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tchefunkte

Cooking in a hotel room

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has anybody else played around with this idea? When travelling by car for business trips, I got into the habit of bringing a crockpot with me. I've also just purchased cheap ones upon arrival when travelling by air. Here are some examples:

 

IMG_6774.JPGIMG_6033.JPGIMG_5948.JPGIMG_5953.JPGIMG_6048.JPG

 

 

 

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I mostly try to bring a cooler so I can buy some fruit for breakfast and snacks. I sometimes bring a cheap electric kettle to make tea, as the in-room systems have invariably had coffee made in them so many times that plain hot water is essentially weak coffee. Never been as ambitious as you, but, I like to venture out and try local restaurants.

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You could bring an Instant Pot Multifunction Cooker!

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I like to check out local cuisine as well. But some cities that I worked in for extended periods (Sioux City, Iowa and Philadelphia, Mississippi come to mind) had a pretty short list of culinary gems, to say the least! I was mostly interested in developing the idea of what you can do within the limitations of a meager per diem and with limited tools.


Edited by tchefunkte punctuation fix (log)

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We've gone partway to where you are...but never that far.  You are doing a bang-up job.  We have traveled with a toaster oven, and a little electric kettle thingy (which goes way back before crockpots).  We take our own coffee maker so that we can make coffee for the day's drive.  And a blender, big or small depending upon our current regime. And an electric cooler also.  There are four of us who eat real food (two non-humans who eat raw). 

OTOH, I have made chocolates in a motel room and even a Boston Cream pie amongst others. :)

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9 minutes ago, gfweb said:

You could bring an Instant Pot Multifunction Cooker!

 

Indeed, I decided the Instant-Pot would be the single appliance I would bring along to supplement the average hotel kitchenette: coffee-maker, toaster, refrigerator, microwave, maybe a dishwasher.  

Last year, I spent several week-long segments staying in a hospital-adjacent hotel in Houston with a family member who was undergoing treatment and I considered posting and asking for suggestions on the forum but decided the situation might be too specific.   My "patient" couldn't really leave the hotel and needed to have most foods well cooked - no raw salads or fresh fruits or veg, and was there for ~ 6 months so being able to prepare some familiar comfort foods was very appealing.

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1 hour ago, tchefunkte said:

I like to check out local cuisine as well. But some cities that I worked in for extended periods (Sioux City, Iowa and Philadelphia, Mississippi come to mind) had a pretty short list of culinary gems, to say the least! I was mostly interested in developing the idea of what you can do within the limitations of a meager per diem and with limited tools.

Ping me next time you need to go to Philly. It's full of gems. 

 

Not sure how I would feel about smelling that food in the hallway...or if I had the room after you. Just sayin....

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1 hour ago, hathor said:

Ping me next time you need to go to Philly. It's full of gems. 

 

Not sure how I would feel about smelling that food in the hallway...or if I had the room after you. Just sayin....

Philadelphia, MS is not easily confused with Philadelphia, PA if you've been to both. The Mississippi version has exactly one bar, and it is beer and wine coolers only, connected to a bowling alley. The food ranges from fast food to "Kuntry" Buffet type places to truck stop sandwiches. And if you had come across the free breakfast at the hotel, you'd quickly beg for anything smelling like real food to come wafting down the halls. The "western omelette" i dared to peek into, made of some vomit colored shpoo folded into a small yellow yoga mat, had me wishing i had brought an electric griddle with me too...IMG_5900.thumb.JPG.ed76d03c0a90e9124c5f8


Edited by tchefunkte correction (log)
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A couple of years ago I was living in hotel rooms 4 nights a week and was constantly looking for products and thinking of ways to eat, well, but inexpensively.  I tended to do a lot of cooking on the weekends and traveling with the prepared food. 

 

I have an insulated bag with a plastic box insert.  On Sundays nights I would put a freezer pack bag in the bottom, then layer a bunch of bagged prepared and chilled food, and top that with another freezer pack.  Then I'd freeze the whole thing overnight. Then on Monday morning I could throw the whole thing in the car and drive two hours, work for another 8 and get the food into the hotel room fridge before it lost its chill.  I made sure I only stayed in rooms with both refrigerator and microwave.

