I tried a new place for lunch today. Mostly because it's a beautiful day and I wanted to get some air, and also because I've walked past this place and it is always busy.
I have a few anxieties about going somewhere new. One, I never know what to get. How do I know if I'll like it? Another, as evidenced today, is I never know the process involved. When I got there, a line was hanging out of the door. Being a good NYer, I got in the cue. I'd been there perhaps two minutes (long enough to enter around three numbers into my sudoku game on my phone) when someone coming in asked if it was the line for the salad bar. Everyone said yes.
Hm, I thought. I wonder if what I will want is in the salad bar? So I hung out in the line and entered a few more numbers in my game.
When I got to the salad bar- I knew what I would want would not be there. So frantically I cast my glance around for options. There seemed to be four stations: the salad bar, the smoothie coffee bar, the sandwich bar, and the noodle/soup bar. Well, I have really been wanting some noddles- the thin fine ones like rice noodles. So I made my way to that bar and waited near a sign that said "order here." When the lady behind the counter said "next" I told her what I wanted, which honestly I'd picked nearly randomly based on the number of ingredients listed that I knew I would likely enjoy. SHE told me that I had to tell this other person my order. THAT was SO CLEAR. Whatever. I told him my order and watched him put it together in one container for the soup and one for noodle container, since it was to go. I stepped back to the counter lady and she rung me up.
After I nearly fainted from the price (I hadn't gotten to see that part on the menu because NYs expect you to know what you want from a five second glance at a menu filled with fifty choices), I paid and went back towards my office.
I stopped at a fruit stand to pick up my afternoon fruit. I got an apple and a banana....and each was fifty cents. FIFTY cents! A whole dollar for one banana and one apple. The stand by my apartments sells bananas for twenty five cents. So you can see why I was a little shocked. It's not like this banana was twice the size or anything.
Any how, I finally sat down at my desk and opened the fillings container to pick out the ingredients I didn't want. Which, as it turned out, was most of them (I wanted a hint of cilantro, not a full on frontal assalt). Finally, the moment I was waiting for! I carefully opened the soup (I'm sitting at my desk with my laptop three inches from where I'm eating, so I'm EXTRA carefull especially with liquids). One little whiff of the soup, and I knew it was not what I had wanted. Oh, it's what I ordered, but the flavor in the stock is not what I thought it would be. I did eat my fill of the noodles as they soaked in the soup stock, but the whole experience was ruined by the juxtaposition of what I expected to taste and what I tasted. Unfortunately they gave me enough of the soup stock to feed three people.
I guess tomorrow it's back to the cafeteria- their food is good despite its predictability.