Written by: Briana Salim
Photos taken and edited by: Adam Lie
Like a Prius on the highway, this long-awaited (and -dreaded) moment caught up to me out of the blue.
The past three months (heck, the past three years actually!) slipped away; and now here I am, slightly frenzied and panicked, living my last week as an undergrad at UC Davis. To be honest with you, this is nothing like how I imagined my last week to be - I thought of spending as much time as possible on campus, sitting on the quad with my friends, getting my cup of coffee from the Memorial Union, studying in my favorite secret spots, walking by the gorgeous trees on my way to Mrak hall for work, and just breathing in the last bits of Davis air, taking in all the beauty and little perks this campus has to offer. And most of all, I definitely did not imagine not getting to walk the commencement alongside my friends, in front of my family, celebrating some of the hardest and most rewarding years of our lives so far.
Not going to lie, I was pretty upset. The hardcore Libra in me just could not accept how unfair this all seemed. We have worked so hard and as the pandemic worsened and the restrictions were placed, it almost felt like the past three years were for nothing. I remembered attending my friends’ commencement last year - loud cheering of names, bright flowers everywhere, a rush of adrenaline radiating out of every student in their gowns, a sea of graduation caps flying in the air, melodious applauses, proud parents, lots of smiles and just pure joy. I can’t help but want to experience it once more - but this time, as one of the students in the sea of blue.
As an extremely sentimental person, the scope of the pandemic and the heavy weight of uncertainty constantly lurking makes it much more difficult to look at the bright side. For a while now, the pandemic had its way of making other things - even the good stuff! - seem really small and insignificant in comparison. But as I am writing this, I am learning and accepting that the inability to do things the way we used to does not diminish the meaning of the experience. To keep up with this spirit, instead of reminiscing on what could have been, I decided to celebrate all that has happened. I want to leave this chapter of my life on good terms, with the best memories of Davis in mind. As this is a food blog and I happen to directly tie my memories to food, I thought what better way to remember Davis than by creating a list of highlights and different meals that remind me of them!
1. Picnics at the Arboretum
Whenever I need to destress, the arboretum is the first place to go. Whether it is to take a quick nap in between classes, to take in the view of the lake, or to have a small picnic with close friends, it is a guarantee that you will leave the place feeling refreshed and re-centered.
Our favorites: For picnics, we usually get pizza either from Blaze (do a build-your-own pizza and go wild with it!) or Woodstock (we recommend the garlic bird and kickin’ carnitas on the gluten free crust!). We also get Ike's a lot!
2. Davis Farmar
The best way to unwind after a full week of classes and exams is spending Saturday mornings at the Farmar. From reading Weiqing’s article, I am sure you already know by now how much we all love spending our time there.
Our favorites: Avocado toast from Zumapoke ("Bees Knees"!) and the corn dogs from Hotdogger
3. Thai Canteen
If we have people visit Davis, the first place I bring them to is Thai Canteen. Why? Because it’s a Davis must have! They have a big selection in their menu and are flexible for a lot of different dietary restrictions, making it a crowd favorite. This was actually my last meal here at Davis!
Our favorites: Pad See Ew with Crispy Pork Belly, Duck Fried Rice, Duck Noodle Soup, and their Green Curry!
4. Red 88 Fried Rice and Drinks
Even though Davis is a small college town, our nightlife is cute and quirky in its own way! With restaurants that turn into bars at night, the small streets are full of dance and laughter - and of course, great drinks and even better food.
Our favorites: Red88 (Fried Rice with Asian Sausage, their cocktails are yum as well!), Moscow Mule at De Vere’s
5. Sippin coffee downtown
I’ve had countless study dates and meet ups with friends in one of the Davis coffee shops. Tons of memories revolve around trying all the different coffees and catching up with the people who matter most. Fun fact: one of my favorite things about living in a college town is that even the coffee shops feel like an extension of campus because it’s packed with students (both the customers and workers!)
Our favorites: Philz and Temple, but Mishka’s is a popular one as well!
6. Kim’s Mart
This is where my love for Asian cooking really blossomed. I could spend hours looking at all the instant Korean food in the last aisle of Kim's. Don't even get me started on the ramen selection - oof. I am extremely glad for this small Asian market nearby with all things to fulfill my Kdrama-driven food cravings.
Our favorites: All the Korean frozen foods and also their daily cooked items - including Tteokbokki and Gimbap.
7. Lunch at the MU
When I didn't have classes with her that quarter, my friend (ahem..ahem Velicia) and I would intentionally free up our lunch times and align our work schedules so that we can eat lunch together at the MU. Whether it was catching up with each other's day, cramming for assignments due in the next hour, or taking a short nap, lunch at the MU became such a core part of my college experience.
Our favorites: Don’t sleep on MU’s sushi and pho!! Also their taco salad is always a great choice!
8. Boba and snacks
Nothing defines late-night studying and cramming for exams like a good jasmine milk tea with egg puffs, popcorn chicken and fried mushrooms on the side! This reminds me so much of my two friends (Ja and Kez, you know it's you!) who would randomly have the urge to drive to Mandro's to get boba and destress - I miss them!
Our favorites: Mandro’s (mango bingsoo and brown rice green milk tea), Teabo (fried mushroom and popcorn chicken), T4 (egg puffs and all their milk teas are yum!)
And that's my top 8 for you! Thank you Davis for all the great memories. You have my heart, and you always will! In the spirit of papa May and Leshelle - #GoAgs.