There was a Whole Foods about three miles from my hotel in Sarasota. I walked there on my first day in Florida. It felt really good to move after 25 hours on the train (more on train travel tomorrow).
I stocked up on foods for the week, bearing in mind that I had very limited time to cook. I spent a total of $34.32 and walked home armed with enough food to last most of the week. I opted to buy a few Fantastic Food mixes (hummus, tabbouleh) as well as Road's End Mac and Chreese for my entrees.
A trip back midweek became necessary when an unexpected friend visited (ladies you understand...). That trip cost $27.83, $8.95 of which was organic tampons (are they made of gold in Florida? I can get them for $2 less in NY.) I also splurged and got myself food from the hot food bar to the tune of almost $9.00. The rest of the money went towards crackers, falafel mix and olive oil (because, although the hotel had pans in the room, I had nothing to grease them with.)
It really worked out great. I cooked at night which allowed me to enjoy most of my two hour lunch break poolside every day. If it sounds like a slice of heaven, that's because it was.
I had planned to go grocery shopping in anticipation of Jim arriving with the boys for the second week when I hit an unexpected jackpot. Many of the people from the first weeks training weren't staying for the second week. Since they knew I was, they gave me most of their leftover food including raw organic almond butter, organic peanut butter, organic fruit spread, 3 kinds of cereal, 3 partial loaves of bread, two kinds of juice, soy yogurt, almond milk, breakfast bars, assorted nuts, olives, and a few vegetables. I couldn't believe my luck.
I did make a $20 trip to the grocery store to fill in the holes in our newfound bounty because the difference between one person eating and four people eating is huge. All that food was demolished by the time we left. However, because we were traveling home by train, we could bring food on board. Once again we found ourselves the recipients of peoples leftover bounty. This combined with one final trip to the grocery store ($22.57) to once again fill in the holes make our train ride home much cheaper.
The food bills were clearly higher because cooking from scratch didn't fit in so well with long days of training, even if they did include two hour lunches! Still I'm really pleased with the way things went.
I did visit two great restaurants while in Sarasota. Pad Thai and Simon's Coffee House. Although very different experiences, both were delicious and very veg friendly.
Now I need to get back into the cooking from scratch groove. Last night's dinner was a crock pot full of all the leftovers from the first week I was gone. Everyone dutifully put leftovers into the freezer once it was clear they wouldn't be finished in a day or two, just like I'd requested! They seemed to think it was magic because it tasted really good but the reality was, most of those flavors went together really well.
So now I have a clean slate, an almost empty fridge, Thanksgiving in two days and I've promised I'd take my daughters to see Twilight tonight. I think I've got my work cut out for me.