Now, being half Italian, I love pasta. I was practically raised on it. However, having the dinner "options" of baked pasta with meat sauce or a "pasta bar" (for the 2nd week in a row) is frankly ridiculous.
On the plus side, at least they've stopped serving the salsa marinara sauce, which was almost distressing enough to turn me away from red sauce for life. Dear AVI Fresh, please note that just because two products may contain mostly tomatoes does NOT (I repeat, does NOT) make it okay to combine the two.
But really, when none of your pasta is even vaguely al dente, you should probably not serve it at EVERY. SINGLE. DINNER. After a lifetime of pasta, I'm almost ready to quit. It's that bad.
At this point, I'm even thinking that maybe the rice should make a comeback. That's exactly how desperate the situation's gotten.
Please, AVI, hear our pleas.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Clockwise from top left: Tartar sauce, "Warrior chips", fried whitefish, lemon slice.
Naturally, the first wish that came to my mind on the legendary 11-11-11 was to wish for
good edible food in the cafeteria. For once, they actually came through. Maybe it's because the only time I eat at Towers is when Ghafari is closed (due to the lovely wind tunnel that forms between the two buildings), but eating at Towers during a non-weekend time proved to be rather enjoyable.
Granted, most things are good when they're fried, and this was no exception. The fish was lightly battered and had the most delightful consistency. This is possibly one of the best meals I've had on campus to date. Way to go, Towers. If this keeps up I may even risk the windburn to get to your food.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Alex and his "Whatchu lookin at boiiii" patented look. Also, profile view of the pancakes.
We entered into the establishment known as IHOP or International House of Pancakes. The seats were dotted with a few middle aged African Americans here and there. We sat in a plush vinyl booth in the back and our waitress quickly came to serve us. She was very adept at her job and keen to our needs and she put on an air of genuine happiness and hospitality. Needless to say, she was a fine waitress indeed. After perusing the menu, I soon came across the New York Cheesecake Pancakes and it only took a couple minutes of intense inquisition to decide upon these. They came after everyone else’s meal but they were definitely worth the wait. The composition of the pancakes juxtaposed with the sausage links on the circular ceramic plate was very aesthetically pleasing. I started with the sausage. The texture was firm but tender and they were very juicy. The links burst with flavor as my teeth sank into their meaty goodness and the juices flooded my mouth like the Nile River. Consuming the sausage links brought about an even more intense excitement to dig into the strawberry and whip cream topped cheesecake pancakes. I began to serendipitously cut the pancakes and slowly pour thick maple syrup all over them. The first bite left me breathless and the second nearly knocked me out with pure orgasmic flavor. The pancakes were so soft and fluffy that I didn’t dare remove the strawberries in fear of them floating away. How IHOP managed to perfectly infuse cheesecake with pancake batter is beyond me. They were perfect in every way. The Greeks would have placed them in the Parthenon. The Egyptians would have designated the Great Pyramid for the adoration of them. The public must be made aware of these for the betterment of mankind. I bow down to their creator.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Clockwise from left: sweet potato tater tots, whitefish conglomeration with garlic aioli, vegetable "lasagna"
After a week of consistently bland and disappointing food, the cafeteria finally got something right. For once, the food had flavor. The pasta was al dente. The whitefish was.... well, you can't win all the time.
While it's not the most impressive presentation of food, it was possibly the best meal I've had since moving in. I didn't even have to add salt for once.
Whatever happened at this meal, I highly encourage its continuation. I mean, this meal really renewed my faith in AVI Foodsystems. Faith that was destroyed promptly at dinner, but at least I had an afternoon of joy.
I apologize for the infrequent posting this week. I've been terribly busy with procrastinating all of my schoolwork (and by procrastinating, I mean completing it in a timely manner of course).
Anyway, get ready for posts of everything I gorged myself on this week.
Cass Cafe, Sunday night. Mushroom tortellini and garlic bread.
Our hallway group usually likes to take Sunday nights to go out somewhere for dinner, and this week we descended upon the Cass Cafe. I didn't have much of an appetite when we went, so I just stuck to a pretty simple dish. It was pretty good (the garlic bread was EXCEPTIONAL. I highly recommend it.), but the tortellini wasn't my favorite. I was expecting a more cream-based dish, so I was a little let down when it came out. While the presentation of the dish itself was beautiful, I just wasn't in the mood for eating and ended up feeding the remainder of my dish to some of the guys on my floor.
