December 4, 2011

Top Five Places I MUST Go - Thanks Volvo, for the Rutgers Homecoming!

The second challenge in Volvo's Biggest Fan of the Big East competition seems like a no-brainer: "Pick five or more things that you have to do when you return to your Alma Mater (places to see, best bars, best food, cool places on campus, etc.)" Obviously, I'm going to College Ave and auditing a class or two -- wasn't THAT the best part of school? [Insert sarcasm here.]  
Alas, it's been seven years since I've graduated and from my understanding, some of the places I used to frequent no longer exist or have changed completely.  Still, there are staples that make Rutgers what it is [cough, Grease Trucks, cough] so even if I can't go to the Skull House to reminisce about my days as a "Skull Frat Rat" and do the jig to their theme song, "Devil Went Down to Georgia," - I can still enjoy me a Fat Darrell.
Some of the Skull Boys of '02-04: Matthew WurmanPhil CampanellaAdam KraftKevin FitzpatrickMichael HughesDoug MuellerAndy NazarioMike CervinoBrian Rosenthal and Ross Sharrott.
As a reminder, I was selected to represent the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in Volvo's Biggest Fan of the Big East Challenge. I'm going up against 15 contestants who are cool, but not as cool as me. On February 19th, I'll be taking a trip back to Rutgers (with a guest!) for an all-expenses paid trip to watch the Scarlet Knights kick some ass against Syracuse.

As another reminder, I'm EXTREMELY thankful for any and all support you can provide for me and for Rutgers over the next few months.  It's super simple to do this:

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Ok - great, so now let's REALLY get into it -- Zlata's Challenge #2 Post: The Things I MUST Do When I Return To Rutgers on the Weekend of February 19! I took the initiative of looking at the calendar of events for that weekend and aside from the game, there's nothing really major going on (sigh for no midnight breakfast!) 

While making my way around Rutgers (between all the campuses and what have you) I'm VERY happy to say that I will NOT be using the Rutgers Busses and don't have to concern myself with the L, EE, H, LX, etc..  This is in great thanks to Volvo, who will be providing me with a Volvo S60 for the weekend.  How fantabulous is that?  I wonder if they'll let me request a color...

Aside from academics, Rutgers was known for two things: Their food & beverage selection and their opposite sex selection.  Since I can't partake in any of the latter (I'm a married woman!) I'll certainly be making quite a few pit stops at many of the former. 

Brower Dining Hall, College Avenue Campus
After making a quick stop at my mailbox - 36651 RPO Way - I'll make my way up the stairs to Brower.  I'll pick up a copy of the Daily Targum and turn straight to the comics section. I'll sigh momentarily since there is no longer the "Z" character in the then-uber-popular strip Mattia, written by Guy Patrick. (Take THAT, competition!)  

I'll make my way down the long zig-zag ramp, while being completely conscious that everyone below is looking at 'who just entered the dining hall' and make my way onto the line.  (I used to sit with my girlfriends and just hope that Justin Lada would be amongst the eye candy for dinner that night. I had the biggest crush on him, but knew we could never be married - 1. Because he had no idea I was alive and 2. Because then my name would be Zlata Lada and that's just weird.) Before picking up my tray and silverware, I'll say a little prayer that they're serving chicken fingers tonight - because everyone knows that if there's no Mexican Cantina, chicken fingers are the next best thing.
EVERYONE is looking at you!!
On my way out, I'll pick up a little bit of fro-yo and douse it with crushed oreos as a topping.  I'll pick up a napkin and a pen and leave a brief, but helpful comment on the "Captain Commons Wall" - remember that?  Dude has a Facebook page now!

Grease Trucks

Sure, I can go to Jimmy's or one of the other fantastic eateries on Easton Ave, but why wouldn't I go to the infamous Grease Trucks - where it all started? I mean, people who don't even GO to Rutgers take Exit 9 off the New Jersey Turnpike to hit up the coveted Fat Sandwiches.
Let's get down to a little bit of education, okay? After all, I'm representing RUTGERS, a school with a great educational program. 

