al desko
adv. At a desk.
Since Lunch Money was launched amid muted fanfare in September, we have variously lunched in downtown Toronto, New York and Vancouver. This week, our luncheon companion having begged off at the last minute, it's back to the usual in deepest, darkest Don Mills, to the vagaries of the National Post cafeteria, to the sandwich at the desk accompanied by a large side order of markets and a melange of reflection.

The cafeteria does offer different fare, including entrees and a salad bar at a reasonable price. But dining "al desko" for Lunch Money most often involves grabbing a freshly made sandwich and some carrot and celery sticks for less than $4.
—William Hanley, “Lunch Money: Dining 'al desko' in Don Mills,” National Post, December 09, 2000
1981 (earliest)
Location is status for the secretaries: the West Wing is definitely the preferred spot, although one must dress a bit better and keep the language clean. Next comes the Old Executive Office, and bringing up the rear, the new Executive Office Building.

But there is grit with the glamor: Lunches usually consist of cold sandwiches consumed al desko.
—Stephanie Mansfield, “The Last Memo; The White House Secretaries, After the Firing,” The Washington Post, January 30, 1981
Al desko is a clever play on the adverb alfresco, which means "outdoors" or "in the open air."
Filed Under