GRAPHIC ILLUSTRATION BY ESME BLEECKER-ADAMS
Out for a pleasant stroll a few evenings ago, I found myself hopelessly lost in the bowels of Fordham University. I took several elevators (both up and down), an escalator and eventually discovered myself to be in a dumbwaiter that had popped out of thin air. When I was finally able to take in my surroundings, I was standing in front of the finest Fordham dining establishment on this blessed campus: the freshman dining hall.
Upon entering, I was excited to discover that it was buffet-style — I could eat to my heart’s delight for only one dining swipe. Overwhelmed with choices, I spent approximately 40 minutes lying in the fetal position on the floor, unsure of what to order. Where to start? My options were limitless: I could have ice cream, bread, bread and more bread. I despaired over the options before me. But then, the fog miraculously cleared and I knew just what to start with: pizza.
I picked up a simple slice of cheese and got to work. The notes of basil and sage in the sauce were extremely subtle — I could almost believe they weren’t there. The cheese, which I’m assuming was an aged fontina or perhaps a smoky edam, had a chunky texture that I definitely wasn’t expecting. This bold choice was truly not one to be missed. Even the crust, which had a strange mealiness dissimilar to every slice of pizza I had ever had in my life, was likewise an unexpected take on a familiar food.
Hoping to discover another fine delicacy, I went back and merrily assembled a bowl of Cheerios with whole milk. The Cheerios were incredibly crisp and the milk an invigorating room temperature. The decision to keep the milk just barely chilled enough to pass health standards but not enough to make it reasonably cold was a courageous decision that I stand behind.
After getting up to for a short second to grab a spoon, I returned to my bowl to find that the Cheerios had become completely dissolved in the milk. I shrugged my shoulders and decided it was time to move on. There was still something missing.
Feeling edgy and ready to try something new, I ordered pork from the hot station and prepared myself for the best cut of meat I’d ever had in my life. Although I initially broke six knives trying to cut into the meal, I eventually succeeded with a chef’s grade electric knife and got to work. The pork was an extremely chewy, oatmeal-consistency delight, and as soon as my dentist fixes the four teeth I chipped eating it, I fully intend to order it again.
Would I have been able to identify the substance as pork had I not been told prior? Not at all. But mystery truly spices up life and I loved the rocky ride the pork took my palate on. To balance it out, I accompanied it with mac and cheese, which perfectly offset the pork with its baby-food-like consistency.
I tried to go back and eat more in the dining hall, but I truly could not. I shoved two bagels and a handful of jam packets in my pockets to save for later, wishing I could eat the delightfully fresh baked goods right at that moment. With great strength, I wrenched myself away from that blessed place.
All in all, my experience was wonderful if not remarkable. Before this, I had had no idea that such a beacon of the New York City dining experience existed mere floors below me. I look forward to dining there again — assuming there are any open reservations.