Catered Lunches: Week 1

Getting catered lunch again at work. Time to start reviewing!

This week: The BBQ Boys, Buca Di Beppo, Bill’s Hot Dogs, Pho Garden, and Amilia’s.

Monday: The BBQ Boys

These guys bring a big grill and cook on site, which is pretty awesome. Stepped out to billowing smoke. The types of meat they brought were clearly labeled, and even denoted spiciness. Available to us was Caesar salad, coleslaw, hamburgers, bratwurst, chicken sausage, and vegetables. A table of condiments included Kansas City BBQ sauce (seemed vinegary, in contrast to its Wikipedia description) and Memphis BBQ sauce (sweet, preferred this one). I had the chicken sausage and it was excellent. Great flavor, perfect texture. The only issue was a lack of side dishes; salad and one dog wasn’t quite enough.

Tuesday: Buca di Beppo

After having a local business for day one, a chain for day two was a bit of a letdown. Spaghetti and lasagna were available with French bread and salad. The pasta was just fine. The lasagna had a good amount of meat in it, but the ricotta cheese gets overwhelming. Solved by just scooping some of it out.

Wednesday: Bill’s Hot Dogs

When our e-mail announcing lunch said “Enjoy your WaterDogs!” I tried and failed to hunt down what we were getting. Much to everyone’s surprise it turned out the water was actually beer. Yes, the polish and hot dogs are steamed in beer. Options were bacon, and chili and cheese. Since the chili and cheese were just out with the condiments, I got a bacon chili cheese dog. The foot long hot dog was soft and I couldn’t taste the beer. The bacon was OK, nothing special. The chili was mostly just beans, not spicy. The cheese was grated cheddar. I added onions to go with the chili. Chips came with the hot dog. Non-beef eaters were left in the cold. It was a good hot dog, well worth the $5 combo value with chips and soda, but with so many Costcos around it’s not worth driving to San Jose during weekday lunch just to try it.

Thursday: The BBQ Boys came back, this time with actual chicken, and sides of beans and corn. They also had veggie burgers out in addition to hamburgers; their site mentions that you can always just ask for them at the grill, but my co-workers wouldn’t have known and probably needed them on display. I was told that the chicken was great, but I didn’t have any myself as I ended up going out to lunch. I did try the beans, which seemed too sweet, and the corn, which seemed too red peppery. I will be sure to have the chicken next time.

I missed the BBQ chicken, but still had chicken for lunch at Pho Garden. Getting chicken at a pho place, I’ve found, is hit or miss; sometimes I have bony red stuff, sometimes it’s gleaming white, but the latter’s been hard for me to find. It was hot out so I decided not to get soup, but ordered lemongrass chicken with garlic noodles. A few of my co-workers got small bowls of pho, but they were more like the size that’s actually a normal serving for me. There’s no medium/regular so if you go, go for a large. Everyone (except me of course) finished their food, so that’s a good sign. I got a few remarks that my dish looked good. My chicken was not blinding white, but it was not bloody or bony so I was quite content. It was roughly the size of a breast filet, maybe very slightly larger because it was rectangular and not oval. The garlic noodles had good thick texture, but I think they’d been boiled in local water that had some chlorine taste, and that detracted from the experience. They were coated in thick garlic powder. They were OK. I actually ate most of my chicken, but I peeled the skin off and there was still plenty enough to take home.

Castro Street in Mountain View is nice for lunch, but I never go because parking’s a nightmare. We went through three different garages at 12:30 before finding a space.

Friday: No catered lunch on Friday, but we had a new hire so we went to welcome lunch instead. A co-worker had suggested Amilia‘s and we went despite him only having gone there once and only remembering that the calamari was good. No calamari on the lunch menu, but they had a ton of other options, including their breakfast menu. Half of another team crashed our lunch so I was able to see a wide variety of dishes. Everything looked good. I had a lot of trouble deciding, but got the chicken penne pasta. I was a bit skeptical, but the dish was very good. Combining bacon, spinach, and chicken with creamy marinara worked out. I stole fries and a glob of cheese from my coworker’s very large cheeseburger and they were both good. Didn’t have room or time for dessert, which is only posted in their front window; service was slow, but that was expected since we were a really big group. I would certainly go back, but it’s too far south to justify a road trip.

There you have it, week one of free lunches. My company will be repeating catering services, so this upcoming week may or may not have some days skipped.

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