Best bites on campus
When you’re on a budget
You’ve probably heard from every money expert who’s ever had five minutes on television that bringing food and coffee from home will save you a bundle in the long run. That’s true, but sometimes, 30 more minutes of sleep before your 9 a.m. class is more important than wrapping up a sandwich. So when you need something to get you through the day, go for soup at the Herb ‘n Market, a single taco ($2.89) from Taco del Mar (the vegetarian price isn’t listed on the menu, but you’ll save if you swap out the meat for beans), or check out the daily specials from the Chef’s Table at Herb ‘n Market where they usually have a lunch item for under $5. Even better, Peer Support offers free breakfast every weekday morning from 8:45-10 or until they run out of food.
When you want something homey
Whether you’re far from home or you’ve yet to develop reliable cuisine in your own kitchen, there’s something comforting about a nearly home-cooked meal — even if it’s reheated in the microwave. The best comfort food on campus just might be the mac and cheese ($6.50) from Good Earth Cafe. The elbow pasta is cooked al dente then covered in a creamy cheese sauce that has no resemblance to anything you would find in a blue cardboard box. Just a kick of spice and a few breadcrumbs round out a dish that will fill your belly, but may tempt you to take a pre-class nap.
The French fry debate
There are a lot of fries on campus: Cultures, DQ, Wycked Deli and Opa all offer their own take. But the best? Though quality can vary day to day, Opa takes the award in this round. It’s hard not to like French fries that are tossed with dried herbs, sprinkled with lemon juice and served with an indulgent dollop of tzatziki ($2.99). The only caveat is that they have a single deep fryer for both their fries and their calimari. If that cross- contamination is a problem for you, take the tzatziki to go ($1) and get yourself a plate of fries ($3) from the stalwart student-feeders at Wycked Deli.
The convenience of a sandwich
I think the Earl of Sandwich would be proud if he could see how far his innovative, bread-encased meal has come: on grainy bread with a tangy or creamy sauce, some fresh vegetables and savoury protein, a sandwich is taken to the next
level when it’s flattened between the hot and heavy elements of a panini press. Booster Juice does them great ($8.19 with a combo), and you can make your own at Stacks at Herb ‘n Market ($4.99-$5.99).
If you’re sick
First, if you’re sick, stay home and take care of yourself. But if you really must be sick and eat lunch at school, get yourself a bowl of tom yum soup from Thai Express ($2.38 for a small with vegetables, $6.78 and up for meal size) and slurp away those sniffles.
For the vegans in the crowd
Get yourself over to Biblos Mediterranean Flatbreads and Calzones and choose the spinach or roasted red pepper flatbread ($5) and ask them to hold the cheese. For a whole protein, ask for the hummus and flatbread ($4.50). The fresh dough comes of the pizza oven steaming and delicious and you’ll pat yourself on your animal-friendly back for making such a tasty choice.
Breaking the fast
As mentioned above, you can get a great free breakfast from the Peer Support centre. But if you’re looking for a hot breakfast to fuel a day of knowledge head to Far East Fusion at the Herb ‘n Market for eggs, bacon, sausage and hashbrowns or to Cultures for a bagel sandwich. And maybe someday, long after we’ve graduated, MRU will have a Tim Horton’s with a full food menu.
Thing to avoid
When projects start to pile up at the end of a semester, you may find yourself huddled in a corner somewhere out of sight of security in the late, late hours of the night, your face pale from the blue-grey glow of a computer monitor with software you can’t afford to put on your four-year-old MacBook. That is the situation when you will be most likely to be tempted by the confusing allure of the vending machine burrito. Reflector web editor Kevin Rushworth was in such a situation and within an hour of that 4 a.m. craving, he had a mouthful of whatever fuzzy, blue stuff had grown inside that burrito.
You have been warned.