The Reviews Are In: Students Give Thumbs Up to WaveCrest Cafe

March 14th, 2017

Several weeks back we were interested in getting feedback from students about some menu items. And rather than a simple taste test with a conversation, we were lucky enough to partner with Kristina Dumbeck’s writing class at Mission Vista High School.

After sampling four future menu items, Mrs. Dumbeck’s students were tasked with writing reviews as their assignment. We love being able to blend classroom work with nutrition education, and this opportunity to have real life food reviews was a win for everyone involved.

We’re happy to share with you several of the reviews from these Mission Vista High School students. This sort of feedback helps us tremendously in knowing how students feel about our food, and in our goal of continuously improving the quality and experience. Oh, and the hand-rolled chicken burritos and beef and rotini lasagna will be back on the menu. Thanks to all of these students!

Cecelia Jennings

Bean Burrito Review: Unexpected Delight
On Tuesday, November 15, Amy Haessly, from the WaveCrest Cafe, came into classroom 708 at Mission Vista High School with new menu items for the students to taste test. Mrs. Dumbeck’s Journalism class was responsible for testing the new winter menu and giving Mrs. Haessly some feedback. Eager for any food the students could get their paws on, they waited to try the four items Amy brought for us; the Hand Rolled Chicken Burrito, Lasagna, Veggie Chili, and a Chicken Enchilada.

Personally, I think the Hand Rolled Chicken Burrito was the best tasting one to me. The taste, texture, mouth-feel, and aroma were all fantastic, especially considering the endless requirements the staff have to meet with the food.

The taste of the warm tortilla, cheese, pinto beans, and chicken together were all greatly paired together. The texture was perfect; The chicken was cooked well and the cheese was melted to perfection. Yet, smelling the food was a bit deceiving. It smelled of peppers, which made me not want to eat it. But after tasting it, I realized there was not a trace of pepper in the dish. Honestly, for a school lunch, I was very impressed. The Hand Rolled Chicken Burrito definitely exceeded my expectations.

Kennedy Kellum 

Straight out of WaveCrest
The Wave Crest Cafe provides nutritious meals to the Vista Unified School District offering an abundance of food ranging from rolled tacos to lasagna. One meal they prepare well is the Hand Rolled Chicken Burritos, which is served as a lunch item and includes homemade salsa. Wrapped in a fresh whole grain tortilla stuffed with brown rice, chicken, beans, and cheese, this burrito’s proportion makes for a filling lunch.

The first bite was surprisingly delicious, as it came with a hint of spice. All the fresh flavors were vibrant enough to taste, and made it seem like I bought it at an authentic Mexican restaurant. But in reality I was eating a much healthier portion of a burrito. Now every time I go to buy lunch I always search for the burritos wrapped in a colorful tinfoil!


Cherokee Roth
Hand Rolled Chicken Burrito
School lunch has stepped up its game in the Vista Unified School District. WaveCrest Cafe  serves homemade foods rather than the cheap frozen foods for lunches. Of course, they do offer the Smucker’s Peanut butter and Jelly sandwiches, but additionally there are recipes made by WaveCrest Cafe itself. For example, the Hand Rolled Chicken Burrito is filled with brown rice, and not the cheap, dry school rice, along with chicken and pinto beans wrapped in a whole grain tortilla.

The burrito is not found in a microwavable plastic wrapper, but a foil to keep it nice and warm when ready to eat. With this said, you know it tastes like a real burrito and everyone loves a real burrito. WaveCrest Cafe is going for a restaurant-type food style and they have achieved it to the best ability a school district can do.


Paige Allen  
Beef and Rotini Lasagna
Wavecrest Cafe is led by a group of people with health and innovation on their minds. Recently, my class had the chance to sample the Cafe’s latest creations, including an array of burritos, chili, and pasta. I was thoroughly impressed with the delectable platters presented to us, but my personal favorite was the Beef and Rotini Lasagna.

The dish was distributed to the students in a cheesy, stringy pile of aromatic goodness. The first thing I noticed about the Rotini Lasagna was the mozzarella cheese, draped on top of the noodles like a dairy blanket. The dish smelled vaguely like an Italian restaurant, warm tomato sauce and fresh cheese mingling in a pleasant union.

Initially, I was thrown by the title — ‘Beef and Rotini Lasagna’. There was no lasagna in sight! But, as I took my first bite, I realized the meal was meant to be a modern twist on the traditional dish. The sauce was sweet and scattered with bits of beef, pairing nicely with the rotini noodles. There was a nice ratio of sauce to noodle, which I always appreciate, and the mozzarella complemented the meal in all the ways I hoped it would. I finished the entire sample I was given and observed that many of my classmates had done the same, thoroughly enjoying the Rotini Lasagna.

Overall, I really loved the Beef and Rotini Lasagna. The bold dish was a modern twist on a classic staple and provided a delicious mix of meat, cheese, and savory sauce.

