While room service can often elicit luxurious connotations―breakfast in bed, anyone?―a lackluster pile of soggy fries can also be a real drag. Here, insiders dish on what to steer clear of on the room service menu.
Spaghetti and meatballs
“Pasta water is a thickening agent which can water down sauces,” offers Pilot Mountain, North Carolina resident Kelly Merritt, author of The Everything Family Guide to Budget Travel and FLIGHT. But since there’s no quieting a spaghetti and meatballs craving, try Merritt’s simple trick: “If I see pasta and meatballs on a room service menu, I love to order a side of crust, crispy, buttery bread and a side of meatballs. This is almost always enough to be filling and the best part is you get the savory [fix] without the pasta water diluting the sauce.” Ask for any cheese (like mozzarella or Parmesan) to be served on the side.
We hate to be the bearer of news, but it’s hard to preserve items in this food category both texture and taste-wise. “Vented lids cause crispy fried items like fries, onion rings, or even fried shrimp to get soggy from the steam,” comments Skipp Worden, Executive Chef at the Westin Jekyll Island in Georgia. To avoid Soggy Fries Syndrome, you can request your batch be “extra crispy” or even “burnt,” but we make no promises.
Those limp, lackluster sides of veggies simply aren’t worth the price tag. “Items like broccoli, and even squash and carrots sweat under a hospitality cover and become nothing more than flat colors on a plate by the time they reach a guest room,” advises Merritt. If you’re in the mood for vegetables, try a crudité platter with hummus (or even salad dressing) which is pretty tough to mess up.
“Many people will not order fried food off of a room service menu because chances are, it won’t be very crispy when it arrives. I feel this way about ordering pizza,” chimes in Gian Nicola Colucci, Executive Chef at the Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis. “Unless the hotel has an Italian Restaurant or is known for it’s pizza, there is a good chance that it will be previously frozen or a bit tired from sitting under a heat lamp.” What’s more? Pizza can be a vehicle for using up ingredients on the brink of going bad as toppings.
Because of temperature issues, it’s best to place your order for other breakfast fare. “Eggs can get cold pretty quickly. Stick to pancakes, French toast or hot cereals, which retain their heat longer and don’t suffer too much from the steam buildup,” explains Worden.
This article originally appeared on SouthernLiving.com.