Gratefully, I have not traveled as much as I used to. Despite not leaving the state at the clip I used to, I still find myself living as a traveler much of the time. What does that mean?
It means that if you’re a communications professional, no matter where you find yourself in your career – whether you’re a VP or an administrative assistant – you end up worrying about food as part of your job more than you probably ever figured you would. Meetings, trainings, call-ups, touchbases, after actions, and/or whatever other dumb corporate-speak code for “let’s get together and waste a bunch of the company’s money” event you’re dealing with, you probably have to consider food options and fret over them.
Since the above description pertains to me, I’ve gained some oddly specific insights into food I would have never expected. Here are a few:
Some of the best bacon you will ever eat is at the Sheraton Hotel.
When it comes to hotel catering, you know I’m not one for superlatives. Nor, generally, am I one even to say one nice thing about hotel catering at all. In general, I hate hotel catering. HATE.
Yet the bacon at the Sheraton probably ranks among my favorite foods on the entire planet. Why is this? It’s crispy (but not too crispy), not greasy, not terribly fatty, delightfully smoky and salty, and so addictive it makes me understand how people end up injecting black tar heroin into their eyeballs. Kristin told me a story of how she used to live near a Wing Stop (she thinks it was a Wing Stop, anyway) that had a fridge filled with pints of ranch dressing. On that fridge read a sign: “Ranch dressing contains MSG.”
It would not shock me if the big chafing dish of bacon at the Sheraton had a similar sign. Nor would it dissuade me from using a shoehorn to shove that bacon in my face.
If you’re getting catered lunch, order salads from Corner Bakery.
I have yet to have a bad salad from Corner Bakery. Every single salad from here makes you forget you’re spending an otherwise gorgeous day locked in some shithole conference room with co-workers with whom you otherwise pretend to read your phone when you see them on the elevator. The real gem (and a MANLY choice too), is the Spinach Sweet Crisp Salad. Tell me the idea of “raisin pecan sweet crisps and homemade pomegranate vinaigrette” doesn’t speak to you. No? Shut up.
Lunch is typically a break in whatever boring agenda you’re grinding through – it’s nice to enjoy it for a change instead of grimly chomping through some mediocre sandwich with too much mayo, not enough marginal deli meat, and bread that more closely resembles the inside of a futon. Go for the fresh and creative salad.
Executives have the most boring taste on earth.
When you are singularly focused enough to become a corporate officer of some multi-billion dollar corporation, you probably don’t have a lot of outside interests. So you do what every other boring, white executive does and buy a fancy exotic car and a couple of golf shirts from whatever exclusive PGA stop your other boring, white executive friends like. And then you have dinner at the Capital Grille for a nice ribeye and a glass of Cabernet for the 994th time in a row.
If I ever became a CEO (which I have neither the interest in, nor the skillset to pursue), I’m amused by the idea of having all my sycophants trying to figure out where to have dinner and me suggesting, “It’s fish taco and IPA day!” or “It’s sushi time. WHO HAS BITCHMOUTH?” Everyone would go and talk about how great it is, but deep down I’d know they’re kissing my ass and just wished they could go home to their families instead of this unfulfilling life of endless meetings and boot polishing that accompanies the ceaseless desire for financial security that seems ever out of reach.
This is not a trifle of your average executive. You’re having dinner at the Capital Grille pretty much no matter what. Admittedly, this is fun for awhile, but soon you’re like, guhhhh…steak. Maybe this will expedite my heart disease so I can die and not have to be on tomorrow’s conference call.
And now some random blasts:
* Drinking on airplanes on vacation = fun. Drinking on airplanes for business = sad.
* Subway is almost always your least worst option for food in a pinch.
* I rolled the dice a few trips ago on airport sushi. I do not recommend it!
* A decent strategy for finding good food in a new town, believe it or not, is to type in “craft beer” into Yelp. Chances are better than average that the restaurants that use this tag don’t suck.
*Also amazing at Corner Bakery… the granola in their breakfast catering. I could eat this by the snowshovelful.
* Avoid sweets from catering trays. You’ll just regret it later, and really, the stuff on the tray ain’t that good.
* ESPN Classic is the best network to work out to.
* I know that’s not food-related, but it doesn’t make it any less true.
* More hotels are carrying Greek yogurt in the morning. I approve.
* When all else fails, just go to Buffalo Wild Wings and drink a big beer and eat a few wings. This day too will pass.
And when there’s no Buffalo Wild Wings, take a shower, fuck with the shower settings, and sleep.
And when you wake up… hope you booked a Sheraton, so you can get a big plate of bacon for breakfast.