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Jul 4, 2009 10:51 PM

UCLA Ronald Reagan Hospital Dining

Years of enthusiastic chowing coupled with phobic avoidance of doctors find me enjoying the in-room dining service at UCLA Hospital. For any of my fellow 'hounds who might stay or visit here, I offer the following observations:

For all of the jokes about hospital food, I look forward to mealtime. And with kidney problems, I think I am on the most restrictive of the three menus. The personnel are extremely helpful and pleasant, from the ones answering the phone orders to those delivering the trays. Food comes reliably within the 45 minutes they promise and is attractively presented. They do their best to accommodate requests and alterations (such as permitting a smaller portion of a pasta entree to be ordered as a side) while obeying dietary restrictions and daily limits.

A few hints: Be careful about your precise wording. The "Charbroiled Chicken Breast Sandwich" is genuinely good, served on a nicely textured focaccia bread with some assorted greens and lettuces and a tasty pesto mayo. Very satisfying. But beware, the "Grilled Chicken Sandwich" is just pieces of chicken on a soft whole-wheat bun, quite boring and easily confused. The pico de gallo served with the beef tacos was surprisingly spicy, but they were far from "authentic," soft, and difficult to eat. Kudos to the fresh fruit cup -- the pineapple chunks, strawberry halves, and red grapes are tart, fresh, and can be saved for a snack. The turkey in the open-face sandwich with gravy is the real stuff, not processed or from a loaf. The garden salad contains a variety of lettuces and greens, some bitter, and some interesting such as red and yellow pepper strips, cucumber, and baby corn. Just beware of ordering things that need to be really hot, such as soup. For that reason, I've been ordering and enjoying the french toast more than the eggs at breakfast.

By the way, there is wi-fi in the new hospital, you just have to get a username and password from Patient Affairs. My gratitude to the doctors, nurses, care staff, and Signature Dining employees.

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  1. Thanks for a very useful post. Much appreciated. All best wishes for a speedy recovery.

    1. Thanks for the kind thoughts.

      I omitted one item from my assessment: The fillet of "Lemon-Herb Grilled Salmon" one dinner was superlative -- perfectly cooked, with a nice crust and a moist, flaky, medium-rare to medium interior -- restaurant quality. Two other meals were a step more done, but stll pretty good.

      1. I hope you're doing well, and I give you big credit for being a true Chowhound even when you're battling life's ailments! This has to be one of a very few, if not the first UCLA Reagan Center reviews/helpful tips posts I've seen. :)

        I can vouch for the food there as well. Although I haven't overnighted in the hospital, I did have some of their cafeteria food, and must say that it surpassed my expectations.

        Are you dealing with kidney stones? I know any kind of kidney issue can be very serious and/or PAINFUL, but stones in particular are not for the timid. They have a very strong urology dept there so I have full faith that you will be up and around soon. Best wishes to you, my friend.

        1. Nosh, to a speedy recovery. I guess that you do not have Blue Shield as I do. Otherwise, you would be getting the leftovers from United Airlines inflight services :) I know you are a true fan of good food as you have taken the time to post. I saw that building just before it opened and it seems like a marvel. Hope your home soon!

          1. Stay away from the liver and onions, the sweetbrains and the tongue.