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Food and Dining

The Ocho: Apartment Dinner Party Locale

One Sunday morning, I was looking for a brunch place on Yelp when I stumbled across what seemed like a new, highly rated restaurant called The Ocho. Intrigued, I read the reviews, excited that something passably edible had finally come to Westwood. Instead, I found a mock “restaurant” run by Sunny Singh, the Bruins United presidential candidate from 2014 and a fourth-year history and economics student, in conjunction with his roommates. After some back and forth, I visited Singh and his friends/roommates, fourth-year psychology student Michael Ruder and fourth-year sociology student Patrick Cody-Carrese, after the end of one of their regular dinner parties on a Monday evening.

Though none of the trio plan to pursue cooking full-time after graduation this quarter, they still plan to keep the spirit of The Ocho alive by continuing to throw dinner parties in their post-college lives.

If you want to create your own Ocho-style experience, keep a few things in mind:

  • Be collaborative in the kitchen. There’s no need to put all the pressure on yourself as the gracious host and chef.

“We’re very competitive with our dishes and sometimes we make recommendations, like adding a little less salt, but all in all we want to see each other improve and make the best dish possible.”  – Cody-Carrese

  • Be creative in the kitchen and don’t just follow recipes from online.

“We always try to keep it different. We never serve the same dish twice.” – Cody-Carrese

  • The most important thing is the people you’re breaking bread with.

“It’s always great to be able to spend time with friends, to partake in a meal together. It’s like Thanksgiving every time (we host The Ocho).” – Singh

“I think the main ingredient in any delicious dinner party is the people. You gotta have the right people coming in order to make a good dinner party.” – Ruder

“Share your stories like you share your food” – Cody-Carrese

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Food and Dining

Recipes to Change Your B-Plate Experience

Step aside, Rachael Ray. There’s a new culinary genius in town: us.

With the following recipes, you can make the most of your one swipe and maximize your options while still staying true to the healthy qualities of B-Plate. Each ingredient included is a staple in the B-Plate ingredients list, so rely on this list as a source for consistent delicious food.

1. The Grown-Up “Let’s Get Chocolate Wasted”


For the perfect pick-me-up dessert after a long day of classes that will also help with the late-night study sessions, the Affogato is the way to go. Grab one of the coffee mugs and put in a spoonful or two of dark chocolate chips, add some swirls of frozen yogurt and top all of that with some espresso shots. Ta-da! Get ready for the delicious sugar and caffeine rush.


2. Let’s Go Bananas and Get a Li’l Nutty Sandwich


Near the fruit section are different types of breads, including one that has hints of sweet and savory: the cranberry walnut bread. These slices of bread slathered with some cashew almond butter and plopped on banana slices is heavenly goodness. You can also sprinkle some almond slices or coconut shreds and top the whole thing with another piece of the cranberry walnut loaf. Add a drizzle of honey between the bananas and crunch, if you’re feeling a little fancy. YUM.


3.I’m Nutellin’ You How I Made This” Toast


Just kidding, of course. Get over to the frozen yogurt section, but skip that icy dessert today. Instead, go to the loaves of bread to the left and choose your favoritemine is cinnamon raisin) and put the slices in the toaster. Right when those toasted slices drop from the conveyor belt, put the dark chocolate chips from the topping section on it to melt. After creating a nice, healthy, Nutella-like layer, you can top it with slices of banana or apple. If you crave a little kick, add some crunchy granola from the frozen yogurt topping section.

4.Make the Wiggles Proud” Fruit Salad


For all those who know the Wiggles’ Fruit Salad song from our childhood, you know that all the ingredients listed are those that are constantly at B-Plate for all to enjoy. So just follow the lyrics and peel your bananas, toss in some grapes, chop up some apples and melons – or pears – and put them on your plate. This recipe may seem simple, but it’s still delicious, and remember: “fruit salad, YUMMY YUMMY.”

5. Bruschetta Almighty


Are you feeling a little fancy and international? Then this easy antipasto is perfect for you. Head to the bread section by the cereal and milk, where you can find some sourdough bread to toast up. Once it’s crisp and tasty, head over to the salad bar where you can layer feta cheese crumbles and some cut-up tomatoes and greens. To add the finishing touches, you can drizzle some olive oil and the spice of your choice from the many options next to the Stone Oven flatbreads or the Harvest section.

Now that you’ve been introduced to some B-Plate dining hacks, go off and use that college brain of yours to experiment with your own concoctions, and let us know the different ways we can enlighten our taste buds!

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Food and DiningUncategorized

A Brew-in’s Best Friend: Tea (Midterms Edition)

I bring up tea not only because it’s the much celebrated week of midterms, but also because of personal preference. I rarely drank coffee in high school, and if I did, it was because the peppermint mocha was back for its seasonal debut at Starbucks or because I needed to be up in order to finish a paper. To me, coffee wasn’t a recreational drink, and it still isn’t. Coffee just doesn’t taste as good as it smells – wouldn’t it more make sense if it did?

Anyway, I found my substitute caffeine fix through tea.

The cool thing about tea is that you can manipulate its abilities for a specific situation. Chamomile tea can help calm a stomachache, for example, and if you needed to stay awake, black tea would provide you the same amounts of caffeine as coffee. Thus, for all those tea-loving junkies (and for those looking for a break from coffee), I’ve noted some beneficial ways you can fix some problems you might run into during this stressful week with tea.

