Since we sent a BC first-year to JJ’s Place for the first time, it seemed only fair to also do the opposite: send a CC upperclassman to Hewitt for the first time. So, does Hewitt pizza live up to the rumors? Why does anyone go to Hewitt? Where even is Hewitt? We have (at least some) answers.
It had been a long time since I’d eaten at any dining hall at all, but I still recognized the smell of one as I made my way through a maze of tunnels to the subterranean lair of Hewitt. My kind hostess, who lacks a strong sense of smell, merely cocked an eyebrow as I reminisced about how annoying it is that you always leave a dining hall smelling like one – she really couldn’t relate. She was, however, impressed that I’d managed to not get lost on the way down. To be honest, I think I was only capable of finding Hewitt because I have, in fact, found it before (but a long time ago! And I never actually ate there – I just accompanied some friend as far as the desk before continuing on my way).
I asked what I should get if I wanted to eat typical Hewitt fare. She shrugged and went to get some kind of cold cut sandwich (I should have asked. Looked like turkey? Or ham?) I stuck with a plate of vegetable mush and saucy tofu with rice, as well as a few piles of various veggie salads. I finished with a cup of tea, which I accidentally put in a cup instead of a mug because I didn’t expect it to be hot tea since it was in one of those iced tea decanters, and a plate of carrot cake.
We sat down, made small talk, ate. I realized halfway through my meal that, thanks to my negligence with regards to grocery shopping, all I had left at home was a jar of peanut butter, and that the day before I’d been inadvertently doing a variant on the Devils Wears Prada diet: when I got home at the end of the day and realized I need dinner, I’d just eaten spoonfuls of peanut butter until I felt less like I was going to faint. Not good. I got up and politely asked if it was still a thing to steal fruit from dining halls (it was) and then proceeded to stuff my bag with gargantuan, definitely genetically modified bananas.
I finished what I could of my food. Merely average, but all food groups were represented and it was not offensive. The vegetables got a gold star. In fact, the salad bar was the best part of the entire experience. Fancy olives! Seaweed and shredded carrots! Who even needs Sweetgreen when you have Hewitt? I wish I’d asked if they frequently have beets, as I would say that was the one component my meal was lacking.
I was still a bit hungry, and at my hostess’ prodding I decided to try a Hewitt institution: a slice of pizza. However, faced with the choice between several different varieties, I panicked and chose wrong. It looked like some sort of veggie topped pizza but upon closer inspection, the veggies seemed to be kind of nicely minced leeks and carrots a chef would use as the base ingredients for a stock. It had an odd sweet flavor—possibly thyme? Maybe sage? I asked my hostess to taste it and tell me if this was typical of Hewitt pizza, but even she was kind of disgusted. I sucked up my scruples, left the pizza barely tasted, and got a piece of cheese. This time, it was thankfully average as far as pizza goes.
As we left, I remarked a bit on the atmosphere of the place. I should not have been surprised that it had windows, seeing as I walk past them on my way to class every morning, but for some reason I was. Something about having to find one’s way through the labyrinth beneath Barnard had confused my spatial reasoning. It was also quiet, and not crowded, and my coat only reeked mildly of cafeteria after leaving. But if I’m honest, even my host admitted that the real draw is proximity. Dining halls have one thing going for them: convenience. If you live in the Barnard Quad and don’t even have to go outside, Hewitt is a no-brainer. But I can see why I never frequented the joint during my brief time on a mandatory meal plan: it’s damn far away and hidden deep in the bowels of Barnard, which I have still never had a class at. Sure, there are trays, and fewer people crowded around vats of congealing soup, but you’re still only eating here because you would be figuratively burning money by not eating here.
I would say I actually left disappointed in Hewitt. I stole a few bagels for later snacking, remembering how friends used to swear that they were of extremely high quality. However, I was informed by my host that for the last few months they’ve diminished in quality and are now basically the same tasteless blobs of dough one can acquire at John Jay or Ferris. Shameful, truly shameful.
Bwog’s Baby Daddy via Old Bwog