Sunday, November 12, 2006

The tradeshow travel trial

The Food Allergy Queen once more found herself traveling and having limited food choices. (In preparation for the advent of boring hotel food, I slammed a lot of riceless sushi and other ethnic goodies in before I left LA.)

This time, I was in Dallas to run a booth at a trade show. In case you've never had to work one, basically the whole operation is like working with the have only one choice when purchasing EVERYTHING (like tables and wastebaskets), prices are exorbitant ($55 to rent a chair), and as for food choices you're trapped in a hermetically sealed convention center served by giant generic corporate food vendors. This was not pretty. With the exception of Starbucks (which had caffeine junkies lined up waiting for their hits all hours of the day), there was a miserable range of choices for the FAQ. The offerings were salads (nope), wraps (nope), sandwiches (nope), soup (nope) and some fake Chinese food which ended up not having too much soy in it...

My coworker and I had abysmal $6 hotdogs on the first day ($12 total for the lovely meal you see above with the chips). And because I could not find any other KF choices, I had the exact same miserable hot dog the next day. Ick. The fake Chinese food (served sans rice) saved me from having to do the hot dog torture yet a third day. Lucky for me, John was looking out for me on the first night and took us to a neat Mexican bbq place that served these delish shortribs (pictured above with the decorated plate). We did have one FABULOUS meal at a fine dining seafood restaurant called Truluck's. They're famous for their Florida stone crab, which is super fresh (they have their own farm and it's flown in every 24 hours). NOTE: Truluck's was VERY professional and treated my food allergy requests with respect. When I noted a quick review of my foods to avoid, they did some investigation and made some alternate suggestions (baked potato to sub for the mash, which had garlic in it). I highly recommend it. It was a fancy place, and I was with other folks, so no pic, sorry. [Truluck's, 2401 McKinney Ave, Dallas TX 214.220.2401]

As far as I'm concerned, the South's real contribution to American culture is bbq! I did manage to get some bbq at Sonny Bryant's, which consisted of ribs, brisket, fried okra and fries (beef and potatoes, in disguise) on a paper plate. It was okay at best, but since it was not done with love in someone's backyard with an oil drum smoker/griller, it was only average.

I snuck in another round of bbq at DFW, since again it was the most KF choice available. I was so starving at that point that I again ordered a two-meat combo (it still cracks me up that in the South mac and cheese counts as a veggie side dish) with coleslaw, beans and a side of cobbler. The cashier said, "Dang, you're really hungry!" (translation: "oink, piggy girl!") As an explanation, I told her that I hadn't eaten in six hours and had been dragging 30 lbs of luggage, so I was dying. And it was true.

Anyhow, it's over, I'm home, and I immediately came back and had some tacos from La Playita and riceless sushi from Chaya. Aaaaah. Back in with the rainbow peeps in La La Land once more.


rawdiarist said...

I thought of you this weekend, since you said you are allergic to rice. I finally got around to making "rice" from veggies. I put 1/2 turnip and a couple of cauliflower flowerets in the food processor until they were chopped into tiny pieces that look like rice. I topped this with a stir-fry of purple!!! kale and other veggies. It was so beautiful and actually tasted wonderful even with the strong taste of the turnip and cauliflower. I am going to try steaming my "rice" next time to see what happens then.

Food Allergy Queen said...

Hi rawdiarist! Thanks for thinking of me...I made some lovely "rice pudding" with quinoa this weekend which was actually good enough to serve regular people. I'll make it again so that it's prettier, then post my results with the recipe.

I've made a potato replacement with cauliflower before but not tried to simulate rice. I'm guessing you put the turnip and cauli in the processor raw? Just like pasta, it's the texture that I miss more than anything.Quinoa is pretty close, although it's nutty. So I pretend it's brown rice. :)

rawdiarist said...

Hi FAQ, Ah yes, "real people" who can eat anything - I know them well:-).

I put the cauliflower and turnip in raw because I got the idea from a raw foods cookbook. But the next night, I steamed what I had left over. I actually did not even notice that much difference between the raw and steamed versions.

My body also insists on low carb, so that's why I like using the veggies instead of grains. The result looked so white-ricelike that it was easy for my brain to think my mouth was eating white rice. Same process I guess for you to be able to pretent quinoa is brown rice.

Apparently "rice" can also be made from other hard veggies such as rutabagas, beets, sweet potatoes, etc.