Vuvox for my French project…take a look!

This project doesn’t have to do anything with the food on campus, but I used vuvox and wanted to share :)!

Final Project

Highlights:

  • All about the Organic Farm
  • Meet the faculty adviser and students in Crop Science 203

Winter quarter went by so fast!  I cannot believe it is the end, and finals are already next week.  As I was trying to come up with a really interesting story or news to write about for my final project, a fellow student in my Journalism 285 class mentioned the Organic Farm on campus.

The Farm is really pretty when the weather permits. On the way there, the views were so amazing!!

Cal Poly’s Organic Farm

I heard about the Organic Farm through Hope Hanselman.  She is in my multimedia journalism class, and told me her and her roommate order produce from the Organic Farm.

Check out Hope’s really cool blog as well! It’s: http://outrunslo.wordpress.com/

I decided to research more about the Organic Farm because I never knew it existed, and thought it was perfect for my last assignment!

Check it out!

Thanks so much for tuning into my blog these past 9-10 weeks!  Hopefully I will add new content during spring quarter!

What’s Good

Highlights:

  • VG’s Cafe
  • Dexter Subs & More
  • Asian food station
  • Sandwich Factory

Your Choice at Lunch

Everyone has their favorite spot to go when they’re hungry on campus.  Restaurants on campus and around the UU are always packed with students around 11 a.m. and later for dinner around 6 p.m.

A great place to eat if you are looking for a good sandwich is Dexter Subs & More.  It is not in the UU but next to the Art Building and Dexter Lawn.

Dexter Subs & More offers sandwiches, smoothies, salads and also has value meals which saves you dollar.

Dexter Subs is personally one of my favorite places to go for lunch, and my friends in the dorms love it!  The smoothies and sandwiches are really tasty, and it’s convenient to get Value Meal #3: half sandwich, smoothie, and chips for $7.00.  The downside is that Dexter Subs does not take meals so you have to use your plus dollars each time.

Another student who loves Dexter Subs is Laura Neylan.  “Specifically, I like the roasted turkey sandwich at Dexter Subs,” said Neylan.  She also prefers to use her plus dollars buying food and drinks at Jamba Juice in Poly Canyon and at Lucy’s Juice next door to Sandwich Factory.

Soups

Liberal Studies major, Laura Olson, thinks Campus Dining can definitely improve but has a couple favorite places to eat around campus. “I like the sandwiches at VG’s!  They have this really good pesto mayo in it,” said Olson.

“The soups are really good too!  My favorite is the chili.”  -Laura Olson

One of Olson’s favorite things to get for dinner is the soup.  She said it is really good, and her favorite is the vegetarian chili.

The Avenue, VG's, 19 Metro Station and Sandwich Factory all offer a soup of the day. One of Laura Olson's favorites is the chili pictured above.

Different Cuisines

The sandwiches on campus seem to be popular among most students, but do you dare try the ethnic food on campus?  Apparently, it’s not bad! Metro offers a Pan-Asian station which offers dishes such as imperial beef, orange chicken, chow mein and stir fry vegetables on a daily basis.

Another place you can find asian food at is VG’s.  I’ve heard students enjoy the fried rice bar which is offered in the middle of the week.  The workers cook it to order which is impressive, but slow.  First year Jordan Mason said he enjoys the fried rice dinner at VG’s the most.  “I also like the pepperoni or BBQ chicken pizza from BackStage, and the turkey sandwiches from Sandwich Factory.” said Mason.

 

Check out the restaurants mentioned above and see for yourself if they’re really good!

Dorm Room Snacks

Highlights:

  • Healthy recommended snacks for your room
  • Students’ choices
  • Marketing and PR Manager with the Cal Poly Corporation

Food for Your Room

Early morning classes and late night studying can make it difficult to eat healthy.  Loading up your dorm room with healthy foods is the perfect way to get in a healthy snack or meal when necessary.  The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has some helpful ideas for healthy snacking.

