Tag Archives: dining

Dolci – A Unique Middlebury Dining Experience


One of the best-kept secrets at Middlebury is Dolci dinner, a five-course restaurant-style culinary experience that brings upscale dining to Atwater on Friday evenings. A student head chef prepares a five-course meal around exciting themes such as breakfast for dinner, geometry, and bacon. With the guidance and support of the Atwater dining staff, student teams of sous-chefs prep each component part of these elaborate meals days in advance of the actual event, where lucky students who were the first to register online get to invite a date to a unique dining experience. Dolci is a real privilege to experience (at no cost to students I should add) and is just one of many great ways to kick off a weekend. After a long week of work and running around, relaxing over blood red orange soda while snacking on pita bread with baba ganoush reminds me that a whole world of culinary traditions has creatively found its way onto my doorstep in Middlebury, Vermont.

Below are some examples of the dishes offered at the two Dolci dinners I’ve had the luxury of attending. From tonight’s dinner (Mediterranean theme) there is a lamb with Israeli cous cous and falafel as well as a desert dish comprised of candied figs and pistachio cookies. The third picture is of a dessert from the geometry themed evening: a molten lava cake with home-made pistachio ice cream and two sauces, one raspberry and one mint.


For anyone looking for activities to add to their senior-year bucket lists, Dolci is a must!



Thanks, Middlebury!

By committing to Middlebury College, we, the students, have decided that this institution was the place where we’d trade in $200k+ and 4 years of our lives in exchange of its stellar undergrad experience. Sure, we all expected to take ECON105 and maybe discover a new passion for History of Africa, or even take part in a theater production but personally speaking, I think I have grown exponentially during my time at Middlebury far beyond the academic setting.

People have referred to our campus as a ‘country club’ in its remarkable facilities and general easygoing atmosphere. I won’t deny that we attend an institution that runs like butter but I think sometimes the  tangible aspects get in the way of realizing the little things. So I will take a stroll down memory lane of all the things I am thankful for as an attribute to my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving.

1. Perks of traveling abroad as a Midd student. 
a)I was never afraid to travel alone because I knew that if I ever got lost, I would have contact information of someone who can help me. I cried tears of joy when my friends came to my rescue when I was lost in Gare du Nord with severely limited French comprehension skills.
b) I literally ran into a Midd student when I went to visit Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. Talk about a total coincidence!
c) I was able to receive personal recommendations from students studying in various parts of the world while planning out trips.

2.  Meaningful internships
I’ve had the opportunity to spend time in Costa Rica by partaking in an arts/literacy program in San Jose, Costa Rica during my sophomore year J-Term. Funding to participate in this program was available by the Middlebury Arts Council, who provided a generous stipend to help cover traveling and living costs.

This past summer, I secured an internship through the Career Services Office and I spent time in Louisville, Kentucky as a summer school teacher for at-risk youth. It was probably the hardest I’ve worked and boy, did it make me appreciate my teachers a whole lot more, but the outcome was well worth my efforts.

3. Good school-sponsored activities
Middlebury is the farthest thing from identifying as a metropolitan city. The school realizes this and makes a strenuous effort to ensure that students are entertained. There are numerous guest lecturers, LNDPs (late night dance parties, duh), small and large venue concerts (can we bring Kid Cudi back please?), comedians (Judah Friedlander, you are the MAN)—-and these are only activities that are sponsored by MCAB! Each campus organization is given a budget to have fun and events are open to the entire Middlebury campus. I love that I don’t have to make a huge effort to figure out what I’m doing this weekend; I can just open up my email and see what all is happening.

4. (lack of) meal plan
I am extremely thankful that this institution does not make me pay for every food item that I consume on a daily basis. We also do not have a swiping system and it makes this place feel more like home, as I can walk into all three dining halls and eat as much as I want. Already looking forward to the next Breakfast for Dinner!

5. School spirit
I love walking around campus and seeing everyone displaying their Midd apparel. Even more so, I enjoy seeing them off campus.
Midd hockey opened up its season last night against Colby and I must say, I have never been prouder to be sitting in the Student Section with my best friends cheering for our boys. (special shout out to PRESCOTT HOUSE)

Dolci delight

It has been said that Middlebury’s standards in its dining hall food surpass the norm. We have no meal plan nor swiping system that strategically keeps track of our every dietary consumption as everything is covered under the general comprehensive fee. All three dining halls– Ross, Proctor, and Atwater— offer special elements that keep ever-so-loyal regulars returning for each meal and cause people to check out the menu to see what the hype is all about because after all, checking the daily specials on go/menu is a favorite past time of all Midd students. For instance, Ross dining hall serves pizza every day, Proctor has awesome vegetarian selections present at every meal, and Atwater has ridiculous lines during peak hours. We also LOVE Breakfast for Dinner as lines are known to snake around the massive dining hall as students greedily help themselves to heaps of chocolate chip pancakes and scrambled eggs done in southwest style (complete with red peppers, scallions, generous portions of cheese, cilantro, and salsa).

