an ode to Cornell

It’s almost autumn, which means… back to school for all you youngsters (and grad students)! Alas, it’s the second August I’m not venturing back up to Ithaca – even after 2 years, it still seems so surreal to me. I’m no longer a student, but an actual real person, in the real world, getting nickle and dimed living and working in NYC. #Bitter[sweet].

Now that it’s back-to-school season, my thoughts are teeming with all things Cornell. (Can you say separation anxiety?) I don’t have the time, nor do I have the funds to visit (Caribbean cruise/Miami/Michelle’s wedding/apartment/all sorts of expenses sneaking up on me), and so I’m left to reminisce. And after raving about Princeton, it’s only fair I acknowledge my personal favorites of my own alma mater:

Collegetown Bagels

Jersey bagels are big, fat, and fluffy. NYC bagels are overpriced and a waste of calories. CTB bagels from Ithaca are moderately portioned, yet dense. And perfect. And flavorful. And everything you imagine the most heavenly tasting bagel to be. And somewhat affordable for the average [broke] college student to indulge in on a regular basis, whether stumbling around drunk at night or walking to the dreaded 8:40 am class.

Pizza [topped with artichokes], vegetarian, and Mexican bagels were my go-to’s. I have yet to stumble across a bagel place as good as CTB – not even in NYC, where there seems to be every variety of food you can imagine.

Collegetown Pizza

I frequented this place less, but it certainly satisfied my pizza cravings. When I requested extra of their amazing sauce, they loaded it underneath the cheese, on top of the cheese, and gave me an extra cup of it for dipping purposes if the extra sauce on my pizza wasn’t enough. I have yet to find a pizza place more generous with their sauce than CTP.

The Carriage House Cafe

Situated at the bottom of one of Ithaca’s many hilled roads, the rustic, cottage-like Carriage House Cafe was my favorite restaurant for brunch (aside from CTB). I will never forget that brie stuffed French toast. I love cheese, and I love carbs – it was the perfect, savory combination. Reason number 510 why I need to go back to Ithaca…


Probably the most Manhattan-like bar/restaurant Ithaca had – overpriced drinks, semi-fancy dishes (fancy for a college kid), sexy ambiance, trendy interior, whatever. I went for three things: 1) truffle and parmesan fries, 2) the She-She Popeye salad, and (best for last) 3) Bloody Marys. They were the best and spiciest I’ve ever had. They were also poured in the tallest glass I’ve ever had a Bloody Mary in, garnished with a huge, fat green olive. Irresistible to the last sip.

Statler Terrace

It’s the best eatery that Cornell has to offer, and I’m not just saying that because I was a hotelie – all Cornellians know it.

Molly got me into the four-ingredient burrito: re-fried beans, cheese, hot sauce, and rice (and occasionally I threw in some cheesy potatoes when they were available). Being a rice-eater my entire life, I found the rice they used in my burritos to be particularly amazing. Maybe it was perfectly al dente? I don’t really know. It was just better than any rice I’ve had in my lifetime, and I’ve had a lot. You could do no wrong with the 4-ingredient mix – so simple, yet so delicious.

And then there’s the Statler salad. All of the make-your-own salads I’ve had elsewhere just haven’t live up to Statler’s… maybe they use fresher ingredients? All eateries with make-your-own salads claim they’re fresh! Maybe it’s the sesame ginger dressing Statler uses? I mean, I’ve purchased the dressing (varieties of them, actually) from regular grocery stores like ShopRite, overpriced grocery stores like Whole Foods, strictly organic grocery stores like Sunac, cheap grocery stores like Trader Joe’s… and I can never find THAT sesame ginger dressing. Those of you who have had the salad, you know what I’m talking about.

Ithaca Farmer’s Market

Statler burrito was for lunch, but I haven’t forgotten about breakfast. The cheesiest, gooeyest, milkiest, eggiest breakfast burrito you can find is at the Ithaca Farmer’s market. I feel like most burritos are the size of infants, but this one isn’t overwhelmingly large at all – it’s on the smaller side, but you’ll be surprisingly stuffed. Probably because it’s filled with enough dairy product to obliterate a population of lactose intolerants.

Top of the Herbert F. Johnson Museum

I rarely went to the top floor for the art. It was really just to marvel at the magnificent view of the campus.

The Plantations

After living in Ithaca for four years, I can truly appreciate the beauty and tranquility that mother nature has to offer. In fact, I’ve started to prefer natural aesthetics over the concrete jungle I currently reside in… I’d just need to learn how to drive so I can get myself around in the rural areas. And I’d find a job in fashion.. in the countryside? Is that even heard of? Maybe I’ll just stick with a summer home there.

Taughannock Falls

Aside from the college fratty-ness and the townie hippie-ness, there’s something insatiably romantic about the beauty of the gorges and its surrounding areas. Taughannock Falls is where you go to escape the student-infested gorges that are essentially on campus. It’s kind of a trek to get to the falls, but it’s completely worth it (coming from the girl who isn’t too fond of hiking and dirt and sticks and stones).

Those two dots in the photo are Molly and me wading back out of the water after getting in trouble for swimming – falling stones or something like that.

Finger Lakes Wineries

Always a good time. Tasted delicious wines, ate various cheeses, gallivanted through the fields, took in the beauty of the Ithaca, partied in the yellow school bus (hey, we needed some mode of transportation to get from winery to winery), got wasted and forgot it all even happened.


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


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