Road Trip Eats: 7 Great Websites and Apps
Some folks just eat to live, but many of us live to eat—and being on the road makes this both a challenge and an adventure. The huge number of apps and advice websites out there can mean that you spend too much time wading through and eliminating sites that are inefficient, unreliable or just plain marketing ploys. Below are seven of our top picks to help you spend less time struggling and more time savoring.
For not only great food but also out-and-out fun in the search, the award has to go to Urbanspoon with their website, phone apps (for iPhone, Blackberry and Android) and the new iPad app. Between the truly extensive listings (more than 800,000 all over the country), GPS and augmented reality feature and easy-to-use filters, you can find just about any type of food, cost range, atmosphere and location that you want. Can’t decide? Use the shake feature with phone or the “spin” feature on the iPad to let it choose for you (which is great when you’re part of an indecisive group!).
Local Blue Plate (and Other) Specials
Want to move beyond the tourist role? Easy-to-use LocalEats (for iPad, iPhone, iTouch, Blackberry, Android and website) tells you where the locals dine, with no chains covered and no commercially funded listings. Instead, listings are drawn from “opinions of critics and local media, trusted friends, site visitors and bloggers,” and they include menus, reviews and directions, plus dining coupons.
Another great source of local recommendations is Foodspotting. Most websites and apps include pictures, but Foodspotting is all about diners’ own opinions of dishes that are to die for. Just enter the city or region you’re in and get pages of photos that you can filter by date, type of food or even the person that is posting. Find a dish that really has you drooling, and you can search out other photos from the same restaurant. And the true road warrior will want to check out RoadFood.com’s restaurant reviews, recipes and “eating tours” guides to “the most memorable local eateries along the highways and back roads of America.”
Get More for Your Money
While Groupon, Foursquare and other deal-finding sites do include restaurants, the brand new (June 2011) app BiteHunter (for iPhone, iPad and iTouch) provides a focused, real time search mechanism for the best dining deals and specials in your target areas. This free app includes filters by food type, price and other factors.
Getting Dibs on a Table
What good does it do to decide where you want to eat and then find no tables are available? While several sites and apps offer some booking features, the best by far is OpenTable (for iPhone, Blackberry, mobile Web and free), though we have to note that its primary focus is larger cities. The app will also search out nearby dining spots and link you to menus.
Do-It-Yourself Food Adventures
Many of us foodies want to get in there and do-it-ourselves now and then, even on vacation. So if you’re staying in a place with a full kitchen, you’ll want to have access to the website Epicurious.com or their free app for great ideas. It includes shopping lists, recipes and full menus from such foodie favorites as Gourmet Magazine, so you can whip up dishes from regional delicacies that you’ve picked up from the local farmers market. Speaking of which, many areas have web pages or even apps for locating such markets (e.g., California Farmer's Market Finder), so be sure to add those to your explorations.
Home-Cooked Meals in Your Hotel
It's common to dine out while away from home. But after a week or longer on an extended road trip, the local diners, pubs and even gourmet restaurants can become tiresome and impractical. You reach for the pizza delivery card, and your digestive system cries enough! Or the kids move into outright rebellion at yet another restaurant with weird food. Or continuous eating out just gets too expensive. That’s when it is time to eat in—with real, home-cooked food.
Of course, you can’t enjoy your favorite home-cooked meals without an actual kitchen in which to prepare them. Thankfully, the spacious rooms at Extended Stay Hotels feature well-equipped kitchens, complete with stovetops, full refrigerators with freezers, pans, cooking utensils and dishes. What’s more, many Extended Stay Hotels are conveniently located near grocery stores, so picking up the necessary ingredients won’t be a major chore. Below are some tips for serving up affordable, home-cooked meals in your own hotel room.
