The Heights


Of course, you already know the importance of breaks, and if I haven’t already mentioned it, equally important is colleague bonding. Yep, I said it. Bonding with your colleagues is an important part of grad school. Grad school is weird because it’s not your job but it could greatly impact your future job, and as we’ve already established networking will likely be key to your next big opportunity. It’s also weird because it’s like school, but it’s not school. Again the whole future job thing which means you could possibly work with your grad school colleagues, so you don’t necessarily want to be totally backstage. But, besides the economic incentives of getting to know your colleagues and the impression management considerations, there’s an important emotional component. Let’s be honest, grad school is hard. It’s stressful; it’s overwhelming; and you need people you can commiserate with.

A couple Sundays ago I went to brunch with some colleagues (Ok, I’m sure I’ve reached the word limit for ‘colleagues,’ but I think it’s like a socialization thing to say ‘colleague’ instead of classmate. Either that or it’s some type of brain trick to make you feel better about being a broke college student. Idk. But anyways, I digress.). We went to this cute neighborhood restaurant in Columbia Heights called The Heights. Great atmosphere and décor, and the food was so good! Like, I can’t wait to go back. They use locally sourced produce and meats which I’m totally a fan of. Besides the warm décor inside, high ceilings, and large bar, they also have a great patio area which I’ll definitely have to hang out on once the weather warms back up. The food had a fresh and clean taste. I had the Buffalo Shrimp with bacon and blue cheese slaw (delish!) and Empire Eggs – poached eggs with house-smoked salmon over potato pancakes topped with hollandaise (yum!). I had to send my Empire Eggs back because the whites of my poached eggs were still runny, and I absolutely canNOT do runny eggs whites, yuck! But the real downside was the glass and a half mimosa I ordered which was more like just a glass. But other than that, everything was good.

If you’re looking for clean, tasty, and ‘happy’ food (i.e. hormone and antibiotic free, non-factory farm food), then definitely try The Heights. They have Happy Hour daily from 4pm-7pm, which I’ll be stopping by ASAP.

The Heights
3115 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20010
(202) 797-7227

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Have I Lost It Already? Ph.D. Paralysis

Ketel One Orange

Last Monday a good friend of mine and I met at Osaka for a yummy leisurely lunch. (Sidebar: Osaka has the best priced sushi at lunch. Seriously, you can eat all the rolls for close to nothing. You’re welcome.) As we were walking out after enjoying all sorts of fresh made sushi and conversation, my friend turns to me and says, “I don’t know if you need a shot or what but you have made no sense today.” O_o

By shot he did indeed mean alcohol and by no sense . . .it’s obvious that my brain has detected that the beginning of the fall semester is near. Apparently, I don’t even have to be in the middle of endless reading, research, and writing for my brain functioning to begin to dissolve leaving me incapable of normal interaction. *sigh

Incidentally, my advisor tweeted me this post from, “25 Deeply Painful Ph.D. Student Problems (Besides Your Thesis).”

I know my fellow grad students can agree that this list is ridiculously spot on. Combine #3 and #5 and now you know why it’s so hard for me to have ‘normal’ conversations. Number 25 is so me right now. I know people are showing their interest when they ask this question, but honestly my current number one goal is to finish my Ph.D. That’s it. I can see no further into my future than that.

So here’s to the new school year (less than 2 weeks away! Eek!) and more yummy meals and more mindless conversation with friends. Now where’s that drink. . .

3402 Poplar Avenue
Memphis, TN 38111
(901) 249-4690

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Aldo’s Pizza Pies

Aldo's Willie Cheech & Bob

s/o to all the folks on Insta who have been posting pics from Aldo’s Pizza. Since I’ve been gone, there have been more than a few new food spots to open in Memphis. This brought me much happiness and excitement! Not only do I get to spend the summer enjoying all my staple good eats but I also get to try out some new spots. Win x two!

The other night I went to Aldo’s. Sidebar: What is it about me that gives off the doesn’t-eat-pizza vibe? Lol I mean it is more or less true that I’m not pizza obsessed, and yeah, it wouldn’t be my first choice, but I still can enjoy a good pie! I digress. Let me just say I love Aldo’s! I love the feel, the décor, and even the servers’ uniforms. And the food! It was so freakin’ good! Like seriously. This is how good the food is – I went three times in one week. That’s some good eats, folks!

Aldo's Stuffed Peppers

Appetizer: Goat cheese stuffed peppers. It’s so good even people who don’t like goat cheese liked it!

Greek salad. Your standard romaine, feta, Kalamata olives, tomato, cucumber, and onion accompanied by your not so standard citrus vinaigrette. This dressing is so tasty!