Bloating, Gas and Everything In Between

Look for: Chamomile

From speeding up the healing process of skin rashes to soothing canker sores, chamomile can work wonders. However, there is one wonderful effect of chamomile that can specifically help us during finals week: stomachaches. Let’s break the ice. Everyone gets them, and no one is immune from that gastrointestinal mess. Stress can trigger stomachaches, and we wouldn’t want to have one studying, or worse, during a test. Basically, its anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic qualities can save your grade.

Can be found at: Kerckhoff Coffee House (Cozy Chamomile Tea or Chamomile Lemon Tea), Starbucks (“Calm” tea) and Trader Joe’s (Organic Chamomile Herbal Tea).

Stress and Anxiety

Look for: Mint

Mint leaves have menthol, a natural muscle relaxant. This ingredient, commonly advertised in cough drops, can also help you get a good night’s sleep (or nap, in our case). A cup before a test or before bed can certainly help your nerves stay put, right where they belong. Also, mint tea is usually decaffeinated, so don’t worry about drowsiness while taking your test.

Can be found at: Kerkhoff Coffee House (Moroccan Mint Tea or Mint Medley Tea) and our very own Bruin Plate (Spearmint Tea).

Feeling adventurous? Try The Coffee Bean’s Ginseng Peppermint Tea

Sleepy & Unfocused

Look for: Black Tea (Black, English Breakfast, Earl Grey)

Black, oolong, green and white teas are all made from a shrub called Camellia sinensis. Yet what differentiates the four teas is their oxidation level. Black tea has the highest levels of caffeine because it is oxidized the longest. In addition, polyphenols, antioxidants found in black tea, are known to fight oral cavities and plaque – something we should utilize in the midst of stress-eating and late night De Neve.

Can be found: Kerkhoff Coffee House (English TeaTime, Earl Grey, Breakfast Blend or Aged Earl Grey)

Feeling Adventurous? Besides Starbucks’ Black tea & Classic Chai Tea, try the Iced Earl Grey Latte or an iced Arnold Palmer (lemonade and black tea). Also, Peet’s Coffee & Tea has a variety of black tea which includes Winter Solstice and Assam Golden Tip.

Quali-tea studying awaits

There is a wide range of tea from orange spice to passion fruit, but ultimately it comes down to the basics.

The quarter’s halfway over, and we’re in the home stretch, everyone – let the tea help us.


(Above) Tea selection at Kerckhoff Coffee House



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Food and Dining

dineLA’s Restaurant Week: Mojo’s Top Picks

Jan. 19 through Feb. 1 marks dineLA’s Restaurant Week, where foodies living in and visiting Los Angeles have the chance to sample from specialized, price-fixed menus while taking advantage of some great deals. Whether your looking to try a trendy, upscale restaurant for dinner or maybe just a casual spot for lunch, Restaurant Week gives you the opportunity with multiple course meals based off the restaurant’s most popular dishes. The following restaurants are our top picks, located in-and-around the Westwood area.

For Lunch… 

Farsi Cafe

Located on Westwood Boulevard, Farsi Cafe serves, as its name suggests, authentic Persian cuisine. At less than two miles away from campus, the walk there is definitely doable. For just $20 per person you will get an appetizer, entrée and dessert. I highly recommend the ground beef kabob which is served atop a bed of white rice. The food here is delicious; however, it could potentially put you into a major food coma.

Emporium Thai Cuisine

Also located on Westwood Blvd. at a walking distance from campus, Emporium Thai is another fantastic pick for lunch. For $15 per person you can get a two-course meal, and if you check in on Yelp while at the restaurant, you receive a complimentary Thai Iced Tea and $5 coupon for Aqua Thai Spa. While I haven’t sampled any of their Restaurant Week dishes, I have tried Emporium’s award-winning Pad Thai and loved it. If you’re looking for amazing Thai food and a cozy, classy atmosphere, then definitely visit this restaurant.

TLT Food – Westwood

A product of a successful food truck, TLT (The Lime Truck) Food serves American street-style cuisine. Since it is conveniently located within Westwood Village near the intersection of Westwood and Kinross, you can easily stop by here for your lunch break if you have an hour or two between classes. For $15 you can get your choice of two tacos or an entrée, along with a side, drink and dessert. If you want to experience a restaurant favorite, its steak fries are highly recommended, as evidenced here by countless reviews.


For Dinner… 

Fundamental LA

If you’re looking for a trendy new restaurant to try with friends for dinner look no further than Fundamental LA. For $40 per person, you can have a five-course meal, including dessert. While this restaurant may seem a bit pricey for the average college student, keep in mind that each dish is made with organic and fresh ingredients. Its location on Westwood Boulevard makes it a short walk and an even shorter Uber ride, from campus.


Blue Plate Taco

This last pick combines an oceanfront view with authentic Mexican cuisine. Located in Santa Monica, Blue Plate Taco offers a three-course dinner for $30. In terms of transportation, you’re best bet will most likely be taking an Uber, a Lyft or if you want to save some cash, the Metro. One possible route is to take the 20 line from the intersection of Wilshire and Westwood and get off at Ocean Avenue and Santa Monica, which would end up costing less than $2. For beautiful views, delicious food and a casual atmosphere, try Blue Plate Taco.


Restaurant Week is a unique opportunity to take advantage of the diverse types of cuisine available here in Los Angeles. It ends on Feb. 1, so take advantage of it this week while it lasts!

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