Monday, July 30, 2007

In Pictures: Free Food Bonanza at the Google Picnic 2007

On Thursday of last week, my friend called me up to invite me to the Google Summer Picnic. (He is also the one who invited me to the Google Holiday Party.) Our conversation went as follows:

Friend: Girl, wanna go to the Google Picnic with me? I know you've never eaten at Google before, so now is your chance. The picnic is on a work day, and several other people already told me that they wouldn't come with me. Plus, I know you're busy with planning for you move, so if you can't come, it's not a prob.

Me: Shut up fool! You know I am on that free food like nobody's business! That's me knocking on your door right now! I'll take the week off if I can eat at Google!

Hmm . . . Okay, that write-up of that conversation was lame. But the point is, is that one of my primary goals before I left the Bay Area was to eat at the famed Google complex, where there is free organic food galore. In fact, Google was voted the top employer in Fortune magazine, in part because of their (generous) free food provisions to their employees. I've heard that the food there is prepared by renowned chefs and that the employee cafeterias are so popular, that Google feeds more than 100% of their employees every day (the employees bring guests). There is even an oyster bar and and sashimi bar. Given all of the praise for Google food, I was going to eat there, come hell or high-water.

And eat I did.

While my friend registered and began to play in the "Google-employees-only poker tournament," I sprinted like a psychotic madwoman towards the buffet tables. As I made my way (kicking and shoving) to the food area, I grabbed a container of golden waffle-cut fries and a cup of ice-lemonade from the stands near the entrance of the park-area.

I noticed that the picnic caterers were working furiously in the food stands, monitoring the metallic tubs of bubbling hot oil and shaking steel wire baskets full of fries and dripping with oil over the tubs. Situated next to the fries were several fondue pots filled with topping for the fries, including ketchup, nacho cheese sauce, black beans, and ranch dressing.

My next stop was the hot dog area, where they had mountains of gorgeous hot dogs piled in the metal serving trays. Similar to the fries, the hot dog were also adjacent to a "topping area" with square bowls containing sweet pickle relish, mustard, ketchup, sauerkraut, and minced red onions.

In addition with the hot dogs, they also had an ugly-lookin' barbecued tofu alternative for the vegetarians. C'mon, could you make it a "little" more attractive folks? . . . Just kidding, it looked good enough.

Before I even walked through the entire picnic area, I had greedily consumed three chicken and apple sausages with shredded sauerkraut and onions, a whole paper tray full of waffle-cut fries with nacho cheese sauce, and chugged a chilled cup of frozen lemonade. But little did I know, that the other side of the park had more food! Seriously, Google is crazy in terms of supplying their employees with food. By the time I realized there was more food, I was already full, so unfortunately I didn't have the stomach to try everything. But I did try and snap pictures of the remainder, including:

tender lemongrass pork riblettes,

shredded green papaya salad with Thai lime vinaigrette and toasted peanuts,

lavash rolls, filled with with roasted red pepper, thinly sliced cucumber, mixed organic greens, harissa, and herbed cream cheese,

grilled tandoori chicken skewers,

bite-sized vegetable samosas stuffed with curried potatoes, cauliflower, and peas,

all-American macaroni salad,

marinated kidney, wax, and green bean salad with crinkle-cut carrots,

fresh antipasto-like zucchini and red bell pepper salad,

rich chocolate brownies dusted with powdered sugar,

baked white chocolate chip cookies,

"spoonable" apple cobbler, and

deep-fried sesame pastry balls filled with red bean paste.

And cotton candy!!

After I finished exploring the picnic area and met up with my friend again, I kissed his feet in gratitude. Although I didn't eat every item at the picnic, I was satisfied to the extreme. The hot dogs were better than Costco's--and you know that is saying a lot! I also had a great time walking around the premises, exploring the food options, and admiring the food. Overall, the caterers did a relatively okay job in the innovativeness and flavor of the dishes, keeping the food warm, and preserving the texture of the food items in the outdoor setting. Although some items may have been a little mediocre, flavorless, and tepid, I was still overjoyed with the "free food" experience. Thanks Google for feeding me, a freeloader, on Friday!

Also, thanks for understanding my busy schedule and staying tuned despite my lack of posts and comments recently. I hope you enjoy the pictures and I can't wait to be back to blogging regularly.


  1. OMG! No wonder this has been a goal for you! I wish my employer would have a picnic with half that imagination! Traditional picnic foods with a twist!Thanks for tkaing us along!

  2. Oh my, free food! I'd be on it like fleas on Frankie. Thanks for sharing.....

  3. wow..such a spread....great...


  4. Good thing Google also has gyms and fitness classes for all their employees! Damn, I could only dream about working for Google...even though I don't know what I could possibly do there!

  5. Do they also provide napkins for the drooling people reading your blog? I just ruined my kepboard. Sigh. Kinda glad I don't work there though, man I'd get sooo fat. he he. Thanks for sharing that, you lucky girl! mmmm!!!

  6. Holy cow! That's quite the spread. I haven't had cotton candy in ages!

  7. i wanna go to a google picnic!! yum, they evebn had a ottoncandy machine. they would, they're so damn perfect!

  8. Hahaha, I wonder how many Google-haters you've created with this post. =) It'd be nice if my company was like that. I'm not complaining, though, just dreaming.

  9. What do i have to do be invited next year?!?


  10. I get so hungry reading your blog!!!

  11. Free food always seems to taste better. Funny that!
    You didn't even have room for a brownie? You need to pace yourself girl!
    Good luck for the move and I look forward to your debut New Orleans post.

  12. If I ever worked at Google, I would get nothing done because I'd be eating all the time!

  13. I've come back to look at those pictures way too many times!

  14. holy macaroni! i'm jealous too! we have a famous chef working as a consultant at our company cafe, but nothing there is free, in fact the prices went up after we went designer... the pix of food certainly are drool inducing. looks like an amazing day.

  15. And to think I never ate there while I lived there...a shame.

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  16. Sweet sassy molassey! Google just became the greatest company in the world in my book!

  17. Hahahaha! My sister works for Google. I should have her take me to their campus for some free grubbin's.

  18. Wow--what a spread. I wouldn't have wanted to hear about it second-hand if I could have attended.

  19. what deliciousness! what excess! what variety! what was the best? i'd definitely eat a few of those hot dogs.

  20. Oh man! If only I had some tech skills so I could try getting a job there.

  21. sigh. i want to be a food blogger. you inspire me. ooh those fries were delish. pork riblettes? did not see those. would've been all over that. and did you try the funnel cake?
    i didn't even see you and plus one there PE!

  22. Haha, thanks everyone! I think Google needs us "food bloggers" and "food blog readers" to help them refine their technologies!

  23. I would like to publish one of your pictures. How do i get in contact with you? Please call White Heat in Allen Texas.


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