By Blake Sharp
If the stress of final exams, papers, and presentations aren’t enough, there is the possibility that you are dealing with the crippling stress of figuring out how to make the most of your unspent Meal Plan Dollars. Although easing test anxiety may prove difficult, alleviating part of the burden of optimizing every penny from your Meal Plan is a realistic goal. If you cannot fathom spending another penny on Axe and Palm waffle fries or an Arrillaga late-night milkshake (first of all, who are you?), then get ready to explore other Meal Plan-accessible dining opportunities on campus.
For a hearty breakfast before class Monday through Friday, head on over to Alumni Cafe for a myriad of egg creations. The cafe offers made-to-order choices like smashed avocado toast topped with a poached egg and pepper flakes, breakfast burritos, omelets, scrambles and fried eggs with toast. Complete the most important meal of the day with a cappuccino or mocha and fresh fruit for the perfect start to any day. Feel free to also grab a granola or candy bar as a snack for later.
For a warm sandwich while you’re on the move between classes, Olive’s’ convenient location, quick service and mouth-watering options render it a great option. With around eight to ten choices per day, students can opt for a bahn mi (Vietnamese sandwich), chicken and pesto panini, grilled cheese “waffle” with tomato soup or Mediterranean falafel platter. The cafe also has a fridge with pre-made options like salads and sushi for an even quicker grab-and-go lunch. Located in Building 160, it is a great option for those rushing between classes around the Main Quad. However, if you have more time, there’s plenty of seating to eat, study and enjoy the winter sunshine.
Russo cafe offers students a hot entree and salad bar with different options each day, along with a constant menu of burgers, pizzas and sandwiches. Russo is only open for three hours a day, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and contains a variety of healthy and indulgent options. The hand-tossed pizzas are particularly delicious because they are cooked to order in a brick pizza oven. After grabbing lunch, the cafe shares an open-air courtyard with the Market at Munger equipped with palm trees, perfect for shading a laptop screen to study.
If you find yourself in Tresidder around lunchtime, there are two great options for a very enjoyable meal. If you want some leafy greens or a power grain bowl, head over to Heirlooms for a made-to-order bowl of your choosing. The ingredients are locally sourced, so you can feel good about reducing your carbon footprint while enjoying your food.
If you’re more inclined to a heartier option, head over to Barbecue 101 where you can pair chicken, beef, pork or tofu with a wide selection of traditional barbecue sauces and sides.
Finally, head to Forbes in the Engineering Quad for a “flexitarian” meal. Its location makes it a great option if you’re busy and hungry on the West side of campus. Although a flexitarian diet may seem like a fad, the idea is to maximize environmentally friendly foods by eating primarily a vegetarian diet with occasional meat or fish. The cafe has a hot entree bar with items rotating daily. There is usually a grain (brown or white rice), a steamed vegetable (broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, etc), a vegetarian protein and a meat protein available for choosing. Other options include a salad bar with fresh fruit and hummus as well as made to order entrees like paninis and beef pho. Much of the cafe’s produce is even sourced directly from the on-campus farm.
For snacks and dessert:
Notes and textbooks are almost as essential to studying as the perfect snack. Head over to the Market at Munger to pick up some brain food. Grab peanuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios or walnuts for healthy fats and protein as well as a salty treat. Grab some vegetables and hummus for a satisfying crunch and boost of energy. Or, on the sweeter side of things, opt for yogurt and granola. There’s also the more indulgent route of candy and ice cream to make the late night cramming sessions a little more bearable. With a wall of bulk foods and options similar to a grocery store, you’re guaranteed to find a snack you’ll like.
When tests or papers hit hard, oftentimes the only remedy is a scoop of creamy ice cream. Decadence in Tresidder is on campus to help with just this situation or any other situation that a cup of gelato would improve. With 16 different flavors (even dairy-free options), it’s incredibly hard to pick only one or two. There are also plenty of toppings and seasonal treats.
As finals approach, soothing the acute stress of auxiliary Meal Plan Dollars becomes so much more important. If you are part of the select few that still don’t think you will be able to spend all your extra funds, do not fear. Fifty dollars will transfer to next quarter, so you can defer some stress for winter. Now with these tips in mind, go kill your finals and your Meal Plan balances.
Contact Blake Sharp at blakesharp ‘at’ stanford.edu.