No Thought For Food: The Reviews


NFFT
For our “No Thought For Food” project, Alberto Aguilar and I set out to review every menu item on Food For Thought’s menu at their School of the Art Institute Sharp Building food service facility. I’d say we got through a good 3/4 of the menu. These are the results of our taste testing, transcribed from recording. The objective was to taste each item and write an immediate reaction in as few words as possible. At the end of each session, we would combine our reviews into 2-4 word phrases, which are used here to describe each menu item. Bon appetit….

 

Day 1: 12/5/13

 

A: Here we go.

 

E: Right now I’m cutting in half the black and blue chicken…This is the sweet potato tempura sandwich…some of these have some pretty good ingredients. I saw a list that says that they source from local farms.

 

A: Oh yeah?

 

E: Yea…Some of which I recognized some of which I didn’t… You know, it was pretty cheap I spent like 23 bucks. How bout you?

 

A: Mine was even cheaper– it was like $16, but I got a discount on the curry sandwich

 

E: Why is that?

 

A: Cause they didn’t have the crispy potato crisps that are supposed to go on the sandwich.

 

E: Yeah, they changed the bread on the sweet potato sandwich. It was supposed to be on a baguette this looks like a…I don’t know a ciabatta maybe… Kids are looking at us, talking about us.

 

A: That’s good

 

E: What do you want to start with? How bout a fry?

 

A: Fry? Yeah what ever you want. It not usually my…

 

E: You don’t like fries?

 

A: It’s not that I don’t like them. I just don’t normally eat them…but…well…I’ll try two just to make sure.

 

E: Pizza?

 

A: You want to start with the junk food?

 

E: You don’t?

 

A: No cause then I’m just gonna destroy my mouth…I’m very curious about this curry thing…

“Hollow MSG” (sorry no pic)

E: I thought they (the fries) tasted like artificial flavorings. Like that fake seasoned fry stuff…I hate that. It’s totally out of a frozen bag.

 

A: Yeah they were kind of hollow, I think that when they are hollow like that, its that they were frozen.

 

E: Yeah it is for sure.

 

A: We maybe wrong. What if we write this and we find out that these are super fresh fries.

 

E: No they’re not. I know they’re not. It’s nice they have the skin on, but they’re definitely a frozen product and they made me really thirsty. I would not order these. This is junk food. But I mean back at Sonny’s I used to order his waffle fries and they were maybe a little better. But they were still frozen junk food. So I think the fact that I don’t want to eat this anymore has to do with me being a grown up but I can see being like 19 or 20 and broke and this being the cheapest thing on the menu.

 

A: Why how much was it?

 

E: I don’t remember, a dollar fifty or something.

 

A: I took the first bite and I thought it was hollow but I thought maybe it was just because it was an end fry, a smaller fry but then the second one was just as hollow…so if you don’t mind I’m gonna put these aside.

FFE“Fresh Faux Exotic”

E: Let’s try the sweet potato tempura sandwich…let’s eat the warm sandwiches first so we get the better effect. Are yours warm?

 

A: They’re all warm.

 

E: Oh ok…. Let’s try this one…I’m just gonna take a bite. If I like it I’ll take it home for Jessica.

 

A: It’s hard to come up with a word for this one.

 

E: It is.

 

A: What is it?

 

E: This is a sweet potato tempura sandwich. I think its got pea shoots, and wasabi…this is just from what I can taste, and pickled carrots.

 

E: I’m gonna have another bite… This one isn’t so bad. What do you think?

 

A: Yeah, yeah it wasn’t too bad. It actually seemed a little exotic.

 

E: Yeah. I mean you get a lot of wasabi right away.

 

A: Yeah and that’s an easy way to make something taste exotic…and then it seemed to have nice, not herbs, but lettuces.

 

E: I think it’s a pea shoot and I’m kind of impressed that they would stock that cause the thing about these big business sort of assembly line food services… if you have one specialty ingredient that only goes on one sandwich it has more of an opportunity to go bad. I’m curious to see if this green pops up on another sandwich.

 

A: I’m sure it will.

