Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Blogging the Menu: Days 23-28 Out of Town Edition

After a long day of travel, I'm home.  It's good to be home.  It was also good to spend 5 days in a city where I don't know a soul in a lovely hotel room with a king sized bed, a comfy chair, and a great location. For a person as socially awkward and introverted as I am, 5 days alone was so beautiful.  I know people that couldn't stand that kind of solitude, but I fucking live for it.  It was the perfect battery recharge.  I got a shitload of CE (seriously, like almost 2 years worth) in lecture/presentation format which is my favorite way to learn, I actually learned some practical applicable things, AND I got to read books!  And sleep!  Whenever I wanted to!  And run!  Whenever I wanted to!  I had some good food, some meh food, and a lot of improvised meals.  Savannah is a beautiful city in some respects, and deeply dilapidated in others.  In some places it's more of a genteel disrepair.  In others it is straight up falling down old.

I went for a run.  It was only 4 miles, but I had pledged to run for Meg's Miles, and this was what presented itself that evening.

Jesus I'm ugly in pictures.  I hope I'm not this ugly in person.

I find that running in an unfamiliar city is a good way to get the lay of the land, as evidenced by the fact that three people asked me for directions (and I was able to give them).  I also found myself giving recommendations for "non-threatening, non-pothead looking" coffee shops to fellow conference attendees.  During this little 4 mile jaunt I found several restaurants (including the one that Jenny from Forrest Gump worked at), a yarn shop, several coffee shops, Juliette Gordon Low's birthplace, the Savannah College of Art and Design, the Colonial Cemetary, and many many many squares.  I can't say I ever felt threatened while running, and there were other runners around, but I did feel uneasy several times.  Truthfully, I get uneasy in those situations pretty readily.  Having been mugged, I am always hyper aware of my surroundings and there were more than a couple of places that felt...seedy.  Walking to the ferry before sunrise was a challenge for me.  Everything in me wanted to stay inside in the light instead of stepping out into unfamiliar dark.  Still, it had to be done, and most mornings there were other women walking who were eager for the protection of the herd.  I didn't tell any of them I had a knife.

On to my various fooding experiences.  Not really a menu, as I didn't have a ton of control over it, and I didn't take pictures of everything as people look at you funny at dinners if you do that.  A couple of nights my phone was dead and I didn't realize it until I went to take a picture.  So here's what I've got, in a nutshell.
The morning I left the plan was to finish off my chorizo stew.  Unfortunately is was a fucking blizzard when I woke up at 4am and I left for the airport super early so I wouldn't have to speed.  That meant I had nothing for breakfast but a cup of shitty coffee in the airport.  I crammed a Luna Bar in my face after making my connection in Atlanta.  That was brunch, I guess.  

When I got to my hotel room, I dove into my snacks since it was 2pm and I didn't want to eat a meal yet.
Meat cookies.
I love pistachios 

I discovered after I got to my hotel that Paula Deen's restaurant was about 2 blocks away.  So I went there for dinner.  Partly out of curiosity, and partly because my MIL called me and asked if I would get her a container of the house seasoning.  The service was great.  The food was...meh.
Crab stuffed shrimp wrapped in bacon with lemon sauce.  They weren't bad.

I love jasmine rice, but this was shitty.  It was clearly overdone, so I didn't eat it.  The asparagus was woody, but I ate it because I need to eat more veg.  I ate most of the shrimp.  The iced tea was good (unsweet-sweet tea tastes like diabetes), so there was that.  I feared for my life in the elevator on the way out.  There were 5 of us in the elevator.  The weight limit was 2000lbs.  I weigh 163 pounds.  The elevator actually groaned under the strain of the 5 of us.  You do the math.

In the morning I was in for a dark ferry ride.  I made coffee in my hotel room (there was abundant free coffee and tea at the conference-I drank so much coffee there I may never sleep again) and packed my bag full of snacks.
This is pretty much what breakfast looked like for a couple of days.

Lunch was up in the air.  I wasn't going to have time to take the ferry back to River St, but there's nothing on Hutchinson Island except the Westin and the Convention Center.  I was resigned to eating the almonds in my bag until I smelled grilling meat.  There was a cash buffet!  And I could make it Paleo!  PS, you get a lot of funny looks when you totally bypass everything and then load so much meat on your plate that there's hardly room for guac.

Carnitas with grilled peppers and onions with veg and guac.  Hooray!

I generally had an afternoon snack packed.  Usually roasted almonds and some fruit.  Here's a picture of a lonely clementine after I had eaten it's friend and the almonds.  I forgot to take a picture before I snarfed them.
So lonely.

Saturday afternoon I had to get outside.  It was around 45 degrees and sunny.  Perfect for running.  When I was done I decided to carb up seeing as Sunday was the start of the IDGASHHIIIDI club (Gezundheit).  Plus, Savannah is open container friendly, and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to walk down the road with a plastic cup full of beer.
So. Good.

The place was called Your Pie and for a pretty reasonable price I got this cute little pizza and a glass of locally brewed wheat.  It's fortunate that I was alone in my hotel room.  After 3 weeks off grain, it got smelly.  My GI tract was all "What the everliving fuck was that?" and there was farting.  Much, much farting.  Totally worth it though.  It was a farewell to refined carbs...

Sunday breakfast was a networking event. It was free.  There was bacon, but only quiche and crepes and fruit.  So it looked something like this:
Because who doesn't love free bacon?

