Saturday, March 29, 2008

ode on a corporate cafe

as you may know, i have retired from the office life. several people have asked me, "hey julie, what will you miss most about work? also, you're looking fabulous today." and what i tell them is, "why, this old thing? aw, shucks, thank you! i just threw it on. and i'm really going to miss the corporate cafeteria.

free post-its are all well and good, but i don't think i'll ever get over the corporate cafeteria at my old office. it's that mythical beast: an affordable, reliably high-quality lunch spot in midtown with enough variety to keep you coming back day after day. not only in the neighborhood, but actually in the very same building as my sad little cubicle. that means no getting rained on or snowed on or frostbitten or sweaty just to get lunch! the salad bar was fresh and varied enough that it didn't take much willpower for me to stick to the healthy stuff, but for days when only a quesadilla or burrito would do, the friendly guy at the mexican station was always there for me with his generous guacamole ladle in hand. beyond those old stand-bys and the regular grill station, soup and sandwiches, there were always a dozen or so other options that changed every day. compared with my current daily rotation of omelet-noodles-cereal-bagel, it was a veritable cornucopia of food options five days a week.

i got the feeling that personal photography in the cafeteria is frowned upon (not least of all when the editors of certain high-profile weekly newsmagazines are treating their high-profile interviewees to a casual post-interview lunch), so i sadly have no photographic evidence of the dazzling array of options; i can, however, treat you to a beauty shot of the mouth-watering salad that kept me coming back nearly every day of my cubicle monkey career:
i've always liked salad bars for the freedom they give you to mix and match bites of this and bits of that as you desire. yes, those are monster chunks of feta and three kinds of beans and sprinklings of sunflower seeds. as a close-up, this doesn't capture the size of the beast, which was always very generous - i like a hearty salad, and at the caf's prices, i could have a true meal for $5 or less.

so if you're looking for a new job, i can suggest a truly delicious place of employment.

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