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Counterclockwise from left: Alfredo (?) noodles, Krab cakes, Krab cake sauce, couscous, Mountain Dew
Surprisingly enough, this meal wasn't completely terrible. I've noticed a general theme of having to add salt to literally every morsel of food to try to extract some flavor from it. I feel like at this rate, I'll probably graduate with the most extreme case of hypertension ever recorded.
Upon first bite, the pasta tasted just as bland as everything else I've had the pleasure of trying at this lovely cafeteria. After adding salt, it tasted like salty pasta with vegetables. Clearly a huge improvement.
The couscous was much the same. If I didn't have the texture to differentiate, I would've sworn it was the exact same dish in different forms.
The Krab cakes (quite obviously fake crab, but I wasn't expecting much... I mean, it IS cafeteria food, after all). I'm not entirely sure what the sauce tasted like (maybe some sort of pickle/cream/tartar sauce combination? It actually tasted okay, but I'm not sure how to describe it), but none of it required salt, so I consider that a quality dish.
In conclusion, thumbs up on the crab cakes, and neutrality on everything else.
P.S. I see I've been getting a lot of page views from Russia, so I just wanted to say hi. Feel free to leave me a comment!
Also, if you're a Wayne State student interested in writing a guest post, send me an email or leave a comment!
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Left to right: Salad (exciting); mashed potatoes; roast beef; hummus and pita chips; Tidal Wave Blue (pictured)
Even after such a disappointing lunch, I tried to keep an open mind about dinner. Surely, nothing could be worse than the mush I had at the previous meal.
Well, the good news is that I actually got to chew the meat... A lot. It was a little bit like gnawing on a leather shoe, with about the same amount of flavor.
The mashed potatoes (as mashed potatoes should be) were mushy, which is no surprise. They did, however, bear far too close a resemblance to the paste that so many of us consumed in elementary school.
Even my usually trusty hummus and pita chips failed me tonight. The chips were freezing cold, and the hummus tasted like the kitchen had run out of literally everything except for the chickpeas they ground up for the hummus.
Luckily, the Tidal Wave Blue is still a constant.
Left to right: Steamed squash; redskin potatoes; turkey, broccoli, and rice casserole.
(Not pictured: Tidal Wave Blue)
It may have seemed impossible, but the food just got even more bland and awful today. I've been noticing a trend towards "beige" as a color scheme for all of the food. Even the formerly yellow and green squash was turned into a nearly unrecognizable mash of ecru tediousness.
My theory is that lunch today was a combination of all the food that was left over from the past few weeks -- I mean, that's what my mom generally throws into her casseroles. The main difference is that hers are actually edible.
I had my doubts when I saw the soupy yellowish mess being ladled out onto other people's plates, but despite my reservations, I decided to give it a chance. I liked turkey, broccoli, and rice (Seriously. Rice. AGAIN.), so I figured a combination of the three would maybe not be too awful.
I was wrong. So very wrong. The rice was literally so mushy it had become completely indistinguishable from the fake cheese blend that covered the top of this pathetic excuse for a casserole. I eventually unearthed a few hunks of turkey, but I'm fairly confident that the broccoli was pureed with the rice, since there was no evidence to suggest that it was ever there to begin with.
As for the taste, it was like I was literally just eating calories with no flavor. I know I put food into my mouth, but my taste buds must have developed some sort of defense mechanism against the dorm food, making me unable to actually recognize what was entering my digestive system.
Honestly, the most colorful (and best) part of my meal was the ever-delightful Tidal Wave Blue drink. It is consistently delicious, as it tastes exactly like the blue liquid found in freeze pops (and it's really hard to screw up something with so much sugar in it -- impossible, even). One thing I can definitely say about Ghafari is that they have better drinks than Towers: Tidal Wave Blue and root beer are possibly the only two reasons I continue to eat there.
Bottom line: If one could survive solely on a liquid diet of Tidal Wave Blue and root beer, we'd be all set. Unfortunately, the food aspect of the dining halls completely ruins that plan.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Enticed by the promise of cookies, I found myself standing in Jen and Maria’s room patiently ignoring my surroundings and waiting for the moment when Jen would finally give me the irresistible treats I had come for. To make the time go faster I imagined what they would taste like. What kind would they be? Would they be crunchy or soft? The possibilities were endless…
The words “blind taste test” and “guest blog post” broke through my sugary fantasies and I reluctantly let them slip from my consciousness. What had I just signed myself up for? I remained aware of the real world just long enough to understand that I was expected to perform such dreary chores as describing what I tasted with adjectives… adjectives. My resolve began to waver, was this still worth it? But then, I remembered the longing that had brought me this far, and I gravely made my choice. I would go even as far as adjectives to acquire delicious cookie goodness.
