Monday, April 2, 2012

Engrained, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

Engrained, Memorial Union Entrance and Welcome Desk
I was recently at a conference hosted by Arizona State University. I took the opportunity to lunch at Engrained, a sustainable cafe located on the second floor of the Memorial Union on the Tempe campus. The cafe is what I would call eco-chic and features organic, locally harvested, fair trade goods with indoor and terrace seating.

Engrained has a few vegetarian and vegan items clearly labeled on the menu, which is seasonal and rotates every so often. I wanted to order the Earthbowl (aloe quinoa mosaic with mustard greens pesto) which seems to be a regular item, but for some reason they were out of the ingredients needed to make it. Big bummer. So instead I ordered the Prickly Pear Salad  which is not currently on the menu, and I didn't record the ingredients, so I can't give you the specifics. But  I do have a picture. And I can tell you it was quite good, even if a couple of the greens were the bitter kinds which I don't care for.

Prickly Pear Salad
Before you get your main entree, they come by and offer up some homemade tortilla chips. I do think it's a little strange they don't offer you a dip, just tortilla chips. Another slightly strange thing is that every order automatically comes with unlimited beverages. While, I am not a tea person, I decided to try their prickly pear tea anyway. I've heard it is delicious. But it was lost on me, because all teas taste the same, a rather bland beverage. I don't know why I keep trying when my taste buds are clearly defective.

Prickly Pear Tea and Tortilla Chips
Here's how the cafe works: Enter through the inside of the Memorial Union, second floor. Stop at the welcome desk and get assigned a numbered table for your party. Make your way over to a display of menu items. Pick your poison and pay at the register. Then get yourself a beverage and find your table. They'll bring the food to you.

One of my favorite things about Engrained is that they utilize local unique ingredients like aloe and prickly pear cactus. Engrained is not cheap college cafeteria food.  It is worth the visit if you are already on campus, but I'm not sure I would make the effort of battling ASU traffic or pay for parking to get there otherwise.

Ranking: ***1/2

***** awesome! Highly recommended.
**** hey, this is pretty dang good.
*** not bad at all.
** eh.
* bad. Keep looking for alternatives.

Memorial Union, ASU Tempe Campus
1290 S. Normal Ave
Tempe, AZ 85287

Monday - Friday 11am to 4pm

Memorial Union, ASU

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