Northeastern University Dining Services Blog

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Menu Creation on the Food Truck: Spring 2015

Thursday, March 26, 2015 | 12:17 PM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , , No comments

Campus Executive Chef Tom Barton here with a behind the scenes look at the Hungry Hungry Husky's new menu for this spring. The food truck is a great place for us to have a little fun and experiment with emerging food trends and with the international theme of the truck we are especially interested in exciting menu items from around the world. This spring's menu features your favorite H3 items – our Famous Mac & Cheese and the Thai Basil Bowl (now with chicken or new sriracha glazed tofu) – as well as two unique tastes from two different sides of the globe: Mexican tortas and Korean chicken wings.

Latin food, and especially Mexican food, has always been popular but with the explosion of places such as Chipotle, more and more attention is being brought to these types of foods. While not as widely accepted as the burrito or quesadilla, the torta is a staple of Mexican cuisine. The sandwiches are made with freshly prepared ingredients served on sliced telera, the traditional round torta bread.

We are offering two types of tortas on the food truck, each with their own unique layering of flavors: the Cubano and the Vegetariano. The Cubano combines Mexican flavors with elements of a more traditional Cuban sandwich such as the mustard, pickles, and sliced ham. The pork component of a Cuban sandwich is typically roasted pork but we added a Latin flavor by using a slow roasted pork carnitas. A great complement to the Cubano is the Vegetariano torta featuring "smashed" black beans, fresh cilantro, and a smoky chipotle spread. The star of the sandwich, however, are the mushrooms that we sear in a piping hot pan and toss with a lime-infused roasted garlic. At our taste test before launch, we couldn't stop eating them right out of the pan – they are that good!

We are also featuring Korean-style chicken wings dubbed the "2X Wings." Traditional Korean-style wings are twice fried but after testing the recipe a few times we discovered that simmering them in chicken stock, then cooling them, tossing them in seasoned flour, and finishing them in the fryer produced a crispier wing. Once fried on the truck, the wings are then tossed to order in your choice of three unique sauces: Teriyaki BBQ, Sweet Sriracha, or Zesty Lime Garlic.

So far we have received some great feedback on these items and – now that the weather is warming up – we hope you'll stop by and try out these great flavors from around the world! Be sure to follow Northeastern Dining on Twitter where we post the truck's location every morning.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

5 Upcoming Dining Events for the End of Spring Semester

Thursday, March 12, 2015 | 11:09 AM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , , , , No comments
There are only a few days left of Spring Break which means it is almost time for the final stretch of spring semester. With final papers and group projects looming, it is bound to be a stressful time of the year. But even if you have just an hour, don't forget to take some time to have fun! Here are five upcoming dining services events to relieve some stress from the end of your semester.

Wednesday, March 18
Global Eats with Northeastern Global Officer Caitlin Morelli

As one of President Aoun's first Global Officers, Caitlin Morelli is currently traveling the world for her co-op and building opportunities for the Northeastern community. Besides her love for travel, Caitlin is passionate about trying new foods and varieties of tea. She learned how to cook a variety of traditional dishes after taking a class in Chiang Mai, Thailand and during her one week back on campus she wants to share her culinary experience with you! She is excited to tell her story, share new foods, and talk with students about how to make Northeastern better through the Global Officer program.

Tuesday, March 24
Lobstah Night 2015

It's back! Our second annual Lobstah Night is coming soon with all the excitement of last year's event. Northeastern students are invited to come to Stetson West Eatery from 5:00 to 7:30 pm for a whole lobster with a side of clarified butter as well as a taste of other Boston culinary favorites. We will have lots of additional details next week so be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram for updates!

Wednesday, March 25
Life from Scratch with Sasha Martin

It was a culinary journey like no other: over the course of 195 weeks, food writer and blogger Sasha Martin set out to cook – and eat – a meal from every country in the world. Her work has been featured in a number of national publications and this heartfelt, brutally honest memoir reveals the power of cooking to bond, to empower, and to heal – and celebrates the simple truth that happiness is created from within.

