Vegan on the Go: Eating Vegan at the Cleveland Airport

Hi, all! I returned to Madison bright (seriously – it was sunny!) and early (got up at 4:30 AM; landed at 9:00 AM!) this morning after a lovely Christmas with my family in Rhode Island. I’ll talk all about that soon, but first – something else.

One of my most popular posts is the one where I talk about vegan options at O’Hare. That post gets hits every week, if not every day. All y’all folks with smartphones like to search for eating options while you’re on the go! So let me help you out with some more info about how to eat vegan in airports. This time, I’m talking about vegan options at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport in Ohio.

I had a two hour layover in Cleveland last weekend, so I spent a decent amount of time wandering the terminals and seeing what I could see. And here’s what I saw:

  • Paciugo Gelato and Caffe (C terminal). If you’re in the mood for gelato/sorbet, there are clearly labelled vegan options at this location. They’re marked as dairy-free, and according to their website, Paciugo also offers soy-based gelato. I’m not sure if they ever have the soy options available at the small airport stand, but there were at least two vegan sorbet choices when I stopped by. (For the record, I didn’t eat any – I was hungry for real food!) A kind reader informed me that Paciugo is closed as of 2/15/16.
  • Currito: Burritos Without Borders (main food court): I love the concept of this place. They make burritos with an international flair. I had the Bangkok burrito, which features peanut sauce, Asian slaw, cucumbers, rice, and organic tofu. It was spicy and delicious – the perfect lunch. I really like that you can substitute organic tofu for the meat in any burrito. If you don’t feel like choosing from the burrito options they’ve created, you can do a make-your-own burrito and choose exactly what goes in. They also offer smoothies, many of which can be made vegan (or are already vegan). I didn’t get one, but they looked quite tasty!
  • Subway (D terminal). Not much to say about this one – this is pretty much a given at any airport!

There are surely more vegan choices at this airport (there’s a salad place, for example), but those the most obvious ones I noticed in my walk around the terminals. I hope this helps some hungry vegan who finds herself with some time to spare in Cleveland one day!

Advertisement

Vegan on the Go: Travel Snacks!

Orange rectangular banner that says "Vegan MoFo" and "Vegan Month of Food 2011."

One of my most popular posts is this one, where I got really excited about finding clearly-labeled vegan to-go items at a shop in O’Hare airport. Judging by my search terms and stats, lots of hungry vegans have Googled “vegan food O’Hare” and landed on that post, and I’m really happy to have helped them find something to eat during a long layover. It’s so irritating to be ravenously hungry in an airport and have to wander up and down the terminal in search of food, getting even hungrier and hungrier as you lug the carry-on suitcase you didn’t check because you’d be damned if you’d pay $25 so some burly dude could haul the tiny piece of luggage you can just as easily shove into an overhead compartment. Inevitably, when you finally give up and shell out $4.50 for a measly bag of crappy trail mix filled with GMO peanuts and way too many raisins, five minutes later you stumble on a stall that has vegan burritos or a really awesome salad or something actually filling. It’s so annoying.

Anyway, I’m hoping to avoid that pain as I travel today. As you read this, I am journeying from Madison to Minneapolis to Amsterdam and, finally, to Florence. Thanks to good ol’ layovers, I’ll be en route to Italy for nearly a day (give or take a time-change or two). Because I don’t want to deal with checked baggage on my international flight (and because I’ll only be gone for a week), I’m just taking a carry-on, which means I will be lugging it around the airport. To avoid the aforementioned annoying food-searching situation, I’ve taken matters into my own hands and prepared on-the-go, travel-friendly snacks for myself. Behold:

A backpack with food spilling out of it: Five Larabars, one Halo candy bar, one apple, a bag of coconut-covered date rolls, and a container of homemade trail mix. There's also a reusable cloth hand towel with a flower and the word "SUSTAIN" printed on it. All items are labeled in the photograph.

Vintage E.F. Tours backpack ftw.

The key to my travel snacks? Protein. Protein is what fills your tummy and keeps you satiated, so I made sure that my homemade trail mix (details in a post to come!) is filled with protein-laden nuts, as are the Larabars. I’ll eat the apple early on in my travels so it doesn’t get bumped and bruised, and I know it’ll make me feel nice and healthy. And I’ll use the cloth hand towel Lisa gifted me last year during a swap so I don’t have to waste lots of paper. It’ll totally offset the environmental unfriendliness of the airplane in which I’ll be flying, right? Yeah.

And the Halo candy bar? Well, there’s no lofty purpose to that one! It’s for pure pleasure, baby. I’ve never actually had a vegan candy bar (other than regular ol’ chocolate bars, of course)!

Close-up of the Halo candy bar in its packaging. It's the Rocky Road variety.

CANDYYYYY!

