The University of Texas at Austin’s largest buffet dining hall, J2, has a lot to offer. At the beginning of the semester, it seems impossible to choose between unlimited pizza, the huge salad bar or even the VIP section for when you’re feeling a little fancy. However, if you’ve been dining on campus for a few weeks now, it's likely that J2 has begun to feel a little stale. If you feel you’ve exhausted all the culinary options J2 has to offer, or feel the flavors just aren’t up to your palate’s standards, never fear our exclusive J2 secret menu is here.
By Katie Samuelsen
Photo by Kristin Evans
1. Next-Level Loaded Baked Potato
Eggs don’t just have to be for breakfast any more. The all-day breakfast bar can come in handy in many ways for stepping up your meal. A personal favorite of mine is a scrambled egg put inside of a baked potato and topped with cheese, chives and chili.
2. Mediterranean Veggie Quinoa
Usually, J2 has quinoa at one of their salad bar stations. If today is a quinoa day, then you can make a delicious vegetarian treat that will be the talk of the table. While you’re at the salad bar, go ahead and grab some raw veggies on a separate plate to be microwaved, such as cauliflower and broccoli. Using the microwave in J2 right by the burger condiments, microwave your veggies of choice for about a minute or so depending on how many you add. Next, mix them in with the quinoa and add some hummus on the side. For more protein, add some chicken from the stir-fry line.
3. Chicken and Waffles
This secret combination is pretty straightforward. If there’s fried chicken available that day and the waffle line isn’t too long, southern comfort isn’t far away. Add those chicken fingers or pieces of fried chicken to the top of the waffle and drizzle with syrup. You’re in for a treat.
4. Dessert Waffle
I firmly believe the waffle iron is the most underestimated piece of machinery in all of J2. Who said waffles have to always be served with syrup? With all the food options at J2, finding mix-ins for waffles is easy. One option is to add blueberries or bananas. “When I’m feeling frisky, I like to mix in peanut butter and bananas and top it with ice cream,” says mechanical engineering sophomore Stephen Wilson.
5. Banana Split
An ice cream parlor favorite! Get a banana from the fruit area and split it in half, then add ice cream from the soft serve machine and go wild with the toppings. Hannah Knaup, a petroleum engineering sophomore, was the first to turn me on to this secret recipe. Knaup likes to top her banana splits with crumbled up cookies, chocolate chips and nuts from the salad bar, then microwave it before adding the ice cream. “It makes the ice cream melty and delicious,” Knaup says.
With a little time, creativity and effort, buffet dining can be a great experience. Next time you’re visiting the hallowed halls of J2, try out this secret menu or start experimenting to create some recipes of your own.