My wife and I have for years adhered to a grain-free/gluten-free diet. And while we have noticed an improvement in our overall health as a result, there are still times when I get nostalgic for those innocent college days when I could eat whatever I wanted based solely on two important factors: taste and cost.
Finding delicacies on a limited budget was never easy but I was nothing but resourceful in those days and, in time, able to discover two places close to campus that became culinary staples for me.
My favorite go-to spot in those days was Coney Island’s in New Castle PA. In the 70s it was an unassuming, small, hole-in-the-wall place run by a Greek family, but they made the most incredible chili dogs that appealed to starving and oftentimes hungover college students. I haven’t been there in over 40 years but I can still taste those dogs (which, if you think about it, probably isn’t such a good thing.)
Halfway between the campus and Coney’s, sat a small Italian restaurant that on certain days would advertise their sausage subs coated with marinara and mozzarella. Oh my, were they good. And on those special discount days, affordable. When paired with a side of deep-fried, batter-dipped mushrooms… it was ambrosia to our still developing taste buds.
Those two finds supplied the bulk of my “nutritional” supplements for the four years of academic study. And it is with a tinge of wistfulness that I look back on those carefree years. Now please pass the broccoli as I wipe away a tear.
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