The Money Mustache Community

Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: mamagoose on February 01, 2016, 01:56:49 PM

Title: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: mamagoose on February 01, 2016, 01:56:49 PM
Curious among the readers here if anyone doesn't go out to eat as a matter of course. Not for a "no spend January" type challenge, but just your lifestyle. There was an episode of CSI where a male lab tech asked a female lab tech out on a dinner date and she said no, because she doesn't eat any food that others prepare (germs) - which I can understand. Lately I've been thinking about restaurants through the viewpoint of large-scale-microwaves, and the appeal is dwindling, but every time that Olive Garden commercial comes on it brings back soooo many good memories of dinners there :) I also remember MMM saying his family might go out to eat more often except his kid gets antsy sitting in a restaurant, which we can relate to with our toddler. So does anyone here only eat at home (or maybe friends/family homes too)? I would love to hear your common sense reasoning against restaurants (specifically looking for non-financial motives here).
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: golden1 on February 01, 2016, 02:04:24 PM
I went through a phase where we only went out to eat a few times a year, tops.  That was basically because it really is no fun going out to eat with young children.  After trying to manage a baby and a toddler while bolting down a meal that we already felt bad about paying too much for, we just stopped going out and did the occasional take out instead.  Now that the kids are older we still only go out to eat maybe once a month, mostly because of cost.  Even at one of the cheaper places around here it ends up being $60 minimum. 
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Gone Fishing on February 01, 2016, 02:05:49 PM
We still go out around once a month or so, usually when meeting friends or family out of town or a date for my wife and I to get away from the house and kids for a while.  The most significant non-financial reason we have not to is the fact that our cooking has gotten to the point where it is better than most restaurants. For example, last night, I cooked an herb crusted, homegrown leg of mutton over homemade cherry wood charcoal. Oh yeah, I grew the herbs and the cherry wood as well.  Life IS good!   
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: 2Birds1Stone on February 01, 2016, 02:11:32 PM
I go out once a week or so with my SO. We use a Groupon or go to a happy hour 99% of the time.

It's an expense that is very much worth it to us!
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: mozar on February 01, 2016, 02:15:42 PM
I go to a food truck for lunch once a week. Other than that I go to regular restaurants once or twice a year. My reasons are that I'm over restaurants. I used to go a lot and they have to have the best of something for me to be interested.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: TravelJunkyQC on February 01, 2016, 02:25:07 PM
I go out to eat maybe once every few months, and that is simply because there are a bunch of people grabbing a beer around dinner time and we get hungry. I don't feel guilty, because it is so rare and always an enjoyable experience with people I care about. It's worth the 12$ burger to me.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: andy85 on February 01, 2016, 02:29:24 PM
If my friends/family never wanted to go out to eat, then i probably only would 1-2 times per month. In January, I went out to eat twice and that was to meetup with other Mustachians from the forum. My sister, on the other hands, loves to go out to eat. But I think she likes it more for the social aspect rather than the food. I try to avoid it because I always view it as a 'treat' for myself....which inevitably leads to me ordering anything i want off the menu plus several drinks...and $40+ later, what have i really spent money on?

I remember reading a forum post about finding out what your true desire is to go out to eat. Is it the food? the atmosphere? the social aspect? If the underlying feeling can be replicated without spending money at a restaurant, then try doing that.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Rosy on February 01, 2016, 02:36:00 PM
On average we go out once a week. About two suppers are the let's take advantage of the deal - like $6 dollar burger and happy hour drinks. The other two are pricier dinners at restaurants we enjoy.
We don't do FF as such, since I'm a good cook and I don't really appreciate McD style eating and where we live there are plenty of pubs with tasty dishes and reasonable prices.
Take out is for days when we are busy with other things and we never tire of our favorite local pizza place.

Germs - well, you just never know and even the food you purchase and prepare can be contaminated.

 
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: nereo on February 01, 2016, 02:45:24 PM
We still go out around once a month or so, usually when meeting friends or family out of town or a date for my wife and I to get away from the house and kids for a while.  The most significant non-financial reason we have not to is the fact that our cooking has gotten to the point where it is better than most restaurants.
A lot of this rings true for us as well.  We absolutely love food, and realize that we can make things as good or better than most mid-priced restaurants.  We enjoy being at home where we can say/eat/wear whatever we like, and take as much or as little time as necessary.  We also are able to make our dishes 'healthier' than what typical restaurant fare is, and we know how the food was handled and where it came from.  Finally, we simply enjoy cooking; while we enjoy our occasional trips to restaurants a part of me always feels like I would have rather cooked the food myself.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Sibley on February 01, 2016, 02:46:12 PM
I used to travel 60% and ate 3 meals a day out (reimbursed). As a result, I developed a hatred of restaurants. I went 3 years without eating out except for work related. Since then, I don't travel for work, and don't hate them all the time. Though I'm still picky and usually prefer to stay in.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: lbmustache on February 01, 2016, 03:09:11 PM
I used to travel 60% and ate 3 meals a day out (reimbursed). As a result, I developed a hatred of restaurants.

+1!!! Oh my god, eating out when traveling for work was the worst. It was basically: hotel food, fast food, or corporate dinners at higher-end restaurants. After 2-3 days of that you just feel like dying. It gets real old, real fast. No clue how people eat out every single day.

I do like restaurants as a treat 1-2x a week or for special occasions.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: reader2580 on February 01, 2016, 03:58:57 PM
A friend travels three to four days a week.  He tires of eating out and would just as well eat at home.  His wife has been at home all week and wants to go out for dinner when he gets back in town.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: swick on February 01, 2016, 04:19:20 PM
Discovering that wheat/gluten was the root of my Fibro symptoms has made the temptation of going out to eat a lot less appealing :) We have found a couple of "safe" restaurants to suggest when Hubby's family wants to treat.

Other than that, we really only eat out when we are on vacation or away from home, and even then we are looking for alternatives. I am stupidly excited that on our annual "ocean fix" this year we will be able to try crabbing. Back of the napkin math says a 20.00 license for three days, with the possibility of getting 12 crabs a day is a phenomenal deal compared to one crab entree in a restaurant :D

Also, I think it is a matter of cost and cost can't really be discounted. We are pretty good cooks and you can splurge on a whole lot of ingredients for the price of a nice meal out. Or heck, invite people over for a nice meal AND buy a board game and you'll still come out ahead. The only thing I haven't figured out is how to get someone else to clean up for me ;)

Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: MayDay on February 01, 2016, 04:52:48 PM
I just got back from a weekend with my grandfather. He eats out all meals. I felt like crap after 3 days of it.

We eat out once a month typically. I would eat out weekly if money was no object, and my waistline was no object.

My two motivations are yummy food I can't replicate at home and not wanting to cook and clean up for four people.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: TrMama on February 01, 2016, 05:07:28 PM
Maybe once a month. The main thing that keeps us home is that my youngest child has been diagnosed with a whack of food allergies. There's virtually nothing she can eat and even when we find something I still worry it's been somehow contaminated with unsafe foods in the kitchen.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: abhe8 on February 01, 2016, 05:13:38 PM
We only do when traveling or when on a double date with friends. Each occurs about every other month.

