Best campus food? 3 California colleges make the top 20

Forget academics, weather and football rankings. For many incoming college students, it's all about the grub — especially when these young impressionable minds are reliant on a meal plan. And where many dining halls still offer options dismal enough to ward off the so-called freshman 15, other schools are upping their game when it comes to food. No mystery meats or surprise casseroles here.

Every year since 1992, the Princeton Review has ranked colleges in 62 categories based on student ratings. And apparently food is a hot topic. Its latest list of Best Campus Food at 20 Colleges includes three California schools: Scripps College (No. 12), Claremont McKenna College (No. 14) and the University of San Diego (No. 18).

"In researching our guides to help high school students determine the best college for them, we have learned that food is becoming an increasingly important factor in their decision-making process," states Rob Franek, SVP/Publisher of the Princeton Review and author of "The Best 380 Colleges."

Scripps College boasts both a campus garden and an herb garden. Claremont McKenna reportedly makes all its food from scratch. And the University of San Diego offers a wide variety of regional and cultural foods.

"Even their food truck reflects the city's historical culinary culture," it says in a statement from the Princeton Review. "[Including] food reflecting Kumeyaay Indian, Portuguese, Mexican, Italian and Asian influences are created using fresh and seasonal local products."

Apparently, the days of cold burgers and instant ramen are over.

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