hotel vegan

so, we’ve been getting some of our meals at the hotel as part of the super-spendy conference fee… basically last night’s dinner, and today’s lunch and dinner, plus there was a continental breakfast this morning. i was told that there would be vegan food for me, but i wasn’t sure exactly how to go about getting it. last night i just told a random server, and he hustled up a dish for me: pasta with roasted vegetables. it wasn’t a huge portion by any means, but it was okay. i also got a salad (the same as everyone else), but there were teensy tiny bits of cheese dusted on top. i did my best to eat around those and abandoned the cause when it got too difficult. when dessert came around (some kind of custard tart), the server offered to bring me a bowl of fruit, so i went with that.

this morning there was a buffet-type continental breakfast. unfortunately i arrived after all of the bagels had been taken, so i again had a little bit of fruit, and skipped the mountain of pastries. eventually i walked to a coffeeshop and ordered a giant chai and a toasted bagel with peanut butter. i also spilled my gigantic chai EVERYWHERE (except, blessedly, my dress) but i’ll just let that story pass us by for now.

at lunch today, there was a buffet. they offered a pasta salad (which looked suspiciously exactly like what i’d eaten for dinner the night before), and then a whole boatload of not-vegan things: potato salad, three or four types of wraps filled with meat, and piles of dessert. i had a small serving of pasta salad and wondered who to ask about more food. i felt a little self-conscious, but my friends have actually been adorable about helping me out. one of them marched over to someone and informed them that a pasta salad was not enough for me to eat for lunch, and they told her they’d bring me something right away. eventually a dude showed up with a tray full of wraps, and he lowered one onto my plate. extremely skeptical, i said, “and what do we have here?” and he said, “it’s turkey!” and i was like, “WTF?” well, apparently they were bringing me the special gluten-free meal (the turkey was wrapped in lettuce). sigh. i was all, “i’m vegan,” and a couple of my friends said it at the same time (heh), and he said, “oh my god, let me get that off your plate!” and then he scurried away.

a long long long time (and a couple of apologies) later, they brought me a wrap of my own, with cucumbers, lettuce, and red onions, along with a substantial amount of italian dressing. the italian dressing had a smoky flavor that i generally associate with bacon bits. i prayed they were just imitation bacon bits and ate it. i also got a bowl of fruit.

tonight at dinner we were served these creamy-looking pasta dishes with cheese over the top. the server plopped one in front of me before i could even tell her i was vegan, but when i did tell her she grabbed it away again and disappeared. forever. eventually she came back with a plain little pile of greens, three cherry tomatoes, and three raisins. oh, and a GRAVY BOAT full of ranch dressing! i mean seriously, a tiny tiny salad and a gravy boat full of (non-vegan) ranch dressing. oy. at this point, everyone at the table thought that they were eating their entree (the pasta dish was pretty substantial), and that my “entree” was this infant salad. my friend em jokingly offered me a second roll to bulk up, which i accepted, and then we made various jokes about the non-vegan things they’d probably bring me to spread on it–my joke contribution was, “and then some bacon to slather on top!” well, never fear, a little while later they started bringing out more food for everyone. they plopped down a plate in front of em that was, i kid you not, a chicken breast wrapped in bacon. i didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

our server proudly took the lid off of my “special” meal, put it down in front of me, and said with confusion in her voice, “this looks the same…?” while at that exact moment my friends on either side blurted, “she’s VEGAN!” apparently, once again, they had given me the gluten-free meal. she whisked the bacon chicken out from under my face, and disappeared again. when she returned, i had something much more appetizing: a roasted yellow pepper stuffed with wild rice and tiny chopped veggies, with a side of steamed green beans. whew!

dessert tonight was a “chocoholic buffet,” but i didn’t even bother getting in line, because i was pretty sure there was nothing vegan about it. so now i’m in my hotel room at midnight, eating oreos. glamorous! 

all in all, they’re being very nice to me, but holy pile of blunders, batman.

tomorrow i think i won’t even bother with the continental breakfast–it starts SO early and i have had way too many nights in a row of crappy sleep. we’re on our own for both lunch and dinner tomorrow, so here’s hoping i find some awesomeness. we’re planning to try AS220 for dinner, so i’m super-psyched about vegan mexican. yum!
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