First, bring along your favorite recipes. But try to make things easy on yourself by selecting meals that will be relatively simple to prepare. Choose recipes for which the fresh ingredients are mostly generic and thus widely available. Hamburger is pretty similar in most places, but the napoles you always include in your chili at home in Phoenix may not be stocked in Indiana grocery stores. Additionally, choose recipes with minimal ingredients. After all, if you’re on vacation, you don’t want to spend hours slaving over a hot stove—even if the stove is in the nicest hotel suite! And after a long day at a conference, the idea is to quickly put together a meal that is as relaxing as it is comforting.
Two good resources for recipes that are ideal for preparation in a hotel room are the 4 Ingredients app for iPhone and the 5 Ingredient 15 Minute Cookbook by Cooking Light magazine. You can print and take the recipes or just email them to yourself and access each recipe through your laptop or smart phone when it’s time to whip up a feast.
Once you know what you’ll prepare, pack certain ingredients instead of waiting until you arrive at your destination to buy them. Bring a box of your favorite dried pasta or rice mixture, and buy the perishable items when you reach your destination. Your one-dish meal can include what you usually use at home (chicken, hamburger, tofu) or can be tailored to take advantage of local specialties (Portland’s smoked salmon, fresh bay scallops in Boston, bison in Minneapolis).
Additionally, you should pack your own commonly-used spices. Instead of lugging around a bunch of glass seasonings bottles, put just a tablespoon or so of each seasoning you commonly use into a stacking pill container. Also, if you will be cooking sauces or gravy, bring the dry ingredients (already mixed) with you in zipper locked plastic bags or their original packets.
The thought that one could ever tire of trying out new restaurants might seem unfathomable to some. Yet for frequent business travelers, those on long road trips and families with young kids, hotel-home-cooked meals are just the cure to restaurant overload.
Food Packing Tips
All over the Internet you can find advice articles on eating more healthily while traveling, particularly during air travel. But while what to eat and pack is pretty well covered, advice on how to pack and eat is harder to come by. So here are some tips for coping with the major obstacles and minor irritants related to carrying food on the go.
Helping your food travel better
What containers you choose makes a huge difference. When using plastic storage bags, opt for the heavy-duty freezer bags with actual zippers. They are far sturdier and, even more important for all those times you’re juggling a bunch of things, far easier to open, close, and burp (squeeze out the extra air). We suggest always double-bagging, even for dry food. That way you’re almost guaranteed to still have functional plastic bags for your return trip. But sometimes, plastic bags are not the best choice. How many times have you dumped that nice, healthy banana you brought because it’s gotten too bruised? BPA-free plastic containers protect vulnerable fruit like apples and bananas.
Another key issue with bringing food along is keeping it cold. Ebags carries over 200 insulated bags, most in the $15-$50 range, both soft and hard-sided. TSA regulations do prohibit ice pouches (unless frozen totally solid), but what you can do is make your own inexpensive, disposable ice pouches to keep in place until the minute you go through the security checkpoint. And, of course, if you are road-tripping, you’ll be able to re-use them throughout your trip if you stay at hotels that have refrigerators with actual freezers. Make disposable ice pouches by filling a freezer bag ¾ full with liquid dish soap (or with 3 parts water, 1 part rubbing alcohol). Burp out air before closing, double-bag and freeze. Voila!
With the food itself, be sure to avoid bringing things that spoil more rapidly. If you’re bringing sandwiches, consider peanut butter, cheeses and smoked meats that keep longer. Instead of adding condiments, which can easily spoil and also make a sandwich soggy, carry along some of those small packets you get at fast-food restaurants. And consider choosing bagels or other dense, chewy bread that freezes well. Slice and freeze the bread the night before, then make your sandwich on the frozen bread, which will serve as an ice pack (though it thaws much more quickly).
Making your on-the-road food more palatable
Dry seasonings like a flavorful salt substitute (ie: Mrs. Dash’s Caribbean Citrus blend) can help even that iceberg lettuce salad you grabbed on the way to your gate. And let’s face it, airline coffee tends to leave something (or a lot of somethings) to be desired. But by bringing along a small bottle of cinnamon, flavored creamer or just vanilla extract (be sure to place this bottle in your quart zip bag for going through security) you can make that mediocre cup of joe a bit tastier.
