COVID-19: Eating My Way Through Hotel Quarantine
Reading so many negative stories on COVID-19 hotel quarantine, it felt time for something more positive. Oh, and food.
As I wrote about for the Voices series on The Millennial Source, I have just moved from Stage-4 lockdown life in Victoria, Australia, to hotel quarantine in Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland (the process of how this occured I also wrote about here.)
A 14-day self-funded and government-directed hotel quarantine is mandatory at present for anyone wanting to move to the northern state of Queensland from a designated COVID-19 hotspot such as the state of Victoria.
I had been planning this move for some time, long before we were slammed with the pandemic, and with so many uncertainties around border openings in Australia, wanted to get these life plans moving.
So, I set the wheels in motion and ended up in hotel quarantine.
What does hotel quarantine look like?
I’m now in Day 10 of hotel quarantine.
That’s TEN WHOLE DAYS of not leaving my room — a room which I can’t deny is quite comfy!
Well, when I say I haven’t left the room, the caveat is I do have a balcony, so I can step out onto it, get some fresh air, feel like I’m outside.
For this, I thank whatever Gods of hotel quarantine were watching over me and ensured I ended up where I did.
I did have my first moment yesterday of it all being slightly surreal.
Can anyone think of a time when they have not left a room for a period of 10 (soon-to-be 14) days?
I definitely can’t, and unless I end up in jail (possible, I guess…) or have some major health scare that confines me to a hospital ward (hoping not), I can’t see this ever happening again.
What did strike me is that I am doing something quite unique.
So, instead of writing a piece like so many others I’ve read in the mainstream media about how TERRIBLE conditions are, I’m going to give you the first seven days of meals.
The eating drill
We had no choices (except around dietary requirements) when it came to food.
It was delivered three times each day during breakfast/lunch/dinner windows.
Breakfast was usually cereal, yoghurt, fruit and juice, although sometimes we were lucky to score a pastry or muffin as well.
Lunch most often consisted of a sandwich, piece of fruit, water, maybe a small packet of crisps/chips and afternoon tea, like a cookie or muffin — one day, for Aussie readers, it was the most DELICIOUS chocolate crackle you could imagine.
And in the evening, there was always a main dish, a dessert, a piece of fruit and water for the main meal.
Each day was different, although on day eight, halfway through the quarantine period, we reverted back to our day one menu.
Day 1: Chicken Stew
An italian-style chicken stew with rice. This had a good mix of chicken and vegetables (mostly pumpkin and sweet potato) in a rich tomato sauce. Flavoursome enough without being groundbreaking. Tasty little danish kinda dessert with pretty delicious lemon drizzle over it.
Day 2 — Salmon & Veg
A fair chunk of oven baked salmon in a light miso glaze. A stack of assorted veg underneath it. Felt super-healthy and even though simple was yummy. Dessert was an eye-wateringly good chocolate tart.
Day 3: Lasagna
I love Italian and I reckon lasagna can be a bit hit or miss. This was a HIT. Throw in that garlic bread on the side, some veg to balance out all the meaty, pasta-ey, cheesy goodness and a dessert that was like cheesecake in a cup and, ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner!
Day 4: Winner Winner Chicken Dinner
Who, vegetarians and vegans aside, doesn’t love a little roast chicken? If you answered “me”, for shame! This had a simple but tasty baste on the outside and came with roast vegetables. Dessert was jaffa cake, which, for the uninitiated, is orange cake with chocolate icing. Nomnoms.
Day 5: Chicken Curry
Usually a hotel buffet special, this was actually authentic-tasting. There were quite distinct flavours as opposed to just generic “curry” and the naan bread on the side was perfect for mopping up the gravy. Dessert looks disappointing compared to others but it was creme-filled so actually yummo.
Day 6: Beef BLAH
So I PROBABLY gave it away that this was NOT my favourite meal. It was Saturday night and I was expecting something a little special. Instead it was straight off an airplane (I guess all those orphan airline tray meals had to go somewhere.) Pass. The cookie was what got this a score above zero.
Day 7: SpagBog
Another all-round fave that’s hard to stuff up, this pasta had a rich, flavoursome sauce containing standard beef mince, meatballs and some pork mince too. Parmesan to throw in, garlic bread AND most-excellent lemon-creme filled canoli another hotel quarantine winner dinner.
So, there you have it.
My foodie week in hotel quarantine.
Not bad eh?
Which given we are paying for this (and for our freedom at the other end!), means at least we’re getting our money’s worth!
Not a bad way to end a meal…and this piece.
Stay safe and well, friends.
See you on the other side of quarantine!