Coming back to a meal plan is hard. The dining hall food is inconsistent, the choices rarely change and worst of all, the food never compares to the choices at home.
Another challenge can be dreaming of all the different takeout options available. Chick-fil-A, Qdoba and other hometown favorites aren’t accessible in Oxford. Even if a student's favorite restaurant is available in the Oxford area, it's not necessarily feasible for college students to get takeout often, especially when on meal plans.
Take Chipotle for example. This popular Mexican chain is located right on High Street, but the restaurant experience comes with long lines, a walk Uptown for those living in dorms and prices that aren’t exactly cheap.
For all the deprived chipotle-addicts, you’re in luck! This semester, Bell Tower reopened with the creation of a ghost kitchen using GrubHub. Bell Tower features three restaurants: a Chinese style restaurant, Umami, American, Grill 1809 and the most exciting, Halcón Rojo.
Halcón Rojo, the first on-campus strictly Mexican food choice, features burritos, quesadillas, tacos, salads and what some could refer to as “Chipotle dupes,” burrito bowls.
Chipotle’s burrito bowls are a staple in many college students’ diets. They offer healthy options and are highly customizable, with different protein options and vegetable choices.
Halcón Rojo offers almost identical choices to Chipotle, so I took it upon myself to see how it compares to the Miami-alum owned chain.
I ordered a bowl with chicken, Mexican rice, pico de gallo, lettuce, guacamole and salsa, which is similar to what I order at Chipotle but with fewer toppings. I expected this since it’s still an on-campus meal — I can’t get my hopes up too high.
I picked up my order from one of the lockers, and I was very pleased with what I found. First, this bowl smelled great.
The chicken was cooked really well, which I was excited about, because that isn’t always the case on campus. I was also pleased to find guacamole, although I will admit it was not as good as Chipotle, but I am a big fan of avocados, so any sighting of them on campus is a great addition to my meals.
The other benefit to all of these new options is that they can all be purchased using a meal swipe, allowing students to ditch the dining hall without spending all of their declining dollars.
Another similarity to Chipotle that this dining option offers is the amount of food that they provide. Chipotle bowls are known for having huge serving sizes, and this burrito bowl wasn’t light on the toppings either, which I appreciated especially for a meal swipe meal.
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Upon perusing the menu on GrubHub more, I found that there is another option that bears more resemblance to a burrito bowl: the taco salad.
The taco salad comes with a choice of the same proteins as the burrito bowl, but offers more topping options, including black beans, oven-baked corn, cherry tomatoes, avocado, cheese and red onion. Sour cream, queso, guacamole, salsa or chipotle mayo can also be added to this bowl.
The only downside to this choice is that it doesn’t include rice, but it does come with tortilla chips on the side.
Both are great Chipotle dupes, and I urge all those struggling to find an on-campus favorite food, to check out Halcón Rojo.
Unfortunately, as with most trends, many students have discovered this already and have made the wait time on GrubHub for these meals up to an hour around lunch, but I will attest that these options are worth the wait.