Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Meatless in NY

A few weeks ago, I was treated to a most delightful, inimitable experience, brought to me by a benefactor who wishes to remain anonymous, so I will refer to this person as, Miss Havisham.

Miss Havisham works at Google and had casually mentioned many a times how she eats for free. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, in-between meal snacks and even takes a free, Google-provided shuttle to work. In March, Miss H moved from SF to work in Google's NY office. The fringe benefits in NY aren't as good as San Francisco, I was told, but still this was a chance for me to have a Googly experience.

Can I come eat for free, I asked. I wasn't too excited about it, I envisioned a college dining hall. After I made plans to meet Miss H at Google, I even gave Miss H a hard time about it. How am I supposed to get there?! Who the heck works in Chelsea?! I bemoaned.

But as soon as I arrived, I realized it was heaven. First of all, everything is so gimmicky and cute. The hallways are really wide so that employees can go to and fro using scooters (wonder if they have special insurance [from AIG, heheheh] because of this?). There are video game consoles peppered everywhere. Special storage units against the walls stored toys like Legos, etc. There were many in process Lego sculptures presumably made by fun-loving Googlers. Not to mention the requisite game room with foos ball, exercise equipment and other distracting sundry. And this has to be the ultimate, the entire building is a metaphor for New York. For example, we picked up her mail at "Wall Street" and had lunch near "Central Park". It was a great system; a stranger to the Google building like me, could figure out where I needed to go by the "address".

But that's not all....the best experience of all was the free food. The variety! The amount! The exotic! Vegan! Raw foods! Imported foods! ALL PLENTIFUL AND FREE!!!!

Check out this picture of complete satisfaction:

I'm holding a fresh(!) rambutan and coconut juice. In front of me is a delicious vegetarian spread (curried seitan, grilled tofu, etc.), the white drink is my favorite cocktail -- vanilla soy milk with skim lactaid and get this, they even had my favorite hot sauce - Tobasco brand Habanero sauce. Whatever my greedy little vegetarian spice-loving organic lactose-intolerant heart desired was there for the taking. I could definitely get used to this.
Outside of Google, I struggle with being vegetarian. At Google headquarters, the endless and delicious options makes it a breeze to eat vegetarian.
If I worked at Google, I could totally see myself giving up meat.