What’s New on the Menu? – Buffet Locations (2015)

Miami University offers three buffet locations, including the exciting new Garden Commons. With Martin Dining Hall closed for renovations this year, Garden Commons will provide dining services for East Quad while Harris Dining Hall and Western Dining Commons will provide buffet dining services throughout the rest of the campus. While buffet menus are already tremendously varied, there are some exciting additions being made to the menus for this upcoming school year.

Western Dining Commons

Western remains mostly unchanged from last year. Turkey sausage will be offered during breakfast, which is a new addition campus-wide. Super Brunch will return, offering an expansive breakfast buffet option to students on Sunday mornings. Look forward to that picking up sometime in the early part of the semester!

The salad and dessert food station is very similar too, with hardly any changes from last year. The Allergen Station follows suit with the same menu from last year, offering students with a food station that is free of the top eight allergens (egg, dairy, soy, wheat, fin fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts). The International Station is adding some homestyle Miami Traditions menu items and there will be specialty Chef Choice daily dishes that figure to grab your attention. The Grill Roast Station also remains almost completely the same from a year ago.

Tea Hive’s menu is the same as well. Coffee had been added in the spring and will remain on the menu for the fall. Everything is essentially the same, making Tea Hive a fantastic early morning option to help wake you up in the morning with tea or coffee, while grabbing a delicious croissant.

Harris Dining Hall

Harris has been Miami’s steadfast dining option for years now and the menu reflects that. There are hardly any changes from a year ago, but this year you will be able to grab yourself a potato bowl. They have been added to the Sonora/Pastato station, which is bound to excite some people. At the Campus Grill, Harris is also getting mini corn dogs on a rotation. They will alternate daily with onion rings offering even more variation to the Harris menu.

Garden Commons

Garden Commons is the brand new dining location located behind Farmer School of Business. That obviously means the entire menu is brand new as well.

Beginning with Ciao (pronounced ‘Chow’), the Italian station will offer a variety of pizzas to pick from, including cheese, sausage, veggie, chicken bacon ranch, supreme, BBQ chicken and even a bacon cheeseburger pizza. Pasta will also be a heavy focus at this location, offering a variety of different pastas and sauces to top it with. Calzones are coming to Ciao in the early part of the semester as well. Some dessert pizza will also be offered, in addition to some other side items. The East Quad Open House offered a sample tasting of the garlic dough bites that will be offered, which were absolutely delicious and certainly worth trying.

Zen Garden is the Asian concept in Garden Commons. It will offer egg rolls, different Asian-style salads and a variety of rices. There will be some express stir fry options, different types of chicken, beef and vegetables as well. The full menu will include a wide variety of different Asian foods that you can pick up while enjoying the rest of the buffet. There will also be special appearances by bang bang shrimp and seafood rangoon. Fortune cookies and green tea cookies will also be offered as a dessert item.

Comfort Thyme, the deli, grill and traditions food station, will provide students with a quality option for comfort food such as chicken tenders, fries and mac and cheese, to name a few. This will also be the station in order to make your own deli sandwiches, as well as pick-up prepared hot and cold sandwiches. A “taste” of the traditions menu would be chicken, potatoes and veggies. Comfort Thyme and Harvest Greens are the only breakfast locations in Garden Commons for the morning rush. Comfort Thyme will be offering turkey sausage and more of the hardy breakfast items like sandwiches, eggs and bakery items.

Harvest Greens is perhaps the easiest station in Garden Commons to define. It is the expanded soup, salad and fruit bar in the new dining hall. It will offer a wide variety of rotating soups and will also provide students with a great buffet salad bar option to work with. The fruit bar is what Harvest Greens offers for breakfast. This will include fruit items, yogurt, oatmeal, bagels, bread and different spreads.

What’s New on the Menu? – Bell Tower, La Mia Cucina, Dividend$, King Cafe (2015)

This “What’s New” covers a variety of dining options. We have already checked out Armstrong and Maplestreet Station, but now it is time to see what is coming this fall to Bell Tower, La Mia Cucina, Dividend$ and King Cafe.

