Author Topic: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal  (Read 20501 times)

mathjak107

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #50 on: August 09, 2016, 08:40:25 AM »
we really did wear anything special .  it was a farm .but they had  great food and a high price

MgoSam

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #51 on: August 09, 2016, 10:43:13 AM »
we really did wear anything special .  it was a farm .but they had  great food and a high price

Reminds me about Damon Baehrel, wonder if it might be the same restaurant as the one you went to? He grows nearly everything on his farm, it's a 4+ hour dinner, and I guess there's a 5-10 year waiting list for reservations.

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/eats/damon-baehrel-restaurant-10-year-wait-list-article-1.1722177

Drifterrider

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #52 on: August 09, 2016, 11:01:39 AM »

I don't get it. Why do people pay that much for mediocre food?

Rolex, Mercedes, Rolls Royce, etc.

Some people think you can buy status.

UnleashHell

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #53 on: August 09, 2016, 11:11:06 AM »
I've eaten at a few decent places in my time. Spago in Beverley hills before  he started expanding everywhere else. Excellent food. Always on the company dollar.

French Laundry?
I'd have paid for that out of my own pocket.

iris lily

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #54 on: August 09, 2016, 11:13:16 AM »
Which steakhouse? I cook a better steak than most, but I can't beat Ruth's Chris (most of the time, had an off meal once).  I simply don't have the equipment to flash sear my steaks like they can.

DH and I have heard good things about Ruth's Chris, so we always thought we'd give it a try. But then I found out they slather the steak in butter, so... not on our to do list anymore.

What's wrong with slathering a steak in butter?

Ruth Chris uses way too much butter, it is disgusting. And this is from someone who eats a LOT of butter.

I think these steak places are over rated. I ranted about Morton's in a previous thread. Someone gave us a gift certificate, so not worth it..besidws, we are used to my Inlaws' home raised steaks. I cant buy quality beef at our grocery store.

But $250 for two people at a high end nouveau cuisine or new AMetican  chef type of place would be ok with me. I like imaginative food and good wines.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2016, 11:21:15 AM by iris lily »

Inaya

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #55 on: August 09, 2016, 11:36:59 AM »
We don't travel or do "experiences," and my cooking is mediocre at best (but slowly improving--I only slice myself open every other time I pick up a knife), so eating out is our Thing. We very rarely go above $50/plate (and don't even hit that price point all that often), but we do require that it has to be something I can't make at home. We spent $300 on our anniversary dinner (2 appetizers, 2 steaks, 2 cocktails, 1 dessert [well 2, but they comped 1], and a glass of cognac). It was delicious, they treated us fantastically, and we're going to make it a tradition to go to the same place every anniversary as long as we're in Chicago. They custom-print menus that say "Happy #th anniversary Mrs. and Mr. Xyz!", so we're going to collect them every year (we've gone for year 1 and year 2 now). It's a gimmick, and I love it.


That said, it's once a year. It's a very small amount compared to the amount I'm saving annually, and it's something we both enjoy very much.

MgoSam

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #56 on: August 09, 2016, 11:43:18 AM »

That said, it's once a year. It's a very small amount compared to the amount I'm saving annually, and it's something we both enjoy very much.

I agree and I'm glad that you enjoyed this.

For cooking, I'm somewhat self-taught and not even that good at it, but looking up tutorials on Youtube have helped me (and prevented cutting myself). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ydc_SaQ_eRQ is one such video. I host a international dinner with a few friends and that's helped me become a better cook...I'm the worst among the 4 hosts but they are useful in learning how to become a better cook.

Also, I love using my slow cooker, it certainly makes cooking so much easier and it might be useful for you.

Mississippi Mudstache

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #57 on: August 09, 2016, 11:45:33 AM »
For people here that have spent $100+ for a meal out of their own pocket (not work comped), was it worth it?

I've paid $100+ for a meal (for two people) thrice in my life:

1) First time was to celebrate my wife's 21st birthday (we were dating at the time). Fancy restaurant in downtown Greenville, SC (where we met). The meal was totally worth it. I don't remember what we ate, but I remember that it was awesome. The bill included a bottle of wine and the waitress brought out a free dessert when she found out we were celebrating a 21th birthday. The whole evening was fantastic.

2) Second time was a date during which I proposed to my wife. It was some nondescript restaurant at Niagara Falls. The night was memorable because we got engaged; the meal was mediocre. I've had a better steak at Applebee's. Honestly, if I'd known in advance what a consumeristic nightmare Niagara Falls was, I would have picked a different spot to propose.

3) Last time was during our first year of marriage. We were visiting Colonial Williamsburg and booked a reservation at one of their fancy period restaurants. The atmosphere and service was just wonderful (I'm a history buff). The food was disgusting. Actually, my wife's was pretty good. She had some portabella mushroom dish. I had peanut soup (sounded interesting but was barely able to choke it down) and some meat dish with weird spices. It tasted like my 4-year-old raided the spice cabinet to season a meatloaf. After that experience, I've had no desire to pay more than $50 for a two-person meal.

golden1

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #58 on: August 09, 2016, 12:19:47 PM »
Wow....I never thought I would see so many stories of super fancy restaurants in a mustachian forum!  Some of these stories are amazing. 