Easing the eating process
How often have you broken one of those thin plastic knives trying to spread your cream cheese or peanut butter? Invest in a box of heavy-duty plastic cutlery, tuck a few in your bag (it’s TSA acceptable for carryon), and no more cursing. To ensure you don’t arrive at your destination looking like you’ve not yet mastered the art of feeding yourself, take a damp microfiber washcloth (in a plastic bag) to mop up dribbles on your tie without leaving behind the white flakes you get with paper towels and babywipes. And last but not least, carry a few floss picks. After all, who wants to realize at the end of the day that they’ve been greeting clients and colleagues with a shred of romaine trailing across two front teeth?
Barbecue: What, How and Where
Although the word is perhaps most frequently used as an adjective (“barbecued chicken”) or a verb (“He fired up the grill and barbecued some steaks”), among those in the know, “barbecue” is first and foremost a noun, as in “Let’s go get some barbecue!”
As Claire Suddath notes in her Time Magazine article “A Brief History of Barbecue” (yes, barbecue has its own historians), “The real thing is cooked over indirect heat—usually a wood fire—for a really long time (sometimes for as many as 18 hours). The resulting flavor is a combination of smoke, meat juices, fat and whatever spices or rub have been added.” In this process, barbecue efficiently processes large amounts of meat (e.g., pit-cooking a whole hog, or a “pig pickin’” to Carolinians) and makes the less expensive cuts of meat tender, which historically made barbecue a natural for feeding families and big groups with minimal expense and effort.
One of the things that makes barbecue a great focus for travelers is the regional variation in cooking styles and in meat preference, with distinct differences even within a single state’s traditional cuisine. Most Americans think of barbecue marinade and sauce being red with a tomato base. However, traditional northeastern North Carolina’s whole hog barbecue contains no tomato at all, but is clear and vinegar-based, while the Piedmont region includes tomato with the vinegar. And in South Carolina’s Midlands area, you’ll find pork shoulder and ribs traditionally smoked over pecan wood with mustard-based “Carolina Gold” sauce.
Move further around the country, and you’ll find distinct traditional styles associated with Texas, Kansas City and Memphis—and we’re not even counting the further variations that have developed over the past fifty years. The good news for travelers is that given the nomadic character of Americans, these various barbecue styles have been carried all over the country. So barbecue fans can count not only on finding “real” Texas pit-barbecue brisket in Southern California or Chicago but also on finding exciting new takes on barbecue just about anywhere they travel.
And don’t worry—we won’t leave you hanging without recommendations, though selecting among the thousands of highly touted barbecue spots across the country is tough. But here are just a few that consistently get rave reviews: In Kansas City, it’s Oklahoma Joe’s, which according to Vanity Fair (August 2010) serves one of the best barbecues in the country.
Along what’s called the Texas Barbecue Trail, Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor (about an hour out of Austin) has gotten enthusiastic reviews from customers for decades and was featured by the Food Network. Similarly, Memphis’ Bar-B-Q Shop has been serving their award-winning “Dancing Pigs” sauce with pit-cooked barbecue to customers for over 50 years.
Most classic barbecue joints give very generous portions, so it’s wise to check with your server to see about sharing an order with a friend. Better yet, if you’re staying in a hotel with a real kitchen, order away. Barbecue is definitely one of those even-better-the-next-day foods. You can best preserve the meat’s flavor and texture when you slowly re-warm it on a stove or in an oven, rather than just nuke it in a microwave.
One last note: If this has inspired you to engage in some serious comparison tasting, you may want to consider taking in one of the over 500 (!) competitive barbecue events held all across the U.S. throughout the year.