 

E: Pea shoots are pretty good. So is the wasabi mayo, the tempura stayed pretty crunchy. It’s kind of under salted. The main seasoning is the wasabi.

 

A: And it has a lot of sauce so that was probably what made it taste a little exciting. I usually don’t take so much sauce in a sandwich but that saved this one.

 

E: If I was a vegetarian, I’d be happy with this. I think a little salt on it for my taste would enhance it. But I opened it up and the ingredients look fairly fresh.

 

A: You want to move on?

 

E: Yeah, not too bad. I’m done with that.

BSB

“Blasted Sweet Basil”

A: Let’s do this tofu thing.

 

E: Ok. So what is it?

 

A: This is red curry tofu.

 

E: So you got a special on this one because it’s missing something?

 

A: Yeah it’s missing the crispy potatoes. Do you want to add a French fry to yours?

 

E: Um, no I didn’t like the fries.

 

A: I got 50 cents off

 

E: Ok cool, let’s do it.

 

A: That was a great blast of basil.

 

E: Oh yeah I didn’t get basil on my first bite.

 

A: You didn’t? You see the basil is all clumped up in the center there.

 

E: It doesn’t look really fresh either but it tastes ok.

 

A: Oh its basil and cilantro.

 

E: It definitely has a strong curry flavor but I imagine its from a can. Canned curry products, if they’re imported from Thailand, are a pretty good product. I mean, talking with Sonny he said he used can curry. I make it fresh at home but…

 

A: So you think this is canned.

 

E: Yeah but that’s not uncommon… It is really sweet.

 

A: What’s in red curry?

 

E: A lot of things. The basis of a Thai curry are actually aromatic rather than dry spices like Indian and so like galangal is a root like ginger and then lemon grass. You know lemon grass? And then usually lime leaves. And then there will be like garlic and shallots and then a just little bit of dry spice like maybe cumin. You could taste it in this but it’s very sweet though. When you but the canned curry it doesn’t have added sugar.

 

A: Well then what takes the place of sugar.

 

E: It’s sugar, they’re just dumping sugar into the paste. I think it is too sweet for my taste.

 

A: I prefer this one over the first one.

 

E: Do you?

 

A: Yeah.

 

E: It’s a little more flavorful.

 

A: Maybe that’s why, I got the flavor right away.

 

E: It has less going on though. On that previous sandwich they had to, like, make those pickles, the carrots and stuff. It had more fresh ingredients. And then this is like a fried tofu product. I don’t know if they fry it here or not but you can buy fried tofu. I just don’t really like tofu. I was surprised that…like tofu on a sandwich sounds bad, I would never order that but this is a little better than I might have anticipated. But I’m not gonna save the rest. I wouldn’t order this. Would you order this?

 

A: Probably not. I don’t like these kind of exotic food sandwiches. I’m not into that.

DOS

“Dying Oatmeal Surprise”

E: So you want to try the turkey sandwich?

 

A: No, I guess I’m not too much of a sandwich guy. But to me this beet sandwich seems to make more sense but I may be wrong about that though.

 

E: Do you want to try that?

 

A: Yeah

 

A: I’ll tell you one I thing, let me just start by saying that I tasted an oatmeal cookie when I took a bite.

 

E: (Laughs) yeah, weird.

 

A: Did you have a similar experience?

 

E: My immediate response was like this taste like a dying salad bar. This is fucking terrible.

 

A: It’s pretty bad. I personally don’t like the beet and goat cheese mixture.

 

E: I do. I do think that these beets are old as shit though. You can see it they’re like browning around the edges and wilted. I don’t think people order this one very often.

 

A: But I am guessing for me it was the walnuts that took it into oatmeal…

 

E: Cookie territory. Yeah I don’t eat walnuts on a sandwich but it a kind of classic combo (with the beets and cheese) it think.

 

A: It was a combo that was popular in the food world but it seems not as fashionable now.

 

E: Yeah why would college students want to eat this for lunch? They’re probably trying to appeal to the faculty on this one.

 

A: Yeah. Or the higher-class students.

