New Leaf: Dining hall delivers on first monthly event

By Lauren Belcher |
Photos by Philip C. Sunkel IV

Friday, the Dining Hall hosted its first World Vegetarian Day.

This event is one of many more events to come so Administrative Editor Gena Anderson and I decided to go check it out and see what the students thought.

I walked into the Dining Hall and immediately noticed the WVD station. The two mobile serving stations, the vegetarian station and the expo station, were pushed together and they were serving Mexican style vegetarian food.

The menu was as follows:

  • Boca Tacos
  • Boca Burritos
  • Black Bean Cakes
  • Black Bean Burgers
  • Veggie Fajitas
  • Quesadilla

I loaded up my plate, sat down at one of the dining room tables and began my feast.

First item was the black bean cake. This cake was amazing! Seriously, I started picking at it while still in line for food. It was a spicy, flavorful cake that consisted of black bean burger crumbles, corn, jalapeño and green pepper.

I went back for seconds. It definitely seemed like the most popular food choice.

Next I had the Boca burrito. I went in line and grabbed a plate with a tortilla and Boca crumbles. I went along the service bar and grabbed queso, bean spread, sour cream, shredded cheese, jalapeños, olives and homemade salsa.

I went back to the table, wrapped it up and took a bite.

First thought: it’s cold. Second thought: ew.

The Boca crumbles just did not work. Together with all my other toppings, it created a slimy texture that turned my stomach. I looked around and saw many other people with the same reaction.

Let’s try something else.

I went to the home line and silently commended the d-hall on sticking to their promise of having a veggie option at each station. There was a vegetable pizza advertised for the Pizza Station, a veggie omelet for the Omelet Station and a grilled veggie pita for the Sandwich Station.

The home line had a side of green beans and mac and cheese and then they had a tofu rice dish. I’m not sure what it was called because it was nowhere on the menu and there was no signage for it.

The dish made me feel warm but eventually left a bad taste in my mouth. It was weirdly sweet too. It consisted of cabbage, mushrooms, carrots, zucchini and green peppers, along with rice, tofu and a sweet ginger sauce. The cloves of garlic helped make this dish tasty.

The mac and cheese was great, but I don’t think it was meant to be one of the vegetarian dishes.

Later on, I went back and tried the black bean burger. I’ve had it before, but on Friday they were offering an onion roll and several different toppings (due to the quesadillas.) I ordered a black bean burger with cheese on an onion roll. Then I asked for the grilled carrots on top. Good choice for me!

This ended up as a wonderful sandwich. It was cheesy and warm. It really was a great way to end WVD for me.

Rommy Varas, sophomore, is not a vegetarian. She actually described herself as a “super not vegetarian.”

I caught up with her while she was in line and asked her to give me feedback after she had eaten.

She said, even though she’s not a vegetarian, she often finds herself at the Vegetarian Station because the food quality is better. Friday was no different.

Varas agreed with me about the burrito but then tried something I hadn’t: the quesadilla.

“The veggie quesadilla was delicious!” she noted. “There were so many veggies it was actually quite filling.”

She filled her quesadilla with some of the organic veggies the station was offering: tomatoes, lettuce, onion, mushrooms, carrots, green peppers and cheese. She went back for seconds.

Aileen Del Rio and dining hall employee Laura Gransaul discuss World Vegetarian Day.

Anderson, vegetarian, came to the table with a colorful plate.

She ate the veggie quesadilla. She said it was “chewy and delicious.” Nothing else appealed to her so she went to the omelet station and the salad bar.

Raleigh Clarke is a vegan. I asked him to try out the station but he said there was nothing he could eat.

“I personally found the dining hall’s vegan options to be essentially non existent,” he wrote. “In order to find anything vegan, one would have to modify the already existent food items offered. The dining hall needs to add many more vegan options in order to accommodate their vegan students.”

We ran into Lindsay Pettit, sophomore, as she was making a Boca taco.

Pettit has been a vegetarian for two and half years. She said she was “pleased to see the Dining Hall celebrate World Vegetarian Day.” She added, “they’ve been so great about improving their vegetarian meals this year but today was especially good.”

Ayla Parfitt and Anita Lesky, sophomores, are not vegetarians.

Parfitt enjoyed the Boca burrito and said although the “meat” was weird, her burrito was filled with enough toppings to still be appealing.

Lesky said she ate the Veggie fajita. She said she “enjoyed it more than some of the non-vegetarian food.”

Overall, I thought the concept of WVD was a wonderful idea, even if the food wasn’t always up to par. And the people I caught while eating mostly agreed. I commend the dining hall for trying new things and can’t wait to see what they come up with for the other monthly events.

Lauren Belcher is managing editor for The Gargoyle. In her column, New Leaf, she introduces environmental issues and offers ways to fight environmental destruction. She is a Communication major and Environmental Science minor at Flagler College.

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