As I indicated in my previous UCSD dining posts found here and here, Baby Bro has been dutifully taking pictures of his various dining experiences at UCSD. He's taken quite an interest in photographing various meals he has, and almost always has his digital camera on him. For a while now, I've been suggesting that he be a guest author on my blog and blog about his food adventures, rather than just sending me pictures. He finally decided to take me up on the opportunity. Here is the first of his posts. Enjoy!
The entire school year last year I only went to Café Ventanas once. If you've ever visited UCSD campus before, you may understand why. ERC (Eleanor Roosevelt College),the college it's located in, is practically in it's own world (no offense to any ERCers.) It's off to the side of campus away from most classes, and all the big white buildings look the same and it gets really confusing to an outsider! My Spanish final was located in ERC and I decided to dine at Café V afterwards as I heard that the cafeteria was much bigger and offered much larger selection of food. After getting lost at ERC and slightly late to my final, I wandered to Café V with my friend. The food selection there was amazing! They had place for sushi (not the dry prepackaged ones in the fridge, but people making them for you!) although it seemed to be very basic and overpriced rolls, a section serving lasagna and pastas, a standard entrée and sides place, pizza, soups, and salads. I ended up being very disappointed after getting an overbaked chicken that tasted like I was eating a napkin. I never returned until this year.
A couple weeks ago my friend asked if I wanted to do Fine Dining, which Café Ventanas offers every Wednesday night at 5pm. Because I always had a class Wednesday evening (sucks I know) I never really had a chance to go. I decided to skip class one night and visit fine dining with my friend.
Upon going there, there was huge lines everywhere! I saw a prime rib that looked pretty good, but people were waiting forever to get their food so I went to the pork ribs. Luckily some kid ordered it and decided to cancel is order, so I just picked it up without having to wait.
For around $12, this meal was pretty plentiful! It came with half a rack of pork ribs, a side of mushroom risotto, string beans, a small salad, a slice of cake, and a piece of bread.
The presentation was very nice too, compared to normal cafeteria food you get. The price was pretty reasonable too for the amount of food you get. I must say I was quite pleased with my meal!
The salad was chilled and a lot fresher than the "make-your-own" salads. The bread was a dry disappointment, but the mushroom risotto and ribs were a delicious combination!
The ribs were flavorful and not dry, which was what I was afraid of.
The cake was moist and sweet and made a nice dessert to top off the meal. If only they served Fine Dining more, perhaps I would visit Café Ventanas much more often.
This past Wednesday, I decided to visit fine dining again, as I was too tired to go to class (but not too tired to eat!!) When I got there, there was no fine dining! I guess they don't offer it the week before finals (because people are too busy studying and don't have time for fine dining + studying??) They were offering prime rib though, so I was quick to jump on it. After I ordered it though, I was afraid it was not going to be worth the money or time, as the prime rib had been sitting on the carving board for a while. He asked me if medium was fine, chopped of 8 oz and dunked it in some meat juice before putting it on my plate. $10.95 for 8oz of prime rib and a side of potatoes and broccoli.
Thankfully, the steak was delicious! Much better than the prime rib sandwich I got at Black Angus one time… It was a tad bit on the dry side, but it was tender, flavorful. The side of the steak (on the other side of the wall of fat) was amazing (like that little chunk usually is). It was juicy, very tender, and just flat out…I don't think a word can describe how nice it was. It's like if a cow had a personal trainer that found the perfect balance between mushy fat crap and tough incredible-hard-to-chew meat and sold the cow to UCSD. Luckily for me, a large chunk of my prime rib was that heaven-in-the-form-of-beef. (And this is at a school cafeteria let me remind you..). The potatoes were good, but nothing special. I could have used a few more..but oh well. The broccoli though…I was only given 2 pieces of broccoli, and it was the same size as my steak. I guess someone got lazy and decided to cut a whole large crown in half and pop it on my plate. It was cooked thoroughly though, and it wasn't hard…just really big and hard to get in my mouth . Hopefully the steak is always this good! Very reasonable price for what you get, and I know I'll be back to try this again.