Posts Tagged ‘coffee’

From New York to…Edinburgh

Thursday, June 8th, 2017

It’s a big change, moving from a small town to a big city. It feels too vast, too claustrophobic, too many people in too many streets that twist and turn into each other like streams in never-ending deltas.

It’s not just a specific city, though. Anywhere from New York to Paris to Mumbai can feel like that when you’ve never experienced it before. Sure, moving to a city can be exciting, but even that doesn’t completely erase the other feelings.

But there’s some comfort. Every big city can feel like a small town once you recognize the spots that feel a little cozier, the neighborhoods that feel more like lakes than constant oceans. In New York, that means avoiding midtown at all times and in Edinburgh, it means fleeing tourists on the Royal Mile, especially during the summer months.

Why compare New York to Edinburgh when talking about a small town feeling? Well, both cities hold a relatively large percent of their country’s population in a very compact space for the number. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by either when you’re not from the area, but they each have unique spots that make you feel like you never left the small place you grew up in.

Avoid tourist destinations

New York and Edinburgh both have a large tourism industry concentrated in a highly dense area, and if you spend a lot of time there you will feel overwhelmed by your new city life. For Edinburgh, this is a lot less important since the Royal Mile has a lot of less crowded spots where there are virtually no people such as the Writer’s Museum. However for New York, any street you visit in Midtown during the middle of the day is pretty much guaranteed to be crowded.

Try new neighborhoods

Instead of tourist areas, try opting for new neighborhoods in both cities. Both Hamilton and Washington Heights in New York are great places to feel like you’re in the suburbs again. With the lack of the ever-present crowd, the water on both sides, and the plethora of parks like Fort Washington and Highbridge, it’s a great area with a casual, residential feel. Coffee shops like The Chipped Cup give a cozy, warm feeling without escaping the novelty of New York. For Edinburgh, nothing gets away from big city life and screams small town like nature. Calton Hill is smack in the center of the city and a great place to hang out if you want to avoid the crowds at Arthur’s Seat. Or if a hike isn’t your cup of tea, try the area around Dean’s Garden and Cemetery— it’s super cozy and beautiful.

Chipped Cup Coffee

Chipped Cup Coffee


View from Calton Hill Taken by Jainita Patel

View from Calton Hill
Taken by Jainita Patel

Take a day trip

One of the best parts about living in a small town is being able to drive and see another place. In both New York City and Edinburgh, you can still access new places even without a car. For New York, if you’re an experienced hiker and need to get out for a day, take a train from Grand Central to Fishkill, NY ($25-$30 one way, about 2 a hour journey) and hike Breakneck Ridge. If that seems a little too intense, try a day tour with Vertically Inclined ($35, about an hour’s journey) to Anthony’s Nose in the Bronx. In Edinburgh, if the breathtaking view from atop Calton Hill wasn’t enough, maybe try a trip into a Highland with Rabbies (tours range from £28 to £42).

View from the Breakneck Ridge Trail.

View from the Breakneck Ridge Trail.

View from Loch Lomand (Peaking into the Scottish Highlands) Taken by Jainita Patel

View from Loch Lomand (Peaking into the Scottish Highlands) and me.
Taken by Jainita Patel


Talk to your neighbors.

Yup, it’s as simple (or as difficult) as that. The ease of living in a small town is that you know a lot of people. Without that social cushion, cities can seem cold and awkward. In Edinburgh, most people tend to be friendly and generous with their conversation and advice if you can muster the courage to ask them. In New York, people can be a bit tougher to crack, but frequenting a local coffee shop or other nearby venue is guaranteed to have the barista or another frequent patron notice you and that could be a good way into a friendship that can make the big city seem a little smaller.

These few tips can help you feel a little less alone and scared in a big city. Both places require quite the adjustment period, but trust me, soon it will start to feel like home again and you’ll get a lot more comfortable. And who knows? If you like how New York or Edinburgh can start to feel like a small town, hopefully you’ll get a chance to visit the other city someday and find the same feeling there as well.

