Smoothies, kombucha, truffle salt, oh my! Dining halls dazzle with trendy food items

A smoothie bar with spinach, frozen strawberries and yogurt.
Malott Dining Commons’ smoothie bar is back and will be available at breakfast Monday through Friday, according to dining manager Garrick Hisamoto. (Talia Bernstein • The Student Life)

Dole whip worshippers and cold brew fanatics, rejoice! Since the start of the 2019-2020 school year, student favorites have filtered into campus dining halls, delighting returners across the 5Cs.

From veggie-forward options to frozen favorites, dining hall staff have stepped up their game since last semester. Changes include allergy-friendly updates to Frank Dining Hall and Frary Dining Hall; a smoothie bar, kombucha, cold brew and a new vegan station at Malott Dining Commons; a spice bar and expanded salad bar at Hoch-Shanahan Dining Commons; a herbivore station at McConnell Dining Hall and a new soft serve machine at Collins Dining Hall.

 

Frank and Frary

Pomona College dining is making changes to better accommodate students with allergies

Frank will soon become the first peanut- and tree nut-free 5C dining hall, according to general manager Jose Martinez. 

The dining hall will complete its four-week cycle menu next week, then replace peanut butter and other items with alternatives such as sun butter, a sunflower seed-based option, Martinez said.

Martinez believes this will address continued student requests to provide more allergy-free options and minimize the risk of contamination.

Martinez added that Pomona updated the menu pages on its website to make it easier for students to find detailed information about each meal’s menu, including ingredients, calories and allergens.

Pomona also tweaked its menu to add more vegan and vegetarian items, and dining hall staff are considering implementing Meatless Mondays at both dining halls in the spring, Martinez said.

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Malott

Malott’s smoothie bar is back and will be available at breakfast Monday through Friday, according to dining manager Garrick Hisamoto. 

Hisamoto also implemented a “total refresh” of Malott’s “Simple Servings” station, which provides healthy and local allergen-free options.

“The school recognized the importance and popularity of the station last year and decided to just really go all in and make it a great station that really can showcase what Scripps is about,” he said. 

A new “Power Bowl” option — another response to student feedback — serves a similar purpose but with vegan options, Hisamoto said. Dining hall staff are still tweaking this station based on student feedback and will make it more interactive.

 

Hoch-Shanahan

At Harvey Mudd College, students can now flavor their meals with restaurant-worthy seasonings including several varieties of salt — saffron and truffle, to name a few. 

“In the spirit of innovation, and to implement suggestions from students, we thought it would be fun to add some spice [literally] to our menu,” general manager Miguel Ruvalcaba said in an email.

Hoch-Shanahan also expanded its salad bar.

“We wanted to alleviate our food lines and add the possibility of new stations to feature hot and cold items,” Ruvalcaba said. “We also wanted to offer a staple menu that would always feature some key menu items to provide a source of protein as well as comfort and reliability for our students.”

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McConnell

At Pitzer College, dining staff have introduced a plant-based herbivore station on Mondays in response to student requests to “bring attention to more plant-forward eating,” manager Toni Morbitt said via email.

Groups of Pitzer students have campaigned for “Green Mondays” or “Meatless Mondays” at the dining hall, and McConnell staff are “open to revisiting the conversation” about these separate campaigns, according to Morbitt.

To reduce traffic in the dining halls, McConnell dining staff have also tried “moving queue lines to improve guest flow” by switching the location of food stations “so people at the salad bar can access the food easily,” Morbitt said. 

In an effort to provide more work-study jobs on campus, McConnell also hired one student worker, who will help serve lunch and dinner, but has not yet begun work, Morbitt said.

 

Collins

At Claremont McKenna College, students can now find pineapple Dole Whip non-dairy soft serve along with the bulk ice cream in Collins, according to Pam Franco, the Bon Appetit General Manager at CMC. The non-GMO, gluten-free dessert is best known as a fan-favorite treat at Disney theme parks.

Collins staff has also increased its labeling at all food stations, replaced bulk peanut butter with prepackaged peanut butter and now offers gluten-free bagels, Franco said via email. Additionally, they’ve started preparing entrees with a made-from-scratch au jus instead of heavier gravies, which contain to flour, to accommodate gluten-sensitive students.

This article was last updated Oct. 2 at 4:34 p.m.

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