Living on Campus for 2 years straight I started to learn the ins and outs of the dining hall. My friends and I picked up on little tricks here and there that really got the most of our campus dining experience, and I know they will for you too! Here are 10 campus dining hacks every Berklee freshman should know- trust me you’ll be glad you tried them!
1. Buy A Caf Take Out Container
Whether you have a super busy schedule or just don’t feel like eating in the caf that day having a take out container can be a lifesaver. You can purchase one from the check-in section at the front of the caf for I believe $5, but I totally think it’s worth a purchase. Sometimes I knew that I wanted to concentrate on my work and eat lunch, so I would bring my to-go container to the caf and fill it up with everything I needed, then brought it to my dorm room. Other times I ate in the caf with my friends but brought my container with me to fill up after around the time we would leave so I would have food for later in the night.
2. Try The Warm Cookies
One of the staple items the Berklee Caf has to offer is their cookies. Whether they are sugar, chocolate chip, or oatmeal raisin that day, there is a popular cookie hack that could make your dessert experience a little better. By inserting the cookies into the toaster machine they will come out feeling like they just were baked in the oven. In all honesty, the cookies stay out for a while and could be a little stale by the time you get to them, so this for sure one of Berklee students’ favorite dining hacks.
3. Arrive At The Caf Early
Now, this is not really a hack but a great piece of advice. Though it might seem obvious if you want to get a seat, it took my friends and me a while to know what time to arrive at the caf if we wanted our group to get a table. Especially if you are an incoming freshman and do not really know what to expect out of how busy the caf can actually get, take a picture of the cafeteria’s schedule and plan to arrive there about 10 minutes before they open for the next course. Especially if you are planning on being a party of 5 this is going to ensure you are not waiting around for a seat. There will even be times when you by yourself will have trouble finding a seat, so this tip is useful for both situations.
4. D.I.Y. Peanut Butter and Jelly
There were many times in my two years of dining at the caf that the food was just not doing it for me that day. Sometimes I just was not interested in the food offerings, and those nights turned into PB&J nights. I would get bread from the bread station and take the Peanut butter and Jelly from the salad toppings station, and fixed myself my own dinner. This came in clutch many times and my little hack even rubbed off on my friends when they also were not interested in the caf’s food of the day.
5. Bring Refillable Containers
Along with the to-go containers, bringing your own refillable water bottle is really a great idea. I noticed when I filled my water bottle in the morning at breakfast I would drink it throughout the day and noticed my water intake increased. Remembering to bring your water bottle will really be a good idea, especially if you are wanting to stay hydrated throughout the day. You do not have to fill it with water either as there are many drink options at your disposal.
6. On The Run?… Get A Sandwich To Go!
Another one of the dining hacks I picked up on along the way was taking advantage of the convenience of the sandwich bar. On days where I was in between classes, and even filling my to-go container would take a little too much time, the sandwich station really helped me out. You can ask the cafeteria staff to wrap up the sandwich, and in as quick as 5 minutes you can make your own sandwich with whatever you want on it and take it to go.
7. Use The Salad Bowls For Cereal
You might see some caf veterans doing this little hack on your way to the cereal station. If you don’t catch on, this is something my friends and I would do on days when we didn’t want the caf food and we didn’t want to eat another peanut butter and jelly. Using the salad bowls instead of the very small bowls that are supposed to be used for cereal can save you that extra trip to the cereal station. Carrying the bowl upstairs might be a struggle, but I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it.
8. Visit Every Berklee Dining Hall
All of these hacks have been directed toward eating in Berklee’s main dining hall in 16o. I definitely recommend checking out the other two dining halls Berklee has to offer. Cafe 24 located on 24 Fenway ended up being one of my favorite spots to eat. They offer a large array of menu items the 160 cafeteria does not have. Their salads are soo good you can get anything in them. The lemon honey caesar dressing is a must-try! On the other side of Berklee is Cafe 939, located on 939 Boylston street and changes its theme every year. Over the years they have gone from a smoothie and sandwich shop to Chipotle-style Mexican food. I love the atmosphere in Cafe 939 and the food is good too. All of these places will take your Berklee meal swipes!
9. Cafe 24 Secret Menu Item: Grilled Cheese
One of the great things about trying the different dining halls is that you can eat food you normally would not get at the caf. For example, one secret menu item at Cafe 24 is the grilled cheese sandwhich. Made on a large square flatbread, this definitely was one of my favorite things to get on days where I ate there. Another convenient thing about Cafe 24 is the fact that they have bags and containers where you can take your food to go with no problems.