Food Review: The Granola Bar

The “Crunchy Elvis” yogurt parfait from the Granola Bar. Photo by Gabriella Nutile/Spectrum.

By Gabriella Nutile

Co-Copy Editor & Features Editor

“You’ve never been The Granola Bar?” is what people would always ask me before I finally went.

Although, I do now understand their disbelief because The Granola Bar is just as good as my friends keep saying.

The famous café is located in Westport, Conn. and is about a 15 minute drive from campus. While 15 minutes might seem like a little too much of a drive for granola, you are mistaken because it is everything I could have hoped for and more.

As my GPS announced to my friends and I that we had arrived to our destination, I saw that the café was in a cute strip mall that included stores such as Lily Pulitzer and other high-end brands.

Walking into The Granola Bar was not what I had pictured, as the interior color scheme consisted of greys, browns, and whites.

In front of you are two signs, the right side stating take out and the left side saying eat in.

If you are planning to eat in though, expect at least a 10 minute wait, especially during lunch time. That is when they are the busiest, which is around the time that we went there.

While my friends and I waited for about 15 minutes to be seated, I took in the cool design of this place. Hanging from the ceiling were white circular bulbs that helped light the place up. On the right hand side there were different sized shelves that have furniture on the top half and then their products on the bottom, such as their almond butter and granola that are packaged for purchase.

My favorite part of the place though was the back of the café, and that is where you can order your take out. The back wall has a chalkboard against it with their menu written in different colors and fonts, adding to the very modern and hip feel of the place.

There are two seating options in the café; you can either sit at their tables or at their bar-like seating area, which faces the tables. When our waitress got us, we were placed at one of their tables.

I had heard such great things about their fresh, healthy food options, so I ended up ordering two things: the Crunchy Elvis yogurt parfait and their avocado toast. The Crunchy Elvis comes with Greek yogurt, their homemade vanilla almond granola and their homemade almond butter, sliced bananas and drizzled honey. Their avocado toast is mashed avocado on multi-grain bread with flax seeds on top of it, but they offer a bunch of options to add on top of it

Originally I thought the yogurt parfait was going to be very small and that the avocado toast was going to be very big, but I had misconceptions with both of my choices. When my Crunchy Elvis came out, it was much bigger than I expected, and my avocado toast was a lot smaller.

The display of my yogurt parfait was so cute and looked so good that I had to be one of those basic girls and take a picture of it. The Granola Bar also provides perfect lighting for pictures.

I immediately started with the Crunchy Elvis and I fell in love. Like I think I went to heaven and came back. Their almond butter is also out of this world, which I almost bought but it was about $12 and I’m not about that right now. Everything about it was just so good.

Now, the avocado toast was sort of a disappointment for me. First off, this toast cost me $8, which I think is pretty expensive for one slice of multi-grain toast cut in four triangles with some avocado on it. Second of all, I thought I liked avocado more than I actually do because I ate only one piece of it and that was enough for me due to there being too much avocado on it.

The avocado toast isn’t the only thing that is pricey at this place though, almost everything on their menu is too. So expect to drop at least ten to fifteen dollars, maybe even more depending on how much you order and if you get a drink.

As a senior though, I regret not coming to this café earlier in my college years because I was very much missing out.

So if anyone tells me they haven’t gone there, I will definitely be one of those people saying back to them in shock, “you haven’t been to The Granola Bar yet?”

Battle of the Diners: Andros or Galaxy

By Daniel Diggins

Staff Reporter

Do you like diner food? Do you like eating outside of campus for a change?

Students at Sacred Heart University with general money can use their SHU card at many off campus dining areas. Two of those places are Galaxy Diner and Andros Diner.

“Whenever I have general money, the first places I spend it at are Galaxy and Andros. I can’t help it,” said sophomore Tim Lowell.

Galaxy Diner is located at 4241 Main Street in Bridgeport, about two miles away from campus. Andros Diner is located at 651 Villa Avenue in Fairfield, and is about four miles away from campus.

Some students throughout their four years at Sacred Heart have a preference of going to one diner as opposed to the other. However, it’s not because of the food or service.

“I always go to Galaxy, simply because it’s a lot closer to school than Andros is,” said senior Justin Daleo.

Although Andros Diner is further from main campus, some students do not mind making the drive.

“I’ll take Andros Diner over Galaxy any day. Their omelettes are to die for,” said junior Anthony DiCicco. “I enjoyed the andros omelette and the spanish omelette the most.”

Other students say it is the time of day that matters when deciding between which diner to eat at.