 

E: (Laughter)…um I opened it up the spinach looks terrible, the apples look decently fresh, though, but they’re totally…well the beets dye everything. Like that’s not a happy beet. It doesn’t look like it’s from a can at least.

 

A: But I think dyed bread with a beet or soggy beet bread is a very bad idea. So I think this is a bad idea of a sandwich overall.

 

E: It’s a bad idea. I’m not eating anymore of that.

 

A: So you are throwing almost everything away. I still have everything here just in case I decide to keep it.

 

E: How about the chicken sandwich?

 

A: Yeah lets do that and then I have a hummus sandwich.

UCV

“Unsalted Blackened Vomit”

E: They call this a black and blue chicken.

 

A: Black and blue chicken sounds bad already. It has blue cheese I am assuming?

 

E: There is some avocado on there.

 

A: It’s missing salt

 

E: Missing salt. It does taste like a real blackening seasoning.

 

A: Yeah but that could mean just…

 

E: From a shaker yeah. I don’t taste any blue cheese.

 

A: Naw, I didn’t either. There was something creamy which was the avocado.

 

E: Avocado can make everything better.

 

A: Oh yeah I taste the blue cheese it like a sauce.

 

E: Blue cheese dressing. I don’t hate this one; I mean I can get some salt.

 

A: It needs salt. I don’t think we should put salt on it though.

 

E: No I don’t think so. This is my second favorite.

 

A: Oh, ok were rating.

 

E: No, I don’t know we don’t have to.

 

A: Yeah for me so far it was the first two sandwiches that were the better ones. This is not on my favorite list and part of it is the fact that it is so bland. Then when you put those creamy things in with this bland taste…

 

E: It does have some heat though. I know you and I like some heat in our food. You like spicy food right?

 

A: Yeah

 

E: I do too. This might be too spicy for some people. There is some cayenne in it. That’s what I appreciate in it. Hummus?

 

A: Yeah its right here.

90SH

“Suburban 90’s Hummus”

A: There are those good greens. Were those the same lettuces that were used on that first sandwich?

 

E: Yup.

 

A: Yeah those are good.

 

E: I mostly got a mouth full of hummus on my first bite. Feta cheese. It definitely tastes like store bought hummus.

 

A: I taste peanuts. Peanuty.

 

E: That could be tahini, which is made of sesame.

 

A: And it was sour too. Something was sour about this sandwich. The feta cheese?

 

E: Maybe the feta. It taste like something my mom would have made in the 90’s.

 

A: Your mom was making hummus in the 90’s?

 

E: Oh yeah, we were eating vegetarian after my grandmother died of cancer. Um so, yeah, when I was in college I was into the Grateful Dead and Phish and you would go to the big concerts and you would buy this kind of stuff. But this kind of food hasn’t gone away really…I mean everybody…

 

A: It’s like healthy suburban vegetarian food.

 

E: Yeah I mean there is like a whole hummus isle at Jewel now, you know.

 

A: Right, right. But back then you got it from where?

 

E: I’m not sure, my mom probably got it form a health food store. But this is like …I bet it’s popular.

 

A: I’m not too big on it I didn’t like it.

 

E: It’s mushy. Like I make my own hummus and Americanized hummus is pretty different from real hummus.

 

A: You know I don’t like anything in a wrap. I don’t like the word wrap.

 

E: Yeah that’s also kind of 90’s… The breads not terrible. Did you try it on its own?

 

A: Um, I’m not a wrap kind of guy. You know at the same time I’m not even a flour tortilla type of guy. Which is what this is right?

 

E: Yup. It’s probably marketed as a lavash bread but…yeah there is no way in hell I would order that. Should we move on to the special?

 

A: Yeah I’m trying to avoid the pizza and the uh…

 

E: Yeah you don’t like junk food huh?

 

A: Not really.

 

E: I do

 

A: I mean not when it looks like this. You see how this pizza looks? It looks like plastic food.

 

E: Does your family eat pizza ever?

 

A: Yeah we do.

 

E: Where do you get it?

 

A: Different places. We make it.