Bell Tower

Most of Bell Tower’s menus remain the same from last year with a couple neat additions. First of all, Bell Tower is a location impacted by the campus-wide introduction of turkey sausage. It will be offered for breakfast. However, the station that will be adding the most to the menu this fall is the Campus Grill station. A seafood specialty item has been added with calamari, fried to order, and fried tempura shrimp being available on alternating weeks for those who would like a taste of seafood. Mini corn dogs are back and better than ever at the Campus Grill. They will alternate daily with onion rings. Also, a Philly cheesesteak sandwich will now be served at Bell Tower from this station.

The Pizza Pi station also is getting a few exciting additions to the menu with dessert pizza slices now available. There will be apple dessert pizza and cherry dessert pizza offered at Pizza Pi on alternating weeks to satisfy your sweet tooth!

La Mia Cucina

The big news here is that La Mia will be taking over pizza delivery from Sundial. This doesn’t impact the pizza itself, but will help streamline and improve service. La Mia will begin the fall offering seven different pizzas to focus on timely, and high-quality service.

Additionally, La Mia will now be open until midnight, in part, to cater to its new role as a pizza delivery service.

Dividend$

There is hardly anything changing at Dividend$ for the fall. Motz Monday, Corn Dog Tuesday, Wings Wednesday, Calamari Thursday and Chilly Cheese Fryday will exist in their entirety (Monday-Friday), which is always fun. Also, a steak and egg panini will be offered daily during breakfast while a steak and roasted veggie panini will be available for lunch daily. Both panini’s were offered last year, but this will be the first time they are both served daily (last year they were served on a rotation).

King Cafe

King is unchanged, still offering you sanity in the form of caffeinated beverages while you study for that exam you conveniently ignored until the night before.

What’s New on the Menu? – Maplestreet Station (2015)

Yesterday, we stopped by Armstrong and found out more about the exciting additions appearing on the different menus there, so now we move onto beautiful Maplestreet Station.

Americas

We begin with Americas because it is the dining location that is making perhaps the most dramatic shift on campus, however, the menu additions offer some unique, fresh food options that are sure to impress. Americas was initially designed with South America (and a little bit of southern North America) in mind when Maplestreet was built. Now, Americas returns to that theme with a more fresh and natural flair.

First and foremost, Americas will welcome in the era of the quinoa bowl. Okay… so maybe it doesn’t warrant it’s own designated “era”, but nonetheless, the quinoa bowl will finally be offered at Miami University, starting with Americas. The hot quinoa bowl option is served with gluten-free broth and can be served with veggies or protein (meats). Quinoa also will appear in the Traders Greens Salad Bar as a salad topper.

If quinoa isn’t really your style, Americas will still offer some tasty options. Street tacos will be a major draw, as they will be prepared in fresh corn tortillas and will, of course, be delicious. There will also be a salsa bar with a variety of salsa options. This will be paired with nachos, which will be served from the Americas as well. Also look for the addition of pita chips and hummus for another high-quality, fresh snacking/light meal option.

Overall, the Americas menu may look a bit different this year, but the additions will offer students a tasty, fresh and unique dining option that provides a healthier menu for students to choose from. Not to mention, the menu lays out perfectly for students to grab either a full meal or just a study snack in the beautiful Americas dining location.

Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim’s menu isn’t changing much, but there are some exciting announcements to be made nonetheless. The Pac Rim custom stir fry menu option remains, but it has now been made allergen-friendly! The custom stir fry does contain soy (so take note if this pertains to you), but is otherwise free of gluten, dairy, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, egg and wheat. With this improvement comes new toppings for the custom stir fry, including quinoa, chopped kale and sweet potato chunks, giving students and staff a number of options to work with when building their own stir fry.

The only other noteworthy thing on Pac Rim’s menu this year is that it will now offer more express stir fry’s, including General Tso’s and Vegetable Lo Mein.

