My, and soon to be your, food obsessions

by Claire Zhu

Tired of eating the same food time and again? Follow along with me to discover the hidden world of food UCLA has to offer. Here are some of my favorite food options to explore — both on the Hill and on campus!

Bruin Café

Every week, I get through my classes and homework for the shining meal that is B-Café’s Wednesday special: baked chicken wings. No joke, it’s the only food I eat on Wednesdays. At 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., I’ll place my orders for two boxes of chicken. Although there are barbecue and buffalo options, my favorite style is plain. With a little bit of salt, the chicken is absolutely delicious, with crispy, golden skin and tender, juicy meat. When choosing sides, go for the potato option (wedges or curly fries) which are flavorful, slightly spicy and an amazing complement to the subtle chicken flavor. With six wings and a side in each box, one order per meal period is enough to satisfy, but I’m so addicted that I order enough to save up for a rainy day.

Hands down, the best smoothie on the Hill is the Strawberry Sensation, made with strawberries, apple-strawberry juice and nonfat frozen yogurt. It’s the perfect blend of refreshing and sweet, with a cool consistency that is both light and hearty. You can drink it before class, after a nice workout or as a nightcap.

The pastries at B-Café are also massively underrated, with special items like apple turnovers, pumpkin muffins and cupcakes. Particularly, the cheese danish has the flakiest, most buttery pastry and a subtle, sugary filling.

The Drey

Tucked out-of-the-way between Olympic and Centennial Halls, the Drey offers a variety of microwaveable and hot packaged foods that can be very convenient if you’re in a rush. The highlight of their selection is the salmon teriyaki bento box on Wednesdays and Fridays. Part of the joy is the wood-decorated, lacquered paper boxes that the food comes in, but the saucy pieces of fish, little dumplings and greens are enjoyable in and of themselves.

Kerckhoff Coffee House, Jimmy’s Coffee House, Café 451

If you’re looking for coffee houses on campus with nice atmospheres, check out Kerckhoff, Jimmy’s and Café 451. They all offer a variety of drinks on their menu, and since the prices are listed, you can optimize your swipe with added pastries. My go-to order is an iced, decaf white chocolate or caramel latte with almond milk: just the shot of sweetness I need to get through my afternoon classes.

Epic at Ackerman

Sometimes simple is best, and the Caesar salad at Epic is, well, epic. The lettuce is always crisp and refreshing, topped with crunchy croutons, flavorful dressing and flakes of parmesan cheese. Pro tip: get it with chicken, which comes juicy and hot on a skewer, or salmon, which is equally delicious and perfectly complements the rest of the salad.

My other go-to order from Epic at Ackerman is the tre funghi pizza, which has mozzarella, roasted mushrooms and parsley on top. It easily beats out all the other items on the pizza and pasta menus, oozing with umami and warmth, fresh out of the oven. Even the leftovers are voraciously gobbled up; my floor-mates always snatch up cold slices and pieces of the chewy, pillowy crust.

Northern Lights Café

A spot that might be unknown to South Campus students, Northern Lights offers a host of specials that can’t be found anywhere else at UCLA. The poke bowl costs two swipes; you can either get more protein to total up the full amount, or the regular size and have $5 left over to stack with desserts (I suggest trying the ube and pandan crinkle cookies). The tuna poke is the best, with a combo of warm white rice, greens like cucumbers and onions, fresh fish and, my personal preference, substituting cilantro for seaweed salad.

A statistics student friend of mine is obsessed with the Northern Lights spicy chicken panini and often makes the trek to North Campus to get it between classes. The chicken is just slightly spicy but very juicy, and it has fluffy, toasted bread and caramelized onions that add the optimal amount of sweetness. Top that off with a pickle on the side for the final salty bite you need.

Featured Image Photographed by Kate Sanchez/BrunLife Photo Studio

You may also like