Wednesday, April 1
Cake My Day! with Karen Tack and Alan Richardson

Karen Tack and Alan Richardson are the New York Times bestselling authors of Hello, Cupcake! and we are thrilled to have them back in the Xhibition Kitchen for their third time with bigger, bolder, better creations for every occasion. These cupcaking geniuses realized that everything that can be done with a cupcake can be done better – and bigger! – with a cake. You won't want to miss these incredible baking masterpieces!

Thursday, April 23
Educate Your Palate 2015

Anyone who attended or saw photos of last year's Educate Your Palate event knows that this is the event where we don't hold anything back. 2014's "Spoonful of Spring" theme is making way for this year's surprise theme and we can't wait to take you on another culinary journey inside International Village. Be sure to save the date for this not-to-be-missed student event!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Eating Healthy on Spring Break

Friday, March 6, 2015 | 10:48 AM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , , , No comments

As you get ready to leave for Spring Break, you should also think about how you can make healthy choices while you are away and on the go. Making healthy choices will help you feel better, boost your immune system, and increase your chances of staying healthy while you are away. Keep in mind that planning ahead is one of the keys to making healthy choices!

It is wise to plan ahead and pack snacks and beverages to take on a trip. This will help you make healthy choices and stay hydrated while you are away. There are many healthier options available at convenience stores that you may encounter on the road, such as:
  • Trail mix with dried fruit, nuts, and seeds
  • Almonds
  • Fresh fruit and veggies
  • A bagel or crackers with peanut butter or another nut butter 
  • Dry cereal
  • Cereal and/or granola bars
  • String cheese and yogurt (if you are taking along a cooler)
  • Hydrating beverages such as water, sports drinks, or 100% fruit juice
It is important to choose foods that contain a balance of carbohydrates (a variety of fruits and vegetables along with whole grain breads and cereals, pasta, rice and potatoes), proteins (peanut butter, eggs, chicken, beef, fish, yogurt, milk, and nuts), and healthy fats (olive oil and nuts). When possible, tailor your meals such as by specifying a baked, broiled, grilled, or roasted preparation versus fried. You can also ask for sauces and salad dressings “on the side” to allow you the opportunity to control the amount that is added to your foods.

Here are some techniques to eating healthy when at popular restaurants on the road:
  • Mexican: Choose a burrito or soft tacos with grilled veggies along with beans, chicken, fish, or steak.
  • Fast food: Pick a grilled chicken sandwich, hamburger or veggie burger with lettuce and tomato.
  • Sub/sandwich shop: Turkey or ham with cheese sandwich, soup and salad or vegetable stir-fry sandwich with grilled chicken. If you like mayonnaise on your sandwich, ask for less mayo (or low-fat) to decrease the amount of fat it will add to your meal.
  • Pizza: Choose cheese pizza or add some veggies along with a side salad. Avoid adding pepperoni or lots of other meats.
  • Italian restaurant: Avoid heavy cream sauces and choose a red sauce. Add a side salad with a low-fat or vinaigrette dressing.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Smart Snacking

Monday, March 2, 2015 | 9:00 AM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , , , No comments
Snacking is on the rise and becoming a more significant part of our overall diets. At first glance, this might seem like a bad thing, but it doesn't have to be.

Defining Snacks
You've probably seen headlines that we are snacking more or even heard the term "snackification." Does this mean we are eating more chips? Not necessarily. Most studies that look at how we eat classify eating occasions into two groups – meals and snacks. Meals include breakfast, lunch and dinner and snacks are any other time we eat. So a dessert eaten after dinner or a granola bar while on a hike would both be considered snacks.

