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.

Bad Luck with Gift Cards

When anyone calls in at work and complains that one of our gift card says it’s inactive or invalid, the first thing we ask is “did you purchase the card at a store-that-will-remain-unnamed?” (this chain will be referred to as STWRU for the rest of this post). For some reason, a higher than normal percentage of our cards sold through STWRU are not correctly activated.

This past Saturday a co-worker was assigned to deal with all the complaints and he was bitching about it to anyone who would listen.  I must admit I took a great deal of pleasure in pointing out that it’s not just our cards they don’t activate.  I once purchased a a rather large gift card for their own store as a Christmas gift a few years ago, only to find out later that it didn’t have any funds on it when the recipient tried to redeem it.

I’m bringing this up because last Saturday evening, about six hours after my coworker started complaining, we showed up at a Texas Stars game where STWRU was giving out gift cards to the first 500 fans.  The cards contained anywhere from $1 to $25 of credit, and one lucky winner would receive $500.  Out of the four of us who have season ticket together – two of the cards were invalid.  Even the store couldn’t get mine to work when we brought it in yesterday.

Even after all of that, my husband is at STWRU purchasing four gift cards as Christmas gifts.  If the cards don’t work – I’m not touching them.

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.

So far behind and so, so tired

My project at work has finally ended after five long months, and we had a stressful, yet successful release last week.  Now I’m trying to get back into the the technical support groove again and it’s actually harder than I thought it would be.  We’ve had so many changes, not only in our products, but also in our support procedures and I’m still trying to catch up with all of it.  The good news is that the Powers that Be were kind enough to thank me with a bonus, and my annual review went pretty well too (the raise wasn’t awesome, but it was still better than last year).

Hockey season has started and we’ve already attended two pre-season games over the past weekend.  I DO have photos, but I’ve been so wiped out that I haven’t finished sorting through them all yet. I promise to post them soon.  There was also a meet-and-greet with the players for all the season ticket holders earlier this week and we got to attend, or in my case, I got to pretend I wasn’t a fan girl when talking to Maxime Fortunus (I have a photo of him from Sunday’s game as the lock screen on my phone). While I feel bad that Dallas sent him down to the Texas Stars after training camp–I’m thrilled for myself and my team.

I also have two projects planned for Halloween this month.  One is how to make Jack-o-Lantern cookies that are fun and easy for kids to decorate (and I will include photos and recipes once I borrow some kids), and the other is a review of 8 different flavors/types of candy corn.  I can safely assume that I’m not the only candy corn freak out there since I was able to locate a wide variety of flavors this year.  Hopefully I won’t procrastinate too much longer because one of the bags is already half empty.

There will also be pictures of my annual Halloween cupcakes for work (last year’s cupcakes below).

Mummy Cupcakes Looking at you Wolfmen Cupcakes

I have a skull cupcake I’m testing for the fourth design this year, and there will be a few changes to the mummies, eyes, and wolfman cupcakes as well.  I haven’t yet decided if I’ll do a fifth design or not, but I will have to increase the total number because I added a whole ‘nother department to my list, thanks to the unnamed project.

Finally, we’re going to put costumes on our cats and take pictures because we don’t have kids to torture.

Christmas Eve

As expected, we were slammed on Christmas Eve.  What wasn’t expected was that every customer was polite and thanked me at the end of the call.  Every single one, no matter how upset they were then the call started. 

I hope the day after Christmas is the same, but I’m not going to hold my breath.