(Ed. note: We have a guest blogger this summer, the ever-wonderful Boyfriend. )
A few weeks ago, Julie and I were having lunch at Habanero in Clifton when I was reminded of something I’ve believed for a long time: The country’s best cheap eats are often found close to college campuses.
This shouldn’t be surprising. College students love to eat out but don’t usually have much money. They don’t usually go for complex or sophisticated fare, but there will always be a market for feeding good food at bargain prices to college kids.
Though it has been more years since college than I’d like to admit, I well remember counting out change from my coin jar to finance a Saturday-night burger. Late-night pizza, the cost divvied up among five or six people in the dorm, was a staple back then, as I’m sure it continues to be for college kids today.
I attended a marginally accredited, mid-sized state university in a “college town” in the Deep South. And although, even in those days, there were plenty of fast-food chains available, my favorite places were the locally owned mom-and-pop joints. And what’s truly amazing is that most of them are still there. I still visit all of them from time to time, whenever I find myself in that part of the country. One place, I swear, serves the best wings and fried pickles I’ve ever eaten (and after a recent trip there, Julie concurs). Another serves an incredibly flavorful and juicy hamburger with a peppery ketchup-based sauce and the strongest onions I’ve ever eaten. Probably my favorite place had, among other things on an extensive menu, my all-time favorite char-grilled hamburger steak, smothered with a mountain of sautéed onions.
Or am I wrong? Is it possible that my long-ago favorites aren’t really all that great…that my taste buds are colored by nostalgia? It’s no matter, I suppose.
As a high school teacher, I have a fair amount of free time during the summer months, especially this summer. And as someone who feels a need always to be productive, I’ve decided to undertake a major summer-long project: Lunch.
And this is where I need your help.
What are your favorite food memories from college? I’d love to hear them. And, especially if you attended college within an hour’s drive or so from Cincinnati, I’d like to know what your favorite food haunts were. Give me the names of the restaurants, along with your favorite dishes at those places, and I hereby pledge to treat myself to lunch at least twice a week for the next two months, investigating and reviewing your recommendations.
(I didn’t say it was a noble or worthy project, just a major one.)
Please respond soon. I’m hungry.