Exploring the Delicious Offerings of Cal Dining: A Comprehensive Guide
Cal Dining is the official dining program of the University of California, Berkeley. As a student, staff member, or faculty, you can access a wide range of delicious and healthy meal options at one of the 8 dining halls and over 20 retail locations scattered around the campus.
If you’re new to the university or the area, you may be wondering what Cal Dining is all about and what to expect. This comprehensive guide will give you an in-depth look at the many offerings of Cal Dining, from farm-to-table cuisine to global flavors, sustainable practices, and community-building opportunities.
At Cal Dining, the emphasis is on fresh, local, and sustainable ingredients. The program has its own on-campus farm, called the Gill Tract, where they grow a variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs that are used in the dining halls and retail locations.
The farm-to-table philosophy is evident in the way Cal Dining prepares its dishes. You’ll find an array of seasonal produce, such as heirloom tomatoes, kale, and zucchini, incorporated into soups, salads, and main courses. Vegetarian and vegan options are available, as well as dishes that cater to specific dietary needs, such as gluten-free or halal.
Each of the eight dining halls has a distinct character and menu. Here are a few highlights:
Crossroads: Known for its brick oven pizza, Crossroads also offers a salad bar, deli, and grill station. The menu changes daily, but you can always expect to find healthy and delicious options.
Cafe 3: Cafe 3 is an all-you-can-eat dining hall that features international cuisine from Asia, Europe, and the Americas. The stir-fry station is a student favorite, as well as the sushi and noodle bar.
Foothill: Foothill is a smaller dining hall that caters to the campus community on the north side of campus. The menu features healthy options such as quinoa salad, roasted vegetables, and fish tacos.
If you’re looking for something quick and convenient, Cal Dining has over 20 retail locations where you can grab a bite on the go. Here are a few of the most popular options:
Golden Bear Cafe: Located in the heart of campus, Golden Bear Cafe is a great place to grab a coffee or sandwich between classes. They also serve freshly made smoothies and pastries.
The Den: The Den is a student-run coffee shop that serves organic, fair-trade coffee and tea. They also offer sandwiches, salads, and baked goods.
GBC Artichoke Basille’s Pizza: If you’re craving New York-style pizza, head to GBC Artichoke Basille’s Pizza. They serve whole pies and pizza by the slice, as well as salads and sandwiches.
Cal Dining is committed to reducing its environmental impact and promoting sustainability. Here are a few ways they do this:
Composting: All food waste from the dining halls and retail locations is composted at the Gill Tract farm. This helps to reduce landfill waste and provides nutrient-rich soil for the crops.
Reusable Containers: Cal Dining uses reusable to-go containers at its retail locations to reduce plastic waste. Students can purchase a reusable container for a one-time fee and use it throughout the semester.
Energy Efficiency: The dining halls and retail locations are designed to be energy-efficient, with features such as motion-activated lighting and Energy Star appliances.
Cal Dining is more than just a place to grab a meal. It’s also a hub for social interaction and community-building. Here are a few ways that Cal Dining fosters community on campus:
Community Dinners: Several times per semester, Cal Dining hosts Community Dinners where students, staff, and faculty can come together to enjoy a meal and conversation. These dinners often feature a guest speaker or a themed menu.
Meal Swipes: Students can use their meal swipes to bring guests to the dining halls. This encourages students to share meals and build connections with others on campus.
Workshops and Classes: Cal Dining offers a variety of workshops and classes related to cooking, nutrition, and sustainability. These events are a great way for students to learn new skills and connect with others who share their interests.
Making the Most of Cal Dining
Now that you know more about Cal Dining and its offerings, here are a few tips for making the most of your dining experience on campus:
Try new things: With so many dining halls and retail locations, there’s always something new to try. Don’t be afraid to branch out and sample different dishes.
Get involved: Whether it’s attending a Community Dinner or volunteering at the Gill Tract farm, there are plenty of ways to get involved with Cal Dining and meet new people on campus.
Stay informed: Follow Cal Dining on social media or download the UC Berkeley Dining app to stay up to date on menus, events, and promotions.
Cal Dining is a unique and vibrant aspect of campus life at UC Berkeley. From its farm-to-table cuisine to its commitment to sustainability and community-building, Cal Dining offers a dining experience that goes beyond just food. Whether you’re a student, staff member, or faculty, there’s something for everyone at Cal Dining. So, next time you’re on campus, be sure to check out one of the many dining options and see what Cal Dining has to offer.
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