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This month’s Under10 spotlight will be familiar to faculty, staff, and returning students—it’s Viga, a campus favorite for event catering. While you’ll probably enjoy their sandwiches or pizza on-campus at some point this year, I thought it’d be nice to highlight their takeout options, as Viga is a regular in my lunch spot rotation. There are four locations in the city and both the Stuart Street and Devonshire Street locations are within a 10 minute walk of campus. I have an arbitrary preference for the Stuart Street one, but there’s no difference in their offerings.

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Viga’s menu consists of standard Italian takeout joint fare: calzones, pasta, pizza, salads, sandwiches, and wraps. They have a set rotation of daily specials for calzones, pizza, and pasta, which adds nice variety to their regular options. You can find these on their website.

With the exception of whole pizzas, everything is under $8.00. My go-to is their pasta, which is particularly cheering on a cold day. The baked ziti is reliably good; for specials, I like the Penne Badia (Tuesday) and the Pollo Tuscano (Friday). A small regular pasta runs from $3.39-$4.49 and small special pastas are $4.49 or $6.19. All pastas come with a fresh homemade roll, which makes it an even better deal. For $6.99 you can get a small pasta ($4.49 or under), a small salad, a soda, and a roll. Their other options are equally wallet-friendly: sandwiches run from $6-$8, pizza slices around $3, and calzones around $5.

Penne Tuscano

At the checkout counter, there are a number of tempting baked goods. Their molasses ginger cookie is outstanding, a perfect balance of crispy and chewy, but I don’t think you could go wrong with any of their desserts. When you pay, be sure to ask for their frequent diner card. On your 6thvisit, you’ll get $3.00 off and on your 12th you’ll get $5.00 off. It’s one of the better visitor rewards programs I’ve seen.

A good excuse to go this week

The restaurants are usually packed between noon and 1pm—people sometimes spill out onto the sidewalk—but the line always moves fast. There are different stations for each type of food, so things progress easily once everyone has sorted themselves out. The Devonshire Street location has some seating, but the Stuart Street one does not. If you visit the latter and don’t want to head back to campus, enjoy the weather while it’s still nice in the Public Garden or on the Common.

Viga. 304 Stuart Street, Boston, MA. Monday-Friday 11am-3pm | 291 Devonshire Street, Boston, MA. Monday-Friday 11am-3pm.  Both locations accept cash, credit cards, and LevelUp. 

Do you have a favorite day-of-the-week special at Viga? Do you want to debate me that the Devonshire Street location is better? Write to us!

Previous entries:

Al’s South Street Cafe | Chacarero | Pita Kabob | Momogoose and Saté

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It’s a new academic year here at Tufts’ Health Sciences Campus and the HHSL is piloting a new service model. You may have noticed that early in the mornings or late in the afternoons we only have one person on the service desk. Or perhaps you’ve noticed a lack of familiar librarian faces on the 4th floor.

Never fear! The HHSL librarians are alive and well and ready to serve you still!

This year we are piloting a service model where the librarians are largely “on call” – much like our resident and doctor patrons. If you need help from a librarian, please come to the 4th floor desk and the librarian on call will be happy to assist you. (It is not an inconvenience when a patron asks for help – it’s our job and we love to do it!)

You can also email, call, or chat with a librarian if you can’t come see us in the library.

 

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Come and check out what we have on reserve!

Hirsh Library Scan and Borrow Event Going on Now! from Tufts HHSL on Vimeo.

 

I recently convinced myself that August is National Tomato Month. Possibly because I have spent the last several weeks gorging on the beautiful New England tomatoes making their way to the Boston farmers’ markets and local farm stands.

Imagine my dismay when I discovered that August celebrates many foodstuffs, including sandwiches, catfish, and peaches, but according to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, National Fresh Tomato Day falls on April 6th.

Now, if you dragged yourself through many, many miserably damp days in March and April of 2014, you know for a fact that there was not a local, sun-ripened, fresh tomato to be found in Boston on April 6th. And I’m not the only person who thinks August is the time to celebrate the glorious tomato. Consider the world-famous, tomato-centric celebration known as La Tomatina in Buñol, a small Spanish town in Valencia that attracts over 30,000 people every August.