By Jainita Patel

Jainita is a Campus Clipper publishing intern who is double majoring in English and Environmental Studies at NYU. Though writing fiction and painting are her two main passions, she also has a love of travel and adventure that has taken her across the globe.  Jainita writes under the pseudonym Jordan C. Rider. If you like her posts, you can find more of her work here or follow her on Twitter. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015. 


Going French with Vive la Crêpe!

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

My dream has always been to travel Paris to indulge in the art, culture, and food of France. But with school and work currently dominating my life, my plans of traveling will have to wait until I’m able to squeeze in some vacation time. When that time comes, I’ll be committed to trying all of the delicious food that France has to offer. But in the meantime, I’ve found a small local café that specializes in one of France’s most popular delicacies, crêpes. Vive la Crêpe! brings French street culture into the streets of New York.

Upon entering Vive la Crêpe! in Union Square, I met with with the social media manager, Kate, who gave me information on the popular eatery. Focusing solely on crêpes and café drinks, Vive la Crêpe! aims to exude an aura of “authentic French coffee shop.” It succeeds: small yet homey, with wooden walls and chairs throughout the café, each employee at Vive la Crêpe! has been trained to perfectly create the signature delicate dessert in order to provide diners with an original French crêpe experience rather than turn it into something Americanized. The unique presentation of the crêpes is something to be admired: served in a cone, the crêpes, which are considered street food in France and served in food carts and small storefront windows for a quick eat, are easily portable and resemble over-sized ice creams that just as easily melt in your mouth.

My partner for the day, Maria, and I ordered one savory crêpe and one sweet crêpe to see if Vive la Crêpe! could tackle both worlds.  From the extensive menu, we chose the spinach, goat cheese, mushroom and basil crêpe, as well as the Nutella crêpe. Soon after we ordered, we were holding two large cones of hot, freshly-made crêpes. The ingredients of our savory crêpe were fresh and clearly designed to be a healthier option with creamy goat cheese. The fresh spinach and basil, mixed with the distinct taste of goat cheese, gave this savory crêpe a light yet satisfying meal-like quality. According to Kate, this is one of the most popular crêpes on the menu. Our Nutella crepe was amazing as well, the soft crêpe sheets covered in nutty and chocolatey Nutella. Sweet and simple, the Nutella crêpe would be great as a light dessert or a snack to satisfy a sweet tooth. The layers of crêpe that encased these delicious ingredients were extremely soft and fluffy while still maintaining the traditional thin texture. None of the edges were crusty or over-cooked, and the crêpes were evenly chewy throughout.

Spinach, Goat Cheese, Mushroom, & Basil Crepe

Nutella Crepe

Vive la Crêpe! is the perfect place to grab a quick bite to eat, as well as a place in which you can find a great cup of espresso — all for an affordable price. Better yet, Vive la Crêpe! has a smartphone application with a QR code so that diners can redeem a free crêpe with their first Vive la Crêpe! receipt (with no expiration date!). A hot spot in NYC, Vive la Crêpe!’s Union Square establishment has sister locations in NoLIta, the West Village, and the Upper West Side so that people all over Manhattan can indulge in a great crêpe experience. Maria and I had a wonderful time at Vive la Crêpe!, and I can confidently say that you can grab the best crêpes here, right on the streets on New York City.

Visit their website, download the app for free crêpes, and check out their menu here:

Get a great discount at Vive la Crepe using this coupon from the Campus Clipper

Vive la crêpe! on Urbanspoon

Becky Kim, Queens College, Read my blog and follow me on Twitter

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Breakfast Is a Must

Monday, February 28th, 2011

image from

Even if you were studying all night before or couldn’t fall asleep pondering where to get more student discounts on food and clothing, you still have to wake up early enough to have breakfast. I know, it is so easy to make (or even buy) a cup of coffee and run off to college. But do you realize that having or skipping breakfast has a direct influence on your mood and the way your day will go?