Reasons are cost, habit, dont really like the food and kids just behave better at home.

(And way more in the past 3 weeks after I broke my wrist)
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: sleepyguy on February 01, 2016, 05:13:46 PM
We're pretty close I would say past 4 or so years.  I could probably count the number of times we sat in a restaurant with one hand over last 4 yrs.  Its not we hate eating out.  We have 2 young kids, one gets anxious around unfamilar areas, and the other is pretty much HIGHLY alergic to many many things.  We've gone to emergency room many times.  She's on a very rigid diet.

Kidless, we probably ate out 2x per week.  We still order in about 1-2x per week... Usually because its paid for by either of our companies :)
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: fitfrugalfab on February 01, 2016, 05:27:42 PM
We go out to eat on a date night once a month and it's always during happy hour or with a gift card. It's wayyy to expensive to eat out around here.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: icemodeled on February 01, 2016, 05:39:29 PM
Our biggest weakness with spending is eating out. Its the one thing we enjoy(kind of entertainment) Its just the 2 of us and once we have kids we plan to not eat out anymore or maybe just once a month. Certainly until there at an age where they can behave properly. We get gift cards a lot due to our credit card rewards so we use that to fund our eating habit - plus take advantage of happy hour deals, coupons and specials. We also have NEVER gotten anything but water when out so that saves a lot! So with all those things, we actually do not spend very much on eating out.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: MandalayVA on February 01, 2016, 05:51:18 PM
We used to go out once a week for breakfast, but I'm doing a Whole30 right now and, like others, I cook pretty well.  When I was a kid going out to eat, even if it was McDonald's, was a special treat.  I'd like to see if we could go without eating out until our anniversary (August 15) and make eating out a special occasion again.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: MsPeacock on February 01, 2016, 05:55:10 PM
Maybe once a month I'll take my kids out to dinner. I'll take them out for their birthday for dinner, last day of school, etc. and then occasionally because I just want to get out with them. In fact, meal plan for Saturday is to go out to eat.

My boyfriend and I usually eat out twice a month - nothing fancy, just Chinese food or something.I rarely buy fast food, and I maybe purchase a salad or something at work every 3 or 4 months for lunch.

ETA: My boyfriend who has a very strange and isolated childhood, did not eat in a restaurant until he was 19 and in college. Some parents of another kid in the dorm took a bunch of people out. He had no idea what to do. They went to Cheesecake Factory and he thought he was supposed to eat everything and drink everything that they brought him. They kept refilling his iced tea and he ended up getting sick in the parking lot in front of everyone.

Probably a good idea to socialize your children to the wider world at least a little bit before you send them off to college on their own...
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Bracken_Joy on February 01, 2016, 05:57:53 PM
Used to go out multiple times per week.

Now we go out once per month, and skip some months. We're much healthier, happier, richer, and better cooks because of it.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Larabeth on February 01, 2016, 06:04:50 PM
We tried going out to eat a few days ago and it was a disaster.  The service was poor, the food portions were tiny and void of the protein the menu promised, and the food we did get wasn't all that great.

By the end of it, we had spent a weeks worth of groceries on one meal (~$50 with tip and all), and it wasn't worth it.  We could have stayed home, avoided driving the vehicle, and enjoyed each others company a lot more in a more comfortable setting.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: mm1970 on February 01, 2016, 06:14:14 PM
I used to travel 60% and ate 3 meals a day out (reimbursed). As a result, I developed a hatred of restaurants.

+1!!! Oh my god, eating out when traveling for work was the worst. It was basically: hotel food, fast food, or corporate dinners at higher-end restaurants. After 2-3 days of that you just feel like dying. It gets real old, real fast. No clue how people eat out every single day.

I do like restaurants as a treat 1-2x a week or for special occasions.

Ha ha my husband has traveled 3 x in the last 3 months, for almost a week at a time.

The middle time, he was in some godforsaken place in the desert.  He came back and said "I didn't eat a single vegetable, unless you count iceberg lettuce on a burger".  Part of that was timing, part location, and part one of his coworkers doesn't eat vegetables (the strong willed old guy).

This last trip was So Cal, so I asked him "have any vegetables?"  Yes, the younger guy (20s) asserted himself this time, and they ate at healthier places.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: GuitarStv on February 01, 2016, 06:23:32 PM
We tend to go out 5-6 times a year if friends or family want to eat out.  It's not even a frugality thing with us . . . my wife and I are pretty good cooks.  It's rare that we go out and are impressed by the food.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: FIRE me on February 01, 2016, 07:01:25 PM
I would love to hear your common sense reasoning against restaurants (specifically looking for non-financial motives here).

I got a pizza from Pizza Hut this weekend. It was my first fast food in four months. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't as good as I thought it would be.

Lately I avoid restaurant food because of money and cleanliness.

One of the last times I got food from Subway was one night at 2:00 AM. I had just got off a 12 hour shift. They were cleaning the food prep area (vigorously sweeping the floor) and making food at the same time. A big cleanliness no no, as no doubt some of the raised floor dirt ended up on my sub.

Add the fact that most people (including restaurant workers) don't properly wash their hands after using the restroom, I am finding it easier to resist the lure of food prepared by low wage workers.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: lpb0306 on February 01, 2016, 07:13:52 PM
Food is one of our favorite things, so we go out once a week usually for dinner and once for a lunch together. It's almost always (80-90% of the time) Asian food that just doesn't taste as good from home. The rest of the time it's typically pizza, tacos, or burgers. We don't go out for pasta (can make at home much cheaper) or other easily made at home foods. But we love our sushi and Thai!
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Larabeth on February 01, 2016, 07:49:27 PM
It's almost always (80-90% of the time) Asian food that just doesn't taste as good from home.

My great aunt was from Thailand and I still love her recipes.  If you know someone that can teach you, the fresh Asian is much better than the stuff from the restaurants. =)
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: teen persuasion on February 01, 2016, 08:24:55 PM
If it were entirely up to me, we'd never go out to eat.  It's inconvenient (we are rural, you have to drive everywhere), it's way too salty for me, you have to wait, it's expensive, and it's just not as good as if we cooked it ourselves.  And then you need to drive home again!

My mom went to culinary school, the bar is set pretty high in our family.  Food is a family activity - not just eating it, I mean making it.  Even when we went on an extended family vacation together (my sister and family, my family, our parents, BIL's parents), we brought along things like our waffle iron so we could make brunch for all the little cousins, and mom cooked big dinner feasts for all.  After the table was cleared, the grandmas played cards with the kids, over and over.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: terran on February 01, 2016, 08:50:35 PM
... every time that Olive Garden commercial comes on it brings back soooo many good memories of dinners there ...

Hopefully I don't greatly offend anyone, but have tried eating at Olive Garden recently? I think that might cure you of any desire to go out to eat there at any rate.

We usually go out at least once a month, sometimes not at all, and sometimes a few times, so call it an average of over 1 but less than 2. That would be not counting vacation or other travel though which can be every night for a few weeks. The times we go less are when we have other "big meals" like dinner with friends at our house or theirs.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Faraday on February 01, 2016, 09:02:59 PM
Curious among the readers here if anyone doesn't go out to eat as a matter of course. Not for a "no spend January" type challenge, but just your lifestyle. .... So does anyone here only eat at home (or maybe friends/family homes too)? I would love to hear your common sense reasoning against restaurants (specifically looking for non-financial motives here).

