We’ve all heard it said that hospital food is terrible. For the most part, that is true.
We visited a friend of ours in a local hospital. As providence would have it, we arrived at lunch time. Though I did not make a big deal of it, I casually inspected the lunch tray. Typical hospital fare. Now I must temper this a bit by saying my friend is diabetic, so the tray was specialized to meet his dietary needs. Still, the green beans were the usual army drab green. He had a tomato stew that he turned his nose up to after a single taste. The angel food cake had a red goo dribbled over it since icing was a no-no. Don ate the cake with relish. I know for a fact the cafeteria food is much the same.
Since we have spent so much time at MD Anderson as both an outpatient and an inpatient, I have discovered a wonderful exception to the rule.
As an outpatient visitor, we often visit Café Anderson on the first floor of MD Anderson Main. Entering that room is a gastronomical delight. We have yet to get something from every area, so I can’t vouch for all of them, but let me tell you about some of our favorites.
The Smoke House is tops on my lunch list. I always get the brisket which is especially good: tender, good smoky flavor, and usually lean. I top it with BBQ sauce and jalapeno peppers, and add potato salad and slaw. My wife likes the smoked chicken substituting the slaw with baked beans.
We have sampled the Chick-fil-A offerings, opting for the grilled sandwich with waffle fries. I really enjoyed the sesame crusted salmon from the Oriental option. We have sampled the salad bar and the sandwich bar. Before we leave in the evening, we usually buy two slices of pizza to take with us to the hotel for supper.
Everything is well done. Good job Café Anderson chef.
As good as the Café is, the meals served to patients are even better. It almost makes me want to become an inpatient guest just for the meals – almost. You know you are in for a treat when the menu is presented much like you would see in a nice restaurant – no Xeroxed copy with ugly lines streaked down it. No sir! In a way, the menu is almost overwhelming.
Every portion of the menu has multiple options. Lunch/dinner ranges from hamburgers to steak to fresh fish with a multitude of side options. The first time I was admitted, I expected the portions to be small, so I ordered extra (I was hungry). I was wrong. Not only were the portions generous, the food was fantastic. Not only did it taste good, it was presented in a high class restaurant way. Not only delicious but beautiful to behold. My wife could order from the identical guest menu for reasonable cost.
Ordering was called into a dietitian before each meal, which was good because my only restriction was a low-fat breakfast. The dietitian helped me to balance quantity and quality to meet that requirement – usually a fruit smoothie along with a few other items. The meal was served, not by a flunky in scrubs, but an intelligent server dressed in white shirt, black bow tie, and a black vest – very classy. The only time I was disappointed was the time I was handed a low-fat menu. Even it looked good, however. Still, it didn’t take long for me to exchange that menu!
Many other food service options exist at MD Anderson, but we have not experienced them … yet. To summarize, my complements to the chef! You have set a new standard for hospital food, both in the Café and in the patient rooms.