 

E: You ever been to Vito and Nick’s

 

A: Vito and Nick’s? Yes! Southside. Yeah there and there is a place in Cicero called Al’s. You ever been there?

 

E: Similar?

 

A: Yeah I guess it’s that old style Chicago pizza.

BPX“Bitter Prison Xmas”

A: What is this, first off?

 

E: They call it chicken breast chasseur, mashed potatoes, Roasted brussel sprouts glazed carrots. This was probably the worst thing yet for me. I mean I guess it’s just basic ingredients.

 

A: Sorry I got stuck in what to say there. That the first time I had to spit stuff out. But I started with the brussel sprout.

 

E: Do you like brussel sprouts?

 

A: I love them.

 

E: The most offensive thing to me was the chicken. It had zero seasoning. I can taste like… probably pre… it was probably frozen. Its probably an industrial product. Bad! The mashed potatoes taste like there from powder a box.

 

A: Yeah, everything had a sameness to it.

 

E: I called it a “Prison Thanksgiving”

 

A: Oh that’s good. I couldn’t think of a good one for the one. But yeah everything was like bland and boring. But you know this is a standard hospital jail institution cafeteria fare. But you know, this is too good for prison food. A little too good for prison but its more like hospital food.

 

E: I’m gonna keep prison though.

 

A: No, no that’s good. Sometime you have to exaggerate to get the point across. But definitely hospital food.

 

E: Industrial grade. Although the carrots do look prepped fresh like you can see like… chop marks maybe. Maybe. This is getting rough.

 

A: Well we’re almost done.

 

E: Good! Junk food time. Where’s the BBQ sauce. Wait we know what the chicken tenders will taste like let’s start with the pizza.

“Penny Store Oregano Gum” (sorry no pic)

 

A: Yeah this thing looks like a plastic pizza. It looks like a kids toy.

 

E: You know the saying pizza is like sex. Even bad pizza is pretty good.

 

A: No I never heard that and I’m not behind that statement. I mean for me bad pizza is bad pizza.

 

A: When I was in grade school there was a store across the street from the school that sold like ah one cent candies and they also sold pizza with little dots of cheese. That’s what this taste like.

 

E: This is a little better that what I ate in high school.

 

A: Definitely better that high school, but not good.

 

E: I like bad pizza. My wife loves all pizza.

 

A: The pizza sauce tastes pretend.

 

E: I can’t even taste the sauce. So for me I think just the blanket of cheese equals some sort of pleasure receptor for me but real pizza is about the crust and this is about the most generic, phony… that might have been pre baked, pre formed frozen disc of flour. Although I don’t know what it is but I can kind of palate bad junk food most of the times.

 

A: I mean I can eat it and my kids would probably like this but it’s not something I would intentionally throw myself into.

 

E: I think it is one of the cheaper things on the menu.

 

A: But it has dried herbs on top.

 

E: Yeah that was one of my adjectives.

 

A: Oh you added it.

 

E: No. No that was one of the adjectives I used. I called it “Gummy Oregano”. The crust was gummy. The pizza was three bucks and 25 cents.

 

A: Did you taste the sausage on the pizza?

 

E: Yeah it’s terrible

 

A: I didn’t taste it.

 

E: Better that high school lunch quality though.

 

A: Oh yeah that’s just like… ughh… that’s like the sausage they put on the Tony’s frozen pizza. You like those?

 

E: No. I mean I used to eat them when I was in college.

 

A: That taste like dead dog meat.

 

“Infinite Crouton-y Crunch” (sorry no pic)

 

E: Alright, last but not least.

 

A: You are excited about this?

 

E: I am. This seems like the one thing you can’t fuck up though.

 

A: I mean unless what if there frozen?

 

E: They probably are.

 

A: That doesn’t bother you though? Were talking about the chicken tenders. Something I never eat.

 

E: Me neither but, again, my wife loves them.

 

A: Oh my kids loves these. Every time we go to a wedding and they have the option to get these and I have to talk them out of it.

 

E: Well here we go. I mean I like fried chicken… This is pretty bad. As I go in for a third bite. I am impressed by how crunchy it is even though it has been sitting there for a long time.

