I travel internationally quite a bit for work, and, as you can imagine, this has become more stressful as my diet has gotten more restrictive. I go to conferences where typically lunch is included and dinners are social group events. One time, in Luxembourg, I basically starved for a week because there was no food I could eat. At the formal dinner, they actually served me a plate of hot raisins, pickles and cabbage. It was disgusting. And this was after over an hour of waiting for our food. I was so hungry and disappointed that tears came to my eyes. My boss actually took a picture of me and the expression on my face as I gazed at the food they served me.
Anyway, point being, after that I vowed never to travel without securing my own rental car. Typically, we often travel as a delegation but I don’t like being at the mercy at other people for my food. So now I always make sure I have a rental car and I hit the local supermarket as soon as possible when I get in town.
This week I’m at a conference in Portsmouth, UK. I’ve been to the UK twice before but have never driven on the left, and quite honestly, would be quite happy never to have to do so in my lifetime. But not even my fear of driving on the wrong side of the road could overcome my desire not to go hungry. So I drove down from Heathrow, and after many inadvertent circles around round-abouts, made it to the Marriott Portsmouth.
The Marriott was nice enough to put a good-sized mini-fridge in my room, no questions asked (unlike the Westin Casuarina, which was not nearly so accommodating) but I have no microwave, hot plate or other warming implements, so it seems I will be going mostly raw this week. I only hoped they had a decent grocery store around to buy some fresh produce.
It turns out that there is a giant Tesco three blocks away. Oh well, guess I didn’t really need the car, but at least I didn’t have to drag my grocery bags back to the hotel by hand.
Tesco is amazing. I never know what to expect with grocery stores that are not Whole Foods, but Tesco absolutely exceeds any expectations I had. They had lots of organic food.. I got tomatoes, red peppers, baby lettuces, avocados, onions, cucumbers, broccoli, cherries… yum! They also had lots of yummy add-ons for salads: basil-infused olive oil, olives, capers, sundried tomatoes. They even had fantastic things that are hard to find in the US: non-dairy fake parmesan cheese (which I have never been able to find in LA), bottles of lime juice, jars of sliced lemon in lemon juice, capers in brine, not vinegar, marinated olives with no lactose. They also had a fantastic gluten-free section.. brownies and crumpets and cereal. It made me drool, but now that I’m back on the more-restrictive diet, I had to resist. (I know, I know, I still bought cherries, but a girl has to have some sweetness in her life. I promise this will be my last fruit for a while.)
Tesco gets a strong 5/5 happy monkeys from this international traveler.