Advanced search

Room only USA - food tips needed!

(66 Posts)
Jazzmin Thu 14-Mar-19 18:28:07

We are going to California at Easter. We are staying room only for 2 weeks. Breakfast at the hotels is about 20 dollars each, I have 2 teenagers so they would pay full rate which will soon add up. I was thinking of packing cereal bars etc for a quick breakfast on some days ( obviously can buy from supermarkets there, but particularly thinking about start of holiday as we get our bearings.)
I have never been on this sort of holiday before - does it get time consuming constantly eating out? Do people eat out 3 meals a day? I have budgeted for lots of eating out, but not 80 dollars a day just for breakfast!

Any other tips on what to take which will travel well, or ways to manage having no self catering facilities much appreciated! ( I am really looking forward to the sightseeing, and love eating out, but don’t want to kick myself for not thinking of something obvious!)

OP’s posts: |
sar302 Thu 14-Mar-19 18:32:14

Previously we've just been to a supermarket and bought cereal bars / pastry and fruit and that in our room for breakfast. There might be a fridge in your room also.

Lunch - most supermarkets we went to in California had sushi, or buy rolls and ham / prawns and eat on the go.

Dinner, eating at restaurants.

The more you avoid "sitting in" places, the more you avoid inflated prices and service charge.

California's amazing! Enjoy smile

AuntieOxident Thu 14-Mar-19 18:45:22

You can get much cheaper breakfasts (coffee, juice, bagel , oatmeal) at loads of places, coffee shops, cafés, fast food restaurants etc. Probably lots of healthy options too as it's California grin .
And yes you can get muffins in large packs at supermarkets (recommend the raisin bran ones) as well as pastries, prepared fruit, fruit and cottage cheese platters. There should be loads of choice!
Does your room have tea/coffee making facilities inor a small kitchenette?
We've stayed in lots of hotels that had eg a coffee maker, microwave, and fridge in a corner or alcove. Especially as hotel rooms tend to be quite a bit bigger than in Europe.
What you might find difficult to get hold or buy is real, unflavoured, ground coffee. Teabags and instant coffee are everywhere of course.

SpoonBlender Thu 14-Mar-19 18:50:51

Much of America is set up as if no-one has kitchens. You can eat out for under $5/head/meal if you want to, ask the whatever-they-call-concierges for local places.

Your room will almost certainly have a fridge you can use, and probably a percolator coffee pot. No kettle - they'll likely expect you to use the damn percolator for boiling water! So take a little travel kettle.

AuntieOxident Thu 14-Mar-19 18:50:59

The hotel breakfasts, if you do indulge once or twice, will be massive and will make lunch more or less unnecessary, depending on your appetites.
Sandwiches are large to enormous.
I would also say that when eating out, one starter is usually big enough for two. And we rarely had enough room for dessert. We are most definitely not light eaters, btw.. ☺️

AuntieOxident Thu 14-Mar-19 18:53:56

Pizza places and other 'takeout' restaurants will also deliver to your hotel room.

wowfudge Thu 14-Mar-19 18:55:10

Coffee shops and supermarkets will be cheaper than eating in the hotel.

Places like Walmart do sandwiches that are a bloomer loaf with salad and various fillings. You can feed the family for a couple of days with something that! Prepared salads can easily feed a couple of people. Things like rotisserie chicken and deli salads are available in lots of places.

Unless you are sitting down to three courses every mealtime every day it should be too time consuming, but eating out is one of the pleasures of a holiday for me. In a lot of places, you may want to go for just entrees (main courses) as portion sizes can be huge.

RagingWhoreBag Thu 14-Mar-19 19:00:12

We stayed in lots of hotels and they all had a Krueger machine (like a Tassimo type thing) with the worlds worst coffee pods to use in it! We ended up buying a kettle (luckily I’d taken tea bags!) and carting it around with us from place to place.

We went with a two stop strategy - big breakfast, then early dinner. It meant we had room for a little snack/cake etc as well, but everywhere was really expensive so do be prepared that eating out will cost you a chunk. Supermarket shop makes sense if you have a decent sized fridge in the room.

Have a great time! We loved it there and will def go back.

Darkbaptism Thu 14-Mar-19 19:02:52

I went to California last year. We only needed 2 meals per day, we are big eaters yet still found the portions huge.

Jazzmin Thu 14-Mar-19 19:24:07

Fab suggestions, thanks. We do have big appetites so are all looking forward to the enormous portions of food... will order a travel kettle now- haven’t needed one for years!

