A grand opening for a grand start to freshman year… I got to be part of the inaugural freshman class to live in the new USC Village! I feel extremely lucky to have witnessed the village develop and eventually populate with eateries, shops, and people right outside my window. Here is my ranking of the best places in the village!
1. Trader Joes and Target
I couldn’t pick one because both are absolutely necessary. For a college student, Target provides all the essentials: toothpaste, toilet paper, folders, pens, etc. However, Trader Joes has the best snacks. I recommend the dark chocolate peanut butter cups, Joe-Joe’s cookies, and white cheddar corn puffs!
By far, Cava is my favorite restaurant, and I probably frequent it a little too much for my wallet. First, you pick your choice of bowl: grains and greens. Then, you choose your meat and toppings. I usually go with grains, three scoops of hummus, chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, and some pita chips. On top of all that, they give you a complimentary pita bread fresh out of the oven!
3. Baked Bear
If you have a sweet tooth like me, Baked Bear will easily become a favorite. Choose your two cookies (you can mix and match) and your flavor of ice cream…and voila! There’s the most delicious ice cream sandwich right in your hands!
4. USC Village Gym
If I ever need to destress or want to avoid the “Freshman 15”, I go to the village gym. With a swipe of my ID card, I have unlimited access to weights, cardio machines, punching bags, and more! The village also offers amazing exercise classes. I went to a Zumba and yoga class, both of which were so much fun to do with friends!
5. Café Dulce
Dulce is the new coffee shop on the block! In addition to hot and delicious coffee, it has the most flavorful sandwiches! I love the pesto chicken sandwich with a fresh baguette, grilled chicken, tomatoes, and avocado. On the side, there is a small salad with the best dressing I have ever had! All that aside, the reason many people go to Dulce is for the huge selection of donuts ranging from those with oreo crumbs to those with bacon bits on them. They are also beautifully decorated…great for the insta pic!
There’s my current list of favorites places in the village. More shops and restaurants are scheduled to open next year, and I cannot wait to add to my list of favorites!