Is Snacking Good or Bad?
Snacking itself isn't necessarily good or bad. What and how much we eat is key. If the snacks you choose always come in a bag or a box, you may be getting more sugar and salt than you need. If you snack on fresh fruit, unsalted nuts or yogurt, on the other hand, snacking could be helping you get important nutrients. If you start adding two snacks to your day and still eat your usual meals, you may be getting more calories than you need. If you find that a small late afternoon snack helps to keep you from overdoing it at dinner, then your snacking may be a good thing.

How to Snack Smarter
To get the most out of snacking, be smart about what and how much you snack on. Redefining snacks can be a good first step. Anything small, quick and portable can serve as a snack. Skip the snack aisle and look for more healthful options to fill your snacking time. Good choices include fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, yogurt, unsalted nuts and seeds. You can even turn mini-meals into snacks like small sandwiches or salads. Time your snacks for when you need an energy boost. Mid-morning or mid-afternoon are common times for our energy to dip. A small nourishing snack can give you a little boost and much needed mental break. Don’t forget to balance your snacks with your meals. If you find your meals are still the same size after adding snacks into your day, snacking may not be the best strategy for you.

1. Kant, Ashima K. et al. 40-Year Trends in Meal and Snack Eating Behaviors of American Adults. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics , Volume 115 , Issue 1 , 50 - 63. Written by Jennifer M. Ignacio, MS, RD. March 2015

Friday, February 27, 2015

7 Simple Dining Hall Hacks to Revolutionize Your Dining Experience

Friday, February 27, 2015 | 10:29 AM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , No comments
Our all-you-care-to-eat residential dining locations – International Village, Levine Marketplace, and Stetson West Eatery – are a great place to find just about any type of cuisine you are looking for. While our rotating menus allow for different flavors at each meal, if there is a specific taste you are looking for sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands. Below are seven simple dining hall hacks that will change the way you eat in the dining halls.

1) Breakfast Parfait
Let's start with the first, and most important, meal of the day. Yogurt is a great way to start your day but you can easily upgrade it by layering in some sliced fresh fruit, granola, or cereal. Using a clear beverage glass will also allow you to marvel at the beautiful layers you create in your breakfast masterpiece.

2) Thai-Style Peanut Sauce
You waited for your grilled chicken from the grill so why not make the most of it? Combine peanut butter and soy sauce with a splash of sriracha for a spicy Thai-style peanut sauce that you can dip your chicken strips into. And, honestly, you'll probably want to dip everything you eat into this sauce once you find your perfect ratio of ingredients.

3) Chicken & Waffles
Are Levine Marketplace and International Village serving chicken tenders? You don't have to wait until Sunday to have this brunch staple when all you have to do is make your own Belgian waffle, split it in half, and top with the chicken tenders. From this point, you could go with the classic maple syrup, spice it up with a little honey mustard or sriracha, or go crazy with strawberries and chocolate sauce from the waffle and ice cream bars.

4) Ice Cream Sandwich
Speaking of the ice cream bar, that soft serve machine may be the dining hall hack MVP (at least according to Kevin Durant). Just grab two of your favorite cookies from the bakery, toss them in the microwave for 15 seconds, and then drop a dollop of soft serve in the middle. The warm cookies will slowly melt the ice cream into a mess of cookie goodness.

5) Caramel Apples
Looking for a quick mid-day snack in Stetson West? When the caramel sauce is available at the ice cream bar, microwave a bowl of the sauce and drizzle it over apple slices. You can thank us later.

6) Pasta – with Everything
Step up your pasta game by using your imagination. Pasta is a blank canvas for creativity so grab a plate at dinner and let your mind run wild. Whether you add spinach from the salad bar with sautéed mushrooms from the grill – or maple syrup and chocolate chips Buddy the Elf-style – your possibilities are endless.

7) Soft Serve + Soda Fountain = Ice Cream Floats
This classic ice cream parlor favorite is a simple combination that provides a ton of flavor for how little work you have to do. Root beer floats, Coke floats, and even Fanta floats (creamsicle!) are a great way to reward yourself after a long day of classes.

