Get to the Holiday Party @ Andrews before 7 p.m!

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Looking for the perfect holdiay pick me up? Head to the Holiday Party at Andrews happening from now until 7 p.m! Thanks to Assistant Manager, Bobby Noyes, and the other culinary geniuses of Brown University Dining Services, you’ll be amazed by the delicious foods and beautiful holiday displays. The event even includes a live mariachi band made of students working for BUDS.
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This event is not to be missed. The menu is prix-fixe; for two meal credits, you can indulge yourself in all of your favorite holiday treats. The menu includes Garlic & Rosemary Rubbed Beef Tenderloin and Chili Orange Glazed Pork Tenderloin in the carving station. For sides: Lobster & Shrimp Mac n’ Cheese, Smashed Red Bliss Potatoes, Asian Green Bean Casserole, Balsamic Roasted Beets, Steamed Asparagus, Shaved Fennel Slaw, Roasted Brussels Sprout Salad, and Warm Biscuits with a delicious whipped chai butter.

And finally, the desserts: Gingerbread and Sugar Cookies, Candy Canes, Double Chocolate Peppermint Bars, Bananas Foster, and Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows. If you are vegetarian, the prix-fixe is only one meal credit.

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My favorites included the tender beef tenderloin, the balsamic roast beets and the creamy mac and cheese (all pictured above).

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Alums who do cool things: Merrill Stubbs ’99, co-founder of Food52

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Whether you’re a self-proclaimed “foodie” or your Instagram feed is essentially #eeeeeats, you’ve probably heard of Food52 (they cook 52 weeks a year, get it?). The popular blog seeks to “bring cooks together from all over to exchange recipes and ideas to support each other in the kitchen.” Food52 was built on the premise that “if you want to eat better, and you want to help change our food system, you need to cook. Maybe not all the time, but some. You don’t have to eat local foods every day; you don’t have to shop at the farmers market every week. But it’s good to try. We’re not extremists in a cult of purity, slow-foodness, or locavorosity. We’re realists who believe in applying the best aspects of those food movements to our everyday lives.” Moreover, Food52 brings us mouth-watering “foodstagrams” and a great form of online procrastination not in quiz form.

What you might not know is that a co-founder of the culinary hub once dined in the Ratty and frequented late-night Jo’s. Meet Merrill Stubbs ’99 – food-lover, Brooklynite, and Brown alum. I had the opportunity to chat with Merrill about the website’s recipe for success. She even dished out advice for those sans meal-plan.

BlogDH: Why did you start Food52?

Merrill: My partner Amander Hesser and I started Food52 some years ago, and we had been working on a cookbook for the New York Times. We had been observing what had been going on in the food space online. We were observing the explosion in food blogs and there was this interesting food movement that was clearly going on offline as well. People were getting into cooking as a past time, as a way to interact with people. There certainly wasn’t a place for all these people to gather, share their knowledge, expertise, and generally have a conversation. We set out to create that place. It’s a platform to share recipes, share knowledge about cooking, general support, and create a community. It’s a hub for all things food. We started out mainly on recipes, but we’ve built it into a 360-degree food-lifestyle brand, a one-stop shop for food and cooking.

BlogDH: Did you have any previous food-related work experiences before Food52?

Merrill: I actually went to cooking school in London at Le Cordon Bleu a year after I graduated from Brown. When I moved back to the states, I worked in food for several years – in the test kitchen at America’s Test Kitchen, in a couple different restaurants in the Boston area. I started doing food writing by writing a food newsletter. It was like a very primitive form of blogging.

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Ratty pizza gets legit

Sure, the plate might be the same beige ceramic and the slice might not look like anything special, but today the pizza artists at the Sharpe Refectory (in a moment of gourmet splendor, it sheds its Ratty nickname) have truly outdone themselves. BBQ Chicken Pizza premiered to little fanfare (not even a mention on the BDS site?) beyond the grease pen on the sneeze guard, but what it lacked in promotion, it more than made up for in taste. In fact, the pizza was so surprisingly yummy that my dining companion exclaimed with unbounded joy: “This might be one of best things the Ratty has ever done.” Three major components distinguish this pizza from the Ratty’s previous offerings:

  1. Doneness: this might be the most perfectly cooked pie ever to come out of a salamander — the crust is super crispy, with bits of deliciously burnt cheese on the upper crust and a nice, brown undercarriage. In the toppings department, the chicken, cheese (possibly a mix of cheddar and mozzarella) and sauce on the body of the slice remained pleasantly warm but not too hot or overdone.
  2. The Sauce: while you can definitely taste the corn syrup, the barbeque sauce is tangy, slightly spicy, and, while definitely lacking that familiar molasses taste, not too much worse than the pizzeria equivalent. Moreover, the sauce gets distributed like normal pizza sauce rather than in a spiral, so you get the BBQ flavor in each bite.
  3. The Chicken: what really sets this Ratty pie apart from even the most revered pizza joints is the chicken-to-slice ratio. Not only are there a few large chunks of white meat on almost every slice, but the chicken is not unpleasantly dry or chewy like its Thayer St. counterparts at Nice Slice and Antonio’s.

If the Ratty continues to roll out new pizzas like these, we might have to add The Pizza Principle to our comprehensive list of meal plan taos. As far as we know, this bad boy is available through dinner — so don’t let it slip by you!