Healthy food ideas for snacking and meals:

  • Fruit (fresh, canned, or dried)
  • English muffins
  • Bagels an low fat cream cheese
  • Milk
  • Whole grain bread
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Peanut butter
  • Yogurt
  • Fruit/cereal bars
  • Pita with hummus
  • Fresh and frozen vegetables (carrots, celery, peppers, cucumbers, etc.)
  • Frozen burritos and frozen dinners
  • Soups
  • String cheese
  • Pretzels
  • Graham crackers
  • Frozen waffles

Here are some healthy snacking options for your dorm room. From left to right: bottled water, hummus, raw almonds, peanut butter, yogurt, granola, and fruit.

Students’ Food Choices for Their Dorm Room

Current dorm resident:

As I was sitting in my room thinking about this post, I was wondering if other students cared about what snacks they stalk up on for their dorm rooms.  I asked a first year student student who happens to be switching her major to nutrition, and a second year who lived in the dorms last year, and is now living in Poly Canyon Village.

Megan Bocchino is the first year student switching her major to nutrition.  Obviously she knows and cares about nutrition which is why she likes to keep healthy snacks in her dorm room.  “I keep those Babybel cheeses and multigrain crackers in my room.  I also have fruit such as grapes, but I do love chocolate covered pretzels.”

PCV resident and former dorm resident:

Poly Canyon Village is the new apartment development on campus students can apply to live in their second year.  Derek Koehler lived in the dorms last year, and is now residing in Poly Canyon Village (PCV).

“Nutrition is really important…I try to eat moderately healthy, but still foods that I enjoy.”  -Derek Koehler

In the dorms, Koehler said Chewy bars and Capri Suns were at hand for his morning classes.  He also kept Easy Mac (instant macaroni and cheese), a bag of baby carrots, healthy dressing for salads, and a case of water in his dorm room.  Koehler’s go-to food: Kiwi-Strawberry Snapple and orange Tic Tacs.  Now in PCV, Derek said he cooks more now that he and his suite mates have their own kitchen, where he makes steak and eggs.

It is not difficult to keep healthy snacks in your room.  You can go to the supermarket and buy healthy food, go to the campus market or village market in PCV, or even use your meal plan to buy things like the fruit and vegetable cups or yogurt.

A Word with Yukie Nishinaga

Yukie Nishinaga is the Cal Poly Corporation’s Marketing and PR Manager.  I first contacted Campus Dining by email, and asked to speak with a chef or whoever would agree to meet with me.  Campus Dining referred me to Nishinaga who is the Marketing and PR Manager as I said before, and I asked her if she could answer a few questions for me.  I emailed her times I was free to meet on a couple days of the week.  Unfortunately, the interview was conducted by email only.

Q. What’s your policy when people get sick?

A. No response back.

Q. Is there a popular item students favor or tend to buy most of at VG’s and/or Metro?

A. In this order: breafast burrito, turkey ranch sub, dinner comfort food, fresh salads, and the pasta bar.

Q. How come dining is at certain hours for each meal and how come we can’t use more than one meal at a time?

A. No response back.

Q. What are your nutrition standards?  Are there health measures or regulations you abide by?

A. The regular staff are Serv Safe Certified during their employment with Campus Dining if they aren’t already when hired.  We are also required to adhere to HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) which are maintaining temperature logs, storage of chemicals, food rotation, etc…

Q. How is the pasta cooked?  Who cooks the seafood and meat?  Are the vegetables fresh?

A. We cook the majority of our food in large kettles.  Our pasta is cooked in water then cooled with ice.

Unfortunately Nishinaga did not respond back to the question about what their policy is when people get sick, and how come dining is at certain hours and we can’t use more than one meal at a time.


Extra news…

Today I went to VG’s for dinner, and the food looked and tasted surprisingly better!  Check it out:

Tonight's dinner at VG's Cafe looked more appealing and tasted better than previously before. I had the grilled chicken and steamed vegetables.

