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A food lover's guide to campus cuisine

Photo by Stephanie Diani

Looking for something different to tickle your tastebuds? As a service to our readers, we sent UCLA Today’s Daniel Hernandez out to scout as many campus eateries as he could. So if you’re tired of the usual ho-hum fare and want to spice up your workday routine, he’s found a few places you might want to visit:

So you missed breakfast again ... For the most important meal of the day, the American Roadside Grill at the Cooperage in Ackerman is one of the few places to offer breakfast selections, including the Bruin Combo (two pancakes, an egg and bacon or sausage) for $2.80. From 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. weekdays. If all you want is a caffeine fix, take your break at Jimmy’s Café at Lu Valle Commons, where gourmet coffees, teas and the best selection of melt-in-your-mouth pastries await.

Healthy choices ... Where else but in a hospital cafeteria? But this is no ordinary cafeteria. The line at Café Med can sometimes wind out the door when faves, like tortilla soup and spicy BBQ, are what’s cooking. For calorie watchers, there are lots of healthy selections for breakfast and from the grill and deli. Once a week, customers can watch while a chef creates a featured item made to order. Daily menus are posted at

Ah, sweet cravings ... Soothe your stress away with something from RX Candy Coated Cures in Ackerman Union. Choose from more than 100 different sweets ranging from old-school Bazooka bubble gum to peanut butter M&Ms. Need a last-minute gift idea? The store also sells balloons and cards for you to make your own gift bag filled with someone’s favorites.

Looking for an afternoon pick-me-up? If you’re in the mood for a juice fix, head over to Ackerman to Relaxtation for Asian teas and boba, a pleasant change from the average smoothie.

Dining alfresco ... Escape the office for a fresh-air lunch at Café Synapse, located at the Gonda (Goldschmied) Center. The secluded café sells sandwiches, soups and salads and overlooks a peaceful courtyard.

More than a hamburger ... Feel like a little culinary adventure? Try Tsunami at Ackerman Union for Japanese bowls, udon or soba noodles, salads and sushi made fresh. Vegetarians can get the Veggie Fun Noodles, a delectable bowl of rice noodles, mushrooms, sprouts and other veggies served in a veggie broth. If you don’t see the sushi you want, just ask and they’ll make it for you. Or how about Yan Neua Yang ($5.75, including a drink) — thin slices of steak seasoned with Thai spices and garlic, then served on romaine lettuce with green onion, cucumbers, mint and cilantro? It’s one of the offerings at Rendezvous, the newest hilltop restaurant, located between Hedrick and Rieber. Open for lunch and dinner, it specializes in Asian and Mexican cuisine. Put money on your BruinCard, the only way to pay at residence hall eateries.

A slice of student life ... You can eat sandwiches, sip smoothies, slurp soup and observe hectic life on the hill from an outdoor table at the Bruin Café, located on the north side of Sproul Hall across from Covel Commons. It even has a built-in Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf bar. But if you want to ditch the masses, head for Espresso Café Roma, a Wall Street-themed restaurant in the Anderson School of Management. It’s a refreshing change from noisy, overcrowded restaurants and the best escape from campus without actually leaving it. The service seems friendly, too.

A tip to the wise: Most campus eateries only take cash or bucks on your BruinCard. If you want to venture beyond the campus, has a list of restaurants in Westwood and copies of their menus.

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