OP’s posts: |
wowfudge Fri 15-Mar-19 16:09:28

It's a Keurig coffee machine - I was looking at Krueger for ages trying to work out what was wrong! I was disappointed by coffee in the States. It's no wonder they give free top ups, it's so bloody weak. You can buy all sorts of coffee pods in drugstores, where you can also get ready made sandwiches, salads, etc. CVS and Walgreen's are everywhere. I forgot about drugstores when I posted before.

wowfudge Fri 15-Mar-19 16:20:41

When we last went to the US I booked places that offered 'free' breakfast. Often in a smaller motel type place that meant a pastry or doughnut from the local supermarket, but they usually have cereal and packets of oatmeal too. There's usually free coffee and water available in the lobby in most hotels.

QforCucumber Fri 15-Mar-19 16:22:38

If you're near a Dennys head there for breakfast, we did this staying in Vegas - approx $10 a head but would eat there maybe 9:30 and not eat again until late teatime (maybe a snack but nothing 'proper') Portions were huge and tasty too.

wowfudge Fri 15-Mar-19 16:26:02

Denny's is very good value and quality for a chain. They do lots of meal deals where a drink is included, etc. and they have healthier options.

afromom Fri 15-Mar-19 16:33:00

Another vote for Denny's, they have a $2/4/6/8 dollar menu for breakfast. It's cheap and cheerful and big portions! Often no need for lunch.
They have subway over there too which is useful for a cheap out and about lunch.
Taco Bell do a really cheap meal deal too (I can't remember how cheap it it was under $5).
One tip around alcohol... make sure you have ID they ask EVERYONE in the supermarkets - even my 65year old Dad. They refused to serve him one time as I had carried the alcohol to the till point and didn't have my ID (I'm 37, and don't look younger!) also don't let the kids carry the alcohol for you, we got in trouble for this too.

MurielBennett Fri 15-Mar-19 16:33:03

I have teenagers with giant appetites too. Chains like Denny's, Sizzler, Ponderosa, are your best bet. Not fine dining but some have buffets and everything is fresh. Lots of branches of Subway too that do foot long sandwiches. Have a great time smile

MaisyMary77 Fri 15-Mar-19 16:34:13

We always head to a Denny’s as well! Great value breakfast which will fill us up for the entire day. In the evening we head to a Shoney’s or similar-they do an all you can eat buffet (very cheaply) which is quite nice.

CatsForLife Fri 15-Mar-19 16:37:48

Hotels usually have kettles if you ask. They call them tea kettles. They’ve always provided one when I’ve asked in the US. And as PP have said, there’s always been a fridge too. If you ask in good time, they can usually sort you a room with one out. I’ve always found US hotels really accommodating.

Jazzmin Fri 15-Mar-19 17:07:43

Fantastic tips, thanks. I am officially over-excited now....

OP’s posts: |
RosemaryHoight Fri 15-Mar-19 17:08:10

If you are a tea drinker take teabags.

tellmewhenthespaceshiplandscoz Fri 15-Mar-19 17:15:18

Next time I go to the states I'm going to spend an entire day looking around Trader Joes and Wegmans. Amazing food shops smile

SenecaFalls Fri 15-Mar-19 17:16:45

What you might find difficult to get hold or buy is real, unflavoured, ground coffee. Teabags and instant coffee are everywhere of course.

I am American living in the US and I have stayed in a lot of hotels in my time. I have never seen instant coffee in a hotel room in the US.

If the hotel has a Keurig, the K-Cups might not be all that good. But there are excellent ones available in supermarkets. I recommend Peet's Major Dickason.

AuntieOxident Fri 15-Mar-19 17:41:18

Seneca - I wasn't talking about instant coffee in hotels, I meant unflavoured ground coffee (not instant and not pods) for the filter machines which we found difficult to get hold of in standard supermarkets; we could find hazelnut flavour, mocha (not Yemeni mocha) cinnamon, vanilla and various others. Some were sweetened.
But coffees like Kenya AA, Jamaica blue mountain or Colombian - not so much. Or even a pack of blended roast and ground.
However many, many brands of instant coffee seemed to be available in the same supermarkets.

bruffin Fri 15-Mar-19 17:59:15

I would invest in a good breakfast, then dont have to worry about lunch so much. I dont even remember our lunches when we did a road trip in California,
Just had big breakfast at IHOP or local diner etc and then grabbed a sandwich for lunch and a nice meal in the evening

SenecaFalls Fri 15-Mar-19 18:01:13

Auntie Oxident not sure where you were shopping, but unflavored ground coffee is readily available everywhere I have lived in the US. On the whole, Americans don't drink a lot of instant coffee.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in