Posted on March 15th, 2011
Hello, there. Let me introduce myself: I am Sabrina Braswell, and I’m a lighting designer on tour with the band Iron & Wine. When I go on tour, I end up eating weird, wondrous and horrible things every day. Let me describe them to you.
A few days ago I departed from LaGuardia on a United flight to London Heathrow airport. I am not a vegetarian, and I have nothing against them particularly. I do, however, object to the vegetarian meals on airplanes,* which I received erroneously. Bulgar wheat bits cooked to death with little sticks of multi-colored vegetable matter are not food. They are an excuse for food.
Why are veggie meals so gross? It’s as if the “SkyChefs” looked despondently at one another and said, “Ok, we have the ‘color of despair chicken,’ the ‘beefy nubbins in sad sauce’ and…oh, I dunno, boil this bit of gluten for the vegetarians, they should be thankful we thought of them.”
So why bore you with the “airplane food is horrible” story? I wanted to establish a few things. I am not a vegetarian, but I do commiserate. I feel horrible that this pile of wheat disaster was the only option my herbivore friends had on a six and a half hour flight.
Needless to say that when I landed, I was extremely hungry.
So, once we land at Heathrow and transfer to our hotel, the crew and band are on the move for coffee and food. Once again, I’m not a vegetarian, but I am a vegetarian sympathizer, and when I go off and explore it is with the excellent vegetarian sound man and coffee connoisseur Jeremy Lemos. If you want high brow writing, as opposed to my self-effacing drivel, please check out his blog about our tour last year with the band Pavement on the Chicago Reader website. (But finish reading this first, and then go over there.)
We ended up at a delightful all-vegetarian restaurant called “The Gate.” I’m not going to talk about it, but look it up if you like fresh fruit juice, veggies in step-pyramid formations and you hate your money.
Keep in mind, now, none of us have slept, all of us have only eaten bulgar wheat turds and $26 eggplant rhombi. At this point, normals would go back to the hotel, weep and fall asleep at 8pm, only to then wake again at 4am, annoyed and unable to fall back asleep. Instead, we decide to beat jet lag by going on a search for competition-grade coffees and $600 designer sweaters across town.
Will we make it? Will I manage to drink enough coffee to make my heart stop? What do you think of this sweater I’m wearing? Find out next time.
*Air India excluded. Spicy, deadly, excellent.