A Nostalgia Post: Harvard Dining Hall Dinner

(WRITTEN ON 2/10/2011) Typical Quincy Dining Hall dinner tonight… Grilled pepper steak with creamed spinach and roasted red bliss potatoes with a side of crab cakes and chipotle mayo. 3.2. The reason I say “typical” is that dining hall food at Harvard is famous for looking fantastic while actually being incredibly mediocre. I saw this spread tonight and was, despite my having had 3.5 years of experience with this trick, very excited. Steak and rustic-chop roasted potatoes with cheese creamed spinach is one of my all time favorites. Light, fluffy crab cakes with some sort of creamy and/or citrus-y sauce to cut the fried crumb coating is another. However, as always (or at least as 98% of the time) I was let down. The steak was so chewy, I gave up on it half-way through. The creamed spinach, while featuring the texture I love so much, had no flavor what so ever (unsalted, no parmesan…). The crab cakes were a greasy mess which had obviously been frozen and thawed and which contained little if any (imitation) crab meat and seemed to me closer to patty-shaped fish sticks. I got excited when I saw the orange sauce it came with, hoping it would be some sort of sun-dried tomato/chili sauce, but it was actually a terribly proportioned chipotle-mayo (no doubt a mix of way too much mayo and left-over chipotle chicken sauce from last night’s dinner…). The potatoes were alright but it’s hard to screw those up… Quincy D-Hall is technically all-you-can-eat and I’m starving but would never go for seconds. It’s like being trapped on a raft in the middle of the deep blue sea, surrounded by water yet dying of thirst.

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