What’s for lunch today?

Raspberry cream is sweet

Quiche tastes rich and fluffy

Today’s lunch is such a treat

Waltz of spring flavors in a chew.

What’s for lunch today? A baked sweet potato I shoved into the oven before running to class.

At least, that was my original plan for today, until I claimed a seat in Hillman and saw what was being served for lunch at the Ground For Change café inside the building. My first impression was literally, “Wow the food looks so pretty!” I even thought they served a flower salad based on the purple color of the dressing and my internal longing for spring. I decided quickly to get the meal and oh my carrot, it was phenomenal!

The official menu for today’s special was roasted tomato quiche with two sides: beet pickled egg and avocado and petit banana bread filled with raspberry cream cheese.

  This is the meal at a closer look!

No matter how you view it: a combination of protein and fiber, or an artwork of flavors and colors, or a dance of queen pickled egg in her spring green gown, I have to say that was so delicious. From the bottom of my gut, this meal simply made my day because everything went together in a perfect balance and texture.

First off, the salad dressing was beet vinaigrette with the signature pretty color of purple of the beets and a mild sweet and sour taste. This was my first time having a pickled egg. The egg was marinated in the same beet solution and became vibrant with the purple hue. All the eggy taste was replaced by an herb-like aroma. Then came the rich creamy quiche made of gouda cheese with roasted tomato and garnishing basil on top. The special sauce is butter based with white wine and some lemon juice which enhanced the richness of the quiche with tangy flavor. Lastly I enjoyed the tiny banana bread treat with raspberry cream. The bread was so moist and went in perfect harmony with the pleasantly sweet cream.

The meal was a creation of Ms. Karen Courtois-Francis, a catering chef with 38 years of experience, an owner of Karen’s Creations, a grandmother of eight adorable kids, and a lover of food and creativity. A lunch may be something you grab quickly on your way to the next class or simply a conversation with friends. But to this incredible woman, this lunch was her dedication to bring tasty and nutritious food to students and a culmination of creativity, nostalgia, and love for her grandchildren. According to Karen, her overall inspiration for this meal was Steven Wibracht, her former mentor and great friend. In the past, her colleagues gave her the title “Queen Quiche.” And the petit banana bread was inspired by the little treat she always prepared for her grandchildren at dinner table every night. Now as a WashU student, I am so lucky to have the chance to taste this great dish by Karen. The passion, love, and effort she put into it were reflected by her big smile on her face while giving the dish to people.

Karen is giving food to a long line of students and faculty! Everyone loves her dish!

As I left the café, not only was my stomach full, but my heart was also filled with joy and love, for the food, for these incredible people who were so dedicated and passionate with their job, and for this wonderful place I consider home, WashU.