Believe it or not, it does.

First of all, when you are hungry, you have no desire to learn or do anything. All you can think of is a loud purring of your stomach, which is so embarrassing in the silence of a class when the only voice heard is the professor’s one. “Where is that apple that I left in my refrigerator?” you think, reproachfully, “It may have been so useful right now.”

Secondly, while you are struggling to concentrate on what your professor is saying, your stomach acid is working hard on the walls of your stomach. I am sure you have heard that if you don’t eat, the acid that is meant to digest the food that is not there still does its job, and your stomach gets hurt. Why do it to yourself if even small things like a bowl of cereal or a cup of fruit helps to avoid it?

Third, food gives you energy. When you don’t eat, you usually feel powerless and what’s even worse, you bring your bad mood to people around you. You feel easily irritated, angry with others for no reason and probably, do something you will later regret. This, too, can be easily avoided if you eat before you leave home.

You may argue, of course, that you don’t feel hungry when you wake up. If this describes you, then you are, in most cases, guilty of snacking late at night, when your stomach is not prepared to digest food. When I learned that the food is broken down easier during the day than throughout the night, I made it a rule to eat no later than four hours before I go to sleep (it’s good to never eat after 8pm; however, if you study in the evenings and come home after that, then make sure that you don’t have dinner right before you head to bed). My problem is also that when I fill my stomach, I suddenly become active, and I often have a hard time falling asleep. Just by giving up late snacking, I managed to lose a couple of pounds, improved my sleep and became accustomed to waking up in the morning craving for breakfast.

Let’s say this was persuasive enough, and you are now convinced that your breakfast is a must. What should you eat? It all depends on how hungry you feel and whether or not you like to eat a lot in the mornings.

Note that the best strategy is to include a piece of fruit into your every meal, and breakfast is no exception. Your other options may be a light sandwich or a toast with butter, jelly or a slice of cheese, or a cup of oatmeal. I got so used to making quick oats that I hardly ever bother to cook hot oatmeal anymore, even though nothing is easier than that. All you have to do is to bring some water or milk mixed with water to boiling, and then stir oats into the boiling liquid. Make sure to stir thoroughly while cooking, and then cool off your culinary masterpiece, and enjoy it. It is much healthier to make your oatmeal from scratch rather than boil water for an instant one, but if you have little time and no other option, that will do as well.

By the way, quick oats are usually more expensive than those that you have to cook, so if you make it a habit to make your breakfast in the morning, this may add up to your student savings. Not only is it cheaper to buy a big box of farina (it’s a great breakfast meal as well, if you like the taste), it also saves you from buying a danish or a doughnut while at school, which are fattening and expensive on campus.

Another quick morning meal you can easily make is an egg platter. Two or three eggs your way with sausage, salami, or a beef frank is my usual choice. The greatest discovery for me was Hebrew National salami, as if you go to your local deli and ask them to slice it a little bit thicker, you can fry it on a pan with no oil, in its own fat. Brown it for two to three minutes and serve with eggs or on a toast.

As far as toasts are concerned, if you have a toaster, you can always brown your bread and eat it dry or with butter. If you don’t have the equipment, though, you can put some milk into a bowl (you can mix an egg into it as well), and then dip a slice of bread into it. After doing this, brown your bread on a pan, and it will be soft, fresh and tasty.

From my experience, pancakes usually take a long time, so I usually make them when I’m not in a hurry, as I am not a big fan of quick mix packages. I mix flour, two eggs, a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil and a half cup of milk adding some yeast to it. It is best to let it stand for an hour, and then start cooking. It is a time-consuming breakfast, though, and I seldom have time for it.

All in all, no matter what you prefer to have, you should always eat something in the morning before leaving. Just remember that breakfast is a must, as a good start defines the way your day will go. Therefore, begin your morning with something you and your stomach enjoy, and energize yourself for great deeds.

Ekaterina Lalo

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