Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Vegan in Houston, Texas: Omni Hotel

Houston (Wikipedia)
I just got back from a trip to Houston, Texas for work! I presented and tabled at a conference, which took place at the Omni Houston Galleria Hotel. I wish I could have tried some local vegan spots but my conference schedule was jam-packed so I ended up staying on the property my entire trip. That's okay though because I have to go back for another conference in February. If anyone has any recommendations, please let me know!

The first thing I want to note is that before I travel I always get some sort of granola bars to hold me over incase I can't find anything to eat or need to supplement a not so vegan-friendly meal. This is especially important during work travel because I need to keep my energy up. This trip, I waited until the last minute to prep for my trip and didn't get a chance to pick up any bars so I was a little nervous heading in.

Omni Hotel Website
Luckily, I didn't have a problem at the Omni. I got in really late on Sunday and since I registered for the Omni Select Guests Rewards Program, I got complimentary coffee every morning and a free bottle of water. I was happy to see that soy milk was an option for my coffee and ordered that every morning. It was dropped off at the my door while I was in my white hotel robe getting ready! ha.  

The conference itself had breakfast, lunch, cocktail hour, and a few catered breaks. I am assuming they were from the hotel kitchen. For breakfast they had some really nice fruit platters, which was not very filling but okay for a morning. I also had some cereal dry. 
In between meals, I snacked on the Carr's Table Crackers, grapes, and strawberries that were served with the cheese platters- again not filling but alright since I was busy tabling at the event. Other snacks included peanuts, popcorn, and delicious fruit kabobs.

The best part was lunch- I became friendly with the hotel staff and let them know I was vegan so they prepared my salad without cheese and gave me a non-dairy dressing. They also did a nice roasted vegetable and pasta dish for me. 
On day two, I had another really great roasted vegetable and broccoli dish. They first brought out a vegetarian friendly ravioli but quickly brought me the vegetable platter once I explained my restrictions. 

For dinner on my first night, I went with a few conference participants to NOÉ Restaurant and Bar. A quick look at the menu was a vegan's worst nightmare! Haha, no I over exaggerate but the main courses are far from vegan friendly. I went over to ask our server if they could make me a vegan dish. He knew right away that it meant no meat, dairy, eggs, and then I emphasized no butter. They brought out an Israeli cous cous dish and roasted whole vegetables. It was great! The dishes went really well together and they even came over to make sure it was made to my liking. *Thumbs up NOÉ!*

The last day of the conference had a nice cocktail hour with food pairings. I enjoyed some really tasty vegetable sushi paired with sake.

Not a bad choice for vegan friendliness in Houston. Though I am excited to go back to see what the rest of the city has to offer. The hotel was knowledgable about veganism and very accommodating with my requests.

Vegan Travel Tip #1:
Always prepare for travel with granola or snack bars as meal supplements.
Vegan Travel Tip #2:
Sign up for hotel rewards programs, you never know what the perks will be!
Vegan Travel Tip #3:
Make friends withe hotel staff, they will hook you up.

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