Riddell Hall at the University of Winnipeg is a clean, spacious and comfortable place to eat. The room is carpeted, decorated with art, and the lighting is soft but not dim. The room is filled with round tables that, unlike the rectangular rows of the typical cafeteria, invite conversation with friends. And despite this pleasant welcome to the university’s main eatery, our experience was dismal.
Meal options at the grill were mostly limited to the usual burgers and chicken fingers, though they did offer a herb chicken special. Our rosemary seasoned entree consisted not of a tender chicken breast, but of a drumstick, wing and small thigh. It was lukewarm and tough. The potato wedges were soggy, and the vegetables were a faded mush vaguely resembling broccoli, peas and carrots. Two bites and we cried uncle.
The sandwich station held more promise. You could choose from grilled chicken, tuna, tofu, egg salad, turkey or chicken salad. It was offered on ciabatta or pita bread, or wrapped in a tortilla. The toppings looked bright, fresh and appetizing. But our appetites were quickly disappointed. The cook coughed into her arm only an inch or two from her hands. Hands that she subsequently used to massage our lunch. Kind of defeats the purpose of wearing gloves? No?
Also promising were fresh fruit smoothies made from scratch. We ordered ours raspberry, but it was not to be. The server explained that she had never prepared one before. From her expression it was clear that she wanted us to forget about it. We obliged.
The one upside to lunch at Riddell Hall was the Greek salad. The iceberg lettuce was crunchy and green. It was full of toppings and they weren’t stingy on the feta. A good offering, but not enough to absolve this cafeteria of its many faults.