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Lunches In An Italian Canteen

While in Italy, I lunched at the customer’s canteen. These are not just little sandwiches or such, these are straight up full meals, with courses even. You can pick whatever you want, and because I can’t eat too much, I actually control myself. But really, you can eat like a king, and it’s free. Some penne with bacon and ham and a few spices, and tons of oil. A salad and an extremely gargantuan portion of some fresh soft cheese called primasale. They really like to load you up here. And they keep wanting me to take some of everything. The canteen workers are like drug pushers and are putting peer pressure on me.

This day I had the chicken cutlet. It wasn’t straight up chicken breast, it was some kind of formed chicken, but it tasted excellent. Another gargantuan portion of a side, this time some fennel. I’ve never eaten fennel in my life. Other than a few bites that were a bit too anisey, I quite enjoyed this! A roll, whose shape is a specialty of the area. It’s funny because this roll is actually quite hollow on the inside. It’s reminiscent of a kaiser roll, but crustier, and hollow. I got a hunk of a brie type of cheese. And a banana. And of course, frizzante water.

My last work lunch day, I had some pork with a tomato and onion based sauce. I also got some cold green beans, which I loved, and some slices of emmentaler cheese. I’ve been totally digging the variety of the lunches. I already miss it!

Purple Cafe – Bellevue

We had a company wide dinner my last night in Seattle at the Purple Cafe in Bellevue.  It’s a fancy schmancy local chain. We had a little party room over to the side and there was a special menu for us on little clipboards. It was freakin adorable. There was wine and some signature cocktails and a few appetizers – some mini crab cakes and a variety of dips, like hummus and white bean dip.

We had a choice of house or caesar salad and I went with the house green salad. It came with an apple cider vinaigrette and this salad was amazing! Everyone agreed that this salad was delicious. I mean it was just greens and a few cherry tomatoes and barely a slice of cucumber, but I just loved it.

We had a few entree choices, and as you may have guessed, I picked the seared mediterranean sea bass. It was served in a saffron broth with fingerling potatoes, olive oil poached fennel, and white and purple pearl onions. Um… I can’t even get into how good this damn dish was. Like seriously, it was too damn good. It was a huge, perfect, and flaky hunk of sea bass, perfectly seared. I mean it was so fresh and cooked just right that it would have been amazing without any seasoning or sauce of any kind. The fennel and the little onions were perfect complements. I literally left nothing on the plate. As if I hadn’t eaten in days. And I could have eaten it all over again.

If you give me a dessert menu, I will most likely pick creme brulee.  They actually had a pumpkin variety, but I went with my plain and boring vanilla. It was so teeny and cute and good. All in all, a surprisingly delicious meal! The service was quite fine considering how many people they were dealing with. And the wait for the food wasn’t super excruciating, but we did have to wait a bit. They treated us very well!
Purple Cafe and Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

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!

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