I’ll be sure to share my thoughts about the Halo bar, and I’ll let you know what vegan eats I encounter along the way. I’ll also report back on the vegan meals I’m served (or not served…) on KLM – I requested vegan meals from a very kind customer service agent who assured me all was set, but I’m not expecting anything grand. Who knows, though – maybe I’ll be surprised!

Anyway, that’s all for now. You should check out my “Vegan on the Go” tag for lots more travel tips! My favorite: carry your toothbrush with you. I always feel SO much cleaner and less grungy and travel-worn when my teeth are sparkly clean and minty fresh. And as I said in my first-ever travel post (be kind; it was early in my blogging days!):

[…a]nd if brushing your teeth in a public bathroom skeeves you out (which, to be honest, is pretty much the case with me), you can wait ’til someone cleans one of the restrooms and then dart in there, or you could bring some of those wet wipes and wash the handle, or you could use bottled water and not even touch the handle at all… don’t let germ phobia keep you from feeling minty fresh!

Word.

What are your favorite travel tips? What food do you bring when you travel? What’s your favorite vegan candy bar?!

Note: This is a scheduled post, because I’m currently traveling. Apologies for any weirdness with auto-publishing!

Vegan on the Go: O’Happy at O’Hare!

DUDES. I discovered the most amazing thing in O’Hare airport this morning! Check it:

O M G!

Initially I was a little confused as to why that banner was there – it was on one of those closed-off, in-construction type areas where they were obviously building a new eating establishment, so originally I thought it was saying that this was a “coming soon” type of thing. But then I realized that it was right across from the actual/current location of Cibo Express, so I realized it was an advertising tactic. Anyway, it worked – I could not resist investigating a vegan option! Not being a Portland native with vegan options hitting me in the face every time I turn a corner, I still get giddy and excited whenever I see the word VEGAN in the rEaL wOrLd.

And OH MY WORD! I was so thrilled to discover that Cibo had tons prepared, ready-to-eat, veg foods! Fruit cups, [various types of] sushi, packages of hummus and veggies, even [an admittedly tiny] KALE SALAD! And sandwiches GALORE, all explicitly marked as vegan! They had a jerk tofu one that looked particularly good, along with more varieties that I can’t remember. I think all the sandwiches are made in a local Chicago restaurant and then sold at the airport, which is cool. And there were tons of yummy organic and healthy drink options, too. There were also some non-veggie items, but we won’t talk about that. ;) Here’s what I ended up getting:

Hey there, vegan yumminess!

I purchased this at 7:30 in the morning on my layover in O’Hare, thinkin’ I’d eat it on my flight from Chicago to Madison. For some reason the idea of a “chicken” salad sandwich, as boring as it might seem, was really appealing; since it was early, I didn’t want anything too spicy. But the Chicago-Madison flight is so short – and I was so busily knitting – that I didn’t end up eating it until I was back home, maybe around 10:45. Still, it was reallllly tasty, totally like the chicken salad of yore. My only complaint was that the bread was a little soggy, but maybe that’s because it was sitting in my giant purse for two hours. Oops. The iced tea was also delicious; I’d never seen that brand before but I enjoyed it; it was subtly flavored and very refreshing.

Needless to say, I’m thrilled to know that decent vegan eats exist at O’Hare; you can find Cibo Express between terminals 1 and 2, by the big plane that’s sort of suspended in an odd corner in some sort of display (clearly I wasn’t awake enough to absorb any more detail than that). I’m also thrilled that my company will reimburse me for this meal. ;)

Anyway, that’s all for the moment – I’m quite exhausted after this trip!* I still have one more on-the-go type post to share, but I’ll save it for later. And now I need to catch up on all the awesome MoFo posts I undoubtedly missed during the past few days – don’t be surprised if y’all receive boatloads of random comments tonight!

Have you ever found a surprise!vegan option at an airport or similar travel-type location?

* Proof: I originally typed “O’Hair” instead of “O’Hare” in this post. The Irish version of Hair, perhaps? Now I’m picturing lots of freckly redheads running around nakie and singing hippie songs. Hee hee hee.

Vegan on the Go

After a day of traveling, I made it safe and [mostly] sound to Zanesville, Ohio. The work part of my work trip begins in earnest tomorrow, so tonight I’m taking it easy and trying to get rid of the headache and sore throat that’ve plagued me all day. For that reason, enter Super Cop-Out Post Numero Uno!

Question: What’s a vegan to do when she’s traveling to a small town, working 12-hour shifts at a hospital for three days straight, and said small town features mostly restaurants like Steak ‘n Shake and Bob Evans?

Answer: Snack it up! This was my suitcase this morning:

Case o' snacks.

