Falling for Union is easy during the autumn months. The foliage is beautiful, flannels and chunky scarves are a staple, however, the best way to fall for Schenectady is through its food. Through the "Falling for Schenectady" Minerva event, students are able to enjoy a wide array of foods ranging from Japanese to Southern cuisines. Each participating restaurant brought their most popular dishes to a Minerva house. Around 5 o’clock the “food crawl” commenced, which allowed Union students to try any and all variations of Schenectady eats.
I began my crawl at Beuth House, which was serving Perecca’s. Perreca’s is a Union College breakfast favorite. Anyone who has ever tried eggs in purgatory becomes a lifetime customer. Fear not, Perreca’s dinner menu is just as impressive. Between the hearty chicken parmesan and their famous tomato pie, I guarantee no one left hungry or disappointed. If you haven’t tried the tomato pie, which achieves the perfect balance of crustiness and doughy texture, you have yet to fully immerse yourself in the rich Italian food culture that hails from Schenectady.
After 3 slices of tomato pie, I forced myself to move on to the next house. Walking from Beuth to Sorum, I was unsure what could top old fashioned Italian food but Café NOLA did not fail. Café NOLA is a fun eatery just steps away from campus that is home to Southern cooking and hosts local bands. The red beans and rice were slowly cooked with Andouille sausage, tomatoes, and fresh herbs. Café NOLA also provided refreshing water coolers complete with lemons and cucumbers, which was the perfect compliment to the flavorful beans and rice.
The next two houses, Golub and Green, hosted Mr. Wasabi and Zen. Mr. Wasabi is the go to sushi take-out restaurant. Here are a few other delivery restaurants if you now want take out. Zen, the setting of almost every Union girl’s birthday dinner, brought some of the best of their Asian fusion menu. Zen favorites include, but are not limited to, pad-thai and hibachi dinner boxes. Both Mr. Wasabi and Zen incorporate a much needed and appreciated Asian flare to the Schenectady food scene
At this point, I have eaten more than I would like to admit but there is always room for more if Wold House has Tara Kitchen. Tara Kitchen serves traditional Moroccan food on Liberty Street and is a quaint dining experience for a meal out with visiting parents. I highly recommend trying their eggplant dip with pita bread. The deep garlic flavor of the dip should be spread, or piled, on pita and is dangerously good.
Leaving the food from Tara Kitchen was made easier knowing that samples from Katie O'Byrnes was next on my list. Katie O’Byrnes is a lively Irish pub that serves traditional American bar food along with lots of entertainment. A typical Tuesday night at Katie O’Byrnes consists of Trivia and endless boneless buffalo chicken wings.
As I left Breazzano House, a few boneless wings in tow, I tried to mentally prepare myself for my final destination. The amount of food that was consumed thus far is certainly cause for concern but no food crawl is complete without something sweet. Villa Italia was the absolute best way to end this event. Messa House hosted the Italian bakery which provided copious amounts of flaky, sweet, lemony, powdery, fruity, chocolaty pastry goodness. Villa Italia is the place to go to satisfy your sweet tooth, or if you’re like me, you have more than one sweet tooth and will likely order one of everything.
The Minerva “food crawl” was a great event and a wonderful opportunity to get familiar with what Schenectady has to offer. Whether you are an Italian food lover, sushi aficionado, or crave sweets, Schenectady has it all and most of your favorites are walking distance from campus.