I came into my freshman year of college having been a vegetarian for three years. I was dedicated to sticking with it, and found it not too difficult to keep up with. Towards the end of my sophomore year, I realized this vegetarian diet was no longer sustainable for me, as I felt myself consistently feeling weak and exhausted. College students live crazy, fast-paced lifestyles, and being an extremely busy student who is always on the go, while getting my essential nutrients and protein, was insanely difficult.

I applaud anyone who lives a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, as it has many health benefits and is very great for the environment. However, this diet was taking a toll on my health and limiting me from indulging in all of the incredible food the world has to offer! Since I have never eaten meat at any Syracuse restaurant, I had a lot of catching up to do when I returned this semester. Here are my top five favorite meals I have had in Syracuse since ending my vegetarianism.

1. Core: Spicy and Salt & Pepper Chicken

Core will forever be my favorite place to eat in Syracuse. I love their green and grain bowls, and I always enjoy changing up my order to fit whatever I am in the mood for that day. For the past two years, I have been limited to ordering tofu or falafel, but now the opportunities are endless. I have been to Core at least fifteen times since being back at school, and I always alternate between the spicy or the regular salt & pepper chicken. They have incredible flavor and my meal would be incomplete without it!

2. Original Grain: Pulled Chicken

Original Grain has been a go-to restaurant for me ever since the beginning of my freshman year. Everyone would always rave about how amazing their pulled chicken was, but I never was able to experience it until now. Not only is the chicken extremely flavorful, but they give you SO much. 

3. Asti: Seafood

I have always loved Asti for special occasions, but consistently ordered pasta dishes with no meat whenever I went. Now that I am not limited at all, I have been able to experience their extensive menu— in particular their seafood. So far I have had their scallops and salmon, both which I enjoyed way too much to the point where I crave them daily. 

4. Dinosaur BBQ: Pulled Pork    

My new-found love for Dino BBQ comes at no surprise. They sell their BBQ sauce in groceries stores throughout the US. So, this summer I would make vegetarian dishes using tofu and vegetables and would smother them in this incredible sauce. Now that I am not held back from going to Dino and trying their famous BBQ, the food has been one of my favorites since breaking vegetarianism. 

5. Blue Water Grill: Tuna

Blue Water Grill is one of my favorite restaurants. Unfortunately, it is located about thirty minutes away in Skaneateles, so whenever I get the chance to go it is a treat. Blue Water Grill is my favorite because they have the BEST menu. I always say I could eat there for two weeks straight and never get sick of the food. Now that I am no longer limited to my options, I have been loving their Seafood— in particular their tuna.