Despite the teenage population’s aversion to healthy foods, the majority of my classmates enjoyed this novel dish. WaveCrest Cafe has succeeded in promoting healthy and fresh lunches in the Vista area. I will definitely be ditching the home brought lunches in favor of the Cafe’s latest creations!


Cooper Treibel
WaveCrest Cafe’s Hand Rolled Burrito Gets Weird But We’re Into It
Earlier this week, I was given the chance to experience a wide variety of foods from the WaveCrest Cafe. Admittedly I arrived to the taste testing center on a full stomach, as I had forgotten about my appointment during my lunch hour. For this reason, I expected to do little to no actual eating, however I found myself indulging in the mass of meals brought to our table.

For the sake of brevity, I will be reviewing only one of the presented options, the Hand Rolled Chicken Burrito. This burrito resembles similar offerings at Chipotle, but is considerably smaller. It’s kinda like if a Chipotle Burrito had a nutritional deficiency growing up and never reached the height predicted by it’s doctor.

The flavor of this burrito is also reminiscent of Chipotle, minus the guacamole. This is somewhat upsetting, because a burrito without guacamole just seems kinda sad in my opinion, however there is still a decent amount of flavor in that tortilla wrapping, and you can add hot sauce for an extra kick. The chicken is nicely flavored, and looked almost homemade, which is an impressive feat considering the humongous amount of these that must be produced daily.

Grains are definitely not lacking in this dish, as white rice is present in every bite. Because of this rice omnipresence, the mouthfeel does suffer, as your tongue is flooded with an avalanche of mushy rice, which leaves a pasty feeling in your mouth. Regardless of the issues with mouthfeel, the dish still serves as a natural-feeling and pleasant option from the WaveCrest cafe. Overall, I give the Hand Rolled Chicken Burrito 8.5 spray-tanned presidents out of 10.


Maddie Brimmer
WaveCrest Veggie Chili Review – I’m not mad at it.
This week I was able to participate in an opportunity to try some new foods provided by the WaveCrest Cafe, one of which was the veggie chili. The Wavecrest Cafe describes the dish as a “veggilicious chili spooned over rosemary roasted potatoes with fresh baked cornbread.”

As a vegan myself, I appreciated this wholesome plant-based option to indulge in, especially since I was expecting to be sitting on the side as I listened to what to my teammates said about the various food options. I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t expecting much. It’s a school lunch, after all. However, this veggie chili far surpassed my expectations.

The chili itself had a thick consistency with a mixture of beans, carrots, and other vegetables. I appreciated that the flavor didn’t have too much tomato, but I was a bit disappointed in how subtle the spice was. Because it’s a school lunch, it can’t be too spicy, but this level of spice just made it bland and boring. Others I spoke with thought that it needed to have meat and cheese added for flavor, but I personally think that it should remain healthy and plant-based and just spiced a bit more to add a nice kick.

The potatoes were great with their crispy, roasted exterior and soft middle and a seasoning that wasn’t too overwhelming. The cornbread was also moist and fluffy with a perfect amount of subtle sweetness.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by this dish and am hoping for more plant-based options from the WaveCrest Cafe. I give this veggie chili an 8/10.


William Tran
Beef and Rotini “Lasagna”: Forgiven for Its Lies
When first handed the Beef and Rotini Lasagna, I was disappointed that it didn’t look like lasagna. It was really just a pasta with the other elements of lasagna. Yet, it still made me hungry looking at it. The smoke swirling up from the dish, the mozzarella cheese stringing down on the pasta, the sauce coding every bit of the rotini, and the smell of the beef and cheese brushing against my nose all tempted me to eat the whole thing in three seconds.

Then came the tasting part, which made me regret all those seconds I spend looking at the dish instead of eating it. The herby sauce had a nice mix of tangy and even a little bit of smoky flavors. I pulled the slightly chewy cheese off with a bite of the pasta and it added an extra kick that complimented the sauce very well. Overall I give the dish 5/5 stars, forgiving the misleading name.


Brock Mickley
A Pleasant Surprise
WaveCrest Café is the food source for all the cafeterias in the Vista Unified school district and I’ve been eating their food for about 2 years now. When I heard that we were going to be taste testing food for Wave Crest I decided to go in with an open mind and I also didn’t have to go spend more money on food after school.

The Hand Rolled Chicken Burrito was by far my favorite out of the 4 options we tasted. I was surprised by the well-cooked chicken and the rice that tasted like the same rice from Chipotle. The salsa that came with it also gave it a whole other element and really made it even better.

That salsa is better than most of the salsa I’ve had in my lifetime. At my school this burrito is served the same day as the pizza, and as most know is on the same level as Little Caesar’s when it comes to quality. The only thing is, they don’t serve that salsa with the meal at school, so if they would it would be my favorite meal at school by miles. If you’re currently getting the pizza to eat instead of the burrito, I would highly recommend that you start to pick that up instead of the pizza. Lasagna?