 

Let me know if there’s something you want to hear about!!

Markets in San Luis Obispo

Grocery Shopping in Town

If you’re looking for a break from campus food, go to your local markets!  I love grocery shopping, and there are so many places to choose from.  There are local grocery stores, privately owned stores, and wholesale stores.  San Luis Obispo contains markets such as Ralphs, Albertsons, Costco, Smart & Final, and Trader Joe’s to name a few.  In addition, every Thursday at 6 p.m. there is a farmer’s market downtown.  It’s a great way for college students and local residents to buy fresh produce, eat food from an array of vendors, and view local entertainment/activities.  Campus Dining is not your only option; go into town today for fresh produce and other foods!

Make Use of Your Dorm Kitchen

Highlights:

  • Cooking in the dorms
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Suggestions for Campus Dining

Cooking in the Dorms

If you despise dining in the campus restaurants, an alternative option is cooking in your dorm kitchens!  It can be easy, fast, and at a low price.  My roommates and I were tired of always getting food at VG’s or Metro, so we decided to test out the kitchen one night.

Homemade popcorn! All you need are popcorn kernels, oil, and a pot with a lid.

We made a lot of popcorn which can be a healthy snack (homemade), and is easy to make!  We only ran into two  problems.  One, the kitchen didn’t have any pots with proper lids, so we had to improvise and use another pot as a lid.  Second of all, the fan didn’t work.  It was getting a little stuffy in the kitchen so we turned on the stove fan.  All it did was spread oil around the room which irritated our eyes.

The kitchens for the most part are perfect for a break from campus dining.  I have seen residents baking, cooking, and storing things for later in the large refrigerator/freezer.

Valentine’s Day

Today was Valentine’s Day, and a lot of students wanted to make it special for others.  First years J.J. Grube, Kelsey Kiley, and one of their friends decided to bake cookies for one of their friends in the dorms.

 

Kelsey Kiley and J.J. Grube baking cookies.

The trio went to the Campus Market and bought some “break and bake” cookies.

Immaculate Brand cookies from the Campus Market.

Baking with cookie dough like this is so simple anyone is capable of doing it.  It’s literally just placing it on the cookie sheet and it’s ready to bake.  

Other ideas to consider besides baking cookies are baking cupcakes, cooking pasta, heating up soup from a can, or making popcorn like I attempted to.

Ideas for Campus Dining

I asked Kelsey Kiley and J.J. Grube if they had any ideas or suggestions on how to improve Campus Dining. Kelsey and J.J. both said campus restaurants need VARIETY!  “I feel like I can only have pasta, a sandwich, or a salad.  They need more variety each night and within each station.  If they switched it up it would be better,” said Kiley.

“It sucks that you have to meet a quota for each meal and the number of meals each week or day. ” -J.J. Grube

Grube said he doesn’t like how we have a certain number of meals assigned to us, and each meal has a certain price limit.  In addition to that, not every place takes meals.  If the dining restaurants were to just take money you wouldn’t have to count meals, and it would give more variety.

Would you like to have unlimited meals everyday?

Audio for the First Time

Highlights:

  • Inside scoop on my first audio interview with Professor Kellogg
  • Word from his student

Audio with Professor Kellogg

Professor Bill Kellogg is the Department Head for the Agricultural Education and Communication Department at Cal Poly.  Professor Kellogg was nice enough to let me interview him about the Agriculture Department’s connection to campus dining and his thoughts on food and nutrition.

Food & Farm Facts courtesy of the Cal Poly Agriculture Department.

The provided Farm Facts sheet said 70% of food must be produced from improved technology.  I asked Dr. Kellogg if he thought this was the result of an unhealthy and obese America, but he thought otherwise.  He said it was more because of our eating habits and exercise.

