I eat in restaurants a lot. Fifty weeks of travel last year alone with this year following the same pattern. So that’s a lot of restaurant meals.
Many of these restaurant meals are at hotels. Some hotels I stay at often, while others are for a one-time event.
One of the hotels I’ve been frequenting a lot lately is the Hilton Garden Inn in Aberdeen, Scotland. About seven stays of two weeks each – more than enough time to try every item on their Granite City Restaurant’s menu, at least several times each. And enough time to get really bored with looking at the same foods night after night.
But I didn’t’ get bored – not at all. In fact, I was sad when I had my last dinner at the HGI restaurant.
How could I have gotten so attached to one hotel restaurant? Easy. It was Chef Brian and his team.
I started asking the servers to have meals prepared a bit healthier (leave the sauces off, skip the potatoes). While their menu has a lot of great items prepared just as described, I avoid anything with gluten or dairy so a few modifications are needed. Brian recognized that I was routinely asking for grilled chicken or fish and steamed vegetables. He came out of the kitchen and asked me about other items I’d like to have. He’d suggest several fish alternatives and said he would prepare them however I’d like. He’d tell me about the upcoming specials so I’d know what would be available in the next week.
It got to the point that I didn’t need to explain anything to the server as to how I wanted my meal prepared. All I had to say was “Ask Brian to prepare a healthy meal for Carol.” And that’s what I got.
Was I a high-maintenance customer? I don’t think so. Brian was eager to please and I think he enjoyed the creativity of taking his menu items and preparing them a bit differently.
And I was one very happy customer each time I ate at Granite City Restaurant. I really felt like I had my own private chef.
Can you also have your own private chef? Of course! It’s just a matter of asking for menu items to be prepared to your liking. Most restaurants, in-hotel or not, will be happy to meet your requests as long as the food items are available. This is especially important if you have food sensitivities so don’t be afraid to ask!
p.s. Speaking of food sensitivities, if you’re eating gluten-free, check out this Gluten Free Travel Site. And if you are traveling to a country where you do not speak the language, it can be difficult to explain what foods you cannot eat. SelectWisely offers food and travel translation cards for communicating food allergies and other health problems.