Through my assistantship, I am fortunate to have a stipend. However, I am not rolling around in cash, and my stipend is just enough to feed me, house me, and have a little lift for entertaining me (movies, dinners with friends, and yes, shopping). Yet, I have to be Continue reading
Imagine this scenario: It’s crunch time, in multiple ways; you might have a paper or a group project that needs to get done ASAP, or you might actually have the munchies. What better of a way to continue to procrastinate on the former, and satisfy the latter than to go out to eat? Continue reading
After nearly four years living in Bloomington, I’ve been very fortunate to find individuals who I connected with not only on an intellectual level, but bonded by one of our most basic needs: food. Some eat to live, we live to eat. And thus the first of many “Foodies’ Alert” begins.
Growing up in the Bay Area, the culture of supporting mom-n-pop establishments is ingrained into the fabric of our food souls. I am not just taking about small businesses. Thinking about a lackluster exterior that has seen better days with an eclectic medley of furniture forming the interior, yet the irresistible aroma of food and chattering of excited patrons in lines snaking around the small establishment fills the air. Such pure and soulful dwellings of culinary excellence must be recognized. In need of a Chinese fast-food fix? Look no further, Lucky Express is the answer to those cravings.
It has been hailed “The best Chinese fast-food in Indiana,” the place is owned and operated by a very nice Chinese family whose likeness I will challenge you to get acquainted with. If you are a capsaicin fiend, this place will be absolute heaven. If not, they have alternative that will still blow your minds. My girlfriend and I recommend the eggplant w/ garlic sauce (not spicy) and double pork w/ dried tofu and jalapenos (spicy). Have fun and have a wonderful new year!
For those who enjoy large, bustling cities, Chicago is only a short drive away. On a recent trip to the windy city, only over three hours drive from Bloomington, I enjoyed a dinner, theatre, shopping, and cultural! Firstly, I enjoyed dinner at Russian Tea Time before laughing out of my seat watching The Book of Morman at the Bank of America Theatre around the corner. After a wonderful night of music and food, Chicago’s Magnificent Mile has all the shopping to offer plus the Christmas spirit at the ice-skating rink in Millennium Park. Thank goodness the weather wasn’t too cold, windy, or snowy … Chicago can be brutal with all three. My day was also accompanied with culture with a dim sum lunch in Chinatown and tacos in La Villita. With only a short drive from Bloomington, Chicago offers a change of pace to students who are looking for a weekend away. Don’t forget to stop by near by Indianapolis along the way!
First, allow me to state that I am neither gluten-intolerant nor celiac. I do, however, have several family members who have been gluten-intolerant/celiac for a number of years. Family get-togethers often involve switching to a celiac-friendly diet for the duration of the visit. Plus, since celiac, or as I like to call “gluten-intolerance set on high,” runs strongly in families, it’s better that I don’t eat much of the stuff and will often go for days without gluten. I don’t even know how to work with gluten anymore, only the gluten-free stuff. The good gluten-free stuff tastes waaay better than the regular stuff anyway. For example, I prefer Tinkyada brown rice pasta over regular pasta. It doesn’t get mushy. Period. In other words, I may not be gluten-intolerant, but I know how to live like a celiac.
So, what’s the dining scene for celiacs? You’ve probably know by now that Bloomington has an extensive list of options. Well, while gluten-free options are not as advertised as vegetarian options, Bloomington has a lot to offer. My sister, a celiac, says that she has an easier time eating out here than in East Lansing, MI. I’ll go through a small selection of places that aren’t national chains in increasing order of difficulty.
Darn Good Soup:
It’s fast, it’s cheap, it’s darn good, and all made from scratch. If you cook much, you know that soup can easily be made without flour as long as it’s made from scratch. Darn Good Soup changes its menu regularly, so it’s best to walk up to a worker and ask what’s gluten-free for the day. The worker will point out anywhere between 5 to half the soups listed. The hard part is picking a soup.
Bloomingfoods Market and Deli:
If your looking for a snack to pick up, Bloomingfoods is a good place to go. All gluten-free items and snacks are labelled on the shelf. The deli portion often keeps gluten-free cookies and muffins available, too. Bloomingfoods must have dedicated cooking materials somewhere because I have not run into any cross-contamination issues with the cookies.
4th street is a street full of restaurants, many of them ethnic, not psuedo-ethnic. As long as the place isn’t a buffet, gluten-free options abound. Mandalay is a good example. The restaurant specializes in Burmese cuisine and only uses fish sauce for the fish dishes, not soy sauce. So, anything with fish and no wheat noodles is gluten-free.
Ami is located on 3rd street and, last I recall, kept gluten-free soy sauce available. The workers may be a bit wary when hearing about the dietary restrictions, but they can do gluten-free. If you’ve been to Japanese restaurants before, this is neither a surprise nor a reason for alarm. Just remember to say, “no barley,” as well when ordering.
Talking to vegetarians about gluten-intolerance is often a two-fold scenario. On one hand, vegetarians are more likely to know what gluten is and are aware of how dietary restrictions work. One the other hand, vegetarianism often replaces meat with more grains, especially wheat, the exact opposite of what living with gluten-intolerance requires. So, vegetarian places understand, but may have trouble accommodating. The Owlery, however, tries to accommodate both at the same time. The vegetarian restaurant keeps a separate gluten-free menu and ships in breads from a gluten-free bakery in Florida. I haven’t been able to test this place out on any celiacs yet, but it looks like a good possibility.
