"I feel like I should be shopping here – maybe a pretty accessory for my new knee," a limping woman says. She's eying the original artwork and the player piano turning out soothing tunes at the new Women's & Surgery Center at DeKalb Medical Center. Then there's the atrium bistro. "Let's stay for a bit," she convinces her ride home. "We can eat here. Will you look at that cheesecake?"
More mall than hospital hall: The new Women's & Surgery Center seems more like a boutique to browse than a place to get broken bones set or replaced -- much less birth a baby. A welcome "bypass" to the morass of medical procedures is Azalea Bistro. It's much more a high-end food court than the usual mandatory medical slop hall.
No anesthetic aesthetics: Gone is the green Jell-O. There are no mystery molds that shake worse than nerves already do in such a serious setting. Instead, the artful, inexpensive bistro fare is surprisingly life-affirming.
The menu features signature sandwiches served on artisan breads. Try the "gobbler" ($4.75), featuring real roasted turkey, rare roast beef, Swiss, hearty "dressings" and herb mayonnaise. The veggie bella ($4.25) is healthy and plump with grand, grilled portobellos and caramelized veggies blanketed in smoky provolone. I was tempted, after a necessary visit, to hang out a bit too long at the medical center enjoying a trifecta sandwich – a pastrami-and-corned-beef heart attack on a plate.
Cut and run: If woozy and ready for a quick exit, grab a preprepared California chicken salad ($4.75). Moist, grilled chicken breast is heaped onto a bounty of mixed purple and green lettuces and tossed with sweet strawberries and savory nuts.
There are featured soups of the day. The staff will let you taste. A snappy gumbo in a chicken-and-tomato base has a homemade flavor. Try that with half a chicken-salad sandwich – mild enough for all but kept vibrant with bell-pepper crunch and a bunch of mystery spices.
Dinner specials are an even better value. Though not quite so gourmand in nature as the lunch stuff, the off-hours deals ($4.29 from 10 p.m.-2 a.m) include entrees such as buttermilk-marinated fried chicken or broiled pork chops with two sides and bread.
Surgical slice of cake: For a reward to help heal wounds, Azalea also offers various sweet treats. Don't miss the perfectly tart lemon squares for $1.50. There are also daily cheesecakes, giant cookies, smoothies and cappuccinos. This place is almost worth a visit even if you're not planning to give birth or trade in your old knee for a new one.
Big Als = Grocery store beef on a grocery store bun.
I grew up in the south on Krystal, lived in Chicago for 12 years on…
catch me at Whiskey Blue
Your mom loves them, so there's that.
Yeah Big Al judging by your online reviews, your Buttermade burgers SUCK.