On Tuesday, September 27, Penn students and staff joined Bon Appétit in the 2011 Eat Local Challenge. The challenge this year entailed the preparation of a lunch made solely from ingredients within a one hundred and fifty mile radius of campus. Not only did the challenge support local farmers and communities but it also showcased the quintessential flavors of fall.
Being the foodie that I am, there was no way that I was going to miss out on this Penn tradition. My chosen eatery that afternoon was Hill, which happened to feature crisp apple cider, fresh tilapia, steamed potatoes, decadent butternut squash soup, and scrumptious blueberry scones for dessert. I began my meal with a refreshing glass of apple cider. The cider was exceptional as it retained a perfect balance between the distinct juiciness of the apples and the saccharinity of the sugar. Previously, my extent of apple drinks consisted solely of apple juice. However, after trying the cider at Hill, I know that I’m going to have a new favorite apple beverage.
After downing the cider, I switched my focus to the butternut squash soup. I have had many excellent bowls of butternut squash soup in my life, and the bowl at Hill happened to be one of the finest. The soup had a hearty, thick texture that was coupled with the sweet and savory taste of cinnamon. Next on my list was the main course of tilapia and potatoes. The tilapia had a tender consistency and tasted extremely ocean-fresh while the potatoes were finely roasted and tasted even better when paired with the organic ketchup. Last but not least on my agenda was the blueberry scone dessert. The texture of the scone was soft on the inside and had a satisfying slight crunch on the outside. Fresh blueberries were drizzled on top and proved to be a worthy sweet, yet subtle, addition to the scone.
Overall, I was extremely impressed with my experience of eating locally at Hill. The options were as plentiful as ever, and the flavors were more distinct than normal. This event really opened up my eyes to the possibilities of sustainability. If Penn students and staff are willing to put forth the effort, then every meal served at Penn could potentially be made from organic and local ingredients. Thus, my only question after the 2011 Eat Local Challenge is “Why isn’t every day an eat local day?”Tweet