DW and I live the Keto lifestyle. There was a point where we finally got good enough at making foods we love, that we prefer having what we can make at home. Examples include Keto pizza, omelets, steaks, fresh green vegetables (with plenty of butter) and just about anything you can do on a grill.

We've reached the point that we don't even want to have to ask a waitperson for extra butter - we'd rather be able to just have it and not involve anyone outside our home in the decision.

Soon (after finishing enough projects), I've got a smoker that I'll put together and start using. It's my objective to finally put the restaurants out of business in our lives with that smoker....
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Vagabond76 on February 01, 2016, 09:24:34 PM
I give up something every year for an entire year. Once it was coffee, another year it was alcohol, another year it was fried food. This year, I have up all restaurant food.  In January, I accompanied a couple of coworkers to Chik-fil-a. They had chicken sandwiches and I had an overpriced ice tea while enjoying some good conversation. For my daughter's birthday, we went to a hibachi grill. It was much more entertaining when I wasn't hungry and waiting for my food.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: lpb0306 on February 02, 2016, 01:33:51 AM
It's almost always (80-90% of the time) Asian food that just doesn't taste as good from home.

My great aunt was from Thailand and I still love her recipes.  If you know someone that can teach you, the fresh Asian is much better than the stuff from the restaurants. =)

We go to this one specific place where the only cook is a Thai grandma. We trust her cooking! I tried making Thai basil fried rice and it was good. But hers is better! And I doubt I could recreate the duck curry my husband gets haha
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Larabeth on February 02, 2016, 02:08:49 AM
It's almost always (80-90% of the time) Asian food that just doesn't taste as good from home.

My great aunt was from Thailand and I still love her recipes.  If you know someone that can teach you, the fresh Asian is much better than the stuff from the restaurants. =)

We go to this one specific place where the only cook is a Thai grandma. We trust her cooking! I tried making Thai basil fried rice and it was good. But hers is better! And I doubt I could recreate the duck curry my husband gets haha

That sounds amazingly yummy!!!
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: cerat0n1a on February 02, 2016, 02:36:18 AM
I don't think my parents have eaten out (as in when someone was paid to cook a meal) since they were iin their late twenties (i.e 1970s), if you exclude things like family weddings & funerals. They would have things like tea/coffee or ice cream while out for the day though.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: limeandpepper on February 02, 2016, 03:39:44 AM
I love eating out if it's the good stuff. (Note: good stuff does not have to be pricey, though sometimes it can be.) So I'm definitely not one of the mythical ones who never go out to eat. But I ate out quite infrequently last year, as I live in a remote area, and most of the times I ate out were due to MMM meetups! This was before I got a job at a restaurant, and now I get free food whenever I have a shift so I suppose I'm sort of eating out all the time these days.

It's almost always (80-90% of the time) Asian food that just doesn't taste as good from home.

My great aunt was from Thailand and I still love her recipes.  If you know someone that can teach you, the fresh Asian is much better than the stuff from the restaurants. =)

We go to this one specific place where the only cook is a Thai grandma. We trust her cooking! I tried making Thai basil fried rice and it was good. But hers is better! And I doubt I could recreate the duck curry my husband gets haha

A huge thing about Asian cooking is that charred wok flavour, but it is difficult/impossible to replicate at home unless you have the right kitchen setup. This post (http://shesimmers.com/2010/06/pad-see-ew-recipe-how-to-make-pad-see.html) explains it better than I can.

Then there are certain dishes that take a lot of time and effort, and they can sometimes be a family affair, everyone chips in so it's less work. I have seen my parents make certain things and it can take hours and hours, I am happy to join in but I wouldn't do it all by myself...

Having said that, there are family recipes that are simple enough, I learn them from my parents and it is very satisfying to make them at home.

So yeah, I enjoy cooking but eating out is also great! :)
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: kvaruni on February 02, 2016, 04:06:35 AM
We tend to go out 5-6 times a year if friends or family want to eat out.  It's not even a frugality thing with us . . . my wife and I are pretty good cooks.  It's rare that we go out and are impressed by the food.

Exactly our sentiment.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Larabeth on February 02, 2016, 04:56:03 AM
Pretty much what everyone else is saying is where I always end up: I decided I would eat a Texas Roadhouse sandwich last night with everyone at work.  Big mistake.  Wasted $10 on a nearly inedible BBQ sandwich.

Hopefully soon I will be in the habit of remembering how terrible the food is when we go out and stop wasting valuable employees on it!!!
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: ZiziPB on February 02, 2016, 05:11:45 AM
I do not eat out or do takeout unless it's some kind of work related thing that I have to go to, or on a very rate occasion I have lunch with my girlfriends (this is maybe a couple of times a year and for me the primary reason is to see them, not food related).  For me, it's a mix of financial reasons and the fact that I like to cook and feel much more comfortable eating what I make.  Unless it's some kind of a high end place with really fancy food, I much prefer my own cooking :-)
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Ricky on February 02, 2016, 05:44:52 AM
I'm surprised at all the people who don't eat out much. I mean I wouldn't be surprised considering the nature of this site, but I've scoured random forums and it seems most people just don't eat out that much. Then again, there are different levels of eating out. There's dollar menus, takeout, grocery store "takeout", sit down, etc. Freezer bought crap is basically eating out to me (just as unhealthy).

I can definitely understand families not eating out. That would be a nightmare. Plus the cost definitely gets out-of-hand quickly at that point.

I'm kind of in-between. I prefer eating at home most meals but I'd say I eat out 3-4 meals a week, mostly because I despise cleanup and don't like batch cooking. And when I say eating out, I'm talking under $7 per meal, which doubles as a form of entertainment since I do nothing else. I also try to go places that use fresh ingredients. I don't drink, smoke, buy clothes, buy new electronics anymore unless it's a necessity, drink coffee, drive much, etc. So for me it's enjoyable and also very inconsequential considering the habits of most.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Inaya on February 02, 2016, 07:30:30 AM
The eating out budget is equal to the grocery budget (which is fairly high). Downtown Chicago just has too many restaurants that are an easy stroll away, and almost everyone delivers--and when it's raining and I just got home after a 90 minute commute, nothing sounds better than delivery pad woon sen. (Excuses, excuses, I know.)

We're carless and most of our entertainment is free, so food is our biggest budgetary vice. We eat at sit-down restaurants probably twice per month (with the requirement that it has to be something I can't cook at home--otherwise why pay a premium?). We order delivery  a couple times per month.

