What’s to Eat?

Lifelongnewyorker has never been good at feeding herself. If left alone, she will have cheese and crackers for dinner. Unless someone else makes her lunch, she’s going to be buying it. And there’s only one rule: it has to be fast and easy to get; something that can be brought back to eat at one’s desk.

Luckily — really really luckily — MrNYer makes her lunch for her these days and makes sure she doesn’t leave the house without it. And, yes, she knows how lucky she is. Truly. Because she’d be in big trouble if she had to depend on what’s available close to work.

Back in NY, she had plenty of choice within a single block. At Newsweek, if the weather was bad, she just rode the elevator up one floor to the company cafeteria, Newsbreak. Venturing outside, there were Pax, Cafe Europa and Le Pain Quotidien, not to mention neighborhood diners and the fabulous (and now out-of-business) Crystal Cafe, which had the best chunky gazpacho every.

Later, at Scholastic, the neighborhood offered new options. In the building was the rooftop cafeteria and grill. Across the street, Dean & Deluca lured her, especially in winter, with its savory soups. If she were adventurous, she could stop at any of the food trucks that arrived in Soho about noon, or even stop at a street vendor for shish kebab (or “street meat” as her younger colleague called it).

Not so in Montgomery. Downtown has a number of lunch shops — they open at 11:30 and lunch is done by 1:00. Few are within easy walking distance, especially in summer, where walking three blocks would bring on heatstroke. The Commerce Cafe, however, is conveniently located right across the street. The cafeteria specializes in homemade southern food, with a meat-and-three hot lunch. Today’s entrees are fried chicken and chili mac. Sides include turnip greens, rice succatash, potatoes. There’s always salads, but most of them include either cheese or bacon. It’s really amazing how much you can do with bacon.

And if you’re hungry during the day? Need a snack? Not to worry. We don’t have an in-house cafeteria with healthy fruits, veggies and salads, as my two previous employers did. But we have vending machines. Here’s a few pictures. Which snack looks good to you?



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