth, green sauce), the tamarind (viscous, melodically tangy dark sauce), and I honestly haven’t found any chutney comparable to (what I think is red pepper) chutney.  My favorite dish is the chicken masala (which doesn’t always appear on the menu–if you ask for it, they’ll have it).  Chicken masala is a dish of chicken that has been marinated in spices and yogurt, baked in a tandoor oven, and served in the “mixed spices” sauce known as masala.

So you can imagine my state of bliss after a long week as I swaddled myself up in my blankets, eating my favorite Indian food, and watching one of the most delightful films I have seen in ages.  Romantics Anonymous tells the story of a tragically shy chocolatier (Angélique) and her painfully awkward boss (Jean-René).  Both are hopeless romantics, though neither wholly aware of each other’s social difficulties.  On their first date, Jean-Rene holds his menu in front of his face, not realizing this might be complicated while trying to talk to his date.  Angelique, meanwhile, develops chronic hiccups moments before suddenly asking, “What do you think of the situation in the Middle East?”  (She’s reading from topical cue cards.)

The musical cues in Romantics Anonymous are spot in, and they propel this lovely story forward in the world where chocolate and love collide.  I certainly recommend this film over the adapted Chocolat (2000) and while that film has Johnny Depp, this one has judgmental French waiters that are to die for.

And, even better, this film is available for streaming on Netflix!  If you’re looking for something romantic (or not) for Valentine’s Day, this film hits comedy and poignant realizations of self that will be delightful to watch no matter what you’re in the mood for.

 

Foodie Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ (out of five)

 

Click on the names of these films if Romantics Anonymous doesn’t do it for you…

  • Jiro Dreams of Sushi – beautiful, inspiring documentary about a Michelin 3-star rated, 85 year old sushi chef (available for streaming on Netflix!)
  • Kings of Pastry – documentary about competitive pastry chefs, food porn to the max (available for streaming on Netflix!)
  • Ratatouille – a Pixar film featuring a rat who becomes a gourmet chef; this film won the Academy Award for Best Animated feature and has a great soundtrack to boot
  • Big Night – the brainchild of actor and gourmet foodie Stanley Tucci, this film tells the story of two brothers struggling to save their Italian restaurant
  • Waitress – a heartfelt story about a pregnant waitress with a powerful penchant for pies and creative names
  • Pressure Cooker – inner city kids compete in this documentary for culinary scholarships that could change their lives (available for streaming on Netflix!)

Fika Fridays: Kuro Kuma in Harlem

One of my favorite walks around campus is walking north on Broadway past the Union Theological Seminary and the Manhattan School of Music.  Not only does it provide picturesque reminders of local academia, but also views of the 1 train dipping past the horizon as buildings rise and fall like mountains.  In the spring, trees on this walk scatter enough blossoms to make it snow.  In the summer, the urban heaviness of heat feels timeless and constant, a tradition of the strongest and most dedicated living through these months.  In the fall, everything is, of course, a myriad of scarlets and oranges (autumn, for the record, is my favorite season in New York).  And, now in the winter, the trees are bare but the spider-like bark leads your eyes upward to admire the facades of Broadway’s buildings.

My point?  The ten (to twenty, depending on your pace) minute walk to Kuro Kuma prepares you for satisfaction no matter what time of the year.  This week, my friend Christin and I walked briskly through the wind tunnel and arrived, rosy-cheeked, at the espresso bar oasis.  Located on the same city block as Bettolona and a street away from Jin Ramen, Kuro Kuma is an ideal location for students and professors who live in Morningside Heights and want a break from the usual local fare.  Technically in Harlem, Kuro Kuma is located on LaSalle on the west side of the 1 train bridge (nearest subway stop is 125th).

Inside, Kuro Kuma is cozy and delightful.  The interiors are painted sky blue, save for one exposed brick that adds automatic urban texture to any eatery.  In the warmer days, a chalkboard sign sits outside and welcomes customers in with jaunty doodles.  This coffee shop has four tables, enough to accommodate walk-ins and planned coffee dates without ever becoming too overwhelming.  Christin and I placed our orders during an apparent lull-as soon as we sat down, six customers came in.  It was busy enough that our coffee maker asked us to wait to pay at the end (honestly, I love this because it makes me feel like I can enjoy my break and not feel rushed).  A few neighborhood regulars walked by with their dogs and chatted with customers and employees inside as they ordered their afternoon decafs.

me, moments before I devour my foe, Raisin Sticky Bun

Christin had hot chocolate, and while she enjoyed it, she felt that it was a bit too rich for her taste.  I loved my latte (when do I ever not?).  Smooth and creamy, this was a beverage that makes one nod with proud satisfaction: “That’s a good espresso-based drink that stimulates my mental acuity.”  Christin and I shared a pecan sticky bun that I had fun unraveling.  Sweet and chewy, the inner texture was just right.  It was a bit difficult to pull off tidy pieces, so I’d recommend just going in with confidence and taking a big bite.  The sticky bun also had yellow raisins, and while normally I react with wincing and eye-twitching to dried grapes, I was pleasantly surprised at their effortless incorporation into my afternoon treat.  (For the record, Kuro Kuma offers plenty of other baked goods that are just right for your daily fikas.)

So, take a walk from campus and check out Kuro Kuma the next time you have a casual interview or a friend date.  Kuro Kuma, as Christin pointed out, is conveniently located a block away from Knox Hall (the epicenter of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African studies).

Check out Kuro Kuma’s Facebook page here.  Click on any of the photos below to see larger versions!  Not sure what a fika is?  Read my first of the series here.