Healthy Eating in the Airport, in the Air
Eating organic and natural foods has never been easier than it is today. It seems that almost every supermarket and many restaurants have organic options for the health-conscious consumer. The benefits of eating organically are obvious: the food is fresher (it must be, since it has no preservatives), better for you because it is 100% free of chemical fertilizers, hormones, and pesticides and better for the planet. Perhaps the most subjective benefit of all is better taste. Of course there are always the naysayers who question if there really is a difference, who believe that only marginal health benefits of natural and organic foods exist and perhaps even go so far as to think that the whole thing is a marketing scheme. The vast majority of nutritionists, executive chefs, doctors and even the federal government, however, would disagree with them.
Many people have caught the natural and organic food bug, and the market is now responding to the demand in new ways. For travelers who don’t have time to pack their own food but still want to eat healthily, here is a handy list of the best airlines and airport restaurants that serve up all things wholesome.
As much as critics decry an airline’s stinginess in not serving free meals on most flights anymore, it is also true that passengers have many more options if they’re willing to spend the extra money.
- United Airlines has started serving organic snacks to tide you over on the shorter flights. Additionally, United offers salads and sandwiches that, while not organic, are still nutritious and satisfying.
- Virgin America has long been recognized as one of the best in airline food. The options sound great on paper, but it’s really the taste and quality of the food that counts. You might not be getting total organic with Virgin, but you can be sure it’s a cut above the rest of the domestic airlines when it comes to healthiness.
Once you touch down, assuming you still have room under your belt, here are a few of the best healthy and organic options at major U.S. airports.
- Todd English’s Bonfire at JFK and Boston Logan airports. The cuisine has an international flair, and the chefs use extremely fresh and often organic ingredients.
- San Francisco Soup Company at SFO. Offering several soups made with organic ingredients and served up with fresh baked San Francisco sourdough bread, this is Road Warrior’s favorite quick meal at SFO. We recommend the organic savory lentil with Andouillie chicken sausage.
- French Meadow at Minneapolis/St. Paul airport. One of Minneapolis’s favorite healthy eateries has an expansive selection of organic vegan and vegetarian meals in addition to their award-winning baked goods.
- Organic To Go Kiosks at LAX and San Diego International. Now you can get on-the-go high quality meals from these easy kiosk venders. Expect to pay a little extra, but remember, you can’t put a price on your health.
If you’re the type of person who longs for a home-cooked meal prepared just the way you like it, you can always check into a well-equipped studio suite at your favorite Extended Stay Hotels location. There you can have control over what you eat by taking advantage of the full refrigerator with freezer, stovetop, and microwave oven.
West Coast Pizza
Pizza has definitely become a staple of the American diet. With 93% of Americans eating at least one pizza per month, it’s no wonder that pizza has become a $30 billion per year industry. From the take-out only pizza chain to the more formal Italian restaurant, local pizzerias really highlight a town. Whether you’re traveling to Los Angeles or San Francisco or anywhere in between, the following local West Coast spots will serve your taste buds right.
If you’re a fan of deep dish, Chicago pizza, Masa of Echo Park should be your first stop. Located on West Sunset Boulevard, the owners (formers Chicagoans) have your deep-dish cravings at heart. This casual, café style atmosphere has a cool vibe. Food critics and Yelpers alike agree that the 2” deep cornmeal crust pizza is an excellent treat. Just remember that true Chicago-style takes time. Be prepared to wait about 45 minutes for your piping hot pie.
Pizza Salad in Thousand Oaks offers healthy choices comprised of USDA certified organic ingredients. If dietary restrictions have kept you away from the pizza craze, check out Pizza Salad. They offer pizza selections for those who require gluten-free, dairy free and/or vegan options. Pizza Salad doesn’t sacrifice taste when it comes to their healthy menu, and its unique fare gets top-notch reviews.
Abbot's Pizza Company located in Venice, is home of the unique bagel crust pizza. With six different bagel crust flavors to choose from (onion, sesame, the blend, and more), and a variety of creative pizza choices by the pie or by the slice, it is well worth the trip. If you’re looking for a nice, relaxing sit-down meal, keep in mind that the restaurant is small. Locals recommend calling ahead and taking out.