We are trying to cut back. We know we've been depending on "fast casual" restaurants way too much because it's a quick bite and fairly healthy. We save on sit-down restaurants by using Groupons or going during brunch/lunch instead of dinner. We used to order a ton of pizza, but I've started making it at home. I was pretty horrified the first time I did it and realized the whole pizza cost about $3--why was I paying $15+ for delivery (and we're talking crappy Domino's pizza--not delicious Chicago deep dish)?
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: soccerluvof4 on February 02, 2016, 08:52:36 AM
NOWHERE as much as we use to. With 4 kids in soccer and alot of travel its hard not to BUT we have cut it back 90% I bet.  Hit me one day when i was at Noodles&Co. I was paying close to 9$ for a bowl of pasta would cost me 99cents at the most at home. Have not been back there since. Usually if we do go out now though there has to be a deal involved. We eat home now more than ever.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: tj on February 02, 2016, 09:09:15 AM
I don't really see why "never going out to eat" would be something to strive for. I cook occasionally. I might cook more if I didn't work all day, but I don't particularly want to waste all my free time on cooking.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: golden1 on February 02, 2016, 09:15:48 AM
Quote
I used to travel 60% and ate 3 meals a day out (reimbursed). As a result, I developed a hatred of restaurants. I went 3 years without eating out except for work related. Since then, I don't travel for work, and don't hate them all the time. Though I'm still picky and usually prefer to stay in.

I can relate to this. Everytime I go on vacation or on a work trip, I love it for the first few days but then after the third day, I start craving simpler food.  Depending on where you are, it can be difficult to eat healthy. 
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: GuitarStv on February 02, 2016, 09:45:07 AM
I don't really see why "never going out to eat" would be something to strive for. I cook occasionally. I might cook more if I didn't work all day, but I don't particularly want to waste all my free time on cooking.

We spend about 2-3 hours a week cooking.  Three large batch meals on Saturday/Sunday.

I don't like eating out because of the huge amount of time that you waste . . . deciding where to go, travel time to get there, ordering food, waiting for food, waiting for drinks, waiting for the bill.  It's far more time consuming to eat out.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Helvegen on February 02, 2016, 09:56:19 AM
I would say once every 6-8 weeks on average, at least half of those times we did not pay. People at work occasionally give us gift cards or work pays for a meal. 90% of our eating out out of pocket happens on vacations when it can't be avoided.

There are a lot of reasons for it:

*We are over fast food joints and avoid them. For long day trips, we pack our own food or will eat in supermarket delis.
*We are often disappointed with food and/or experience at most sit-down restaurants.
*At sit-down restaurants, it costs around $60-$80 a meal just for three people. When the food is mediocre at best and you know how much in groceries that money could have bought, ugh...
*We are pretty choosy now about where we eat out on our own dime. Has to be something interesting, local, or hard for us to recreate at home in some way.
*We just don't enjoy eating out as a form of entertainment. It is more relaxing for us to sit at home on a Friday night watching good TV shows, with a good home cooked meal, and a good craft beer. Don't have to wait in line, don't have to deal with bad service or cold/mediocre food, don't have to listen to other obnoxious adults or children, don't have to feel like I was robbed for the 'pleasure'. I just don't see what the big deal is about eating out personally.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Kaspian on February 02, 2016, 10:02:49 AM
I only ever eat out if friends come to town to visit or if I'm travelling.  Luckily, there aren't very many good restaurants where I live.  Since I began Mustachianism and preparing 98% of my own meals, I now also find the vast majority of North American restaurant food to be exessively salty, overly sweetened, and/or overly fatty/greasy.  I look at most dishes and they seem gross and unappetizing.  I guess that's how they keep people coming back though?  Get 'em hooked on those addictive, unhealthy things?
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: ooeei on February 02, 2016, 10:06:53 AM
I'm curious where all of you live who never eat at restaurants because the quality is poor.  Is it a small town?   I'm in Houston, and while my girlfriend and I are both very good cooks, there are simply some things restaurants can do better or more efficiently than we can.  Vietnamese pho, Chinese Dim Sum, and a few Indian foods come to mind.  We eat somewhere like that probably twice a month, it's usually ~$15/person.

That being said, in my small hometown the restaurants are all pretty much below what I could make myself.  Maybe that's where you guys are coming from?
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: tj on February 02, 2016, 10:21:48 AM
I don't really see why "never going out to eat" would be something to strive for. I cook occasionally. I might cook more if I didn't work all day, but I don't particularly want to waste all my free time on cooking.

We spend about 2-3 hours a week cooking.  Three large batch meals on Saturday/Sunday.

I don't like eating out because of the huge amount of time that you waste . . . deciding where to go, travel time to get there, ordering food, waiting for food, waiting for drinks, waiting for the bill.  It's far more time consuming to eat out.

A lot of the places that I eat at are either on the way home from work or walking distance from home. I don't experience major long time-suck of eating out vs cooking at home where I would have to wait to pre-heat the oven, wait for stuff to cook, clean up pots and pans, etc whereas going out, I simply eat. Sometimes I have to wait for the food to cook, but at many places (like Chinese or Mexican), it's already been cooked or does not take long because their grills have already been pre-heated up. I probably spend about $5/meal either way. When I eat at home, I have the costs of extra electricity for the stove or oven, water and electric for the dishwasher, dishwashing soap...I'm guessing it's pretty close to the same for me.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: GuitarStv on February 02, 2016, 11:29:37 AM
You are wildly inefficient in the kitchen if you think that someone can pay for servers, chefs, dishwashers, food, electricity, rent, heat for a building, electronics to take your bill, and still provide you with food for what it costs to make at home.

If you do large batches of food on the weekend, the cleanup is pretty minimal.  You just scoop some food out of a container in the fridge on to a dish during the week, so you've only got one dish and a fork to clean up each night . . . no pots and pans.  You just need to microwave the food for a couple minutes to heat it, so there is no waiting for an oven to preheat.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: mamagoose on February 02, 2016, 11:36:41 AM
... every time that Olive Garden commercial comes on it brings back soooo many good memories of dinners there ...

Hopefully I don't greatly offend anyone, but have tried eating at Olive Garden recently? I think that might cure you of any desire to go out to eat there at any rate.

We usually go out at least once a month, sometimes not at all, and sometimes a few times, so call it an average of over 1 but less than 2. That would be not counting vacation or other travel though which can be every night for a few weeks. The times we go less are when we have other "big meals" like dinner with friends at our house or theirs.

You're probably right. It's been years since I've been there and if it's anything like the trend with other chains, the quality has probably gone down over time. Last time I went to the Cheesecake Factory I remember thinking "wow the magic is gone". I'm a pretty decent home cook, my vegetarian shepherds pie is better than anything in a restaurant around here, but we often end up going out when my husband is running late from work and just wants a change of scenery (aka burritos on a patio somewhere).
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: mamagoose on February 02, 2016, 11:44:10 AM
I don't really see why "never going out to eat" would be something to strive for. I cook occasionally. I might cook more if I didn't work all day, but I don't particularly want to waste all my free time on cooking.