 

A: Yeah but there is something…

 

E: Fake about the crunch.

 

A: Fake about that crunch. How do you make a fake crunch?

 

E: I am wondering that myself.

 

A: I mean because if you notice… you hear it, like listen every bite you take even until its done it continues to crunch.

 

E: It’s the crunchiest chicken tender I have ever had.

 

A: Yeah how do you make a fake crunch?

 

E: Chemicals.

 

A: That’s a good thing to look into.

 

E: Chemicals. It reminded me of these like bad croutons. You know like a real crispy artificial crouton. I’m gonna finish it though…So what did you like the best today?

 

A: I think it was the first two sandwiches the tofu and the sweet potato tempura. Yeah there was something fresh about it. Even the fried…in fact I’m gonna take another bite of it. It’s probably not good it been sitting there forever.

 

E: You can tell that the way that that is breaded has a fresh homemade quality versus this that an industrial product. I mean I never tasted a chicken tender that is that crunchy.

 

A: Crunchy until the end. Crunchy til the last bite.

 

E: Do you want to share our responses?

 

A: Yeah let do that.

 

E:  So or the fries I said “MSG Fake Frozen”

 

A: I said “Standard Hollow Fries”

 

E: On the sweet potato tempura I said “Horseradish-y Fresh Enough”

 

A: I said “Faux Exotic”

 

E: Red curry tofu I said “Sweet Curry”

 

A: I said “Basil Blast”

 

E: The beet one I said “Dying Salad Bar”

 

A: I said “Oatmeal Cookie Surprise”

 

E: Black and blue chicken I said “Under Salted”

 

A: I said “Bland Cajun Vomit”

 

E: Hummus I said “90’s”

 

A: “Sour Suburban Peanuts”

 

E: Special I said “Prison Thanksgiving”

 

A: I tried to be creative here but I just came up with “Bitter and Bland”

 

E: “Pizza Gummy Oregano”

 

A: “Penny Store Pizza”

 

E: Chicken tender I said “Crouton-y”

 

A: And I said “Fake Crunch Until the End”

Day 2: 1/9/14

 

Note: we shared our 2-4 word responses throughout this sitting, rather than recount them all at the end.

OPS

“Open Pit Beanblock”

E: So what do you think about veggie burgers in general?

A: Veggie burgers? I don’t eat them too much to be honest. This is probably my second or third one ever. So I don’t think much of them. They’re not on my radar.

 

E: We talked about the 90’s and for me this falls into that. Because my parents were vegetarian in the 90’s so this is the type of foods we would eat on the weekends. There’s two styles of veggie burgers, ones that try to be like meat that are made of really processed soy and the other ones are made with beans and whole grains.

 

A: And this would be one of those, you can see some beans.

 

E: We’ve been mentioning today that this is the winter interim and only the hot grill station is open so we’re limited to that menu. But interestingly, there’s a very eager sous chef who’s been preparing our food and he seems to have caught on that we might be reviewing the food.

 

A: And he added some personal touches to the food…

 

E: He added some flair.

 

A: I’m going to take a bite, I’m super hungry.

 

E: This isn’t that bad, what do you think?

 

A: Its good. Maybe I’m super hungry, but it was satisfying.

 

E: I love cabbage. And it has a spice to it.

 

A: Is that ketchup?

E: I think it’s more of a BBQ sauce. Actually my response addressed it as BBQ sauce. The bun is toasted which is kinda nice. Veggie burgers like this that are made out of beans can be mushy.

 

A: It never had a burger consistency, that’s for sure. Its not in the burger category for me, it just seems like a big patty of mashed beans, refried beans.

 

E: But it’s a tasty enough sandwich that I would probably eat, a sort of healthy lunch option.

 

A: And it was a cheaper one, wasn’t it, it was $5.

 

E: However, my reaction was “Open Pit Squish”.

 

A: Alright that’s good. I wrote “BBQ Bean Roadblock”. That’s one thing, its really hearty.

 

E: Why roadblock?

 

A: It blocks something, I don’t know, it seems pretty heavy.

