After last year’s disappointment with the food at Mein Bowl, the Vision staff was excited, though not entirely optimistic, about the prospect of trying out Belmont’s newest on-campus eateries — Burrito Bowl and Freshens Smoothies.
So we pooled our declining points to buy a sampling of different menu items and brought them all back to the Vision office to eat and discuss.
We started out with a basic Wild Strawberry smoothie. No one had a strong reaction to the somewhat watery, sugary drink, but we all agreed that it tasted more like a melted popsicle than a smoothie.
As Social Media Manager Caroline Cathey put it, it was “just kind of basic” and “the Ugg of smoothies.”
The one thing the smoothie menu has going for it is diversity — the 15 options include everything from “Oh Kale!” to cookie dough. But even the Vegan Power smoothie — which sounded like one of the most nutritious options — tasted like watered-down ice cream.
With as many as 86 grams of sugar in some of the recipes, these smoothies may make for an occasional sweet treat, but they certainly aren’t the healthy breakfast or lunch options we were hoping for.
Next we moved onto the main event — the food from Burrito Bowl.
The first thing we noticed was the huge amount of variety on the menu, which includes highly customizable burrito and quesadilla options, acai bowls, salads and nachos.
For every burrito, you can choose a tortilla or bowl and have the option to include chicken, beef or pork — or save $0.50 with the veggie option.
And this isn’t your grandma’s Mexican food. With everything from a Spicy Korean burrito to a KC BBQ burrito bowl to a standard Mexican Burrito, the chef-created menu options are sure to keep you on your toes.
We decided to start by digging into two types of nachos. We figured you probably can’t go wrong with such a gooey, filling delicacy, right?
The only problem was these nachos had almost no cheese on them.
The South Philly nachos had some well-seasoned beef, peppers and onions and a little shredded cheese on top. The chips were slightly burnt, but the toppings tasted delicious. We all just wished there were more of them.
The Tex Mex nachos also had great flavor but only about 10 good chips worth of toppings.
“Nachos should have enough cheese to where you can’t pick the chips up,” said our Faculty Adviser Dorren Robinson.
If that’s the criteria you’re going by, these dishes fell short.
The most adventurous item we tried was the Spicy Korean burrito. With barbecue sauce, Asian slaw, egg and chicken in a tortilla, this was the most ethnically ambiguous item on the menu, but it also ended up being one of our favorites.
We had mixed feelings about the egg and cucumber, with about half of the group loving the unique ingredients and half of the group wanting to pick around them. The ingredients weren’t mixed together very well in the burrito, making it messy and hard to eat, and we all agreed it would probably work better as a burrito bowl.
But as Managing Editor Melissa Kriz put it, “I’m still eating it!”
We closed out our meal with the Mexican Burrito Bowl, opting for the veggie option with black beans, salsa, rice, some veggies and cheddar jack cheese. The highlight of this dish was the chipotle ranch dressing.
Copy Editor Katie Knipper — the lone vegetarian on our taste-testing team — pointed out that the dish tasted great, but she could make it at home for a total of about $1. She also wished there were a tofu option.
Our final consensus?
Some menu items are better than others, so be open to trying several different things even if you don’t love the first thing you get.
While the food may not be as good as Chipotle or Chago’s, it’s definitely convenient, especially for students who are tired of the Curb Cafe and need to spend their declining points somewhere. We also appreciated the amount of variety on the menu and the options for customization.
At the end of it all, our review can be summed up with five words:
It’s better than Mein Bowl.