Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cafeteria Woes

Change is bad.

Yeah, I know that sounds funny coming from someone who chose a career where you change jobs (and homes and countries) every 1-3 years, but there you have it.

And our cafeteria is changing at work. We now have a new company handling it.

Or we will, on Monday. But I went down there yesterday and all the signs were gone. And so was the food! No more Toss (salads), no more Miami Wraps (sensing a naming trend?). And what is worse, most of the food was gone. The sandwhich place is still there, which is good, because that is what I usually grab. but it is clear that the old company is just serving what they have left. I wonder if there will be any food at all by the end of the week.

I think my (and everyone else's, based on my informal survey of cafeteria patrons. Okay, based on chatting with one woman in line yesterday) concern is that we don't really know what the new company will offer. Their specialty is hot Chinese buffet...great on occassion but not every day. Especially for people accustomed to eating foods from particular countries while serving in those particular countries. For example, don't serve me German food in a cafeteria. I have eaten it in German, and from my German grandfather's kitchen, and I don't want it unless it is really good.

And I don't want it every day.

There is also some talk about organic everything. Great, we'll have healthy options. But sometimes you just want greasy pizza. And I NEVER have time to leave this building for lunch. Never.

Oh well. I am only here until for another 3 months, when I head to the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) for long-term training. Not that I am excited about the options there...the cafeteria is too small, too expensive, and the food is...meh.

But at least it hasn't changed.

10 comments:

losttraveler said...

Actually the food at FSI is better now, and the cafeteria was expanded so there's more seating and better food options. Their organic pizza is very good (I haven't heard a single person complain about it and it always has the longest line) and very reasonably priced.

And I hear you re: Main State cafeteria. That place is really the pits. And it's not like there are any decent options within walking distance of the building, unlike our colleagues in Rosslyn who have much more variety. Though our friends across the river definitely have the best cafeteria. And free gym. And no FARA to write them tickets and charge the $5 a day to park and place boots on their cars at FSI...

Digger said...

And bigger budgets for nearly everything. Our A/S in INR used to say we needed to go sweep their parking lot for spare change to run our bureau!

Glad to hear FSI is improved, since I will be spending 13 months there!

A Daring Adventure said...

Oh no!!

Crossing my fingers that you'll end up miraculously with a GREAT food vendor that sells AWESOME food and that you'll just be completely THRILLED with your choices for the next few months!

Here's hoping...

melissa v said...

I got curious so I did a search and found a decent summary: http://www.federalnewsradio.com/?sid=1900273&nid=15. Well, the new contractor has a pretty looking website and the whole buying fresh fruits and veggie baskets that you can possible take home sounds interesting, although probably out of scope from what GSA requested.

This is the quote that really stood out to me: "when asked if GSA has tasted the food, Melton admitted, "we haven't, but our contractor, I.L. Creations will be doing it at the State Department and they have offered to do some food tasting for our folks as a test to make sure their program is working."

Prepare to be guinea pigs!

Digger said...

Why am I NOT surprised they didn't taste test.

So we get to test to make sure the program is working AFTER they have the contract but not BEFORE, when you could pick someone else.

Sigh.

roysie said...

If it is the same company that they switched to at FSI, then you are in for a treat. It is great! There are plenty of healthy options.

Lee said...

the FSI pizza is pretty good, but nothing else foodwise has changed in the last five years - everything is expensive, there are very very long lines (for food and to pay) and the customer service attitude of most workers sucks.

Bryn said...

They changed the food at FSI while we were there and everyone seemed okay with it. But I agree on the ethnic food...don't serve it in a different country unless it's really good!! You don't go to Mexico to eat Italian food....

Bryan said...

FSI cafeteria is just plain terrible. The only entree remotely edible are the pizzas, which are still too small for the price. Everything else is way overpriced, and range in taste from bland (cheeseburgers) to revolting (something vaguely resembling a Cuban sandwidch). In the morning, $2 gets you a small Starbucks drip coffee....highway robbery. Yet, because there is literally NO other choice within walking distance, it is packed every day. I do see a lot more people bringing in sack lunches lately though, now that more areas have fridges. They have also opened up a new seating area in the back, which should help the crowding some, if not the food quality.

Brian... said...

I get a hard time for having a PB&J sandwich every day at FSI, but it sure is cheap and NEVER changes. I'll send you the recipe if you'd like, and if you're lucky some of my grandma's homemade jam. Delicious.