It's not a real high-level goal for us, I just looked back on our spending from last year and categorized "pointless dining out" vs. "memorable quality time dining out" and it was clear to me that if I didn't remember the restaurant or why I went there (out of town for a bachelorette weekend is a memorable one, random dunkin donuts drive-thru is not), then I didn't want to spend that money again this year. I like making our meals out count in terms of memories. For example we have theme park passes, and when I take my daughter I know it's 1000x easier to pack our own PB&J lunch than to wait in line at Disney for a subpar veggie burger and then try to hunt down a seat while carrying a tray of food. I'd rather save our dining dollars for date nights & girls/guys night out. After having a kid "free time" takes on a new meaning. If I could go to a restaurant that actually offered something to entertain my toddler beyond crayons while the food was being cooked (i.e. toddlers are ticking time bombs the second you enter a restaurant), then I'd be a regular customer. I've only ever been to ONE "kids night" at a pizza place that actually brought out toys, let the kids see how the pizza is made, and encouraged the kids to be rambunctious and make new friends with each other, instead of sit quietly in your high chair with your tablet while the adults pretend to enjoy a meal. Unfortunately the pizza was narsty so we won't return.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: nereo on February 02, 2016, 12:19:25 PM
You are wildly inefficient in the kitchen if you think that someone can pay for servers, chefs, dishwashers, food, electricity, rent, heat for a building, electronics to take your bill, and still provide you with food for what it costs to make at home.

Exactly.  Industry rule of thumb is that the cost of ingredients is 1/4 to 1/3 the menu price.  Most of our meals cost between $2-3/serving, and if we want to have something special we're still paying less than $10/person for something that restaurants would charge $25+ for (plus tax, plus tip).

Regarding the time it takes - meh... it gets back to being proficient in the kitchen, but going out to a restaurant (except fast-food) always takes us longer than the active time spent in the kitchen. 
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: tj on February 02, 2016, 12:56:29 PM
You are wildly inefficient in the kitchen if you think that someone can pay for servers, chefs, dishwashers, food, electricity, rent, heat for a building, electronics to take your bill, and still provide you with food for what it costs to make at home.

If you do large batches of food on the weekend, the cleanup is pretty minimal.  You just scoop some food out of a container in the fridge on to a dish during the week, so you've only got one dish and a fork to clean up each night . . . no pots and pans.  You just need to microwave the food for a couple minutes to heat it, so there is no waiting for an oven to preheat.
Well, yeah. I'm a single guy who doesn't abtch cook, so of course I'm inefficient compared to a restaurant cooking in bulk for a bunch of people.

When I prepare food at home, I cook individual portions because I do not like the taste of leftovers so much. Even when I buy a chicken breast from the butcher and it ends up being too much for one meal, I'll re-heat it up the next day to not waste it but it just doesn't taste the same to me. Consequently, I could also perhaps be more efficient with the take-out habit if I ordered larger portions at the take out places to last several meals and re-heated, but I prefer the taste of fresh food to re-heated. I was for a while buying packaged stuff from the grocery store, while it was a bit cheaper, it didn't seem any healthier and it didn't feel that great for my body.

In terms of the costs of eating out, I as a single guy who eats a relatively average amount of calories am absolutely subsidized by the larger groups, the people who order drinks, dessert, etc.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: ooeei on February 02, 2016, 01:12:37 PM
Well, yeah. I'm a single guy who doesn't abtch cook, so of course I'm inefficient compared to a restaurant cooking in bulk for a bunch of people.

When I prepare food at home, I cook individual portions because I do not like the taste of leftovers so much. Even when I buy a chicken breast from the butcher and it ends up being too much for one meal, I'll re-heat it up the next day to not waste it but it just doesn't taste the same to me. Consequently, I could also perhaps be more efficient with the take-out habit if I ordered larger portions at the take out places to last several meals and re-heated, but I prefer the taste of fresh food to re-heated. I was for a while buying packaged stuff from the grocery store, while it was a bit cheaper, it didn't seem any healthier and it didn't feel that great for my body.

In terms of the costs of eating out, I as a single guy who eats a relatively average amount of calories am absolutely subsidized by the larger groups, the people who order drinks, dessert, etc.

Plenty of things are just as good leftover, chicken breast is not one of those things. 

I'm thinking taco meat, pasta sauce, rice, beans, chili, most soups, mashed potatoes, italian sausage (sliced).  I freeze most of these in single serving containers for easy thawing in the microwave or a pan.  Add in some frozen veggies you can put straight into a pan, some eggs to fry and put on top of things, and you're in business.  For chicken breast just cook it to order, especially if you slice it first it'll take a few minutes to cook at most.

Rice (add salsa and chicken buillon when cooking for approximate spanish rice), some beans or meat to go along with it, some quick pan sauteed frozen veggies, and a fried egg, and you're eating better than anything you get for $5 at a fast food place (and it doesn't cost $5), with about 10 minutes total time and one pan.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: tj on February 02, 2016, 01:21:28 PM
Well, yeah. I'm a single guy who doesn't abtch cook, so of course I'm inefficient compared to a restaurant cooking in bulk for a bunch of people.

When I prepare food at home, I cook individual portions because I do not like the taste of leftovers so much. Even when I buy a chicken breast from the butcher and it ends up being too much for one meal, I'll re-heat it up the next day to not waste it but it just doesn't taste the same to me. Consequently, I could also perhaps be more efficient with the take-out habit if I ordered larger portions at the take out places to last several meals and re-heated, but I prefer the taste of fresh food to re-heated. I was for a while buying packaged stuff from the grocery store, while it was a bit cheaper, it didn't seem any healthier and it didn't feel that great for my body.

In terms of the costs of eating out, I as a single guy who eats a relatively average amount of calories am absolutely subsidized by the larger groups, the people who order drinks, dessert, etc.

Plenty of things are just as good leftover, chicken breast is not one of those things. 

I'm thinking taco meat, pasta sauce, rice, beans, chili, most soups, mashed potatoes, italian sausage (sliced).  I freeze most of these in single serving containers for easy thawing in the microwave or a pan.  Add in some frozen veggies you can put straight into a pan, some eggs to fry and put on top of things, and you're in business.  For chicken breast just cook it to order, especially if you slice it first it'll take a few minutes to cook at most.

Rice (add salsa and chicken buillon when cooking for approximate spanish rice), some beans or meat to go along with it, some quick pan sauteed frozen veggies, and a fried egg, and you're eating better than anything you get for $5 at a fast food place (and it doesn't cost $5), with about 10 minutes total time and one pan.

Thanks for the tips! I already avoid fast food, the exception might be a breakfast sandwich on the way to work. I always feel gross after having Jack in the Box (closest fast food place) and it'll be a few months in between doing that. These days its mostly mom and pop restaurants, but I don't get the huge platters, I'll get a few tacos, or an order of teriyaki chicken with no rice or chow mein. When I can get a couple chicken breasts already marinated and already cooked for say $4.00...it's almost exactly the same to buy it raw at the grocery store next door. My branching out into cooking was less about money and more about just feeling like a 30 year old man should know how to cook a few things...I think the eating out habit would definitely be more expensive if I lived in a tourist area.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Helvegen on February 02, 2016, 01:43:48 PM
I'm curious where all of you live who never eat at restaurants because the quality is poor.  Is it a small town?   I'm in Houston, and while my girlfriend and I are both very good cooks, there are simply some things restaurants can do better or more efficiently than we can.  Vietnamese pho, Chinese Dim Sum, and a few Indian foods come to mind.  We eat somewhere like that probably twice a month, it's usually ~$15/person.

That being said, in my small hometown the restaurants are all pretty much below what I could make myself.  Maybe that's where you guys are coming from?

