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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, April 15, 2024

Munching with Max: Kindlevan Café

column graphic for Max Druckman's "Munching with Max" column
Graphic by Rachel Wong

In the words of Eminem, “Guess who’s back, back again?”

Spoiler alert, it’s me. I’m back and hungrier than ever. So, this column is back too, allowing me to rant and rave about my eats at Tufts.

As the Daily’s chief culinary connoisseur, I thought I had sampled all the dining options on campus. However, one day, my friends suggested that we meet for lunch in the Science and Engineering Complex. As you can tell by my writing a food column, I don’t frequent the SEC. Nonetheless, I obliged and discovered a gastronomic oasis, Kindlevan Café.

Striving for variety, I selected a panini, a smoothie and a baked good.

First up, the Pepperoni Pizza Panini. Let’s get one thing out of the way — it was not a panini. It was a quesadilla. Paninis are typically grilled and crispy between two firm slices of bread, not pressed into a soft tortilla. As a pizza elitist, I applaud Kindlevan for the effort, but it takes a lot to impress me with something modeled on pizza. The mozzarella and pepperoni were plentiful and artfully grease-flooded the wrapping (napkins are a necessity). The familiar pizza flavor combination was palpable, but it lacked sauce. The panini’s ultimate undoing was the bread. Mushy and frail, it collapsed under the weight of the stuffings and did not provide the necessary crunch expected from a pizza crust.

Next, the antidote for Massachusetts winters, the Mango Sunrise Smoothie. Featuring mangos, strawberries, bananas and lemonade, I was pleasantly surprised by this fresh force of flavor. Despite the sweet ingredients, the drink was not overly tart. During every sip, each fruit got its moment in the sun (pun definitely intended). The beverage stayed cool, allowing for leisurely drinking, but was not brain-freeze-inducing. A truly refreshing option, the smoothie packed a punch of island flair that would brighten any winter day.

Lastly, a classic chocolate chip muffin. For this review, I’ll revert to my favorite adjective — meh. I mean, it was a muffin. There were sufficient chocolate chips, and the sugary glaze topping offered a sweet crunch. The bread itself was a bit dry, despite appearing freshly baked, and it did not crumble messily. I will add points for the size, as the muffin was neither too small — to the point where a bite would crush it — nor too big, where a bite would be impossible. In short, it was a solid snack to pair with a coffee.

As usual, I will conclude with my ‘gut’ reactions.

Pepperoni Pizza Panini — False advertising. It’s a quesadilla. Let the pizza places handle the pizza.

Mango Sunrise Smoothie — Fresh, sweet and delicious. Highly recommend.

Chocolate Chip Muffin — If you like muffins, go for it. If not, don’t (but I don’t know why anybody wouldn’t like muffins).

With Valentine’s Day having just passed, I hope that, whatever your plans were, a good meal was enjoyed. Because, as the old saying goes, it’s not about the people we meet but about the food we eat along the way (or something like that).