Tag Archives: ut

Craving Candy? Check Out Campus Candy

Candy as far as the eye can see...

Returning after a rather warm winter, the first thing I noticed on the Drag was the bright-colored sign advertising “Campus Candy.” What in the world could that place be? A candy store on the Drag, very convenient for hungry night owls? This place is going to do just fine.

Campus Candy is the new kid on the block, replacing the previous clothing store Wish. It is a candy store that has opened up on the Drag that is covering some of the latest fads on campus. It sells frozen yogurt, pastries from Cheesecake Factory, and also popular drinks and snacks to pick up in between classes.

You cannot miss this store on the Drag, blasting loud music like it’s a club and showing off its brightly-colored sign. Stepping in, it feels a bit like stepping into Wonka’s factory as the bright colors of the walls, seating, and candy overwhelm the visitor.

The flavors are often changing. My favorite is admittedly the tiramisu

To the right is the frozen yogurt, supervised by an employee ready to explain the system and provide sample cups. A way to monitor the tasting of flavors, I suppose. The frozen yogurt is very flavorful and a wide variety. Flavors range from tiramisu to chocolate chip mint to raspberry. The price, however, is quite high. It is nearly 70 cents/oz. For a half full cup, it cost me about $3.30, a price that could get a lot more at the other frozen yogurt places near UT. However, the flavors match Red Mango in intensity and the tiramisu and crème brulee flavors seem to be very popular.

A variety of toppings are available at Campus Candy, just like you would find at any other frozen yogurt store. There are tons of sauces as you can see in the front of the picture and lots of fruits and chewy toppings like flavored mochis. I think I’ve also found a new favorite topping for frozen yogurt that tasted kind of like chocolate-covered rice krispy treats.

Tons of toppings and sauces, even some I have never seen at other yogurt places.

Another fun addition to Campus Candy is the fact that you can put any candy in the store on top. It’s a great way to try out some new candies you want to check out, but don’t want to pay the $2.89/quarter of a pound for. For the yogurt I bought, I added some of the sour gummy bears on top to try them out. FYI, probably not a good idea to put gummies on top of cold products as it does reduce the chew of the candy.

Some novelty candies sit around the store such as a 27 lb. gummy bear and the gummy skull next to it. When Valentine’s day was coming up, chocolate roses became available. A lot of old school candies are also available on the wall across from the register like Pot o’ Honey and Neccos.

Ooh, Cheesecake Factory right next to UT!

Finally, there are baked goods being sold at Campus Candy and finishes off the college student’s sweet tooth. Most of the baked goods are from the Cheesecake Factory. These pastries include popular cheesecake flavors from Cheesecake Factory like Raspberry Swirl and Godiva Chocolate cheesecake. The cheesecake slices are not as big as the ones you get at the Cheesecake Factory, but they taste about as good as the ones you can get frozen at Sam’s. If you’re dying for a baked good, here is a decent place to go. They also have Cheesecake Factory’s cupcakes that I am interested in trying, but have yet to do so. Flavors seem to be rather standard such as red velvet, chocolate, and vanilla.

Overall, Campus Candy seems like an establishment that will be very popular on the Drag and already it is attracting loads of customers each night. I am excited that more than frozen yogurt is being sold here and I love the variety and customization available for toppings. Also, there is finally a place on the Drag for easy access to baked goods other than cupcakes and cookies.

Rating: 😛 😛 😛 😛 ½ for covering every sweet tooth, high prices, and good location.

Foodspotting: Best Food By UT

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Hey everyone!

Just want to let you know that I’ve made a new guide on Foodspotting for Austin. It’s called Best Food By UT. It’s open for anyone to add or vote and it’s just a list of places that I would recommend around campus. I also picked foods that I personally like to eat at the place or something that seems to keep people coming back to that restaurant.

There is also a badge available to earn if you are able to spot 5/6 items that are on the list. The badge: a half chocolate-dipped Texas-shaped cookie, yum!

Feel free to add onto the list and it’ll look great with pictures finally on there!

Look through the slideshow up top to get a preview of the food I’m talking about. Good luck with foodspotting! 😛

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Madrigal Dinner Is A Must-Attend Event

Prepare for a Madrigal night

I have heard much about the UT Madrigal Dinner and have always been just on the edge of actually going since my freshman year. Finally, from just a stroke of luck and the culmination of coincidences, I have finally gone and I am so happy I did!

Now what is a Madrigal dinner you ask? Perhaps some of you have attended one in high school, but for greenhorns like myself, I had no idea what ‘Madrigal’ meant. Looking it up on Google, some great sites are the Madrigal Dinner website and Wikipedia’s entry. Basically, though, a Madrigal dinner is a sort of dinner theater in the style of late Middle Age to Renaissance times when nobles would get into the holiday spirit over good food and good entertainment. The entertainment consisted not only of singers, but also jesters, magicians, fortune tellers, and the like. Both a mix of more bawdy and earthly songs would mix in with the classic Christmas songs to create a unique blend of holiday cheer.

Reading about the event, I found an article in the Austin Chronicle that did a good job of summing up the experience of UT’s Madrigal Dinner. From first impressions, I figured the event was a decent deal. Sure, the food may not be great, but the whole entertainment factor would be fun and it’s always great to get into a holiday mood. What really struck me in the article is that the writer, who seems to be a slight cynic, was actually touched enough to start feeling ready for Christmas and I just knew I had to go.