Nope, I live in a massive MSA and quality is largely still hit or miss.

$15 a person is still $45 and I would be hard pressed to find that here at a sit down place. I live in a M-HCOLA. $15 is the average cost of most entrees, then you add drinks, tax, tips on to it. How it gets jacked up to $60-$80 pretty fast.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: nereo on February 02, 2016, 02:47:14 PM

Thanks for the tips! I already avoid fast food, the exception might be a breakfast sandwich on the way to work. I always feel gross after having Jack in the Box (closest fast food place) and it'll be a few months in between doing that. These days its mostly mom and pop restaurants, but I don't get the huge platters, I'll get a few tacos, or an order of teriyaki chicken with no rice or chow mein. When I can get a couple chicken breasts already marinated and already cooked for say $4.00...it's almost exactly the same to buy it raw at the grocery store next door. My branching out into cooking was less about money and more about just feeling like a 30 year old man should know how to cook a few things...I think the eating out habit would definitely be more expensive if I lived in a tourist area.
One other (hopefully) helpful tip TJ - sometimes it's best not to cook extra portions, but to leave them uncooked.  What I mean by that is a lot of things can be prepped and then stored either in the fridge or freezer. Then all you need to do is to pop them in the oven or stovetop and voila! you have a freshly cooked meal that isn't re-heated. 

Lasagna comes to mind, as does chicken pot pie, most any casserole dish, stir fries (chop the veggies, make the sauce, then freeze everything before cooking) and burritos.  Spend a bit of time googling "freeze ahead meals" and you'll be amazed at the variety; lots of people will make a month's worth of meals in a single weekend, cooking each one individually.  What works for a large family generally works for 1 person (I used to do exactly this) by changing the portions.

Agree with ooeei that chicken-breasts don't reheat well at all. Ditto for ground turkey. Substitute chicken thighs for most any recipe and they'll reheat much, much better, and give more flavor.  They're often cheaper too.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: tj on February 02, 2016, 02:54:27 PM

Thanks for the tips! I already avoid fast food, the exception might be a breakfast sandwich on the way to work. I always feel gross after having Jack in the Box (closest fast food place) and it'll be a few months in between doing that. These days its mostly mom and pop restaurants, but I don't get the huge platters, I'll get a few tacos, or an order of teriyaki chicken with no rice or chow mein. When I can get a couple chicken breasts already marinated and already cooked for say $4.00...it's almost exactly the same to buy it raw at the grocery store next door. My branching out into cooking was less about money and more about just feeling like a 30 year old man should know how to cook a few things...I think the eating out habit would definitely be more expensive if I lived in a tourist area.
One other (hopefully) helpful tip TJ - sometimes it's best not to cook extra portions, but to leave them uncooked.  What I mean by that is a lot of things can be prepped and then stored either in the fridge or freezer. Then all you need to do is to pop them in the oven or stovetop and voila! you have a freshly cooked meal that isn't re-heated. 

Lasagna comes to mind, as does chicken pot pie, most any casserole dish, stir fries (chop the veggies, make the sauce, then freeze everything before cooking) and burritos.  Spend a bit of time googling "freeze ahead meals" and you'll be amazed at the variety; lots of people will make a month's worth of meals in a single weekend, cooking each one individually.  What works for a large family generally works for 1 person (I used to do exactly this) by changing the portions.

Agree with ooeei that chicken-breasts don't reheat well at all. Ditto for ground turkey. Substitute chicken thighs for most any recipe and they'll reheat much, much better, and give more flavor.  They're often cheaper too.

i actually do prefer thigh meat to breast meat, but Ralphs doesn't sell individual thighs like they do breasts. If thighs taste better re-heated I'll have to buy a pack and just get it a shot. Still, a whole pack of thighs is probably too much for just me unless I freeze some of it. Thanks for the tip on freeze ahead meals! Do you guys use FoodSaver to vacuum pack individual portions? My parents go nuts with vacuum packing. :)
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Conjou on February 02, 2016, 03:04:42 PM
I hate going out to eat. I always feel like I could cook as well or better for half the cost at home, that service and tipping have no relation, and that there is so much noise and frequent interruptions from poor service such that the experience isn't even enjoyable. I much prefer the French style of going to a restaurant where tipping is an affront due to how they pay servers there, the table is yours for the course of the evening and I walk away with a genuine pleasurable experience for the money. I had a meal like that once in the US at Chez Panisse in Berkeley. My other pleasurable "eating out" experiences in the US were in homes, my own or as a guest of others.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: ooeei on February 02, 2016, 03:05:25 PM
i actually do prefer thigh meat to breast meat, but Ralphs doesn't sell individual thighs like they do breasts. If thighs taste better re-heated I'll have to buy a pack and just get it a shot. Still, a whole pack of thighs is probably too much for just me unless I freeze some of it. Thanks for the tip on freeze ahead meals! Do you guys use FoodSaver to vacuum pack individual portions? My parents go nuts with vacuum packing. :)


Thighs take a bit longer to cook, but they're so much better than breasts.

I use reditainers (from amazon), they come in multiple sizes all with the same lid, and are cheap enough that if you ruin a few you can trash them.  I've found the 8 oz to be a good size for meats and beans, the 16 oz for soups or stews and single servings of rice, and the 32 oz for larger portions i just keep in the fridge during the week (rice, mashed potatoes, etc).  I haven't noticed any freezerburn, but most of what I store is eaten within a month or so, and i generally try to fill them to minimize air inside.  They're microwave safe, but generally I transfer to a bowl before microwaving.

http://www.amazon.com/Reditainer-Extreme-Containers-8-Ounce-40-Pack/dp/B00N2TADKI/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&qid=1454450454&sr=8-11&keywords=reditainer
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: nereo on February 02, 2016, 03:11:04 PM

i actually do prefer thigh meat to breast meat, but Ralphs doesn't sell individual thighs like they do breasts. If thighs taste better re-heated I'll have to buy a pack and just get it a shot. Still, a whole pack of thighs is probably too much for just me unless I freeze some of it. Thanks for the tip on freeze ahead meals! Do you guys use FoodSaver to vacuum pack individual portions? My parents go nuts with vacuum packing. :)
I've never liked the waste that comes with vacuum packing.  For many things zip-lock freezer bags are sufficient, which I reuse as long as there wasn't any raw meat inside. I do wrap some stuff in plastic wrap (which is thinner than foodsaver bags).  Things like Lasagna go into reusable pans with foil on top... you can get the disposable foil pans with wax-paper lids dirt cheap online, and those can be reused multiple times. For cookie-dough I'll roll it into logs and then wrap it in wax paper or parchment paper, then put the log into a zip-lock bag.  When I want some cookies I just slice the log and bake them right up... in 15 minutes I can four different kinds of freshly baked cookies cooling on my counter. I think this is part of the way i won my SO over :-) Speaking of which pies (both savory and sweet) freeze really well, as does anything inside dough (empanadas, pot-stickers, chicken in puffed pastry) 
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Merrie on February 02, 2016, 04:15:52 PM
I have other things I'd rather spend my money on. And eating out with two little kids is no fun whatsoever. For a rare "date" with my husband it can be nice, but really what I want is to go somewhere and sit down and chat with him for a while. In the summer, taking a picnic to a park is nice, but when the weather is colder, going out can be sort of a way of paying rent to sit somewhere for a while. The more I cook, the less I want to eat out, because everything I get when I eat out I'm thinking "I could have cooked something that I would like better and would be cheaper". A nice "date night" would be to have someone take the kids to their house, and we cook a nice dinner for the two of us here. My husband isn't as down on eating out as I am, and so we maybe eat out once a month, but I think he's becoming increasingly disenchanted with it as well. Unless it's a super-expensive gourmet place, the food isn't worth it, and a super-expensive gourmet place costs a stack.

