Welcome back Ravens! —And hello new Ravens. September means back to school and big changes. Honestly, I do more goal setting and self-reinvention in September than I do at New Years. But I’m not the only one with a new Fall look. Carleton’s Caf has completely changed to give first years more diverse food options and make upper-years wish they still lived on residence. 

1. Name Rebrand

Carleigh Reynolds

The Carleton dining hall has a new name and aesthetic. Before it was the— I will say the old name here once and then never again — Fresh Food Company. That name was a mouthful and often got reduced to the acronym, FFCO, which sounded like a strange way to cough if you read it phonetically. So it became The Caf, which most people were calling it anyway. 

2. Farmer's Market 

Carleigh Reynolds

If you lived on residence during the last academic year, you’ll remember having Go Local meals once per week. In my opinion, these were the bomb because they featured fresh ingredients from local producers and farmers. Carleton Dining Services decided to expand this program and dedicate an entire station to serving food that highlights the National Capital Region’s food presence and flavours and the best part is the station is in business every day for lunch AND dinner. 

3. The Mix

Carleigh Reynolds

You know that one station beside the sandwich station? That’s The Mix. Every day Dining Services will be serving something unique there. So far, I have seen smoothies being blended, candy apples being dipped, and loaded potato skins being stacked. It’s always going to be something different that isn’t on the normal menu rotation. 

4. Info Screens

Carleigh Reynolds

One of my biggest #CafProbs in the past was figuring out what was what. On days when the place was packed, I’d have to zigzag through the crowds or wait in lines to figure out what was being served. Now The Caf has digital screens on the walls that allow students to see, from far away, what each station has to offer as well as the nutritional information associated with each item.

5. Grab & Go Cookies

Carleigh Reynolds

Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar? I did! Except it’s not stealing because the cookies are now available alongside the bananas—the things that you’re permitted to take outside. 

6. Online Meal Calculator

Carleigh Reynolds

Wanting to manage your health and avoid the freshman (or senior) 15 this year? On the Carleton Dining Services website, in addition to being able to view the complete daily menu, you can view calorie counts and nutritional information for each food item and calculate the total fat, sugars, and protein in your meal. 

7. Tunnel Art 

Carleigh Reynolds

On top of the name rebrand, the inside of The Caf got a complete makeover. The blank citrus-coloured walls got decorated with selections of Carleton’s most iconic tunnel artwork. The addition of the tunnel murals showed me that Carleton Dining Services really wants to put students first and celebrate their accomplishments. 

8. Vegan Desserts 

Carleigh Reynolds

This one is a huge win. Before this change, many vegan students really struggled with finding egg-free and dairy-free desserts that met their dietary restrictions. Coming from a household with a dad that is vegetarian-borderline-vegan, this change really excited me too.

At home I have tried many vegan desserts that have ranged from fantastic to cardboard, and these squares were definitely on the fantastic side of the spectrum. They tasted like banana bread, combined with a pumpkin spice latte, covered in sweet caramel. I would recommend them to all sceptical non-vegans.

Are you impressed with The Caf’s Fall 2017 changes? I know I am. To all my upper-years out there, I hope this acts as motivation to come back and revisit the residence dining experience. First years, I hope this gave you some insight into what The Caf used to be like and an appreciation for what is available to you now.

If you’re not into The Caf’s new look, Dining Services or I would love to hear your feedback. Reach out and stay tuned Ravens. 

I’ll be releasing more content related to food on the Carleton campus as the year goes on. Think of me as your resident food journalist. (I’m very serious about my research.)