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Food review #1: the vegetarian cheeseburger

Updated: Jan 11

All photos by Charles-Henry Lubatti

This is the first of what will be hopefully a series on the cafeteria food at our school. While I will remain unbiased on the food, I, and hopefully you, will keep in mind that it can not be graded to the utmost level. After all, it is just free cafeteria food. And in this case, that also means that I will be judging food items on how good they are, not their fidelity to the food they are trying to pass off as. I hope this series will be helpful in picking your food items next time you have lunch.

I took the vegetarian cheeseburger, a bag of apples, and a milk carton. The milk was quite good and nothing like what people have said about it. This is true and almost always the case in fact, at least in my experience. The milk was cold, had a very rich flavor profile and no odd texture. The milk was not too close to the expiration date meaning it was full-bodied and had the right taste. While the apples are watery for a fraction of a second when you bite into them, it gets much better after that. The apples consistently had a very nice crunch and were quite crisp and they were not mealy anywhere. Overall, they were pleasantly sweet. The apples not only have taste and texture going for them, but they were also in very good condition and had a nice consistent red-yellow gradient throughout. However, that being said, a decent amount of the apples had a small bitter aftertaste but nothing too unpleasant—likely from citric acid which is used to keep the apples from turning brown.

Now onto the vegaterian cheeseburger. Let’s start with the cheese. It was nothing special, just tasted like standard melted American cheese—which is still good. However, it melted a bit too firmly and refused to let go of the burger and the top bun. The bun had a very good initial consistency and density. The texture and flavor profile were also quite nice, especially with the little bits on the top adding a bit of grittiness. Although this was quite a good burger bun it was a bit sweet and got a bit chewy and dense after I began chewing. The patty was a bit dry and overcooked, but we must not be too harsh as this is a vegetarian burger. Although it was dry, the patty was also a bit greasy but in this case added a bit of flavor and reduced the dryness. The texture was quite consistent and pretty good. I tried the patty on its own; there was a very subtle odd aftertaste, but all together it was very good. However, I would definitely recommend adding ketchup, tomatoes, and a bit of salad to it, if available, to negate the dryness. If that is not an option, having the milk and apples on the side also negates it, leaving a very good burger that can be easily customized or accommodated to your liking.

Although I may have been somewhat critical and even harsh in some cases, this really was tasty and for school lunch (which I do not mean condescendingly), a very good burger. I would give the apples a 9.5/10, the milk a 9/10, the burger a 6.5/10, and the overall meal an 8.33/10!

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