Maybe this is just a crazy quirk I have, but I'm always curious about what it's like to eat in the cafeterias and restaurants that loom behind closed doors.
For years, I've had great wonder about what it's like to dine at Google. A couple of my friends/co-workers who were hired on at their New York office told wild tales of all the wonders to be enjoyed... Celebrity chefs! Afternoon tea! Microbrew parties! Free food in the cafeteria!
Thanks to an affiliation with Girl Geek Dinners, a wonderful international organization that's dedicated to helping chicks revel in all things geeky and technical, I was recently able to satisfy some of my "what's it like to eat at Google?" curiosity.
Just in case you, too, are curious... I took photos.
First, the approach:
As one walks toward the 8th floor Hemispheres Cafe (past tons of security guards, I might add), one can't help but notice the walls lined with celebrity chefs who have cooked at the cafe.
Everyone from the more obscure cooks (Dave Martin from Season 1 of Top Chef) to the household names (Mario Batali) get their grinning mugshots up on these walls.
Just before the door, I was thrilled to find Google's "Don't Be Evil" motto in the form of a boxing bear, which is now my new favorite way to display company values. On bears. I'll be attempting to install this sort of thing at my workplace STAT.
"Bear this in mind as you eat your lunch, people."
Approach to Hemispheres Cafe
Inside, we enjoyed an open bar with the standard wines, beers and sodas alongside long, thin breadsticks, and I connected with busy bloggers Rachel of Cupcakes Take the Cake and Caryn of Metsgrrl.com.
The Girl Geeks chat, chew and twitter it all.
Yes, that's the Empire State Building in the background of the photo above. There's a large outdoor area for noontime sunning. I'm so. very. jealous.
The dinner, diagrammed.
On to the main event:
So how was the food? It was good. It was very good for cafeteria food. The beef was juicy, the crabcake was tender on the inside, crisp on the outside. The green beans were tender-crisp. The garlic mashed potatoes were tasty, if over-seasoned. And the whole-grain bun was chewy and nutty, with a very nice crumb.
I was green with envy that Googlistas get gratis cafeteria food of this caliber. I think I'd get plump (and maybe even tan) working at Google.
And, as Google sponsored the event, they also gave all the girl geeks nifty thermal coffee mugs with baby pink versions of the Google girl logo, like so:
Google Girl Logo
I think I would've been happy just eating the food, but the speakers that followed dinner were both fantastic. Corinna Cortes, Head of Google Research NY and Katrin Verclas, Co-Founder and Editor of MobileActive made the evening invaluable, thanks to their entertaining and informative speeches. (I know so much more about computer science careers and mobile technologies now!)
Big kudos to Girl Geek Dinners NYC for organizing and to Google NY for sponsoring. I encourage girl geeks everywhere to band together, learn together and dine together.
So that's one clandestine cafeteria that's a little less cryptic. I hope to infiltrate the UN cafeteria sometime soon, so stay tuned for that.