“If it’s late Saturday or Sunday morning, I’m most likely going to Galaxy. If it’s late on weeknights and I leave the library hungry, I’m going to Andros because I won’t feel rushed there,” said senior Kevin Creagh.

Andros Diner is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except Christmas day.

Galaxy Diner is open on Sunday through Thursday 6 a.m. to 12 a.m. and open on Friday through Saturday 6 a.m to 3 a.m.

“When I’m deciding where I want to eat, it really just comes down to who has the better food. Both diners have some things that are great, and some that are not so much,” said sophomore Elena Wilson.

Some students will even opt to go to Galaxy for breakfast and lunch, but would go to Andros for dinner.

“Andros has so many options at night that are better than what Galaxy has to offer for dinner. The pasta and sandwiches are always satisfying there,” said Wilson.

Both diners have a variety of foods to choose from, such as breakfast, sandwiches, pasta, chicken dishes and soup and salad.

“Galaxy Diner is hands down the best diner in the area. There’s no need to ever go to Andros,” said senior Bill DiGiuseppe. “I’m not a fan of Andros diner anyways. I have loyalty to Galaxy, they’re always so kind to me.”

Some students simply loved that there are two diners around main campus.

“I just love having access to two diners that have convenient hours. What’s better than that?” said Lowell.

“The Golden Girls” Inspires Rue La Rue Cafe

By Cindy Sanawong

Staff Reporter

Located in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City, the new restaurant Rue La Rue Cafe is dedicated to the late actress, Rue McClanahan, and the rest of the “The Golden Girls” cast.

Starring McClanahan, Bea Arthur, Betty White and Estelle Getty, “The Golden Girls” is an American sitcom that aired 180 episodes from 1985 to 1992.

The show follows four older women who live together in Miami as they embrace the single life and enjoy the “golden years.”

Although many students at Sacred Heart have not seen much of the show, most know what it’s about and like the idea of a “Golden Girls” themed cafe.

“I know the show and Betty White is awesome,” said sophomore Amy Boyles. “I would definitely visit [the cafe] if I were more familiar with the show.”

Since the cafe recently opened at the end of January, not many people know of it. Some students feel their generation is too young to appreciate the cafe since the show aired before they were born.

“I would probably like to have seen the show first to get the full experience of the cafe,” said freshman Margot Smith. “I think it would be really cool if I had seen the show.”

Betty White is the only member of the four Golden Girls who is still alive, so some students wonder if Betty White will stop by and make an appearance at the cafe.

“Betty White is very well known for her role. I think the owner would hope for her to come to the restaurant,” said Boyles.

The cafe is owned by Michael J. LaRue and McClanahan’s son, Mark Bish. According to The New York Times, LaRue had access to some of the show’s archives set pieces, costumes and props because he met McClanahan at an animal rights charity event at Studio 54 and they became good friends.

In an interview with CNN, LaRue talked about his friendship with McClanahan and what the cafe is all about.

“She was a very talented actress, but better than that, she was a wonderful friend,” said LaRue. “She was a loving, kind, generous person and I’m really honored to be able to do this little bit to keep her legacy alive.”

You can visit the new cafe at 4396 Broadway in New York.

They are open Tuesday through Sunday 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with dinner hours
coming soon.

The Struggle to Diet in College When Food is Life: A Memoir

By Natalie Cioffari

Editor-In-Chief

Every morning when I wake up, I am thinking about food. Every night before I go to sleep, I am thinking about food.

Sound familiar? If you’re anything like me, food is life.

Food is something that can make or break your day. When was the last time you finished a pizza unhappy? The answer is never. When was the last time you felt sad after indulging in ice cream? The answer is, again, never.

Unfortunately, however, all those pizza and ice cream trips can start to add up. Even though you might try to ignore the fact that your diet mainly consists of carbs, and that your favorite pants are starting to feel tight, you realize that maybe something has to change.

I used to be a competitive athlete in high school where I exercised six days a week and the only carb I ate was the occasionally pasta before the game. If you do not believe me, I am sure my mom will be happy to pull out the photo album.

Well, all that stopped when I got to college. I wasn’t playing competitively anymore, and I got really used to watching Netflix and ordering food to be delivered to my dorm. I mean, I had Chinese, pizza and burgers all at my finger tips – I mean, who can resist?

At first, it seemed disgusting to eat fast and fried food every week, but hey, I guess people change their mind when they do not have mom and dad controlling what’s for dinner.

What’s worse is that during the summer before my senior year I discovered Merritt Canteen, Jerry’s Pizza and Golden Empire Chinese. Yes, I know I am late to the game, but seriously though, how did I survive without those three restaurants?

