Thursday, April 30, 2009

is there such thing as a free lunch?

i think that if you read this blog you get the idea that i love food. and there is one type of food i really love -- free food. one of the perks of being a health care provider is that you can take advantage of pharmaceutical company sponsored dinners. these meals do involve a lot of ethical questions but for the most part i choose to ignore those questions and just focus on the free meals at really great restaurants.
since i work on the seacoast of new hampshire these restaurants are in portsmouth and last week i found myself at jumpin' jays fish cafe listening to a lecture on smoking cessation in primary care. while i love a free meal i only go to topics i am interested in and smoking cessation happens to be a strong interest. with cigarette smoking increasing ones risk of all causes of death by 5,000 percent, i wouldn't be doing my job as a nurse practitioner if i didn't discuss quitting with my patients, and i do at every opportunity.
but this is really suppose to be more of a restaurant review than a post about health care so let me return to the restaurant at hand. i have wanted to try jumpin' jays for a while and i was excited that a good restaurant and a great topic were being offered together. the way these things work is like a prix fixed meal. this evening we had a choice of appetizer, salad, main, and dessert. the service is always quite wonderful and they start you out with a glass of wine the minute you walk in the room. they serve the appetizer and salad while the lecture is going on and dinner and dessert are served after.
i started out with the maine crab cakes served over baby greens and a wasabi remoulade. the cakes were almost all crab, spiked with kernels of sweet corn, and accented wonderfully with the spicy wasabi remoulade, which was a lot like spicy ketchup-mayo, but tasty all the same.
for my salad i went with the straight up caesar. i am a true caesar connoisseur as my mom makes one of the best most garlicky, anchovy-y caesars i have ever had. and i have to say that jumpin' jays caesar was pretty great. i find that many restaurants don't put a lot into their caesars, which tend to just be romaine lettuce with packaged caesar dressing. the dressing is usually thick and tangy without enough saltiness. but the caesar this evening was dressed perfectly with a dressing that really pulled in all the flavors of a true caesar. it did not come with anchovies but the dressing tasted like they were in there.
for my main i had the pan seared diver scallops served with a garlicky spinach and mashed potatoes. they were cooked well though they weren't really hot when they reached me and the serving portion was huge. yes this is a good thing but after an appetizer and a salad, not to mention two glasses of bordeaux, i was stuffed and couldn't finish all of my scallops.
being as full as i was and in the interest of getting back to portland at a semi reasonable hour, i left without waiting for dessert.
the lecture was surprisingly good, though of course all about the smoking cessation drug chantix. i tend to think its kind of funny that pharmaceutical companies think that by giving you free food and pens and boxes of tissue that you will actually prescribe their drugs more. but the reality is, if it didn't work they wouldn't spend their money on it. i for one am not swayed by the freebies and i always try to prescribe generic drugs to save my patients money. the trouble is, chantix really is the best drug for quitting smoking, its very expensive, and there is no generic.
and here is where the ethical question comes into play for me: if the pharmaceutical companies didn't pay for all these fancy dinners, or sponsor the doctors who give the lectures, would they be able to offer their drugs to consumers at a more reasonable price? but like i said before, i choose to focus on the free meal.

1 comment:

Bill said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.