Excellent to see a fellow Columbian blogging about NYC. I credit Columbia with my introduction into foodieness as well... the meal plan was so poor that I got off of it in my second semester of freshman year and started shopping at UFM (RIP), Mama Joy's (RIP) and the West Side Market (RIP)... I don't know what a similarly afflicted Columbian today would do without those fine markets around in the neighborhood.
/Also lived on 8th fl of Wallach sophomore year.
I tried to convice dining services half way though the first semester that I was converting and needed to eat at the kosher section of the Barnard dining hall but they wouldn't believe me.
UFM isnt there anymore but there is some other market there in the same spot, Morton Williams I believe. Mama Joy's is also now a more upscale deli. They don't sell kegs like Mama Joy's did, though they do still sell 40s of Crazy Horse. West Side Market moved further down Broadway but definitely out of the Columbia bubble. There is are two asian groceries in the neighborhood now (Jas Mart and M2M).
The thing that shocked me though was the fact that so many students didn't seem to mind the food and ate there every day. ::shudder::