The Middlebury Campus

Dolci Wows with “Veggie Tales” Meal

Last week student chef Pippa Raffel ’18 hosted a vegetarian meal, fittingly titled Veggie Tales.

Last week student chef Pippa Raffel ’18 hosted a vegetarian meal, fittingly titled Veggie Tales.

Courtesy of JellyTelly

Courtesy of JellyTelly

Last week student chef Pippa Raffel ’18 hosted a vegetarian meal, fittingly titled Veggie Tales.


For those who do not know, Dolci is a student run restaurant that hosts dinners at Atwater Dining Hall three Fridays a month. Each meal usually features several courses with a theme; from vegan, to meat lovers, to Italian or Chinese. The food is a refreshing break from the usual dining hall menus, and is almost always of the highest quality. and brought right to your table by student waiters.

Thanks to  Middlebury Dining Services and the Student Activities Fund, Dolci is free of charge to students. However, only forty individuals are randomly chosen to receive a ticket for themselves and a guest. Sign up for the ticket lottery opens Wednesdays at 9pm, which you can do at the Dolci website. You can also email the organization at and request to be added to the waitlist, or go to go/middlink to add yourself to the group. From there Dolci will email you a link each week.

You can also apply to run your own Dolci dinner, or work as a server or prep cook. More instructions can be found on their website.

Last week student chef Pippa Raffel ’18 hosted a vegetarian meal, fittingly titled Veggie Tales. Every seat for this dinner was filled and  it proved to be good opportunity to  meet new people.  All the guests began bonding over each new course.

We began with Middle Eastern inspired pepper muhammara and zaatar pita slices. This was an entirely vegan dish, much to the delight of the vegan at our table. The pita was warm and soft, and heavily laden with spices. Biting into the center of that bread seemed to satisfy every yearning for spice that I’ve ever had in my life. It was not spicy like a chili pepper or hot sauce. Instead, the spice formed a rich and complex  profile that instantly satisfied.

As a meat lover myself, I was originally apprehensive at the idea of an entirely vegetarian menu. As the night went on, I was continually surprised by how good the dishes were. The Brussel sprout poppers with sriracha dip, which were basically deep-fried Brussel sprouts, stand out as the one time in my life that I’ve enjoyed eating Brussel sprouts. I also enjoyed the chunky tomato vegetable soup, which was rich with olive oil but needed a little salt.

Time after time the menu proved surprisingly good; though personally I did struggle with the sweet potato patties, kale salad and cauliflower steak with tahini sauce. That’s not to say those dishes were bad; the vegan at the table loved them along with most of the other guests.

It was the last dish that truly blew me away. For dessert we were treated to an eggplant chocolate torte. This was a vegan, gluten free dish that looked and tasted like a slice of chocolate cake. The eggplant was supposedly within, but so well concealed by  dark chocolate that some at the table doubted it was there. The food was satisfying, the service was good and the elegant silverware and plates made the whole experience feel fancier than I expected.

This iteration of Dolci proved to be the best vegetarian meal I’ve ever had. It certainly convinced me that vegetarian food can actually be quite good if done right. I dreaded the night ahead of me when I first sat down , but I think the experience of trying these new foods that I’d normally avoid was a rewarding experience that will help to expand my palate. This is one of the values of Dolci. You can come to experience some of your favorite cuisine or to try out a new one. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.

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