I tend to stay away from super fancy places like that.  The most expensive meal I have had per person (that I paid for) was probably Emeril's in Las Vegas back around 1999-2000.  The steak was good, but not overwhelmingly good.  I have a real hard time with the idea of paying $50 a plate for anything, no matter how good it is.  There are tons of expensive places in my town that I haven't tried, and I am certain they are kept afloat by corporate meals.   

Cycling Stache

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #59 on: August 09, 2016, 12:38:36 PM »
Wow....I never thought I would see so many stories of super fancy restaurants in a mustachian forum!

Yes, but how many were before discovering MMM, and how many were after?  :)

Hotstreak

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #60 on: August 09, 2016, 12:41:25 PM »
I've never managed $100 for a meal, even with drinks.  Most I think I've spent is in the $50-$70 range, for something I don't know how to make at home (or don't want to try cooking a few times to get it right).  It helps that I live in a town where the most expensive restaurant is $60/plate for a steak, and since steak is one of the things I can cook very well I never go there!

Wow....I never thought I would see so many stories of super fancy restaurants in a mustachian forum!

Yes, but how many were before discovering MMM, and how many were after?  :)

Hah, great point!  Mine were definitely before.  Now, I just eat less food.  I want to experience the different flavors of sushi or whatever, but I'm not also ordering apps and desert and 3 drinks to stuff myself with.

Inaya

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #61 on: August 09, 2016, 12:52:53 PM »
Wow....I never thought I would see so many stories of super fancy restaurants in a mustachian forum!  Some of these stories are amazing. 
That's pretty much how I felt reading the $4500 engagement ring thread. But it was okay because "happy wife, happy life." And also because, "Well they can afford it." The sentiment is generally the same for travel around here. But food and housekeeping, not so much.

Chris22

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #62 on: August 09, 2016, 01:05:07 PM »
There's also a lot of difference between "I ate at French Laundry once" and "we're at Mortons 4x a month."  To think someone is foolish at going to French Laundry once is like saying someone is foolish for traveling to the Louvre when they could go check out the prints at the mall for free.  Certain things are once in a lifetime experiences, and if you value gaining that experience you can pay a lot for it once or twice.  That's a whole different ball of wax from someone who eats Chili's takeout every weekend because they're too lazy to cook. 

forummm

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #63 on: August 09, 2016, 01:16:49 PM »
There's also a lot of difference between "I ate at French Laundry once" and "we're at Mortons 4x a month."  To think someone is foolish at going to French Laundry once is like saying someone is foolish for traveling to the Louvre when they could go check out the prints at the mall for free.  Certain things are once in a lifetime experiences, and if you value gaining that experience you can pay a lot for it once or twice.  That's a whole different ball of wax from someone who eats Chili's takeout every weekend because they're too lazy to cook. 

Yeah. I would try something fancy once. Maybe Chez Panisse at some point. It's a small fraction of my NW. And then you know what it's like and don't need to feel like you are missing out. But it would be "once" and not "once a week".

What are grit fritters? 

Balls of grits (just a tad bigger than a golf ball) with something in them to make them creamy, and then the whole thing is deep fried. They were the most enjoyable thing I had. And even then, not mindblowing--just pretty good.

https://www.google.com/search?q=grit+fritter  (click on images for pictures)
« Last Edit: August 09, 2016, 01:18:35 PM by forummm »

yuka

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #64 on: August 09, 2016, 05:18:09 PM »
Wow....I never thought I would see so many stories of super fancy restaurants in a mustachian forum!  Some of these stories are amazing. 
 

I just figure that the people posting in this thread are mostly the ones for whom the big advice is not "skip the daily expensive coffee", but rather "skip the second home and 3rd car." But even more than that, I think mustachians are people who take the time to know what's important to them, and for some it's amazing food :)

Sylly

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #65 on: August 09, 2016, 08:28:09 PM »
At least once a year we go to a nicer restaurant where most of the entrees run around ~30 (+/- 5). Counting drinks, taxes and gratuities, it's over 100 for the meal. The one minimum is for anniversary, any additional ones may involve treating guests. So far, that's about as upscale as we go, and in most cases, we think the food is worth it, especially over something like Chili's or Applebee's. There's also a noticeable service difference. We find such restaurants generally handle dietary restrictions better, which is important when your restriction has health implications.

For less upscale restaurants, we generally go for things we can't make nearly as well or not at all. Certain ethnic foods, certain preparations, etc. I guess that's true of the more upscale ones as well, though in this case skill level comes into play a bit more.

I am a bit curious about restaurants even nicer restaurants. Maybe one of these days we'll actually convince ourselves to try a place that's 100+ per person.

Spork

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #66 on: August 11, 2016, 10:44:50 AM »
I've never managed $100 for a meal, even with drinks.  Most I think I've spent is in the $50-$70 range, for something I don't know how to make at home (or don't want to try cooking a few times to get it right). 

Along those lines...  Several months ago my dad was in a hospital out of town.  My sister, her daughter and I were staying in hotels for weeks to be nearby.