Red Brick Pizza

Red Brick’s menu remains mostly the same from last year with a couple exciting additions to the menu. First of all, the Red Brick pizza slices are larger! Whereas a slice used to be 1/8 of an 18″ pizza, this year the slices will be 1/6 of an 18″, meaning that this New York-style pizza place will be true to its name. The slices will likely require a fold to eat… or, if you appreciate a good challenge, you can choose not to. Additionally, you will be able to enjoy a variety of chicken pizzas (chicken, bacon, ranch; BBQ chicken, etc.) whenever Red Brick is open. Vegetarian pizzas will also be available at those times (Margherita, Greek, etc.), contributing to a nice variety of options from Red Brick.

Subs remain the other staple of Red Brick’s dining service, but with a new “La-Mia-style” bun that will be freshly baked. There is also a new meatball sub that everyone will absolutely need to try.

First Stop/Encounter/Delish/Patisserie

First Stop isn’t changing much outside of merely streamlining the kitchen to improve service. Turkey sausage is added to the menu, which is exciting, but for the most part, First Stop remains mostly unchanged. Encounter has made onion rings available all the time now. Delish is mostly the same from last year and Patisserie hasn’t changed at all.

With the wide variety of dining options offered, including more fresh foods, students won’t struggle to find a number of appetizing meal options at the beautiful Maplestreet Station this fall!

What’s New on the Menu? – Armstrong (2015)

We find ourselves just under two weeks away from the start of classes and many of you will make the trek back to beautiful Oxford, Ohio even before then (we do have some dining locations available from Monday, August 17 – Sunday, August 23).

As you gather your things for another year of college, or your very first, we want to prepare you for the exciting new food items that you will be seeing as you return to campus. First and foremost, turkey sausage will be making its debut on the Oxford campus. You will be able to find it for breakfast campus-wide starting this fall.

While there are a number of menu additions across campus, let us first begin with the incredibly popular Armstrong Student Center.

Haines’ Boulangerie

Haines’ remains mostly the same from last year, with one major addition. A boulangerie, by definition, is a bakery that specializes in baking and selling bakery items. While Haines’ will continue to offer sandwiches, salads and soups, Haines’ will also provide students and staff with an enhanced bakery with both breakfast and dessert items.

Cookies have been added to the menu (chocolate chip, expresso) with mini turtle bites and shortbread. Cupcakes, reminiscent of the beautiful Patisserie cupcakes at Maplestreet, will make their Armstrong debut at Haines’ as well with toffee crunch, oreo blast and mint chocolate chip flavors.

The bakery will also be expanded with other pastry items like danishes, donuts and scones, just to name a few.

Mein Street/Wing Bar

Mein Street’s menu hasn’t really changed from last year, but the major addition to that area of Armstrong is the new Wing Bar, which will go by the name “Wing Bar”, making it perhaps the easiest dining location name to remember.

The Wing Bar is brand new and will take up residence next to Mein Street, up against the wall that divides Mein Street and Haines’ Boulangerie. The Wing Bar will specialize in, you guessed it, wings! There will be seven different sauces early on, including Hot Buffalo, Medium Buffalo, Mild Buffalo, Honey BBQ, Hot BBQ, Asian and Parmesan Garlic Sauce. We are always open to new ideas though, so feel free to reach out with suggestions for us to explore!

The Wing Bar also means the return of boneless wings and a permanent residence for those glorious mozzarella sticks! Expect Wing Bar to be a student favorite in no-time.

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Burgers at Pulley will now be made in the “smash-style”, which is with fresh patties, pressed into the stove, resulting in a fresher, even more delicious, burger.

Pulley Diner

Pulley is another location that is adding quality options to their menu. Pulley is adding a BLT sandwich and offering shoestring fries instead of crinkle fries, which will be a little more unique.

The big change in the Pulley kitchen will be with the burgers. Don’t worry, they still exist, but now they will be made in a “smash-style” with raw meat literally smashed on the cooking surface to form and cook the patties. The result will be, fresher, even tastier burger patties for your enjoyment. There will be standard hamburger, cheeseburger and double cheeseburger options.

I know where I will be.