Of course, eating all those kinds of foods can take a tole on your body and mind. You start feeling sad because the “freshman 15” becomes the “every year 15.”

Yet, I do not think I could ever give up pizza or Chinese food. That is like giving up breathing: you simply cannot survive without it.

Dieting, or should I say watching what you eat, in college is quite difficult. If you’re twenty one, you have Red’s Pub with cheap beer and great bar food. If you have access to a computer, you can order food online to be delievered your dorm or house. If you have a car, you can drive to any fast food place you want at anytime of day.

Seriously though, shout out to McDonalds, Burger King and Merritt being on the same strip. Like, am I really going to deny my boyfriend when he suggests a trip to Merritt or McDonalds? Boyfriend plus burgers equals double the happiness.

Believe me, I tried the whole “diet” thing and it only made me even more upset because I stopped eating the things I loved all together. However, during the process of it all, I found ways to eat my favorite things without binging a whole days worth of calories in one Chinese food order.

Look, I am no expert at any of this stuff, I’ll admit to that. Yet, I do firmly believe that making small changes in your life, whatever that may be, is a step in the right direction.

No one said I ever had to give up pizza, I just can’t have it two to three days out of the week. If anything, I made it to be a specialty food that I only eat when I go out with friends or family.

That one small change led to another small change that led to me taking an oath to only go to the drive-thru once a month.

For those of you out there struggling, I feel you. It’s hard, but remember, baby steps. You got this. We got this.

Now, who wants to go get some ice cream?

Food Review: Mecha Noodle Bar

One of Mecha's delicious entrees featured on their menu. Photo courtesy of Mecha Noodle Bar official website.

One of Mecha’s delicious entrees featured on their menu. Photo courtesy of Mecha Noodle Bar official website.

By Natalie Cioffari

Editor-In-Chief

Tucked next to the popular ice cream bar, Milkcraft, in Fairfield is a restaurant called Mecha Noodle Bar.

As stated in the name, this restaurant sells different kinds of noodles, pho and ramen. It also features steamed baos, which are Asian American inspired fluffy buns, and different kinds of appetizers such, as edamame, fried rice, and dumplings.

For those who are 21 plus, they have various drink options and a happy hour. However, if you are running a tight budget with how much you want to spend on the food, I suggest skipping the alcohol and going right for the good stuff, the noodles.

The place itself is very quaint and small, but the atmosphere is very welcoming. You have a choice to sit at the bar, a long, shared tables with benches, or booths that have the small material as the benches. If you do not like to be on top of customers and other people, I suggest ordering out or going during off-peak hours.

I went on a Friday night, so it was pretty packed, but I was seated in less than 20 minutes, which was impressive. Even though there was a large amount of people, my waiter was prompt with getting to my seat with water and a menu. The menu was easy to read, since there is really only two main food items on the menu: pho and ramen. Pho is a rice noodle, while ramen is a regular noodle. To be honest, that is really the only difference I could make out between the two.

Since I knew nothing about the Asian cuisine, I stuck with my waiter’s recommendation of the original chicken ramen. On the menu, there is a section to add whatever you want to the ramen, but I stuck to the basics. The only thing I took out was the egg because I was not feeling that adventurous. Side note: you can always take out whatever you want in the pho and the ramen.

I also made my recommendation based off of what I say from other people. The ramen looked very promising. However, I found out later on that pho, the rice noodles, are actually healthier for you.

My food came out very fast and was steaming hot. Everything had its own section in the soup: the chicken, bamboo, seaweed, black garlic, and the noodles. I had to wait about five minutes for the broth to cool down. After it cooled down, I devoured into the most wonderful ramen noodles I ever purchased in my 22 years of living.

The broth itself was pretty salty, which I wasn’t a fan of, but the constant filling up of my water took that away. They gave you plenty of noodles to mix in with everything else. The portion they give you can fill you up. However, if you are still hungry, for two extra dollars you can get a whole other helping of noodles.

Overall, I would give this restaurant a four out of five. If you have never ventured to Mecha Noodle Bar and are curious about what it is all about, I definitely suggest you take the drive. It will be worth your money and your hunger. I know that I will be making a trip back to try their pho and fluffy buns.

Diner Station at Linda’s Foreshadows The Future

By Meliha Gutic

Staff Reporter

The food terrace, Innovation Kitchen, in the Linda McMahon building at Sacred Heart University has been drawing a lot of attention amongst students.

Throughout the last two weeks they have been testing out a new idea by serving diner food. Their menu includes club sandwiches, pancakes and disco fries, all of which are classic diner foods. This had students buzzing about what is to come for the diner being built on campus in fall of 2018.

