“Go west, young man.” – Horace Greeley
So I have a confession to make. Contrary to popular belief I do not spend all my time working on perfecting Eat The District. I have a full-time job (pause to let that bombshell sink in). And as luck would have it early this week I was fortunate enough to get to travel out west for a meeting at Facebook HQ. I’m not going to talk about why I was there or what I learned, but I will tell you about how I ate. Don’t worry: I was assured that this was okay and not part of the NDA I signed.
Facebook’s new Menlo Park campus is amazing. Mashable had a great write up of Facebook’s new digs, so I won’t go into in too much detail. And to answer your question, yes I saw Mark Zuckerberg (it was through a window) and no I didn’t get a picture. The food situation at Facebook is enviable. There are two major cafeterias that serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner gratis to employees and visitors. There are also countless micro kitchens, which have a fantastic array of sodas, coffees, juices, teas, cereals, chips, snacks, fruit, candy, etc. etc.
The food itself was quite good. Everyday they post the menus on Facebook (surprise surprise). We ate lunch and breakfast at Cafe Epic, which was indeed epic. The cafeteria has hot food, a salad bar, and a sandwich bar, in addition to soups and pastries and other delectables. I went with Mongolian chicken, fried rice, lo mein, and a small tuna fish sandwich (I had to try the tuna, one of my favorite sandwich fillings). The tuna was the standout, with fresh bread and a hint of sweetness. To drink I had chocolate milk, which really took me back to high school lunch. The sheer array of options were overwhelming. While I enjoyed what I ate, I did have a twinge of buyer’s remorse looking around at what everyone else got. To be fair, this would have been true no matter what I got and no matter how good it was.
For breakfast the next morning, I knew right away that I was craving a breakfast sandwich. Again, Facebook’s abundance of food options made this possible. I grabbed a poppy seed bagel, some bacon, some scrambled egg whites, and a little shredded cheddar cheese and threw together a mean bacon, egg, and cheese bagel sandwich. On top of that I had a mango madness smoothie, and I was good to go for the rest of the morning. Of the two meals I ate there, breakfast was definitely my favorite, although to be fair I’m partialto breakfast anyway.
The coffee didn’t disappoint either. If you ever get the opportunity to visit Facebook make sure you get some coffee courtesy of Philz Coffee. Coming in multiple different varieties this freshly brewed, extremely rich and strong coffee kept us going through two days of meetings.
As if working at Facebook wasn’t cool enough to begin with, the cafeteria system they have set up is amazing. There’s no need to debate with co-workers about where you’re going: the choice is as simple as Cafe Epic or Cafe 18. There’s plenty of seating (both indoor and out) and the atmosphere is both fun and collegial. Facebook has done a lot of things well, and treating their employees to three meals a day is certainly one of them.