If you find yourself in downtown Sac and want a unique and authentic Italian experience, Zelda's Gourmet Pizza should be on your list of eateries to hit. Voted “best pizza” from the Sacramento News and Review, Zelda’s serves classic Chicago style, in-the-pan pizza. With an, “order ahead, sit down and be grateful” attitude, customers adore Zelda’s as much for the pizza, as they do for its character.
Chicago Fire, located on J Street, is well known for its “special sauce” and serves thin crust, deep dish and stuffed pizza. With an upscale causal environment and a nice selection of wines by the glass, Chicago Fire has become a local favorite.
New York style pizza lovers won’t want to miss Giovanni's Pizzeria. With three Sacramento locations, Giovanni’s Pizzeria serves real, old world New York style pizza with tons of toppings, homemade sauce and perfectly thin crusts.
San Francisco Bay Area
The perfect piece of pizza in the San Francisco Bay Area is quite possibly at Zachary's. With over 100 Best Pizza Awards, hitting up Zachary’s should definitely be on your to-do list. Zachary’s offers Chicago-style stuffed pizza and a traditional thin crust pizza, both with made-from-scratch dough. To add to the atmosphere, Zachary’s decorates their walls with one-of-a-kind art works created by their customers. With locations in Oakland, Berkeley and San Ramon, a trip to Zachary’s will be well worth your while.
Your best bet for a full-service, formal restaurant is A16. With a 350-bottle wine list and Meatball Mondays, A16 has earned quite a reputation. Its menu is diverse, and the pizzas are consistently a hit. From the classic Margherita to something more unique, like Funghi (roasted mushrooms, smoked mozzarella, grana, garlic, oregano and wild arugula), you should be able to find a pizza that’s perfect for you. And, if you’ve got a late-night hunger, A16 serves dinner until 11PM!
If all of this talk has you craving a warm pizza pie, keep in mind that one of the best things about pizza is that it can be ordered ahead and enjoyed whenever you’re ready. As Kevin James once said, “There’s no better feeling in the world than a warm pizza box on your lap.” So you could even stay in your sweats, call ahead, sit back and relax, and enjoy the tangy sauce, melted mozzarella and perfectly cooked crust from the comfort of your own hotel room!
 Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Wisconsin Dairy Producers, Madison, WI 2010
Staying Well During Travel
Few things will put more fear in the heart of a road warrior than a suspicious sneeze, a persistent cough or a nagging sore throat. Getting sick while traveling is one of those things best avoided at almost all cost.
A major contributor to travel colds is the time we spend on airplanes. Interestingly, the issue isn’t necessarily air recirculation but low cabin humidity, according to a study in the Journal of Environmental Health Research.
After all, if your nose and throat are too dry to trap germs before they get into your body, you are at increased risk of getting sick. Everything you touch while traveling, from the handrail in the airport to the armrest on your seat carries the germs of the travelers that went before you. Ignoring these facts alone will have the unwitting traveler down in no time.
To stay well you must remain hydrated. Don’t rely on the flight attendant to bring you water. Pack an empty water bottle in your tote bag and fill it after you have passed through security. Don’t drink all at once. To most fully absorb the water, take small sips very often. Avoid drinks like coffee, sodas with caffeine and alcoholic beverages. These will actually dehydrate your further.
You will get even more benefit from drinking a warm beverage. Just not coffee. Consider packing some Crystal Light or Tang powder. Your flight attendant will gladly provide a cup of hot water. But don’t stop there. Your nose is under attack by the dry cabin air. This can be resolved for less than $10 and a trip to the corner drug store. A saline nasal spray may be all your nose needs to stay clear and healthy.
