More Company Cafeteria Food Porn

Work Cafe - 12/02/10

Bittersweet salted caramel tart

Looked marvelous, but after my horrible experience with their bittersweet caramel, I chose the Hazelnut-vanilla bean custard torte instead

Work Cafe - 12/02/10

Hazelnut-vanilla bean custard torte

While it wasn’t a visually stunning dessert, it was delicious.

Work Cafe - 12/02/10

Creole butter and crab

“Pasta, lemon juice, shallots, garlic, tomatoes, cayenne, paprika, crab, butter, cream, and a touch of spinach pesto (parmesan, almonds, lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic).”

I love how our on-line menu at work forgot to list spinach as an ingredient in the spinach pesto. It was the best crab pasta EVER.

Work Cafe - 12/03/10

Meatloaf with buttermilk smashers

Seriously, they actually called them “smashers”.   Sometime they try to get cute with the names. And sometimes they succeed. This was not one of those times.

The meatloaf was awesome but the salad sucked. I wasn’t the only person who liked the meatloaf – probably half of the people I work with had the meatloaf for lunch that day… with the exception of Steve, who decided to go with the chicken curry because he’s cutting back on red meat. Poor, poor Steve.

Work Cafe - 12/03/10

Pistachio ganache and caramelized Asian pear tart

I wanted to like this. I tried so very hard to like this beautifully green pistachio tart, but it wasn’t meant to be. I’m still trying to figure out how a dessert built around two flavors I love can be so bland and indifferent.

The tart was VERY sweet, but the sugar was all I could taste. In fact, if the name hadn’t had the word ‘pistachio’ in it – I would have never guessed it was supposed to be there. The asian pear was a bit more difficult to miss, but it was only used as a garnish so I don’t know why it was part of the name of the dessert.

Work Cafe - 12/7/10

(left to right)
Mint-chocolate chunk-vanilla cake, eggnog custard tart, and praline-toffee ganache cookie

The only one I tried here was the praline-toffee ganache cookie. The ingredient list includes: butter, confectioner’s sugar, salt, flour, white chocolate, hazelnut paste, and macadamia nuts.

It was fairly good after I scraped out about half of the ganache filling.

Work Cafe - 12/7/10

Eggnog custard tart

I regret not trying this one.

Work Cafe - 12/7/10

Mint-chocolate chunk-vanilla cake with mint Italian buttercream.

I think it was the idea of a strawberry on top of mint flavored cake and mint flavored buttercream that kinda squicked me out.

Work Cafe - 12/09/10 - Dessert Bar

All of these desserts were from today. A day in which I had just enough money for a main course.

Work Cafe - 12/09/10 - Cream Puff

Toffee cream puff

Actually, I wouldn’t have tried this one anyway. While I love cream puffs (and enjoy making them too), the filling looked like the toffee ganache from the cookie, which was only good in small doses.

Work Cafe - 12/09/10 - Vegan Cake

Vegan orange spiced cake

“With coconut oil, vegetable shortening, whole almonds, sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, mace, baking powder, and powdered sugar”

Work Cafe - 12/09/10 - Cheesecake

Lemon-goat cheese cheesecake

“With house-made vanilla marshmallow s’more. With cream cheese, goat cheese, mascarpone, sugar, eggs, butter, flour, salt, lemon oil, and graham cracker crumbs.”

Work Cafe - 12/09/10 - Yellowfin Tuna

Yellowfin tuna with fried rice

Seared yellowfin tuna, ginger-scallion fried rice, sesame-seared haricot verts, citrus-soy vinaigrette, and cascabel chili paste.

For all of the daily specials, they put up a display plate to show you what the item actually looks like. From some of the previous photos you can see that they are very big on presentation here. Usually. Today’s sample plate was gorgeous, and I wish I had gotten a photo of it because while what I ended up with was fine and not that different than the display, the few changes that the cook made were enough to turn it from beautiful to adequate.

Thank goodness it tasted great (although the cascabel chili paste just tasted like ground-up charred chilies in oil).

When I think about it, sometimes I feel like an ass when I say things like that about our cafeteria food – I must be getting spoiled.

