In the infinitely wise words of legendary New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra, “it gets late early.” Whether this Yogi-ism is true or not, it feels factual that some of our hungriest moments come after dinner — especially on the weekend.
Dewick-MacPhie and Fresh at Carmichael Dining Centers close at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings. So before October, Jumbos craving a late-night treat were forced to order costly meals from DoorDash or Uber Eats or raid their emergency snack stashes. (What do you think I did with all the chips that came with the sandwiches I ordered?)
Thankfully, Late Night at Commons has made its return to the Campus Center, offering food from 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Not only did Commons Late Night give me a chance to quench my hedonistic hunger after dinner (the perils of a teenage boy’s metabolism), but the destination also accepts meal swipes, making it the perfect candidate for an addition to this column.
One meal swipe at Late Night includes an entree, a drink and a snack. My first late-night nosh was Commons’ popcorn chicken and french fries. The best part of the dish was the incredibly generous portion size. Despite being very hungry, I could not finish all of the popcorn chicken. The portion size, though, is where my plaudits for the dish end. The fries were, to use the technical term, meh. They were limp and lacked salt, but were not the worst fries I’ve ever had. Pro tip: They pair very nicely with honey mustard.
The popcorn chicken nuggets left much to be desired. The nuggets were very crunchy, but lacked any real flavor and were hard to digest. Like the fries, they needed salt. The breading-to-chicken ratio was lopsided, and some bites felt like I was only eating overcooked bread.
For my next Late Night meal, I tried the Buffalo wings and mac and cheese. The wings, I must admit, were quite tasty. They had the perfect amount of spice — not an overbearing kick, but an enjoyable Buffalo tang. They were well-cooked and an abundant number of wings were included. Overall, the wings were the perfect late-night meal, and I would definitely order them again.
The mac and cheese, similar to the fries, was meh. It was warm and, thankfully, not too soft. On the other hand, it was not particularly “cheesy” and lacked an intriguing taste. In the future, I think Commons should pair the wings and mac and cheese with a different option, as the two flavor profiles did not mesh. Why does mac and cheese always have to be a side? Give it its moment to shine!
The pièce de résistance of both of my Commons escapades was the fried Oreos. Fried Oreos, in my opinion, are among the pantheon of dessert greats. Tufts’ rendition was very good, being both sweet and crispy.
I had two gripes, however. The first was that the breading was reminiscent of pie crust, which dominated the small treat. The second was the lack of powdered sugar — after all, what is a fried Oreo without powdered sugar?
Once again, I’m going to sum up my dining experiences with my gut reactions:
Popcorn chicken: Very crunchy, but lacking in flavor. Order something else.
Fries: Meh. No more, no less.
Buffalo wings: My favorite Late Night option thus far.
Mac and cheese: I repeat, meh.
Fried Oreos: A strong effort at replicating one of my favorite desserts.
As winter approaches and it starts to get dark sooner, it certainly seems to get late early. But, never fear, it’s never too late to nosh!