 

This approach worked well, but I constantly found myself wanting things like a grilled cheese sandwich.  Inspired by the Top Chef episode where the cooked in a Target store, I once accomplished it with the hotel room iron (I used aluminum foil between the iron and bread).  It was funny, but not optimal.  I thought about bringing my portable gas grill, but I'd have to cook out of the back of the SUV in the parking lot.

 

Sadly too late, unless I go on the road again, I bought one of these...

BDZ-138.jpg

 

http://www.campchef.com/butane-one-burner-stove.html (or just search for butane burner - there are a million of them at all price points)

 

I love this thing.  It's light and powerful and cheap.  There are even two burner variations.  They're safe for indoor use (by most accounts).

 

Another thing I found on YouTube afterwards is something I love for its sheer McGuyerishness...The Penny Can Stove.  Search for this on YouTube and imagine the accolades when you are able to fashion an effective burner out of a couple of empty soda cans.

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37 minutes ago, IndyRob said:

I constantly found myself wanting things like a grilled cheese sandwich.  Inspired by the Top Chef episode where the cooked in a Target store, I once accomplished it with the hotel room iron

 

I was always careful with hotel room irons before but ever since hearing the grilled cheese/hotel room iron story, I inspect them especially carefully and put them through a test run on a hotel towel before using!

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Someone here (a while ago) on eG talked about reheating pizza on a hotel room iron!

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Circulator in a small Cambro, Ziplocks, Searzall. If you've got the space in your suitcase/car and don't mind hauling more things, a portable induction burner and a nice skillet would flesh out that setup nicely.

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I don't really understand the issue (s) here

 

are the economic ?

 

trying to save a bit of $$ ?

 

something else ?

 

I take it you drive .

 

well, id just get a SV rig and do lots of Sv at home and freeze

 

then re-therm at your hotel.

 

or look around where you go for someplace to go to try local food.

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24 minutes ago, rotuts said:

I don't really understand the issue (s) here

 

are the economic ?

 

trying to save a bit of $$ ?

 

something else ?

 

I take it you drive .

 

well, id just get a SV rig and do lots of Sv at home and freeze

 

then re-therm at your hotel.

 

or look around where you go for someplace to go to try local food.

 

Perhaps it's a "You hadda been there..." thing.  Have you ever spent a year on the road?

 

I've had some generous per diem deals, but after a while, dining alone in a strange (and often boring) town leaves you just wanting the creature comforts of home. Or the best semblance of it you can make there.

 

Of course, money does come into it (since it's why you're out there in the first place).  I've negotiated away the per diems in favor of a higher rate that I can take home, rather than leaving it at the Cracker Barrel on rt. 6.

 

 

 

 

 


Edited by IndyRob (log)
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Rotuts-

 

It looks like the issue is that OP frequents culinary wastelands with some regularity.  If you're a 50 mile drive from anything but Golden Corral and bologna sandwiches for weeks on end, you're entirely reasonable looking to engage in self help.  God knows what people who live there do... maybe all the good stuff is home cooked, or served at church picnics... but if you're not local, you won't know where to go... so self help is the thing. 

 

Totally agree on bringing a circulator and a Searzall, then hitting up the Piggly Wiggly for some protein.

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Circulator is a cinch.  Can do a lot with a George Foreman grill too, so long as you don't set off the smoke detector.

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I didn't prepare much, obviously, or have the opportunity to bring stuff from home. I have the Dorkfood PID controller that I generally use with a crockpot, but I didn't have it when I was still traveling a lot. That and some ziplocks would have made a big difference in what could have been pulled off. Great to hear all your ideas!

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1 hour ago, cdh said:

God knows what people who live there do... maybe all the good stuff is home cooked, or served at church picnics... but if you're not local, you won't know where to go...

The good stuff is always home cooked, no?. 


Edited by IndyRob (log)
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I would like to point out that you should be careful with room temperature rice, and to a lesser extent other moist carbs. Bacillus cereus doesn't get a lot of press, and most cases of it are not in the US, but it can be serious. A mother and young child died in Japan a couple of years ago from eating cooked rice left out on the counter overnight. I'd pack a thermometer or two, just in case. I'd also go in and clean the counters and sink with an antiseptic cleaner before I started, too. I have seen too many TV shows about dirty hotel rooms...

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Good point. I used Chlorox wipes for counters. And the rice in the jambalaya I made was cooked, cooled, and refrigerated just like at home. Im more concerned with what that omelette's ingredient list is. At least I know what I put in the rest. 

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