New and improved caf hacks

The Randall Dining Commons is one of the most central places for students to gather because it has food, and students need food to live or rather, they live for food.

However, some Chapman students are aware of the pros and cons of the cafeteria, which is why Aidan Wood, a senior television writing and production major, believes that taking on a unique mindset can unlock the potential of the cafeteria.

“Try not to see the food at different stations as a complete meal, but rather a collection of different foods that are presented in a particular way,” Wood said.

When students adopt this mindset in the cafeteria, their options grow exponentially, allowing them to put together food from different stations to make a cohesive meal, Wood said.

Here are a few hacks to utilize this new mindset:

Veggie burger on a regular burger bun with lettuce and fries. Photo by Summir Wilson

Veggie burger staple

Many students aren’t aware of the veggie burgers at the vegan station unless the students are vegan or have vegan friends. However, the veggie burgers aren’t just tasty to vegans – the black bean burgers add a unique element to ordinary meals.

“Veggie burgers taste amazing with salsa, especially if the caf is serving guacamole as well that day,” Wood said.

The previous edition, “Caf hacks: Mexican food edition,” mentioned the creation of Mexican cuisine-style bowls that are similar to the ones at fast-casual chain Chipotle. Now, you can change your selection by using black bean veggie burgers instead of a traditional meat-based protein.

Charlotte McDougald, a sophomore creative writing major, said she is a burger person at heart, but prefers a healthier option. She suggests getting a plate of lettuce from the burger station, bringing the plate to the vegan station, then adding a veggie burger in between the lettuce to create the perfect health-conscious burger. Feel free to add any toppings from the burger or salad station to make your burger more exciting.

The hidden avocados

Avocado spread on toasted bread with pepper. Photo courtesy of Annika Ekvall

Avocados have become a big deal lately, and the cafeteria hasn’t quite gotten the hint. However, if you try hard enough, the scarce number of avocados at the cafeteria can be yours to use for multiple purposes.

You can find avocados in the cafeteria in two ways. One way is to simply ask the staff members at the vegan station if you can have a slice of avocado. Chances are that they’ll say yes. If that fails, you can go as far as to take the avocado out of the sushi rolls from the sushi station.

Next, you can throw that avocado on just about anything, from a veggie burger bowl to a simple piece of bread. Yasmine Hamady, a sophomore theatre performance major, says her favorite way to use avocado in the cafeteria is to make avocado toast.

First, she suggests toasting two slices of bread in the toaster at the bread station. Then, she either gets avocado from the vegan or sushi station, and spreads it on her toasted bread. If she wants something a little heavier, she’ll add spinach, tomatoes or eggs.

Tater Tot burrito

A Saturday morning visit to the cafeteria is the perfect time to utilize this hack.

  1. Grab a tortilla from the burrito station and fill it with Tater Tots from the classic breakfast station.
  2. Next, you can add an assortment of fillings, like cheese, sausage, a personalized omelet or plain eggs to your burrito.
  3. Then, dip your personalized potato burrito in ketchup, salsa or hot sauce for a complete meal.

Nacho cheese fries

Plain nacho cheese fries ready to be topped with toppings of your choosing. Photo by Summir Wilson

Wood came up with these classic nacho cheese fries, which are an easy meal.

  1. Bring a bowl to the burger station and ask for fries.
  2. Add cheese from the salad station on top.
  3. Add other toppings for your fries (like beans, olives, grilled chicken or veggie burger pieces).
  4. Toss your bowl of fries into the microwave for 20-40 seconds, depending on how much cheese you put on top.
  5. Add salsa after microwaving it, and enjoy.

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