Hey pirates! In case you missed our last piece on the Lunch Ladies, we have a new piece on the tasty food they provide for us in the cafeteria. A select group of top-tier journalists from the Spyglass exercised their expert taste skills and culinary knowledge to provide YOU with a detailed review of some of our cafeteria’s most popular dishes.
Entree – Veggie Burger and Fries
Salad Bar – Creamy Caesar dressing, spiced butternut squash, red pepper, and grapes
Scale 1-10, 10 being the best
Texture: 9 Freshness: 9 Seasoning: 8 Diversity: 8 Health: 10
“From a vegan perspective, the veggie burger really hits the spot” said senior Chase Kautz. Trusted life long vegetarian and recent vegan, Kautz has had his fair share of veggie burgers. Likewise, carnivore Ellena Korisheli found the veggie burger “good with ranch”. We saw fresh corn inside the burger which added to the freshness and juicy texture. A fluffy bun cradled the burger and while made from healthy whole grain bread, it still maintained the perfect vehicle for the burger’s bold flavor. The burger was paired with crinkle cut fries that while lacked salt or spice, had a strong potato taste (if that’s what you’re into). The spiced butternut squash offered a delightful addition to the meal. Audrey noted that it was the best butternut squash she had ever had. The combination of oregano, cayenne, and salt enveloped the usually dull squash in a tasty roasted glaze. The salad bar, as usual, offered a nice array of fresh fruits and crisp veggies.
Entree – Cheese Enchilada with brown rice, Turkey Sub with avocado
Salad Bar – Winter Squash Salad
Texture: 8 Freshness: 8 Seasoning: 8 Diversity: 10 Health: 10
The enchilada was a very solid entree, and it’s comforting flavor paired well with the freshness of the green winter squash salad. Though the tortilla was quite moist, the cheesy insides made up for the unique texture. We felt that the rice could have been spiced more- perhaps with a Mexican-style seasoning that would have enhanced the flavor of the dish as a whole. The winter squash salad was definitely a highlight; the raw greens didn’t even taste all that raw or green with the addition of perfectly spiced and roasted winter squash and a light dressing. The Turkey sub was also a solid entree, though the bread did the most of the work, and we thought that some crunch on the inside- perhaps some lettuce or tomato- would have made the sub less bread heavy. We agreed that the addition of avocado was a particular highlight, and it paired well with the cheese and meat.
Entree – Cheesy Pizza Sticks with marinara, Chicken Pad Thai
Salad Bar – Persimmons, oranges, chickpeas, and edamame.
Texture: 9 Freshness: 8 Seasoning: 7 Diversity: 10 Health: 9
We realize that pizza sticks with marinara are not often consumed alongside chow-mein but we live in a pluralistic society and here at the spyglass we are always up to new culinary combinations. We were very excited to try the pizza sticks in reminiscence of our cheesy, gooey elementary school memories, but unfortunately, they were just not the same. The pizza sticks lacked a crispy outside, though the marinara sauce did add a wonderful punch of flavor. The chow mein was not something we would go for on a daily basis; we recommend it as a once a week type of entree. The noodles were nice and soft, but like the pizza sticks, there was no crispy or crunchy texture offered in this dish. The peas, however, were a great and nutritious addition- we even added some extra on the side for an extra #healthpunch. From the salad bar, we had to try the tasty seasonal persimmon which did NOT disappoint, the orange was delightful, and the edamame and peas were quite satisfying.
Entree –Chicken Tamale with Cheesy Beans
Salad Bar – Green salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, cantaloupe and raw squash
Texture: 8 Freshness: 8 Seasoning: 8 Diversity: 9 Health: 9
The tamale had a traditional corn texture, but the typical spice was missing from both the tamale insides and the refried beans. The sprinkle of cheese on the beans was just not enough to make the beans a substantial or flavorful side dish. The salad was fresh and crunchy as always, but it could have used some beans for some #proteinpunch. The raw squash was a nice surprise to freshen the salad, and while the lettuce was mediocre the crisp cucumbers paired with juicy citrus from the orange livened the salad. The baby carrots brought a fresh picnic-feel to the meal, a nice crunch to add to the overall experience. The pizza was its usual mediocre, but satisfying self and the cantaloupe was a refreshing finish with a strong flavor all the way down to the rine.
Entree – Orange Chicken with Veggie Fried Rice and eggroll, Pizza
Salad Bar – Chickpea salad, kiwi, canned peaches, cantaloupe
Texture: 6 Freshness: 7 Seasoning: 8 Diversity: 10 Health: 9
The chicken in this dish was a little chewy but the sweet orange glaze offered a nice finish. Both the fried rice and eggroll tasted overcooked which gave an unfortunate glue-like texture but the edamame in the veggie fried rice was an exciting fresh touch. We felt the veggie fried rice could use more veggies, but otherwise (especially considering their no salt rule), had exceptional flavor. The Chickpea salad had wonderful seasoning and freshness, as well as the kiwi and cantaloupe. The peaches, while canned, were still delectable. The sweet versus savory contrast between the salad and fruit brought a fun twist to eating healthy. We tested the pizza as well, even though it is not a special item. We felt the texture of the cheese could be meltier, and there could be more sauce in the sauce to cheese ratio. The crust had excellent seasonings of herbs and spices which greatly enhanced the flavor of the entire slice.
Final Food Thought
Overall the culinary experience at Morro Bay High School showed exemplary diversity yet fell short of exciting flavor. While some dishes were a pleasant surprise to our taste buds, others left our stomachs unsatisfied. After a lot of thought on this culinary journey of ours, we have come to the realization that the tastes that stood out to us in all categories of excellence: texture, freshness, seasoning, diversity, and health, were those dishes that were created by the wonderful cafeteria staff. For example, the winter squash salad is a specialty of MBHS cafeteria workers, and it was our favorite dish of them all. The entrees that fell short of culinary excellence were usually those produced by the district such as the tamale and bean entree. We feel that when our cafeteria workers are left to be creative with dishes and the salad bar offerings, they can incorporate foods and flavors that they feel our students will like, resulting in happy taste-buds of everyone.