My mom took me out to lunch at Claire’s recently, selected based on proximity and because my mom is a vegetarian. To be honest, it wasn’t my first choice. I haven’t had great experiences there in the past — some bland soups, and occasionally ridiculously slow service — though it’s never been terrible either. But I figured it was worth another shot, especially if I stuck with what I know Claire’s does best — baked goods. So I ordered a cup of green tea and a grilled vegetable sandwich, since at least I’d be guaranteed some of that wonderful marshmallowy bread.

It was the right choice for entirely unexpected reasons. The bread was soft and buttery as usual, but it barely registered in comparison to the tangy sun-dried tomato and feta spread and the lightly crisped vegetables heaped on top. The sandwich was served open-face with a large ratio of veggies to bread, which made it almost more like a salad with two enormous and delicious croutons underneath it. The whole experience completely defied my expectations, and was a welcome break from the dining hall’s vegetable options of raw or oil-soaked.

Maybe I can convince my mom to pick me up for spring break…

Sarah Wolf