Courtroom sketch-artist depiction of ham & cheese sandwich allegedly used against victim.
Courtroom sketch-artist depiction of ham & cheese sandwich allegedly used against victim.

Courthouse Cuisine On Trial

I spent the better part of yesterday proudly serving my country and representing all of you, dear citizens. I'm talking about jury duty, which I seem to get roped into every couple of years -- making me quite familiar with the routine at the Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building downtown:

  • Subzero temperatures. It's easy to spot veteran jurists such as myself. We're the ones bundled in winter jackets, mittens, and ear muffs.
  • Lame movies. Last time it was Eddie Murphy in Daddy Day Care. This time around it was a miserable Matthew McConaughey movie -- or at least the snippet viewed seemed awful. I sat the film out in "the quiet room". Admittedly The Blind Side was a decent pick for the second feature, especially because I hadn't yet seen it.
  • Underwhelming cuisine dished from a cafeteria line, supplemented by drowsy pre-made salads and narcoleptic sandwiches. Or maybe the movies just make me sleepy.

Normally I know to bring my own food or to procure something from

nearby restaurants. But this time, for the sake of journalism (or at

least something approximating journalism), I decided to put the

courthouse cuisine to the test. Or at least I decided to do so until I

saw the spaghetti & meatballs lunch special. Sorry, but I happen to

have a specific rule-of-thumb that says never order spaghetti &

meatballs in a courthouse cafeteria. We will have to declare it a mistrial.

Luckily there was an Au Bon Pain

on the first floor, which is six flights down but quite a step up (and I bet that's the

first time the words "luckily there was an Au Bon Pain" have ever been

written). I had a ham and swiss on a fresh ciabatta bread. To phrase it

understatedly, the ham wasn't of the highest grade available, but for

around seven dollars it wasn't a bad sandwich at all. Prices were reasonable across the board, so Au Bon Pain is found innocent of taking advantage of court-bound diners.

I made it to jury selection, but was not picked from the pool of

prospectives. Still, I learned quite a bit from my day in court,

including how I don't spend nearly enough afternoons sitting around

watching movies.

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