Things to eat when it’s hot: Smack Shack, Zen Box, Sushi Fix and Candyland
A promotion at the bank apparently means that you sit in meetings all day but have the same amount of work to do. So it’s been a challenge recently to get away from my desk for lunch. But as an outdoor person I really do need a break in the day from the recirculated air in the Wells Fargo Tower. The trick is to use the break to re-energize even when it’s too hot out to move. For us downtown office denizens, here’s a sampling of lunches that are light and filling but you won’t force you to slog through a post-prandial dip at your desk afterward.
Smack Shack has a lobster salad in addition to their famous Lobster Roll. The greens vary from all arugula or lettuce to a mix of both. Along with a large portion of lobster in light tarragon dressing there’s a handful of finely diced vegetables- corn, tomato and cucumbers. Though I initially resolved to not eat the accompanying Texas toast the buttery triangles quickly disappeared. Warning: the last time I ordered the salad, my friend got her lobster roll quickly and we waited about 15 minutes for my salad and I was feeling forlorn and forgotten as customer after customer picked up their lobster rolls ahead of me. The division of labor inside the truck was a little off that day. But the the happiness of lunching with one of my best pals and the crunchy greens perked me up and I quickly forgot about the wait and the $15 bucks I just spent on a salad in a paper box (which I was quite happy to recycle in the new DID recycling bins on Nicollet.)
Zen Box features a soba noodle salad in the summer months. Dense cool buckwheat noodles, shelled edamame, and shredded carrots top cut romaine densely packed into an easily transportable plastic container. The dressing is tucked into the container, too, so you really just grab it and head outside or back to the office. The dressing is lightly sweet with a slight tang and a nutty sesame flavor. The cup looks like it holds a lot of dressing but the noodles soak it up so go ahead and dump the whole thing on top and mix it up. Since the salad is light and cool it doesn’t feel like you ate a large pile of protein and pasta, but you did and will likely/ hopefully experience a pop of energy after eating.
Sushi Fix is really good sushi and perfect food for a hot day. I recently ordered the “Sushi Fix” menu item which is 4 pieces of nigiri sushi and a California roll for twelve bucks. Last time I ate there, the oversized sushi roll was handed to me in a plastic container so large and terrarium-like I was embarrassed but also compelled to take it home to start seedlings or maybe set up a nice home for a small frog. This time, it came in a small plastic container into which I squished a little cup of ponzu and headed up the elevator with anticipation- looking forward to getting back to my desk to devour the small treasures within. Consider the value added, as we say in the financial biz, to actually looking forward to getting back to your desk on a gorgeous summer day.
By the end of the week when you’ve spent all your lunch money on fancy things like lobster and sushi, the number two box of popcorn at Candyland is a perfect remedy (and applies to St. Paulites, too!) With the extra 50 cents for butter it costs $2.50. You may want to save this lunch for a stressful day, maybe a Friday when you realize how much you have left to do and how little time to do it and pretty soon you are the only person left in the office. You can munch out anxiety one kernel at a time. Heck, stop at Target or Macy’s and get an apple to go with it and really crunch away the stress. Let’s be honest, popcorn for lunch is really a ploy to tide you over to dinner. So you may find yourself routing around empty conference rooms looking for leftover cookies in the afternoon. And if this happens, I wish you sweet success.