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Tuesday Trivia: Food – A Travel Challenge

March 23, 2010

What’s the most difficult part about travel?

Food.

As much as I like food and trying new things, you wouldn’t think this would be the case, but it is.

When I’m traveling for work, I’m not necessarily focused on food. I’m juggling luggage, purse and a coat; hoping I still have my boarding pass; checking the time to make sure I’m not going to miss a flight, a call or a meeting; fighting the crowds of people who typically don’t know how to get from point A to point B while occasionally being a member of that horde myself.

Plus, airport food, in particular, is almost always, without fail, disgusting.

So, when I’m traveling for work, food becomes an afterthought. I wind up running on nothing much more than repeated infusions of triple grande peppermint mochas from Starbucks. If I’m lucky, I supplement this diet with a petite vanilla bean scone.

Talk about a healthy diet.

But… Things are a little bit different when I’m traveling for fun.

Wrapped breakfast & lunch tacos from Flores. No unwrapped pics. I was too busy eating.

Food is still a challenge, but that’s because I feel like a kid in a candy store and can barely think straight in order to make a choice.

And then there’s the mild panic that I might pick something that sucks and will have wasted an entire meal on cruddy food.

Ack! Quelle horreur!

I do my best to rely on my gut reaction to a place and the recommendations of locals. This helps ease the anxiety of making a bad choice.

For example, I was in Texas for SXSW and made a trip out to my parents’ house before joining in on the SXSW festivities. Driving through Dripping Springs, there were a bunch of cars parked outside this little building, Flores Breakfast & Lunch Tacos. I drove past. My gut screamed at me to stop and turn around. I listened. Went back. Ordered a chorizo and egg taco, and a carne guisada taco.

Best. Decision. Ever.

Well, it was the best decisions I made that day. But why quibble?

Now… What about you? Is food your travel nemesis? Or does something else about traveling give you hives and night sweats?

*The source of Tuesday Trivia is my set of “Travel Topics To Go” cards. Learn more.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 23, 2010 7:18 am

    I’ve been caught a couple of times on flights that I for some reason thought served food, and didn’t. There is nothing worse than being trapped on a flight when you’re starving, and have nothing in your bag, and the stewardess gives you that “I’ll cut you!” look when you ask for another pack of pretzels.

    I started carrying a pack of Target’s trail mix with me on every flight. They have a ton of varieties, and both protein and fruit. They may not be the healthiest thing, but they’re portable, reclosable, and typically last through both the outbound and returning flight.

    Even food while on vacation can be a nightmare. Some of my most enjoyable vacations have been cruises, where I didn’t have to worry about where, what, and how food was going to happen. Not that I just hoovered food in, but for me, as a food blogger, not having to plan anything about food for a week at a time really IS a vacation.

    I’ll tell you though, I’d kill for some Flores tacos right now. I actually weeped at the idea of a carne guisada taco. Some days, I hate living in New Jersey.

  2. March 23, 2010 7:31 am

    “I’m juggling luggage, purse and a coat; hoping I still have my boarding pass; checking the time to make sure I’m not going to miss a flight, a call or a meeting;”

    The more I travel, the more competent I feel juggling all of the above, but I often still have that sense of being discombobulated. What’s worse about airport food is that with lack of service on planes, you have more folks picking up things like McDonald’s and bringing it onto the plane along with that greasy smell. Yuck.

  3. March 23, 2010 8:16 am

    Amber & Kim – You’re both right. Being trapped on a plane food or – more specifically – the lack of it makes traveling so much worse. I try to pack little carry-along snacks (almonds & cranberries are my favorite), but I’m not always organized enough to think ahead to that point.

    Kim – I wish I were a better organized traveler. Despite all the travel, I still get nervous about forgetting something. It’s kind of sad, really.

    Amber – I’m with you. I’ve been to a couple of all-inclusive resorts, and it was nice to not have to think about the details of menu planning. Not to mention the near, constant availability of espresso.

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