Dining at our work cafeteria

(The “our” in the title refers to the spousal unit as he and I work for the same company.)

Usually when you mention eating at any company cafeteria, everyone feels sorry for you.  But not here.  Our company was already known around Austin for having pretty good food–but after the revamp of our cafeteria earlier this year–it’s awesome, and it changes daily.

One of Steve’s coworkers actually photographs his meal everyday, so I decided to do the same for a few days so I can show just how lucky I am to my family (these poor people have to eat fast food for lunch…neener, neener, neener).

Salmon-potato cakes and a pumpkin brulee

Salmon-Potato Cakes and a pumpkin crème brûlée, which was very pumpkiny and not too sweet. I split this same dessert with Steve the first day, but got my own the next time they had it. The salmon-potato cakes were very good too.

Chocolate almond cake tower

Chocolate almond cake tower, layered with milk chocolate Armagnac ganache, bittersweet chocolate Framboise ganache, topped with cocoa meringue and almond coffee toffee. This was other one that started off being shared with Steve and then I went and purchased my own the next day. It was so rich that one slice is almost too much for a single person… sooooooo intensely chocolatey. (Too bad the photo sucks, it was before I replaced my iPhone.)

Pecan pie tart with cocoa

Pecan pie tart with cocoa. Oh lord, this was heavenly. The cafeteria ran out fast and they haven’t made it since.

Spicy Pasta with mushrooms

Spicy pasta with mushrooms and spinach. It was perfect.

Passion fruit angel food cake

Passion fruit angel food cake with Italian buttercream, rosebud ganache, and wild honeycomb. There was way too much buttercream and very little cake, and it certainly wasn’t light enough to be angel food cake either – it was more of a chiffon. However, it did taste very good. I would have gotten it again if the cake to buttercream ratio was higher.

Sadly, there are days when the food isn’t as good as it sounds.

Browned butter bittersweet caramel apple tart

This is a “browned butter bittersweet caramel apple tart” (their words) from yesterday, and it was nasty. The apples you see are all that you got. So it’s less of an apple tart and more of a scorched and runny caramel tart with a browned butter quinelle and apple garnish. The pasta of the day was campanelle with pumpkin seed pesto, and it was bitter and non-appetizing. There’s no photo because it was also ugly.

Yesterday’s lunch might be why I ended up at Mighty Fine for burgers today.  But I still have high hopes for tomorrow’s menu at our cafeteria.

Day 1: Vegas 2010

Seven years ago, Steve and I got hitched in Las Vegas (we didn’t elope, and we were joined by our family and friends). This year, we’re spending our anniversary in Vegas as well.

Aladdin Casino - 2003

Our honeymoon resort was the Aladdin, where Elvis got married. We had a view of the strip, even from our large bathtub (the bathroom was the same size as the rest of our suite too). The Aladdin was replaced by Planet Hollywood a while back. Don’t know what the rooms look like, but they really improved the inside of the casino.

Our wedding cake was a gift from my brother and sister-in-law. She had seen something about Freed’s Bakery on the Food Network and wanted to order our cake from them. It was a white cake with strawberry and baverian cream filling. Since we didn’t think the cake topper was going to come in on time – we had flowers put on top instead.

Our Wedding Cake from Freed's Bakery - 2003

For our anniversary, we’re going to stop by the bakery later this week for some pastries.

Since today’s our actual anniversary, we hit Bellagio’s buffet for dinner.  We’re not big buffet people, but Bellagio’s is one of the two we hit every trip out here.  Tonight I only had a little dinner and then went nuts with their desserts.

Bellagio Buffet Desserts

These were my three favorites. A raspberry chocolate mousse-filled cone, creme brulee (not too sweet), and a dark chocolate raspberry mousse cake. This was also my second plate.

One the way back to our resort, we stopped by the famous Las Vegas sign for a few quick photos.

Las Vegas Sign

Denny’s had free wi-fi, so that’s where we are right now, and we’ll be here a lot throughout the rest of the week. I’m fading fast and keep falling asleep while typing this, so that’s about it. So sleepy. Gotta pry Steve away from his computer…