Since I spent my first week of college in total food confusion, I figured it would be helpful for me to take time to get to know the highlights of the University’s dining options. Living in Clark, my defaults have been Usdan and Pi Café, but after a week of food reconnaissance, I’ve now explored further. I’ve chosen to chronicle my adventures in University dining in an effort to help everyone who may be similarly confused, and to help you discover new perks of the dining system. I have yet to try Chique Chaque, Red and Black Café, or Star and Crescent, but I’ll get to those. Remember, the food critiques are one girl’s opinion, and you’re entirely responsible for your own taste buds!
Started the morning with a bowl of ‘Sunrise’ Crunchy Maple cereal, courtesy of Weshop. Gluten-free, not too sugary, and with a pleasant crunch, it’s a great wake-up and makes me feel good about saving meal swipes.
Lunch: Pi Café
Tried a smoothie for the first time, wild berry flavor. If you can stand overwhelming sweetness and a slightly artificial taste, these smoothies will rock your world. Mine, not so much.
My chocolate chip scone, on the other hand, was very satisfying, with a sugar crust on top and just the right amount of butter. Definitely a high point of Pi’s offerings.
Usdan as per usual. Very tempted by the cheese pizza, the fries, and the chicken tenders. Instead, went for Alfredo pasta with edamame beans, chicken sausage, and prosciutto. Tried the pasta stand’s half-portion option as suggested by the extraordinary Argus Food Editor Jess Zalph. What a perfect solution to the massive-amounts-of-pasta problem! The pasta itself was delicious but somewhat overwhelmed by Parmesan (entirely my fault).
Also had a small bowl of corn chowder—a little too salty, but with a good texture.
Eyed the chocolate soy butter but decided to pass it up.
Slept in and helped myself to the usual bowl of ‘Sunrise’ Crunchy Maple cereal and milk. Sad to discover that this serving of cereal would be my last. Time to restock.
Had carrot ginger soup (mmm!) with a side of cold green beans and tofu from the salad bar. Toasted an egg bagel to spread with honey butter and the chocolate soy butter I had my eye on the night before. The honey butter was a life-changing experience: astoundingly delicious but probably not worth trying if you haven’t had it; that way, it can be all for me.
Finished off the meal with an Oreo cookie bar; yummy but completely unnecessary on top of the sweetness of the chocolate soy butter. Promised to restrain self in the future.
Dinner: Pi Cafe
Grabbed a tofu wrap to eat on the go; had to dash off to Bio lab. Good consistency, but not much to write home about in terms of flavor.
Stopped by Weshop after Bio and bought more cereal, instant oatmeal, stress relief tea, dried apple slices, and fresh raspberries. Back at the dorm, couldn’t help trying a raspberry or two: ripe, perfect, and worth every single meal point!
Switched up my usual meal by trying instant oatmeal. Added some honey and raspberries and enjoyed what felt like a very gourmet breakfast at 7:30 a.m.
After Arabic class, came back to the dorm to make a chocolate chai (hot cocoa powder mixed into Tazo chai tea). Still one of my favorite beverages, and a great way to start the afternoon!
Snacked on a few dried apple slices while reading for various classes: tasty, healthy, and altogether a good investment.
Procrastinated until the last minute before leaving for Usdan; almost gave myself indigestion wolfing down food before class. Ordered a sandwich with American and cheddar cheese, tomato, and honey mustard on rosemary bread, then grilled it in the panini machine for a few minutes. Resulted in nice grill marks but not nearly enough melted cheese. Also had a side of steamed asparagus from the kosher area, which I’ve found cooks vegetables very well.
Rounded off the meal with a nut-free, egg-free brownie (as dry and crumbly as you might expect) and grabbed an ordinary brownie with walnuts to take to class.
One of my stranger dinners. Finally gave into temptation and picked up some French fries, but felt the need to counterbalance the fried fare with some Brussels sprouts and charred cauliflower. Sat down just as the dining area was closing and missed out on the chocolate soymilk. Darn!
A new morning staple: instant oatmeal with honey. Had a bit of a rough morning, so I added a little honey to my pre-sweetened chocolate chai. With sugar I will survive!
I had heard about a meal swipe option at Weshop and wanted to try it for myself. I was mightily disappointed to find they were out of chocolate chip cookies, and my choice of entrées was limited to pre-made sandwiches and tofu wraps. Decided to go for the sushi instead and bought myself some avocado, cucumber, and carrot rolls, which I shared with a friend. Also picked up a small, somewhat overpriced serving of edamame beans and two loose kiwis. A nice meal but one that required slightly more sophisticated eating utensils than I had at my disposal (butter knives and kiwis do not mix well).
Dinner: Pi Café
Rushed to Pi post-TA session. Grabbed an everything bagel, toasted it twice, and smeared it with cream cheese. Heaven for a ravenous Bio student.
Also bought chocolate chip scone for later; felt indulgent.
Woke up to the chocolate chip scone from Pi Café I bought the night before. Satisfying start to what felt like a very, very long day.
First time at WesWings! Had a curry chicken wrap with fries but could only finish half. Enjoyed it immensely. Decided to be frugal and eat the rest for dinner.
Finished curry wrap and fries from lunch. Not half-bad cold (but a tad monotonous).
Gulped down some instant oatmeal with honey, as per usual. Brewed some Tazo “Focus” tea, which claimed to be highly caffeinated. I was unconvinced once I failed to feel the effects.
Succumbed to the Mongolian stir-fry. Always a treat. Loaded mine with tofu, chicken, broccoli, shallots, and those crunchy, tan-colored, unidentifiable nubs (later informed they were water chestnuts).
Shared a few fortune cookies with friends and received a nice fortune (could this be considered a dining perk?). Rounded things off with some chocolate soy milk and one and a half chocolate-iced sponge cupcakes. The cupcake icing is quite good, but as a chocoholic, I’m very “meh” about the cake part.
Time to be sickeningly healthy! Matzoh ball soup from the kosher section (watery broth but appropriately starchy matzoh), cherry tomatoes, and steamed asparagus segments. Not particularly filling but pretty to look at.
A disgusting extravagance. Two pancakes overflowing with chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, strawberry sauce, blueberries, M&Ms, and maple syrup.
Threw in some scrambled eggs and a few mini-sausages for protein, which absorbed some of the syrup and chocolate chips. Will be more astute next time around and make an exotic waffle (batter with chocolate chips, etc.).
First time at Summerfields! Tried the mandarin chicken and spinach salad and was disappointed. Dry, tough chicken, partially defrosted mandarin orange slices, sweet sauce, and raw spinach leaves made for a salad severely short of my expectations.
Had mixed feelings about the vegetarian egg roll that came as a side: crispy exterior with a gross filling (I’m picky about egg rolls). Stole inordinate amounts of my friend’s French fries. She was smart and ordered the chicken tender wrap (so good!). Ended with a brownie with coconut topping, which was massive and surprisingly moist.
All in all, not too bad for the second week of school!