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Author Topic: Food at Nationals?  (Read 6377 times)

Ransacked

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Food at Nationals?
« on: July 07, 2008, 01:29:53 PM »
I'm trying to budget for Nationals, and I'm curious what people do, food-wise. The host hotel doesn't offer free breakfasts, so that means restaurant meals for breakfast-lunch-dinner x 7 days = something like $350-400.

I can bring that down a bit by buying an small cooler once I get there, shamelessly raiding the ice machine down the hall, and keeping some fruit/yogurt/cold drinks in my room.  There's a grocery co-op down the street from the hotel, and a Market Basket about eight blocks away.

Don't get me wrong, I know that restaurant meals are one of the best ways of turning new people into good friends, and I'm looking forward to breaking bread with you folks many times next month.  I just don't want to break the bank if I can help it.

NPS veterans?  I'm sure other people have creative solutions for stretching your food dollars.  (I know that many of you plan on drinking all of your meals, but those aren't necessarily the "creative solutions" I'm looking for.)

inkera

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Re: Food at Nationals?
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2008, 02:17:57 PM »
I think you have are on the right track. Even if you end up eating one meal out a day you have saved hundreds by stocking up on fruit and other similiar foods. 

You may want to check to see if the hotel offers the mini-fridges.
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karen_g

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Re: Food at Nationals?
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2008, 02:38:59 PM »
I'm trying to budget for Nationals, and I'm curious what people do, food-wise.


There's so much to do, people to see and catch up with and often a hustle from bout to bout.So I stock up on granola bars before I go and try to always have something in my bag.
Once we get there, I grab every available piece of fruit I can and put that in my bag, too.
I pack an assortment of teas, my own coffee mug and coffee, too.Last year was great with the mini-fridge 'cause I'd get creamers fromthe Starf***s and put them in the fridge.If the host hotel has them and you've got enough room, it usually works out to be worth whatever extra fee they tack on.For the past two years, we had Whoopeecat makin' food, so....yeah, it's going to be a little more expensive this year.
I've watched Jared Paul (who I don't think will be there this year) travel around and re-use containers and stock up at the breakfast bar or reserve some meals for later.
Also, with driving, you've got more options with coolers and such--and yes, raid that ice machine.
I think my team's made at least one grocery run to any regionals or nats-like event.Bagels.Cereal.Peanut butter.Crackers.Veggies.Fruits.These don't even have to be refrigerated.

I almost treat Nats like camping, only indoors.
Now, how well I stick to that plan....
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Re: Food at Nationals?
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2008, 04:15:33 PM »
I think you have are on the right track. Even if you end up eating one meal out a day you have saved hundreds by stocking up on fruit and other similiar foods. 

You may want to check to see if the hotel offers the mini-fridges.

If you're driving, bring a crockpot, and get those prepackaged crockpot meals that you can throw in at the beginning of the day and come back and have food.

Upside: Room smells like stew.
Downside: Room smells like stew. 
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simone

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Re: Food at Nationals?
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2008, 06:44:06 PM »
Man, I just realized that the hotel doesn't serve breakfast. That's one of my favorite parts of NPS: getting up ridiculously early with the other bleary-eyed poets and confused tourists to get the first round of fresh breakfast buffet. Big bummer.
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AmyD

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Re: Food at Nationals?
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2008, 09:06:52 PM »
Fill up on beer.

Tracy Townsend

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Re: Food at Nationals?
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2008, 09:09:40 PM »
I called the Madison Concourse and yes, you can get a mini-fridge in your room. The cost is $10 a day with a cap at $30 so you can get the 4-7 day of the fridge for free. I think that the money you can save by stock the fridge with perishables (and beer!) is worth the $30 especially when you are splitting the cost with other roommates.

I did find a couple of Farmer's markets close by. There is the Eastside Farmer's Market that is 1.5 miles from the hotel on Tuesdays from 4 - 7 pm.
Here's the website:

http://www.willystreet.coop/ESFM/for_sale

There also is a farmers market on Wednesdays from 8:30 am - 2 pm. this one is just across the square (.5 miles)

http://www.dcfm.org/wandw.asp

Many of these vendors are certified organic at both locations. Not only are you supporting local growers, but also reducing your carbon footprint by buying food that hasn't travelled over 100 miles. Also, since the food hasn't traveled very far, it will be fresher, but much of it you can just keep at room temp for the week with out fear of spoilage. Not only are there fruits and vegetables at these markets, but also fresh bread, meats, and don't forget the cheese!

I also asked about microwaves and they are also available at the same cap/cost as the fridges. I also was told that there is 1 microwave available in the game room just outside to pool area. This is free for any guest. Although one must consider the other 400 poor hungry poets and how long the line might be while waiting for microwave popcorn.

 If you are feeling adventurous, you can also consider making grilled cheese sandwiches a la Benny and Joon-style with the ironing board and iron that is in every hotel room.

I wonder if it would work for Panninis?  



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Re: Food at Nationals?
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2008, 08:22:30 PM »
Here are a few of the more affordable spots, excerpted from my "guide to downtown madison" thing i just wrote:

~The Sunroom Cafť (638 State St.): A great breakfast spot, though they also have lunch and dinner.  Less than three dollars for eggs, potatoes and toast in the morning.  Canít beat that.  Lots of vegetarian options.

~Mediterranean Cafť (625 State St.): Very affordable and very good.  You can get a falafel sandwich for just a couple bucks and itíll fill you up.

~Yummy Buffet (411 W. Gilman St.) is about as cheap a Chinese food buffet as youíll find (less than $6); I love it, but a whole lot of other people (with weaker stomachs?) donít.

