Your first few meals at OCS will be “bag nasties”—or cold, boxed lunch. At best: egg burritos and a Pop-tart. At worst: a hamburger bun with one slice of Kraft cheddar and deli meat. As a new recruit, eating your first hot meal at Ney Hall sounds like everything you could ever want.
One thing is certain: whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian, you follow a paleo diet, a low-carb diet, or anything other than a 99% potatoes and rice diet, you’ll find the chow hall leaves something to be desired. In all seriousness, the food was fine and I don’t mean to disparage the workers of the dining facilities but there is some serious work the Navy needs to do when it comes to nutrition at Officer Training Command Newport.
Ribs – hands down everyone’s favorite meal. Considering how good they were, it probably raises some questions concerning what we were actually eating.
GROSS-CS SCORE: 9/10
Orange Chicken – I can’t remember if this was actually good or it was just served so rarely that you were tricked into thinking it was a scarce commodity. Either way, these chicken tenders doused in a mystery sauce were the closest thing we got to Chinese food.
GROSS-CS SCORE: 7/10
Manicotti – To some, it may appear to be just a cheese lasagna but to us starving, downtrodden candidates it was broiled gold that provided essential nourishment for the body, mind, and spir—okay, it was just really good cheese lasagna.
GROSS-CS SCORE: 9/10
Burger and Beans – served for lunch every Wednesday for whatever reason, this meal was one you could count on. Just as importantly, you needed to be able to count on the ventilation systems in Nimitz later that evening.
GROSS-CS SCORE: 6/10
Fajitas – this is the last dish I could think of that was just not terrible. Kind of resembling Mexican cuisine, the chicken fajitas paired nicely with the uncooked rice.
GROSS-CS SCORE: 5/10
All Fish – the foul memory of how bad the fish tasted is preventing me from writing anything remotely funny. Give a candidate this fish and you will feed him for a day, teach a candidate how to make this fish for our enemies and he is a lethal warfighter.
GROSS-CS SCORE: -1,000,000/10
Pizza and Wings – good idea in principle, terrible execution. It’s like a sick joke they pull on you your first ever time at the chow hall. You think you’re getting a gift on Saturdays just to be duped into chicken wings that are still flapping and pizza that would have made 2008 Dominos look good.
GROSS-CS SCORE: 1/10
Beef Slop – this was the best choice if you were on an eco-friendly diet. For lunch they would often serve “beef cubes” followed by “beef pot pie” for dinner and, if you’re lucky, “beef noodle soup” as the side the next day. Keep in mind the only difference in each culinary masterpiece is the size of the beef chunk.
GROSS-CS SCORE: 3/10
Pork Chop – this thing resembled a hockey puck in every way other than color. To include the fact that if it makes contact with your mouth it’ll result in missing teeth.
GROSS-CS SCORE: 2/10
Shrimp Scampi – a true game of Russian Roulette. If you opted for this entree there’s a good chance you got a plateful of noodles with no shrimp at all. The lucky few who actually did get some of those “Frozen, Never Fresh” crustaceans were probably also served a side of food poisoning at no extra charge.
GROSS-CS SCORE: 0/10
Meals that could fit in with the top or bottom five depending on the day. More often than not you were excited to see these meals on the menu, only to leave disappointed.
- Steak – you wanted to be fired up that it was steak day but would always be let down when it turned out to be tougher and less tasty than their meatloaf.
- Chicken Cordon Bleu – a Navy specialty but its uncanny resemblance to its nickname “the hamster” always felt like it was a little too well-named.
- Beef Broccoli – another bizarre attempt at a Chinese-American staple that even Panda Express would be let down by.
- Fried Chicken – pretty good most of the time but I feel like it always came after Pizza and Wings Day when you were at your lowest, begging for something remotely fresh and healthy.
For some reason, their desserts were phenomenal across the board. Thankfully you can only eat these during CandiO phase because these were deadly. Not that they need to be ranked but in my personal opinion, after trying every single dessert multiple times:
- Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Chocolate Cake
- Peanut Butter Cookies
- Carrot Cake
- German Chocolate Cake