During the seemingly endless purgatory of reading period, sometimes a meal is the only indication of the passage of time. Other than the promise of inhaling Murray-Dodge cookies after six hours in Firestone, what else can we look forward to? Everyone needs a break, and during this time of year, sometimes the only pleasure in a day is a good meal. Luckily, whether you’re on the hunt for quick fuel, for a coffee run to excuse a three-hour break, or for something to do after finals, this list has you covered for every possible situation.
1. Trying to maintain a semblance of health
- Frutta Bowls
If you feel like splurging on something both decadent and nutritious, Frutta Bowls is the way to go. A smoothie bowl is versatile: You can justify eating one for breakfast, dinner, or dessert. When it’s dinnertime, my go-to is the Power Bowl — açaí with hot oatmeal, protein, and strawberries, complete with copious peanut butter.
- At-home alternative:
If you have extra meal swipes and don’t want to splurge, do not fear. You can make your own (slightly underwhelming) Frutta Bowls using late meal oatmeal packets with bananas and peanut butter stolen from the dining hall. Nothing quite hits the spot quite like midnight oatmeal, especially when it’s 20 degrees outside and your roommate is averse to turning on the heater.
2. It’s 2 a.m. and you forgot that Hoagie Haven closes at 1 a.m. during the week
- Route 1 Diner
The natural progression of events: It’s 2 a.m. on a Monday and you’ve been dreaming of biting into a Phat Lady once you finish studying for the night — until you realize Hoagie Haven is closed, and your world begins to crumble down around you. Of course there’s Wawa, but that’s where everyone is going, and you’re not in the mood to see people you know right now. If you’re feeling spontaneous (willing to hop in an Uber), Route 1 Diner is your place. It’s 15 minutes away, but the wait only makes those hotcakes taste sweeter.
- Dining halls
You might not want to pay for an overpriced Uber when you could just walk to free food. The dining halls do have some options for you on weeknights. My favorite late-night dining hall is probably Wilcox — it’s bright, so you don’t have to worry about falling asleep over your computer. Plus, it often has Cocoa Puffs.
3. Long night ahead
- Halo Pub
There’s nothing wrong with a little espresso after dinner, and when you’re already planning to go to bed at 4 a.m., coffee makes a perfect dessert. Besides, you can always justify your beverage by telling people it’s what Europeans do. Halo Pub specializes in coffee desserts, from coffee ice cream floats to Belgian chocolate mochas, which are hard to resist even if you don’t have a caffeine addiction. My personal favorite is probably its espresso shot with whipped cream.
Of course, Wawa had to make an appearance. Although I support all who get full meals there, my favorite thing about Wawa is its cheap coffee selection. It’s the only place in Princeton that supports those of us who need our 24-oz. French vanilla with four different creamers. Besides, the next best 24-hour coffee option is the dining hall, which makes Wawa coffee taste like a gourmet blend.
4. Something to get out of bed for
- The Little Chef Pastry Shop
Whether you want to reward yourself for completing your first semester or simply need something to keep you from falling asleep the morning of your exam, go to The Little Chef Pastry Shop. Hidden away on Tulane Street, the little bakery has so far avoided detection by the student body. We don’t deserve its melt-in-your-mouth buttery, flaky, dense, and chewy croissants. They can make even the most ambitious among us pause for a moment and smile on the way to a Goldman Sachs networking event.
No matter how many exams you have left, I urge you to take the time to savor something delicious. It might not be the most exquisite croissant in the world. It might not even be on on this list. Life is too short, and finals period is too long.