Friday, September 08, 2006

Teacher Lunches (Friday Food Porn)

Although I spend a lot of time cooking, photographing food, and writing up recipes for Kalyn's Kitchen, my *real* job is teaching 29 fourth graders every day, a much more challenging prospect than writing fun posts about what I'm cooking. There are a lot of things I like about teaching, but one thing I don't like about the job is not being able to go out for lunch.

We only get 40 minutes for lunch, and by the time the kids are all out the door, it's down to 35. It's not enough time to go anywhere to eat, even if it was possible to call the school and tell the secretary "Hold my calls. I'll be a bit late getting back." For that reason, the few times each year (non-student days) that we actually do get to go out to lunch, I may (or may not) celebrate and eat some things that aren't exactly on my diet.

A place that's one of our favorites for a teacher lunch is Cafe Rio, where they have salads like this. Cafe Rio is a Utah phenomenon, and hundreds of people come to my blog each week looking for their dressing recipe. The salad has a big flour tortilla, rice and beans, lettuce, spicy chicken, guacamole and corn chips with a spicy cilantro and tomatillo ranch dressing that is delicious. You can make this salad South Beach Diet legal by skipping the rice, not eating the tortilla and asking for no chips. That's actually the way I usually order it. The photo above is from my nephew Nate's outdoor wedding dinner, which was catered by Cafe Rio.

Another favorite spot for teacher lunches is Robintino's. Here we get tossed salads like this, which actually taste much better than this photo looks. (Yes, this was my old camera.) Robintino's has amazing salad dressings. Our school orders takeout from here sometimes when we can find someone who's willing to pick it up.


If I'm having a "who cares about the South Beach Diet, I'm going to celebrate" kind of day I'll order Robintinos cheese bread. It's garlicy white bread topped with cheese and then broiled until the top is brown. Although (believe it or not) since I've been eating the South Beach way I've kind of lost my taste for this type of food, Robintinos cheese bread is a splurge that still tastes great once in a while.

If you're lucky enough to have a job where you get to go out for nice lunches on a regular basis, leave a comment and tell me where you go and what you're likely to order. I'll try not to be too envious. And if you're a parent who's involved in the PTA at your school let me pass on a way to become very popular with your teachers. We once had a great PTA president who would commit to getting take-out lunch for the teachers once a month. She took orders the day before, everyone paid for their own food, and she picked it up and delivered it to school at lunchtime. It was a wonderful, and inexpensive, way for her to show appreciation for the teachers.



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8 comments:

  1. That you can do all this while teaching full-time is amazing to me.

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  2. Great Idea for the PTA or any parent who can do for teachers. Thank you for being there for your kids.

    I do get one hour for lunch and am so lucky to have many choices close by my work. Denver has lots of food choices and restaurants. I like to go to Kokoro a Japanese fast food " bowl" restaurant when the weather turns a little cool... I order a bowl called splash- it is a noodle soup, with a boiled egg and tofu and undin and mushrooms- mmmn. If I need confort food that is where I go.

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  3. I second Mimi's comments--you're quite amazing!

    As for lunch--I have the opposite problem--I'm trying to be better about bringing my lunch instead of going out, saving money and (hopefully!) calories.

    However, there's a great Middle Eastern place called Falafel near my office with tasty chicken schwarma and a Korean dumpling spot with, of course, dumplings. By my old office there was a fab place called Cafe Surfas connected to a gourmet food/cooking supply warehouse, so not only did you get a yummy lunch but you just had to pick up a few other things while you were there of course!

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  4. Mimi, thanks. Sometimes I do get seriously behind schedule! I'm kind of naturally hyper-organized, which helps.

    Queue_t, it was so wonderful when the PTA did it for us. You're lucky to have an hour. The noodle bowl soup sounds great.

    Erin, I make food and freeze it in individual containers for lunch. It's a habit that's taken me a while to develop, but now I usually have a pretty good supply of lunches in the freezer. The school lunch is HORRIBLE so that makes it easier to remember a lunch. Middle eastern food for lunch sounds great. There's nothing like that even in the town where I work (a suburb of Salt Lake.)

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  5. I've done the Cafe Rio thing, its a favorite around my job too!

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  6. You made me homesick!

    Okay, not really, just a lil' bit nostalgic.

    Thanks for the photos.

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  7. Sushiboy and Ruby G, fun to have a reader in Utah and an ex-Utahn. I think everyone in Utah loves Cafe Rio.

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  8. Yumm--that cheese bread looks so good. Since I can't eat cheese right now, the picture is driving me crazy!

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