OPINION: QU Dining – You can’t eat with us

By on March 5, 2019

Hot take: Quinnipiac Dining is an exclusive dining club, reserved for a select group of digestive tracts.

While anyone can slither their way through the orange turnstiles leading into the cavern of questionable creations, not everyone is welcomed with open arms.

“But G8,” QU Dining will say. “Don’t forget about G8! If you have any sort of dietary restrictions, they will take care of you!”

That’s about as effective as when Republicans in Congress try to justify their support of Trump. “But Kavanaugh,” they say. “He did do one good thing!”

In my opinion, G8 is as ineffective at inclusivity as Kavanaugh is at keeping his hands to himself.

G8 is great if you’re allergic to peanuts, but less great if you’re vegan, vegetarian or simply don’t like that chicken jambalaya substance they serve every other day.

G8 is a token. It’s so QU Dining can say they made an effort to include the dietary minorities but in reality, their commitment to including these groups is as flakey as the crust on that really great cheesecake they only serve at orientation and prospective student days.

That brings me to another point. What was that food they served at orientation and can we have it back?

I remember coming to orientation and being amazed. I had fajitas, vegetarian lasagna, a vanilla bean cupcake, an edible veggie burger and a salad bar with 100 percent identifiable ingredients all within a span of two days. It was so inclusive. So vegetarian-friendly. So yummy. And I was so hopeful.

Now, I’ve been here for two semesters and I haven’t seen a single fajita. I saw one vegetarian lasagna and it was at a prospective student dinner. The best baked goods I can find are the confetti cookies from Starbucks but that requires waiting in a line that snakes around the piazza. The last veggie burger I had was made entirely of rice. And I have sworn never to return to the salad bar after I bit into a hard boiled egg and the inside was brown.

What options are left? There’s Create, the hot food station, which is a wild card, but always a greasy one. For some reason, no matter what I eat there I always feel gross afterward. Even if they try to be healthy, it’s as if they get nervous and add a few tablespoons of butter and breadcrumbs.

One time, I walked by Create and I got really excited. They were serving chickpea patties and baked tomatoes with feta. For a moment, I felt included. For once, my intolerance for General Tso’s chicken and fatty ham dinners was not being held against me. I could have something wholesome.

I quickly walked over to Create, accidentally cutting the line because I hadn’t been there in so long, I forgot how things worked. I snagged a chickpea patty and a tomato and scurried over to check out.

I sat down, eager to devour my first meal that did not consist of rice and tofu since Bowl Life opened.

I sliced the patty and popped a bite in my mouth when I recoiled. It was spicy and had the texture of a cat hairball. My eyes watered and I nudged it to the edge of my plate.

I cut the tomato in half and to my chagrin I found that under the feta, QU Dining had done it again. They had made something healthy, freaked out and added breadcrumbs. It was a baked tomato with feta alright, but the inside was choc-o full of bread crumbs. Rice it was.

Well since it was a Friday evening, Quinnipiac Dining was in hibernation. Au Bon was closed. The only ingredients they had left at Bowl Life were wheat berries (????). All day breakfast was closed. The sushi and noodle place was boarded up. I shuffled over to the yogurt station to see some purple residue at the bottom of the yogurt pans. Yup, never mind.

That’s when I broke into the Chartwells shuffle. You know the one. The pacing loop from Grilled to Create to the soup station to the salad bar that then loops back to Grilled.

It’s a vicious cycle when you’re hungry and it’s one I find myself lost in far too often.

Weekdays aren’t much better. The sushi and noodle station is open, but it’s riddled with cross contamination. The men that dig their hands in the raw crab meat are not changing their gloves before they make the vegetarian’s cucumber avocado roll. The Mongolian pork is pressing the flesh with the tofu. The deadly wasabi is rubbing noses with the innocent ginger.

Au Bon is open, but it seems like it’s every other day that we see a sign that says, “no sandwiches or salads due to technical difficulties.” Au Bon, I’m sorry but if you aren’t serving sandwiches or salads, what are you serving? Muffins?

Unless you like butter, breadcrumbs, rice burgers, muffins or raw crab, many days you’re out of luck at the QU Dining club, even if you don’t have a dietary restriction. If you do, I recommend rice.

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About Emily DiSalvo