Diversity Eats to the Finish Line – My reflection, lessons learned, and future plans

Welcome everybody to my latest post for Diversity Eats! For the past three to four months, I’ve treated you all to some of the more diverse ethnic food scenes in the Philly/South Jersey area. Exploring different restaurants in the area, finding out opinions from others on what the ethnic food scene is like, and going over some recipes along the way. However, like all good things, everything must come to an end. And Diversity Eats has reached the finish line.

I started this blog with the goal of expanding and informing people on the diverse eatery scene in the South Jersey area and there has been plenty of ups and downs. Some post I’ve gathered for you all have been easy and smooth to report on. While others were tedious where the process was annoying and drawn out. I guess that’s the price you can pay for trying to do Journalism work right?

I learned a few things while working in the online journalism stratosphere. I learned how hyperlinks are basically wormholes to new information, certain ethics to journalism as a whole such as learning how to acknowledge and correct mistakes accordingly, how to properly form captions, I also learned how my own smartphone is a great utility piece when going into the field, and among others, I learned how SEO is key to online journalism.

I’m glad that these were some of the few tricks/lessons I learned throughout these months and I thank my cool, well dressed, collective professor for that. I will utilize these tricks to my own personal blog as well. Speaking of which, below are my 5 favorite post from this blog.

Audio Interview with the Crisantos family

Profile on food/travel Blogger Jonathan DeLise

Photo Q&A with Christina Sofkos

Philly Food Festival experince

The Reading Terminal Market scene 

As for what the future holds? For now I’ll be walking away from this blog. It was frustrating to keep up with it and I honestly believe I could have done a better job with it.

However, there isn’t a need to go “what if” you know? I’ll be able to learn from my mistakes and plan ahead for future. I may be back on here to post something once in a while. Possibly a few times within the summer but no promises.

And with that said, thanks for taking the time to view all of the post from Diversity Eats! Drame out.

The elegance of El Mariachi – My Interview with the Crisantos family

Today on Diversity Eats, I give you all my brief interview with the owner of El Mariachi Mexican Restuarant, Maria Crisantos. Being voiced in the interview, is her son Efran Mozo-Crisantos who was translating for her. This Restaurant is located in Glassboro, NJ which is a short drive from Rowan University (They also have another restaurant located in Philly which is ran by her brother). They serve authentic Mexican food and strive to give guest a good experience once they walk through those doors. The delicious cuisine included would be Cubana Tortas, Chorizo Burritos, the Alambre, Pollo Asada Tacos, and Churros among others.

During my interview, I ask the two on the process of being involved in the restaurant business, I ask on what they’re future plans entail for the restaurant, I ask them on some of their favorite dishes from their hometown to eat among other things. The two natives from Mexico were very kind in addition to welcoming during my visit. And those two qualities in the restaurant business are key. They even served me food afterwards (which was so delicious, I felt like I was reborn). So take the time to hear what they had to say in my interview! And I encourage everyone in the area to visit their restaurant!

What are you thinking? I’m thinking Greek; An interview with Greek Cuisine restaurant Owner Christina Sofkos

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Outside view of Think Greek Grill & Yogurt Bar/Photo taken by the owner/Yelp.com

This past weekend I was able to get a hold of one of the owners of a local restaurant here Glassboro, NJ. However, it’s not just any local restaurant. This restaurant is home to some homemade, old fashion, and fresh Greek recipes. Think Greek Grill & Yogurt Bar which is owned by Christina Sofkos is one of her pride and joys. The love for food and her own Greek heritage is what inspires and drives her to keep her business going strong. She also owns and operate a similar restaurant in Greece on the island of Lipsi which is pretty neat on its own. She has owned it for the past 7 years.

Think Greek; is located on 21 E. High Street in Glassboro, NJ. Just a short walk for Rowan students in the need for something more different yet delicious to eat. I took a visit over there and tried out the Gyro with special Tzatziki sauce and I could say that I was pretty impressed. I’m not too accustomed to Greek cuisine but thanks to this place, I think I will become well acquainted with it. However enough about me, here is my Q & A with Christina herself.

 Q: What made you want to operate this restaurant here in Glassboro as opposed to the city?

A: Wasn’t my first choice, but I saw the growth in the area. There are no similar restaurants in the 30 mile radius.

Q: One of the themes or ideas restaurants like these try to push is a sense of authenticity, tradition, and homemade. Would you agree with that sentiment for all places of foreign distinction?

A: Yes, this is the cuisine that I grew up with.  I use all my families recipes

Q: The recipes featured on your menu is full of options. How much preparation does it take to make sure your dishes are up to top quality?

A: For everything to run smoothly you have to have a well-stocked pantry and must have backups of all the items that you are serving. The biggest and the most time consuming job in here is the prep work.

Q: What recipe would you recommend myself and others to try?

A: You have to try the Gyro. It is the most popular. I have to say that that the sandwich is made by the tzatziki (yogurt cucumber spread). We pride ourselves on the Tzatziki. I get the yogurt imported. It is the thickest that you will ever see. We base everything off the yogurt. The tzatziki, smoothies, yogurt parfaits. I have customers purchase the yogurt as it is. You will not find another authentic Greek yogurt like this. Love it!!

Q: At what times does this restaurant become busy during this time of year (spring)?

A: It has been pretty steady in all seasons. I think spring is great because we take the tables outside and people tend to love to sit outside and have some wine or beer that they have brought with them and enjoy their dinner.

Q: Any special memory for you that’s associated with any of this restaurants recipes?

A: I have to say the tzatziki and the memories with my daughter helping me make it. She is 10 and has grown up in the restaurant. She loves to cook and she begs me to work at the restaurant.

Q: On your menu what could you say is one of the healthier choices on it?

A: All our dishes are healthy. The Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest. We only use fresh ingredients. We only use olive oil. The only thing we fry is our chips, ff and falafel.

Q: Name me five of your favorite recipes within Greek cuisine?

A: I am a foodie. To ask me 5 favorite dishes in the Greek cuisine, would be mostly fish based. We are surrounded by the ocean in Greece anything grilled octopus, fried fresh calamari, sea urchin with lemon and oil, a special type of clam found in Greece called “spinalo” with lemon and oil and fried haloumi cheese. If I have any one of these I am happy.

So there we have it! As you can see, she seemed down to earth, genuine, and proud as one could imagine. If you haven’t already, check the place out and have a bite on some of their delicious food!

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Meat being carved out for a Gyro by Manny Sofkos/Photo by Lori M Nichols/NJ.com

Before we eat…

Whats up everyone? My name is Assane Drame. I am currently a college student from Rowan University majoring in Radio-TV-Film while minoring in Journalism. Many of you who are reading this may have been in college just like me. Some of you may have not. However, there is one thing we can agree on. We all love food. Food is what brings people together. You see food everywhere. You have different emotions tied to certain delicacies, good and bad.

Not to get too long winded but what I’m looking to do on this blog is to in the simple scheme of things, introduce you to some of the more diverse recipes and restaurants in the South Jersey and Philadelphia area.

Food is life. That’s the brilliant saying that’s been said on social media which includes a hashtag along the way but it’s the absolute truth. Food is an important part of life. Learning about others is also important as well and as a college student I should take this period of my life and use it as an opportunity to be more open minded about where others come from and what they represent.

I figured the best way to do that is to discover and try out different dishes from different countries. The south jersey/Philly area is full of diverse eateries so why take an adventure while keeping my hunger satisfied? On this blog I shall share my experiences, reviews, interviews, and maybe throw in a recipe or two so that you don’t feel left out on the bits of diversity and knowledge!

Okay, I think I’ve said too much now so therefore…let’s eat!