Sis/niece know I am "cheap" but wanted to include me in dinner plans.  They carefully researched to find "cheap" places I would go to.  I went with them about once a week (on other nights I opted for very inexpensive fast food or something I could prepare in my Motel 6 room).  The nights I went out with them to "cheap" places, the two of them spent more than $100 EVERY SINGLE TIME.  I am not talking steak houses.  I am talking average, normal restaurants.  I generally spent about $15 those nights.

Rightflyer

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #67 on: August 11, 2016, 11:02:19 AM »
Keeping with the steak vein (was that a pun?!)...

Our dream, since seeing it on "Steak Revolution",  is to eat at El Capricho in Spain (hopefully to be fulfilled early next year)

The steak (no sides) is 120 euros per kilo (about $60USD for 16 oz).

Sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime experience for us and I am going to enjoy it!


yuka

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #68 on: August 11, 2016, 12:35:06 PM »
Keeping with the steak vein (was that a pun?!)...

Our dream, since seeing it on "Steak Revolution",  is to eat at El Capricho in Spain (hopefully to be fulfilled early next year)

The steak (no sides) is 120 euros per kilo (about $60USD for 16 oz).

Sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime experience for us and I am going to enjoy it!

Interesting; I would never go for Spanish food as a big, exciting meal. Granted, they do some good many-course, multi-hour meals, but I never cared much for their preparation. They take fantastic ingredients and then under-deliver like crazy. My favorite example is paella: a bunch of good seafood all mixed together over rice and some other stuff. It looks great, but every time I have some I end up thinking "darn, they should have made jambalaya, and this would've been fantastic!"

MgoSam

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #69 on: August 11, 2016, 01:21:11 PM »
My favorite example is paella: a bunch of good seafood all mixed together over rice and some other stuff. It looks great, but every time I have some I end up thinking "darn, they should have made jambalaya, and this would've been fantastic!"

I just bought an Instant Pot and due to this and your post, I'm now looking up paella and jambalaya IP recipes. I hope you're proud of yourself ;-)!

lifejoy

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #70 on: August 11, 2016, 02:29:31 PM »
I've had a $200+ meal. We had an $80 gift card and did not realize that adding one flight of wine (as in, for one person only) would add SO MUCH to the bill. It was a fancy place. Really good food, multiple courses. But NO WAY was my enjoyment higher than what I get out of my $1 box of Kraft Dinner or a $10 pad thai from the place down the street.

AlwaysLearningToSave

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #71 on: August 11, 2016, 03:17:24 PM »
and I felt bad for spending $40 for two people at Buffalo Wild Wings and Din Tai Fung...

I'm not sure if I'd ever spend $100p/p :O that would make my stomach literally hurt

As backwards as it sounds, I would feel better about a $100 meal than I would about dropping $40 at Buffalo Wild Wings (edit to clarify: I don't think I've done $100 per person but I have definitely gone over $100 for two people). 

When I go to a fancy restaurant, I don't think about it as purchasing food.  I think about it as paying for the expertise of a skilled chef who is going to put time and care to create a fantastic culinary experience.  When I choose to spend money on a fancy restaurant, it is for some sort of special occasion with people I love and it becomes a memorable experience.  If it is a great restaurant, I can't duplicate the food at home.  And even if I can duplicate the food at home, I cannot duplicate the intimate dining experience at home.  When I look at it that way, the price strikes me as fair for the service I receive.  And the price is steep enough that I'm not going to fall into the trap of it becoming a common experience. 

But something like Buffalo Wild Wings or another moderately priced restaurant?  They just strike me as just overpriced for what you get and not worth it.  BWW is not appreciably better than the local dive bars that have good wings for less than $10.  I can almost always duplicate the food of a moderately priced restaurant at home for a fraction of the cost.  And when I go there and the price isn't *that* bad I risk falling into the trap of wanting to do it more often. 
« Last Edit: August 11, 2016, 03:38:38 PM by AlwaysLearningToSave »

dcheesi

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #72 on: August 11, 2016, 03:23:42 PM »
For people here that have spent $100+ for a meal out of their own pocket (not work comped), was it worth it?

I've paid $100+ for a meal (for two people) thrice in my life:

1) First time was to celebrate my wife's 21st birthday (we were dating at the time). Fancy restaurant in downtown Greenville, SC (where we met). The meal was totally worth it. I don't remember what we ate, but I remember that it was awesome. The bill included a bottle of wine and the waitress brought out a free dessert when she found out we were celebrating a 21th birthday. The whole evening was fantastic.

2) Second time was a date during which I proposed to my wife. It was some nondescript restaurant at Niagara Falls. The night was memorable because we got engaged; the meal was mediocre. I've had a better steak at Applebee's. Honestly, if I'd known in advance what a consumeristic nightmare Niagara Falls was, I would have picked a different spot to propose.

