My company recently moved offices. On the one hand, this is a good thing, as our old digs were in a dowdy, sad building on the wrong side of the tracks in Redwood City. Our new office is more modern, cleaner, lighter and the roof doesn't leak. It's in Belmont, under the looming grey-green towers of Oracle. The grounds are pleasant enough, and the commute is a few miles shorter for me. All good.
However, the only source of food that is within walkable distance is a small cafe in the building that managed to fall out of my good graces on the second day of our occupancy. Aside from the inconvenience of having to get in the car to forage for lunch, I also don't know where's any good. It took months to get the lay of the land in Redwood City, and I just don't have the time to take on the trial-and-error process of vetting restaurants throughout Belmont and San Carlos.
It's just as well, really. DPaul and I have been on something of a fiscal diet of late, and the less money I spend on lunch the better. Normally our style of brown-bagging involves bringing leftovers from the previous night's dinner or perhaps the occasional sandwich, but very frequently we assemble a nice ploughman's lunch.
Classic English pub grub, a ploughman's comprises a hearty hunk of rustic bread, a good wedge of cheese and some pickles, and then commonly accompanied with some crisp apple, a slab of pâté and perhaps a nice stein of beer. These would typically be local fare as well, especially good sharp cheddar or Stilton for the cheese. We sub in some nice Pt. Reyes Farmstead Cheddar or Achadinha Capricious.
Our fridge is generally full to bursting with housemade pickles, and we throw in whatever seasonal fruit we've got. We get liberal with the components, throwing in some pita and hummus in lieu of rustic loaf and butter, and a few slices of salami or prosciutto will not be left unwanted.
This is exactly how I like to eat; I am generally more of a nibbler and grazer. I love the play of the richness of the cheese and the sharpness of pickle, the blandness of bread and the sweetness of fruit. It is at once deconstructed and whole and satisfying.