eatPGH eats FACEBOOK!
Last week I went away on business. But it wasn’t your average, run-of-the-mill, boring business trip. I wasn’t holed up in a shitty hotel eating take out from paper boxes. I was listening to sales folks droll on for hours on end. I… was at… Facebook. Yes, you read that correctly. I was getting my social media learn on in sunny Cal-if-orn-i-a. Palo Alto, Silicon Valley, the home of Facebook and many a’other tech savvy start ups and overall geniuses. While I had to sign a little thing they like to call a non-disclosure … (I also signed “THE” Facebook Wall, which is way more fun) I’m legally bound not to reveal all the secrets I learned… I can share what I ate. Which, let’s be honest is still pretty freaking cool. So, without giving too much away, let’s just say that the “Facebook Campus” is indeed much like the campus I attended at college. Only 1 million times more awesome. We didn’t have a BBQ smoker pit thing in our quad. Hey Westminster College, get on that ay? We didn’t have a fresh juice bar. We didn’t have a coffee bar. We didn’t have mini convenience stores set up throughout our dorms. Ah, but this campus… this campus did.
Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, Facebook’s campus cafeteria boasted industrial tables, chairs, booths and bars. Along with the fresh juice bar and coffee bar, there was a salad bar, a hot foods line and tons of other mini-stations to meet all your culinary needs. Best of all, employees are invited to dine anytime… for free. How great is that? Or maybe it’s a ploy to get them to come in earlier, stay later and work through lunch so they can keep cranking out sweet features for us nerds to play with? Either way… I indulged in breakfast. I partook in the fresh juice. A glass of carrot and citrus paired with chocolate chip pancakes, crispy bacon (they also offer non-crispy for all you weirdos out there), TOTS (campus indeed), scrambled eggs, yogurt with fruit and an earl grey,blackberry scone. Like I ever ate like THAT at school. I topped my meal off with a coffee (you have your choice of mug or to-go cup) and almost had to be dragged out of the place before I went back for seconds.
They brought lunch to our conference room so we could maximize our time with our guest speakers and presenters. A variety of cold cut sandwiches on artisan breads, salad, pasta salad and an assortment of sweet treats. Now, those mini-convenience stores I referred to earlier… those are randomly placed throughout campus. Not vending machines, but actual store coolers and racks filled with any beverage, chip, candy and snack you could dream of. Again, ripe for the pickin’. Facebook… feeding this millenium’s geeks one Little Debbie at a time. WIN!
After my brief encounter with Facebook ended… I was able to spend a little time checking out the local scene in Palo Alto. The area is well known for it’s ethnic foods… so I made sure to check with a true local to get the inside scoop on where I needed to eat. One place was Oren’s Hummus. One of the few, truly Israeli restaurants around, Oren’s served up some of the best hummus I’ve ever tasted. The first bite took me by surprise. It was very thick and creamy. Not at all like the Sabra I’m used to. I took another bite… and then another before I realized I was in love. I slopped it up with some still-warm whole wheat pita bread. I took a break long enough to pick at some of the pickled beets I got. Anyone who is too chicken shit to try beets needs to get on the beet train. Do it.
With all the ethnic offerings surrounding me… I caved and had pizza for dinner my last night there. Don’t panic, I didn’t have Dominos. I heart Pizza. (I do) but that’s the name of the joint. Started years ago by some surfer dudes… I heart Pizza had a great selection of pies with interesting toppings. I could have eaten multiple slices but since they served them individually and atop personalized frisbees, I chose only two slices to go with my Mexican coke in a glass bottle. Pepperoni and sausage, because as my pal JW says, if they can kill it with pepperoni and sausage, they’re bound to kill it all. (I’m paraphrasing of course.) My other slice was pesto! Basil, almonds, parm cheese and garlic. Bodacious. I had myself a good chuckle as I peered around the restaurant and took notice of a golden saying carved above the doorway “take a little pizza my heart now baby”. DOUBLE WIN!
Because I didn’t get to spend any time in San Fran while I was there… I made a point of nibbling on some Boudin sourdough bread while at the airport! I saved some of it to savor with clam chowder when I returned to rainy ole Pittsburgh.
Has anyone been to Palo Alto?? Curious to hear what I missed and what is worth going back for! Drop some knowledge on me cause I wouldn’t hate to go again!