Every day I am faced with an incredibly important question, right when I finish my last class of the morning. The answer has the power and potential to establish how the rest of my day will go. There are also many, many possible answers for the question, making the decision process harder and harder as I consider my options. That daily question: What will I eat for lunch?
This year I chose to go on the Gold Plan out of the Dining choices, meaning that each week I have 19 swipes to use and over the semester I have $500 dining dollars. I quickly learned that the swipes can be used to get into any of the 3 dining halls, as well as from the restaurants on campus. This means that with a single swipe, I could choose to go to three different buffet style halls around the campus and in the Village, or choose from any of the TCC restaurants or get a combo meal from many of the cafes scattered across campus. With this many choices, ranging from unlimited dining to more conventional meals, I’ve had to come to a consensus on my regular choices.
My most common stop for lunch is at TCC. The Tutor Campus Center is fairly centrally located on campus, meaning that if I have a class anywhere, I won’t be that far from the food court, nor will any classes I have after be a long walk from where I picked up the food. My personal favorite choice is Verde. The Mexican style restaurant is similar to a Chipotle, Pancheros or Qdoba, featuring tacos, burritos, and bowls. I love to pick up the steak taco combo, which gives three small tacos, chips and a drink for a swipe. The best part about the restaurants on campus is the mobile order feature. Students can place an order from anywhere, and immediately see how long of a wait it is before the order is ready, and skip right to the pick-up line when you are notified that it is done. Most days I will spend 15 seconds reordering a past meal favorite on the app towards the end of class and it will be ready for me right when I get to TCC.
If I am not at TCC I am most likely at the Village Dining Hall. Ask anyone here and you will get a strong opinion favoring any of the three dining halls, but I stand by my feeling that the Village Dining Hall is the best. I’ll admit that I am probably a little biased because I live right around the corner in the Village’s Cowlings and Ilium apartments, but I still think that the variety of choices and unlimited, quick service makes this the best choice. That being said, all of the dining halls pretty much rotate the same food, meaning that 3 weeks at one is essentially the same as 3 weeks at any other, just in a different order. At the dining hall, I can instantly swipe in, wait in line for a gourmet crepe, or easily scoop myself portions of whatever food is in the express lines. You could theoretically say that the pre-portioned meals of TCC can leave you hungry, but it is only on you if the dining hall leaves you unfulfilled.
I have been on campus for a full semester and have not had the chance to hit all of my options exchangeable for one meal swipe, partially because I seem to stick to the same meals, but also because there really are just so many choices. Hopefully this semester I can convince myself to culinarily explore and make some new favorites.