Le Petit Cafe pick-up window:
During the Farmer’s Market, Le Petit Cafe opens a pick-up window along a path to the Farmer’s Market. The pick-up window offers small items for a couple dollars. It’s a good place to pick up breakfast after going to the market. Anyway, this past year the cafe began offering gluten-free quiche. I haven’t come across any contamination issues here, just yummy quiche.
“Gluten-free,” but not recommended for celiac:
Chelsea’s specializes in making a variety of organic baked goods. This bakery makes some good gluten-free items … next to some items with gluten. So, while the bakery has options for those with gluten-intolerance, I would not recommend this place to celiacs who cannot have any cross-contamination whatsoever.
4th St buffets:
As stated before, 4th street has numerous ethnic restaurants, but some are buffets. A situation begging for cross-contamination. If you arrive at a buffet just as it opens and before anyone else arrives, you can collect your lunch before anyone else has a chance to mess up the buffet. My sister and I did that with an Indian buffet on 4th St. She can test for gluten at a distance (I have no idea how she does it) and collect the gluten-free curries before the naan gets spread around. I would not recommend this for anyone new to the whole no-gluten thing or celiacs in general.
You may have heard that Bloomington has a fantastic restaurant selection, and it’s true. However, we students often don’t have time to sit down a leisurely lunch, so today I’m going to highlight some of my favorite places to grab a quick bite near campus. Here’s a map to get you oriented…
#1 – Bloomingfoods Co-op
Bloomingfoods is a cooperatively owned grocery store that specializes in organic food. They have several locations, including this smaller store right near campus. They have a soup and salad bar, sandwiches made to order, coffee, pastries, and pre-made items that you can grab and go. Very convenient!
#2 - Sweet Claire (no same-name bias here!)
I love this place for several reasons – great iced tea, great sandwiches (with vegetarian options), quiet atmosphere, and free wi-fi. It’s location on busy 3rd Street means that many people zoom right by it, especially since parking is hidden in back. But it’s an easy walk from campus, and a good place to either take a study break or bring your laptop and get some work done.
#3 – City Bakery
City Bakery is also easy to miss because it’s a tiny corner shop, but once you’ve discovered it you won’t forget it. The pastries – some sweet, some savory – are made from scratch every day, and they are delicious.
Maybe it’s not the healthiest place to grab a snack, but their prices are very reasonable. And you can even get a super-speedy breakfast of eggs and toast – they steam their eggs with the wand on the espresso machine. If that sounds crazy, you’ll just have to go and see!
In the late spring of 2012, I had the wonderful opportunity of attending an annual international conference held in New Orleans, Louisiana. The International Particle Accelerator Conference (IPAC) was established in 2010 to join together the world’s largest organizations working on topics pertaining to particle accelerator technologies and applications. Among them includes CERN, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, IEEE, and countless national laboratories, physical societies, and accelerator facilities around the globe.
It was here that I was given the opportunity to showcase my research as well as get acquainted to the research of fellow scientists in the field. There were over 2000 participants in all. I ran into old professors and advisers, friends, and colleagues I met along the journey. I presented on the compact radio frequency accelerating structure that I built at the Center for Exploration of Energy and Matter (message me if you are interested in reading the paper). To the best of my knowledge, it the the most compact accelerating structure of its kind in current literature. Overall is the wonderful, humbling, and empowering experience for a young scholar. On the flight back to Indiana, still buzzing with excitement, all I can think of how I can keep pushing and contribute further to the accelerator physics community. I hope you’ll one day get to experience the same.
As a current student, I always look forward to graduate student recruitment day. My department gives me a chance to partake in some of the events. Not only do I get to hear about the awesome projects of a lot of up and coming, bright, future grad students, I get to also practice my five minute spill of my work (helps me sharpen my “big picture” skills). In addition to these wonderful benefits, I get FREE food (and as a grad student, this is a big plus!!!!)
For lunch we went to the Tudor room at the IMU (here’s a link, they have such good food!!! http://www.imu.indiana.edu/dining/tudorroom.shtml). This evening a potluck has been organized by the faculty in my specific program, and I will get to enjoy more free food, a glass of wine, and get to hang with people in my program and the prospective students.
If you are doing interviews right now, don’t worry, soon you will be on the other end, and you will be able to enjoy this process without the anxiety
If you are planning to visit Bloomington this year, you are in for a real treat! Bloomington has almost every cuisine possible including Thai, Turkish, Cajun, Mediterranean, Japanese and more. One of my favorite restaurants is Anatolia, a Turkish restaurant in town. Their red lentil soup is amazing! It is also extremely affordable. Check out their website here: http://www.restaurantanatolia.com
Another Bloomington favorite is Scotty’s. This American grill has the best fried pickles I’ve ever had! To be fair, I’d never had fried pickles (also known as dill chips) before I moved to Indiana, however, they are a must have when you come to visit Bloomington. Here’s the link to their website: http://www.scottysbrewhouse.com/locations/bloomington
Bloomington is also extremely vegetarian friendly, so there is plenty to eat for everyone. The Farm (http://www.farm-bloomington.com) and the Owlery (http://www.theowleryrestaurant.com/location.html) are some of my favorite vegetarian spots. I’ve been a vegetarian for the last 16 years and I have never had an issue eating in Bloomington. Even if you are not at a vegetarian restaurant, there is usually something on the menu you can eat.
If you are interested in other Bloomington restaurants, check out Visit Bloomington. There is a lot of valuable information about restaurants and other activities in Bloomington. Here’s the link: http://www.visitbloomington.com
A really quick and easy breakfast! Pardon the hysterics at the beginning. I wasn’t quite ready when the cinematographer (aka my wonderful boyfriend) decided to start shooting. Hope you like it! I promise this is yum-o!