3) Last time was during our first year of marriage. We were visiting Colonial Williamsburg and booked a reservation at one of their fancy period restaurants. The atmosphere and service was just wonderful (I'm a history buff). The food was disgusting. Actually, my wife's was pretty good. She had some portabella mushroom dish. I had peanut soup (sounded interesting but was barely able to choke it down) and some meat dish with weird spices. It tasted like my 4-year-old raided the spice cabinet to season a meatloaf. After that experience, I've had no desire to pay more than $50 for a two-person meal.
Hmm, peanut soup can actually be pretty good if it's done right. But if they were faithfully following colonial-era recipes, it may be that some of the spices and seasoning don't match up with modern expectations. There was a series of beers produced based on colonial recipes, and some of the flavors they used in place of hops (which were hard to get back then) were ...interesting, to say the least.

TheMoneyWizard

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #73 on: August 11, 2016, 04:05:11 PM »
As an admitted foodie who spends a face-punch worthy amount on dining out each month, I'd like to weigh in.

I think a few things are happening regarding your underwhelming experience:

1) As has been mentioned previously, steakhouses suck. There's not a whole lot a chef can do to a steak. Fancy meals are a form of art, but steak is a pretty restricting canvas. In the end, most steakhouses just end up adding more salt and butter than home cooks. Much of the general population is wowed by this. Those who know how to cook usually are not.
2) Like most goods and services, more expensive does not guarantee better. I've had $10 plates of food that blew the socks of $60 plates of mediocre food. I've also eaten some $60 meals that were unbelievably delicious. There really are some amazing chefs out there putting together unbelievable meals which most home cooks couldn't even imagine. There's also the marketing machine pumping out some seriously overpriced bullshit, like anything in the land of consumer culture. Price tag and taste are not directly correlated.
3) Study after study has proven that our expectations have a very real impact on our taste of food. You went in expecting your steak to taste better. It tasted better. Someone at the table next to you was probably in awe of the price-tag, and is telling the same story about how mind blowing their meal was.

So are expensive meals worth it? Sometimes. Not always. It's mostly personal preference. Like anything.

trailrated

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #74 on: August 11, 2016, 04:41:08 PM »
I went out to dinner with my Fiance last night to a restaurant her cousin is the head chef at. It was his last night as he is about to start his own venture. The dinner was $120 for two including drinks, but to our surprise the general manager of the restaurant waved the tab because they were happy to see us celebrating with him on his last night and grateful for all he had done for them over the past few years.

I have to say the food was pretty good but not great. We went to dinner at his house a few months prior and I had the best fish meal of my life (that I gladly would have paid top dollar for if it were at a restaurant). When he saw what we ordered he started laughing and "apologized" for the mediocre food. He explained he had to "dumb down" the menu so the kitchen could handle the dishes in his absence and he made sure that happened before his full transition out. We had a long talk about what he would do prior and what he knew they were capable of without him.

We still left a good tip for the waitress and it was a great experience and I am glad we were there to celebrate his last day after years at the restaurant.

kitkat

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #75 on: August 12, 2016, 01:21:19 PM »
and I felt bad for spending $40 for two people at Buffalo Wild Wings and Din Tai Fung...

I'm not sure if I'd ever spend $100p/p :O that would make my stomach literally hurt

As backwards as it sounds, I would feel better about a $100 meal than I would about dropping $40 at Buffalo Wild Wings (edit to clarify: I don't think I've done $100 per person but I have definitely gone over $100 for two people). 

When I go to a fancy restaurant, I don't think about it as purchasing food.  I think about it as paying for the expertise of a skilled chef who is going to put time and care to create a fantastic culinary experience.  When I choose to spend money on a fancy restaurant, it is for some sort of special occasion with people I love and it becomes a memorable experience.  If it is a great restaurant, I can't duplicate the food at home.  And even if I can duplicate the food at home, I cannot duplicate the intimate dining experience at home.  When I look at it that way, the price strikes me as fair for the service I receive.  And the price is steep enough that I'm not going to fall into the trap of it becoming a common experience. 

But something like Buffalo Wild Wings or another moderately priced restaurant?  They just strike me as just overpriced for what you get and not worth it.  BWW is not appreciably better than the local dive bars that have good wings for less than $10.  I can almost always duplicate the food of a moderately priced restaurant at home for a fraction of the cost.  And when I go there and the price isn't *that* bad I risk falling into the trap of wanting to do it more often.


This is so good - I love this explanation/way of thinking.

I can remember all of the special meals I have had in the past couple of years (certainly a face-punch worthy amount) and treasure the meal and the experience fondly. But I certainly cannot remember all the times we picked up $12 mac and cheese from the badass mac-and-cheese-only restaurant a few blocks from our house. We have recently come to the conclusion that we just need to get better at making cheese sauce.. our's always comes out clumpy or oily... will certainly help the budget!

onehair

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #76 on: August 12, 2016, 01:37:43 PM »
And here I was ready to risk $24 for Michel Richard's fried chicken here in the DC area.  For the record I haven't but it got rave reviews.  I am afraid I will get it and not be impressed considering I never met fried chicken I didn't like except if it's fried in lard or Church's.

Spork

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #77 on: August 12, 2016, 02:20:10 PM »
My husband and I have been to Ruth's Chris 4-5 times over the years (always on a mystery shop, so no actual cost to us.)  Every time we go, we are always shocked at how mediocre the food is.  Really nothing to write home about - not sure what the big hype is over them.  I can cook a much better steak at home for a fraction of the cost ($25 on good fillets from the grocery store...cooked following a Barefoot Contessa recipe...best. steak. ever.  My husband agrees, and I now cook all steaks in our house).  If I had ever gone on my own dime, I would have been severely disappointed.  Going on someone else's dime...sure, why not.  It's a paid-for date night for us about once a year.

