By Mika Deshmukh

Joe Van Gogh is quite frankly a Duke University institution. We line up on the daily for lavender lattes, dirty chais, and iced coffees, usually succumbing to the tempting case of baked goods sourced from Durham establishments like Scratch and Guglhupf. Well, kiss your food points budget goodbye because I’ve got another JVG offering that’s going to rock your world, this time in a healthier way. I took the plunge and finally reviewed the three fruit and veggie smoothies listed on a small card next to the register that I’ve been eyeing all semester. These three smoothies feature flavorful blends of fruits and veggies to make filling drinks packed with way more nutrients thanyour usual JVG mocha and scone combo. As the weather gets colder and the semester gets more stressful, it’s important to fuel your body with vitamin-dense vegetables. Try one of these smoothies out and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how delicious and satisfying veggies (and fruit) can be.

For the reluctantly health-conscious beach-lover: Mango, orange, carrot

This smoothie is reminiscent of a beach vacation. The delicious blend of mango and orange tastes distinctly tropical, and you can’t even taste the carrot. This is the ideal choice for those just looking for a yummy smoothie that isn’t too adventurous. My least favorite of the three, but mostly because I am not a huge fan of orange in smoothies.

For the greens and flavorful food enthusiasts: Peach, ginger, spinach

Definitely more unconventional than the mango smoothie, this drink features a bold combination of flavors that still gives off a predominantly peach-y taste! Have no fear, the smoothie doesn’t taste like spinach at all, but there is a subtle green flavor that stops the peach from being too sweet. I love the zing of the ginger; it gives the smoothie a subtle kick with lots of health benefits too!

For the adventurous foodies: Black currant, raspberry, beetroot

This smoothie has the most unique, but least-fruity flavor of the three. Because of the black currants and raspberries, it has a much tarter flavor. The taste of beet is definitely strong, but it becomes less earthy and a little sweeter paired with the raspberry and blackcurrant. While this smoothie may not appeal to the less adventurous, I loved it! It’s such a unique combination of fruits and vegetables and I wasn’t overwhelmed with fruity sweetness like I am with most smoothies.

Campus Grocery List 10.28.16

Mika Deshmukh

As we approach November, most of us are probably thinking the same thing: how am I going to spend all of my food points before this semester ends? Even if you’re on Plan A like I am, it’s difficult to meet your daily food point quota, between eating out in Durham on weekends and skipping breakfast before your 8:30s. Lucky for you, I’ve scoped out five delicious items you can pick up around campus and store in your room in case of lazy weekends, late-night munchies, etc. 

1. West Union’s Cafe—Alta Palla Sparkling Drinks

      I haven’t personally tried one of these fancy sodas, but I’ve seen so many people around campus drinking them. If you’re addicted to sodas and are upset that West Union doesn’t let you get your Coke or Sprite fix, try one of these. The grapefruit flavor looks so refreshing.

2. Bella Union—Tate’s Bake Shop Cookies

      Yes, I know that packaged cookies are not necessarily the best most of the time (I’m looking at you, Chips Ahoy), but Tate’s will change your mind! These thin cookies are crispy and rich and taste like were baked just a few hours ago. I’ve only tried the standard chocolate chip flavor, but the peanut butter cookies looks very enticing. Beware, once you start eating them, it’s hard to stop!

3. Bella Union—Ghirardelli Intense Dark Sea Salt Soiree Bar

      This chocolate bar is just decadent enough to satisfy your sweet tooth without sending you into an all-out food coma. Dark chocolate and sea salt is already a heavenly combination, but add some almonds in for brainpower and you’ve got a superfood sweet treat! Ghiradelli is such a quality chocolate brand; you might as well spend those extra food points on one of these bars instead of a Snickers from the Link vending machine.

4. Joe Van Gogh—Vigilant Eats Superfood Cereal

      My requirements for my go-to breakfast food are that it must be tasty, healthy, and filling. And because of my 8:30 MWF class this semester, I need a quick breakfast to take on the go. The Vigilant Eats Superfood Cereal at Joe Van Gogh is essentially amped-up oatmeal, coming in four unique flavors. My personal go-to is the Goji Cacao flavor, which satisfies my sweet tooth thanks to the pieces of cacao nib in it. Vigilant Eats emphasizes quality, clean ingredients, so you can be sure that you’ll be getting much more nutrition from this oatmeal as opposed to other oatmeals, which are full of sugar and additives. Grab one before class or keep them in your room in case you’re in need of a late-night study break.

