Not a bad thing can be said about the Tuscan chicken at Eagle’s Nest. With chicken, pesto, balsamic vinegar, roasted red peppers, tomato, lettuce, and mozzarella cheese, it has all the makings of a salad and makes you feel like your very soul has been cleansed of impurities, while also containing the largest hunks of cheese I’ve ever seen on a piece of ciabatta. It’s exactly the sort-of-kind-of-healthy meal you can tell your mom about with confidence when she calls to ask if you’ve been eating well. Served with chipsandapickle (a combination so perfect it blends into one word), the Tuscan chicken makes you feel like you’ve evolved from your high school cafeteria grilled cheeses.
Cinnamon crunch muffin
This is the Holy Grail of the bakery display. There are a few great flavors at Boston College, from chocolate chip to pumpkin to just plain corn. The cranberry nut muffin gets paraded out every day, relegating the others to a less frequent rotation. But here’s the thing about that muffin: It sucks. If that’s what you want from a muffin, just grab some granola or Raisin Bran or something. Muffins are just cupcakes without frosting. Get over yourself. But the cinnamon crunch muffin is everything a muffin should be—soft, with some texture, and a wonderfully warm flavor that reminds you of grandmas (or other people’s grandmas who bake things like that). It’s a muffin that’s not trying to pretend it’s healthy or something it’s not, and really, don’t we need more of that honesty in the world?
Steak and cheese
The steak and cheese makes the list only because everyone else on this campus but me adores this sandwich. But truly, when has meat and cheese failed you? The steak and cheese line is eternally long, but it takes .02 seconds to wolf it down once you get it. Plus, it has the customizable option of adding whatever mix-ins you want, from broccoli to onions to a bunch of different sauces, making it a more wholesome meal. They also have the option to sub out the steak for chicken, but I have never heard anyone call it a chicken and cheese so it doesn’t make the list. You can even ask for double meat if you’re starving or just really, really drunk (when you’re 21! Imagine me saying it in that voice all the RAs and professors use).
Fried rice/mac and cheese station
Fried rice day is one of the best lunch days at BC. So many proteins. So many sauces. All these vegetables. Those little carrots? Throw them in there. Vegetarian? Skip the chicken, steak, or shrimp for tofu. The fine employees at BC Dining mix it up in a big metal bowl and you have got it made in the damn shade. The same thing goes for the make-your-own mac and cheese. Technically it’s not even mac and cheese (it’s cavatappi pasta), but it’s a long way from the Easy Mac that you made in your room and got the powdered cheese all over your desk and exploded in your microwave because you forgot to put in water. And you can put stuff in it, too—pretty much the same toppings as the fried rice, including extra cheeses shredded on top. It’s elevated, Carol, you will say as you pair it with lemonade and a bag of chips on your way back to your dorm. And you will be right.
Sometimes you need to get back to basics. Maybe you’ve taken up running around the Res and want more protein in your diet. Maybe you’ve ordered Domino’s four nights in a row and your room smells like cheesy bread and regret and the ladder of your bunk bed has Cinnastix frosting smeared on it and you need to give your body a break. We’re all at different places in our lives, and BC acknowledges that with its grilled chicken. There’s nothing fancy about it, but it’s so versatile. Eat it with fries or grab some vegetables from the salad bar. Traipse down to Lower and ask the chef for pesto or a slice of cheese on it. What a filling and balanced meal—you deserve a trip to White Mountain.
Bagel egg and cheese
A lot of people at BC are from the Northeast, and pretty much the most comforting thing you could have in the morning is a bagel. BC’s bagels aren’t stellar by any means, but they are representative of a great effort that should be applauded. The bagel, egg, and cheese sandwich is a classic breakfast, but there are a lot of variables that go into getting the perfect one from the dining hall. Sometimes the cheese is all melty and the yolk is runny and you stare at it like “You really did it this time.” That is the bagel, egg, and cheese that keeps you coming back. But a lot of the time, the yolk is cooked through, the edges have those chewy bits, and the bagel to egg and cheese ratio is just off. As rare as a McDonald’s having a working ice cream machine, the perfect BC bagel, egg, and cheese makes it on the list, but you have to suffer through some inferior ones to chase the dream.
You have survived the Newton bus and have made it to Upper, and have thrown down at an “almost-outside-voices” volume party in Fitzpatrick 300. You are, in Whitney Houston’s words, the queen of the night, and you’re looking only for the best. So you stumble into Late Night and you skip over the soggy chicken fingers because you deserve better. You’re here for one thing and one thing only: the fried cheese over there being served with a smile by someone who just wants to go home already. These things are so delicious that no one at BC can even waste time using their full name. It’s mozz, and mozz only, with the familiarity that only close relationships bring. Tomorrow you will be tired. You will have regretted breaking out the Grey Goose your sister got you because I’m sorry but Jason’s birthday party is just not a special enough occasion, but you will not regret those mozz sticks. By God you will not.
Make your own sundae
I really don’t think more people have had their entire mood change than just by seeing these giant tubs in Mac and thinking, “There’s ice cream in there.” Has anyone ever hated a make-your-own sundae bar? The tub of vanilla is so big that I need someone else to scoop out the ice cream for me because I cannot even reach it on my toes. I have seen true innovators born from the Mac sundae bar. One girl put cookies from the bakery in hers. I’m pretty sure she’s going to be the next Steve Jobs. Another person used an entire can of whipped cream like he had never eaten it before. It is fun and delicious and exactly what you need when you think you may literally die reading about Plato’s just man.
Now that the food part is covered, we should embark upon a lesson about decorum. Like with anything, there’s a certain level of tact you need to navigate this whole deal. Firstly, make sure you’re looking out for combo meals. Usually the cashiers will remind you of these as they’re ringing up your items because they are heroes and deserve the world. If your meal comes with a drink, get the drink. Grab a piece of fruit if the menu board says you can. You’ve only got a finite number of dollars, so make them work for you.
A lot of freshmen struggle with budgeting and end up crawling through finals week on the backs of their friends with more bird-like eating habits. A lot of money gets drained from purchasing drinks. The best bet is to keep a reusable water bottle on hand to curb thirst. The Simply Lemonade may be excellent, but it’s not helping you stay as full as food would.
Sometimes the food options can get stale. Most meals fall on the same day of the week (Indian food for lunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays, burrito bowls for dinner on Sundays, and so on), so be prepared to have limited options and utilize customizable stations like the salad bar to keep things interesting.
Also, breakfast is until 2 p.m. during the weekend, so yes, you can nurse that hangover in bed until noon and still get those home fries. Note: the Mac waffle maker is not to be trusted and will turn the batter into a crumbled mess. Steer clear at all costs, and head to Lower if you really want a waffle. I’m not sure why this is, but the one in Lower just actually works.
And please, don’t use a tray. I don’t know why people refuse to use trays here but sometimes you just have to accept things and move on. It’s not a hill to die on. Instead, and I’m not encouraging anything here, they become much more useful when there’s snow on the ground. You can use them on the many BC hills, if you catch my drift.*
*For sledding. People only use the trays here to go sledding. Still not condoning anything, just as a disclaimer.
Featured Image by Francisco Ruela / Heights Editor