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Best Food in the Nation!

September 20, 2011

A couple weeks ago, the Daily Beast ranked St. Olaf’s food the best in the nation.  We’re a little biased, but we whole-heartedly agree.  I often say that I ate better here than I ever did before or probably ever will again–and while food shouldn’t be your only factor in choosing a college, it is something that you eat two to three (or more) times a day, and it’s something that actually impacts your daily existence.  Not only does St. Olaf focus on making sure there’s a huge variety of food (there are thirteen stations that range from “home” to “grains” to “bowls” to “pizza”), but it focuses on the health, well-being, tastes, and needs of the student body.  Our foodservice director is also keenly aware of the relationship between food and the environment, and has initiated local food days, the use of a composter, and the purchasing of organic produce from an on-campus, student-run farm.  I asked some students to describe a meal they ate this weekend, and here’s what they said:

Josh Woolfolk '13 and his meal

Josh Woolfolk ’13: My favorite thing about the Caf is the variety of fresh, organic and locally grown options it has.  I’m not even a vegetarian, but I love the veggie stuff at the Caf so much I eat vegetarian there all the time!  This meal is made up of some of my favorite Caf creations.  The tacos have black beans, rice, cheese and a pico de gallo salsa that was fresh made that day right there in the kitchen, mostly from vegetables that were either grown locally on small-business farms, or St. Olaf’s own private student-run farm, STOGROW, which sells 100% of its substantial produce to Bon Appetit, the college’s food service provider.  Next to my delicious veggie tacos, I have a bowl of what’s easily one of my top 5 favorite Caf foods: an Indian style Chickpea Dahl (or stew) over wild rice.  It comes from the Grains line, the one line in the Caf that’s 100% vegetarian all the time, and always has at least one vegan and one gluten-free option.   Throw in some raw carrots and celery and organic peanut butter on the side and you’re pretty much in sustainable food heaven!

Patrick Faunillan '13 and his meal

Patrick Faunillan ’13: Here’s a typical meal for me at St. Olaf’s Stav Hall, lovingly known as The Caf! On the blue plate we have one vegetable egg roll, three chicken wings, and fried rice, all of which came from “bowls” (once you’re an Ole you refer to the different food stations by one identifying word). The bowls line typically has oriental food that changes at every meal. Whether it’s chow mein, white rice, or curry, you’ll find it on my tray. I always go with a salad – lettuce, spinach, and eggs topped with some french dressing – yum. My beverage is always water with either orange juice or milk. I guess I was in the mood for orange juice this time. And I never get a meal without dessert! The simple rice krispie bar or the classic seven layer bar are my favorites–the baked goods are insane and dangerous and amazing. To top it all off, I get fruit–this time its an apple–to take back with me to the dorm or library for a late night study snack. Bon Appétit!

Nikita Shah '14 and her meal


Nikita Shah ’14: Tonight for dinner, I had the pasta bake from the pasta line along with a side salad I made in the salad bar. I always ask for a little extra marina on my pasta because its delicious!  The grains line, also had a delicious chocolate chip cake – IT WAS SO YUMMY!!  It was much better than I was expecting. I topped off my meal with peaches, watermelon, and apple juice! Um Yah Yah!

We hope you’ll visit and try the food yourself as you start or continue your college search!


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