PCG

“Prefab Cali Gorda”

E: I don’t know what we’ve got here. It’s cut in half already. It’s a chicken sandwich. Looks like its on ciabatta. Is this the thanksgiving thing? Oh, there’s bacon on there. This is the Cali chicken club, I think. Or is it the cranberry turkey melt? No it’s the club, it’s supposed to have white cheddar, caramelized onions, and avocado.

 

A: Does it?

 

E: That’s what it says. I see avocado.

 

A: I might have been a little cruel on this one.

 

E: Yeah me too. I called it prefab seasoned bar food. This is the kind of thing people order at a bar that probably specializes in burgers. They want to eat something healthy, but it’s really not healthier. It’s on shitty bread and there’s bacon and mayonnaise all over it.

 

A: Its really heavy, even the amount of chicken that’s on it.

 

E: The chicken has that sort of fake marinade flavor that tastes mainly of oregano. And its weirdly not salty enough. Did you find that?

 

A: I did, not spiced enough and not salty.

 

E: There was a piece of chicken that fell off my sandwich and I ate it on its own and it was so disgusting that I spit it into a napkin. It tasted waterlogged– frozen and de-frosted.

 

A: And you know, in my view, anytime you put California in front of something its supposed to be healthier. It should have a fresh, healthy flavor.

 

E: So what did you say?

 

A: As I was saying I was cruel, I said “Fat Cali Girl”.

 

E: (Laughs out loud) How about some soup for a palate cleanser… By the way, the chef looked over here.

FS

“Foolproof Shroomness”

A: This looks decent, you can see the fresh mushrooms.

 

E: They look like crimini mushrooms… I gotta say that’s good, what do you think? It’s got a good amount of cream in it, the mushrooms are very flavorful.

 

A: Wow, you’re really going at that.

 

E: It’s the best thing we’ve had.

 

A: Yeah, but how could you go wrong though, a little bit of cream, some mushrooms, some cheese.

 

E: You think there’s cheese in there?

 

A: Yeah, some parmesan.

 

E: You can taste the broth, the stock in there too. I wonder if its vegetarian?

 

A: Probably not.

 

E: Well, mushrooms do have a lot of savory qualities. This tastes like real food, for the first time.

 

A: Yeah, especially the mushrooms were good, they weren’t over cooked.

 

E: So I called it “Homemade Shroomy Richness”

 

A: I said “Fool Proof Mushroom”

 

E: We might actually finish that one.

ABM

“Acid Breakfast Melt”

E: Oh boy, what the hell is this? I think this is the smokehouse burger.

 

A: Its greasy.

 

E: It is.

 

E: Its got the trendy pretzel roll.

 

A : It’s a real burger?

 

E: No this isn’t a burger.

 

A: What is it?

 

E: This must be the holiday thanksgiving surprise sandwich.

 

A: Ooh it looks like a mess.

 

E: It does. This is the turkey melt.

 

A: Alright, I got something.

 

E: So, I never eat the cranberry sauce, even when it’s homemade.

 

A: Never, why? You don’t like it?

 

E: I just don’t, I don’t really like sugary stuff. I don’t eat a lot of sweets. I’m usually opposed to putting a lot of sweet ingredients with savory food. I mean, I get it, it can be balanced… And this didn’t taste like it came from a can. Something in between canned and real.

 

A: What would that be?

 

E: Probably a pre-made product, but there were actual pieces of cranberry. I just don’t like it though… So that was the first blast. And the second blast was that fake turkey flavor.  I don’t really like lunchmeat, do you? It didn’t taste like roast turkey, it tasted like lunchmeat. So I called it “Cloying Acid Deli Melt”. The cranberries are also really sour. And was there bacon in there? I didn’t taste much cheese. How did you feel about it? Do you like cranberries?

 

A: I do, I don’t mind them.  But for some reason it didn’t feel like cranberries, it tasted like jam.

 

E: It did. I know that sometimes places make a sandwich that has all the Thanksgiving stuff on it with stuffing and all that, like real roast turkey.  I could see the cranberry going well on a sandwich like that. It wasn’t like that though, it didn’t have that effect here.

