Here follows the account of the two bwave Bwoggers, Simon Panfilio and Kate Mekechuk, who ate the surf, the turf, and the earth, eating what no one else dared to eat (except every Columbia student in line).
On a windy Tuesday afternoon, Staff Writer Simon, dressed in a tan sweater and gray jeans, embarked on a twenty-minute journey to the Daily Show taping studio to meet the man of his dreams, the resplendent Trevor Noah. After being admitted to Mr. Noah’s inner sanctum to enjoy an intimate comedic experience, Simon tentatively approached Mr. Noah.
“Mr. Trevor ‘host of The Daily Show’ Noah,” Simon said, trying not to fangirl, “I wish I could spend more time in your warm, angelic presence, but I have to go and get some Surf, Turf & Earth in Ferris Booth Commons with celebrity chef Robert Irvine of Food Network’s Restaurant Impossible.”
“Kid,” came the response, “you didn’t even say your name, but I hope you’re not making anyone wait in the Lerner Second Floor Lounge by being here.”
Simon was, in fact, making fellow Staff Writer Kate wait in that very lounge. She was finishing the Alaska solitaire she had been playing in class earlier that day. While she was in the warm, Simon was battling the elements, trudging through the windswept Hell’s Kitchen, running––no, racing––to catch the beloved 1 Train. Luckily, he scooted in just as the doors were closing, and a quarter of an hour later, he was welcomed into the packed Lerner Second Floor Lounge. Him and Kate, after seeing each other for the first time in 21 hours, ascended the Lerner ramp to wait in the infamous Surf, Turf & Earth line. This is their story.
Appetizers: Icy Shrimp with Decadent Cocktail Sauce
Simon’s rating: 3/5
Kate’s rating: $$
The iciness of the shrimp was initially off putting, but it didn’t affect the taste experience that much, as long as you smothered it in cocktail sauce. All that was missing was a martini (glass) and some olives.
The Three-Course Salad
Simon’s rating: 6/11
Kate’s rating: 4/9
Going from left to right, the leftmost was very brussel sprout focused with a touch of carrots and a dash of onions. Whoever cooked the Brussels sprouts should have given that job to someone else. The taste of them, however, was fine, but these inconsistently cooked Brussels sprouts were not accessible to the general sprouts-averse public. The middle one was primarily beet, dominated with the zest of an aluminum can. Finally, the last one was definitely cold coleslaw. Following the suit of cabbage itself, it did not have flavor
The Vegan Paella
Simon’s rating: mid
Kate’s rating: ditto
This earthy delicacy was infused with some big ass mushrooms. It tasted as if it had sat out for a while, and while it did as well as could have been hoped, it’s not something you would voluntarily eat again. If someone handed this to you, you would finish it. But you would never go out of your way to get seconds.
The Turf: Steak
Simon’s rating: hats off
Kate’s rating: 0.5 michelin stars
This was a welcome change of pace from the prior dishes we’d tasted, and was definitely something we’d like to see in the dining halls more often. It’s worth paying for—not a $15 meal swipe, but maybe for $10 in a diner somewhere, while hungover.
The Godsent Rolls
Simon’s rating: move over Panera
Kate’s rating: wants another bread basket
O sweet buttered roll! how golden is thy crust, how soft is thy dough. A single touch of the tongue, a single hint of flavor breaching your taste buds, is enough to make a thousand angels cry out in ecstasy, mourning the old world that died the moment this art came into being. If Michelangelo was a cook, this bread would be beyond his ability. The butter was pretty solid too.
Simon’s rating: 2.5
Kate’s rating: 4/20 stars
First off, it was hard to open—we had to use our fingers when the cheap plastic Ferris silverware failed us, which weirded Simon out, because he does not like lobster. The initial taste was salty fish, but the aftertaste really sealed the deal (with a negative connotation). It hit like an inflatable plastic beach ball as you are reading a good book and lounging in the sun. An aftertaste worse than kissing someone with garlic breath, the epitome of making you just feel bad, like when you’ve been sick with acute bronchitis for two weeks and you just don’t know when you’re gonna get better, even as finals approach, and now you need to cough in every class but you don’t wanna make it seem like you have COVID, because you’ve tested negative, which you repeat to everyone in the vicinity every time you need to cough. Zero stars.
The Strawberry Shortcake
Simon’s rating: dry
Kate’s rating: cardboard would have been better
We started with the strawberries; of the four on our plate, we only felt safe eating two of them, because the other two looked like a biohazard. The two that we ate, however, could not have impressed us more, as if you had picked them from your own private all-organic California strawberry field. The shortcake, however, would have been better if it were excluded from the dish entirely. Although the whipped cream and puree tried to soften the dense and crumbly shortcake, they failed.
Was the overall experience kinda bad? Yes. But would we do it again? Definitely. Just as celebrity chef Robert Irvine does on the Food Network’s Restaurant Impossible (Thursdays at 8/7 Central), we would offer a stern prod to make this Columbia dining experience worthy of a 2018 championship award for Best College For Food to be proudly displayed in John Jay Dining Hall. (Also, why was it during Ramadan and Passover? Did someone not think this through or did they just not care?)
Surf, Turf, ‘N’ Earth Queen via Kate Mekechuk