 Sunday for lunch I went to the Cotton Exchange and had the chicken cobb salad.
Bacon and avocado make the world right.

The Cotton Exchange is a neat place.  It's very old and was used to store...wait for it...cotton.  So the doors are low and the wood is thick and utilitarian.  The service was very good, super friendly.  

Dinner on Sunday was stuffed grape leaves from a Greek restaurant on River St.  They made them without the rice for me-wasn't that nice?  I don't have a picture because I totally crammed them into my pie hole without thinking of it.  I'm not always very smart.

Monday was a crazy long day of conferencing.  I didn't start until 8 though, so I tried out the hotel cafe "Windows" so I could sleep in.  The view is beautiful and they had a breakfast buffet which is generally pretty safe.
Good stuff.  A little pricy, but tasty and handy.

As with most conferences, there was an exhibition hall.  I did get some good info on a couple of different things in there.  There was a shitload of junk, though.  BBraun is celebrating the 30th anniversary of Trophamine and had cupcakes at their booth.  Cupcakes.  At a nutrition conference.  It was actually funny to watch the rep (who was really quite nice and very informative about the Pinnacle compounder) try and push cupcakes on people.  At the end of our conversation she said "Take a cupcake, so I don't eat them all!" I just laughed and said "Sorry, sister, they're all yours." 

The only booth-I'll say it again-the only booth not pushing candy was Walgreens home infusion services.  I visited them often.  They had peaches.
Peaches and Posters.

Lunch on Monday was a lunch and learn on PN safety provided by Fresenius Kabi.  It was a boxed lunch.  Sandwiches, potato chips, bean salad, and a blondie.  Rephrased that  reads: Grain, white potatoes, legumes, and refined sugar/flour.  Mother. Fuckers.  I drank bottled water and scrounged up some stuff from my bag.  

Dinner was a fantastic buffet put on by the makers of a newish drug for short bowel syndrome.  The CE presentation was great, and so was the buffet.  Baked chicken, lovely steamed veggies, salad, peel and eat shrimp, and perfect iced tea with coffee afterwards.  I didn't take a picture.  I was at a table full of people who seemed a lot more professional than me.  

Tuesday I went to a diner called Henry's. It was an odd place.  The Asian waitress was having an argument with an older Asian lady at the counter (her mom?) while the Spanish speaking cooks sang along to some horrible Tejano music in the kitchen.  This all conspired to get me a wonderful spinach, tomato, and bacon omelet and a decent cup of coffee.  I didn't take a picture.  Because I forgot.  Again, not super smart.

Tuesday lunch was boring.
I didn't actually eat the ranch.

After 5 days of conferencing I decided to get some air and take some pictures.  I went for a run (in the same running clothes because I don't know any of these people and who cares) and added in a Crossfit component by doing squats every time I came to a square.  I was out for about 45 minutes.  There are a lot of squares in Savannah.  I felt like I must have run through them all.  I got a bowl of tomato basil soup and drank it as I walked back to the hotel.  Once I was back I packed my stuff and polished off the remainder of my raisins and almonds.

This morning I hitched a ride in a cab to the airport with a couple of other attendees, but not before we watched a dude walk back and forth in front of the Hyatt having an animated conversation with himself.  I mean, I talk to myself, but this dude was really going at it.  I guess the upside is you never get lonely.

I left so early I didn't have time for breakfast.  My trip home was a stressriddled, coffee fueled, heartpounding sprint that involved 4 airports and no food.  There just wasn't time.  So when I finally made it back to my house, I snarfed a big "lunch" at around 3pm.
Chorizo stew with TWO eggs.

I was really hungry, so I also made some bacon.
Because, um...bacon.

My trip home reinforced a few things for me:
1. People with huge rolling "carry-ons"?  Can get fucked.  Newflash, dummy, if you can't lift it into the overhead it is not an appropriate carry-on.  When you have to cram your overlarge bag into the bin 6 rows behind you and then expect to be able to retrieve said bag during deplaning, holding all of us up while you struggle with it?  It makes me want to scoop your life force out with a spoon. Except I don't have TIME because MY MOTHERFUCKING CONNECTION IS BOARDING, MOTHERFUCKER!

2. Hey, old dude?  I realize that your beer bellied body habitus means you would like to recline your chair.  Unfortunately for you, I have very long legs.  That chair is not reclining, asshat. Allow me to introduce you to my knees.  And go ahead and looked pissed at me every one of the not less than SIX trips to the bathroom you make, jostling the back of your chair enough to spill the water on my tray table all over the place.  I CANNOT CONTROL THE LENGTH OF MY LEGS.  I paid for this 3 cubic feet of space and I intend to occupy it.

3. I am radioactive when it comes to air travel.  It there is some random stupid thing that can go wrong in an airport?  It's going to happen to me.  Broken jetway?  Check.  Navigation computers won't reboot? Check. Every screaming infant in a 100 mile radius on the flight? Check.  Maybe I should just stay home.

I learned a lot of stuff on this trip, not the least of which is that it is possible to keep your eating relatively clean while living out of a hotel if you do a little planning.  I wasn't perfect, but I didn't expect to be.  I did make better choices (mostly-pizza/beer excluded) than I ordinarily would have, and if whatever I was eating wasn't appealing I didn't eat it just because it was there.  

It was nice to see the smalls again.  It was bath night, so they are all squeaky and seem to be asleep.  I'm looking forward to crawling into my own bed soon.  

It really is good to be home.


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