 

A: I thought of a breakfast sandwich… I don’t eat breakfast sandwiches but that’s what it was like for me, because of the jelly and the bacon.

 

E: I see what you mean, right.

 

A: I wrote “Blended Breakfast Sandwich” because it was a mess.

OKB

“Outback Ketchup Blast”

E: Do you want to do the grilled cheese or the burger? Let’s finish on the grilled cheese because he was proud of that.

 

A: This is probably gonna taste just like the one we just ate. What’s special about it?

 

E: I wish this was on the pretzel roll. They’re trendy, but I like a burger on them. So this thing can’t even maintain its own structure. It looks sloppy. Okay so the menu description here is: smokehouse burger: 1/3 pound angus burger with homemade BBQ, smoked bacon, white cheddar, crispy onion straws, lettuce, on a rustic bun.

 

A: It does look like a rustic bun. (laughs)

 

E: Oh boy it’s big. It’s slippery… Also, a lot of bacon today.

 

A: Go ahead, what did you think? It was just a burger. I can tell you thought there was something wrong with it.

 

E: There was way too much sauce.

 

A: Yeah, it was too sweet.

 

E: They’re calling it BBQ sauce, but to me it was ketchup.

 

A: And you talked about that sauce earlier. You referred to it as ketchup.

 

E: I liked the last one better though.

 

A: Oh you think this one was different?

 

E: I do, the black burger had a spicy kick to it and I thought it was in the sauce. But this one just tasted like way too much ketchup. I’m a snob about burgers. If I was ordering this for myself I would have skipped the tomato and lettuce. I don’t like the way that stuff sort of cooks in a burger and it always gets slippery. I wanted to mention how slippery it was with that piece of lettuce. So I always preferred McDonald’s to Burger King as a kid, I like the toppings at McDonald’s and I liked how it didn’t have the fake flame-grilled taste. To me this was a Burger King burger, like a Whopper that has all that lettuce and tomato that’s wilting. Its floppy.

 

A: Yeah it did taste like that, a fast food burger. But maybe a nicer fast food place like Sonic or something.

 

E: Well, Burger King always had onion rings too which McDonald’s didn’t. In my review I called it the “BK Ketchup Blast”.

 

A: The funny thing about that description is that they tried to give onion rings another name. What did they call it?

E: Yeah they were called onion straws. Maybe it’s an irregular onion ring.

 

A: Yeah, I think it was an onion ring. I called it  “Rustic Blooming Onion”

 

E: But you liked it okay, huh?

 

A: I mean it was just standard. It wasn’t anything spectacular. I wouldn’t probably eat something like that.

 

E: Do you eat burgers much?

 

A: Yeah, I’ll eat them.

 

E: I really like burgers, I don’t eat them a lot, they’re really unhealthy.  I ate a lot of them in the last month because I was traveling.

 

A: Yeah, I don’t eat them a lot.

 

E: So that’s the thing, when I eat one its gotta be good because I don’t wanna waste my burger points on crap. And I’ve had a lot of wasted burger points lately.

 

A: It was nothing special. It was more of a standard fast food burger. I ate a couple of bites of it because its something I don’t really give to myself, this kind of junky food.

 

E: I’ll pass on that one. My favorite is the soup and then maybe the veggie burger.

 

A: Well, we’re not done yet.

NBM

“Nuked Bread Mush”

E: Wait there’s two more, did he give us two of something? Oh, the portabella melt.

 

A: This is the mushroom one, lets see if these mushrooms compare to the mushroom soup. The bread doesn’t look too good.

 

E: I usually like this kind of bread.

 

A: I don’t know if it’s a good idea for a mushroom sandwich. But let’s see. Yeah, it’s soft.

 

E: (laughs)

 

A: My stomach hurts.

 

E: That sucked.

 

A: I don’t know if it was just that one bite that made my stomach hurt.

 

E: That was the worst one I’ve had I think.

