Yesterday, I met Christian and friends as host to the building 121 edition of the Microsoft Cafeteria Tour 2006 (MSCT2K6). Frankly, I think the whole thing is a ruse to take a long lunch and talk to people you would never ordinarily meet in your campus life. With the implied subject of Microsoft cafeteria food, the conversation keeps rolling despite the fact that I have pretty much nothing in common with my technical MS brethren other than the fact that someone, at one time, deemed each of us a "hire" (OK, and the fact that we are all fascinating...don't believe me? Just ask us). I hardly had to invoke my smile and nod approach to technology-related conversation. If the talk slowed down, we could always chat about food, or rely on Christian's active imagination to bring up something totally unrelated as if we been discussing it all along: secret tunnels, towel-snapping, Fango (I have no idea...some kind of drink), gerbils. Nope, nope, I wouldn't make that kind of stuff up.

I have to admit that this trek to the cafeteria is my first in quite some time and the selection of 121 for my hosting duties was strictly based on the fact that it's the closest to the door with my name plate on the crow flies (I don't have a cafeteria in my building). When I was going in to the office every day, I usually either brought something or went out to eat...there were always some Zone Bars in the desk. But most Microsoft employees visit the cafeterias much more frequently..I did when I sat in other buildings, much to the detriment of my waistline. The food is good, but the portions are big for lunch. So now, when I do go to the cafeteria, it's salad more often than not. It's easier that way.

The salad bars haven't changed much over the 7 years I've been at Microsoft. There have been some minor additions like dolmas. Quick side story: a couple weeks ago (or was it one week ago...after Miami but before NY), I took a middle eastern cooking class at PCC and we learned to make dolmas, halwa and dogh. The instructor was great, the dolmas was amazing (but quite some work...I'd probably only make for entertaining), and the dogh was good and easy. The halwa was just a little outside the framework of the South Beach Diet (or really far outside), so I am glad I got to try it but won't make it part of my regular eating habits. Anyway, the salad bar dolmas aren't nearly as good. But they are a welcome additional to the regular MS cafe fare.

So the cafe tour was really fun (and Christian does a better job recapping, though his pants are on fire).