Best restaurant orders: don’t take your Panther bucks for granted

Qdoba is a great choice for both vegetarians and foodies alike. With options ranging from veggies to salsas to tortilla toppings, it is no wonder it is one of the most popular options. KALI HOFFMAN Photo Editor

Ah, the everlasting struggle of finding adequate food to eat on campus.

It’s a question that’s asked in many tours at Chapman. It’s something we grapple with every day. What should we eat?

When I was a freshman, I was dissatisfied with my on-campus food choices. I took my $400 Panther Bucks for granted. Now, I’ve grown. I’m wiser and I’ve gained a newfound appreciation for the Sodexo food that, quite literally, define Chapman. Along with this, through trials and tribulations, I’ve discovered the best options at each restaurant.

That’s why this piece is being written: to identify and recommend the best food choices at each on-campus restaurant. So that you don’t have to.
In my opinion.

Disclaimer: I am a vegetarian, so these are all vegetarian orders. Add chicken or whatever if you eat meat. I don’t care!

Let’s begin with the classic: Qdoba. Advertised on tours as “Chipotle with free guac,” Qdoba is the perfect place to study, eat an actual meal or abuse the bottles of Tabasco. And although it receives some hate, Qdoba is genuinely a good option. That is, if you order the right thing. And that right thing to order is a vegetarian bowl.

While many Chapman students go straight for the burrito, this decision is unwise. The bowl is quite obviously superior, offers more bang for your buck and, if you order correctly, can become one of your favorite meals.

The bowl should obviously begin with generous amounts of rice and beans. Black beans, preferably, with two scoops of both. Since you’re ordering vegetarian, don’t skimp out on the beans and rice you deserve. If you want more, ask! Get that protein! Next, allow yourself to try the fajita vegetables that are unlawfully skipped over in favor of the meat. Add pico de gallo with copious amounts of the hottest salsa (or medium if you’re weak). And in order to make this bowl the best, add queso. It’s truly a game changer. Finally, add guacamole – if there’s any available – and finish off with a light amount of lettuce. This combination is satisfying, sizeable, fairly healthy and is packed with flavor.

If you’re looking for something lighter, head over to Jamba Juice and order the most classic of drinks: Razzmatazz. Sure it might make up 90 percent sugar, but it tastes good and it’s the perfect combination of sweet and flavorful. If you’re hungry, don’t neglect the breakfast wraps. A lot of people forget they’re offered at Jamba Juice, and this is a novice mistake.

If you’re looking for the perfect combination of satisfying yet light, head to Einstein Bros. Bagels. I swear, in the past year alone, Einstein’s popularity has skyrocketed. The line frequently wraps to the door and by the time I’m there, all the cinnamon sugar bagels are gone.

Which is a shame, because a cinnamon sugar bagel is the best thing to order at Einstein’s. Pair it with honey almond (my personal favorite) or strawberry schmear and let this baby brighten your day. Plus, it’s just over three dollars and it’s the perfect blend of sweet and salty. It’s a dessert, breakfast item or a snack in-between classes.

If you’re willing to endure a long line, head over to Starbucks. Although getting through the line and making it to class on time is an impressive feat in-and-of-itself, there are some things there that are worth the wait. The best drink to order at Starbucks is an iced dirty chai tea latte. It’s loaded with caffeine – perfect for finals week – and is pretty difficult for the baristas to mess up. Beware, this drink isn’t cheap, so if you’re looking for food to accompany your drink, go for the plain bagel with cream cheese. It’s just over a dollar, and it’s surprisingly filling. If you’re willing to splurge, head for the spinach and feta wrap. It’s delicious and they don’t run out of them before 11 a.m. most days.

Which brings us to Sub Connection. If you’re looking for what to order at Sub Connection, look no further. Just go to Subway Cafe. I’m serious. It’s better and it’s literally across the street from campus. I wish I could say I’ve found something memorable to enjoy at Sub Connection, but we all know that it’s just an inferior Subway. Skip the uncertainty of Sub Connection and go to Subway Cafe.

I’m sure there are other worthwhile options to order. I haven’t tried every single food item at every single restaurant. But from the bottom of my heart, I truly believe these orders are the best at every restaurant. And if you don’t believe me, go try them for yourself.