Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Trapped in a hotel - 2012 Edition

So, just like last year, I start VeganMofo and immediately start traveling. It makes it really difficult to keep a food/cooking blog up to date! Today, I am keeping my post short as I am kind of hoping to get out of the hotel and get a drink or two... or three tonight.

Peoria doesn't seem like a very good place for a vegan to hang out... however, I am now into my 6th trip here over the past year and like any new place, once you do your homework, there are enough places you can go and get a decent meal. I am pretty lucky and usually only have to deal with lunch while I'm here. For breakfast and late night snacks, I stock my room up with enough to get by. I also always have a couple things that I can eat for dinner, just in case I end up somewhere with little choice for me. I always try to get a room with a fridge and microwave. If I can't find one, I tend to ask very nicely if the hotel can stash some non-dairy milk for me. When I come to Peoria, i tend to stock my room the same every time. Here is what I find works for me for a one week trip:

  • Non-Dairy milk, usually almond because I find it goes with more things
  • Cereal or granola.. usually granola, but I am not going to pretend like a box of cinnamon toast crunch hasn't snuck its way in before
  • Green smoothie or juice 
  • Couple frozen vegan burrito's or frozen dinner (Amy's has lots of options)
  • Hummus
  • Pita chips or a couple bagels
  • Instant Starbucks (hotel room coffee sucks.)
  • Fruit (only if the hotel doesn't have complimentary)
  • Couple protein bars (I actually always have a bar with me... just in case)
I find that when you travel for a while, your eating habits really suffer. I am definitely guilty of this. I figure at least having a few somewhat healthy things on hand is necessary. That way if I eat junk, I can at least say I chose to do that. Plus having a few of my normal snacks kicking around makes traveling a little easier.

Tonight I was supposed to go out for a group dinner with my class. They were going to an Italian restaurant and sadly when i checked the menu, all of the sauces had something non-dairy. If you know me at all, you'll know that eating garden salads for dinner infuriates me!! It was a long day, and this time I opted out of eating with the group and went for dinner at the strip mall across from the hotel.

Dinner tonight was at Sushi Gawa, a little Japanese restaurant at Westlake. I really like this restaurant. Fairly basic menu, but they have a few more veggie options than many Japanese places I've been to in Edmonton. I ended up having fried tofu, seaweed salad and some veggie sushi. They have about 5-6 sushi options available and a few other items like teriyaki  tofu, noodle dishes, veggie tempura and a cold tofu dish. It made for a much more delicious and filling meal than I would have had at the Italian place. Another thing I likea bout this place is the staff looked at my order and asked if I was vegetarian and then when I said I was, they noted on my order no fish product. Turns out some of the garnishes have roe or fish flakes (I don't even want to know what that means... makes me think of goldfish food). I always really appreciate it when a server goes beyond taking an order and is sensitive to possible allergies or diet choices. I wish more places were like that!

After dinner, we walked by a new self-serve frozen yogurt place called Cherry Berry. These are just starting to pop up in Edmonton and they all seriously look so delicious. I assumed that there would be no vegan options, but my co-worker wanted to try them. When I went in they tried to offer me a sample and I declined and told them I was vegan, so no dairy yogurt. To my surprise, they have dairy free sorbet! Only a couple flavours, but the ones they had were amazing!! 

I combined a blue raspberry and orange flavour together. Normally I am not into toppings.. one max, but this time I decided to go all out. I got nerds, blueberry, kiwi, pineapple, cherries, coconut and mochi. again, SO good! I rarely care when I have to pass things up because there is no option for me, but any time a restaurant accommodates for more than the typical american diet, I am so grateful. 

What started to be a crap end to the day with likely no more than a salad for dinner turned into a pretty good night. The Japanese food was great, but the best part was the FroSo (Kind of like FroYo, but vegan-style). I haven't had a good frozen dessert like that for a while. Plus they charge by weight and in the end I got a ton of sorbet with tons of toppigns for under $3.00 I doubt I could get that deal in Edmonton. Makes me happy :)

Frozen Sorbet... made my night!

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