We’re back at the hospitals again this week, and, like last week at St. Mary’s, we’re finding that the food at Central Maine Medical Center is far from the institutional stereotype of the past. Latte anyone?

That’s just the beginning at the coffee shop in
the still-new lobby of Central Maine Medical Center, off High Street in
Lewiston.

Salads, sandwiches, soups and dessert are made fresh daily, and
come in a number of choices. Chef salad, Caesar, chicken Caesar and
Cobb salads, ham, turkey and tuna sandwiches, too.

The tables just outside the coffee shop sit under high ceilings
with skylights, creating an open, outdoor bistro atmosphere, while
inside the pub tables and arm chairs have a slightly more artsy
coffeehouse vibe.

Paying for your purchase can be slightly troublesome, as there
are numerous baked goods displayed, making any diet more difficult to
stick to, but well worth the slip up.

I ordered the Oreo cheesecake bar ($1.29) in addition to a
chicken Caesar salad ($4.19), because, quite honestly, it was
repeatedly calling my name. Anyone who has affinities for Oreos and
cheesecake understands exactly what I mean. I’m only amazed I
waited until after finishing my salad to eat it.

The salad was fresh and filling; lettuce, cucumbers, fresh
mushrooms, grated Parmesan cheese and grilled chicken. Not the
typical Caesar, but delicious just the same.

My lunch date, Claudette Jordan (who also goes by “Mom”) had a tuna
salad sandwich ($4.19) and a cup of haddock chowder ($2.19). Not
typically one to eat fish chowder of any sort, I was impressed my
mother selected it. I think she is starting to enjoy her role in
these Eats columns.

As tuna salad goes, Jordan said it was good, and she was quite
surprised to find the haddock chowder something she’d have again. I
pushed the Oreo Cheesecake in her direction and nagged her to share
it with me. It was incredibly rich, and I was glad she helped me eat
it, otherwise I would have devoured it myself.

But the cafe is just one option at CMMC. If you’re looking for a bit more to eat and in a bigger
setting there’s the cafeteria in the original section of the hospital (the
Main Street building, accessed most easily by the entrance on Hammond Street, near Main), which has a wide selection of hot and cold entrees,
desserts and more.

The cafeteria again proves that whether you’ve been a patient, a visitor, an employee or just someone looking for good food, the quality and variety of food offered
by hospitals has come a long way. I mean a long way.

The daily menu in the cafeteria includes light items for those who are monitoring what they eat, as well as extensive seating. There are four employees in the cafeteria during the weekdays and two on the weekends (in the coffee shop there are two). Between 750 and 875 people are served in the cafeteria on a daily basis. 

I like that the menu for the cafeteria for an entire month, as well
as specials in the coffee shop, can be found on CMMC’s Web site. Great
for planning if you are indecisive about what you want or know you
have a limited time for lunch.

Tasty tidbits

What: CMMC coffee shop/cafeteria

When: Coffee shop: Monday-Friday 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Cafeteria: weekdays 6 a.m.-6:30 p.m., weekends 6 a.m.-10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

Where
For access to both the coffee shop and cafeteria, the High Street
entrance (across from the helipad) is the easiest. The Hammond Street
entrance (just off Main Street) is another for the cafeteria, though
parking is limited.

FMI: http://www.cmmc.org/cafeteria/menu.taf


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