the pursuit of conscious excess


Work has taken over my life recently. This weekend away at Princeton University provided a much-needed hiatus from anything work-related. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to recover from the exhausting week prior, so the culmination of work last week, wedding this past weekend, work (so far) this week, with maid of honor duties sprinkled in between = I am a walking zombie.

My blood will always run red, but since I’m such a good sport, I’m going to make an effort to highlight my adventures and favorites (all mostly food-related) at Princeton – with my own personal Princetonian tour guide :)

Princeton Reunions

The first time I visited Joseph’s alma mater was back in June for his 4th year reunion. It was basically a weekend-long drunkfest full of alumni drinking like irresponsible freshmen undergrads – you wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference.

According to GQ, “Reunions weekend is probably the largest regular alumni gathering in the world. Historically, the level of alcohol consumption here exceeds that of every other event in America save the Indy 500. The school mascot is the tiger, and Reunions is defined by blackout drunkenness and blaze orange disorder. To be clear, not all of the events directly involve getting shitfaced. The schedules are dense with memorial services and prayer services and community-service projects. But really, the main point is getting shitfaced. Anthropologists refer to this kind of debauchery—bonding by way of getting smashed—as the pursuit of conscious excess.”

There is no other way to describe it. Can Cornell have annual reunions please?

Triumph Brewery

We returned to Princeton for Mike’s wedding, where Joseph stood as his best man. I got in just in time for the rehearsal dinner, which was held at the enormous Triumph Brewery. My favorite beer was the Honey Blonde – light and sweet with notes of honey (of course); although I should have probably tasted all the other options before declaring it as my favorite :)

The hors d’oeuvres were absolutely delightful – truffled goat cheese and mushroom quesadillas, some kind of ultra tender char-grilled meat that fell right apart the moment it hit your lips, and scallops that basked in this mysteriously tasty sauce. I indulged in way too many which left me with hardly any room for dinner and dessert… and yet I still managed to pack it all in. (I make myself sound so gross).

Cloister Inn

Back in the day, Cloister Inn was Joseph’s eating club. When he first mentioned he was part of an “eating club,” I pictured a cute little nerdy gathering of Princetonians who ate dinner together regularly. Little did I know that eating clubs are essentially frats/sororities fused together… a co-ed fratority.

The first time I experienced glorious Cloister sustenance was after the P-Rade at Reunions, when everyone drunkenly gorged in the the five or six themed buffets that were offered. The second time was just this past weekend, for Mike’s wedding reception – a classier occasion, but the level of inebriation was no different from the last time.

PJ’s Pancakes

That’s a photo of the apricot stuffed pancake, with the blueberry and pineapple coconut ones in the background. I managed to eat my entire plate of pancakes jammed with sweet fruity stuff the first time I lost my PJ’s virginity.

The second time was even better – I got the pancakes made with bits of sweet corn kernels…aka bits of happiness in my mouth. Hands down the most delicious pancake I have ever had.

I have the proclivity to eat food so quickly that I forget to take a photo of it.. I’m not a very good food blogger.

Hoagie Haven

I was first introduced to Hoagie Haven at Reunions, where we got the Heartstopper: Philly cheese steak with fried eggs, and a bunch of other ingredients known to promote heart attacks. This time, we opted for the Body Bag: Philly cheese steak, mozzarella sticks, 7 kinds of meat (or so it seemed), home fries – there were probably more, but that’s all I can remember. I ate half of a half (probably a total of 3 inches or so), and I was stuffed. Disgustingly good.

My hedonistic indulgences are going to shorten my lifespan about a decade. At least I don’t do drugs.

The Alchemist & Barrister

The Alchemist & Barrister was the first restaurant Joseph went to at Princeton, way back when he was a wee little pre-frosh. The waitresses flirted with him and he felt awesome because he assumed they were college chicks. To his dismay, they turned out to be townies.

Joseph got the Mexican Heart Attack, I got the Tiger Burger. I desperately need to cleanse myself and go on a veggie binge this week.

House of Cupcakes

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of trying cupcakes from a Cupcake Wars winner! The bride and groom ordered catering from House of Cupcakes – lush, moist vanilla cake filled with raspberry jam or key lime pudding, with delicious icing to top it off – I can see why the baker won. I’d rank them as a close 2nd to Chikalicious.

I’m glad Joseph shared all of his favorites with me – Cornell was the only Ivy I’ve ever visited, so it was such a pleasure exploring Princeton, and discovering bits and pieces of the university that reminded me of my own alma mater. Who knew there was more to New Jersey than guidos, shores, and an excessive amount of chain family restaurants?

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Categories: eat, drink, & be merry, love & happiness

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