Category Archives: Travel/Food

Takis vs. Hot Cheetos

By: Manny Ochoa-Reeve

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If you ask any students at the school you will most likely see that everyone likes some sort of spicy chips. The two main competitors are Hot Cheetos and Takis. Hot Cheetos are a puffy, crunchy, spicy chip. Takis are Mexican rolled tortilla chips with spicy lime powder. Personally, I love both.

If I had to pick between hot Cheetos and Takis I would definitely choose Hot Cheetos. I really like Hot Cheetos because of the texture you get through the crunchiness. I also really like the thick powder of Takis that packs a lot of flavor. For me, both are really good but Cheetos takes the win.

Something really cool about Cheetos is there’s lots of different flavor options. Around the world there are lots of different Cheetos flavors, for example: ketchup, pizza, extra hot, peanut, and a lot more. Takis have a couple flavor options like fajitas and guacamole but that’s about it. Cheetos have lots of different flavors so that it doesn’t get boring.

I asked two students here at Highland if they like Hot Cheetos or Takis better and they had different answers.

The first student said Hot Cheetos are better because Takis get bland and Hot Cheetos have more powder on them. T

he second student said they like Takis better because of the spicy, limey flavor.

If you ask everybody which one’s better, then you’ll see there will be different responses because the two chips are very different.

One of the biggest parts of evaluating these chips is the spice. I feel like Takis give you the spice right away, as soon as you take your first bite. Hot Cheetos are the opposite: they get spicier over time and as you eat them. This definitely depends on your spice tolerance.

Hot Cheetos and Takis both have a lot of similarities and differences. If you’re looking for something with more spice, and less texture, you should go for Takis. If you’re looking for something with more powder, and more texture, then Hot Cheetos are for you. Both taste really good, and I am always craving one or the other because of their differences and similarities.

Lake and Irving restaurant review

By: Gabe Kleiber

Lake and Irving is an American style restaurant located, unsurprisingly, on Lake Street and Irving Avenue. My family and I recently went there for dinner; here are some of my favorite things we got.

While it may be an “American” restaurant, it certainly doesn’t stay in those boundaries. The first dish I had was the poke nachos with wonton chips, ahi tuna, garlic aioli, and jalapenos for spice. The wontons were cooked nicely. They had plenty of crunch, and were light and airy. The aioli fits the other ingredients perfectly, and is the biggest source of flavor in the dish. Overall, it is a great Asian spin on a beloved Mexican Dish.

Next we had the Luxe burger, which has beef, cheese, black truffle, foie gras butter, aioli, and a brioche bun. While that may sound complicated, in actuality it is just a cheeseburger. It was amazingly juicy, extremely rich, and is one of my favorite burgers ever. Even though it had a simple concept, the ingredients and execution was complex and incredible. Probably my favorite dish I tried.

Another entree we got was the buttermilk chicken sandwich. It has bacon, chicken, cheese, aioli, and is served on grilled sourdough.
This wasn’t as good as the burger, but still quite good. By far the most interesting thing about it was the sriracha aioli, which I have never seen on a chicken sandwich before but worked quite well. Definitely an underrated way of adding spice and flavor to a sandwich.

Overall, I really enjoyed this dinner. There were some things I wouldn’t get again, and some that were merely good, but their best dishes more than made up for that, especially the burger and the poke nachos. This was the best meal I’ve had in weeks, and I would highly recommend you try it. 8.5/10

A Christmas dessert (that is made at my house during Christmas)

By: Jhari Boayla

Better than Anything Cake

Image taken from:

This is one of my favorite desserts that my family makes on Christmas (not really for Christmas but it’s made on Christmas).


-1 box of devil’s food cake mix (Betty Crockers to be specific) – mix it with the ingredient on the box (eggs, oil, water) 

-1 can of sweetened condensed milk 

-12 ounces of caramel ice cream topping 

-1 (8oz) container of Cool Whip

– 1 (8oz) bag of Heath Bars (optional, I don’t add it in sometimes) – crush them up

-chocolate ice cream sauce to drizzle over the top

Preheat the oven to 350 (grease the pan with nonstick spray, oil or butter). Get your cake mix ready and prepared.