Like I said, I cook a good steak, but I can't cook it at 1200* like they do, I don't have that sort of equipment.  And I like the butter thing.  Also the lobster bisque is delicious.

You can get lump charcoal up that hot.  This is just their advertising winning you over.  Get some lump charcoal and an old hair dryer and you're there.

Making Cookies

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #78 on: August 12, 2016, 02:22:50 PM »
The number of TVs in BWW was overwhelming...

forummm

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #79 on: August 12, 2016, 05:13:30 PM »
Keeping with the steak vein (was that a pun?!)...

Yep, you're sizzlin'!

Spork

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #80 on: August 12, 2016, 05:53:34 PM »
Keeping with the steak vein (was that a pun?!)...

Yep, you're sizzlin'!

In rare form.  This has been well done!
« Last Edit: August 12, 2016, 05:57:59 PM by Spork »

Rightflyer

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #81 on: August 13, 2016, 06:06:25 AM »
Keeping with the steak vein (was that a pun?!)...

Yep, you're sizzlin'!

In rare form.  This has been well done!

OK. Thanks.
Well, now we can get on with the meat of matter.

Roland of Gilead

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #82 on: August 13, 2016, 08:54:33 AM »
We have paid over $200 a meal several times at Art of the Table in Seattle.  No shame as it is many course chef tasting menu and some of the best food I have ever had in my life.  We limited it to once a year around Christmas.

katstache

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #83 on: August 14, 2016, 09:49:39 AM »
If I go out to eat, it's to eat something I don't know how to make well. Indian food, chinese food. Even in these spaces, I'm trying, but these recipes are often secrets and when I try to do what's on the web it doesn't come out tasting as good.

Ditto.  Sushi, for example, is hard to do at home if you want a wide variety, so we get that out.  There is a vegan restaurant called "Vedge" in Philadelphia that uses ingredients you can't find in grocery stores, expensive but very interesting combos.  We've experimented with making things like Ethiopian, but it is time consuming to make one dish, and we like the variety of the "sampler" platters you can get at a restaurant.  Steak, lobster, there isn't THAT much a restaurant does to them that we can't do ourselves.  Basically, the issue is my DW likes a meal that has many different interesting, fresh, flavors, so she can get ideas for things to make, for a reasonable price, and that is hard enough to find that we don't end up eating out THAT often.  :) 

The nicest places we have eaten out tend to be at my company Christmas parties, the people in charge of it have high end tastes so they are very good restaurants.  We went back to one for a special occasion, and it was ~$120/person with tax and tip, but a very interesting series of dishes, a tasting meal with wine pairing.   We are considering doing again for another special occasion.

I've had good luck with home sushi parties with friends!  It's pretty easy to make your own and even the ugly sushi generally still tastes good!  Each friend or two brings a sashmi-grade protein and/or veggis and/or fruit.  You can make some experimental rolls too, which can be fun.  Kimchi actually works very well if you're into those flavors!


MgoSam

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #84 on: August 14, 2016, 12:59:25 PM »
If I go out to eat, it's to eat something I don't know how to make well. Indian food, chinese food. Even in these spaces, I'm trying, but these recipes are often secrets and when I try to do what's on the web it doesn't come out tasting as good.

Ditto.  Sushi, for example, is hard to do at home if you want a wide variety, so we get that out.  There is a vegan restaurant called "Vedge" in Philadelphia that uses ingredients you can't find in grocery stores, expensive but very interesting combos.  We've experimented with making things like Ethiopian, but it is time consuming to make one dish, and we like the variety of the "sampler" platters you can get at a restaurant.  Steak, lobster, there isn't THAT much a restaurant does to them that we can't do ourselves.  Basically, the issue is my DW likes a meal that has many different interesting, fresh, flavors, so she can get ideas for things to make, for a reasonable price, and that is hard enough to find that we don't end up eating out THAT often.  :) 

The nicest places we have eaten out tend to be at my company Christmas parties, the people in charge of it have high end tastes so they are very good restaurants.  We went back to one for a special occasion, and it was ~$120/person with tax and tip, but a very interesting series of dishes, a tasting meal with wine pairing.   We are considering doing again for another special occasion.

I've had good luck with home sushi parties with friends!  It's pretty easy to make your own and even the ugly sushi generally still tastes good!  Each friend or two brings a sashmi-grade protein and/or veggis and/or fruit.  You can make some experimental rolls too, which can be fun.  Kimchi actually works very well if you're into those flavors!

+1

I also host sushi dinners. It's easy as I work a few miles from the leading fishmonger in the area, so I'll just pick up a bunch of fish and have everyone bring cash. It's still way less for what you get (I usually call ahead to reserve toro, a cut I really enjoy).

Metric Mouse

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #85 on: August 14, 2016, 01:27:23 PM »
If I go out to eat, it's to eat something I don't know how to make well. Indian food, chinese food. Even in these spaces, I'm trying, but these recipes are often secrets and when I try to do what's on the web it doesn't come out tasting as good.

