Campus cook off: Comparing Marquis Culinary Centre and Choices

By in Culture

While there’s no lack of food options on campus, few establishments operate on the level that the Marquis Culinary Centre and Choices do. So, I took it upon myself to stage a cafeteria competition.

The Marquis Culinary Centre is one of the largest food services on campus, providing three meals a day every weekday — as well as brunch and dinner on weekends. They serve an impressive menu that changes daily and can accommodate a wide range of dietary needs. For $11.99, you can choose from an array of food from the Marquis buffet. The buffet includes several hot entrees, soups, types of noodles and sides of vegetables, as well as a deli line where you can create your own sandwich or wrap.

For this review, I tried their chickpea, tomato and mushroom soup, along with the entrees of the day — namely, herb and garlic chicken and a Mediterranean “catch of the day.” Though both options were fresh and filling, Marquis was also serving cheese and Italian sausage pizzas that proved to be a casual but fulfilling alternative for the less adventurous.

It’s important to be serious about the quality of your campus cafeterias.

Marquis also had an impressive array of vegan and vegetarian options. For example, they offered lemon-rice pilaf, roasted vegetables, basil-roasted tomatoes and nacho chips with rice that were all delicious and could stand as full meals on their own. Overall, the quality, freshness and options available at Marquis are enough to please just about anyone.

The other cafeteria mainstay on campus is Choices in St. Thomas More College. Though smaller than Marquis, it’s a superb alternative. They serve breakfast and lunch every weekday, costing STM students $9 and other students $10 for the buffet. Despite the fact that Choices is a smaller operation than Marquis, they manage to maintain quality fare.

Like Marquis, Choices also has a buffet-style focus, so their smaller portion sizes are not much of an issue. Furthermore, Choices has, well, choices that can please almost anyone. Between their burgers, chicken drumsticks and roast beef, it’s hard not to like their menu. The bacon, ranch and pork pizza that I tried was a surprisingly good take on a standard dish. Additionally, Choices was also serving delectable mashed potatoes and a quality rice medley as alternatives to their meat-based mains.

Despite stuffing my face full of everything from the Choices buffet, I still made room for dessert. The brownies and carrot cake felt homemade and were a great end to a satisfying meal. To be honest, prior to this outing, I had never tried Choices, and I was pleasantly surprised by the elegance and simplicity of the buffet — I’ll definitely be going back soon!

Choices and Marquis offer two very different experiences and atmospheres that benefit students in different ways. For instance, Marquis offers striking dishes from all over the world, making you reconsider what you think a cafeteria can do. Moreover, Marquis’s menu challenges you to try new meals, while still allowing you to remain within your comfort zone if you want to.

Undoubtedly, Choices offers a more subtle and relaxed take on campus food, but it does not disappoint. At the very least, the options at Choices reminded me of the comforts of a home-cooked meal. You know what you are going to get with their familiar menu items.

It’s clear that there’s a compelling argument for both establishments. However, don’t take my advice — try them both out, and see which one is more to your liking!

Blake Graham

Photo: Shirley Charles