The cake should take about 30 minutes but I would just keep checking it. (also depends on the pan size on how long it’s going to take) Use a toothpick and stick it in there if you think it’s done and if the toothpick comes out clean it’s done. 

Make your topping mixture while the cake is still cooking. Pour sweetened condensed milk and caramel sauce into a pan, or a sauce pan, and put it on low heat for ten minutes (you’re just doing this to make sure it’s warm and a little runny).

Once the cake is out the oven let it cool for a few minutes, maybe about 10 minutes. Poke the cake with the back of a wooden spoon all around in a line. Then pour your mixture over it.   

Let the cake cool and then spread the Cool Whip over the top. You can add the Heath bars on top if you want.

This recipe is adapted from the one found here (sorry for the not so school appropriate name, but it’s what I make):

The scam of the keto diet

By: Irene Cohen

The ketogenic diet, or keto for short, is a diet that focuses on extremely low carbohydrates with high fat content and protein in their foods. The idea of using this diet in order to lose weight is that the low carbohydrate intake and high fat intake forces the body to go into ketosis and burn fat instead of carbs. This, theoretically, results in burning body fat for energy and subsequently losing weight.

The ketogenic diet was developed in the 1920s by physicians from the Mayo Clinic. It was developed as a means to help treat epilepsy, as it mimics fasting metabolically. Fasting has been used as a treatment for epilepsy for over one thousand years, and this new diet provided a more accessible and healthy way to mimic fasting while avoiding most of the negative side effects. This diet was a very popular method of treating epilepsy until antiepileptic medication was developed. The mystery of why this diet works for treating epilepsy is still unsolved.

The keto diet requires you to eat 80-90% of your daily caloric intake from fat, with less than 100g of protein and 10-15 grams of carbohydrates. This forces your body to go into “starvation mode”, or ketosis, where instead of using glucose as an energy source, it breaks down fat stores into ketones in the absence of sugars.

What most people experience as fat loss due to the keto diet is usually just a calorie deficit, according to experts. Tracking your macronutrients and calories makes you more conscious of your food intake, which in turn makes someone more likely to lower their intakes as a reaction to this awareness.

This diet is also incredibly hard to follow, and many people end up not even going into ketosis, instead just having a high fat diet while still having enough carbs to break them down as usual.

The ketogenic diet can even have consequences for those who don’t have a professional nutritionist to aid them or those who do not need to follow this diet in order to treat neural diseases, like epilepsy. With such a large chunk of your diet being fat, your heart takes a hit. Such a high fat intake for so long can really affect your arteries in the long run. Not only that, but limiting your carbs to such a degree limits the nutrients you can consume. Eating just one small apple can meet your daily carb limit, and think of all the nutrients you get from fruit with a high, but healthy, sugar content.

The keto diet is another fad diet of medical studies being taken out of context for those who are desperate to lose weight. Most professional nutritionists say that at best, for the average person, keto might be moderately healthy. The possible consequences of damaging your metabolism and heart long term in order to shed a few pounds is not worth it. Eating a balanced diet of fruits, veggies, and whole grains is almost always the answer, most professionals say. Leave the ketogenic diet to those using it as a means of treatment for various diseases.

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Review of Haiku sushi restaurant

By: Alexa Ramirez & Kaylen Fuentez

For our review, we’ll be going to the Japanese bistro, Haiku. They serve a number of things such as sushi and hibachi, which is what we decided to order. We ordered their Kappa Maki rolls, Onion soup, as well as their Chicken Hibachi.

Inside the haiku restaurant

The first thing we noticed when we arrived was the ambiance; it was very calm, it wasn’t too busy, and was fairly quiet. They had slow, quiet music playing in the background and yellow dim lights throughout the restaurant.

We were checked on 2 or 3 times before our food was served, our glasses of water were filled frequently, and we were checked on while we were eating to make sure we had everything we needed.

It also didn’t take long for our food to come and we were able to get our checks quickly.

The order of the Kappa Maki

We ordered 3 dishes: an order of Sushi, Hibachi chicken, and we each got an order of Onion Soup.

