Roundup offers culinary heaven, and all for a good cause

Olivia Berkeley

At any given point during the day last Friday and Saturday, I could walk into a sorority house and find myself surrounded by food. From pizza to waffles to hamburgers, the once mysterious sorority houses of West Campus morphed into an open culinary mecca for entrance fees ranging from three to five dollars.

I can only assume the massive hordes of neon-clad students were at UT to participate in Roundup, a two day outdoor party hosted by UT’s Greek community. I, however, bypassed this event and indulged in the many food offerings provided by various sororities, because, as we all know, kids come from all over Texas solely to experience the food of Roundup. For a small fee I was rewarded with food, as well as the company of drunken college kids — what else could a girl want? Despite my hesitations to dine with the Greek masses, the fact that all the profits collected from hungry patrons went to the sororities’ philanthropy kept me going. That, and the chance to see a few drunken kids passed out on front lawns.

My West Campus food crawl began Thursday night at “Desserts with DG,” a five-dollar all-you-can-eat store-bought dessert bonanza. Every sweet treat imaginable was laid out in the kitchen, including hand-assembled ice cream sandwiches from Coolhaus. I quickly entered into a sugary food coma, only to be revived by refreshing Rita’s Ices. Overall, the night at Delta Gamma left me wishing I had given up desserts for Lent; it would have saved me a lot of trouble when it came to sorting through the good, the bad and the ugly confections.

During lunch on Friday I went to Alpha Phi Brunch, which promised paying attendees chicken and waffles. Even though my chicken and waffles were more waffle than chicken and the texture levels were on par with stale bread, I still left contented. Bygones be bygones, I’m a sucker for syrup-soaked carbohydrates. Later in the day, I traveled south of 25th Street to the Kappa Delta house to try out their “KD Quesadillas.” For five dollars, I got as many quesadillas as I could eat, all of which consisted of flour tortillas, cheese and mediocrity. Considering the cooking materials and supplies available to these sorority girls-turned-chefs, though, it comes as no surprise that none of them have Michelin Star ratings.

By Saturday, when I no longer wanted to cough up the money to enjoy the Greek community’s finest delicacies, I headed out in search of the infamous Pike crawfish, which was free to all. I marveled as enormous metal pots filled with these miniature shellfish, or “crawdaddies,” as my server called them, were poured out onto wooden tables to be devoured by the waiting masses. Old bay and fish odor pervaded the air as I dug in sans utensils and napkins; this establishment was certainly an authentic one. I, for one, enjoyed having people select and cast off their unwanted crawfish before I made my selection. This pre-handling added extra flavor to my crawfish choice. To top it all off, too, my meal was accompanied by live country music. I appreciated that this outdoor dining place had entertainment to go with my meal — what attention to detail and dining nuances!

The primary highlight from this weekend was that all the money I spent on food went to the respective sorority’s charities. I emerged a righteous — and slightly heavier — victor. Even if I had to consume cold boxed pizza for three dollars, I still felt good (not physically, mind you) by the end of the night. Despite the uncharacteristically large number of drunken kids and almost constant stream of loud rap music surrounding the houses, the weekend was a mild culinary success. If you don’t mind waiting in long lines and eating lukewarm food, I urge you all to try out the treats of West Campus next year if you were too busy studying or working this past weekend.

Berkeley is a Plan II and advertising freshman from Austin.