Mines Market Life Hacks

How to get the most out of the unrelenting chaos.

If you’re a freshman with one of the larger meal plans, or anyone who frequents Mines Market, you’ve probably figured out by now that the meal selection on the weekends is pretty low. This is why you need to employ an effective strategy to find something you’d like.

Now, the sandwich bar, salads, cereal, and waffles are almost always open. If you go at an odd time and there’s not much food out, don’t forget those options exist. Lunch starts at 11am (or noon on the weekends) and dinner at 5pm. About a half an hour after that is when there’s the most food out. Arriving after 2pm but before 5pm is usually a bad idea, you usually only have access to the always-open options.

If you’re low on meal swipes, you could always bring in your own Tupperware containers… haha just kidding… unless… *wink*. On the flip side, if you have extra meal swipes and need to find a way to use them, getting a to-go box full of ice cream is definitely feasible. And, once a month, usually on a Friday, at lunch time you can donate a meal swipe to Fighting Hunger at Mines to go to a fellow hungry Oredigger. These swipes are turned into vouchers and can be found in Blaster’s Basket in the Student Center. If you’d like to donate, the next meal swipe drive will be held on Friday, March 20th from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. in the entryway of Mines Market.

On this note, Mines Market doesn’t seem to care if you walk in with outside food. I brought in 2 dozen donuts once and none of the staff even batted an eye.

Here’s some advice from your fellow Orediggers:

  • “When in doubt… pizza it out.” (The pizza is one of the most consistent options in Mines Market.)
  • “If global chef is closed, you might as well leave.” (Global Chef is known for having good variety.)
  • “If you see a long line at the sandwich shop, it’s a rough day at Mines Market” (When none of the options look good, students often turn to the sandwich station.)

If you’re having trouble finding something you like, the sandwich zone is almost always open (after 10:30am I think?). There’s a lot of customizability there, and you can get a wrap or sliced bread instead of a mini-loaf. However, every sandwich has to be overflowing with toppings when it is made, so a lot of the sandwiches with lettuce end up as an open-faced sandwich.

If you’re looking for a healthy option from the salad bar, you can get a veggie wrap, with cheese, lots of lettuce and spinach, and any veggies you like. Then add hummus as a dressing. They’re pretty tasty, and they store well in the fridge without hummus and untoasted.

Hidden back in the corner between Classics and Grill Works is another breakfast station, the gluten free corner. If you don’t like the 4 cereal options available in the main area, you can check for more flavors in this area. This doubles the choices available, but just be sure not to bring over any gluten!

Only a few steps away you can get any type of soda your heart desires. But, are you tired of the dozens of drink choices from multiple types of beverage dispensers? There are only 39 different choices, how could that be enough? You can always create a “suicide”, a drink with every type of soda in the soda machine from it. I would recommend making your own drink. In the soda machine nearest Grill Works, you can get carbonated water labeled as “soda” from the mountain dew dispenser. Then, add some juice, lemonade, tea or vitamin water from the other dispensers to make a fizzy drink that only has half the sugar but still a lot of flavor. My personal favorite recipe is ½ soda water, ½ orange passionfruit guava juice, with a splash of cranberry juice and a bit of lemonade on top.

Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, the ice cream bar is nearby. Have you ever wanted a milkshake, but haven’t found the secret hidden blender in Mines Market? You can make a DIY milkshake by putting a bunch of ice cream in a cup, adding milk, and then stirring it really hard. Disclaimer: your results may vary with this one, it’s really not the best way to make anything remotely resembling a milkshake.

Tired of the 4 basic coffee options from the Nescafe coffee machine? You can try an affogato, hot coffee or espresso over a scoop of ice cream. It’s like a coffee float, or if you wait long enough, cool and creamy coffee. Now in the mornings this doesn’t work as well, unless you’re brave enough to open the ice cream cart and use a dry scoop, but I can assure you, it can be done. If the ice cream scoops were left out, does that mean the ice cream is free game?

Nearby is the pasta bar. If you’re like me, and only like white sauces, you know they’re not there all the time. Lifehack: bring your own sauce! Bring in a whole jar and share with your friends. Or, just use the copious amounts of oil already on the pasta, add some parmesan and fresh ground pepper from the salad bar and use that as your pasta topping.

Venturing upstairs with your food is a safe bet, it’s usually the quietest area of Mines Market. However, it has some mystic qualities that seem to work against the students. Beware the upstairs lack of cups – or overflow of cups. They’re never there when you need them and always there when you remember to bring up your own cup.

Nonetheless, there’s usually quite a few options available, if you just know where to look. If you’re someone who frequents Mines Market, I’d encourage you to make sure you’re exploring all of your options and attempting to eat a healthy variety of foods.

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