Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hospital grub

So it finally happened.

I got my courage up, tried not to think about sick people on crutches and stuff like that and ventured to the hospital to grub some lunch.

Word on the street is that the eatery at the Schneider Regional Medical Center is the best on island and I found that out for myself when my friend Genevieve and I blew up the spot.

The hospital is right across the street from the Daily News office and a short walk away from my shanty pad. I've lived here almost a year and never knew about the fabulous cuisine.

Genevieve had been there a couple times and like many in the know, raved about it. She led the way as we entered through the Emergency Exit, which immediately had me sketched out.

It was just like the club entrance scene from GoodFellas, only we didn't say hello to all the cooks and club promoter types as we scurried inside. In our situation, those people were replaced by know-it-all doctors and nurses wearing scrubs who paid no attention to us.

We had to go through a few heavy-duty doors, down a couple flights of concrete staircases and then we arrived in front of another door that had a simple sign on it that read "Dining Area."

Once inside, I was taken aback. First of all, there were throngs of people waiting in line at the different food stations and because most were medical staff, they all seemed like they were in a hurry.

Then I saw a few people from my office in line and they gave me a look like "OK, he's in on our little secret -- he better know how to keep his mouth shut."

The place reminded of a dining hall from college where the food selection was abundant. When it comes to eating out on St. Thomas, one thing I've always noticed is the miserable lack of options.

There's no $5 foot long at Subway unless you first buy a 25 oz. drink and good luck finding a place that is still open after 8 p.m. Bar food reigns supreme and despite a huge Indian population here -- they control the island's jewelry racket -- I have yet to see a single Indian food restaurant.

No Fuddruckers. No Taco Hell. I can't even get some cotton candy up in this joint.

The hospital, however, had it all. Four daily specials (mostly Caribbean food) drew the biggest lines but there was also a sandwich deli, a make-your-own salad station, and a grill place that had fish sandwiches and onion rings!

And best of all: the food was pretty cheap. I had a golden ticket burning a hole in my pocket since my last hospital visit, so I got a loaded sandwich, chips and soda for like seven bucks. No exorbitant tourist prices here. This hospital eatery is for the good people -- the hard-working stiffs of St. Thomas.

When I paid the cashier lady, I asked if I could get some sort of meal plan discount card so I could swipe every visit just like college. Back then, those ladies were so friendly and I knew them by their first names.

Random hospital cashier lady: "I don't know what you're talking about."

Hungry, smiling patron: "If you don't know, then you better ask somebody."

No comments:

Post a Comment