Straw huts and stone statues descended on the Towne Field House as Dining Services tried to spice it up for its Island Getaway Dinner Thursday. Students were treated to a wide assortment of tropical food and live music from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The evening was the culmination of two months of planning.
Dining Service employees in straw dresses greeted students at the door with leis before ushering them towards the various food stations. All told, there were six distinct serving areas, including a carvery, pasta bar, fruit table and a bread and cheese spread. The staff served up such delectables as baked brie with mango chutney, fresh pineapple, prime rib, roast fresh ham with plum sauce and iced Dungeness crab claws.
Unfortunately, since all of the dining halls were closed, long lines prevented people from getting food as quickly as they would have wanted. This was obviously not much of a deterrent, however, since all of the food was gone by the end of the night, commented Alexandre da Silva, associate director of Dinning Services.
In looking back on the evening, da Silva observed that it went off “very, very smoothly. All the organizing really brought everything together.” Aside from planning the event for two months, the staff worked from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. the day of the dinner, decorating and then cleaning up the field house. Da Silva estimated the total cost of the night, including food, decorations, labor and entertainment, to be about $3000.
As with any event of such an extravagant nature, the question arises as to how the money might have otherwise been spent, especially in light of the taste tests held in Baxter this past semester. So far, the portabella mushroom stuffed ravioli that was hyped as a coming attraction during the fall has yet to make an appearance in the Baxter pasta bar. Perhaps, some speculate, the Island Getaway funds could better have been used to establish this pasta or other fine foods as dining hall regulars.
Da Silva defended the Island Getaway, though, calling it, “A good way to showcase the talents of the staff.” He also explained that other taste tests are having a more concrete effect on the food we eat daily (as opposed to the fine food served once every two months or so). A marinara sauce taste test, held within the last two weeks, has convinced Dining Services to order a new, highly popular sauce for the next semester.
As long as students see their daily meals improve in quality as well, there is no reason that these enjoyable bimonthly themed dinners should not continue to take place.