“More exercise and good nutrition would be helpful.” -Professor Kellogg

According to Kellogg, if parents can install better eating habits and nutrition when their children are growing up, it will go a long way.  Today, more teenagers choose hamburgers and sodas which leads to obesity.

One of the last questions I asked Dr. Kellogg was whether the Agriculture Department produces food for the dining restaurants.  “We only produce the eggs.  Most of the food is grown by students and harvested at a certain time of the year,” said Kellogg.  Thus, due to the harvesting time, students are not always at school.

Student’s Opinion

Former student Mikaela Serafin, had recommended Professor Kellogg to me.  “He is a phenomenal educator that cares about his students and the Agriculture industry,” said Serafin, “and all the while puts his heart into everything.”  Mikaela is in the Agriculture Department as well, and said Kellogg would be perfect to interview about agriculture and nutrition questions. 


First Time with Audio

Capturing audio for the first time really broadened my interviewing competence.  It was easier to record someone’s voice compared to video, where you have to take into effect the rule of thirds, the background, and your proximity to your subject. The only extra noise was the handling noise on the recorder.  By hitting the stop and record buttons, there is loud clicking at the beginning and end.

Recorder from the Media Distribution Center.

I have learned it is a little easier for the person being interviewed, to be on audio rather than video.  It makes them a little less nervous and able to say what they want to say.

I am really excited to start editing the audio now that I have collected a few minutes worth of raw audio!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Late Night at VG Cafe

Photos by Kacy Tachibana, January 31, 2011

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Poly Compared to a UC and Private University

Highlights:

  • University of Southern California
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • Nutrition and Health

Who will Talk?

As I was thinking of new ideas for my next post, they all became unreachable.  It seems like no one would like to talk to a journalism major about nutrition on campus, or anything regarding campus dining for fear of their jobs.  My last post, the staff member at the Sandwich Factory said she liked her job and did not want her name posted, and yet again another staff employee has asked for his/her name to be anonymous.

I contacted this anonymous employee who is educated on the subject of nutrition.  His/her responses to my questions are as follows:

Q. Do students complain to you about the food?

A. I have not heard students complain about the food.

Q. Do you think it’s smart to ban fast food restaurants in San Luis Obispo?

A. No.  I wish these establishments would offer healthier food options.  They are businesses in our community that employ residents, so they contribute to the economic vitality of our community.

Q. Have you looked at the nutrition online, and what’s your opinion it?

A. I have not looked at the nutrition information online, but I think it is helpful to make people aware of what they are eating.  I am aware that many of the food items at all types of restaurants have more calories, fat, cholesterol and sodium than people think.

This anonymous employee also said he/she has not been in the dining halls, therefore, cannot comment on whether or not healthy and nutritious foods are being offered.

Questionable Changes

$4.00 and I am NOT lying when I say this is what I got when I opened the box...

It seems to be that the Campus Dining is constantly under change.  Sometimes for the good, and sometimes it takes a bad spin.  In the beginning of the year, the portions were HUGE.  Campus Dining must have gotten complaints because when I opened my to-go box one afternoon, the picture on the left truthfully shows what I found inside.  It was only $4.00 for plain pasta, but it was still a little upsetting to know this is what I get for paying for a meal plan.

I no longer order pasta because I feel ripped off, and the quality is not worth it either.  Students should not expect a five star restaurant, but don’t we deserve a little better?

Who would like to take the chance of getting sick off the food?  Is it smarter to direct your meals toward staple products such as water, milk, or juice?

Looking at the Finest

A lack of participation led me to the idea of comparing dining halls and their food between Cal Poly, a UC, and a private university.  The food at Cal Poly is definitely not the best; it’s manageable, but could vastly be improved.  After going home for the Winter Break, I learned how far off our dining is in quality compared to other schools.  The top cafeterias I have heard great things about are at the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles.

“Campus food is better than I expected, and there’s a pretty decent variety.  There are a lot of vegetarian food options [I’m vegetarian] and it seems relatively healthy.  The desserts are definitely the best part!” -UCLA student Anjali Mehta.

