Breakfast, for some, is a critical chance to fuel up for the day ahead; others see it as an inconvenience that simply cuts into their precious sleep time.
As a freshman mostly trapped on campus, I have had the opportunity to eat almost every single meal in the two dining halls on campus, the Lodge and the Roaring Fork, and have some opinions on the most commonly served breakfast foods.
Now I know exactly what you’re thinking right now. You’re thinking, “What makes this girl qualified to rate the dining hall food?”
It’s true, I’m not a food critic for the New York Times; nor have I had a single glossy cookbook published … but I think I have the most important credential: I love food, and I know what good food tastes like. I’m not afraid to voice my culinary opinion either. I once gave my mom such a harsh critique on her Crock-Pot chicken that she left the dinner table in tears. Sorry mom, but the truth hurts!
Breakfast in the UCCS dining halls is served from 7 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. during the week. I always try to go because, as they say, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” The thought of tasty food filling the hole in my stomach is often the only thing that can get me out of bed and out the door.
On a typical weekday morning, here’s what you will find waiting at the Lodge or the Roaring Fork:
Often considered the main character on American breakfast plates, eggs can make or break your first meal of the day. Most days the scrambled eggs are decent at both dining halls, but sometimes at the Roaring Fork they make the eggs salty to the point where I am unable to swallow them. Bottom line: when the eggs are carefully seasoned, life is good.
Hash brown clouds: 8/10; regular hash browns: 2/10
At both dining halls, they occasionally serve hash brown patties (shaped like little cumulus clouds) that are surprisingly good. They’re moist and light on the inside yet crunchy on the outside. Unfortunately, most mornings they only have the basic hash browns instead, which have a gummy, clay-like texture. The potatoes are undercooked, so they’re too hard and have no flavor whatsoever. I’d advise you to stay away from the regular hash browns and only enjoy the hash when you see those lovely clouds.
If I could pick one breakfast food from the dining hall to marry, it would hands down be the oatmeal. It’s a perfect texture and it’s not too hot or too cold. Most days, it has brown sugar premixed in it, but on one glorious day they had real apple and cinnamon oatmeal at the Roaring Fork. My only critique is I wish they would leave the sweetening to me, instead of having a pot full of presweetened oatmeal.
Bacon is one of the most irresistible foods on this planet. The bacon here is really good when it’s crispy, but when it’s floppy, I would stay away. This could just be me, but I feel like bacon should ALWAYS be crispy. The floppy bacon tastes rubbery and fatty, like a salty snow tire (or whatever I imagine a salty snow tire tastes like).
Then there are the premade waffles that are served for breakfast, occasionally. My view has been confirmed by several reliable sources, but it is that these waffles taste like cupcakes. Not sure if that’s a bad thing but they don’t taste like waffles.
I’m sure I’ll get a lot of hate for this, but stay away from dining hall pancakes at all costs! They are pancake imposters, trust me. They look like pancakes but are something of a different breed. They’re these bumpy, floppy disks of dough that make IHOP seem more like IJUMP or even ILEAP.
Waffles as waffles: 4/10; waffles as cupcakes: 8/10
I personally am not an avid waffle eater, so I can’t say I’m particularly qualified to rank these waffles, but both of the dining halls just got pretty nice waffle makers, and I was initially ecstatic.
But to be completely honest, the experience of making the waffle is better than the eating part. I would describe the taste of these waffles like my dad’s jokes: bland and dry. I have to slather them with peanut butter to get them to taste like anything.
As a huge foodie, the taste of my breakfast can either make or break my entire day, and I’m sure many other Mountain Lions feel the same way.
Overall, the breakfast experience is not too shabby at the dining halls, but there are certain things that could definitely be improved upon. But I’ll let you have the final word.
Many thanks to all the dining hall employees that are up before the sun to ensure that we get a healthy and tasty start to our day.