Curiouser and curiouser…. All things food and funny about swimming, the unbelievable becoming believable and edible because of the water.
An On-going Evolution of Food Love: The Microsoft Campus Cafes
Let me tell you what, the Microsoft Campus cafes knock food out of the park! For swimmers, the only think we enjoy better than swimming (and maybe sleeping) is eating. The whole swim, eat, sleep mantra has never been more true and when it comes to food, breakfast IS my favorite meal of the day.
Of course you read my blog post on my favorite breakfast items, They Cook Joy, They Cook Breakfast! Since food is such an important aspect of training, I wanted to dedicate an ongoing post of all the food I love and have eaten at the Microsoft Campus cafes. Here it is, the most amazing things I could literally eat every minute of every day. A BIG thanks to the wonderful guys at work dream up these amazing meals up every day!
- Café 9: Offers a decent selection of food at decent prices with always stations such as the salad bar and burger pit. The best rating on the taste meter is the lunchtime dumplings and pot stickers. You get a great combination steamed to perfection, always tasty! Also has a lot of great outdoor seating available.
- Café 16: By far the absolute best café on the Microsoft Redmond campus. The breakfast station is out of this world, the staff super friendly, and the specials are the way to go (a new special each week pictured above). The best prices too! The coffee bar is also fantastic, has a scrumptious ham and cheese croissant, making all dough fresh in the morning for the pastries. I love it so much, I go to Café 16 on my vacation days just to fill up on food and always buy extra to take home for dinner.
- In.gredients a John Howie Restaurant (in Café 34): A great option for those looking for a really good quality three course meal at a good price that doesn’t put you into a food coma. I was a little skeptical at first looking at the seemingly “smaller” size portions, but it was the perfect amount. Food pro tip, make a reservation well in advance, they fill up quick!
- Café 34: Good café with basic selection, but with two levels (smaller coffee place upstairs), it was too much room to cover to get a simple breakfast. You can easily find something for lunch to fill your stomach, but I’d always opt to walk across the street to Café 16 first.
- Café 43: This café was a little smaller than some others, so make sure you go early if you want to avoid being the dreaded desk eater. The sandwich station at this place is probably the best of all the selections, specifically for the bread. I’m not sure what makes it so different than the others, but the bread is great and the sandwiches are super filling. Great selection of your everyday variety as well.
- Café 83: Beautiful café in a very renovated model building. There’s a lot of selections, something to suit everyone’s tongue. Prices are fair for average fare, but the best is ice cream afternoons for $0.75 a scoop (I’m waiting for my bowl fill this week). That’s a down right bargain and then you add the toppings….. don’t forget to grab a coffee so you don’t fall asleep on a full stomach! Breakfast is your average fare, but cheap, which is always nice on the wallet.
- The Commons Mixer: This is a very overwhelming upscale food court style mall cafeteria that also features some shopping stores and live music entertainment. While it is a little overpriced, it’s great to go with larger groups because there is definitely something for everyone with in-house food as well as restaurants, such as Mod Pizza, that come in. I’m not a fan of the no-cap salad bar on the second level, mostly because you can end up paying $20+ for the heavy (and good) stuff, so watch it up there. My favorite is Post Alley on the first level, that has a killer French Dip sandwich. Ask for the pasta salad for a side and don’t forget to grab your bag of chips. Oh snap, this is the way to go in the Commons!
- Millennium Campus Café: Okay, lots of people dig on the Millennium campus, but I absolutely love it. They’ve got food trucks each day and the cafeteria, while it isn’t overall outstanding, has a bomb egg salad sandwich that you can get in a wrap and the best BBQ Fridays on all of Microsoft campus. Why? The cornbread. Unlike other BBQ days, Millennium makes their own cornbread, doesn’t use the standard, and mixes it up. The best is the onion cornbread or traditional with corn in it. They also give you a variety of BBQ sauces to choose from and have the best mac-n-cheese. This is also a vacation day off in-office lunch day for me!
- RedWest Café: Probably the most beautiful café on campus, great outdoor seating with a decent selection. It’s the main café on the RedWest campus, so make sure you get your seat early or go a little late. Food is decent, nothing stood out to me, but the ambiance and atmosphere in the setting make it a great lunch.
- Sammamish Café: Great selection, but look at everything before you make your decision! The café is split up into two parts, so it’s easy to miss one part, especially if they have your favorite dish. There isn’t much else within walking distance, but I’ve never needed to go anywhere else with this café and the naan for Indian food day is lip smacking delish!
And now some funnies because I can resist an awkward conversation…..
August 13, 2016: Pure Revenge , I squashed it!
Of all the things that could go wrong during a swim, running head first into an acorn squash was not something I adequately prepared for. It hurt more than any jellyfish sting, any suit chafe, or barnacle cut. My eyes literally started welling up with tears, but I turned it around and hauled it the remaining 5k in plans to roast it for dinner!
August 4, 2016: Take Me Out to the Ball Game
Something only marathon swimmers will appreciate….. The funny look you get from the cashier checking out at the store purchasing shaving cream, petroleum jelly, latex gloves, ear plugs and Dramamine. He asked if I was going to the baseball game. Hmmm….
July 2016: Get me a sandwich!
Guy on bench: Did you just get done swimming?
Me: Sure did, the water’s a little cloudy today
Guy on bench (in nearly one breath): Yeah it’s cold too, but your bigger not like me, I’m skinny so it would be too cold for me, there’s people down here in frog suits too you know, I saw a lady in a frog suit the other day with one of them there orange things, she was thicker too like you, but you’re not in a frog suit and you have a tan like a thick slab of maple bacon, I could really use some bacon, I mean put that in a BLT and that there’s a sandwich.
Me: Well I’ve got to go wash the algae and bacon grease off, nice talking to you (sheesh, thank goodness I have a sense of humor).
June 2016: The Night of the Full Moons…… Plural
It’s a beautiful evening at Alki, swimming an 8k under the light of a full moon….. 3 pasty white full moons to be exact, pants at their ankles, shaking their patooter towards the sea, shouting and waving as I swim by. Apparently I’m irresistible to men today. I mean I have them trying to impress me with their mathematical sensibility and shaking their rumps in my face….. It must be the swimsuit!
June 2016: Pool Conversations with Cute Non-mathematicians
Guy: How many feet did you swim?
Me: [slight pause and look of confusion] I’m not sure, I measure my distance in yards, I swam a little over 4000.
Guy: Wow, that’s got to be at least 5000 feet, nearly a mile probably, right?
Me: [again, slight pause and look of confusion] Probably, but I wasn’t too good at math in school.
Guy: Wow, well good job, you must be training for the Olympics or something.
Me: Not quite, but thanks.
Guy: Okay well see ya, can’t believe you swam nearly a mile. So cool!
Me: Thanks, bye [queue giggling in my head]