Restaurant of the Week: Malott Commons, Scripps College


Malott Commons, the Scripps College dining hall, 10th Street (at Columbia), Claremont

I was invited to lunch Thursday at Scripps by Judy Harvey Sahak of the college’s Denison Library. Claremont Colleges’ food won a deserved rave from a visitor and blogger from Occidental College. I ate last year at Pomona College’s Frary dining hall and was impressed.

Harvey Sahak bragged that the Scripps food service is the best of any of the colleges and told me I had to try it.

Well! It’s all you can eat, and I can’t even tell you all the stuff they had, they had so much. Let’s see: a good salad bar; four kinds of soup, including sourdough bread bowls; an array of gourmet-style hamburgers, deli sandwiches and paninis; four varieties of wood-fired pizza by the slice; a pasta dish called eggplant roll-a-tini; barbecued beef brisket and cornbread; meatball stromboli; and vegetarian dishes cooked to order.

I had cream of asparagus soup, pizza with tomato, salad, meatball stromboli (a sandwich in a pita-like bread) and a slice of beef brisket. For dessert, frozen yogurt. Plus an iced tea. Harvey Sahak insisted on treating. Price is $5 for colleges folk and $7.50 for anyone else, not that anyone checks ID. Anyone can eat at the college dining halls, and while they don’t exactly publicize that fact, they don’t discourage the public.

Best dining deal in town. And the food is a long way from mac and cheese and mystery meat.

In a satisfying boost for my ego, I was even recognized by a couple of readers, a college employee and her mom. All in all, a pleasant outing.

* Update October 2014: More than six years after the above, I came back for lunch and photos. Malott has various stations to visit: a salad bar, Healthy U (vegetarian, vegan and allergy-free), Pizza and Stuff, Grille, Traditional Favorites, International, and Bakery and Desserts. Wow! See the day’s offerings below.

(The bakery thoughtfully had vegan brownies and gluten-free cookies. It also had Dr. Bob’s ice cream, mango sorbet, regular cookies and Cinnamon Crunch treats.)

I had Korean tacos, both beef and tofu; kimchi; a slice of pizza; and a tuna melt; as well as some salad. For dessert, ice cream. Does life get much better than this? Although Scripps is a women’s college, anyone is allowed in the cafeteria, and “most of the CMC boys eat here,” I was advised.

There are three small-ish dining rooms. One stately room, pictured at bottom, is unexpectedly nicknamed the Bikini Room because the stained glass patterns evidently form into a pattern resembling a woman in a two-piece, or maybe a series of women in a series of two-pieces. I couldn’t see a thing. I can never see Magic Eye pictures either.





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