Eventually when the kids are older and the debt is paid off, we'll probably take them out more often. But now when we have one who is super-picky and one who wants to climb onto the table... no.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Ebrat on February 02, 2016, 08:35:30 PM
Eating out is usually underwhelming and makes me feel kind of gross.  We do like getting drinks and maybe an appetizer every 1-2 weeks.  But sitting down to a whole dinner out just isn't usually enjoyable for me.  Too much food, and never exactly what I want (whereas at home, I can infinitely "customize").

I think if you can identify a value-based reason for not eating out (generally poor pay/conditions for servers, less control over ethical food sourcing, or something like that), that's the most effective way to get yourself to not want to do it.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: tobitonic on February 02, 2016, 08:47:25 PM

A huge thing about Asian cooking is that charred wok flavour, but it is difficult/impossible to replicate at home unless you have the right kitchen setup. This post (http://shesimmers.com/2010/06/pad-see-ew-recipe-how-to-make-pad-see.html) explains it better than I can.

With all due respect, this is one of my biggest cooking pet peeves because it paints an unrealistically narrow definition of what it means to have authentic "Asian cooking." Unless we're defining "Asian cooking" as eating food that tastes exactly the way at home as it does in a given "Asian restaurant" (which will, by definition, almost always be an Asian-American restaurant in the US unless every single ingredient and recipe is sourced directly from an Asian country in Asia), it's quite possible to have great "Asian cooking" at home. We just need a broader definition than the one lots of Internet "Asian cooks" are using, which often refers to food loaded up with butter, oil, and MSG to drown out the taste of the low-quality ingredients.

By this unrealistically narrow definition, none of the millions of Asians around the country cooking at home are making "Asian cooking," even if they literally just got off the boat (or plane) with suit cases full of Asian Cooking Ingredients. And that's before getting to the fact that people in Asia, right now, are cooking in their homes without restaurant-grade burners and ovens. Are they trying to replicate the restaurants too, or are they just...cooking traditionally Asian-sourced food with traditionally Asian recipes?

As with anything else in life, it's possible to cultivate a great amount of snobbery about Asian cooking with lots of "wok hei / hay" stuff and pseudo-mysticism. Grace Young is one of the biggest Asian-American wok afficionados in the US and she's one of the biggest proponents of this elitism, unfortunately.

All it takes to make "Asian cooking" is a desire to do so. Billions of people around the world are doing it right now on really cheap equipment; don't get sucked into the materialism of believing that things aren't authentic unless they aren't accessible.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: redbird on February 02, 2016, 08:50:58 PM
I only eat out maybe once every 2-3 months. I like cooking and it's cheaper to eat at home.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: tobitonic on February 02, 2016, 08:56:54 PM
Returning to the topic of this thread, we're also in the camp of folks who almost never go to restaurants on our own because we feel we cook healthier and more humanely-raised food than what we could find in almost any restaurant. Organic this, ocean-caught that, cage-free, farm-raised, canola or olive oil, fresh vegetables, and so on. I like knowing we didn't just choose the cheapest ingredients but the healthiest ones we could, and that the animals we're eating, when we do eat them, were treated well before giving their lives to us. I'm not going to get that in just about any restaurant because a restaurant is in business to make money. We're working to feed our family and our spirits.

That said, when extended family is over or when we travel to them, we're perfectly willing to dine out or order in.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: horsepoor on February 02, 2016, 09:18:58 PM
The more I cook, the less I want to eat out, because everything I get when I eat out I'm thinking "I could have cooked something that I would like better and would be cheaper". A nice "date night" would be to have someone take the kids to their house, and we cook a nice dinner for the two of us here. My husband isn't as down on eating out as I am, and so we maybe eat out once a month, but I think he's becoming increasingly disenchanted with it as well. Unless it's a super-expensive gourmet place, the food isn't worth it, and a super-expensive gourmet place costs a stack.

All of this.  And the higher-end ingredients we have at home.

We haven't been to a sit-down restaurant dinner since my birthday three months ago.  Since then, we've gotten $4 burritos at the local Mexican fast food joint a couple times, gone out for breakfast once or twice, and gotten slices at our favorite pizza place once.  The breakfast out is even starting to lose its charm, because at home we have fancy thick bacon, delicious home grown eggs, and way better coffee.  And we don't have to listen to some old man in the next booth rant about how "murrica is going down the crapper while we try to enjoy our $12 omelettes. Between homegrown and homemade stuff and locally raised meats and wild caught fish, it's hard for restaurants to compete with what we can make quickly and easily at home.

I've added a couple kitchen appliances that make cooking even that much easier (Instant Pot, sous vide circulator in particular), so the idea of schlepping off somewhere to get some subpar food isn't very attractive.  At least 75% of my eating out these days is when I'm traveling for work, and even then, I prefer to minimize it and bring food from home when I can.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: ruthiegirl on February 02, 2016, 10:19:48 PM
4 or 5 times a year and every time I reminded how utterly crap-awful I feel when I eat restaurant food. 
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Ann on February 03, 2016, 03:29:53 AM
I'm curious where all of you live who never eat at restaurants because the quality is poor.  Is it a small town?   I'm in Houston, and while my girlfriend and I are both very good cooks, there are simply some things restaurants can do better or more efficiently than we can.  Vietnamese pho, Chinese Dim Sum, and a few Indian foods come to mind.  We eat somewhere like that probably twice a month, it's usually ~$15/person.

That being said, in my small hometown the restaurants are all pretty much below what I could make myself.  Maybe that's where you guys are coming from?

I live in Houston, too, and I was also surprised that so many people choose to NEVER go out to eat because of quality.  Going to a restaurant can be a way to try a new food - especially something unusual or complicated- and seeing if you like it.  If you do, it might be worth the time and money to invest in unique (perishable) ingredients or kitchen wares it may take to prepare it.  And usually my meals don't get perfected the first try.  Because of economics of scale, it's less expensive for me to buy one bowl of pho than it is to make one bowl at home (it took me over a week of making it every single day to learn how to do it to my satisfaction).  If I do make it for a group of people or eat it every day, then yes making it at home wins. And I do that now because I love it.  But I had to try it in a restaurant first to see if it was worth it.

I certainly don't recommend eating out all the time.  But I do think doing it occasionally is a way to try new things and, yes, even experience other cultures (in a superficial way).

How do people who never eat out try new foods, especially ethnic ones that may use special preparation methods?  I'm curious.  Friends who actually cook?
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: nereo on February 03, 2016, 07:45:57 AM

A huge thing about Asian cooking is that charred wok flavour, but it is difficult/impossible to replicate at home unless you have the right kitchen setup. This post (http://shesimmers.com/2010/06/pad-see-ew-recipe-how-to-make-pad-see.html) explains it better than I can.