The Sushi Roll we ordered was the Kappa Maki (cucumber) roll. It was priced at $5 for 6 rolls, a very reasonable price, and came with a few additive elements such as soy sauce, wasabi and ginger. The sushi rolls consisted of cucumber, seaweed and white rice wrapped on the inside. These rolls were delicious, and tasted very fresh. This order, aside from being super delicious for non vegetarians, being a delicious vegetarian option was definitely a bonus. We rate the cucumber roll a 4.5/5 stars and would definitely get it again.

Another thing we ordered was the onion soup, which was priced at $3. Aside from the actual soup, inside there were mushrooms and scallions. The soup was very savory, tasted really good, and was a nice warm appetizer, especially on a cold day. We’d rate the onion soup 4⁄5 stars as well.

The Hibachi Chicken order

The next order we received was the Hibachi Chicken Junior, which was the smaller version of the regular Hibachi Chicken. It cost $12.95, and was served with chicken, fried rice and veggies. The chicken was cooked to perfection and perfectly balanced savory and sweet sauce flavors. The fried rice was warm, savory, and overall my favorite part of the dish. The cooked zucchini paired well with these two, and really tied the dish together. All of the dish’s components were spectacular and deserves a 5/5.

Overall, the excellent service, kind waitresses, the welcoming ambiance, and delicious food they serve really push Haiku over the top. This restaurant has so many delicious dishes to choose from and is friendly to all people hoping to enjoy this amazing place. We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this restaurant and rate it a 5/5.

Best places to visit in Minnesota in the fall

By: Addison Strack

There are many beautiful places to visit in Minnesota during the fall, and in this article I will be talking about a couple of the many places to visit.

The first destination I will be talking about is Minneopa State Park. This park is located in Mankato, Minnesota, and while it is beautiful year round, it is especially stunning in the fall.

The park contains a double waterfall that leads into a 39-foot drop over a gorgeous cliff. There are also 4.5 miles of trails within the park that are surrounded by trees that turn beautiful and vibrant colors during the fall. It is a great place to visit to take a hike and get some fresh air.

Another popular destination to visit in Minnesota during the fall is Taylors Falls. Taylors falls is a small town northeast of the Twin Cities. It is surrounded by bluffs and cliffs, and has many fun activities to offer.

You can head to Interstate Park in Taylors Falls to canoe, kayak, hike, and enjoy amazing views. The Taylors Falls Scenic Boat Tour is another great option to experience the beautiful scenery.

There are also many restaurants in Taylors Falls that serve delicious and high rated food. The Drive In serves classic American food like burgers, fries, shakes, and root beer floats. It is a perfect place to stop and enjoy a delicious meal.

If you’re looking for more beautiful views, you should check out Split Rock Lighthouse, in the small town of Two Harbors. The lighthouse is located on a rocky cliff over a lake. Behind the lighthouse is a forest that turns bright yellow, orange, and red in the fall to add to the beautiful landscape.

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A fourth, and final place that I’m going to be talking about is Cuyuna, which is about 2 hours northwest of the Twin Cities. Cuyuna is a city that has a ton of fun activities to offer.

There are beautiful and charming cabins that were built in Cuyuna Cove that offer a great place to stay during your visit. These cabins are close to the Main Street in Crosby, which has many restaurants and shops.

Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area is also near Cuyuna Cove. Here you can swim, kayak, paddle board, canoe, snorkel, and more in the gorgeous clear lakes. You can also explore the beautiful mountain biking trails near Cuyuna Cove as well. Overall, it is a great place to visit to enjoy the outdoors, and explore the city.

Clearly, there are many beautiful places to visit in Minnesota in the fall, and I have only named a few. If you would like to read about more places to visit, feel free to check out the websites below.

Fall coffee review

By: Alexa Ramirez

Fall has quickly taken over, leaving a variety of red, orange and yellow leaves, crisp cool air, and has the world pulling out their coziest sweaters and curling up with an endless amount of blankets. And out of all of these fall things, the pumpkin flavor beats them all. So in honor of fall, I’m going to be going to different coffee shops in Saint Paul in search of the perfect pumpkin drink to enjoy this fall.

