Secret behind the spice: Ovid’s spicy beef wrap

By Jennifer Abreu

With a new semester comes more reading, more essays to write and more problems to solve. These academic responsibilities can make students both tired and hungry.

The spicy beef wrap is one ally and can be found at Ovid’s Cafe, located in the William T. Young Library.

Freshly made, the spicy beef wrap is crispy on the outside and cheesy on the inside, filled with Philly meat cooked to perfection with fresh toasted pepper and onions (or not, for the picky ones), and a special juicy, mysterious sauce that overflows the tomato wrap as you bite into it.

Two slices of pepper jack cheese lay on the tomato wrap along with two ounces of Ovid’s salsa mayo, according to Ovid’s spicy beef wrap ingredients chart.

The sliced green peppers and onions are optional, and customers can choose a different type of cheese on their wrap.

All these ingredients put together add up to a 1,010-calorie wrap (with onions, green peppers and pepper jack cheese), according to Ray Schmidt, associate director of Dining Services.

The spicy mayo sauce alone holds 350 calories, but these numbers seem not to affect how many wraps students actually eat.

A popular meal among students that has been on the menu for six years, the spicy beef wrap is ordered 150 to 200 times on a regular day, Schmidt said.

During finals, when the cafe is open 24/7, Schmidt said numbers are even higher.

Schmidt said students are able to savor the spicy beef wrap not only because of the tasty sauce and ingredients that fill it, but also because of how the item is made.

“Students like to see their food made right in front of them,” Schmidt said. “Our food is made fresh.”

Seeing how and where the food is being prepared creates a sense of trust for the customer, Schmidt said.

“Nobody likes the word ‘cafeteria,’ where your food was made in a secret room and came out of a small hole in the wall,” Schmidt said. “Students are more savvy, and watching their food being made, I think, is the big attraction.”

Darrell Jones, an Ovid’s employee who prepares the wraps, said the beef wrap is the choice of many students.

“Students wait in line for it, especially during lunch time,” Jones said.

And there’s one ingredient that appears to catch students’ palate.

“They seem to really like the salsa mayo,” Jones said.

Joseph Payne, a freshman English major, said that even though he didn’t know what the sauce is, he does like it.

Payne said that he was searching for something different when he ordered the spicy beef wrap.

“I felt like eating something different,” Payne said. “It’s spicy, beefy — it’s nice to have the sauce in it, because not many other sandwiches have sauce on them.”

Other than the flavorful, juicy sauce, Payne said the veggies add an extra kick to the wrap.

“I get mine with peppers and onions,” he said. “It adds more flavor to it.”

Payne also agreed that having it prepared right in front of his eyes is a big plus.
“I like that I get to watch it being made,” Payne said.  “It’s fresh and it’s always too hot for me to eat it at first so I have to let it cool down for a minute.”

There’s another reason why Payne believes Ovid’s is a great place to have a meal in general.

“It’s high quality food, you get your money’s worth.” Payne said.

Some students may prefer their spicy beef wrap without the green peppers and onions, like junior merchandising, apparel and textiles major Christina vo Vargas; but the wrap still doesn’t fail to succeed in flavor.

“I love the  pepper jack cheese and the sauce,” Vargas said.

Despite the high calorie count , Vargas said it won’t keep her from ordering the wrap.

“One-thousand ten?” Vargas said. “I don’t care how many calories is in it because it is good.”

The Philly beef and the toasted tomato wrap also caught Vargas’ attention.

“The beef is well cooked and I like how the wrap is crispy on the outside,” Vargas added.

Even though Willy T., as the Young Library is usually referred to by students, is a common study and hang out spot for most students, Vargas mentioned it is not a convenient location for her.

“I never really go to the library, so it’s kind of out of my way.” Vargas said.

For students like Vargas, who are usually on the other side of campus but enjoy the Ovid’s tasteful menu, there is the possibility of a North side location.

Schmidt didn’t reveal specific information, but said students should be on the look out for something.

Ah, the spicy, beefy goodness. But the wrap has been around at least since 2000-2001, not the six years the article states. Unless it was taken off other menu for a time.

I have to wonder: how much of the sauce are they putting on the wrap, and what the heck is it made of to add up to 350 calories? That’s about 3.5 tablespoons of pure oil. The salsa part should be practically zip.