5. Joe Van Gogh—Big Spoon Roasters Bar

      The foodies on campus most likely already know about Durham’s own Big Spoon Roasters—you all are probably just as addicted to their nut butters as I am. (I literally cannot stop eating their Ginger Almond butter.) Big Spoon Roasters sources each of their ingredients carefully from around the world and then makes their products by hand. These bars are their newest products, and I can tell you from personal experience that they are just as delicious and addictive as their nut butters. Take advantage of being able to buy them on food points—yes, they’re a little pricy for a “granola bar,” but your body is going to thank you for the nutritious, clean fuel.

        F O L L O W   U S !

Hunting for Duke's Best Chocolate Chip Cookie

Ceren Ebrem

Chocolate chip cookies are a classic. They just have a sweet, comforting, homey feeling and everyone likes them. They make great snacks-to-go between classes, and they are perfect for treating yourself after long hours of studying. For you, dear reader, I have sacrificed myself, ventured the risk of Freshmen 15, and tasted chocolate chip cookies all around the campus. Not that I enjoyed it of course; I just did it for the sake of reporting. For my mission to find the tastiest cookie, I have ranked various places all around the campus, and I present you my list. Despite this ranking, let’s not forget that all chocolate chip cookies are unique, all chocolate chip cookies are beautiful, and all chocolate chip cookies must be appreciated. Here we go.

8. Divinity Café:

a. Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie with Orange Juice: I normally like Divinity Café’s lunch a lot, so I was very surprised that they came last in my ranking. Whoever came up with the idea of putting OJ in a chocolate chip cookie clearly did not think this through. They were not a great combo, and I could not even finish the cookie. Not recommended.

b. Regular: The cookie was –somewhat– fresh. It was thick and soft. It had a lot of chocolate chips but it was too sweet. Nothing to write home about.

7. Twinnie’s:

The inner part of the cookie was undercooked; it was crumbling. Its chocolate was good but there were not many chocolate chips. Some places of the cookie were just dough and did not include any chocolate chips, which was disappointing. The cookie itself was HUGE. Maybe it was undercooked because of this. It was way too big for on person. It could have been much better if they had divided it into two and cooked them separately.

6. Bella Union:

For my investigation, I went as far as the McClendon Tower. The cookie was not fresh, and it was super big. The outsides were too hard, and I don’t like hard cookies. The insides were softer but the cookie dough had too much sugar in it. There were not enough chocolate chips. Taste was okay but not great.

PC: Mika Deshmukh

PC: Mika Deshmukh

5. Marketplace:

Every freshmen’s love hate relationship: Marketplace. These cookies always taste sweeter since they are free. They are freshly baked and tasty, but hurry up. They are very popular and they finish within ten minutes, max.

4. Saladelia at the Perk:

The cookie was good. It was a bit too sweet for me, but it was soft and had the perfect amount of chocolate chips.

PC: Mika Deshmukh

PC: Mika Deshmukh

3. Joe van Gogh:

JVG sells JP’s Pastry gluten free cookies. They were pretty good, but it depends on if they are fresh or not. Since JVG gets its cookies from somewhere else, sometimes the cookie is not fresh at all. If you are lucky enough to buy them on the delivery day, great. If not, a couple of days old cookie does not taste that awesome. Risky call.

2. Trinity Cafe:

It was soft and fresh. It had a lot of big chocolate chips, and left a good taste in my mouth. It was not too sugary that I felt like I was “this” close to a sugar coma.

1. Au Bon Pain:

This was the best cookie I tasted on campus. ABP is a bakery, so I was not surprised. The cookie had just the right balance of soft and firm. Its chocolate tasted very good, and the sweet taste of the cookie was coming from the chocolate rather than a too-sweet dough. It was very tasty.

PC: Mika Deshmukh

PC: Mika Deshmukh


Merchants on Points: Jimmy John's cookie: This one has white chocolate chips in it. it tastes good if you like white chocolate, but this was too sweet for me. 


My Recipe for the Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie


2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup packed brown sugar (I like using brown sugar more, because if you use white sugar more than the brown one the cookie gets super sweet and leaves a bad taste in your mouth after you eat it)

1/2 white granulated sugar

3/4 cup butter (preferably melted)

1 teaspoon of real vanilla (cut a small piece of it and crush until it is like a paste)

1 egg

1 egg yolk

2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 325 F. Prepare you cookie sheet and tray.

Pour flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl, set aside.

Blend brown sugar, white sugar and butter using a mixer. After they are properly mixed, add vanilla and eggs.

Slowly add the dry ingredients. Put a little bit, mix them, and add a bit more and repeat once the mixture homogenous.

Now you must have a semi-thick dough. Fold in chocolate chips, and place your cookies on your tray. Bake them for ~15 minutes.

Keep an eye on your cookies and check them regularly because every oven has a different power. For some ovens, it can take up to 25 minutes. But be careful, we do not want our cookies to get burnt. When the middle part of the cookie gets firm, you can take them out, because they will harden as they get colder. Enjoy!