I chose to go to Nina’s, a small business just outside of downtown St. Paul, but also to buy from two chain shops. Starbucks, a national and very attainable one, and Caribou, one that’s unique to the Midwest and is very common in MN. This system allows for a small business to be represented, but also for people to be able to go out and get the drinks they’re reading about, as some shops are more attainable and common than others.

The first place I went to was Nina’s. It’s located in St. Paul on 165 Western Ave. When I first walked in I noticed a calm, productive environment of people working, studying, and discussing; the perfect coffee shop feel. I ordered the Iced Pumpkin Chai (in a small size) which was written down as one of their specials. I really enjoyed this drink. It had a nice ratio of pumpkin and chai flavor and was also sprinkled with cinnamon which really tied it together. It cost me $6.09 which I thought was slightly overpriced, but definitely not because of the quality of the drink, just because of the quantity that was given to me since the size was small. It paired really nicely with the vanilla frosted donut and made for a nice fall treat. I would definitely order it again and maybe try it hot instead of iced. I rate this drink a 5/5 and would definitely recommend it!

The next place I went to was the Caribou inside of the Lunds and Byerlys in the Highland Village. The coffee shop itself was really pretty and was nice to spend time in. I wish I could’ve given my drink the same review. I ordered the Iced Pumpkin Latte in a small size. Its flavor was fine, but I could barely taste the pumpkin I had expected over the bitter coffee flavor of the drink. It cost me $5.19 which I thought was overpriced for the quality but especially the quantity of the drink. They hardly gave me any of my drink and instead filled the cup with ice to fill the space which was frustrating to pay 5$ for. I wouldn’t recommend this or buy it again. I rate this drink a 2/5 because I love Caribou, but this drink did not represent fall and wasn’t worth ordering.

Lastly, I went to Starbucks. I ordered a small Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte that came with whipped cream and cinnamon on top. The pumpkin flavor was strong, sweet and was not overtaken by the coffee flavor, which I really enjoyed. The cinnamon flavor also added to the fall theme that I have been looking for and did not get at Caribou. The drink cost $5.45 which was a little bit on the expensive side given the small portion, but I definitely enjoyed it so I felt I got my moneys worth. I would definitely get this drink again and recommend it paired with a warm chocolate croissant. I rate it a 4/5 because the drink itself was great, but I think if you’re really looking for that fall feeling, there’s better places you can go.

I loved writing about and exploring all these places, but I without a doubt enjoyed Nina’s the most. It made me happy to be able to support a small business, while also getting the most out of my money and time. So, to anyone looking for a great environment to spend time in while enjoying a delicious fall drink, Nina’s is definitely the way to go.

Fall foods: Reviewing different varieties of apples

By: Ann McMullen

Apples. A refreshing snack, a flavorful baking ingredient, and one of the staple foods of the fall season.

I’ll start with a popular one: Honeycrisp. As the name suggests, these apples are sweet as honey but also have more of a crisp texture than most other sweet varieties. Honeycrisp apples originated in the 1960s through a cross-breeding program at the University of Minnesota, and have been a favorite among consumers ever since. Because of how sweet they are, Honeycrisps are often eaten alone, but their crispness makes them a great option for baking as well. Personally, I think a plain Honeycrisp apple makes a great snack!

Granny Smith’s are easily the most well known green apple. They’re also known for being more tart than other varieties, making them a great option for baking. Taking a bite straight out of a Granny Smith apple may not be for everyone, but combining them with sugar and spices in a recipe is bound to create something with great flavor.

A personal favorite of mine is the Pink Lady. These bright red apples are one of the sweetest varieties I’ve tasted. However, what sets them apart from other sweet apples is how soft they are. When combined with the massive amount of juice contained in a Pink Lady, the soft texture makes them nearly melt in your mouth. If I’m going to buy some apples for snacking, these are my go to.

Finally, another locally sourced apple: the Zestar. These red apples are quite unique. They manage to be sweet and tart at the same time, as well as very crisp and juicy. Because of this unusual combination of flavors, a Zestar is a great apple to try on its own. Since they were introduced in Minnesota, they’re a great kind to keep your eye out for at local orchards.

Happy apple picking!

