PF Changs, Bdubs, Loughmillers’s, and Kilroy’s all have meals around the $10-13 mark, and I’m sure there are more places I just haven’t been to. And you get free water, AC, and no scouting for somewhere to sit.
*I do understand that food trucks are hurting too and have to hustle just as hard to make ends meets, but I personally prefer to eat at a traditional restaurant for the reasons mentioned in my post.
We (my friend and I) usually stay off site and do a combination of mall food court and fast sit-down for lunch and dinner, so the food we bring is for breakfast and snacks.
Snacks, I make a pan of cookie bars and load them with oatmeal and peanut butter to make them more energy dense. Last year I went hog wild on the trail mix, since I'm not super fond of raisins, peanuts, or plain M&Ms. so I went to the bulk food store and got a little bit of everything I like. We take munchies and such for the car ride, and because cheetos are good. We usually bring some clementines, too, to stave of the scurvy.
Breakfast is the big plan, though, and the secret is an electric kettle! It makes oatmeal, good pour over coffee, and can boil an egg. Fixins for oatmeal to make it tastier and more filling (dab of butter, brown sugar, peanut butter) are easy to pack and keep.
My tastes tend to change rapidly, so in addition to some trail mix and some unsalted nuts (probably cashews, almonds, maybe peanuts), I'll probably bring some dried fruit, and the usual chocolate bits. I tend to eat meals at the various restaurants / food trucks.
Although, now that you've mentioned oatmeal, maybe some oatmeal raisin or oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, too...
But I appreciate the info on cheaper meals, and I agree that finding good food for good prices is a priority.
Last year, my group got a lot of mileage out of bring our own cold brew coffee from home, along with the appropriate fixings to set up a little coffee bar in our room. As we are very heavy coffee drinkers, this saved us quite a bit of money. We also brought sandwich materials for breakfast and dinner, a 24 pack of Coke, and an assortment of candy and small snacks.
This year, I wonder if we're going to see an uptick in individually wrapped snack items (like Starbursts and mints that come with individual wrappers, or sandwiches with paper around them) versus "loose" items (M&Ms, bags of chips and the like), where you have something else between your hand (or someone else's hand, if snacks are being shared) and the food as an extra layer of protection from accidentally ingesting something that got on a hand between washings.
More plastic, yes. But on the other hand, Less fuel emissions because people aren't driving as much...probably less water usage because people seem to be showering less now that they aren't going out every day if one believes the memes.
Please, no one add a smell-0-vision feature to online meeting platforms.
No, I meant that my budget will be limited, so I was originally planning (as I sometimes have to do) a year of bringing a lot of my own food. Sometimes I'm able to splurge more and just go to restaurants/food trucks. My post was saying that, even though my budget will be limited, I may be going to more restaurants anyway, to help put some money into food service people's pockets. (I worked food service in the past, I feel a sense of camaraderie.)But I appreciate the info on cheaper meals, and I agree that finding good food for good prices is a priority.
If you have the inclination, I would recommend checking out Amelia's bakery. It's about a mile from the ICC, but they have delicious, filling artisan breads that are between $4-7 for a good size loaf. Good for sandwiches, or just slap some (peanut) butter on it.
My favorite cheap sit-down meal is to get a vegetarian entree at PF Changs. It's like $11.50 and comes with rice, so I can usually get two meals out of it. Obviously this is predicated on your willingness to eat vegetables and deal with leftovers, though. A decent amount of lunch specials <$10 can be found at the some of the aforementioned places as well, but they usually seem to hover around $10-12.