Here’s another alert - keep your hands clean. You touch a counter or a handrail, then put a piece of gum or candy in your mouth. You could be your own worst enemy. But no traveler can be constantly running to the restroom to wash his or her hands. Carry a small, remember the 3-ounce rule at security, alcohol-based hand sanitizer. The Center for Disease Control recommends that you use products with at least 60% ethanol or isopropyl alcohol.
Most experienced travelers have their own special items taken to prevent the onset of a cold. Some travelers rely on immune system boosters, like Airborne. Vitamin C and E are also favorite items to help the immune system, as is the mineral zinc. For more information on these and other vitamins, read this Family Nutrition article.
If the worst happens and you still get sick, be grateful that you are staying with Extended Stay Hotels. The well-equipped kitchen provided at all Extended Stay Hotels means that you have a full-sized refrigerator for juices and healthy foods, plus you don’t have to go out for meals.
Three Keys to Healthy Travel
A while back, Forbes Magazine ran an article that shocked me. According to a study by the American Fitness Index, or AFI, the healthiest city in America is Washington, D.C. Why, one might wonder, with all its stress, long hours and dining out, would Washington rank as the healthiest city? The reasons for the AFI ranking can actually be a guide for road warriors interested in maintaining good health while they travel.
After eliminating inherited risk contributors, there were three basic health factors in the AFI study that attributed to a city’s rank. These are diet, exercise and recreation. It is exactly these factors that are the primary challenges faced by many road warriors who spend days or weeks traveling for business each month.
The AFI study sited two specific aspects of how food is important. First was the frequency with which we eat five or more daily servings of fresh fruits and vegetables. The second item was the availability of farmers markets in the region.
Consuming the appropriate amount of fruits and vegetables at the appropriate frequency is tough enough while you’re at home, but even harder when you are traveling on business. Although we might be able to get the prescribed volume of fruit and vegetables eating in restaurants, it is highly unlikely we would get the nutritional value of fresh produce found at a local farmers market. As the predominant US hotel chain offering full kitchen amenities in its guest rooms, Extended Stay Hotels provides the best environment for those who are trying to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables into their daily meals. You can stock up on the good stuff, thanks to our full refrigerators, and prepare delicious meals to your taste in your room, either on the stovetop or, in several locations, in the oven.
As for the farmers markets, fear not. The Internet has once again come to our rescue. Local Harvest is a website that makes finding a farmers market or organic food outlet very simple. From the Home page, click “Farmers’ Markets” or “Grocery/Co-op,” insert the zip code of your hotel and view local options.
Exercise was the study’s second major factor. Specifically, bicycling and swimming are suggested as ideal physical activities. Often times, bicycle shops rent bikes, and many communities have accessible riding trails. The Great Bicycle Trails website has good information on trails in various locations.
As for swimming, many Extended Stay Hotels locations have swimming pools inside or outside the hotel. Still other Extended Stay Hotels have fitness centers or are near local gyms.
Road Warrior believes that a happy traveler is a healthy traveler, which brings us to the final key to staying healthy - recreation. Add to the value of your exercise by doing something you enjoy. For many people that means golf. Most sizeable metro areas have multiple public courses, many offering rental equipment. Pack your shoes, a glove and a few golf balls, and then use Golflink.com to find the perfect local course.
Everyone has his or her own favorite recreation. Extended Stay Hotels wants to help you locate the right hotel near your favorite activity. Visit this page to find a hotel near your favorite leisure destination.
Road Warrior hopes you will be a happy and healthy traveler as you move around the country on business or for fun.
Some of us eat to live, others live to eat. Some of us in the latter group regard mealtime as an opportunity for adventure and entertainment. Finding the right unique dining experience for your taste can be a challenge, so Road Warrior has a few suggestions.
One type of unusual restaurant is where the service staff is actually your evening’s entertainment. Dinner theater is the classic version of this gastronomic genre, and Tommy Gun’s Garagein Chicago takes you back to the roaring 20s, complete with flappers, gangsters and maybe even a raid by the police. For a more traditional dinner theater experience, take in a singing performance at The Victor Café in Philadelphia, where opera is performed seven nights a week by one of the most talented groups of waiters and waitresses around.
