Forget whatever preconceived notions come to mind when you hear the words dining commons, because the new Portola is redefining campus dining with every meal. Yes, the majestic building, spacious interior, and cutting-edge equipment is enough to set Portola apart. But what’s on the plate is perhaps the most impressive: innovative, increasingly plant-based, delicious meals that satisfy different taste buds and dietary needs alike.
An increasing percentage of the menu features vegan and vegetarian cuisine, and these dishes shine as stars of the show rather than mere substitutions for a meat-centered main dish. You may find grits with kale and a fried egg to start your (meatless) morning off right, white bean and red lentil burgers on the grill, and vegan daikon rolls next to their spicy tuna counterparts.
Portola keeps things exciting by offering fresh takes on traditional items and incorporating new ingredients. For example, try a cornmeal waffle or coconut milk-yogurt parfait for breakfast. In addition, there’s always a cooked vegetable option at breakfast or brunch, and you’ll often find breakfast items on the lunch menu. Portola also takes advantage of the bounty of produce that Santa Barbara offers with cuisine that highlights what’s in season. As we move into the winter months, keep an eye out for the caprese citrus salad, ginger marinated butternut squash, and sweet potato, corn, and chipotle soup.
If you’re not getting hungry yet, then let your taste buds travel the world at the various food stations. Shakshuka, Pipelchuma, Chermoula and harissa highlight the cuisine of North Africa, while tandoori chicken and Burmese coconut curry add Indian and Southeast Asian flavor to some of the dishes featured lately. Or, try the Sriracha mayo with your next sushi roll…you’ll never have it any other way again. There is truly something for everyone, so come discover your new favorite dish at Portola!