There are a couple vegetarian options available to students. Photo courtesy of Anjali Mehta

 

Chefs prepare the meals and appealingly display the food options for the day.  As a first year Bruin, Anjali Mehta is so far content with the food options, being vegetarian as she is.  There are salad options and different entrees available that cater to everyone including vegetarians.

Mehta also said the food is healthy, and you can check the nutrition facts on each day’s entrees served.

Glancing over some of the entrees, it is clear that majority of the menu items are healthier than the same choices offered at Cal Poly.  For example:

UCLA cheese pizza= 225 calories, 250 mg sodium, and 27 g of carbs

Cal Poly cheese pizza= 325 calories, 777 mg sodium, and 41 g of carbs

USC

Similar to UCLA, the University of Southern California has extraordinary dining as well.  Online, the USC Hospitality website provides information on campus dining.  One of the dining restaurants called EVK Restaurant and Grill, apparently is not a favorite among Trojan students, but seems rather similar to our very own, VG’s Cafe.  “EVK is also known as Evil Kitchen according to students,” said USC history major Julia Kirchhofer.  A lot of students call it the Evil Kitchen for some of its unappealing dishes.  USC promotes EVK as a restaurant with fine cuisine from all over the world, with an outdoor barbeque and indoor and outdoor seating.

Chef Francisco at USC. Photo courtesy of Julia Kirchhofer

Kirchhofer may not enjoy EVK as much, but has said to be enjoying the other food options available.  She and other students can choose from USC engraved waffles to fresh burgers on the grill to a Korean glazed pot roast.

All meals are prepared by chefs catering to students’ tastes.  The dining atmosphere seems friendly and high quality.  USC is a private school, so it is assumed that their dining is nicer than most.  Although, I don’t expect top of the business chefs to be hired at Cal Poly.  It just seems it would be nice for an upgrade in our dining restaurants.

I know it is hard to satisfy every student’s taste, but so many students complain about the quality.  Who is in charge of mandating what is cooked every day each week for students?

Going back to EVK at USC, it sounds very similar to metro as well, but the food looks nothing in comparison.

Food from EVK considered not as good. Photo courtesy of Julia Kirchhofer

 

Apparently, the food shown is not very good, although, do those vegetables not look fresher than the ones offered at VG’s and Metro??  I know my vegetables have never looked that fresh, and always have some bizarre seasoning coated on them.

Upgrade Please!

New changes in the menu, or however the food is prepared would greatly enhance the quality in the food.  I think I speak for numerous students when I say, upgrade please!!

Any ideas?  Comment on how you think campus food should be changed, follow another campus’ dining, or remain the same.

Setting the Facts Straight

Spotlight: Ricky Franklin

  • Major: Business Finance
  • Year: 2012
  • Job: 19 Metro Express

Q & A with Ricky Franklin

Third year Ricky Franklin works at 19 Metro Express.

Ricky Franklin is a third year, who says he has not been pleased by articles from the Mustang Daily.  He works at 19 Metro Express, and would like to set a few things straight.

Q. What has the Mustang Daily said about campus food?

A. The Mustang Daily said there is no nutritional value in the food options, therefore, we are putting the customer at a disadvantage.  Although, as you can see, there are parfaits and fruit and vegetable cups available.

Q. Did you like the food when you were a freshman?

A. Here’s what I thought my first year:

Fall Quarter: loved the food
Winter Quarter: slowly getting sick of it
Spring Quarter: I hated it

I know it’s really hard though for Campus Dining to provide food for everyone.

“It’s impossible to offer food that satisfies someone’s taste all year long.”  -Ricky Franklin

Q. Do you know of any health precautions Campus Dining enforces?

A. Yeah, they are big on cleanliness.  I know the cooks wear hats or hair nets, and gloves.  The food is under temperature control, and everything is dated so nothing can go bad.