Anais Carrasco
Anyone who’s familiar with my taste knows that I’m a fan of Italian food, and with my growing acquired taste of it, I’ve started to get a little picky. I haven’t had the pleasure of going to a proper Italian restaurant in a while, so when the WaveCrest marketing manager, Mrs. Haessly, came into our classroom and presented a “rotini lasagna” dish, I was practically jumping for joy.

It was served in a small paper tray, the usual dish that the cafeteria food is served on, but I wasn’t there to judge the presentation. Other than the dish, it looked delectable, with the melted mozzarella covering the meat sauce and curly noodles.

As I took a bite, the first taste that hit me was the flavor of the sauce. The subtle, yet familiar Italian flavor burst into my mouth, and the balance of cheese and meat in the sauce hit the spot. The noodles had a very soft, almost mushy texture, obviously cooked a little bit past al dente, but still enjoyable.

Although my peers thought differently, I enjoyed the balance of meat sauce and noodles. The sauce wasn’t very bland, so it definitely added to the taste. The cheese was also perfectly melted, making the dish look and taste even better. My only criticism would have to be the noodles, as they were a little bit overcooked and broken, and the name was inaccurate. It wasn’t lasagna, it was just pasta. Other than that, it was delicious. I would love to see this dish sell in my school cafeteria.


Madi Haaland  
Mouth Watering Burrito
Have you ever tasted a burrito that was mouth watering and melted in your mouth as you took a bite, and wondered why you can’t have burritos like this at your school? Well now you can thanks to WaveCrest Cafe. They have made it possible to be able to enjoy a burrito at school, just as you would at a fast food or sit down restaurant. They have created for the students a hand rolled chicken burrito.

With lots of fresh ingredients such refried beans, grated cheese, brown rice, chicken, all wrapped in a freshly made flour tortilla. As soon as you bite into this delightful burrito the whole thing melts into your mouth leaving your taste buds very satisfied. The mix of all the ingredients create a delightful taste, leaving a cheesy chicken, bean flavor in your  mouth. Now students can go to school and eat a meal that taste just as good as a burrito they would want to eat anywhere else.


Justin Galang
Food Taste Testing Review
The nightmare of school lunches invoke fear within most students and brings disgust to their stomachs. WaveCrest Cafe is currently trying to change this attitude most students have about their school lunches and currently offer a decent school lunch menu. Ever since elementary school I myself have stopped purchasing school lunches because they aren’t good and when we were told to have a taste testing in class I immediately thought to myself “oh no.”

The taste testing items I chose to review are both the cornbread and the chicken burritos. One word to describe both of these are “surprises.” I totally did not expect them to be decent at all. They passed my expectations and I scored both with a score of 8/10.

The flavors of the chicken burrito were exposed to my taste buds after taking the first bite. I enjoyed the chicken but personally though they had had too much beans in them. The aroma was actually quite appetizing, it smelled quite good from the tortilla wrap and they actually looked like “real food!” The word of advice I would give is to lessen the beans or create a separate burrito with no beans and more meat.

Now onto the cornbread, which was the real joy of the day. I am a big fan of cornbread and I wasn’t expecting much but it wasn’t bad at all. It had the right flavors and the right amount of sweetness, it’s I just didn’t enjoy the chili it was with. The only thing to change about the cornbread is to make it less dry.

All in all I was actually impressed with the WaveCrest Cafe, I have never purchased a school lunch in high school. The chicken burrito and cornbread were a good alternative to peanut butter and jelly! DON’T SLEEP ON THE CORNBREAD.


Taylor Sawyer
The Wave Crest Cafe, Come Everyday!
The Journalism class at Mission Vista High School got the honor of taste testing the WaveCrest Cafe’s delicious, healthy food. With the testing of four meal courses one really stood out to me the most. We had a Chili Potato bowl served with a side of fresh corn bread, Beef & Rotini Lasagna, a brand new item to the menu a Chicken Enchilada bake, and last, but definitely not least the Hand Rolled Chicken Burritos. This burrito was hands down the best cafeteria lunch i’ve ever tried. I wouldn’t even categorize it as a lunch, but a piece of artwork.

These burritos are so fresh and I’m about to tell you what they’re made of. The recipe is chicken fajita strips with shredded cheese, pinto beans, steamed brown rice, and fresh salsa wrapped in a warm whole grain flour tortilla. The cooks must be geniuses! The delightful taste was unbelievable. When asked, Amy Haessly an employee of the Wave Crest Cafe states that they use the brand Goldkist for their chicken. I seriously recommend trying all four of these items out, especially the Hand Rolled Chicken Burrito!! You won’t regret it.