Pizza: Bring out the Gump (poblano cream, sundried tomato pesto, grilled shrimp, mozzarella, red onion, basil) and Willie Cheech & Bob (tomato sauce, mozzarella, jerk chicken, red onion, mango chutney, very hot jalapeno). The ingredients alone should clue you in on how amazing these pizzas are. But if you need more convincing, let me just say that the Bring out the Gump is a delightful mix of flavors and the Willie Cheech & Bob has that perfect level of spice (from the jalapeno) and a touch of sweetness (from the mango chutney). And if you’ve been keeping up, then you know I don’t eat the chicken, but if the other items were any indication then I’m confident that the jerk chicken was divine.

Beer: They have dozens of beers on tap. Hmmm. . . I wonder if they have prosecco on tap. *tweets @aldospizzapies to find out* Since a friend of mine is on a personal mission to get everyone to drink beer, I did have a Blue Moon and I will admit that it was pretty alright. I think I owe an apology to someone. Ah, so no prosecco on tap, but I’m assured that they have plenty of bottles.

Dessert: The third time I went (this time with my bestie who was in town for a quick 24 hours) I had dessert. I’d heard their cheesecake was quite tasty, so we decided to share a slice. It was a delicious homemade slice of New York Cheesecake – thick creamy cheesecake that wasn’t too sweet.

Aldo’s is just the type of casual restaurant that is perfect for families, friends catching up after being apart for a year, and even a date, not a romantic date but an actually-get-to-know-you-minus-the-typical-stuffiness-of-a-date date. I definitely see this becoming a new favorite. Stop by Aldo’s and taste for yourself why this will be a new Memphis food favorite!

Aldo’s Pizza Pies
100 South Main Street
Memphis, TN 38103
(901) 577-7743

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After a Spring Break of nothing but school work, my cohort bestie and I both needed to ‘be a person’ (i.e. interact in the world outside of academia and escape from the just-above-the-poverty-line existence that is living on a grad school stipend), so we headed into Chinatown to check out Graffiato, a trendy Italian inspired eatery.

Since we didn’t have a reservation, there was a slight wait which gave me time to grab a glass of prosecco ON TAP. I didn’t even know prosecco on draft was a thing, but I was very pleased as I do enjoy a glass of this sparkling wine. Although we were originally told the wait for a table would be 30 minutes, after about 15 we were escorted to the upstairs dining area.

Graffiato’s menu is a mix of small plates and pizzas with enough choices to have a selection without being overwhelmed. We started with a sampling of the Cheese & Cure – Clothbound Cheddar, Humboldt Fog (goat), Hudson Camembert, Olli Toscano (salami), and Proscuitto Di Parma. The cheeses were divine and I couldn’t resist sampling the proscuitto. It looked so tender which it was, and it had such a nice balanced flavor, a slight salty yet sweet. We followed the Cheese & Cure with a Jersey Shore Pizza (aka fried calamari pizza). The pizza was chewy but crisp, and the cherry pepper aioli gave it a nice kick. The calamari was amazing! I’ll definitely order this again.

All in all Graffiato made us feel like ‘a person.’ First half of the semester complete. Second half of the semester let’s go!

707 6th St NW
Washington DC 20001
(202) 289-3600

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Kiyoko Express



I have a healthy level of skepticism about the quality of food at restaurants near college campuses. I don’t know why. This distrust is not rooted in any personal experience. In fact, if experience were the gauge then I should be all about restaurants on or near college campuses. For example, near the University of Memphis, where I attended undergrad, there’s Garibaldi’s Pizza (delicious!), Brother Juniper’s (some of the best breakfast in the city), the Chinese Sub Shop (That is actually the name, and they have some of the best sub sandwiches! Get the ‘hard’ bread. Never had their Chinese food though.); the list could go on but you get the point.

Suffice to say, I was a bit wary of the sushi spot across from campus. Sushi can definitely be bad, and when it’s bad, it’s bad. Other food might be a bit palatable when it’s less than good. Not true with sushi. Despite my skepticism, I followed the suggestion of a classmate and grabbed a quick bite at Kiyoko before class one night. It doesn’t look like much inside, or outside for that matter, but what it lacks in interior design it totally makes up for in fresh and flavorful sushi.

There were plenty of options so many that I was a bit paralyzed by all the choices. I relied on the pictured rolls to make my final decision – Red Dragon Eel (roll topped with tuna, avocado, and sweet sauce) and Spicy Samurai Spicy (salmon roll topped with salmon, avocado, and sweet sauce roll). Both rolls were absolutely delicious. There’s no way for me to pick my favorite, but I definitely know I’m going to try a couple more rolls. Maybe I’ll even get it delivered to my office. Ah, the perks of having restaurants near campus!

Kiyoko Express
7313-H Baltimore Ave
College Park, MD 20740
(240) 341-9091

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