Friday, May 7, 2010

The Garage Cafe

Although I hadn't planned to break my blogcation today, my coworkers and I have been planning to check out the cafe at the new campus down at South Lake Union - and today turned out to be the day.

The Garage Cafe is run by Bon Appetit Management, which provides catering and foodservice with a focus on sustainable, local, healthy food. The restaurant is cafeteria style, but far from your usual cafeteria fare. The options seem endless, and all looked fresh and delicious. The first thing to catch my eye was a little sign that said 'Olsen Farms Lamb' - and I was sold. I've bought Olsen Farms lamb right from the farmer, cooked it in my own kitchen, and know where it comes from, how it's raised and how great it tastes - so it seemed like the perfect option. It was served as a open-faced flatbread sandwich, with hummus, baby greens, pickled red onion/cucumber salad and lemon mint yogurt - kinda like a gyro. And it was amazingly good, and just $6.95 (pre-tax).

My dining companions opted for a Bento box, a mushroom woodfire pizza, and pot roast with macaroni & cheese - which all looked equally delicious (but I didn't want to bug everyone by taking pictures of their food, too).

As part of the commitment to sustainability, the place has a lot of features that reduce waste - by applying what I think of as common sense the foodservice industry has moved away from over the past 50 years. I noticed that by the soups, there were tasting spoons - REAL metal spoons - and a ceramic dish to put your used spoons in. And the silverware options are a choice between metal or compostable. They've also got three waste receptacles - one labeled "compost", one labeled "recycle", and one labeled "landfill", as a reminder of that third, dubious option. I did, however, notice that it wasn't clear which items were recyclable or compostable - I happened to know about the silverware from a conversation with the facilities coordinator, but wasn't as sure about the recyclability of the plastic cups my dining companions chose instead of the reusable ones also available. Some additional labeling of what goes where could drive the right behaviors and reduce waste.


mr. pineapple man said...

the yoghurt makes it look so good! I have an award for you on my blog!

David Cuthbert said...

The plastic cups are actually compostable. It took me awhile to find the label on them -- it's spelled out in a small typeface, away from the giant triangle-7 recycling code (which is pretty much non-recyclable).

Admin said...

Can you confirm that this is an Amazon employee only cafe? I've read that the doors are locked to the public and your best bet is sneaking in behind real employees.

what's cookin', good lookin'? said...

Unfortunately, they do have a restricted door that requires an Amazon badge for entry.