Food Review: Mines’ Slate Cafe

Students may have noticed changes at Slate Café. This fall, Sodexo took over the campus dining at Mines from Aramark, and the changes are evident in more than the food. On the campus dining website, csmdiningservices.com, diners can find this week’s menu, a nutrition calculator for all the entrées, and send feedback or recipe suggestions.

In the spirit of CSM’s “Earth-Energy-Environment” motto, Sodexo maintains a “green” initiative with its waste, energy use, and food sourcing policies. Trays are not used, napkins are from recycled material, and the food products are bought from local businesses.

Slate boasts mostly flavorful cuisine, to the delight of the hundreds of students that eat there. Breakfast never disappoints, with the choice of a traditional eggs, hashbrowns, sausage or bacon, and pancake or waffle breakfast. Cold cereal, oatmeal, the omelet bar, and sausage egg biscuits are all delicious options and diners should try the Belgian waffle maker as well.

For lunch and dinner, students have the choice of eating from the grill, deli, classics, heart healthy cuisine, salad bar, international sauté, or pizza sections. The grill offers the choice of hamburgers, quesadillas, or grilled cheese with fries. The deli has many options for bread, meat, and fillings for sandwiches; similarly, the salad bar offers a variety of greens and dressings. Also, the adventurous can try the soup of the day. The international sauté has mostly Italian pasta but also makes a variety of ethnic dishes. Classics has meals like meat loaves, pot pies, and dishes from other cultures. If none of that entices diners, there is always pizza. The pizza bar usually has pepperoni and cheese joined by the occasional Canadian bacon or meat varieties. A healthier choice is the thin crust pizza with bruschetta. There are also breadsticks and sauce for a side.

Chocolate milk is one popular beverage option, but Slate also has a full fountain of Pepsi products, fruit juice, ordinary milk, coffee, and a cappuccino/hot cocoa maker. Water with fresh fruit is a new addition. Baked goods are available for dessert, and there is a soft serve ice cream machine and a cooler with delicious strawberry ice cream, sherbet, and frozen yogurt.

As in past years, there is still plenty of criticism for Slate. Although it offers a heart healthy cuisine section, there are still not many options for vegetarian or vegan students. There has been an infusion of vegetables into entrées to encourage students to eat healthier, but for those seeking wide variety, there is still a void. Students have also expressed a desire for more fresh fruit. Sometimes, strange dishes make diners wonder exactly they are eating and sometimes they are fooled into thinking a meal is something it is not. Chicken nuggets covered in hot sauce masquerading as Italian meatballs is one example.

Although Mines has changes its campus dining service provider, Slate still has the same warm atmosphere and friendly employees. The meals are also an upgrade from past years which makes Slate the best place to eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner on campus.

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