Students Who Do Cool Things: Nate Parrott ‘17.5, creator of Ratty App

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Everyone’s been there: you’re painfully, paralyzingly hung over, and you NEED to get to the Ratty for some TLC/CT Crunch. Your laptop is an insurmountable 6 feet way on your desk, but you simply must know what’s at the Ratty. It’s a very specific, yet, for many Brown students, shockingly common crisis.

Enter the Ratty App, the creation of Nate Parrott ‘17.5. Now, iPhone users (sorry, Android et al. owners) can check what’s cooking at the school’s biggest dining hall on a very aesthetically pleasing interface. In addition, you can add the menu to your phone’s Notification Center to check whether or not they’re serving grilled cheese (Ed. – probably.) with a simple downward swipe of a finger.

Even the most hung over Brunonian can figure that one out. That is, unless your phone is dead, in which case God help you and your poor soul.

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Sans Meal Plan: Shakshuka

Shakshuka is a great recipe to have on hand for those sans meal plan. It’s cheap, looks impressive, and is relatively easy — especially if you have a well-stocked spice cabinet. Although it’s traditionally served for breakfast, it can certainly function as one of those eggs-for-dinner dishes. The following is a shakshuka recipe adapted from Food52’s “Eggs in Spicy Minted Tomato Sauce.”


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
  • One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (I used 1.5 boxes of crushed San Marzano tomatoes)
  • Sriracha or other hot sauce to taste (I used Sriracha and a dallop of Sir Kensington’s ketchup)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3-4 large eggs


In a deep-sided skillet or frying pan, heat the butter and olive oil. When the butter melts, add your diced onions. Sauté for about 5 minutes at medium heat. Add your garlic and jalapeño, and sauté for about 1 more minute.

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Skewers opened (… and it’s not great)


Let me premise this post by saying I really, really wanted to  like Skewers. First of all, I am a fan of cheap, to-go, Mediterranean/Middle Eastern cuisine. I was excited to return from break to find this obnoxious, kind of ugly sign above the old Thayer Street Cleansers location promising kabob wraps–kabob wraps that would be about three blocks closer to my house than East Side Pockets! Then, a week later, we at BlogDH discovered their Facebook page:



And so my excitement about Skewers only grew. Seriously, falafels and typos are two of my favorite things. A typo as awkward as that can make me laugh for a week or two. Also considering the fact that sharing their Facebook page from Blog’s got them a solid 20 likes, I thought Kaboobs and I could be good friends. (They still haven’t added anything to their Facebook page or corrected the typo. Their website also looks like this, so it seemed like they would fit in perfectly with the many odd and dysfunctional Thayer establishments we love).

Unfortunately, Skewers is just not very good. It’s actually kinda bad. My first tip-off was when a fellow blogger, who’d actually fought me for this joy of reviewing Kaboobs Skewers, sent me this screenshot of his newsfeed:



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Calling people out on their shit: The Rackers

People generally fall into two categories after they finish their meals and leave the Ratty. There are “Sorters” and there are “Rackers.” The Sorters clear the leftover trash on their plates, separating paper waste from food waste, and place their dishes, cups, and silverware into the appropriate containers. The Rackers shove their miscellaneous plate-cup-food-trash stacks onto the tray towers adjacent to the sorting system.

During breakfast at the Ratty on Monday I sat near the sorting/racking station and kept track of who racked and who sorted. To my surprise, the split was dead even. As I sorted my own plates, I left the Ratty disappointed that half of Brown students were too lazy to take six seconds to make the jobs of the men and women at Dining Services a little easier.

When I brought up this phenomenon to a friend who happened to be a Racker, he defended himself: If sorting really made life that much easier for kitchen staff, why do they even have racks out in the first place? So after my next meal I went into lazy investigative journalism mode and asked the same question the first conveniently available BDS employee I saw, Arlindo.

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What to do this week: January 26 – 31


Monday, January 26:

Event: A Beautiful Mind Screening
Location: Petteruti Lounge Time: 7:00 p.m.

The Psych DUG is co-hosting this screening; Russell Crowe stars as John Nash, the Nobel Laureate in Economics who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.

Event: RISD Quickies present: Drones: Learning to Fly
Location: RISD Tap Room, 226 Benefit St
Time: 7 – 9:00 p.m.

RISD Quickies are RISD and Brown student led workshops. This one will feature a small introduction to drones and how to fly them, with an art portion of the class where you can use the drones to draw.

Wednesday, January 28:

Event: BlogDailyHerald Info Session!
Location: 195 Angell, Conference Room
Time: 6:00 p.m.

Enjoy reading Blog and want to be a part of it? Or maybe you just think you could do it better? Come to our info session to learn about the Blog family and how to apply; all the cool kids are doing it. Applications are due Wednesday, February 4th.

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BUDS Presents: Korean BBQ with Mai Pham


Brown Dining Services has debuted yet another specialty at Andrews Commons: Korean BBQ. Head Chef Mai Pham, who has partnered with Andrews Commons to produce some of our favorites like Pho and Stir-fry, has wowed us again with a new meal. Pham is a James Beard award winning Pan Asian chef who was on site last night to help prepare and serve the delicacies. Her work brought to life flavors of Korea, and it was truly a pham-tastic night (sorry, I couldn’t resist throwing that in there).

In seriousness, though, the night seemed to be a success. I arrived a couple minutes before the event started at 5 so I could exploit my press privileges to get to the front of the line snap a few photos and check out what they had to offer. Even before it started people began gathering and the Commons had some festive decorations around the stir-fry station. The first thing that sparked my interest was the steak they were preparing – it looked perfectly cooked and smelled good. I was excited to start eating.

By the time 5 o’clock rolled around, there was already a line to the door. Thankfully, because of strategic positioning, I was the second person in line and I got my food right away. The meal came with rice, steak, chicken, noodles, sautéed veggies, pickled carrots, kimchi, and a cucumber salad.

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