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A Trip Through the Woods

By Patrick McAuliffe

Here we go, making our way around the Brain, sampling the local cuisine. I’ve grown to enjoy this because it gets me out there, seeing the sights of campus. Granted, I dread the many trips up to Mountainview next month. In the winter, too! The things I do for you, Binghamton Review.

This month, I frequented College-in-the-Woods’ dining hall. It was rather convenient because it was close to my classes in the Engineering Building. (Weird that I’m not even an engineering major. Farthest from it, in fact.) All the trails through the woods to get there were also mildly exciting. Brought me back to my Boy Scout days.

Anyways, the actual place. The hours seem a bit inconvenient. The whole thing closes at 7:00pm, and until Night Owl opens, the Woods Diner is just an extremely overpriced convenience store. Actually, it still is during Night Owl. Opening at 7:00am is definitely good for weekdays to give us time for breakfast, but on weekends they just assume that everybody will sleep in super late, opening at 11:30am. The sun has nearly set by that time!

Because my schedule doesn’t coincide with these hours, I’ve never visited CIW for breakfast, although I have heard legends of their chocolate chip pancakes. However, I have formed an opinion on the other meal times. The selection at first seems like there is a wide variety to choose from, but with both food allergies and a refined taste to worry about, I didn’t end up visiting many of the stations. The flatbread pizza just looks unappetizing, and everything else has either an insufferable line (tl;dw) or consists of vegetables and salad. In the words of Ron Swanson, when asked if he wanted salad by Chris Traeger, “Since I am not a rabbit, no I do not.” But hey, if greens are your nourishment of choice, CIW may be for you.

The best station at CIW is, in this writer’s humble opinion, the Grill. My go-to meal there is Mac and Cheese (which is literally the ambrosia of the gods), baked beans (which have grown on me, largely with CIW’s help), and sometimes, if I feel like getting sauce stuck in my mustache, some chicken wings. Totally worth it, though. Those are damn good wings.

On to dining accessories. Something that bothers me about this dining hall is that there are no lids for the fountain drink cups. Maybe I just couldn’t find them. If they, in fact, do not exist, however, I would like to formally request them. They are much needed. The silverware and trays should be in a more central location instead of right at one of the entrances to the food stations. I forget and walk past them every time. They just sneak up on you.

My final summary of CIW dining hall: On your first visit, the layout of the dining hall might disorient you and you may not see where everything is. A must-have delicacy of theirs is the Mac and Cheese, and pretty much anything at the Grill, but there are plenty of options if you feel like giving your colon and arteries a break. The cashiers, depending on the day, are slightly cheerier than the average cashier, but none stand out. The eating area is nicely self-contained, although it may be a bit too cozy for maneuvering with large backpacks and other such things.

Next month, I’ll be making the trek to Mountainview. I’ve been rarely so far this year, but I don’t have high hopes for the Deli. It was an unpleasant Sodexual encounter.

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