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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”

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 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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Mojo Asks Students

Where Should You Live Next Year?

Having trouble deciding whether to stay in the dorms or move to your Greek chapter house? Live at home or get your first apartment? We asked students about the pros and cons of different types of housing. This will hopefully help you decide.

Dorms

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(Daily Bruin file photo)

All dorms

Pros:

  • Easy to make friends
    – Jennifer Livschitz, second-year biology student
  • You don’t have to cook
    – Livschitz
  • Dorm food
    – Dori Edwards, fourth-year communications student
  • Close to fraternities
    – Jessica Freed, fourth-year history student
  • Having random roommates
    – Jacquie Medeiros, third-year English and religious studies student
  • B-Plate, B-Caf and De Neve Late Night - Medeiros
  • You are surrounded by new people every day which gives you a chance to branch out
    – Kelvin Campbell, second-year math and economics student

Cons:

  • Far from class
    – Livschitz
  • Hills
    – Livschitz
  • Dictated meal times (you can’t eat between 3-5 p.m.)
    – Livschitz
  • Annoying RAs
    – Livschitz
  • Expensive – Livschitz
  • Barely any space – Edwards
  • Far from sororities – Freed
  • Lots of rules
    – Jessie Gold, third-year global studies and French student

 

Halls

Cons:

  • Little privacy – Edwards
  • Noisy
    –Shannon Nolte, third-year molecular, cell and developmental biology student

 

Suites

Pros:

  • Really spacious – Freed

Cons:

  • Super antisocial – Freed

 

Apartments

Daily Bruin file photo
(Daily Bruin file photo)

Pros:

  • You get to cook (oven = cookies) – Livschitz
  • It can be closer to class - Livschitz
  • You have more space - Livschitz
  • It’s cheaper – Livschitz
  • No alcohol policies – Livschitz
  • Can drink and have friends over without being nervous – Edwards
  • Can do your own grocery shopping – Edwards
  • More freedom to decorate how you like – Edwards
  • Choose who you live with/room with – Edwards
  • Feels more homey and feels more like your own space since you are responsible for it through the rent, cleaning, etc. – Edwards
  • You can make your own food – Gold

Cons:

  • Adult life (you have to buy groceries and deal with issues like bugs and utilities) – Livschitz
  • There are mean landlords – Livschitz
  • Can be a bit more expensive
    – Cynthia Ceja, fourth-year political science student
  • Utilities are not always included in rent so that cost varies every month – Ceja
  • Often no air-conditioning or heating – Ceja
  • Elevators can be slow – Ceja
  • Parking is limited – Ceja
  • Most antisocial – Freed
  • You have to make your own food – Freed
  • You have to pay bills – Gold
  • Can be noisy – Gold

 

University apartments

Daily Bruin file photo
(Daily Bruin file photo)

Pros:

  • You have a contract with UCLA housing – Ceja
  • You don’t have to worry about your other roommates not paying rent – Ceja
  • All utilities and Internet are included – Ceja
  • There is plenty of parking that just costs a bit extra – Ceja
  • The rooms are pretty spacious – Ceja
  • All the furniture and appliances are included – Ceja

Cons:

  • The hallways smell – Ceja
  • The Internet is super slow – Ceja
  • You can’t pick roommates (but can request certain roommates) – Ceja
  • All roommates have to be the same gender – Ceja
  • Mail is always getting stolen – Ceja

 

Greek housing

Sororities

Daily Bruin file photo
(Daily Bruin file photo)

Pros:

  • You live with all your best friends – Freed
  • You get to know everyone in the house super well – Freed
  • You have a chef and a housekeeper – Freed
  • Really close to campus – Nolte
  • You become very close with your roommates – Medeiros
  • Minimal fighting – Medeiros
  • The food is really good – Medeiros
  • Single rooms have privacy – Medeiros
  • If I feel lonely I can head downstairs and see all my friends that are watching TV on the couch or doing a workout vid in the living room – Medeiros

Cons:

  • Sometimes difficult to get alone time – Nolte
  • Not close to Hill swipes – Nolte
  • Far from frat side/parties – Nolte
  • Bigger shared rooms are constantly cluttered with clothes and hair dryers and costumes and books – Medeiros
  • We all basically had to share everything because we didn’t know what was whose – Medeiros
  • There is much less selection for food – Medeiros
  • Enforced meal times – Medeiros
  • Friends/boyfriends can’t visit as much as you want them to – Medeiros

 

Fraternities

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(Daily Bruin file photo)

Pros:

  • Close to campus
    – Jake Benowitz, third-year microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics student
  • Relatively cheaper – Benowitz
  • FUN – Benowitz
  • You have a chef/food service – Benowitz
  • You are surrounded by people who already know and love you – Campbell

Cons:

  • Dirty all the time – Benowitz
  • No peace/quiet – Benowitz
  • Hard to study – Benowitz
  • Inevitably you will have to clean up other people’s messes, whether it be brothers’ or random people’s – Campbell

 

Home

Daily Bruin file photo
(Daily Bruin file photo)

Pros:

  • I get to see my family every day – Kristine Azatyan, first-year psychobiology student
  • Homemade food – Azatyan
  • More space at home than in the dorms – Azatyan
  • No communal bathrooms – Azatyan
  • Saves money – Azatyan

Cons:

  • Ridiculous traffic – Azatyan
  • I don’t spend as much time peer studying and making connections with others – Azatyan
  • I don’t participate in a lot of school events and clubs – Azatyan
  • I spend a lot of money on gas and buying food – Azatyan

 

Where are you living next year? Tweet us @dbmojo or tell us in the comments!

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