Travelers with a good sense of humor and a hankering for fun frequent Dick’s Last Resort, found in Dallas, San Antonio, Chicago, Boston, Myrtle Beach, San Diego and Las Vegas. This place is self-described as “an imperfect place in a perfect world.” Be prepared, because your burger or chicken sandwich is sure to be accompanied by insults and hilarity.
If you have an interest in antique aircraft and are in the Colorado Springs area, visit Solo’s Restaurant. This fully intact Boeing KC-97 air tanker is actually part of the restaurant. For the complete experience, be sure you ask to be seated in the plane portion of the restaurant.
If you think dining inside an aircraft tanker is a unique experience, think again. How about dining in total darkness? This experience, offered by Opaque, can be found in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. You order your dinner in a lighted area and proceed to a dining room in complete darkness. In case you were wondering, the waitstaff are actually blind or visually impaired. This is truly a unique experience, but at around $100 per person, it is not for everyone.
At the opposite end of the price curve from Opaque are the “pay what you wish” restaurants. Originally opened as a way of feeding the less fortunate, restaurants like SAME Café in Denver and One World Everybody Eats in Salt Lake City offer a variety of meals, mostly made with organic ingredients. Guests are asked to pay what they believe the meal was worth and what they can afford.
Dining out is a great treat for Road Warriors, but most of us have neither the time nor the budget to support several restaurant meals. That’s why Extended Stay Hotels provides well-equipped kitchens, including full refrigerators, range tops, and microwaves. Enjoy the comfort and convenience of a spacious Extended Stay Hotels studio suite at any of our nearly 700 locations across the U.S. and in Canada.
Eat, Drink and Be Healthy
Eating healthy food while traveling is one of the biggest challenges many road warriors face. It is just too easy to grab a doughnut for breakfast or succumb to the draw of the steak house down the road. So what is a health-conscious traveler to do?
Stay at one of the nearly 700 Extended Stay Hotels locations and enjoy the convenience of a kitchen in every room. No one should feel ill at ease in a kitchen, so here are some ideas for easy and mostly healthy alternatives to fast food and over-sized dinners.
Breakfast items should include cereal, milk, fresh fruit, a small egg substitute, bagels or English muffins and fruit jam. For dinners, buy a small package of chicken breasts, olive oil, a small jar of pasta sauce, Italian cheese, pasta, and a firm white fish filet, like tilapia. Some fresh vegetables to steam are also a good idea. From home, bring a little flour, bread crumbs and coffee.
The breakfast items are pretty straightforward, but some actually do double duty. For example, your breakfast bagel or muffin, once toasted and topped with pasta sauce and cheese, is a great snack or light dinner. Buy some vanilla ice cream and use some of the fresh fruit and breakfast fruit jam as a topping to create a yummy sundae.
Dinners can be a little more complicated but are well worth it. Your fish or chicken can be lightly floured and pan fried in olive oil. If you prefer a crust, drag the meat in flour and egg substitute followed by bread crumbs. This, plus a nice steamed vegetable courtesy of your microwave, has you eating a delicious and healthy meal.
Top leftover chicken with pasta sauce and grated cheese, add a side of pasta or vegetables, and you have another healthy dinner with almost no work. For delicious, but slightly more time-intensive chicken and pasta dinners, visit About.com for suggestions. Road Warrior is especially fond of the Chicken Stir-Fried Ramen and the Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomatoes.
Sometimes you want a light dinner that won’t put you to sleep. A garden omelet and salad might be just the thing. You already have the egg substitute, so just bring a small bag of herbs from home and pick up your favorite salad items on your way back to your room.
After your big day, whether sightseeing or working, don’t feel like you have to head out to a restaurant for dinner. Stay with Extended Stay Hotels and whip up a great meal in the comfort of your very own room.