The Ideal Eatery

I have been making a few trips into the city lately, and often end up buying lunch on the run. Being gluten free and not fond of cooking, I find it difficult to think of tasty, portable meals that don’t require heating or refrigeration that I can take with me. Instead I tend to look for takeaway Asian food, and this often involves eating in noisy, crowded underground shopping centres, railway station platforms, and trains. It also produces a lot of waste in the form of plastic containers and water bottles.

I decided to challenge my belief that eating bought meals while out of the house had to mean dining on bad food in lousy environments and creating a lot of waste. I realised I had been telling myself that it was “too expensive” to buy lunch in a sit down establishment with propper (non-disposeable) crockery and cutlery, or that I didn’t have time to wait. But these days time is something I do have, so maybe I could use it to give myself a better quality of experience.

What I have found is that takeaway food can be still be expensive, especially by the time you add in a bottle of drink. Places with an eat-in lunch special often provide free water, so when you are looking at gluten free meals the overall cost is comparable.

I made a checklist of what I am looking for in an ideal city eatery and came up with the following:

  1. Premises directly facing the street or in a protected environment (rather than buried in a shopping mall).
  2. Quiet with minimal ambient noise
  3. Comfortable space to sit with some privacy from other tables
  4. Comfortable climate; not too hot, too cold, too sunny or too windy.
  5. Food served on real crockery with real cutlery that a real person will wash up
  6. Free water in a glass made of glass
  7. Good food ready to serve or to order freshly made

Now what I need to do is scout out a few “favourites” in areas that I frequent so that I can plan my meals on my trips into the city. I found a place recently that provides good food with real cutlery and crockery. It was in a noisy shopping centre and rather stuffy, but at least it was better than eating hot chips standing on the railway platform.

Today I wanted to head for home rather than stop to eat so I made a compromise. I bought a sushi roll and took it down to the railway platform. However I waited for the train and ate sitting down in comfort once the train arrived. I wasn’t ideal, but I felt better to be putting some thought into the quality of what and where I was eating.

Next step is to make better choices from the menu.

How do you solve the “finding food while out and about” issue?

  1. Linda May!!! If you find this fabled place, please inform us. We may get 3 or even 4 of the criteria in one place, but never all of them. 3, 4 and 7 are non-negotiables, however. Happy searching and dining to you!!!

  2. LindaMay said:

    Yes, maybe it is like the search for the holy grail, but there is fun in looking. Its amazing how easy it is to achieve NONE of those criteria (eg hot chips on a railway platform) so even three is a bonus.

    I went out last night and was thinking I had to eat at 5pm before I left home. However I wasn’t hungry so I decided to travel first and tryout my Ideal Eatery plan. I found a place that provided 1-5 and potentially 7. I had my own water bottle so the plastic cups for water didn’t bother me. It was Chinese food and I haven’t thought out what the healthiest option would be in that scenario. My choice of fried noodles was freshly cooked but probably high fat. I haven’t done my homework on making healthy choices yet.

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