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Jennifer Lee spent spring break in Costa Rica and fell in love with the country and the food.

She’s using that experience as inspiration this week as manager of the Ready for the World Café. A junior in nutrition and a graduate of UT’s Culinary Institute, Lee is part of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism 445, the advanced food production and service management class that plans and operates the café.

Lee said the meal she planned for the café is patterned on the cosada, a typical Costa Rican meal consisting of rice, beans, fried plantain bananas, salad and an entrée. She chose international dishes to fill the cosada plate.

The menu includes:

  • Gallo pinto, a traditional Costa Rican breakfast food consisting of rice and beans, mixed with onions, bell peppers, eggs and cilantro.
  • Fried plantain.
  • Asian cole slaw, a mix of cabbage and oriental vegetables, tossed with almonds and sesame dressing.
  • Sofrito mashed potatoes (sofrito is a Cuban sauce made from sauteed onions, garlic and peppers).
  • Three-sauce chicken, a Chinese-style dish made by simmering chicken in a tomato-based sauce, curry and soy sauce.
  • Golabki casserole, a modern take on the traditional Polish cabbage dish, made with ground pork, tomatoes and bacon.
  • Indian fish curry (tilapia flavored with curry powder and a blend of cilantro and coconut milk).

The café will feature an art display and, on Tuesday and Thursday, instrumental combos will perform. Champagne flutes of a fruit punch will be sold for $1 to raise money for Relay for Life.

The Ready for the World Café is open from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. each Monday through Thursday in the Hermitage Room on the third floor of the University Center. Although the menu is planned by students, the food is prepared by ARAMARK, UT’s provider of dining services.

Diners pay $11 for the all-you-can-eat buffet or $9 for a plate of food to carry out.