Preflight breakfast

I arrive at LAX for my flight to Shanghai fresh from the campout with the troop. I am drained and starving, and I am not on my normal flight, so my rhythm is off even before I step out into the airport.

The big downside of United 32 versus ANA 5 is that the former takes off several hours earlier, meaning that breakfast is in the lounge, or nowhere. Despite the very nice spread United lays out in their new LAX lounge, there was nothing there that matched my nutrition program and my Kosher-style sensibilities apart from some lovely ice water. So I tossed in a Quest bar and called it a meal.

I spent the first half of my adult life becoming more open minded about food. Alas, my physical and spiritual health have made me rather more high-maintenance that I would prefer. I find myself making an alarming number of special requests in restaurants and apologizing to friends, colleagues, travel agents, and servers.

It’s all andropausal OCD.

But I’ll own it.

A Good Day (Thanks, Marriott)

It is never pleasant having to spend your birthday on the road, especially on a business trip. Not only do you forego doing anything fun, you are usually surrounded by strangers who just don’t know.

Clearly, though, someone at the Shanghai Marriott City Centre was paying attention. I got back to my room after a long day to find a chocolate cake, a bowl of fruit, and handwritten notes from the guest services manager and from the GM.

This was about all the celebration I got for #54, but it was more than enough. SOmeone remembered, and that made up for a lot.

Presentation Counts

The real art of eating at a buffet is plating your food in an appealing manner. I am biased: nothing kills my appetite faster than the sight of an overladen plate that looks like a trough into which the kitchen scraps have been dumped.

Okay, I’ll own it: this is all a bit OCD, but do us both a favor and try this next time you find yourself facing an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord:

  • Walk the whole buffet first, making your selections;
  • Then take a plate and resolve to put no more than three different foods onto it;
  • Set the food on your plate while pretending you are serving someone you want to impress.

I wager that when you get back to the table, you will eat more slowly, savor your meal, and feel better afterwards.