As great as our dining halls are, there will be times when students want to eat off-campus just to spice things up. This is where Dolci is introduced as a creative alternative to dining hall fare allowing students to enjoy a gourmet multi-course meal for free. Dolci tickets are available on Wednesdays at 9pm sharp and you may want to learn to be quick on the keypad as these tickets run out very quickly.

Pronounced “DOL-CHEEE”, this is an organization that enables aspiring chefs to use their skills in the kitchen and plan the most fantastic meals. This is all student-led. Generally, there are work slots for 3-4 prep cooks, 4 cooks, 2 dishwashers, and 4-5 waitstaff members. Work slots are also competitive as students find this to be a fun break from their studies. Themes vary by week; I’ve had the pleasure of attending several that ranged from just desserts to the most recent one— Harvest theme. The creamy beet soup was to drool over and the rack of lamb was worthy of being worshiped. The level of expertise and professionalism that is displayed in the food and service never ceases to blow me away.

It was wonderful to convene with old friends over this delicious meal and we laughed and cried (of happiness, of course) as we reflected on our freshman hall memories. Some formed new meaningful friendships as a result of this dinner and Dolci is just one of the ways that Middlebury fosters a sense of community in aspects of student life here.

I heard through the grapevine that the next Dolci theme will be Thai so make sure to get on board!
For those who are still skeptical, “it’s just a free dinner…” BRING A DATE!


There is nothing like a Vermont sandwich! Good thing this town is full of great places to pick up a tasty sandwich before class or on the weekends!

Here are my favorites:

1. Otter Creek Bakery

The location could not be more convenient right at the base of the college heading onto Main St. Plus, since it also a bakery the bread is always warm and FRESH. Don’t forget to pick up a yummy cookie or pastry on your way out!

2. Grapevine Grille

Probably the best sandwiches in town… but you need a car to get there. This restaurant is located South on Route-7 right across from the Blue Spruce Motel. If you are not careful it is really easy to pass! The menu has over 20 types of delicious sandwiches with very clever names.

3. Costellos Market

Located in Marble Works, this Italian market is the best butcher in town. They have great local meat products and sushi grade quality fish! Also there sandwiches and wraps have been known to change lives. Next time your in try the veggie wrap with beets, goat cheese, and curry (an “out of this world” experience).

4. The Middlebury Natural Foods Co-Op

While shopping you can pick up a sandwich from a wide range of vegetarian and meat sandwiches all that sponsor local farmers and agriculture!

5. Noonie’s Deli

A true Middlebury classic! Also in the Marble Works district, Noonie’s Deli attracts both college students and residents at all hours of the day. The Purples Pleasure sandwich is truly a Middlebury tradition!

yum yum in my tum tum

One of the great delights of being a student at Middlebury is great food and leisurely food.  The food at Midd is great on a regular basis with student favorites including chicken parmigana, burger day, and our snazzy panini bar.  On the desert end magic cookie bars and creemies (soft-serve ice cream) or a scoop of Moose Tracks is always on the menu.  Lately the salad bar is featuring new protein options like spicy chicken salad and mongolian beef in addition to all the pasta options that have always been there.  Beyond what chefs whip up for us Middlebury students get creative in the dining halls.  One of my friends is determined to have chocoalte at every meal so she melts down chocolate chips and drizzles them on everything from orange slices to toast.  Another friend tops her waffles with applesauce and I recently ran into a neighbor making his special morning blend of seltzer water, lemon juice and fress-squeezed OJ.  The possibilities really are endless, especially with our open dining policy, which allows students to walk into the dining halls any number of times they want to throughout the day.  Our meals are prepaid as part of our comprehensive fee which means that we never have to worry about swiping into the dining hall or making sure that we get our money’s worth at each meal.  What that ends up meaning for students is that rather than having three neat meals each day many students will have breakfast before their first class, a snack between classes, lunch, first dinner, second dinner, and grab a piece of fruit to take back to their room for later.  And you can have every meal with a different group of friends. 

In addition to the dining halls, McCollough Social space boasts two fabulous on-campus eateries.  The Grille which features a varied menu offering food from Turkey Clubs to a Heart Attack , which is a stack of french fries slobbered with freshly-melted cheese, bacon bits, and chicken finger bites.  Yep, it’s sinful.  Downstairs teh new student-run Crossroads Cafe is quickly becoming a hot spot on campus with healthier offerings, waffles, smoothies, a create-your-own-bowl menu, cookies from a bakery called Cookie Love, and Stone Leaf Teachouse.  The library also has a cafe that’s great for late nights. 

Now that the year is winding down and the weather is getting nicer opportunities to celebrate abound.  Smaller barbeques are popping up all over campus with Midd Mayhem, an annual all-campus cookout on the last day of classes is right around the corner.  It will be complete with a band and inflatable obstacle courses and other such games.  We’ve been finding more reasons to head into our favorite restaurants in town, including the Natural Foods Co-op and Two Brothers Tavern.  Further out there are some great plcaces that allow you to sit on the dock while you get food and Vermont breweries are amazing.  Otter Creek Brewery will even give you a free pint glass for being a 21+ MiddKid. 

Vermont is full of tiny gems.  Thank goodness VT Restaurant Week starts next week!