University of the Sciences Dining Hall
I didn’t walk into the University of the Sciences dining hall anticipating anything close to a restaurant–quality meal. The smells of garlic and soy from the stir–fry station drew me in for round one. After choosing a combination of vegetables, noodles, chicken and Szechuan sauce to be cooked–to–order, I sat down and twirled some of the creation onto my fork. While the noodles and vegetables prompted the ideal amounts of chew, the brown water “sauce” drowning the bowl diluted any chance for flavor. Burning from an overdose of Sriracha and chili oil in reaction to the blandness, I went for round two: sweet potato casserole, roast chicken and cinnamon crumble cake. The chicken’s moistness beat the frequently parched meat in Commons, and the cinnamon crumble cake rang with just enough sweet, easily standing up to the syrupy pies in Hill. With a dining room closest to a more spacious King’s Court, I’d say the spread–out, serene vibe outshined the cafeteria fare.
Obviously no college dining experience is ideal, but Drexel makes a valiant attempt to lessen the depressing blow of dining hall diets. Included in Drexel dining plans are an enticing selection of dining dollar options spread throughout campus. Every energy–deprived college kid gravitates towards Starbucks, which Drexel makes available for students on dining plans. Like our once–beloved taqueria in Houston Market, Drexel offers its students some serious Latin options with Taco Bell and a burrito bar called “Currito,” which serves everything from classic burritos to Indian–inspired meals. Even better, Drexel’s Chick–Fil–A and Subway outposts accept dining dollars. And while they may not all be included in students’ dining plans, the ever–expanding dining options piling up at Drexel’s front door, including the new crop of foodcarts at 33rd and Arch Streets and the brand new Chestnut Square—with options like Zavina, CoZara and Shake Shack, are more than enough to make us green with Dragon envy.
University of the Arts Dining
From the outside, Terra Dining Hall looks everything like a pleasant Center City bistro, and its location in the heart of the Avenue of the Arts makes it a prime spot for people watching. But despite the fun I had observing the ebb and flow of tourists, UArts students and plastered Eagles fans, none of it made up for the sad, sad food. The mac n’ cheese was rubbery, the fried rice was crunchy and way too salty and the baked eggplant was all oil and pepper. Though the food was very disappointing, the friendly UArts students I ate with assured me that “not everything here sucks ass, at least not always.” A vegetarian student praised the usual selection of vegan and vegetarian foods, claiming that “well... this is an arts school, they kinda have to cater to their demographic.” All of them agreed that the other café on their meal plan, Mangia, had good pizza and great hoagies. But they also agreed that despite being on campus for only a couple weeks, they were already sick of eating “Man–gina.”