I straightened my shoulders and shook off the misgivings that weighed me down as Jen distributed the cookies.
Cookie 1 (Maria's):
This first specimen crumbled almost immediately upon being handed to me. My expectations of the ideal cookie at first seemed to crumble with it, but upon finally tasting it, I experienced a pleasant reversal of opinion. The tasty dough was interspersed with huge, scrumptious chunks of dark chocolate. I, being partial to darker chocolates, found this quite an appealing characteristic. Though the chunks were not extremely frequent, this fact prevented them from overwhelming the comprehensive taste of the cookie.
Cookie 2 (Jen's):
The second cookie I received was much more solid in composition. I don’t mean to imply that it was overcooked or stale, rather simply that it did not fall apart as readily as the previous one. The chocolate here had a decreased cacao composition, and tasted very sweet. While it undoubtedly still tasted heavenly, I found myself longing for the solid earthy flavor of my treasured dark chocolate. Chips rather than chunks were present in Cookie 2 and made up a much greater proportion of the whole cookie than those of Cookie 1 had. The symphony of ingredients produced a much sweeter taste, which was the signature characteristic of this sample.
Not wishing to offend either baking party, I must say that both cookies were to my liking and embodied everything I had hoped for upon blindly wandering into this situation. However, my love of dark chocolate broke through in the end, and Cookie 1—baked by Maria, I was told—earned my greater affection. I wish to congratulate both bakers on their talent and courage in submitting their work to my judgment and also wish to thank them both for bringing my the cookie satisfaction that I desired.
Besides the fact that I look absolutely ridiculous in this photo. Let’s concentrate on what’s important here, which is these scrumptious chocolate chip cookies. In my opinion, there are very few people who can actually make homemade chocolate chip cookies, so Jen, I definitely commend you on your success with these cookies. I must say that eating these cookies was like taking a vacation to Hawaii. The chocolate chips take you on a journey to the center of the fucking earth: that’s how delicious they are. Oh yeah and please let me have the last container of them too PLEASE!!!!
Now that these lovely photos are up online, hopefully Cody, Anthony, and Steve will finally write their reviews of the chocolate chip cookies that my roommate and I made...
Fries with a strange combination of chicken, rice, beans, and cauliflower.
Today's lunch was possibly one of the least visually appealing things I've ever seen. The six different shades of brown on my plate did little to improve my hopes for this dish. Honestly, when the most color your food has comes from the fry basket, there's a problem.
I'm not sure why I've eaten cauliflower so many times since coming to Wayne. It seems to make some sort of appearance at every meal -- perhaps there was a surplus several years ago, and now the cafeteria is trying to get rid of their reserves by cooking what's left down to a mushy, unidentifiable brownish substance.
The meal as a whole was edible. I can't really ask for much more. Eaten separately, everything was painfully bland, but the jambalaya added a much needed kick of flavor to an otherwise unnecessarily rice-filled meal. Honestly, who has two separate rice dishes on the same plate? This isn't even counting the third rice dish in the cafeteria, some strange, brownish form of risotto, that I decided was safer to just avoid.
Luckily, I'll always have the mushy fries (sometimes warm, sometimes refrigerated -- always salvageable with enough salt) and some delightfully flat-tasting root beer to make my mealtimes tolerable.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
First off, I've already lied to you. Calling this sushi would be like calling Cody Nelson white. It's just plain untrue. Sushi should be a cold slab of raw fish on a cold block of rice. Not this cluster-fuck of fake crab between warm, moist rice. To draw your attention away from this atrocity, the chefs decided they would just toss something completely unexpected into the mix; lima beans. On sushi. I mean, I guess it was a good distractor. I spent more time wondering where to buy whatever the chefs were smoking than actually eating this abomination. So I did the logical thing, and scraped the little buggers off until I had just the bare essentials; warm rice and some sort of fish-like thing. I don't think it even came from the ocean. But whatever, I shoved my fork in and took a bite. Well, I tried to take a bite. See, unlike real sushi, this thing seemed that it would like to disintegrate into rice and krab bits. Fanfuckingtastic. Worse so, it fell into the light greenish liquid that I think they are trying to pass off a wasabi. Which is actually somewhat solid. But okay, I'll bite. Upon the first actual spoonful, I was greeted by an abundance of flavors that pleasured every single taste bud in my mouth. Then I stopped imagining eating real sushi and tried this shit, which tasted like a mixture of air and pure concentrated essence of nothing. Honestly, typing this is sort of like a Vietnam flashback. I'm gonna need some therapy.
