College Prep: Wolfgang Puck, Eggplant Parm

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by Courtney Cochran

When I was a freshman at UCLA a decade ago, the school was considered ahead of its time - and ranked as one of the nation's top college campuses for dining - thanks to its "high end" cafeteria embellishments like a DIY pizza bar and made-to-order omelets on weekends.

But as today's incoming college freshmen will tell you, those perks were so 20th Century.  As reported in The New York Times and chronicled at websites like, campuses are putting a greater-than-ever emphasis on the quality of their dining programs in response to reports that prospective students give serious consideration to a school's dining options when selecting a school.  And what options they have these days!  From New York strips, Maine lobster and sesame-crusted tuna (with wasabi mayo, natch) at Virginia Tech to white spinach lasagna, eggplant parm and ratatouille at Bowdoin College, today's undergrads are getting as much of an education in cuisine as calculus.

And we wonder why these kids prefer wine to beer.

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I too attended college back east and our school was known for having really good food. So good, that my brother and his friends made a regular habit of visiting on weekends for the meals under the guise of "oh, we really want to see you and hang out". Yeah right.

Nowadays, there's a brand new student center with all the furnishings and hipness of a city lounge. And if memory serves me correct when I last visited a year or so ago, they are indeed serving wine in addition to the always favored beers!

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