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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

An insider review of Vandy’s new dining options

Avocado toast, baked macaroni and we don’t have to wait in a 2301 line? Find out if this semester’s new dining options are too good to be true in our rundown of the newest menus on campus.
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Dining workers at Commons. (Hustler Multimedia/Hunter Long)

While we’re just getting started with the semester, it’s clear that Vandy Campus Dining staff was hard at work throughout the extended break. Old favorites and new novelties made their way to campus this spring, and we tried them all. Read on to hear about the dining hall hits and misses. 

 

Crafted Flatbreads

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Vandy’s new flatbreads put those EBI-to-go pizzas to shame with their new variety of options. You won’t have to worry about dried-up cheese or rubbery bread, for all flatbreads come fresh with new sauce, protein and veggie options. Even though I picked my order up 15 minutes late, my flatbread still had the perfect soft-and-crunchy crust, which tasted amazing. I could envision the Instagram story already, as I managed a satisfying cheese pull when separating the four slices. Plus, the flatbread folds in your hands, so you know it’s not coming from the freezer. While I wish I had a couple more slices, the flatbread makes for a perfect midday lunch during those 20 minutes you have between class. You’ll be licking your fingers, wishing there was still more.

 

Pasta Fix

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Rarely do you have to sacrifice great taste when you’re fiending a high carb lunch/dinner.

An assortment of baked, cheesy noodles at Pasta Fix (Hustler Multimedia/Hunter Long)

Pasta Fix is no exception, providing baked (!) noodle options at Commons Express, Rand Express and Zeppos Express. Baked to perfection with endless options of sauteed vegetables, diced meat and melted cheese, you’ll think that sizzling dish in front of you is Grins Mac and Cheese on steroids. If you’re worried that Vandy’s ripping off some cheap Pasta Palooza, you’ll be more than relieved after you take a bite out of some unrivaled creamy noodles. From cavatappi to tortellini to gluten-free penne, there are several options to select from, and vegan options if you prefer meat or cheese substitutes. 

 


Kissam Kitchen Taqueria

Well, I guess Vandy wouldn’t be Vandy without some disappointment. Kissam’s new tacos take portion sizes to an all new low. Yes, you’ll get a variety of toppings to choose from, but don’t expect to be full. My eyes glistened as I eagerly opened up my styrofoam box, only to find two palm sized tacos, with maybe four bits of chicken between them. The dining hall workers even had the audacity to give me a second box, with only chips and guac inside (the chips only filled the portion of the box for sides). Maybe I just misunderstood the concept, but my stomach was not satisfied. I will admit the tacos were very tasty, but if you’re a big eater like me, you might want to check out someplace else.

 

Kissam Kitchen, which also offers order-ahead options. (Hustler Multimedia/Hunter Long)

EBI “Toasted” avocado toast

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If you love toast, you might want to give this breakfast option a chance. Though I felt somewhat skimped on the avocado, the bread is perfectly toasted. The tomatoes and garnish are fresh, and the egg is over easy enough to stay firm, while the yolk drips down and soaks everything up. Every bite was truly magical. I’ll definitely be ordering it again.

 

2301 – but Express 

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Zeppos Express stations (Hustler Multimedia/Hunter Long)

Our favorite saute bar is back in action, now offering brown rice as a base, chicken, steak, tofu and a variety of vegetables. My order was good—but not great. I didn’t ask for brown rice and received it, and I wasn’t sure that my sauce was completely mixed in. The allergy-free option remains perfect for those with dietary restrictions or picky preferences, but in order to cater to those students, perhaps we need to ensure orders are correct. With that being said, it’s the first week of school—I’ll give them time to perfect the new to-go orders. Until then, go get some chimichurri on the side or bring some Texas Pete of your own! To-go breakfast and smoothies are an option at 2301 express, too.

Mongolian Express 

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A promising novel express option offered in Rand, Kissam and EBI gives students a choice of base, proteins and cold toppings to make their own personal Mongolian bowl, without waiting in the usual line. Base grains included brown rice or veggie fried rice. I found myself looking for a potential low carb option (cauliflower rice, anyone?), but the endless toppings and various protein options left me satisfied. 

 

Commons dining hall stir-fry options (Hustler Multimedia/Hunter Long)

Commons Ramen 

Sadly, the new dinner option I was most excited about is what disappointed the most. Despite a variety of toppings and options, the noodles lacked both the consistency and flavor I was looking for in a ramen dish. Perhaps adding some of the dry toppings or spices would help, but I found myself on the brink of tears over mushy noodles and flavorless broth. Worth a try to decide for yourself, but I will be using my meal swipes at other new options. 

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About the Contributors
David Cohen, Former Staff Writer
David Cohen ('22) studied cognitive studies and music performance for double bass in Peabody College. You can reach him at [email protected].
Caroline Lingle, Staff Writer
Caroline Lingle ('24) is majoring in political science and communication studies and minoring in business in the College of Arts and Science. She enjoys exercising and hanging out with one of her four dogs. She can be reached at [email protected].
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