I live in a locavore foodie area and I love great food and restaurant experiences, but this is not what Dragon*Con is about. While I am not normally of the “food is just fuel” mentality, I go into that mode during Dragon*Con. The weekend is an endurance test, and I want not-too-unhealthy things that will keep me up and running from panel to panel and into the night. Additionally, if I don’t eat breakfast and if I don’t eat every few hours I turn into a raging hosebeast, so I need to make sure I have these things on hand. Here are some of my tips and tricks for eating to feel like a human being at Dragon*Con.
1) EAT BREAKFAST. Preferably, eat it in your hotel room if you can–it saves time and money. It doesn’t have to be fancy and shouldn’t need to be refrigerated. I bring a loaf of whole wheat or multi-grain bread with me along with a jar of low-fat peanut butter, and I throw together a peanut butter sandwich in the morning when I wake up (just don’t forget to bring some disposable knives with you). Easy, cheap, healthy, and protein-packed–just what I need to start the day. If I need an extra pick-me-up I grab an orange juice from one of the hotel convenience stores.
2) BRING SNACKS. We usually have a little cooler that we can fill with ice, so I throw some greek yogurt in there that I can grab as a snack when I’m in the hotel room to fix my makeup. I also never go anywhere without a granola bar on me–you never know when hunger could strike, it might be in line at a panel or while you are at a party, and you don’t want to have to drop everything and shuffle off to the food court to get some food. Trail mix and beef jerky are also great options.
3) Speaking of the food court, it is your friend, and there are ways to eat healthily at the food court. And also I generally love walking through the food court and seeing people in costumes. I am a big fan of Moe’s, that sushi place (Yami Yami I think it is called?), and that prepared food place across from the evil Chick Fil-A (I think it is called Cafe Momo). At Moe’s I usually get a rice bowl or a salad, fill it up with chicken, veggies, and black beans, top it with lots of salsa and dig in. Yami Yami I typically only hit up once or twice, because it is a little pricey and the line can be long, but they have pretty decent sushi and lots of vegetable options to ensure that you get some green things in you. And I love Cafe Momo–affordable, lots of healthy protein and vegetable options, and it is usually pretty quick and easy to load up at the prepared foods bar and to be on your way. There is also a Middle Eastern-ish place somewhere in the food court that offers pita sandwiches and hummus platters, and that’s a solid bet as well, if a bit messy. All of these places make it very easy to carry your food back to your hotel room so you can eat while watching Dragon*Con TV. Multi-tasking!
4) That being said, you are on vacation, and it is okay to treat yourself. I always get at least one Dairy Queen Blizzard, because it is the perfect food, and I sometimes let myself get one fried-food meal although I usually feel pretty gross after, ha, so maybe not this year. And definitely no evil Chick Fil-A this year. I love their chicken nuggets, but I prefer my fried chicken to come without a side of hate and intolerance, thank you. Avoid the pizza place with all your might because it is terrible (unless it has changed ownership). I’ve also been wanting to try that little noodle place tucked in the corner because it looks yummy, but it always has long lines oi vey.
5) There is no need to go to a sit down meal, unless this is a thing you like to do at Con? I have plenty of sit-down meals in my normal life, I’d rather eat and run at Con–there is so much to do, and there is no need to wait for a table at the Hard Rock Cafe, or Fires of Brazil, or Durango. I know lots of people who have annual dinners with their Con friends, which is cool, but I’d much rather be in the thick of things than going and having dinner elsewhere. We had lunch at a sit-down restaurant my first year at Con, and my whole experience consisted of me thinking about all the time we were wasting, and how badly I wanted to get back to Con stuff.
6) Um, I know this is blasphemous, but I don’t really drink much at Con. Actually, I don’t really drink much period, and I am such a lightweight that one or two drinks do me in, and I get sleepy so quickly when I drink, and I don’t really have fun or like the way alcohol makes me feel, and I’d rather be aware of my surroundings so I can process all the awesome costumes and remember every detail, so in general I don’t have more than one or two drinks a day. I KNOW THIS MAKES ME WEIRD, sorry. Don’t listen to my drinking tips–except for this one. Buy booze before you go to Atlanta and make your own drinks in the room, and maybe also make a “party bottle” to carry around with you, because the alcohol in the hotels is EXPENSIVE. Additionally re: booze, do whatever works for you, be safe, and remember to…
7) HYDRATE. OMG guys hydrate so much. I drink a lot of water in my daily life and I probably double that at Con. All the meeting rooms in all the hotels have water dispensers so make sure to bring a refillable bottle and STOCK UP SERIOUSLY. Water is your friend.
I have lived by these eating rules and I have yet to get sick at Con (this is likely because I use a lot of hand sanitizer, wash my hands a lot, and generally have a very strong immune system). Supposedly there are some other secret tips I might be missing, like another food court hidden in the Marriott (although that is only open on Friday), and maybe there are some tucked-away convenience stores I might be missing? Did I forget anything? Do you disagree with my tips? Do you have some tips of your own? Let me know in the comments! We’re all in this together!