Sundial

The first thing to note with Sundial is that wings will no longer be offered there. However, that is merely because the Wing Bar will be your wing destination instead, so no worries… you can still find some wings when you stop by Armstrong.

Sundial will be focusing on pizza, pasta and the new “build your own” calzones that they will now be offering. Sundial offered personal “build-your-own” pizza last year (and still will this year) and will expand that service to calzones. So, if you’re craving a calzone, Sundial will now be able to help you cure that craving.

Serrano/Emporium/Miami Ice

These three locations are not really changing their menus entering this year. Emporium remains a top-notch market in Armstrong and Miami Ice remains a wonderful “go-to” destination for ice cream, gelato, coffee products and some bakery/pastry items. Serrano returns to it’s roots as a Mexican dining option, offering burritos, burrito bowls, loaded nachos, taco salads and quesadillas. Serrano also has a unique dessert option in the delicious cinnamon chips with marshmallow dip, which is definitely worth checking out.

Garden Commons Photo Tour

Yesterday was the East Quad Open House where Miami employees had the opportunity to walk through the newly renovated East Quad buildings. Garden Commons, being a key piece of the Quad renovations, was a major draw, so we stopped by to take some pictures, taste some of the select samples they provided and take in the atmosphere.

If you would like to take a virtual stroll through the new dining hall, simply click on the first photo (top left) below and then cycle through!

Cincinnati Eggs Benedict Recipe

Who doesn’t want their very own Cincinnati Eggs Benedict recipe from Maplestreet Station’s First Stop? Oh, and as an added bonus, here are some egg poaching tips.

Enjoy!

Cincinnati Eggs Benedict

  • 1.5 C – Sausage gravy, prepared
  • 6 – Fresh eggs
  • .5 lb – Goetta
  • 3 oz – Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 3 – Plain English muffins
  • 1 tb – Unsalted butter

Form goetta into patties. Place in heated pan and cook until golden brown. Prepare 2 poached eggs. Toast English muffins and lightly butter. Top with goetta patty, then egg, gravy, and cheese. Serve immediately. Makes 3 servings.

Now, if egg poaching is new to you, or you just want an expert’s tips, we have some advice, courtesy of Miami University’s talented and knowledgeable chefs.

Egg Poaching Tips

  • Add a tablespoon of vinegar to the water to help keep the egg white together and intact.
  • Water should be at a gentle simmer.
  • Use fresh eggs for better result.
  • Depending on how runny or set you like your yolk, cooking 3-5 minutes should be perfect.

“King of the Grill” Tips

Earlier this week, we learned some tips from the Miami University chefs about grilling pizza to perfection. Now, we revisit the grill yet again. This time, we learn more about general grilling.

Grilling season is still in full swing, so be sure to fire up the grill and utilize these tips while the weather cooperates! However, if you’d rather sit back and wait on your food, you can find top-notch burgers at Maplestreet Station in Encounter when classes start back up again in late August.

King of the Grill Tips

  • Have everything at the ready before starting (including fuel).
  • Use high, direct heat for steaks and burgers.
  • Use low, indirect heat for larger cuts of meat.
  • When smoking, keep the wood in water for about an hour before using.
  • When using the grill, try to utilize it for all side dishes, too (skewers, foil bags, grill vegetable pan, etc.).
  • Preseason EVERYTHING.

From the Chef: Grilled Pizza Tips

For many, particularly in Ohio, this summer feels like it has been a little… rained out. Grilling hasn’t been very convenient and the sun has been too rare for the liking of many.

That said, the summer isn’t over yet. When the sun comes out, you need to be prepared. What will you grill? How will you fix it? These are the questions that stun and paralyze so many.

Here at The Miami Spread, we would like to suggest grilled pizza, and furthermore, we would like to offer some tips, courtesy of our very own chefs.

Most everything you need to get started on your own is below, but if you would rather benefit from these tips as a hungry customer, be sure you stop by Maplestreet Station’s Red Brick Pizza for some top-notch pizza, fixed by our very best.

