For many prospective students, making the transition from high school to college can be daunting. During my time as a prefrosh, my concerns were fairly standard: will I make friends? Will my roommate think I’m weird? Will I think that my roommate is weird? What if I have to eat all my meals in a bathroom stall like Cady Heron in “Mean Girls”?
However, none of these were my biggest worry. Despite my varied social concerns, nothing troubled me more than the concept of cafeteria food. After hearing horror stories of mystery meat, liquid eggs, and cold pizza, I dreaded the day where I would have to leave Mom and Dad’s home cooking behind in favor of the industrial eating options that are notorious at universities across the country.
Upon my arrival at Wes, I was pleasantly surprised by how palatable the nearby food is. Sure, the vegan cookies are almost too rubbery for human consumption. Sure, one look at the tofu scramble during weekend brunch is enough to make you lose your appetite for a week. But fortunately, there are plenty of other aspects of dining at and around Wes that can make your culinary experience far more enjoyable than any prefrosh could think possible.
Usdan Mongolian Stir Fry
Entering Usdan during peak lunch hours, one will likely notice a long line snaking around the counter next to the pizza. But don’t let the lengthy wait deter you from trying the make-your-own-stir-fry station, where you can choose from an array of veggies and meats to create a lunch tailored to your personal preferences. It’s always my go-to option when nothing else in the dining hall looks appealing. Also, the employees working the grill are some of the friendliest people you’ll meet on campus.
Pi Café Chai Latte
I’ve never actually tasted a Pi chai latte, but my many afternoons spent doing homework in the café have allowed me to conclude that this beverage is its bestseller. For those unfamiliar with coffee shop lingo, a chai latte consists of spiced black tea mixed with steamed milk. It is relatively low in caffeine compared to a chai charger, which is a similar beverage that incorporates a shot of espresso. And now that I’m thinking about it, I have no good reason for never having ordered either drink.
Arguably the most popular late-night food truck from Thursday to Saturday evenings, Whey Station specializes in gourmet grilled cheese prepared on locally baked bread. Though the menu sometimes changes, constants include the classic five-cheese Monger; the Caprese with fresh mozzarella, tomato, and pesto; and the sweet and salty Ella with Brie, house-made fig jam, and prosciutto. Though expensive for grilled cheese, Whey Station is a Wesleyan staple not to be missed during your visit to campus.
As far as its proximity to campus, Mondo is the perfect place to satisfy any craving for Italian food. Though it looks like an ordinary pizza joint, the food at Mondo is unexpectedly delicious, and its diverse menu ensures that everyone will find something to enjoy. The restaurant’s artisanal pies are an ideal option for those times when your parents visit and want to take you (and three of your friends) out to dinner. My most recent purchase at Mondo included an order of eggplant fries with marinara sauce and a truffle pie with goat cheese, pine nuts, and a drizzle of honey. And yes, it was every bit as incredible as it all sounds.