What is it?
M, who works at the corporate behemoth, can only describe it as a sort of je nais se quoi each Google employee has. A distinctive essence at once recognizable and yet invisible. I choose to think of it as the roll of ever-expanding fat strapped to each Googler’s waist as a result of their ridiculous lunch perk.
Googliness – adj. – the state of being Google-fed fat. Frequently appended and used in office gossip ie: Did you see how googli Joe is getting? He won’t be able to fit into his jeans!?
Thankfully, I do not work for that awesome, gourmet-food feeding, cheap haircut-giving company. I only have to worry about getting Googlied maybe once a week. Today was my day. And oh, what a day it was.
Today, I had lunch at Google as M’s guest. And, though Google’s food was perfectly palatable, maybe even delicious, and the enormous panoramic view of the Bay Bridge through the cafeteria’s windows stunning, I do not think I will be returning. Ever. Delayed buses, a tight one-hour window for lunch, and a rushed three-block sprint in heels resulted in a raging, starving girlfriend and a less than pleasant dining experience. When I finally made it there, M termed my tirade as verbal “nuclear weaponry.” The food, to my adrenaline-flooded taste buds, was reminiscent of college dorms* and somewhat bland. Definitely not as appetizing as the menu promised.
Grits with Artichoke Hearts, Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Meyer Lemon
(white blob with the square sticking out of it)
Maple Sweet Potato Mash and Walnuts
(brown blob in the far corner)
Spinach Salad with Feta, Beets and Kishu Mandarins
(green leafy mess on right)
These were a few of the offerings that I sampled. The dishes read like they would be amazing, but the grits were unflavored, the mash was dull and the salad strangely vinegary. I guess because M had been talking up Google’s lunch for a month now, I had expected Las Vegas Wynn buffet-style delicacies, complete with dancing zebras and flying goats.
The artic char topped with marmalade was cooked well, but after eating six pieces of ahi bluefin sashimi, I was a little fished out. The biscuit (right beige lump) was terribly doughy though the O’Banon raw goat’s milk cheese (left white square) was mild and slightly crumbly in the mouth – delicious. Flustered, time-crunched, and about to punch M in the face, I tried some of the tres leches dessert (far right). And suddenly, life was bearable once again.
Maybe it was the sugar, or the comforting warmth of vanilla, or the beachy scent of the coconut. Maybe it was the rum. Whatever it was, that light, creamy, rich little square saved our relationship. I gobbled the freshly whipped cream and licked every swipe of milky coconut goodness off my fork. Then I ate another piece. So while no lunches at Google are planned for the near future, the midday madness was worth it. If only for the cake.
P.S. Let’s not forget the $12 cab ride back to work.
*I went to UCLA, known for their dorm food, so perhaps my perspective is a little skewed.