~There is a grocery store right downtown, though itís not especially cheap: Capitol Centre Foods (111 N. Broom St.).  If you can find a ride (or feel like a longish walk), check out the Willy St. Co-op at 1221 Williamson St..  Buying some peanut butter and a loaf of bread or whatever is always an option.

There's also a Food Not Bombs branch in Madison, but i'm not sure how active they are these days.

I'll make the full guide available soon hopefully.

Bob Whoopeecat Stephenson

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Re: Food at Nationals?
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2008, 09:00:36 AM »
Ok.....since I'm not cooking this year I have been asked to post some of the "Road Trip Essentials" from the chef.

If you have been on a road trip with yours truely, you know I know my caca!  References: Amy Weaver, Colin Gilbert, Konnichiwa Zach, GNO, Jason Carney, Millitant X, Rock Baby, Brianna LA (NPS '03-'07, SwSo '04-'07, AK Grand Slam '04)

Tip #1 Two coolers are better than one (if you have room)
One small cooler to keep beverages (A).  One med cooler for food(B).

Cooler A keeps drinks cold for the road and the hotel room.  Gets opened often.  This is why you keep food in cooler B.  Your not digging in ice and messing up food packages.  Only ice down 5 or 6 beverages.  Keep the rest in a corner of the trunk or van out of the way under a seat etc..., you use less ice cooling stuff down and you don't have to dig your hand in cold ice water @ 3am. 

Keep drinks simple.  NO SODAS!  Water, Water, Water....did I say Water?  If your on your way to perform, soda is not your throats friend.  NO ALCOHOL (during the road trip).  Don't transport beer hundreds of miles and drink it on the way.  Many states have open container laws and a DWI on your way to poetry bliss will ruin your groove.  Besides, if your traveling from say Oklahoma (no offense to my northern bros) why would you want to carry 3.2 beer when you can get 5.0 at your destination.   

Cooler B   Food Cooler.  Glad Reusable plastic containers are your friend.  Seal up any lunch meat, cheese, veggies, cut fruits in these reusable containers.  They stack neat in the cooler to save space, keep the water off your food so you don't waste your hard earned cash on water logged grub, can be washed and used for any leftovers from the diner that you bring back from late night poet grubbing (the styro/paper boxes don't do well on ice).  Keep this cooler out of the way and only open at pit stops.  Keeps your stuff colder longer and makes for good rationing.

Costco/Sam's/Walmart is your friend!  Bulk bags of chips, that enormous jar of PB, cases of water and family packs of cheese and lunch meat, huge plastic jars of salsa (Colin) will be found in abundance.  Another option is getting to know someone in the restaurant business that can get you stuff at cost or donated.  Samples and donations can be had by these people at no cost.  How do you think I fed 400 poets for 5 days on less than $75 budget per day two years in a row and did BBQ in ABQ?  Aaaahaaa!

Last little tid bits.  DO NOT  buy condiments.  The Quick Trip Gas Station, mini mart or any place that sells coffee and roller hot dogs has that stuff.  DO NOT buy ice!  Scope out a local hotel in your neighborhood, or ask that restaurant friend for a hook up and try to fill up there before leaving town.  Same thing on the return trip, Madison Concourse ice machine should be empty on Sunday.  You'll save a few bucks and plastic bags in landfills.

And the bonus, I did cook an entire roasted chicken dinner with potatoes and carrots in foil pans on top of the engine block of a Ford Expedition on the road trip to Chicago NPS '03.  Started at Shreveport LA and by Memphis TN it was lunch!  If your that adventurous, hit me up back channel. 

always and gratefully the chef of poets,

Bob Whoopeecat Stephenson         
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Bob Whoopeecat Stephenson

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Re: Food at Nationals?
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2008, 10:07:57 AM »
Last little tid bits.  DO NOT  buy condiments.  The Quick Trip Gas Station, mini mart or any place that sells coffee and roller hot dogs has that stuff. 

DO BUY condoms! The Quick Trip Gas Station, mini mart or any place that sells coffee and roller hot dogs has that stuff.  I forgot to add that one.

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Steve

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Re: Food at Nationals?
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2008, 10:10:19 AM »
Bob said:
Quote
I did cook an entire roasted chicken dinner with potatoes and carrots in foil pans on top of the engine block of a Ford Expedition on the road trip to Chicago NPS '03.  Started at Shreveport LA and by Memphis TN it was lunch! 

I came home from the Marine Corps in 1971 on a 1970 Triumph 500 motorcycle, heating cans of soup and beans on the engine. Not a great way to travel in a rainstorm that chased me across the Texas panhandle, but you'll notice I survived.

PS I don't recommend this method of travel for NPS unless you are a die-hard.

Bob Whoopeecat Stephenson

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Re: Food at Nationals?
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2008, 10:17:22 PM »
PS I don't recommend this method of travel for NPS unless you are a die-hard.

Hahahaha....The term is "Iron Butt" Steve.  I packed the stuff for the teams to take the van in '06 & '07 and I rode the Honda to ABQ and Austin from Dallas.  Not a bad ride to Austin.  ABQ had me chased by storms both directions and interrupting a state troopers coffee and doughnuts at 7am doing 82 in a 70. 
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Tracy Townsend

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Re: Food at Nationals?
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2008, 05:55:28 PM »
 
Besides, if your traveling from say Oklahoma (no offense to my northern bros) why would you want to carry 3.2 beer when you can get 5.0 at your destination.
  


LOl No offense taken my sourthern brother!

Ah the 3.2 beer is the downfall of many an Oklahoman when we hit the road and forget until about the  - say oh - 4th beer that we are not used to pacing ourselves with the 6 point beer vs the 3.2 - that's like about 8 beers for this short Irish girl who usually prides herself on her sense of decorum... and having Tapestry as your roommate doesn't help much either.  ;)

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