Grilled Pizza Tips

  • High heat produces a crust that is crispy outside and chewy inside.
  • Roll out any 8 or 9 oz pizza dough, homemade or purchased, to .25 inch thickness.
  • Brush one side of crust with olive oil and add garlic or herb to taste.
  • Grill pizza on one side over hot coals or flame while rotating frequently for about 1-2 minutes.
  • Turn pizza over and move to the cooler part of the grill.
  • Top pizza with cheese and sauce.
  • Toppings must be fully cooked or warm.
  • Slide topped pizza back over high heat.
  • Rotate frequently.
  • Pizza is ready to eat in a total of 2-4 minutes.

Garden Commons Walk-Through

I had the opportunity to walk through the new Garden Commons and speak with General Manager Tim Schomberg about the future of Miami University’s newest dining hall. 

East Quad is currently undergoing a transition. A renovation from the buildings of old to the spacious and bright living spaces of new. Garden Commons, the new East Quad dining hall, sits at the center of that renovation. Not literally, as the new dining location finds itself nestled behind Farmer School of Business, merged with the former Symmes Hall, but nonetheless the new dining hub is a big deal. Not only to those who will move-in on East Quad this fall, but those across campus who find themselves around Farmer, Pearson Hall or the Psychology building, looking for some variety in a beautiful, convenient setting. And while the Garden Commons still has a ways to go before it officially opens its doors, the vision is there and, boy, it is quite the sight to behold.

The layout of Garden Commons feels open and spacious, even with the construction equipment scattered about. The main entrance, through the doorway facing Farmer, leads you into one of the two serving areas. There are four total stations that will offer a wide variety of options for students when the dining hall opens this fall with the first you see being a salad/soup/fruit bar, just off to the right when you walk in. Then there is a station that will offer sandwiches, wraps and comfort food to your left. To the far right, there is a large seating area, which is actually the old Symmes Hall structure, complete with the old Symmes windows. This area has a lot of space and has a unique, comfortable feel already. It is the primary seating in the dining hall and although it is really recycling much of the old building, it still feels very new and fresh in how it is laid out.

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The front entrance for the Garden Commons

Taking us back to the front entrance, you reach the second serving area by walking forward, splitting the first two stations, and continuing into a large, towering room in the middle of the building. In the renovation, they opted to match the high ceilings of the old building, which has a nice feel in the second area. With the high ceiling, there are high vertical windows that give the room nice natural light. The area is supposed to offer some seating, but the primary purpose for the serving area is… well… serving.  A fireplace is located along the back wall, open to both the serving area and the closed off Garden Room on the other side.

Now, the Garden Room is what could be the most visually appealing room in the entire dining hall, with a number of large windows facing out over the distant Formal Gardens. The area is meant for those who want to sit and relax. It is also nice that the room is somewhat cutoff, away from the open serving space, offering a little quiet from the bustle.

In the second serving area, students (and staff) will have another set of options and variety. The Asian food station is more centrally located in the vaulted room and will offer Asian cuisine (egg rolls, spring rolls, General Tso and a sort of “make your own” Wok option) among other options. That station is supposed to have two chefs when things get kicked off in the fall for cook-to-order options as well.

Finally, you have the fourth food station, located near the back entrance and the Garden Market (more on that at another time). This fourth and final station will be Italian, focusing on a variety of pizzas, calzones and pasta options. The plan there is to offer specialty pizzas, standard go-to’s, for both pizza and calzones, and then a variety of sauces to pair with pasta options.

Garden Commons is to be primarily a self-serve experience as a buffet-style dining option, much like Harris Dining Hall or the recently “out of commission” Martin Dining Hall. This is an appealing option for students who sometimes experience the “I’m going to starve if I don’t eat everything” sentiment. Regardless, Garden Commons is on track to be an incredibly appealing visual dining option and a place where students could comfortably relax or spend social time with friends. However, it also is a location that offers a delicious variety of food in a buffet-style setting. There is a lot to like about what Garden Commons will offer as the new East Quad go-to dining hall.

 

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