Courtesy Aaron Corey CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. https://www.flickr.com/photos/aaroncorey/38954571/

Courtesy Aaron Corey CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. https://www.flickr.com/photos/aaroncorey/38954571/

This is the perfect time to enjoy beautiful ripe tomatoes of all varieties. They are also a superfood, rich in Vitamin C and fiber, as well as beta-carotene and lycopene. Read more about the health benefits of eating tomatoes in the Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter.

If you’re looking for new ways to enjoy tomatoes, here are a few of my favorite recipes:

And of course, you can always just eat a perfectly ripe tomato all on its own, preferably over the kitchen sink.

 

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This month’s Under10 Spotlight is a double feature! A combination of an adventurous mood (not preparing lunch in the evening) and oversleeping on two days led me to two spots: Momogoose, a food truck, and its sister restaurant Saté. Both are located near South Station and offer the same menu. Momogoose is at the intersection of Congress St and the Greenway, and Saté is in the Nonprofit Center on South St (right next to Al’s).

Momogoose

I’ve wanted to get lunch from one of the Dewey Square food trucks for months, but they are always dauntingly busy. The lines to order wind around the plaza and the group of people waiting for their orders to be ready is massive. I’ve noticed, though, that if you travel just a block further to where Congress St intersects the Greenway, the food trucks there have much shorter lines. I decided to head to Momogoose for my first food truck post.

Beef ramen from Momogoose

Momogoose offers ramen, pho, banh mi, and create-your-own rice or noodle bowls, with a variety of protein choices. Each dish is $6 and for $8 you can get a main dish, a beverage, and dumpling or crispy roll. I ordered ramen with beef, a crispy roll, and a lemonade (which cost an extra dollar but was worth it). The ramen’s thin noodles were a bit too al dente for my taste and the beef was a little dry, but the broth was flavorful with wonderfully crisp vegetables. The portion was generous and I had some left over. The bowls and lids they use are sturdy and basically spill proof, so it was easy to bring back to work with me.

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Tofu ramen from Saté

When I went to Saté the following week, I decided to try the ramen again, but opted for tofu and got a dumpling instead of a crispy roll on the side. The noodles were more to my liking and the tofu was a better fit with the rest of the ingredients. My friend got a rice bowl with Korean BBQ chicken, which she enjoyed thoroughly.

Korean BBQ Chicken with brown rice

Korean BBQ Chicken with brown rice

I’m most impressed by the speed at both locations, as my meals were ready to take away by the time I finished paying. I don’t feel like this speed comes at the expense of quality. Neither location offers seating, as Momogoose is a truck and Saté is just a counter in a hallway, so they’d be good options if you need to grab something quickly to take back to the library.

Momogoose. Congress St and JFK/Surface Rd, Boston, MA. Monday-Friday 10:30am-2:30pm | Saté. 89 South St, Boston, MA. Monday-Friday 10:30am-2:30pm.  Both locations accept cash and credit cards. 

Have you braved the food truck lines? Do you have a suggestion for the next place we should try? Write to us!

Previous entries:

Al’s South Street Cafe | Chacarero | Pita Kabob

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For this month’s spotlight, I decided to broaden my horizons and go somewhere out of my normal lunch rotation. I chose Pita Kabob in Downtown Crossing, where I somehow have yet to eat, despite walking past it frequently for nearly a year. Conveniently located on the same block as the Chauncy Street exit of Downtown Crossing, it offers Persian food, as well as a handful of standard American deli options. It’s a great menu for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.

PitaKabobexterior

The interior is spartan, but the staff is welcoming. You order and pay at the cashier first, so you’re good to go on your way once your order is ready. For my first foray into their menu, I decided to try the falafel pita wrap ($5.85).  I’m no falafel connoisseur—in fact, I don’t actually like falafel all that much and always seem to forget that—but I really enjoyed it. It’s baked instead of fried, so wasn’t crispy like it often is, but still had a nice texture and flavor. The toppings were what made it excellent, though. The tahini and hot sauce were delicious and the lettuce and tomato, oft-neglected wrap elements, were impressively fresh.

I definitely want to go back to try some of their other offerings. They have nine different options for pita fillings, most of which can also be ordered on a salad, or served as a platter with Basmati rice and hummus or salad (shirazi, garden, or yogurt). The price for a pita wrap depends on the filling, and ranges from $5.25 for hummus to $8.55 for salmon kabob. Most of their other items fall within that range as well. They also serve breakfast and all their breakfast sandwiches are under $3.00—it’d be a convenient stop for Red Line riders on their way to campus in the morning.

