Not Your Average Airport Food: Hyatt in Orlando

I’m looking down from my hotel room in the Hyatt Regency, Orlando, Florida, watching people check in for their flights. I’ve never stayed in a hotel that’s actually inside of an airport, and I can’t help thinking about that Tom Hanks movie (The Terminal) where, because of immigration issues, he becomes stuck in the airport for months. When the poor guy runs out of money, he starts eating serving-sized ketchup and mustard between Saltines and bathes and shaves in the airport restrooms.

The only similarity to my staying here and the movie is that I haven’t left the hotel/airport since arrival. Except for when my husband and I got a rental car and drove it around the block to the hotel parking garage. (We didn’t know the hotel lobby was a five-minute walk from our gate. Guess we just wanted to pay the overnight parking fee.)

Hyatt, Orlando Florida

Unlike the character in the movie, my meals have been outstanding–and you know an allergic foodie rarely dishes out praise for hotel food.

Lucky for me, our hotel room is on the same floor as Hemisphere Steak and Seafood Restaurant. Lucky because when we walked to our room yesterday, I caught a glimpse of the menu with many “GF”s next to entrees. Always a good sign!

A few hours later, after my husband went off to a dinner meeting, I dined alone at Hemisphere. Of course, I am never really alone when I have Instagram, Twitter, and texting. Here’s the photo of my meal and view I posted to Instagram.

Hemisphere Restaurant in Orlando Airport

A moist Scottish salmon on lentils with a touch of cilantro. Delish. And the microgreens with beets and balsamic dressing that I inhaled before I could take a photo was wonderful, too.

Before I ordered, the pleasant chef came out to  discuss my allergies–kudos!!!–and though the kitchen staff got a little confused about the salad’s goat cheese (I can eat goat cheese but not cow cheese), I appreciated them leaving all cheese off because they wanted me to be safe. Besides, I took the goat cheese back to my room for an after-drinking apple and cheese snack.

When I travel, I ALWAYS, ALWAYS take along a package of Main Street gluten-free instant oatmeal for breakfast.  No need this time–this Hyatt actually has gluten-free muffins! Honestly, these are the best GF muffins I’ve tasted.

GF Muffins at Hyatt

What’s wrong with this picture? Yes, the GF muffins are served next to the gluten-laced muffins. However, the server went back to the kitchen to get me non-contaminated ones–along with a few extras for a midday snack.

As I waddled out of the restaurant, I asked the hostess if all Hyatt Hotels were so allergy-friendly. I didn’t mention that I ‘d stayed at a few in the past that weren’t.

She mentioned Hyatt’s new global initiative: “Food. Thoughtfully Sourced. Carefully Served.”

Kudos to Hyatt.

Marriott: I hope you are reading this!!! I have NEVER EVER ate breakfast at a Marriott, unless you count a brown banana and a handful of walnuts breakfast.

The pleasant hostess also mentioned the kitchen has rice and soy milk available for those of us with dairy allergies. Now it would have been nice to know this when I said I had a dairy allergy.  I also had to ask a lot of questions about the buffet line food. Are the potatoes cooked in butter? What’s in the sausage? Is the bacon cooked on the same grill as the pancakes?

If Hyatt truly wants to “carefully serve,” I suggest management comes up with an Allergy Menu including at least the top 8 allergens. While the staff today was top notch, a little more training could make them exceptional.

Still, if I had to be stuck in an airport for months, this is definitely the airport (and hotel) I’d want to be stuck in.

Not Your Average Airport Food originally appeared at Adventures of An Allergic Foodie.

Taste Test Tuesday: Enjoy Life Decadent Soft Baked Bars

This summer I’ve been golfing a lot.

BD (before diagnosis) I typically stayed home while my family hit the links.  (Golf courses with limited restrooms aren’t the best place to be when you’re having a reaction to gluten or soy or dairy or corn or one of the other myriad foods I now know I’m allergic to.)  Fortunately, since cutting out offending foods from my diet, I am much more active.

Country Club of Colorado

The new dilemma: What do I snack on when I’m playing four hours of golf, or hiking in the Colorado mountains, or taking a day trip to Denver.  Certainly not anything from a snack bar or a  fast food joint!

Fortunately, portable allergy-friendly products are becoming more and more common. In just the five years since my diagnosis, I’m amazed at the availability of convenience foods for an allergic food.  More importantly, many of them actually taste good!

So I’ve decided to review some of these products in a regular blog post called Taste Test Tuesday.

My first review is–drum roll, please–Enjoy Life® Decadent Soft Baked Bars.

Enjoy Life Decadent Soft Baked Bars

Full disclosure: The company sent these to me to try after I offered to review.  I was curious to see if these new bars could win me over. I’ve had some pretty awful cardboard-tasting “bars” since AD (after diagnosis) so I was a bit skeptical, and honestly, somewhat reluctant to bite into one.

The four boxes sat unopened on my pantry shelf for several weeks. Then one day when I was late for a tee time, I grabbed a Cinnamon Bun for breakfast.  Now I won’t try to convince you it tasted like I imagine one of those cinnamon buns in the mall does, but it was good. Quite good.  And no wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish or shellfish!

So the next time I golfed, I took a Chocolate SunButter®.  Yummy!  As you may have read before in this blog, I adore chocolate!

My gluten-free son is a bit pickier than I am (he gets to be since he can eat dairy, soy and eggs).  Yet he LOVES the S’mores. S’mores were always a favorite dessert when he was growing up so it’s nice he gets to enjoy them again. He took the rest of the bars back to college.

If you like tart flavors, you’ll enjoy Cherry Cobbler.  I couldn’t get excited about this one, and my son said the bar tasted odd (he’s used to sweeter, I think).  No worries–there are three other flavors for us to enjoy.

The Decadent Soft Baked Bars are now a staple in my pantry, in the care packages I send to my son, and in my golf bag.  Thank you, Enjoy Life, for making a product that helps this allergic foodie enjoy her golf game again.

Now if you could just help me with my putting.

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Visit Enjoy Life Foods for more information.