Shaker Heights, K-12
One of the best menus I sampled, with chicken stir-fry over Asian noodles or rice and a delectable baked egg roll. The salad bar featured organic baby greens or spinach with tofu chunks, veggies and from-scratch tabbouleh, as well as hummus with whole-wheat pita. Herbs often come from the school’s garden. Milk, water and 100 percent juices were joined by cappuccino, hot chocolate and chai tea.
Located in HB’s newest wing, it’s more ski lodge than cafeteria, with a fireplace, carpeted floors and tall windows looking out over a gorgeous wooded scene. Upbeat music and lots of friendly laughter made it a place I wanted to hang out at for a while.
While many of the old college-food mainstays remain — from doughnuts to french fries — the longest lines were found at the Mongolian Grill, where I tried a made-to-order stir-fry with shrimp, fresh snow peas, sprouts, broccoli and a spicy orange-ginger sauce. Elsewhere students could choose made-to-order whole-grain pastas, soups, sandwiches and wraps, and vegetarian options such as tempeh, tofurkey and vegan franks. I finished off my meal with an enormous helping of chocolate trifle, making me remember why I gained the freshman 15.
The typical white-haired lunch ladies cranked through packs of busy students while a student started an impromptu jazz number on the dining hall’s piano. B-W’s David Jensen is hoping for a renovation at the Union Dining Hall, and it’s needed, with little natural light, dark carpeting and outdated furniture.
ST. IGNATIUS HIGH SCHOOL
My sample platter included homemade pizza, an assortment of wraps, fruit and from-scratch soups such as Thai rice with chicken. Salad dressings are the recipes of executive chef Marianna Burgess, formerly of the Ritz-Carlton, with prepared mandarin chicken, Greek and garden salads. Soda has been replaced by Snapple, water, milk and even Pellegrino. Burgers and pizza are balanced by healthful alternatives.
Round tables seat eight boisterous boys each, and their voices ricochet off the high ceilings of St. Ignatius’ newly renovated and brightly lit Rade Dining Hall. Seniors get their own area with a flat screen tuned to ESPN, and an adjacent courtyard offers outdoor dining in warmer months.