Ditto.  Sushi, for example, is hard to do at home if you want a wide variety, so we get that out.  There is a vegan restaurant called "Vedge" in Philadelphia that uses ingredients you can't find in grocery stores, expensive but very interesting combos.  We've experimented with making things like Ethiopian, but it is time consuming to make one dish, and we like the variety of the "sampler" platters you can get at a restaurant.  Steak, lobster, there isn't THAT much a restaurant does to them that we can't do ourselves.  Basically, the issue is my DW likes a meal that has many different interesting, fresh, flavors, so she can get ideas for things to make, for a reasonable price, and that is hard enough to find that we don't end up eating out THAT often.  :) 

The nicest places we have eaten out tend to be at my company Christmas parties, the people in charge of it have high end tastes so they are very good restaurants.  We went back to one for a special occasion, and it was ~$120/person with tax and tip, but a very interesting series of dishes, a tasting meal with wine pairing.   We are considering doing again for another special occasion.

I've had good luck with home sushi parties with friends!  It's pretty easy to make your own and even the ugly sushi generally still tastes good!  Each friend or two brings a sashmi-grade protein and/or veggis and/or fruit.  You can make some experimental rolls too, which can be fun.  Kimchi actually works very well if you're into those flavors!

+1

I also host sushi dinners. It's easy as I work a few miles from the leading fishmonger in the area, so I'll just pick up a bunch of fish and have everyone bring cash. It's still way less for what you get (I usually call ahead to reserve toro, a cut I really enjoy).

Home made sushi is truly superior to what is usually served in any eatery stateside.

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #86 on: August 14, 2016, 05:02:32 PM »
Wondering if anyone else feels a bit out of place when having a drink at a swanky restaurant or bar.

There have been a few times where I've wanted to sit down and have a beer or glass of wine just to preserve the moment in a special place (e.g. on vacation) but I'm too acutely aware of my sensible walking shoes and backpack to sit down with any Fendi/Dior/Gucci-clad crowd.

Even though I know that (a) I shouldn't give a damn about what other people think; (b) we can easily afford it; and (c) we are probably better off than most of the spendy people there.

Yes, I know it deserves a face-punch, but I'm also curious as to whether anyone else has ever felt the same.

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #87 on: August 14, 2016, 05:09:58 PM »
Wondering if anyone else feels a bit out of place when having a drink at a swanky restaurant or bar.

There have been a few times where I've wanted to sit down and have a beer or glass of wine just to preserve the moment in a special place (e.g. on vacation) but I'm too acutely aware of my sensible walking shoes and backpack to sit down with any Fendi/Dior/Gucci-clad crowd.

Even though I know that (a) I shouldn't give a damn about what other people think; (b) we can easily afford it; and (c) we are probably better off than most of the spendy people there.

Yes, I know it deserves a face-punch, but I'm also curious as to whether anyone else has ever felt the same.
I do it, I dont care. As long as you are clean and covered, the management welcomes your busness. If it is a "jackets required" place then one would have to honor that dress code.

Cassie

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #88 on: August 14, 2016, 05:24:35 PM »
We enjoy eating out at a nice place occasionally but I am not that much of a foodie for a meal that costs more then 50/person to be worth it to me. I am not including drinks or anything else in that amount since obviously it would be extra. But if people can afford it and enjoy it there is no harm.  Spend your $ according to your values.

MgoSam

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #89 on: August 14, 2016, 05:49:19 PM »
Wondering if anyone else feels a bit out of place when having a drink at a swanky restaurant or bar.

There have been a few times where I've wanted to sit down and have a beer or glass of wine just to preserve the moment in a special place (e.g. on vacation) but I'm too acutely aware of my sensible walking shoes and backpack to sit down with any Fendi/Dior/Gucci-clad crowd.

Even though I know that (a) I shouldn't give a damn about what other people think; (b) we can easily afford it; and (c) we are probably better off than most of the spendy people there.

Yes, I know it deserves a face-punch, but I'm also curious as to whether anyone else has ever felt the same.
I do it, I dont care. As long as you are clean and covered, the management welcomes your busness. If it is a "jackets required" place then one would have to honor that dress code.

Me too, I've stayed at a pretty swanky hotel in Chicago, and will walk around in whatever I want. I agree, if there is a dress code, than I would follow it.

iris lily

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #90 on: August 14, 2016, 08:31:17 PM »
Decades ago I read a tip and used it a few times: in cities where you want ro experience the best hotels, go in for tea around 4 pm. That way you het service, ambience, and decent food but its nt terrifically expensive. We did this at old high end Victorian hotels  in Hong Kongl Bankok, and various cities in the UK. I love those old hotels.

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #91 on: August 14, 2016, 09:17:38 PM »
$450 for my wife and I at Katsu in Chicago for sushi during our honeymoon. Worth every cent.
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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #92 on: August 14, 2016, 09:27:23 PM »
We just got back from vacation in Hawaii for our 5 year wedding anniversary and while there we ate dinner at Mick Fleetwood's restaurant in Lahaina: $175 (with no appetizer). Completely coincidentally, an employee told us while we were there that Mick Fleetwood was in town and he was playing a show in the restaurant the next night, so we bought tickets to that too: another $230. At the show, which seated only 150 people, Mick Fleetwood drummed for award-winning Native Hawaiian blues rock legend Willie K. and then an unannounced special guest came out to sing: Sammy Hagar. Worth. Every. Damn. Penny.

