Cafe Antico at Emory (credit to Antico’s website)
It’s been months since I last went after campus dining, specifically the DUC. A combination of improvements with the food and operant conditioning on my part left me with little to say in the business of turkey Panini’s and green bananas. On their end, the people writing the menus stopped pretending like we were at Jean-Georges, and the chefs in the back piped down on the gummy bear and grape garnishes for cakes, cookies and whatever else had surface area. Salad bar upgrades and modifications to their pizza crust did not go unnoticed either. In short, the DUC is a closed chapter of my life (mostly because I have my own kitchen).
The wild mushroom and boursin cheese Panini must die.
But today I would like to re-open the case, not against the DUC, but against another campus dining fixture: Café Antico. I will be brief since I have only had one meal to date there and can hardly publish an all-knowing review, but I do know one thing for certain: the wild mushroom and boursin cheese Panini must die.
A battlefield of lifeless mushrooms, their souls lost to the metal cans they were shoved into. A hopeless dish from the beginning.
Sauteed shitake, crimini and oyster mushrooms sounds wonderful, but for $9 I should have known better. Canned, Watson. The damn mushrooms were canned. And in the event they are not, then they were the slimiest of the slime of real shrooms with an unmatched gray malaise. Grilled ciabatta also sounds wonderful but microwaved is closer to the point. How was this sandwich all together? Between the lukewarm bread and mushrooms and cold boursin cheese, it was an experience that had me on my feet. Literally. And I wasn’t just standing. I was running. I was running to find a bathroom because I thought someone had bombed my stomach, and my insides were scrambling for cover. Afterwards, I moped my way to class like Charlie Brown on Halloween.
Maybe Antico isn’t so bad, and this was a fluke. The faux-classy dining experience in a room draped in stripes and, what could be, the roof of a very old circus tent is endearing. The dust-filled vent that was looming above us — not so much, but I do wonder what’s actually fair fare. A friend of mine was sitting at an adjacent table, and when the waiter delivered a turkey sandwich, I turned to the person eating with me.
“Why would you order a turkey sandwich here?” I asked.
Now I wonder if today’s experience was the beginning of an answer of gastrointestinal proportions.