Q. Have you noticed a trend in what students prefer to buy?  Do they go for the healthier snacks?

A. No, a lot of people buy the cookies and candy.  More people would rather get a cookie with their extra money than something healthy.  The fruit cups are the most popular out of the healthy snacks, but on average more cookies are sold.

*It also does not help that the baked goods and candies are in baskets right next to the register.  This is tempting, and easy to grab when you have a few extra dollars to spend.

Q. Who prepares the baked goods and pre-made food?

A. The Cal Poly Campus Dining prepares it all.  They make and package the baked goods and all the fruit cups too.

Isn’t it reassuring to hear all the baked goods are made on campus?  The good news is that the package labels show the treats are made with the basics: sugar, flour, salt, chocolate etc.  It seems as though Campus Dining tries to incorporate healthier food options out in the dining halls with the fruit cups and parfaits.  Unfortunately, with the temptation of cookies and chocolate bars lingering around the cash register, who wouldn’t want to grab one?

Confirmed: it’s fresh

Ricky is not the only one displeased with dining rumors.  The question seems to be, who is creating them?  A worker at the Sandwich Factory (who has asked to be anonymous), confirms that there is a bake shop.

Here is the short conversation I had with the worker before she walked away…

Q. Where does the food come from?

A. The baked goods are from the bake shop downstairs or we do get some of it from Edna’s Bakery.  And the produce is from a local wholesaler called All About Produce; it comes fresh everyday.

*Where “downstairs” is, I need to check up on…

Q. Are there nutrition standards?

A. Nutrition is posted online, so students can view it there.

And the anonymous worker said I would need to talk to a manager or PR personnel for answers on health and other nutrition.

One type of cookie students can find on campus.

The picture on the left is one of the baked goods Cal Poly bakes on campus.  These giant cookies are offered in other types such as white chocolate macadamia nut, chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, carnival (M&M’s), and peanut butter.  Other popular baked goods are mini bread loaves one can find at the Sandwich Factory.

Students and Nutrition

The nutritional facts for some campus food can be found online.  Here are a few:

19 Metro Station
BackStage Pizza
Starbucks Coffee
Curbside Grill
The Avenue

Although it is viewable online, would it not be more beneficial for students to see it in the restaurants themselves?  If they are present there, more students can make healthier decisions on what they eat.

“I had no clue about the nutritional information.” -Jessica Bulletset

Jessica Bulletset and Carrie Glaser are prime examples of students who never look at nutrition facts and sometimes have no idea they are even available.  Jessica is a third year and majoring in the School of Agriculture.  “I liked certain places as a freshman, but I ate a lot of salads and stuff since you can’t really make a salad taste gross you know?  Salads are what I spent my meals on,” said Bulletset.  Carrie Glaser is a first year graphic design major, who likes to spend her plus dollars at Starbucks.  “I usually get plain black coffee because you get it right away, not because I know it’s nutrition facts.  As for the pastries, I like getting a lemon poppyseed scone or the lemon bread.  I never look at the nutrition, but I expect the scones and muffins to be high in calories but not in fat,” said Glaser.

As I searched for what other students knew in regards to nutrition, I found a couple more ignorant students.  Both fourth years and Biomedical engineers, Daniel Goyhenetche and Stephen Giacomazzi knew nothing about the nutrition facts their first year.  The duo also share the fact that they lived off campus their first year, but definitely got a taste of the campus food.  “My friend would buy me food on campus, I loved the Milano cookies, but they don’t sell those anymore.  And I used to get the pasta with meat sauce for dinner.  I never knew the nutrition, but I know a lot more students complained about the food compared to those who liked it,” said Goyhenetche.  “It was something about not enough variety,” said Giacomazzi, “whereas UCLA has chefs and buffets in their dining halls.”

It seems reasonable to say that most of the students don’t look at the nutrition online.  Do you think if it was visible in the campus restaurants, students would change their decisions on which foods to buy?