Sorry it's a little dark, but you can see the choral group on the balcony area

Before the actual show begins, the cash bar opens and you can make your time a little more jolly with some libations before the event. However, refillable pitchers of tea and water sit on every table and you definitely don’t want to miss out on the wassail. The event starts with the chorus on the fourth floor of the Union, looking down into the Atrium. They sing a number of songs to get you in the mood for dinner and then into the ballroom you go with those very singers as your escorts.

Sir Gallant stops by after his dastardly schemes

Every year, the Madrigal Dinner Committee picks a new script for the play so you’ll never get the same thing twice. This year’s story was rather funny with a knight trying to take over the kingdom. However, complications obviously arise and pop references ensued. The cast was totally in character and it was awesome that, between acts and during courses, they came out and interacted around the tables. Extra parts of the story and background of the characters would come out during this time and it was funny to see more about the characters we couldn’t see on stage. They would also interact with the audience and I applaud their improv abilities. Crazily, if you were a little too quick to accuse people of murder or other similar things, you would actually be taken to the stocks! It was crazy, but quite funny too.

So the verdict? Mmm, yummy food and so much fun just because I love musicals. Also, I really like the Texas Renaissance Festival and it was kind of like a rehash in play form. The play was quite silly and sometimes random, but it was fun and my roommate and I really enjoyed it.

The decorations were awesome and the Texas Union Ballroom seemed perfectly set up for a  Madrigal dinner evening with metal chandeliers and banners about the wooden appliquéd room. The cast, though, must be given their due as they were the heart of the whole entertainment. Without their enthusiasm for the whole event, the evening would not have been half as fun as it was.

Tasty, tasty bread

It was nice that the play occurred in between courses of food because it allowed some time for the stomach to digest as well as allowed one to concentrate on eating instead of fiddling around in the dark with a fork and knife. Smartly, the knife was not really needed except for buttering bread in the beginning.

The waiters and waitresses who also made up the chorus actually went around and sang at the tables too. You had the choice between clean, slightly dirty, and dirty ditties. Our table ended up having the more dirty songs being sung to us and they were not actually too bad. It was mostly the implied stuff like the *clap claps* for other possible words or bawdy analogies. It was quite funny, though I wouldn’t have minded hearing the other songs like Carol of the Bells.

As you can see, entertainment is provided in both a show as well as floor entertainers during courses. Not only were there the choral groups bouncing between tables, performing songs to entertain us as we ate, but there was also a juggler/jester person and a magician. Both were cutely entertaining and a fun way to break up the different entertainments available through the night.

Our delightful program menu

The dinner theater consisted of 4-5 courses, depending on your counting of appetizers. After the opening carols and first scene inviting us to the dining room, we gorged ourselves on the delicious bread. Not only were there blueberry and cranberry breads, but also good French bread that tasted fresh. Now, this may sound totally messed up, but the vinaigrette dressing for the salad later turned out to be quite delicious with the cranberry bread that was provided. Literal butter balls were passed around and also spread on the warm bread and were enjoyed until the next course of salad with the sweet and sour vinaigrette on the table. Full of a variety of leafy greens, the salad was tasty, but nothing special.

Wassail! wassail! all over the ballroom

Wassail actually came as its own course with its own choral song, a special characteristic of Madrigal dinners. Wassail is basically a cider or punch that is spiced with such things as nutmeg and ginger. The wassail came in a warm metal pitcher and was absolutely delicious! It was slightly sweet and sour and no cinnamon, which was perfect for my roommate who does not like cinnamon. It also kept the cider from being too sweet and drowning out the yummy taste of apples. I really enjoyed it and I only wish there had been more than one pitcher served to us. It stayed warm for a good long while in the glass goblet and I happily sipped it through most of the courses.

Yum, yum. This is how you should eat in olden times!

The main course was the beef bourguignon or pot roast as I would call it. However, it was delicious, especially with the vegetables that were perfectly cooked. Rosemary baked potatoes and steamed veggies went well with the gravy of the beef bourguignon and the delicious bread helped sop up any leftovers. I was feeling full, but we had yet to see the dessert! The last course was chocolate chip bread pudding and I’ll admit, a slightly demure way to end a fabulous night. However, it was warm and big and tasty and a good way to warm up people’s tummies before the cold night walk home. As we left, the cast gave a last singing send-off and it was time to go.

The only detriments to the experience were the goblets that were not thoroughly cleaned and the show could get quite corny. It was fun corniness though. Also, seating is definitely important. You don’t want a seat where you have to crane your neck every 15 minutes to watch the show. Some people on the wrong side of the spotlight were blinded at times as well (try to get seats facing front or stage left). I thought it was worth the extra $4 to get seats right near the front so we could see and hear everything as well as see the actors more when they came off the stage.

The cast and crew are what really make the Madrigal Dinner stand out

Overall, a super fun night and an experience you should definitely try once before you graduate. I am absolutely amazed that these people are complete volunteers and not at all paid for putting on this production. It was good, it was fun, and truly would not have been the same without such an enthusiastic cast and crew.

Rating: 😛 😛 😛 😛 😛 for enthusiastic cast and crew, yummy food, and just a fun way to transition to the holidays.