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EU cafeteria & food gets high marks
East Union’s Brandon McGuniess gets ready to buy lunch in the cafeteria Thursday. - photo by HIME ROMERO
The first stop in my quest to eat lunch at all five of the district’s high school campuses seemed like a logical one.

After all, I graduated from Sierra High and spent a fair amount of my time on that campus. Seeing it almost a decade later was going to be somewhat of a treat.

But geographically speaking I actually lived closer to East Union. If you take into consideration that my first “real” girlfriend was a Lancer it could be said that my time was pretty evenly split along Union Road for my first two years of high school.

So while I thought I knew the East Union cafeteria relatively intimately – having spent an entire summer learning world history inside of its cozy confines – I didn’t take into account that the district completely remodeled the kitchen four years ago and thus overhauled the way that lunch is delivered to the students on campus.

Long story short – I got the chance to be pleasantly surprised for the second day in a row.

Where Sierra spreads the students out over three locations on campus, all East Union students make a dash for the cafeteria where a variety of stations have individual lines serving up everything from the traditional pizza slices to yogurt parfaits and salads.

Student volunteers from a variety of different clubs have the chance to help serve lunch and earn money for their respective organization. It makes the crush flooding into the building move through with efficiency that should be commended.

After the majority of the students had already emptied out the lines, I sauntered up to the counter only to realize that I had just a single dollar bill left in my wallet (proof that I’m of the generation that relies almost exclusively on my debit card) – forcing me to walk back out to the parking lot and get three quarters to foot the bill.

It actually turned out to be a good move.

While some students opted for the cafeteria to spend their 30-minute break, it seemed that just as many preferred to be outside either lounging on the quad, enjoying the shade on a grassy swath, or sitting out near the flagpole with a few friends waiting for the bell to ring.

Had I thought in advance and actually got cash back from a purchase I never would have noticed that.

I opted for the pepperoni pizza that just happens to be the most popular item at the school and took advantage of the pasta salad that East Union offers on certain days as an alternative to side salads. I grabbed an apple and a chocolate granola bar and my bottle of water and set out to find my own shady spot to enjoy my spoils.

 And I have to say that the pizza slice was actually quite good and I could see myself being a regular fan of that pasta salad – the combination of which was more than enough to satisfy my hunger.

While it wasn’t my old stomping grounds, they do lunch well at East Union.

Since two of the remaining three schools left in my quest were built after I graduated I’m set to learn a whole lot more about the workings of a high school cafeteria I’m not familiar with.

Up next: Manteca High. It’s been a long time since summer school in 1998 to take care of my U.S. History credits. Time to see what’s different on Manteca Unified’s oldest high school campus.