On a more serious note, this actually wasn't relatively bad. It's definitely not fillet mignon, but then again, it's not the regular crap they shovel on our plates. However, if you were getting this thinking of eating some real sushi, well, you're better off getting the ice cream. Trust me, I'm gonna be a doctor.
Salted Caramel Crunch Crepe with (not pictured) a large White Chocolate Frappucino, extra shot of espresso. (I promise, it looked equally appetizing).
This weekend, I went back to my hometown to tutor, and what's a good weekend without some quality coffeehouse food? Stone House has been one of my favorite places to tutor, eat, and study for the past several years, and I've never been disappointed.
If you've spoken to me for more than three minutes, you probably know that I'm a huge sucker for anything that's salted caramel (The Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate is a favorite of mine in the winter, in case anyone is interested...), and the Salted Caramel Crunch Crepe is the most perfect combination of walnuts, caramel, pastry, and salt ever developed.
Alas, this makes the return to dorm food that much more unbearable.
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, courtesy of me (of course).
Granted, I think they're delicious. It's an old recipe of my great-grandmother's, so I think the fact that it's been around that long really speaks to its quality. However, I am a tad bit biased towards my own baking skills, so the actual review will be a guest post courtesy of one of my lovely hall mates.
(p.s. These cookies will be given out first-come, first-serve, so if you want one, find me when I'm back on campus tomorrow afternoon and help me carry things up to my dorm room. But I made about 4 dozen, so there are plenty.)
Friday, September 30, 2011
Our hallway has started a tradition of going out for dinner on Sunday nights -- mainly to escape the weekend food here, which is (believe it or not) even more flavorless than the weekday food, but also to explore Detroit. Naturally, Greektown was high on our list of places to visit. Last Sunday, we finally made it there after an impressively orchestrated ride courtesy of the Detroit Public Transit System.
First priority: dinner. Always.
We went to Plakas Restaurant because it "looked Greek enough."
The group. Clockwise from left: Anna, Alex, Liz, Colin, me, Anthony.
Truly, there is no food more Greek than a gyro. Despite being extraordinarily difficult to eat as a sandwich, it was actually pretty good. The fries were not, but I'm a picky eater (Obviously. Why else would I start a food blog?).
Next stop: dessert at the Astoria Bakery. It was packed, and with good reason. Everything looked incredible, and there was literally a line out the door.
If you're not hungry yet, you're clearly not looking hard enough at the picture.
To stick with the theme of "Greektown," I went with the Baklava. No regrets.
It was phyllo dough-pistachio-honey soaked perfection.
Thank you to Anna for the wonderful photos!
Thursday, September 29, 2011
The picture doesn't do it justice, but the Salted Caramel ice cream at The Traffic Jam (511 W Canfield) is quite literally the best ice cream I think I've ever tasted. Go get some before it gets too cold, although I'm sure it would still be delicious even when it's 20 degrees below zero.
I think that a common technique used by many chefs is the idea that an artful presentation of a dish will make up for everything else that is lacking... Namely, flavor.
One of the few consistencies I have discovered in the cafeteria food here is the complete inability to properly cook rice. Of the many rice dishes I have tried at this fine establishment, none have been good. I mean, it truly takes skill to make rice this bad... Especially considering that a good percentage of the population at this school comes from a background where rice is an integral part of their diet.
The chicken was also generally unremarkable and flavorless... Never a surprise.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Since I have a Biology test tomorrow, I thought today would be the perfect time to start the blog. Clearly, procrastination is something I excel at.
Here's what was on the menu for lunch today:
Here's what was on the menu for lunch today:
From left to right: Greek sandwich, sauteed squash, pork stir-fry, and almond boneless chicken.
Surprisingly enough, everything was actually quite good. While the sandwich was unremarkable, the stir fry and almond chicken were pretty decent -- one could even consider them delicious -- a welcome change from the flavorless food in the cafeteria as of late.
Raspberries from the Farmer's Market
Wayne State has a small farmer's market on Wednesdays, and this was the first opportunity I had to check it out. I ended up getting some fresh raspberries and grapes -- definitely a highlight of my day.