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Corporate Lunches

I went by my old haunts for lunch last week to catch up with some old colleagues. When I worked at this behemoth for way too many years, I essentially got free lunch every day. Not a bad deal at all. It was your standard work cafeteria fare. Nothing spectacular, but I could always find something to nibble on. I had to pay this time which was a total bummer, but I went with the entree which was flank steak, veggies, and mac & cheese. The flank steak was nothing worth writing about, and particularly tough. The veggies were good, but the mac & cheese was particularly great. I wish I’d just gotten a big old plate of that alone.

There’s a soup and chili bar. Look, there’s even garnish for fixins. The cafeteria has gotten a lot swankier since I’ve worked there. It’s had a nice facelift in the past few years.

They certainly didn’t have these fancy biscuits and breadsticks before. There’s also a hot grill, a cold sandwich area, and pizzas.

They always had a decent salad bar with plenty of options. Sure, free lunch can be a nice perk, but it couldn’t keep me there!

Surprise Patio Cafe

Normally, we get fed on Wednesdays. Because we had an all-company meeting on Thursday, and they were going to feed us then, we didn’t get fed on Wednesday. So it was a big mystery as to what I was going to eat for lunch. Then lo and behold, an awesome hump day surprise, when we got flyers saying that the Patio Cafe next door was open! Whoo hoo! On wednesdays during the summer, the building next door grills up a storm and offers a $6 lunch. We’re all big fans.
I got the burger meal… with an angus burger, chips, drink, pasta salad, and cookies. It’s a bargain people, and it’s good.

They always have burgers and hot dogs and then something else. This week, they had salmon. T got the salmon meal.

R went with the hot dog meal. They ran out of cookies so she got watermelon. How healthy of her. It’s the start of summer people, and I’m excited.

Morimoto’s Lunch

So you all know about Morimoto… Iron Chef Japanese, blah blah blah. I’d been there once a few years ago and wasn’t particularly impressed. I mean the food was good, the restaurant itself beautiful, the service impeccable, but I didn’t necessarily feel it was worth the price tag. Even if I did see Morimoto himself behind the sushi bar. My sister in law had been wanting to go there for years, and for whatever reason, it just never happened before. So we planned ahead and made reservations for xmas eve lunch. And off we went.

So the place is quite stunning. Modern, sleek yet wavy, minimalist, but very stylized. Slightly futuristic, dimly lit, just attractive. It’s basically one long room with two tops on the outside edge and booths in the middle. There’s also a large room downstairs for big parties, where the bathrooms are also located.

My brother and sister in law got a few cocktails (I was DD, of course). Lychee cosmo and shiso-jito. I think my bro is addicted to mojitos. Sis in law was the one person who decided to go for the omakase, and the most expensive one to boot. Course one was a toro tartar, which was topped with caviar and served with freshly ground wasabi (not from a tube) and some kind of little peach palate cleanser. We all tasted this, it was pretty good.
Course two was a scallop carpaccio, thinly sliced with hot oil, mitsuba leaf, and yuzu. Another good dish. She liked this one quite a bit.
Course numero tres, was a three salads dish. I think the two fishes were fluke and salmon, and then in the middle was shaved smoked bonito on top of microgreens. I didn’t try this, but it looked just fine to me.
For course 4, the hot dishes started with the balck cod miso. As expected, this dish rocked. This is sort of like the cod dish that I tried to make myself the other week, but you know, it’s much better at Morimoto’s than in my own kitchen. It even just looks damn tasty.
Course 5 was the second hot dish – soba carbonara. This was soba noodles with edamame, bacon, and bay scallops. I was thinking about getting this myself as an entree, but didn’t. So I was psyched when this came in the omakase. It was as good as you would think it is. Soba, edamame, bacon, scallops, what’s not to like?

Course 6 was a sushi plate. She was pretty full at this point, but you know, at Morimoto’s prices, you eat every last bite.

For dessert, she got a flourless chocolate tort. Look how beautiful that is. Damn.

Ok, so the rest of us ate too, just not the omakase. My bro got the spicy beef bento box, which was marinated sirloin with a spicy miso sauce served with rice. It basically tasted a bit like kalbi/bulgogi with a spicy kochujang on top. Pretty good. My mom got the sushi combination. She totally dug it, she especially liked the roll. Both of these lunches came with miso soup and a salad. The house salad is mixed greens with shaved bonito and yuzu vinaigrette. Nothing exciting. Honestly, I prefer the iceberg with the ginger dressing. The soup was a bit salty, but good.

Ok, so what did I eat? I started with the yosedofu, which is fresh tofu created at the table served with two sauces. Now when it said created at the table, I figured it would be a block of tofu and they would mix it with the sauce in front of you or something. Oh no. When they say created at the table, they mean created at the table. So out came this vessel with the liquid tofu slurry, and then they added a sea water reduction, which acts as a coagulating agent (or however it works, I have no idea). Ten minutes later, it had become soft tofu! It was crazy and completely surprising. It was served with a soy based sauce first, and then a second and amazing snow crab based sauce. Man, I could have literally drank this crab sauce. It was awesome topped on the tofu. I absolutely loved it.

I didn’t expect the tofu to be so big and filling, so I also ordered the ramen. And I’m so glad it did. It was chicken noodle soup with fresh hand made ramen noodles (I asked my brother, and he said it was fresh. Trust him, he’s been to japan a bunch of times). It also had big hunks of freshly roasted chicken. I loved every bit of it.

The service was excellent. Eating at Morimoto’s really is an experience. They know the dishes in and out and explain everything to you. Especially with the omakase, they tell you every little detail about the dish, and it actually helps you to enjoy it that much more. So sure, a few hours and many many dollars later, we were absolutely stuffed, and couldn’t stop talking about how good everything was. Everyone was quite happy with the meal, including me. I know I wasn’t crazy about my first Morimoto experience but I was definitely crazy about this one. So it’s not exactly a place I could go to all the time, but I would say once every couple of years is fine with me. If you ever have a chance to go, you really should!

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