Barbacoa Tacos

By: Gabe Kleiber

Barbacoa Tacos

Marinade ingredients:
Juice from 3 oranges and 2 Limes 1/4 large onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
a lot of freshly ground black pepper several pinches of kosher salt
2 Tbsp of Mexican oregano
1 Tbsp Dried Thyme
1 Tbsp of Cumin
1/3 Cup of White Vinegar

Barbacoa ingredients:
1 large tomato, cut into chunks
1/4 large onion, quartered
3 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (canned) 1 cup water
1 cup beef broth
1 lime, juiced
more salt and pepper

For the tacos: Corn tortillas, cilantro, chopped diced onion, your favorite salsa, and limes for squeezing.

1. Combine all marinade ingredients in a 2-gallon Ziploc bag. Add the beef and let it marinate overnight in the fridge.

2. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a blender, or small food processor, add fresh tomato, quartered onion, chipotle chiles, water, beef broth, and lime juice. Puree until smooth. Set aside.

3. Heat a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, remove the roast from the marinade and shake off excess liquid. Sear the roast for a few minutes on each side until a deep brown crust forms. Remove from heat.

4. Add the barbacoa puree on top of the beef roast and place in the preheated oven. Roast for approximately three hours, or until the beef is very tender and shreds easily.

5. Shred the beef.

6. Make tacos! Serve the beef in corn tortillas with all the toppings, including fresh-squeezed lime.

It is pleasantly spicy, but the meat still retains a lot of the marinade flavor. Because of this, the onions aren’t as present flavor wise, but still provide a great crunch; a very different texture compared to the rest of the dish.

The cilantro adds color and freshness, which I enjoy. I like lime on it too, but use it conservatively because it can overpower some of the more subtle flavors in the dish.

No complaints with anything to do with the food itself. It isn’t very time consuming, but there is a lot of waiting time in between cooking.

Overall, I would recommend making this recipe and give it a 7.9/10.

Note: Though this recipe has been modified, and made my own, you can find the original recipe here:

Madeline Island

By: Ava Bleifus

Madeline Island is part of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. It is located in the northern part of Wisconsin. Madeline Island is 14 miles long and 3 miles wide; there are many paved and unpaved roads that lead you around the island.

You have to take a ferry boat from Bayfield, WI to La Pointe, the only town on the island. La Pointe is a very small town that has restaurants, a candle shop, a grocery store, an ice cream shop, a convenience store, a golf course, and a marina. 

Madeline Island is known for many things like kayaking, camping, and swimming in Lake Superior. The average temperature of Lake Superior is 54 degrees fahrenheit which makes swimming very cold but still enjoyable.

A popular place to visit on Madeline Island is called Eagle’s Nest, which is part of Big Bay State Park. There are many different cliffs, at different heights, that people can jump off of into Lake Superior where the water is deep enough to make it safe. 

Every August, Madeline Island sponsors a swimming race called “Point to La Pointe Swim.” It started in 2006 with 24 people and now over 500 swimmers participate every year. It is a two mile course that goes between Bayfield and La Pointe. Most people wear wet suits because the lake is so cold.

Another celebration is the Fourth of July parade that goes down the main street of La Pointe. People can create their own floats and be part of the parade, and also throw candy at the spectators. There is also a marching band made up of the island residents. The parade is followed by a celebration in town and a fireworks display that night.

There is also an inline skate marathon, and a running marathon every summer that visitors and residents can participate in. 

While visiting Madeline Island you can also learn about the history at the island’s museum. The island was named after Madeleine Cadotte, an Anishinaabe woman who was the daughter of Chief White Crane and married to a fur trader named Micheal Cadotte. Before the fur traders arrived the island was home to the Anishinaabe people who spoke the Ojibwe language. The Anishinaabe people called this island Mooningwanekaaning. That name came from the bird called mooningwaneg, which is called a flicker in English. In 2015, the town of La Pointe started to place bilingual signs in both English and Ojibwe as a way to honor the Anishinaabe people. 

Madeline Island is a great place to visit in the summer because there are so many things to do. There are about 2500 people that live on the island during the summer, and year-round there are only 250 people. It takes about 5 hours to get there from Saint Paul and it’s worth a visit.