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #93 on: August 15, 2016, 06:51:08 AM »
Quote
There's also a lot of difference between "I ate at French Laundry once" and "we're at Mortons 4x a month." 

Agreed.  I have been to a few really fancy meals for work, the most memorable in Bologna, Italy which was a nine course meal - absolutely amazing food.  I have no idea what it cost, but I am sure it wasn't cheap. 

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #94 on: August 15, 2016, 07:41:02 AM »
Wondering if anyone else feels a bit out of place when having a drink at a swanky restaurant or bar.

There have been a few times where I've wanted to sit down and have a beer or glass of wine just to preserve the moment in a special place (e.g. on vacation) but I'm too acutely aware of my sensible walking shoes and backpack to sit down with any Fendi/Dior/Gucci-clad crowd.

Even though I know that (a) I shouldn't give a damn about what other people think; (b) we can easily afford it; and (c) we are probably better off than most of the spendy people there.

Yes, I know it deserves a face-punch, but I'm also curious as to whether anyone else has ever felt the same.

When the wife and I strolled into Ruth's Chris a few months ago in NoVA, we were wearing jeans/t-shirts. At first my wife was concerned but that feeling quickly faded. We're clean cut, we knew what we wanted to order, and we were respectful to our waiter and the staff. We tipped at least 20%, and moved on with our lives. I'm sure they didn't mind either.

That being said; it was a spur of the moment thing to eat there. If we had planned ahead, we would have dressed more appropriately.

Roland of Gilead

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #95 on: August 15, 2016, 08:27:29 AM »
Seattle is a probably a bit different.  You have multi millionaires who will stroll into the fanciest restaurants in ripped t-shirts and jeans.

Someone wore jeans and flipflops to the Ring if you can believe it.

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #96 on: August 15, 2016, 09:31:32 AM »
For people here that have spent $100+ for a meal out of their own pocket (not work comped), was it worth it?

I've paid $100+ for a meal (for two people) thrice in my life:

1) First time was to celebrate my wife's 21st birthday (we were dating at the time). Fancy restaurant in downtown Greenville, SC (where we met). The meal was totally worth it. I don't remember what we ate, but I remember that it was awesome. The bill included a bottle of wine and the waitress brought out a free dessert when she found out we were celebrating a 21th birthday. The whole evening was fantastic.

2) Second time was a date during which I proposed to my wife. It was some nondescript restaurant at Niagara Falls. The night was memorable because we got engaged; the meal was mediocre. I've had a better steak at Applebee's. Honestly, if I'd known in advance what a consumeristic nightmare Niagara Falls was, I would have picked a different spot to propose.

3) Last time was during our first year of marriage. We were visiting Colonial Williamsburg and booked a reservation at one of their fancy period restaurants. The atmosphere and service was just wonderful (I'm a history buff). The food was disgusting. Actually, my wife's was pretty good. She had some portabella mushroom dish. I had peanut soup (sounded interesting but was barely able to choke it down) and some meat dish with weird spices. It tasted like my 4-year-old raided the spice cabinet to season a meatloaf. After that experience, I've had no desire to pay more than $50 for a two-person meal.
Hmm, peanut soup can actually be pretty good if it's done right. But if they were faithfully following colonial-era recipes, it may be that some of the spices and seasoning don't match up with modern expectations. There was a series of beers produced based on colonial recipes, and some of the flavors they used in place of hops (which were hard to get back then) were ...interesting, to say the least.

The peanut soup tasted like a mixture of chicken broth and peanut butter. I was unimpressed. And yeah, I admit that my distaste for the meat seasoning is probably just a result of my narrow, modern expectations of how meat is supposed to be flavored, but I've come to the happy conclusion that I'm not a foodie and I don't really want to be. My favorite restaurants don't do things that are new and exciting; they just do familiar things (like pizza and hamburgers) exceptionally well. The fact that they often cost under $10 a plate (prior to taxes, tip, and drinks) is just a bonus.

Kaspian

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #97 on: August 16, 2016, 12:35:00 PM »
It's absolute (fucking!) claptrap, Forummm!  I'm with you on this.

While travelling some of my friends will want to go to the "fancy" restaurant.  You end up paying $80 for something like 4 raviolis in the middle of a oversized plate with a tiny dollop of orangezest/ginger sauce on top.  It's bloody starvation food, to tell the truth!  But they sit around going, "Yummmm....  OMG, this is so delicious!"  I guess they'd better say that just to convince themselves it's worth the damn mountain of money?  Meanwhile I sit there wishing I'd gone to the pub or canteen down the street for a giant burger and fries (or goulash or pork pies or a bacon baguette, or whatever  deliciousness the real locals eat).  Dessert comes and it's one strawberry, a brownie (literally) the size of a sugar cube, with some zigzag chocolate drizzle on top.  Total scam!  When they order a glass of wine it always comes half-full.  Why do people like this stuff?!  It's obviously pretentious. 