“It’s going to be fantastic. It’s a retro 1960s diner with stainless steel and neon, and there’s going to be 85 seats. We modeled it after a couple of old diners, one being the Tick Tock diner in Clifton, NJ,” said Mark Tammone, Resident District Manager at Sacred Heart.

The goal is to keep the diner as close to the 1960’s as possible so that students hopefully will feel the retro vibe when they walk in.

The food served at the diner will be fairly similar to what was served in Linda’s, just much more expanded.

All of the classics will be sold and it will erase the need for students to drive off campus to get the diner food they’re looking for.

“I tried the waffles at the diner station at Linda’s. I am excited to see what the new diner will offer,” said sophomore Nicole Perin.

As students get excited about the diner, they are also curious as to what is going to be served next at the innovation station. The station is based on what students want, so anyone can give their input on what they would like to see.

“We have a student food committee on campus and we meet with them and they tell us what we’re doing right and what we need to work on because they get feedback from the students,” said Tammone.

The rotating station allows for all different kinds of food to be brought into Linda’s, and it allows for them to explore what the students like.

For example, Asian noodle bars have become increasingly popular, and the student food committee brought up that it would be a cool station to have. Plans are now being made to eventually have a noodle station in Linda’s.

Tammone encourages students to become more involved in the process by using  TEXT2SOLVE where you can text any suggestions or problems and they can be taken care of immediately. This allows Chartwells to get the best and quickest feedback from students.

“I actually loved the food at the diner station, and even the rotating station in general. The rotating station is the best because it gives more option instead of the usual burger or salad. I can pick whatever I want,” said junior McKenzie DeGroot.

Shopping on a Budget: Why I Switched to Trader Joe’s

By Jessica Lewis

Asst. Copy Editor

My freshman and sophomore year living on campus at Sacred Heart consisted of Outtakes runs in lieu of grocery store trips and Linda’s salads counting as well balanced meals. Since then, I’ve not only graduated from dorm life and moved off campus, I’ve also moved on to cooking more than just mac and cheese cups and Lean Pockets. With this new food freedom comes the responsibility of grocery shopping on a college student’s budget.

As most college students know, mastering the art of budgeting money between necessity and leisure can be tricky. Oftentimes, buying that new shirt to wear to Johnny Utah’s is far more enticing than spending money on fresh produce at the grocery store.

With the help of my thrifty, bargain hungry roommates and a full year of the off-campus cooking experience, as a senior, I have finally found the tricks to balancing my needs versus wants budget in a very unexpected place.

Like many Sacred Heart students living off campus, I did most of my food shopping at Stop and Shop. Being so close to both campus and many off campus houses, Stop and Shop was the most convenient option. As my friends left this grocery chain behind, I too began to question my monotonous grocery shopping routine.

For many years, I had been under the false impression that Trader Joe’s was an all-natural, pricey food store. It turns out that this earthy-crunchy grocery chain is actually quite budget friendly. Before I knew it, all four of my roommates had become Trader Joe’s advocates. Skeptical, I decided to join them on a food-shopping trip in hopes of learning what all the hype was about.

With their reusable grocery bags in hand, I was guided through what my roommates refer to as the Trader Joe’s experience, a grocery shopping experience that combines great prices with an even greater store atmosphere.

To my surprise, the colorful murals on the walls were just the beginning of the store’s unique and cheerful air. With almost all of their products being under the Trader Joe’s name, the store has the creative license to design their product’s packaging in a way that matches the store’s upbeat and quirky feel. Best of all, instead of spending twice the amount on a 12-pack of Dunkin’ Donuts K-Cups, I have happily accepted the switch to the Trader Joe’s $4.99 equivalent, which tastes exactly the same.

While perusing through the aisles I was lucky enough to stumble upon the free sample stand, immediately whisking away any hesitations or doubts I had about the store. My mid-shopping snack was filled with friendly conversations and I quickly learned that Trader Joe’s not only offers its customers free samples, but also allows employees to open any product in the store for a customer to try upon request. How cool! I also discovered that all customers shopping with reusable grocery bags are entered into a store raffle every time.

Rolling up to the cashier, I took note of the products in my cart. Differing only in exterior packaging, the items mirrored that of my Stop and Shop cart after a big food shop. As the last items were being scanned I was shocked by the total price-a-fraction of my usual weekly grocery bill.

While Linda’s will always hold a place in my heart, with a little push from my roommates and some help from Trader Joe’s, managing an affordable yet well balanced diet and the social life of a college student has never been easier.

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