Stony Brook University’s Strawberry Fest is one of my favorite annual experiences on campus. You buy a ticket before the festival and the day of, you get to sample different strawberry themed dishes. This year, there were a few new choices. 

In honor of Strawberry Fest, this week’s College Gal Cooking is dedicated to talking about how each of the featured dishes came out. 

So if you are a fan of strawberries and you are interested in trying some of the dishes for next year, you are going to want to hear what I have to say about each one.

The first stand I went to was the stand that featured a small spinach salad with grilled chicken, strawberries and mandarin oranges. It sounded pretty good, but the main reason it was my first stop was simply because it had the shortest line. 

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However, once I actually tried the salad, I wanted to go back for another. It was a great first choice. The vinaigrette used was not too strong and really complimented the sweetness of the fruit. This dish has been featured in previous years and I hope they continue to serve it in the future.

 As I munched on my sweet salad, I decided to go to the nacho line next. The line had to have been triple the size of the salad line. When I finally got to try the nachos with strawberry salsa, I was not really sure if it was worth the wait. 

I really liked the salsa, but there were only about eight chips in my container and that seemed a little stingy. 

The salsa was sweet and spicy and overall very good, but if this dish is featured next year, the school may want to reconsider the portion size. After the nachos, I waited on line for the strawberry ice-pop. 

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The line went by much faster than the nacho line. The  ice-pop was very refreshing on the warm sunny day and it was not too watered down or overly sweet. Compared to the ice cream sandwiches served in the past, I much prefer the ice-pop.

The next dish I went to was a popular returner, the strawberry shortcake. Sadly, it was not quite as good as it has been in the past. The cake that was used this year was very thin and covered with a buttery oil. 

Most of the shortcake consisted of whipped cream and there were few strawberries in between. If the school plans on continuing having the strawberry shortcake, hopefully next year, it will actually have strawberries.

Finally, I went to the lemonade stand, which, as always, was set up in the cutest manner. A white picket fence surrounded the booth and the line went very quickly. 

The lemonade was a little watery and overpowered the strawberry flavor, but it was sweet and cool and refreshing. 

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Contrary to last year, there were not particles of fruit floating around in the cups and I personally preferred the lemonade without that.

Some foods that have been featured in the past that were not featured this year include the strawberry smoothies, strawberry candy, strawberry ice cream and strawberry quinoa salad. 

I like that the school has been shifting to healthier choices, I just hope that they fix the portion sizes and consistency of strawberries in the food for upcoming years.

If you are looking to make your own strawberry treat, here is a recipe for a strawberry mango smoothie. 

Dice up a few mangos and strawberries and throw them into a blender. Add eight ounces of plain yogurt, a half-cup of mango juice and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

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Nicole is a senior majoring in journalism at Stony Brook University. She joined The Statesman fall semester of her freshman year and expects to continue writing for them until she graduates later this year. She couldn’t be happier being the A&E editor and looks forward to expanding her writers' involvement with the paper. Her favorite experience in the arts section was covering the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. While Nicole does enjoy the arts, she has a passion for international affairs. Currently, she can speak three different languages and doesn’t plan on stopping there. One day, she hopes to work for Al Jazeera or the BBC.

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