Gourmet Hospital Food--Fine Dining at Brigham & Women's???
- whs Aug 22, 2006 11:53 PM
My domestic partner is going in for surgery and is staying in the Shapiro Pavilion at Brigham. The online brochure says:
"The Shapiro Pavilion provides fine dining and gourmet food service for patients (depending on dietary requirements) and visitors, with extended hours and the ability to accommodate international patients. Afternoon High-Tea service is offered daily."
Has anybody had the pleasure?
I only had post-op snacks and breakfast, but it was very nice. The real bonus is the service, not the food. After all the "personal chef" hype, my breakfast smoothy was delivered still in the Tropicana bottle. There was plenty of good quality ice cream, juice etc. Each suite has a refrigerator with juices, water, and a little basket of cookies, teas and other snacks for guests. My friend got more from it than I did, he was waiting for me to wake up, I slept most of the time. Patients are treated like royalty though. It is really quiet and private, not like most hospital rooms! I'd do it again if I had to go back.
I haven't eaten at the Shapiro Pavilion, though I can report that the rooms are really swank and nice, for sure. The care is not superior in any way except that (as PBAL explains above) it's more private and quiet. And though I'm sure the food is better, you have to ask _how_ much better. Those baskets described by PBAL are things you can basically bring up yourself but you could do a better job of it.
In terms of chowhounding the Brigham, I'd recommend first finding out what your partner's surgical team expects in terms of food in the post-op period. Lots of times you're mostly eating chicken broth and jello anyway in the time before discharge so that wouldn't be worth any extra price for your partner to get the extra snacks and so on. If you can eat, then for my money I would bet that some of the stuff at Au Bon Pain downstairs would be as good as whatever they make at Shapiro, although like I say I've never eaten at Shapiro. But ABP does better than Tropicana. Also if you can bring back food for your partner, there is Penguin Pizza around the corner; and then if you can get in the car Oriental de Cuba has just reopened in JP. The latter options would be discouraged by your surgeons, I would guess, but, it really depends on the surgery you get. There is also a Stop and Shop across the street and you could probably get some salad makings or prepared food or snacks there that would beat whatever the cafeteria would offer. Certainly any Whole Foods could almost certainly beat the snacks you'd get at Shapiro, though like I say that's just my guess.
If your diet is going to be restricted, chowhounding the Shapiro is going to be of very limited tastiness; and if your diet isn't restricted, take-out might be better. If your nursing team is nice you can probably even get delivery to the floor. True, most patients don't do this, but on the other hand, most patients don't choose their rooms based on Chowhound, so...
Best of luck to you and your partner.
Thanks for your in depth post. Actually, my partner is going in for a colon re-section (or "kishka-ectomy" as he calls it) so he won't be eating a whole lot--jello and broth sounds like the menu. However, I will be sleeping on the pull-out for a couple of days, and was hoping I could do better than rice pudding and salisbury steak. Does East Coast Grill deliver???
There's a Thai place within a reasonably close walk that we
liked when I was stuck there for a week (and without any 'gourmet' hospital food option presented) last summer, called
Rod Dee. You can look it up on google maps (we just did) - the one on Petersborough is very close. After nearly a week of
trying to make variety out of mixing-and-matching the hospital menu items, I was probably biased about how good it was, but
it was tasty.
If you do have to order the rice pudding and salisbury steak, bring your own seasonings as well as ordering everything
with salt and pepper - they don't season, and then they tend to forget the salt/pepper packets even if you ask for them, which makes it all so much worse.
I've worked at the Brigham for six months now, and I've eaten at the cafeteria maybe three times. The salad bar is good, though I don't recall anything organic, but the hot foods - entrees, soups, etc. - are unexciting and very salty.
Part of the reason I've eaten there so rarely has to do with the fact that I work at the opposite end of the hospital - the walk from the 15 Francis St. end to the cafeteria at the 75 Francis St. end can take close to half of my short lunch break! Au Bon Pain does seem to have some good choices, although every time I go in intending to get lunch there I find that nothing quite suits my mood.
The place I end up at most often, both because it's MUCH nearer my office and because I like the food, is Pat's Place, the little cafe beside the exit from 15 Francis St. to the medical school. They do a fine tuna melt, and I like the cheeseburger sub.
I have spent a ton of time at the Brigham in the past couple of years between both of my parents, although none of it at the Shapiro. Chowhound-type food options in the immediate vicinity are limited. It strikes me though that if there is a fridge you can bring picnic stuff for yourself. There is likely a microwave at the nurses' station (there is on the regular floors) so you could even bring soup for yourself and good homemade broth for your partner. (My parents credit the homemade soups I brought them for their recovery but I suspect they are biased.) Good luck.