Let us know your own favorite hacks in the comments or show us a photo on Twitter or Instagram!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Breakfast: The Most Important Meal of the Day

Friday, February 20, 2015 | 2:47 PM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , No comments

They aren't lying when they say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day! When you skip breakfast you are missing out on some valuable nutrients to help start off your day. There are many good reasons to make sure you eat breakfast:
  • It can help you include more vitamins and minerals into your daily intake.
  • You will have better focus and concentration during your early morning classes.
  • It has been shown to help with weight control as it can decrease hunger later in the day and help to avoid overeating.
  • It helps to refuel your body and replenish the stores that provide your body with energy during the day.
Even if you are in a rush and feel that you don’t have to time for breakfast you can grab something on the go! Thinking ahead is one way to help you make healthy choices in the morning. Pack a healthy option in your backpack the night before (cereal bar, granola bar, dry cereal or a piece of fruit) or stop at Outtakes in the morning to grab a healthy on-the-go option. A smoothie made with fruit and low-fat yogurt can also be a great quick option.

If you have more time to sit down and eat breakfast here are some healthy options:
  • Whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk and a piece of fruit. The best is a cereal that has at least 3 grams of fiber and 5 grams or less of sugar.
  • Whole-grain bagel or waffle with peanut butter, a piece of fruit and some milk.
  • Oatmeal (make it with milk to add more nutrients) with fruit or almonds.
  • An omelet with vegetables added.
  • Yogurt with low-fat granola and some fruit.
  • Whole wheat crackers with cheese or peanut butter.
If you are skipping breakfast in the hopes of decreasing your calorie intake to meet a weight loss goal you may want to reconsider this strategy. When you begin to skip breakfast regularly you will be so hungry at lunchtime that you may over-eat and are more likely to make unhealthy choices. Eating three well-balanced meals a day will keep your body healthy as well as help keep you energized to make it through your busy schedule.

  1. Breakfast: How does it help weight control? Mayo Clinic.
  2. Healthy breakfast: Quick, flexible options to grab at home. Mayo Clinic.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Behind The Scenes of Mardi Gras

Thursday, February 12, 2015 | 5:07 PM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , No comments

Hard to believe that it's already the middle of February – although it sure feels like the middle of winter with the recent (and upcoming) weather – but that means it is almost time for our first signature event of the spring semester. The event, our 14th annual Mardi Gras Celebration, is this Tuesday, February 17 from 8:00 to 10:00 pm in Levine Marketplace.

We have lots of fun planning and executing this event but just what goes into transforming Stetson East into a miniature Bourbon Street? Well...

Our main goal of the event is authenticity. When choosing menu items for the event, we look for recipes that we can produce in our kitchen both effectively – to honor the traditional Cajun recipes of New Orleans – and efficiently – since more than 600 guests are served in just two hours. We love serving classic New Orleans favorites including jambalaya, shrimp étouffée, and catfish po' boys but we also look for creative opportunities such as last year's pairing of traditional andouille sausage with red velvet pancake.

Another important culinary tradition at Mardi Gras is the king cake. Its beginnings are hotly debated by revelers and historians alike (for a brief overview, try this NPR article) but today it is undoubtedly the most famous food of the celebration. With so much tradition in the king cake recipes passed from generation to generation in New Orleans bakeries, we have all the king cakes for our Mardi Gras celebration baked by the award-winning Randazzo's Camellia City Bakery in New Orleans. And yes, those are plastic babies are baked right into the cakes. But don't throw it out! Guests who find the baby in the king cake are said to have good luck for the coming year.

We're excited for next Tuesday's celebration and hope that you'll join us for all the food and fun. You won't want to miss the festive atmosphere, thanks to the New Orleans jazz of the Hot Tamale Brass Band and more than 2,000 strands of beads, or the always-competitive contests where you could win $100 cash right on the spot. Laissez les bons temps rouler!