How many Diana burrito bowls can someone stand to eat in one week?
I am not exaggerating when I say that I go to Diana for a burrito bowl nearly every day of the five precious weekdays that the dining hall is open. And yet, despite my love for this classic meal, it has not escaped my notice how truly inconsistent the burrito bowls can be. As a bit of an experiment this week, I decided to chronicle the flavor of each of my burrito bowls, so my Diana obsession can be effectively channeled into easily digestible (even if the bowls themselves are anything but) content.
I started off the day excited for a week of my precious burrito bowls. As if in a sign of support for my project, the burrito bowl line was mercifully short today.
Taking a peek at the protein offerings, I noticed that they had replaced the beef with taco meat. It looked a little gray, however, so I went with my go-to chicken. The rice recipe also looked a little different, with some grains of wild rice instead. For my toppings, I went with my favorite combination: pico de gallo, sour cream, and cheese. This was a very typical bowl for me, and a great way to start my experiment. I chose a new chip option—cheddar Sun Chips—to accompany the bowl.
The chicken today was very flavorful, and the beans were an excellent texture, not too watery like they sometimes are. I wasn’t sure about the new rice recipe, unfortunately, as I don’t think the flavor of the rice accompanies the burrito bowl vibe very well. It could’ve used more cheese, but they are notoriously stingy with the toppings in the Diana burrito bowl line, so I wasn’t expecting much.
Overall: An average but delicious bowl, 4/5.
Today, I got in line still excited: two burrito bowls in a row is pretty typical for me. The line was a bit longer, and my Tuesdays are always rushed as I only have 40 minutes between classes to eat, but I was ready for the burst of fuel the bowl would give me for my afternoon class.
The taco meat still looked a little gray today, but the chicken also didn’t look too appetizing, so I decided to try out this new protein option. I decided to lean into the taco theme and mix up my toppings as well, going for lettuce instead of pico de gallo, accompanying my usual sour cream and cheese. The woman helping me out gave me a super healthy helping of cheese, so shout out to her.
The taco meat was predictably dry and relatively unseasoned, but it could have been a lot worse, all things considered. The helping of cheese definitely elevated the bowl, although I was reminded why I don’t normally go with lettuce: it got very soggy and limp very quickly, and I found myself eating around it as I finished my meal. Ultimately, the dryness of the taco meat brought down the whole bowl, making it a more disappointing experience than yesterday.
By Wednesday, I remembered that my burrito bowls are usually broken up by a quesadilla or sushi roll, and so I was now getting very sick of burrito bowls. But I decided to persevere, ignoring the slight tossing of my stomach at the idea of a third burrito bowl in a row.
I decided to go back to chicken today even though it still didn’t look great (You will never catch me ordering tofu on my burrito bowl). The rice looked very… full of vegetables today. I don’t really like vegetables because I have the palette of a five year old, so I was not very enthusiastic about this. They also, to add insult to injury, added much more wild rice to the mix. The rice is so fundamental to the bowl that I knew this would already pull the bowl down. Oh well. I went with my classic toppings: pico de gallo, cheese, and sour cream.
They were out of forks so I had to eat my bowl with a spoon. The chicken was in big chunks, not shredded, so this made the eating experience very difficult. The chunks are also not very tasty, as they tend to be incredibly dry and less flavorful than the shredded chicken. I hesitantly scooped the bites of the bowl into my mouth, my stomach roiling in protest. Luckily, there was lots of cheese and sour cream, which made the experience slightly better, despite the lacking flavors of the chicken and rice.
I dragged my feet up to Diana for lunch today, only to get to the front door and be so vehemently disgusted by the idea of getting another burrito bowl that I got in the sushi line instead. The fresh sushi rice was like a warm hug in my mouth and the kick of the spicy tuna was all I needed to be jolted back to life. But this is not a Diana sushi review, so I dragged myself back to Diana for dinner and joylessly joined the burrito bowl line.
I went for taco meat again today because it looked inexplicably delicious, as well as my usual toppings. The cheese was extremely lacking tonight, maybe even more than normal, but the rice was back to normal! This was all the motivation I needed to actually start eating the bowl.
The bowl was surprisingly very delicious today! The taco meat was much more flavorful and much more thoroughly seasoned than Tuesday’s batch. The rice is just so much better when it’s simple and uncomplicated, so this choice also improved the bowl. The lack of cheese was my only complaint today. I was very pleasantly surprised, especially considering how hellish this experience has been so far. Maybe, this was the retribution of the Diana burrito bowl line.
Overall: would’ve been a perfect bowl if it had more cheese, so 4.5/5.
I woke up Friday morning with a start, dripping with a cold sweat. My nightmares had been full of beans and rice, gray taco meat and un-shredded chunks of chicken. This was supposed to be my last day of burrito bowls, but I shuddered at the thought of ordering one: of waiting in that too-long line with a bunch of students who act like they’ve never waited in a line before, of the half sprinkle of cheese lightly dusting that mountain of sour cream, of the tiny chip bag that would be my only reprieve from the endlessly bland landscape of burrito bowl.
I went to Ferris for lunch instead.
Diana Center via Flickr