College is a time when many traditions are made in a short period of time. From campus-wide events to intimate get-togethers with your squad, we all have traditions that are sacred. Then there are the food traditions, centered on a unanimous love for eating and sharing good times. I've made a number of food traditions at UB, from Buffalo Wild Wing Thursdays to eating Mac N' Out every time my high school bestie visits. I'll miss all these little customs I've made with my friends here. But the one food tradition at the University of Bridgeport I'll never forget is the annual Valentine's Day dinner

Melissa Paredes

Every year, Marina Dining Hall hosts a special dinner for Valentine's Day. For a meal swipe and 10 dining dollars (or a simple $20 if you don't have a meal plan), you get special service and a 3-course meal. A part of Marina is sectioned off, and a hostess waits at a podium for students/faculty to claim their reservations. They pull out all the stops with menu items you won't find throughout the rest of the year and a wait staff to take your order (unlike the usual buffet style). Reservations can be for 1-4 people, and you can choose between a 5PM seating or a 6:15PM seating.

Melissa Paredes

Since freshmen year, I've gone to this dinner with my gal pals. It was our own Galentine's Day tradition (regardless of any of our relationship statuses), and this year, was our very last one. We had been waiting with anticipation for the date of the dinner and anxious to make our reservations, budgeting those 10 dining dollars. When we found out the dinner actually fell on Valentine's Day, I thought it was perfect. What better way to spend our annual V-Day tradition than on the actual holiday itself?

Part of the tradition is dressing up for it. So we all did our makeup and dressed as if we were going to a nice restaurant rather than our campus dining hall. I also gave Valentines to my girls, in the spirit of the holiday of course. Then came the part we were most excited for, FOOD:

The Appetizer

Melissa Paredes

When I say I had been thinking about the appetizers for a week, I'm not even kidding. The antipasto for two (even though we were 3), was the perfect thing to keep us waiting for the main course. My favorites are the smoked salmon quenelles and chevre prosciutto rolls, but I can honestly eat anything from that massive plate.

The Main Course

Milana Yemelyanova
Melissa Paredes

There were two options for the main course: sliced beef tenderlin medallions with Diane sauce, served with red rosemary potatoes and asparagus hollandaise, or colossal stuffed jumbo shrimp filled with lightly breaded blue claw crab meat, served with saffron rice and asparagus hollandiase. Since my gal pals both went with the tenderloin, I went with the shrimp to be different. I had zero regrets.


Nemesis Duarte

Dessert was fun. It was an assorted pastry medley for two, so we didn't really know what we were getting until the plate was placed before us. There were two mini-cheesecakes with strawberries, two decorated heart-shaped cookies, two types of mini-parfaits (one chocolate, one raspberry), two chocolate covered strawberries, a chocolate sweet surrounded by raspberries, and the usual chocolate mousse inside a chocolate box at the center. Even though this dessert was meant for two, it was more than enough for the three of us. 

Nemesis Duarte

We went to the the 6:15PM seating, so our waitress let us take flower centerpieces home since they would be disposed of otherwise. It was a nice sentiment cementing our final Valentine's Day dinner at Marina Hall. 

I spent the weeks before telling freshmen about the tradition, encouraging them to try it out. If you go to UB, I definitely recommend it. Maybe it will be your new food tradition. If you don't go to UB, I hope you get to start your own traditions. What are some of the food traditions you'll never forget from college?

Check out this article 10 Food Facts You'll Understand if you got to the University of Bridgeport if you go to the University of Bridgeport, for food tradition inspiration.