That big ol’ bag features mostly Larabars, pretzels, sesame sticks, assorted teas, and… oatmeal. Or oats, rather, ready to be made into oatmeal at a moment’s notice. Except I don’t have a microwave in my hotel room, come to find out. Oh well – I’m sure I can be resourceful and figure something out. I’m counting on the hotel’s morning breakfast spread to include fruit that I can squirrel away for later, and my snacks along with whatever vegan fare I can rustle up at the hospital cafeteria should hold me over throughout the day. However, I’m not quite sure how I’ll survive at dinner time when I’m hungry after a long shift… I’ve a feeling that snacks won’t cut it then! I’ll report back and let you know how I fare. ;)

What are your on-the-go eating strategies when you know you won’t be in a vegan-friendly location?

Kelly the Vegga’s Top Three Travel Tips

Dudes and dudettes, I’m going to Italy! In five hours! Well, we leave Rhode Island in five hours and have a layover in Newark before departing for Rome, but essentially it’s the same thing. That’s why we’ve been cleaning out our fridge and using up pantry food. VeggaSis’ boyfriend will be caring for our dogs and will probably stay over a few nights, but he’s no chef and will probably just resort to nachos and such for his meals, so we have been eating leftovers like mad lately.

But anyway, I want to share with you my top three travel tips. Going to college in Minnesota meant that I have flown quite a bit during the last four years. I’ve also been lucky enough to experience Europe three times previously, once on an EF Tour to London & Paris, once to visit a friend studying in France (we took an overnight jaunt to Germany while I was there), and I also did a summer off-campus studies program in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland a few summers ago. I am fortunate enough to have a friend in Spain (she did a homestay program with us years back), so I visited her during my midterm break while I was studying abroad. So although going to Italy will be the first time VeggaMom, VeggaDad, and VeggaBro have been abroad (VeggaSis did an EF Tour last summer), I’m a fairly seasoned flier. So I’ve decided to share my top three tips to help you feel the best you can during your travel experience. ;) These tips are most helpful for international flights – since those situations often mean you’re traveling in one way or another for extended periods of time – but they’re also applicable for shorter domestic flights. So here we go!

1. Resist Temptation

Sure, the airport is full of seductive snack options, and when you’re on the go, the lure of Cinnabon or Starbucks can be strong. But eating crap all day long is going to take its toll. I used to skip breakfast before an early afternoon flight back to school and instead opt for a bagel at Dunkin’ Donuts when I was at the airport. By the time I’d landed in Minneapolis, I’d be starving, but I’d inevitably be rushing to catch a bus back to Carleton and wouldn’t have time to eat. Or, if I did, I might grab a pathetic little parfait at one of those ubiquitous snack kiosks. And if I’d had a layover in between, chances are good that I would’ve noshed at Cinnabon. But crap like that just doesn’t make my body happy. Maybe the fact that those yogurt parfaits have a sad little assortment of bland, watery fruit makes it seem like they’re okay, but come on – you can do better. Pack your own fruit salad with the fruit you’ve got to use up anyway, make yourself a sandwich, or put together a yummy trail mix. Not only will you save yourself from feeling like crap later on, but you’ll save money since airport food is almost invariably ridiculously overpriced. I’ve finally learnt this lesson, so this morning I drank a delicious Green Monster and shared an apple with my sister. I’ve got dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds for later, and I just bought a few Larabars for a little energy boost later, because heaven knows what Continental will decide to serve for dinner, and I’m betting it won’t be too appetizing for those of us who don’t eat mystery meat!

2. Start Guzzling

Hydration is key, folks. Drink water like it’s going out of style before, during, and after your flight. Flying tends to dehydrate you, and I hate feeling parched and all tight-skinned and gross when I get off a plane. Keep drinking and your body will be better able to fight off all the nasty airplane germs and then everyone will be happy. I’ve got my Carleton Nalgene right by my laptop and I’ve been sucking down the ol’ H2O all morning.

3. Maintain thy Oral Hygiene

This one is stupidly simple, but for some reason it took me ages to figure it out. Bring your toothbrush and a small tube of toothpaste in your carry-on and keep your chompers sparklin’ clean! Maybe it’s just me, but having freshly brushed teeth always makes me feel 50% cleaner, and when I’m flying I tend to start feeling grungy after a few hours in airports and on planes. Chewing minty gum only goes so far, and brushing my teeth before and after flights helps combat that feeling of all-over nastiness, and I think it’ll work like a charm for the extreme grossness I experience when taking a trans-Atlantic flight. And if brushing your teeth in a public bathroom skeeves you out (which, to be honest, is pretty much the case with me), you can wait ’til someone cleans one of the restrooms and then dart in there, or you could bring some of those wet wipes and wash the handle, or you could use bottled water and not even touch the handle at all… don’t let germ phobia keep you from feeling minty fresh!

So there they are, folks, my top three travel tips. And now I’m going to go have a marathon water-drinking session, eat a healthy lunch, and then blow this popsicle stand!

Ciao!