 

A: Yeah, I mean I was comparing it to the soup in the beginning, wondering if it would stand up to it. It didn’t. It was more like a piece of bread that was waterlogged in soup or something. And for that reason I actually called it  “Lost Bread in Shroom Soup”

 

E: I called it “Nuked Salad Smoosh” because again, it reminded me of that thing I was just talking about with the Burger King. I don’t know what was in there but all these ingredients that should have been fresh were like cooked and stringy. And it was totally undersalted and the bread was just mush.

 

A: Mush, mush is a good word.

 

E: You like mush or smoosh?

 

A: Well I think “mush” room sandwich is good.

 

E: Okay I’ll call it “Nuked Salad Mush” then. I could taste mushroom, but that was about the only recognizable flavor other than bread. The rest was just this stringy, gross mass.

 

A: Yeah, I didn’t like it. It was not a good experience.

OOCL

“Old Oil Cheese Lake”

E: So hopefully we end on a high note with the chef’s special here. This is the grilled cheese… And its cheesy.

 

A: I think I’ve already had an overload of cheese here, I think that’s what’s hurting my stomach.

 

E: Are you lactose intolerant?

 

A: I must be. I don’t like so much cheese. And mostly I don’t like melted cheese so much. I like cheese that isn’t cooked, I prefer that. Is that weird?

 

E: I love cheese.

 

A: Is that a weird thing, to not like cooked cheese?

 

E: I love cheese… (groan) Another rough one for me.

 

A: “Cheese Lake Pizza Sandwich”

 

E: Is that what you called it?

 

A: Yeah.

 

E: I called it “Soggy Old Oil Cheese Paste” You know on a good grilled cheese, you taste the butter and its crispy. This, this tasted like they took oil out of the deep fryer and put it on the grill, it had a weird acrid burned flavor. To their credit, we ate this last and it probably would have been better if we’d ate it right away because the tomato just totally sogged it out.

 

A: Yeah and also I think the wrapping of these things make them more soggy also, it takes away their crisp.

 

E: I’m amazed how bad it was though. It seems like something that should be easy to pull off. You hated it?

 

A: Yeah, I can’t eat that kind of thing. It was just soggy. I called it a cheese lake.

 

E: I like that.

 

A: For me that’s just too much cheese.  Like anywhere you put it.

 

E: So you’re not going to save that?

 

A: It might get better as it gets harder. Not for me, but for my kids or something. You’re gonna throw it out?

 

E: Yeah. I’m throwing all this shit out.

 

A: I guess I shouldn’t take it because I’m going to make everyone in my household sick and I’m going to ruin dinner.

 

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One Comment

  1. EMAY
    Posted January 30, 2014 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    I suppose I never really took a position here on my thoughts about Food for Thought. I guess you can’t really blame them for what they are, a high volume food service corporation. Do I wish businesses like this didn’t exist? Sure, I will always support independently owned and run, creative, and locally minded small business.

    To their credit– there was a certain level of creativity involved in some of the menu items, the vegetarian sandwiches in particular, which were the best things we sampled. They had unique, fresh ingredients, and oddly more flavor than their meaty counterparts. You could do a lot worse than that sweet potato tempura sandwich or the veggie burger, reasonably priced, tasty, and nutritious lunch items. Most of the food seemed, at least partially made from scratch and most of the sandwiches were prepared fresh.

    You also have to acknowledge the demographic– cheap junk food like fries, pizza, and chicken fingers are what a lot of younger students will naturally gravitate towards, cheap, high calorie stuff familiar from high school cafeterias and fast food joints. Of course, we need to address the culture of pushing industrial, caloric rubbish on our youth. But at least FFT offers options.

    The real problem here is the go-with-the-corporate-flow protocol that SAIC seems to be continually moving towards. I’m pissed that they could not find a solution to manage more than one contract and keep Sonny’s business going in Columbus Drive alongside other independently owned businesses in the other facilities. You have to look up the bureaucratic ladder at the folks really making these decisions. You’d think that an art school would cater to an atmosphere of creativity. It would actually enhance their product to offer food made with consideration and a little bit of flair. They could sell themselves on it. Obviously those pulling the strings are not approaching this creatively and are clearly prioritizing the bottom line over the well being of the student population. Its just another institutional tale y’all…

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