The entire St. Andrew's SAGE Dining Services staff, headed by Director Kelly Massett and Head Chef Ray Strawley (beloved for his 4:00 a.m. emails of each day's menu), are possibly the friendliest people on campus. It's easy to strike up a conversation with these charming chefs—and not only are they charming; they're also immensely talented!
The SAS Dining Hall serves up food designed to satisfy a wide variety of palates, three meals a day (plus midmorning break and nighttime milk & cookies). Chef Ray (seen here with a giant halibut, in a photo from the SAS Archives) takes pains to explore new cuisines, dishes, and preparations, while also making sure to incorporate long-time student favorites into the weekly meal rotation. Alum Julie Bennett '15 polled alums and current students on their SAS Dining Hall favorites, and compiled the following (and highly subjective) list of best-loved dishes from recent years.
14. Egg and Cheese Breakfast Sandwiches
These simple sandwiches are a staple at breakfast each morning. Sometimes they're on croissants, sometimes they're on English muffins, and for our gluten free folks you can even ask the servery line chef to make you a fried egg and cheese without the bread!
At family-style lunch, you'll often find a steaming crock of soup to warm students' bellies. However, during those warmer days in September and May, people aren't really craving a blistering bowl of chowder. Out of this predicament arose the invention of smoup: smoothie soup! Smoup is really just a cold, fruity, and refreshing smoothie, served in the place of the usual soup crock. Past flavors have included strawberry, blueberry, mixed berry, strawberry kiwi, and even a blended coffee drink!
12. Spring Rolls
For Wednesday night family-style dinner, Dining Services pulls out all the stops and serves up excellent fancy dinner fare, such as salmon and risotto, or prime rib. They even prepare scrumptious appetizers for the tables! Spring Rolls—served with a delicious spicy sauce—are a fan-favorite in this category.
11. Spinach Artichoke Dip
This is another crowd-pleasing appetizer at Wednesday night dinner. Served with flatbread sesame seed crackers, this dip is creamy, savory and absolutely addictive. You'll see students head back to refill their table's bowl with seconds, thirds, fourths!
10. Chicken and Herb Dumpling Soup
I have personally seen teachers and students alike inhale three or more bowls of this soup at family-style lunch. The soup is very similar to chicken noodle, but instead of noodles there are these little doughy herb dumplings in the soup that are so soft and flavorful. It's very filling, and is a perfect midday meal on a chilly fall or winter day.
9. Vegetarian Lasagna
At every meal, there is always a vegetarian option available. Dining Services always makes sure to put a lot of effort and creativity into these vegetarian alternatives to make sure they are just as tasty as the main meat dish. One vegetarian option that is off-the-charts good, however, is the Vegetarian Lasagna. It has a creamy white sauce and is loaded with all kinds of veggies (carrots, zucchini, squash, etc.). The SAS chefs make extra because they know even the non-vegetarians like to grab a scrumptious slice!
8. Apple Cobbler Dessert
Wednesday night dinner also includes a decadent dessert to finish off the meal. One treasured treat is the apple cobbler/pie/crisp (it's kind of a combination of all three) that is packed with sugar and spice and topped with a warm crumble topping. Natalie Reese '97 remembers how "Annie Willis Howe '98 and I used our bare hands to grab all of the Wednesday night apple pie away from Simon Saddleton '97." Poor Simon.
7. Sunday Brunch
Sunday brunch at SAS is ever-changing and always on point! After Chapel on Sunday mornings, the Dining Hall is reconfigured to host either an omelet bar or a waffle bar. Omelet toppings include ham, tomatoes, peppers, bacon, mushrooms (the list goes on), while waffle toppings include chocolate chips, blueberries, raspberries, whipped cream, and this list goes on too. In addition to the main event, there's also fresh fruit, cheese and crackers, doughnuts, ice cream, and fresh cut veggies. It's awesome!
6. Grilled Cheese
Every Wednesday at lunch, you can bet your cheddar that you'll find grilled cheese in the servery line. SAS grilled cheese is melty, crispy, and buttery, exactly the way a grilled cheese should be. Pair it with that other Wednesday lunch stand-by: piping hot tomato soup, and you can't go wrong.
5. Bread Pudding
Another Wednesday dessert favorite, SAS bread pudding comes in all different varieties. Sometimes it's caramel, sometimes it's chocolate, sometimes it's caramel and chocolate, and sometimes they even throw banana in there! Whatever flavor it is, SAS bread pudding never fails to put a smile on everyone's face. Theodora Simons '17 claims to love the SAS bread pudding more than anyone (she's seen here enjoying her favorite dessert). "One time I had to sing in Choral Scholars at that night's Chapel after formal dinner, so I was going to miss my favorite dessert," she recalls. "Caleigh [Johnson '17] brought me a whole tub full of bread pudding after dinner. I was so surprised and overjoyed."
4. Burrito Night
About one a month, SAS burrito night rolls around, and it is a much-anticipated event. You can't really go wrong with spicy servings of steaming meat, beans, rice, guac and salsa! Some students create Chipotle-style burrito bowls or salads in lieu of the traditional burrito.
3. Molten Lava Cake
On Friday mornings, when you hear a stampede of St. Andreans heading toward the Dining Hall, it can mean only one thing: SAS Molten Lava Cake. This melted chocolate concoction is rich, decadent, and served with housemade whipped cream. It's only served every other Friday during the mid-morning break. Casey Schuller '12 says, "I still remember the mad rush at break time and an incident of someone getting second-degree burns from the cake in all the excitement." But don't worry, folks: dessert-induced injuries are not at all a common occurrence at SAS.
2. Chicken Fiesta
This much-loved lunchtime entree consists of these two things: chicken fingers and salsa. Yep, that's it. And Saints go loco for it. It's so simple and so satisfying. It may seem strange to you now, but once you experience it for yourself, you'll understand the hype.
1. Smashed Cookies
When an SAS student stops to consider all of the great recipes Dining Services makes for the School, it's possible the very first thing they think of is smashed cookies. The traditional SAS smashed cookie is a chocolate chip cookie and a chocolate cookie that have literally been smashed together to form one monster cookie. They're always warm and soft and they go beautifully with a cold glass of milk. Sometimes Dining Services will switch up the smashed cookie combo, swapping out one-half for oatmeal raisin, sugar, or M&M cookies. Students have been known to grab all the extra smashed cookies from Dining Hall tables at the end of family-style lunch and store them in their rooms until they can share with their dorm later that night!