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September 17, 2008 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-09-17

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I $B The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 17, 2008

New look, same taste

bile the new Hill Din-
ing Center Marketplace
promises more choices,
the only variety to set it apart from
past dining halls is in the number
of stations: seven. Apart from a few
creative dishes, the "marketplace"-
style cafe has done little else but
categorize and reintroduce the din-
ing system's old menus.
Six of the stations - Grill on the
Hill, World Palate, Homestyles,
Hill Pizzeria, Good Grains and
Just Desserts - are aesthetically
placed around the exterior of the
dining hall. Palmer Avenue Deli
takes center stage in the thick of the
lunchtime bustle. The combination
of large windows and an open-air
design provides diners a pleasant
view of the activity on Palmer Field
and the adjoining tennis courts.
But the most disappointing ele-
ment of the new dining facility is
the lack of innovation. A look at the
campus dining website shows that
there are only a handful more dish-
es on the Marketplace's menus than
on other residence halls' menus.
For a dining hall heralded as the
revitalization of the University's
diningsystem, I would expect more

options.
And quality of the food ranges
from hospital fare to moderately
innovative, but much of it fails to
rise above other the dining halls.
The salad bar has similar and possi-
bly fewer choices than when I dined
daily in West Quad three years ago,
which had Jello and syrupy fruit
cocktail in the offering. The same
whole fruits are also available,
including many red delicious apples
whose commercial wax coating still
has not yet been washed off.
Despite much of the same old
mediocrity, there were some stand
out dishes. Starting with the Palm-
er Avenue Deli, where the walnut,
red onion and raisin fusion salad
combines flavors and textures for a
satisfying crunch.
The strength of the onion and
sweetness of the raisin were mir-
rored in another salad with shred-
ded carrot, mandarin orange and
sliced radish salad. Although I
found some of the soups to be too
salty, the pea and French onion
soup with large pieces of cracked
black pepper were very good.
But skip the chicken noodle,
whose lacking flavor is only com-

pensate
If th
about,i
its very
from cl
slices, t
third fl
roasted
Th(
offi
with ro
zucchin
rooms ;
pesto cl
slices o
pesto, tl
For1
impress
Homest
resemb
want to

d with too much salt. and chicken dishes. Unfortunately,
ere is any station to rave though, the dishes reveal them-
it's the Hill Pizzeria and selves to be the typical dining hall.
own hearth oven. Aside fare I've tasted many times before.
heese and pepperoni pizza The pasta was overcooked and
he Hill Pizzeria features a soggy, and the tomato-basil sauce
avor combination daily. The tasted like it was slightly past its
vegetable pizza stands out expiration date.
A new feature of the Market-
place worth of praise is the chicken
rotisserie, which makes drumsticks
e M arketplace tender and juicy. The browned skin
adds a lot of flavor and moisture.
ers a view, but But one piece of advice to the rotis-
serie crew: if you're going to show-
a W case the chicken alongside a strand
new flavors of rosemary, it should taste as if
rosemary had actually been used in
the preparation.
For those of you who would be
happy with a burger and fries for
unds of summer squash and every meal, you're in luck. The Grill
ni, chunky tomatoes, mush- on the Hill's menu barely changes.
and scallions, but it's the The World Palate station does a
hicken pizza, with its thick decent job of showcasing other cul-
f tomato and fragrant basil tures' foods. It basically takes the
hat wins the day. vaguely ethnic dishes you'd find
the most part, I was not scattered around any other cafete-
ed with the Marketplace ria and puts them in a corner. There
tyles dishes. This station was nothing new about the taco sta-
les the type of food I would tion, butI did enjoy a tofu dish I put
eat with my family - pasta together with Asian-style rice and a

spicy soy garlic sauce.
Just Desserts scored above aver-
age - except for the chocolate
mousse, which tasted as if it had
been diluted with whipped cream.
The three-layer strawberry cake
had a surprisingly good strawber-
ry-cream filling and the lemon bars
showcased an appropriately sour
lemon curd on top of a crumbly but-
tery crust. The cookies, which are
baked fresh on the spot, are still
warm when you bite into them.
Two additional features worthy
of recognition are the spice rack and
the self-service system. Across from
the salad bar you will find a rack of
twenty spices and an array of con-
diments like olive oil and red wine
vinegar. The new self-service idea
of the Marketplace allows students
to control for portion size and taste
preferences. Perhaps we'll find that
regular Marketplace diners waste
less and avoid a few pounds of the
freshman fifteen because of it.
The Marketplace wins points for
style and a few new dishes, but in
the end it's still a dining hall
-Kara Morris is a critic for The
Michigan Daily's food blog The Table

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