Posted by: Antonia Ciccolo | July 16, 2010

Ask Everyone, Trust No One

Just because a server says it’s vegan, is it always vegan? This week I found out that the answer to that question is definitely NO. I was actually impressed with the in-room dining menu at the Hilton Americas in Houston, especially because the vegan options at the Holiday Inn and Sofitel in Philadelphia were pretty slim pickings. Not only did the Hilton Americas have salads that could be made vegan, they also had a vegetable wrap entrée (with cheese and aioli, but I asked for it without of course) and some grilled asparagus and broccoli in the list of sides. I was thrilled to see the veggie wrap on the menu, especially since I’ll be spending many more nights at this hotel.

When my meal arrived the room service attendant reiterated my request, “Vegetable wrap without cheese or aioli and grilled asparagus and broccoli without butter.” And as he lifted the plate cover to reveal the vegan hotel food, I was confused. Why did the grilled asparagus and broccoli look so greasy? I thanked the room service attendant, saw him out, and then went back to the meal to inspect. I couldn’t believe that even though I had asked for the broccoli and asparagus without butter, the veggies were still coated in what looked and smelled to be butter. Thankfully I could leave the veggies aside and still have the vegetable wrap, which was very plain but filled me up nonetheless.

I decided not to say anything about my failed request, but I now know that even when you ask for food prepared a certain way, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you will get what you ask for. And as a traveling vegan, you have to pay particular attention to this. Ask everyone, trust no one.

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