So yeah, if they're going anywhere at all now that appears nouveaux cuisine or reeks of white tablecloths, giant glasses, teardrop lighting, and fire fountains, I bail.  No way I'm doing that stuff anymore.

Below is the type of thing I'm talking about.  I've never heard of a "connoisseur" or "foodie" taking a photo of something like this and commenting online that it tastes like crap.  But surely it's not all "AWESOME!"  They say it's delicious just because they paid a hundred bucks for stupidity and wouldn't admit if it wasn't.  Emperor's new clothes.  I want to throw it at the waiter.  ...Rant way too long.  Blood pressure way too high.  This one hit a nerve.  Sorry.  Signing out. 
« Last Edit: August 16, 2016, 12:37:37 PM by Kaspian »

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #98 on: August 16, 2016, 01:50:54 PM »
It's absolute (fucking!) claptrap, Forummm!  I'm with you on this.

While travelling some of my friends will want to go to the "fancy" restaurant.  You end up paying $80 for something like 4 raviolis in the middle of a oversized plate with a tiny dollop of orangezest/ginger sauce on top.  It's bloody starvation food, to tell the truth!  But they sit around going, "Yummmm....  OMG, this is so delicious!"  I guess they'd better say that just to convince themselves it's worth the damn mountain of money?  Meanwhile I sit there wishing I'd gone to the pub or canteen down the street for a giant burger and fries (or goulash or pork pies or a bacon baguette, or whatever  deliciousness the real locals eat).  Dessert comes and it's one strawberry, a brownie (literally) the size of a sugar cube, with some zigzag chocolate drizzle on top.  Total scam!  When they order a glass of wine it always comes half-full.  Why do people like this stuff?!  It's obviously pretentious. 

So yeah, if they're going anywhere at all now that appears nouveaux cuisine or reeks of white tablecloths, giant glasses, teardrop lighting, and fire fountains, I bail.  No way I'm doing that stuff anymore.

Below is the type of thing I'm talking about.  I've never heard of a "connoisseur" or "foodie" taking a photo of something like this and commenting online that it tastes like crap.  But surely it's not all "AWESOME!"  They say it's delicious just because they paid a hundred bucks for stupidity and wouldn't admit if it wasn't.  Emperor's new clothes.  I want to throw it at the waiter.  ...Rant way too long.  Blood pressure way too high.  This one hit a nerve.  Sorry.  Signing out.

Hahaha, great rant! Couple of thoughts:

Perhaps your friends were underestimating the price point of the restaurant. If it is a place where you are expected to drop $300 pp, and you only drop $80, you're right you will be disappointed and starved. A lot of nicer restaurants serve "small plates" because, come on, you want to try multiple things! But if that is not clear from the menu (i.e. you go in expecting to order one thing and be fine) then I agree, it is very frustrating. For someone planning a meal and wondering about this, it never hurts to call and ask about the style of the menu or the typical number of dishes ordered per table. If it is prix-fixe, and you are not stuffed by the time it is over, then I agree they have done something very wrong!

Also, many people truly do notice the difference in taste, quality, uniqueness, etc. that a chef can provide. For example, a yelp review of a local pizza restaurant (one of the Bay Area's top 100 Restaurants) said "the crust was totally burnt on the outside and undercooked in the middle!!", whereas Michael Bauer said "the crust was perfectly blackened on the edges with a chewy center, just as neapolitan pizza should be" (totally paraphrasing here). One man's trash is another man's treasure, I suppose. If you don't have appreciation for the techniques and ingredients the chef is using, then of course you won't see what all the fuss is about!! Which of course there is nothing wrong with.. you will be left much richer for it!

Lastly, why would someone post a picture of a dish they didn't like?? I believe there is just some self-selection at play there :)

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Re: ForuMMM eats a $230 meal
« Reply #99 on: August 16, 2016, 02:27:35 PM »
I haven't been able to read through the entire thread but the beginning reminded me of probably the only dinner I have ever had at an expensive steakhouse. I am totally not a steak person and usually we don't spend a ton when we do go out to eat. One evening after a fun road race (you know, the 5K/10K team race for a charity kind of deal) my husband's then CEO took a smallish group of runners out to a really fancy post-race meal. I have to say, it is an interesting experience walking into a fancy restaurant in stinky running clothes with a group of sweaty people.

I was shocked at the prices ($20 drinks, $100 bottles of wine, $80 steaks) and felt uncomfortable that everyone else was ordering freely knowing that the CEO was going to pay. Once I set that aside, I enjoyed the most memorable and delicious meal of my life. The atmosphere was nice, the food presentation was gorgeous, the service was impeccable, the amuse-bouches between the courses were whimsical, and the food delicious. We talk about that meal several years later and I have even considered going to one of the sister restaurants (specializing in seafood instead of steak) for a really special occasion. Part of the enjoyment may have been knowing that I wasn't paying for the bill though. :)

As our net worth grows I am way more interested in experiences than stuff. This kind of an expensive experience is vanishingly rare in my life, but worth it when it does happen.