I can’t offer much insight into their speed at busy times, as I was the only customer in line and enjoyed a leisurely conversation with the owner as he prepared my order, but their setup looks like one that could handle a high volume of customers with ease.  There’s some counter seating inside, but it’d also be an easy walk over to the Common, Post Office Square, or the Greenway, where I decided to take mine.

Nota bene: Be sure to grab a bunch of napkins! Although the wrap was well-constructed, I couldn’t simultaneously eat and read without adorning my magazine with hot sauce and tahini. You may not want to eat it at your laptop.

Pita Kabob. 2 Lafayette Ave, Boston, MA (entrance on Chauncy St) Monday-Friday 7:30am-5pm. Accepts cash and credit cards with a $15 minimum.

What do you think of the baked falafel? Have you tried their breakfast? Do you have a suggestion for the next place we should try? Write to us!

Previous entries:
Al’s South Street Cafe

Chacarero

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Leo is back to answer more of your questions about library policies and procedures!  Catch him in episode two where he discusses how to use Tufts Tools and announces our new computers!  Remember to submit questions to AskLeo@tufts.edu or write out a question and place it in our designated box on the 4th floor library service desk.  Enjoy!

Ask Leo Episode Two: Tufts Tools from Tufts HHSL on Vimeo.

Summer is here and everyone at HHSL is looking forward to the 4th of July. There are so many options for celebrating in Boston that it can be overwhelming, so we asked some staff members for their recommendations:

8974292557_575cd8ac84_zBoston (Dylan Pech)/ CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

My friends like to rent a kayak or canoe and watch the fireworks from the river!  

-Becky Philio, Library Assistant

You can reserve a boat ahead of time, if you’re feeling nautical.

7511427816_92e3b0b2b1_z4th of July 2012 in Boston (Sayamindu Dasgupta)/ CC BY SA 2.0

I like to watch the fireworks just standing on Memorial Drive. They pipe the music from the Pops along the Cambridge side of the River, so you can enjoy the spectacle without having to camp out all day for a spot on the Esplanade. 

-Katherine Morley, Administrative Coordinator

If you do decide to enjoy the Pops on the Esplanade, this handy guide has all the info you need.

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USS Constitution fires a 21-gun salute toward Fort Independence during the ship’s July 4th underway (US Navy) / CC BY 2.0

Go check out the Old Ironsides turnaround cruise. You can book a ticket on a boat that follows her around the harbor or just watch from shore as the world’s oldest commissioned warship takes her annual voyage to Castle Island. This is the year to do it, though–she’ll be undergoing restoration until 2018. 

-Becky Morin, Head of Research & Instruction.

More information here. Interested in other historical events? Here’s a big list of tours, talks, and tastings happening throughout the city this week.

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Ready to Eat (David Remsen) /CC BY NC 2.0

I’m not a native New Englander, so I was really excited last year when I was invited to a community clam bake for the 4th of July. Even though it was deathly hot (near 100 degrees F), it was really fun to celebrate with the whole neighborhood out on the rocky beach, eating all of the food everyone made. It was also really interesting to watch the evolution of the fire pit throughout the day. I’m not a big seafood eater, so I didn’t partake of the steamers and lobster, but everything looked and smelled amazing!

Katie Houk, Research & Instruction Librarian

Don’t know anyone with beach access? You can attend a clambake on Spectacle Island on the July 3rd, or any Thursday throughout the summer.

 

What’s your favorite thing to do on the 4th? Let us know!

 

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It is finally summer and I am convinced the weather will get hot at some point. However, we all need to make sure that we, and our loved-ones, know the dangers of UV radiation and play it smart when we are enjoying being outside all summer and fall. You can use the following infographics to teach your friends and family to be safe in the sun!

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 sunglasses

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Welcome to the first episode of Ask Leo.  Leo (our friendly skeleton) will be answering questions that patrons have regarding library policies and procedures.    Please feel free to contact him by sending an email to AskLeo@tufts.edu with the subject line Ask Leo or you may drop off a question in our designated box at the 4th floor library service desk.

Ask Leo Episode One: Summer Hours from Tufts HHSL on Vimeo.