The Clog’s guide to spicing up dining hall food

Anna Vignet/File

Related Posts

For those of us eating in the dining halls this year, we’re reaching the point in the semester where the novelty of all-you-can-eat soft serve is wearing off and we’re getting bored of the endless recycling of the same menus. Winter break is close enough that we can almost taste homecooked meals, but there are still a few too many Cal Dining meals standing in our way. We at the Clog have compiled a list of ways you can spice up your meals in the dining hall to get you through this last stretch before the holiday season arrives.

Make use of all the condiments

No, we’re not just talking about ketchup and mustard, although they can be major game-changers. Although they might be hidden below eye level or in weird places, all dining halls have a plethora of hot sauces, soy sauce and other unique condiments. So next time your food is lacking something that you can’t quite pinpoint, put in the extra effort to find the condiments. You’re sure to be satisfied with your exploration.

Try the vegetarian option

Most meals served at the dining halls include vegetarian options that are available upon request. It may be hit or miss and not for everyone, but it’s sure to be a switch from the meat option if that is what you usually go for.

Make use of the sandwich bar

Somewhat hidden in the corner of every dining hall is a fairly complete sandwich bar. This is a great option if you’re not excited about the main course being served or if you just want to switch it up. Toasting your bread (or using the panini press if you’re at Foothill) will give your sandwich that extra edge.  

Try out a different dining hall

The debate over power rankings of dining halls could go on for days, but regardless of which one has the best food, going to a different dining hall will definitely spice up your routine. Each dining hall has a completely different seating arrangement and atmosphere, and this alone is enough to make your food taste different. Checking the menus online beforehand is a good idea because it may be a trek from your residence hall or go-to dining hall. 

Don’t be afraid to try out combinations!

Cereal on your soft serve? Arugula and balsamic vinegar on your pizza? Parmesan sprinkled on your soup? Just because foods aren’t served together doesn’t mean they won’t taste good together. Let your creative juices flow and try out whatever combinations you think will taste best. Ignore whatever judgmental stares you may receive from your fellow diners — the change in your normal routine will be well worth it.

Whatever it is you choose to do, hopefully these tips will make your next meal a little bit more enjoyable!

Contact Beatrice Aronson at [email protected].