Au Bon Pain is one of the most polarizing dining options at Duke — you either swear by it, or you would sooner transfer to UNC than eat another one of its turkey clubs. A diehard member of that second camp, surrounded by friends who eat, sleep, and breathe ABP, I decided to see if I could change my mind by eating every meal there for five days straight. About 100 food points and many sad, brown slices of avocado later, my experiment was complete and I was more anti-ABP than ever. Here's my account of the five worst days of dining I've had since the Marketplace days.

Day 1: Saturday

Kristen Siegel

In my usual Saturday morning fashion, I slept through breakfast and went straight for brunch at ABP. It was my first meal of the experiment and I had high hopes. To prepare myself, I had foregone ABP for most of the semester so that I would be starting with a blank slate and, honestly, my Harvest Turkey Wrap was pretty good. A bit on the sweeter side of the sandwich spectrum with its apples, walnuts and balsamic vinaigrette, the wrap is a good alternative to its sister salad, the Harvest Turkey Salad, for those days when you're in a rush. 

Dinner was my first challenge of the week. As all my friends drove off to pick up their Chipotle, I waited in the ABP line for the second time that day. Craving a burrito bowl, I ordered the Southwest Chicken Salad and tried not to be too salty about missing out. While it wasn't the dinner of my dreams, the salad was perfectly delicious and I finished my first day feeling good and optimistic about the rest of the week.

Day 2: Sunday

Kristen Siegel

Sunday once again saw me waking up at noon and heading to ABP for brunch. Running late to a meeting, I opted to skip the line of students trying to beat back their hangovers with an ABP breakfast sandwich and grabbed a bagel from the pastry case. It was no New York bagel, but my speedy brunch was tasty, cheap, and easily something I would get again.

After grinding in the library for five straight hours, I was starving by the time dinner rolled around and in need of a nice, hearty meal. Instead, I had another ABP sandwich. That night, I decided to try the Chicken Margarita, a sandwich I might've enjoyed if I didn't have my friend's crispy chicken sandwich and fries in front of me while I ate it. The sandwich was small and mediocre, and I was sad to find that I was hungry once again less than two hours later. 

Day 3: Monday

Katie Whitson

Although Day 2 had ended on a low note, I was still feeling optimistic when I woke up for Day 3. With class at 10 am, this would be my first day of eating all three meals at ABP, and I started off with my roommate's favorite breakfast sandwich: Egg Whites, Cheddar and Avocado. That's it? I thought when I picked up the squashed bagel sandwich that was slightly bigger than my hand. Compared to the fresh eggs that I was used to, this egg white "patty" was a bit of a let-down.

After my success with the Harvest Turkey Wrap, I got the salad version for lunch and my faith in ABP was briefly restored. The lettuce was a bit wilted, but the overall salad was delicious and satisfying after the morning's disappointment. 

Mondays are always long, exhausting and dreary, so when it was time for dinner, I just wanted an easy, classic, no-frills sandwich. I ordered the Turkey Club sans mayo. I quickly realized that it was the kind of sandwich that made a good lunch, but a small, unfulfilling and sad dinner. The Turkey Club was the most average thing that I've ever eaten and I was grateful that I was only two days away from a real meal. 

Day 4: Tuesday

Kristen Siegel

Waking up 30 minutes late on Tuesday, I barely made it to ABP in time to snag a Greek Vanilla Yogurt and Wild Blueberry Parfait on my way to class. Maybe I was just getting sick of sandwiches, not APB, because I actually enjoyed this yogurt. Their homemade granola was delicious and the wild blueberries were unexpected and tasty. My faith was momentarily restored.

I am a ridiculously picky eater and after three entire days of just ABP, I was running out of "new" things to eat, so I opted for the BYO salad option. Hence, I can only blame myself for how disappointing my lunch was. Again, the lettuce was wilted and I couldn't shake the feeling that the toppings that I had put on it were a couple days shy of "fresh." Salads aren't my favorite food to begin with, and this one didn't do anything to help that.

By now, I was dreading another ABP meal, but I had already invested four days into this challenge; I needed to push my way through my second to last dinner. The Hummus and Veggie wrap turned out to be my favorite sandwich of the week. I generally am not the biggest fan of vegetables, but this wrap managed to include all my favorites and still taste great. Sure, it wasn't the grilled salmon from JB's that I had been craving all week, but I enjoyed my sandwich and finished the day feeling healthier than usual.

Day 5: Wednesday

Kristen Siegel

Day 5 had finally arrived, and just in time, because I was thoroughly dreading eating more ABP. For breakfast, I braved the thawed eggs and slimy avocado and got "The Good Egg" sandwich. I washed it down with a large iced coffee to try and combat just how dry the sandwich was and finished feeling happy that on Thursday, I could treat myself to an omelet.

Having had the most success with the wraps thus far, I got the Chicken Caesar Wrap for lunch, and again, ate it as quickly as I possibly could to try and make lunch a little less painful. Under normal circumstances, the wrap wouldn't have been bad (dare I say it might've even been good), but after four days of only eating ABP, I was already predisposed not to enjoy it very much.

To be honest, I don't even have many thoughts about my dinner, the Caprese Chicken Salad to-go-box, because I ate it while running back to Cameron Indoor Stadium to get in line for the game against Louisville. It wasn't much of a meal, just chicken, mozzarella, and tomato on a bed of mixed greens with some balsamic vinaigrette, but it also wasn't the worst thing that I'd eaten all week. And thus my challenge ended on, not quite a low note, but an aggressively average one.

Final Thoughts

Kristen Siegel

While this week certainly didn't give me any more love for ABP, and I likely will be avoiding eating there again for the rest of the semester, having every meal at ABP for five days did save me some significant food points. So in the end, it wasn't all that bad.