Snack Bar’s gourmet charms

A good friend and I once decided that Snack Bar would be our sole consistent relationship throughout our time at the College. Unfortunately, the relationship was cruelly ripped asunder this semester with the slew of changes in Dining Services. However, I refused to give up on my love for late-night greasy foods and gelato and was determined to sate my voracious weekend appetite with foods of my gastronomic past. I was disheartened to learn that classic favorites such as grilled honey buns and chicken sandwiches are now merely vestiges of the past, but with the news a new gourmet menu of select items had been introduced, my faith in the delectability of Snack Bar was renewed. I thus embarked on a quest to evaluate this new and (supposedly) improved Snack Bar and hopefully reignite a regular relationship with my favorite campus dining locale.

PB&J Fries
I admit that I was initially skeptical of this innovative addition to the Snack Bar menu. The thought of peanut butter and jelly transformed into runny sauces and subsequently drizzled onto savory sweet potato fries had neither the horribly unhealthy appeal of cheese fries nor the simple beauty of plain sweet potato fries. Fortunately, the otherwise discordant-sounding combination of ingredients melded together to create a sweet and surprisingly filling Snack Bar item. The sauces definitely make their presence known but without overpowering the natural and light sweetness of the fries. The fries are also thick and thus can readily withstand the sauces without becoming too soggy and losing their slight crispiness. Overall, I found the PB&J fries a solid side for late night munchies, particularly if you’re looking for something with a little less grease and salt (a rare find at Snack Bar).

Moroccan Chicken Wrap
With the bounty of flavors and ingredients enfolded within this recipe, it is easy to imagine this wrap to fall flat. The dish is made up of grilled chicken with an assortment of herbs and spices, an intriguing coleslaw consisting of cabbage, pineapple and raisins and a warm flatbread briefly toasted on the grill. At first bite, I was pleasantly surprised by the texture and flavor of the main ingredient, the chicken. I generally find chicken in Whitmans’ pretty bland, but this chicken was both tender and savory. It was also well balanced against the crunchiness of the coleslaw, which had an unimposing sweetness that accentuated the flavors of the chicken. Finally, the warm flatbread enveloping the ingredients provided an agreeable base for the stronger flavors of chicken and coleslaw without the stiffness often found in Grab ’n Go flatbread sandwiches.

Fried Green Beans
I distinctly remember my daily intake of vegetables plummeting when potatoes were officially deemed a starch. Luckily I now have a new favorite item on the Snack Bar menu that has the greasy crispiness I love without making me completely ashamed of my food intake. This latest side at Snack Bar is bound to increase everyone’s consumption of an often-ignored member of the legume family. The green beans are breaded and fried to flawless deliciousness – golden brown and crispy. The green beans discretely tucked within also maintain their crispiness and lack the soggy texture often found in frozen vegetables. But best of all is the sauce accompanying the fried green beans. Its almost peachy color initially led me to believe it was a combination of mayonnaise and ketchup – a good but rather un-noteworthy condiment. Instead, the subtle garlicky flavor of the chipolte mayo sauce accented the fried green beans enough to spice up the side without leaving you with the much less welcomed garlic breath.

Vegan Quesadilla
I must admit I was quite pleased with myself for the healthiness of my next Snack Bar item – the vegan quesadilla – as I have often been told that my entire diet consists of red, orange and yellow foods (i.e. greasy, fried foods). Consequently, I was glad to see that the tortilla of the quesadilla was a bright shade of green and included such healthy ingredients as vegan Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese as well as grilled peppers and onions. Vegan fare is definitely not my cup of tea, and I would be remiss to overlook my ignorance of such culinary items; nonetheless, I found the quesadilla to be rather tasty … for a vegan dish. While I liked the texture of the quesadilla and the understated flavor of Cajun seasoning, I missed the usual gooeyness of melted cheese in the traditional non-vegan entrée. And though initially the quesadilla melted in my mouth, I couldn’t help but notice the slightly off aftertaste of the vegan cheese. This item was one of my favorite vegan foods, but for those who have an aversion to non-dairy cuisine it’s probably an item to avoid.