History: The first fat sandwich was first created in 1979 and was considered a Rutgers icon: the Fat Cat, containing two cheeseburgers, french fries, lettuce, tomatoes, and onions all on a single sub-style bun. It remained as the most popular sandwich on campus until 1997, when Rutgers sophomore Darrell Butler asked the sandwich vendor to make a similar sandwich to the Fat Cat, but with his own ingredients. Butler grew tired of ordering the same sandwiches all the time, but also wanted certain fast foods that he would have to order separately, which strained on his minimal college-student budget. So, Butler ordered a custom sandwich: chicken fingers, french fries, mozzarella sticks, lettuce, and tomatoes all drenched in marinara sauce on a sub roll, which he aptly named the Fat Darrell (c). Right after his order was complete, the next ten customers in line ordered the same exact sandwich that Butler had ordered. Thus began the reign of the Fat Darrell, crowned Best Sandwich in the Nation by MAXIM Magazine in 2004.

Location: Fat sandwiches can be purchased in many restaurants and eateries around New Brunswick, but the most famous stops to purchase fat sandwiches are the Grease Trucks, which are located in Parking Lot 8 (right in front of the Voorhees Mall) on the College Avenue campus, near the corner of College Ave and Hamilton Street. The most well-known Grease Truck is actually a stand called R U HUNGRY?, which is the home of the  “Fat Sandwich Challenge”: finish five fat sandwiches in 45 minutes, and you will earn a spot on the Hall of Fame and be given the honor of naming a fat sandwich in your honor. Sound easy? The host of Travel Channel’s “Man vs. Food” took on this challenge and lost. You can watch his brave attempt here. 

My favorite sandwich is the Fat Darrell.  I even wrote a post about it, which you can read here

Here are some other photos to highlight the greatness that are the Grease Trucks:

I'm actually BOTH grossed out and drooling right now.

Olde Queens Tavern

Of COURSE I'd have to make a stop at one of my favorite bars, a place where I rang in my 21st birthday!  Old Queens has been around since 1933 and really is the staple bar of Easton Avenue. Its ideal central location makes it a "must" along any RU Bar Crawl.
Being the cyber-stalker that I am (and reluctant that I'm not at my parents' house and cannot scan old pictures) I found these amazing photos shot at Olde Queens - Rutgers University Class of 2004 - when you could still smoke in bars! I bet you didn't even know these were online!
Phil Campanella, far right, first dude I hooked up with at college. Yea, I said it.

Jackie Sulzer, second from right, one of my all-time faves

Molly Coletta, second from right, and some of her Gamma Phi Beta girls

Linda Lamadrid, right, wife to Kurt Peluso and Fair Lawn resident - yay!

Frank Lupinacci, second from the left, resident hottie

Sujata Dutta, left, one of the infamous 'Brett Babes'

Gerard Norcia, far right, brother at Sig Ep

Lev Karp, middle, brother at AEPi in a hot dog eating contest
Lev Karp, left, next to his now wife Kristen Soehngen
I know. I just blew your mind.  

Thomas Sweet

Best.Homemade.Ice.Cream.EVER!!  With daily special flavors and mouth-watering toppings, this Easton Avenue hot spot is the perfect dessert after pigging out at Stuff Yer Face. (Another one of my top picks!) 
I just realized that I might have to opt-out of this competition, since all of my must-stop-spots include food and drinks. I'm going to gain the Freshman 15 in two days!  So let's change the pace a bit! 

Hurtado Health Center (Third Floor)
Some of the frat boys might remember my coming into their houses with dildos and condoms to do some demonstrations. No, nothing dirty! Actually, the complete opposite.  I, Zlata, was a Sexual Health Advocate (aka SHA) at Rutgers. After going through a competitive application process, I was accepted, took the required two-semester class and spent the next three years going from dorms, to sororities, to frat houses educating the students of Rutgers about safe sex practices and all-things sex-health related. I also spent one year as a teacher's assistant (with my own fabulous class) alongside the wonderful Francesca Maresca. Seven years later, I plan on taking a little trip to HHC to see who is still around and if the program is still in tact. 

Brower Dining Hall
Oh, did I already mention this one? Yea, I'll be back there for brunch!

Hope you guys all enjoyed!  

Want to help me win?
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Where would YOU go back if you had the weekend??