A Foodie's Road Trip to College
Karina Arnold is a junior at the University of Oklahoma who’s passionate about healthy cooking. She provides creative, healthy recipes and tips on clean eating.
After my study-abroad trip to Argentina, I was able to unpack and unwind at home for two months. My Argentine semester ended the first week of November and after a couple weeks travel in Patagonia, I made it home for Thanksgiving. Now, it’s the beginning of January and my semester at The University of Oklahoma is about to start. Although OU football did not start 2018 on a high note at the Rose Bowl (we’ll get ‘em next year, boys!) I was determined to start my semester off right. To make the ordinarily boring, seven-hour drive to Norman interesting, I decided to “eat my way to college” or eat at local favorites at every city I passed. My mom accompanied me during this road trip and was more than happy to drive when I passed out from a food coma.
Friday, Jan. 5, we started our journey at Snooze AM Eatery with my grandparents, John and Diana Arnold. Snooze AM Eatery was a perfect send-off since it had diverse options of breakfast items to choose from. My grandfather got the classic “huevos rancheros” and my grandmother, mom and I split stacks of sweet potato pancakes with a rum, maple pecan syrup. After my stomach was full of sweet potato pancakes and my head with grandma’s advice, my mom and I jumped in the car and hit the road. Next stop: cinna-bun heaven.
After the boring, flat four-hour stretch between Houston and Dallas, my mom and I stopped at Cinnaholic. This vegan, gourmet cinnamon bun chain started in California. After watching the Cinnaholic owners strike a deal with the Sharks on the NBC show Shark Tank, my mom and I had to try their Dallas location. My mom had the seasonal winter flavor horchata drizzled with caramel sauce. Horchata is a typical Central American beverage, similar to egg-nog. In El Salvador, my dad would drink this warm, cinnamon-vanilla beverage with his siblings around the holidays. The icing’s creamy vanilla and cinnamon flavor mimicked this Central American classic perfectly.
I had strawberry crème icing topped with fresh, warm cookie dough balls and chocolate sauce. The warm cinnamon and sweet aroma in the shop was the perfect haven against the ever-increasing cold weather. I could feel the temperature and my heart drop the closer we got to Norman. I didn’t want our perfect road trip to end.
The last three hours were filled with Freakonomics podcasts, oldies jams and story time. We hit the end of the road at Earth Café. Earth Café is our favorite spot in Norman. We drove down a gravel path past the restaurant’s garden, ripe with winter greens and squashes. After parking, we walked through the faded turquoise door frame and entered a small café that doubles as a store. Half of the restaurant sells local products like cheeses, nut butters and breads, while the other half is a café serving seasonal soups, sandwiches, smoothies and salads. We ordered a vegan Ruben sandwich paired with the in-house salad and a warm, veggie chili. To end the perfect day with the perfect mom, we split a slice of moist lavender cake and coffee.
Entering my apartment, my heart and body were cold, literally because my roommates left the air on 50 degrees. I was also sad that our trip came to a close. I ate many amazing foods, but the biggest treat was hanging out with my mom. For any families or college students traveling back to school, make it fun and make some stops along the way. After all, what is the rush to grow up?
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