Bay Area Briefs

Thursday January 03, 2002

Hospitals vary their menus 


SAN JOSE — Bay Area medical centers are going beyond chicken soup and crackers to offer exotic comfort foods to an ever more diverse patient population. 

Hospitals have long offered vegetarian dishes to their patients. Steamed rice and tortillas are available at breakfast, lunch and dinner at the Valley Medical Center in San Jose. Regional Medical Center of San Jose will cook the Vietnamese noodle soup pho upon request. At Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital, menus are printed in Spanish and English. 

Observers say the new trend toward multicultural hospital cuisine is being driven by smart marketing and by a larger effort to be more sensitive to the cultural mores of an increasingly ethnic Bay Area population. 

Nutrition directors at the hospitals note that ethnic dishes make up only a small percentage of the hundreds of meals they serve patients each day. They says that as hospital stays get shorter and shorter, many patients have few opportunities to eat a hospital meal. 

Besides, many patients have their diets restricted before or after an operation, or they may require intravenous feeding. Then, too, many patients of color — particularly children — are thoroughly Americanized. 






New planters act as bomber barricades 



SAN FRANCISCO — In most settings, the seven new granite planters along downtown Kearny Street simply would be elegant triangles filled with fresh mulch and stiff hedges. On this block, they’re a sign of the times. 

That’s because they run along the edge of the plaza at the foot of the 52-story Bank of America building. The long, 2-foot-high planters have been designed to keep a truck bomber from ramming into San Francisco’s second tallest tower. 

Shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks barricades were hauled into place around the Transamerica Pyramid and the headquarters of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. 

Building managers say they’re temporary. For residents they are a reminder of how the threat of terrorism has altered the landscape of San Francisco and cities like it.