Saturday, January 29, 2011

Vegan Work Travel

I have a job where I’m on the road almost every week for work – sometimes flying around my territory seeing customers, but often for large corporate meetings or medical meetings that involve business dinners in a banquet room.  My diet always seems to end up as a topic of conversation at the table.  Why?  Because when the waiters come out to the tables with rubbery chicken or overcooked steak for everyone else, they inevitably come out with some colorful array of veggies, beans and whole grains for me, drawing everyone’s eyes to my plate!

Last night, at The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, I had this gorgeous mix of roasted veggies over couscous with a thick, bright orange slab of butternut squash, cooked just perfectly.  The night before I got a veggie tart with perfectly ripe heirloom tomatoes on the side. 

How to make sure you’re served not just a vegan meal, but also a good vegan meal?  The answer is simple:  Call ahead to the hotel (or meeting planner), tell them exactly what you won’t eat as a vegan that they might not be aware of (butter, cream, milk products, etc) and then tell them what you do want.  I often politely ask for a whole grain with beans and/or veggies and not too much oil.  If you don’t want white rice with steamed veggies, tell them that as well!  Many a great conversation has started around the table based on people’s envy over my vegan dinner!  I’ve even had two customers go vegan after reading books that I recommended in those conversations!  

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