Thursday, August 4, 2011

Spare a Thought for the Traveler in the Food Desert

Posted By on Thu, Aug 4, 2011 at 5:56 AM

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Although I build trips around food, there's a big gap between traveling to a place and eating where you want. On the company's dime, I'm usually near the airport, or an office park, where fun, tucked-away little gems are scarce.

Or else I'm downtown, but not especially near where I want to eat. At a conference earlier this year, I left the hotel really hungry, in search of a restaurant that was supposedly only six blocks away, if the doorman was accurate. I followed his directions as I remembered them, even though the scenery took a not-so-touristy turn toward a payday loan and bus station. I felt like the tourists we see from the Scene offices, rambling by Deja Vu, the fenced-in empty lot, and the tire place, wondering if The Gulch is anywhere near or if they got lost.

I had walked six blocks in the wrong direction, and only passed one restaurant. After backtracking, I went in the other direction, this time passing mostly chain places — and I didn't travel to Austin to eat at a chain place. Still, the hour was growing late, and I had to eat out — the hotel restaurants had all closed.

Finally, a Vietnamese eatery hove into sight — I wouldn't have ever thought I'd be so happy to fall into the arms of a searing plate of beef and vegetables.

Then there was the time in Chicago when we never left the convention, nor the hotel it was in. Surrounded by great food, and all I got was rubber chicken.

It's Vacation Food, Part 3: Tell your story of a time when you were in a foodie place, but had to do without.

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