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Will Study for Food: A Column for Aspiring Happy Valley Foodies

I once met a PSU undergraduate student who confessed to eating ten “meals” a week consisting of fare purchased from Canyon Pizza. I have nothing against Canyon. There is nothing more delicious than a slice purchased while stumbling down Beaver Ave, with a dollar of found quarters and dimes. But, as a regular source of sustenance? No way.

I have met underclassmen who eat every single meal at that campus bread-basket, Redifer Commons. I, too, loved the variety and accessibility of Redifer when I used to live on campus. But, come on folks. There’s a whole world of food out there!

“Or is there?” you might say. We do live in State College, otherwise known as a football Mecca, an educational powerhouse, and a safe (yet interesting) area to reside. Nobody ever mentions Happy Valley as a food destination, unless they are conducting a world tour of standard university-town cuisine.

Forget the reputation (or lack thereof). As a resident since 2001 and PSU junior, I say that eating well is quite possible in State College … you just need to know where to look. And therein lies the problem: not everybody knows where to find culinary delights in good ol’ Happy Valley. Whether you are a graduating senior who just hasn’t explored PSU’s gastronomic potential, or an incoming freshman who barely knows where Atherton Street is, my goal with this column is to show you where to find the good eatin’ in our beloved college town. I think you’ll find that there is more here than meets the eye.

Look now, I’ve wasted all this space on a blathering introduction, and left so little to talk about food. In just a few words, I’ll throw out a few pointers.
All of the nice weather has got me dreaming about ice cream, so I’ll leave you with some thoughts about where to grab a summer treat that hits the spot. All of you surely know about the Creamery, Rita’s, and Yogurt Express by now, but if you are looking for some cheap delicious alternatives to these stalwarts, there are options. Happy Valley Freeze, located in the sunken pit patio on McAllister street, has over forty soft-serve ice cream flavors available. The featured flavor-of-the-day can be twisted with vanilla as well; just today I enjoyed a heaped-on small cone of banana-vanilla for $2.00.

If you are bold enough to go where most college students dare to tread – that is, beyond campus and Beaver/College Aves. – there is another excellent summer destination. Meyer’s Dairy, located on 2390 S. Atherton Street, has been doling out locally-made dairy products, including ice cream, for 40* years. Yes, I know: it is way out there. But, find someone with a car, and go buy an ice cream sundae. You and your kind chauffeur will find that the trip is well worth it.

*The dairy traces its roots back into the 19th century.

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