Maya Taha / Gavel Media

Nico's Essential Dining Hall Hacks

We all know what BC dining has to offer—good, bad, and ugly. We all know the best grill item is chicken pesto with provolone. We all know the Screaming Eagle line is only worth it when there are under 12 people in front of you. But there are other, even more secret methods that exist to enhance your dining experience. Over my two years here I’ve amassed an immaculate knowledge of the Boston College dining secret menu. Here are five of my favorites:

  1. Dress-up Your Dressing Game at the Rat

The Rat has some of the finest fronds in all of BC dining, and the best toppings to boot. But sometimes, you just want the simple pleasure of good quality olive oil and vinegar on top of your salad. Many times the oil they have just doesn’t cut it. For a more savory oleaceous extract, specifically ask for “the nice olive oil” and you won’t be disappointed. Or, if you’re a fan of sour flavor, lemon juice can go a long way doubling as a dressing. Don’t knock it ’till you try it.

  1. Toast Those Buns

The aforementioned chicken pesto with provolone burger teeters on the edge of perfection. But there’s a certain textural element missing. Think about it, you’ve got the chicken, the soft lettuce, and the crunchy pickles. But you need a crispy home for your family of flavor, and the squishy buns just don’t cut it. No fear. Ask them to toast your burger buns and watch as the char on that gluten takes your chicken burger to the next level.

  1. Mariah’s Hot Chocolate Hacks

In consulting for this article, our Digital Editor, Mariah, couldn’t stop commenting on the myriad of ways to give your cacao some wow. As a principle, she urges you to remove your cup as soon as you stop pushing the button on the hot chocolate machines, as that’s when the chocolate ceases to dispense, and all you have is hot water to dilute your beautiful beverage. After you make a beautifully concentrated chocolatey drink, you can spruce it up with whipped cream at Mac or chocolate chips and M&Ms from the F’Real bar in lower. Finally, if you are craving cold chocolate, be to sure to ask for extra chocolate syrup in your milkshake at Addie’s.

  1. Gettin’ Eggy Wit’  It

It’s 2019 and breakfast is no longer breakfast. Among some the of most impressive social constructs, such as time and money, lies that of breakfast food. But let me bring you back to 2005, where a 6-year old Nico couldn’t sleep because he was hungry (a petulantly persisting problem). His mother, without hesitation, fried him up an egg and laid it alongside a small pile of black beans. Out of that moment, I learned that eggs do not have to be restricted to breakfast hours. Now, while eggs may not be available at all times, there’s a number of foods they unequivocally improve. Is your burger too bland? Put an egg on it. Rice bowl a bit too redundant? Put an egg on it. The world is yours.

  1. The Church of Chili

My personal midday go-to is a bowl of chili. Granted, I wasn’t much of a chili guy before coming to the east coast. But after walking from Stokes to lower in sub-zero temperatures, I’ve found that nothing warms up the body and soul quite like a bowl of hot chili. This is but the rock upon which you can build your church. And you can adorn it in whatever way best suits your soul, be it with Fritos (a must for me), broccoli, fresh tomatoes, a little bit of plain yogurt, or onion. Either way, shredded cheese is non-negotiable.

Though they may be hard to find here at BC, tickets to Flavortown do exist, you just have to dig a bit deeper than usual.

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Quinoa, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, beans, cabbage, cucumber, carrots, a little bit of chicken and mac, and Thai peanut please