With all due respect, this is one of my biggest cooking pet peeves because it paints an unrealistically narrow definition of what it means to have authentic "Asian cooking." Unless we're defining "Asian cooking" as eating food that tastes exactly the way at home as it does in a given "Asian restaurant" (which will, by definition, almost always be an Asian-American restaurant in the US unless every single ingredient and recipe is sourced directly from an Asian country in Asia), it's quite possible to have great "Asian cooking" at home. We just need a broader definition than the one lots of Internet "Asian cooks" are using, which often refers to food loaded up with butter, oil, and MSG to drown out the taste of the low-quality ingredients.

By this unrealistically narrow definition, none of the millions of Asians around the country cooking at home are making "Asian cooking," even if they literally just got off the boat (or plane) with suit cases full of Asian Cooking Ingredients. And that's before getting to the fact that people in Asia, right now, are cooking in their homes without restaurant-grade burners and ovens. Are they trying to replicate the restaurants too, or are they just...cooking traditionally Asian-sourced food with traditionally Asian recipes?

As with anything else in life, it's possible to cultivate a great amount of snobbery about Asian cooking with lots of "wok hei / hay" stuff and pseudo-mysticism. Grace Young is one of the biggest Asian-American wok afficionados in the US and she's one of the biggest proponents of this elitism, unfortunately.

All it takes to make "Asian cooking" is a desire to do so. Billions of people around the world are doing it right now on really cheap equipment; don't get sucked into the materialism of believing that things aren't authentic unless they aren't accessible.
Every year I pick one culinary thing that I want to become more proficient cooking.  This year it's learning cooking styles from around China.  At Christmas my aunt said "who in the world cooks Chinese food at home?!".  My brother's response: "About a billion Chinese every day"

Agree with tobitonic: all it takes is a desire to do so, and wok cooking requires some of the least amount of hardware of any type of cuisine (a $24 wok, some bamboo steamers and.... that's about 98% of it).  There is no mysticism in cooking it at home.  Before Julia Child, American cooks were convinced that authentic French cooking was impossible for anyone who wasn't a classically trained chef.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: ooeei on February 03, 2016, 08:09:15 AM
Every year I pick one culinary thing that I want to become more proficient cooking.  This year it's learning cooking styles from around China.  At Christmas my aunt said "who in the world cooks Chinese food at home?!".  My brother's response: "About a billion Chinese every day"

Agree with tobitonic: all it takes is a desire to do so, and wok cooking requires some of the least amount of hardware of any type of cuisine (a $24 wok, some bamboo steamers and.... that's about 98% of it).  There is no mysticism in cooking it at home.  Before Julia Child, American cooks were convinced that authentic French cooking was impossible for anyone who wasn't a classically trained chef.

Yeah, my girlfriend's family are Chinese, and I've almost never seen them do anything in a wok over high heat.  Lots of soups and stews, lots of foods with rich sauces, and lots of vegetables I've never seen before.  I don't like all of it, but it's certainly home cooked Chinese food!  China is a big place, with a lot of different food styles.

Limeandpepper is right about certain dishes that are especially popular though.  They aren't really doable in an American home kitchen, at least not to restaurant quality.

I live in Houston, too, and I was also surprised that so many people choose to NEVER go out to eat because of quality.  Going to a restaurant can be a way to try a new food - especially something unusual or complicated- and seeing if you like it.  If you do, it might be worth the time and money to invest in unique (perishable) ingredients or kitchen wares it may take to prepare it.  And usually my meals don't get perfected the first try.  Because of economics of scale, it's less expensive for me to buy one bowl of pho than it is to make one bowl at home (it took me over a week of making it every single day to learn how to do it to my satisfaction).  If I do make it for a group of people or eat it every day, then yes making it at home wins. And I do that now because I love it.  But I had to try it in a restaurant first to see if it was worth it.

I certainly don't recommend eating out all the time.  But I do think doing it occasionally is a way to try new things and, yes, even experience other cultures (in a superficial way).

How do people who never eat out try new foods, especially ethnic ones that may use special preparation methods?  I'm curious.  Friends who actually cook?

That's another good point.  There's an Italian place my girlfriend and I go to a couple of times a year just to try out the salads and a couple of entrees so we can reverse engineer them at home.  I've yet to find a salad recipe online that is better than the ones we make based on those trips.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: nereo on February 03, 2016, 08:17:20 AM

Yeah, my girlfriend's family are Chinese, and I've almost never seen them do anything in a wok over high heat.  Lots of soups and stews, lots of foods with rich sauces, and lots of vegetables I've never seen before.  I don't like all of it, but it's certainly home cooked Chinese food!  China is a big place, with a lot of different food styles.

Limeandpepper is right about certain dishes that are especially popular though.  They aren't really doable in an American home kitchen, at least not to restaurant quality.
Which ones?  I've yet to find something that I couldn't cook to 'restaurant quality*' after 3-4 attempts

*I'm speaking of mid-level, neighborhood restaurants here. 
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: ooeei on February 03, 2016, 08:26:35 AM

Limeandpepper is right about certain dishes that are especially popular though.  They aren't really doable in an American home kitchen, at least not to restaurant quality.
Which ones?  I've yet to find something that I couldn't cook to 'restaurant quality*' after 3-4 attempts

*I'm speaking of mid-level, neighborhood restaurants here.

Well the one he linked is a good example.  Really any stir fry will be better different at a good restaurant than what you can make on a stove at home.  That's not to say it won't be good if you make it on a stove at home, but it'll always be missing something compared to the restaurant version.

http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/06/the-food-lab-for-the-best-stir-fry-fire-up-the-grill.html

Edit: Naan is another good example.  You can make an approximation of it at home, but for the real deal you need an insanely hot oven you can slap dough to the side of.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: limeandpepper on February 03, 2016, 08:46:45 AM
As I recall I never said that people shouldn't try to cook certain dishes at home. I merely said that for certain dishes you may not quite hit the mark due to certain limitations. If you can't tell the difference and you're satisfied with it, that's great. Not sure what the huge controversy is here.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: nereo on February 03, 2016, 09:22:33 AM

Limeandpepper is right about certain dishes that are especially popular though.  They aren't really doable in an American home kitchen, at least not to restaurant quality.
Which ones?  I've yet to find something that I couldn't cook to 'restaurant quality*' after 3-4 attempts

*I'm speaking of mid-level, neighborhood restaurants here.

Well the one he linked is a good example.  Really any stir fry will be better different at a good restaurant than what you can make on a stove at home.  That's not to say it won't be good if you make it on a stove at home, but it'll always be missing something compared to the restaurant version.

http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/06/the-food-lab-for-the-best-stir-fry-fire-up-the-grill.html

Edit: Naan is another good example.  You can make an approximation of it at home, but for the real deal you need an insanely hot oven you can slap dough to the side of.

This is the proverbial whipping-boy about how you can't make authentic cuisine at home.  Smoke-point is smoke-point regardless of location, so all we're really talking about is heat output and food quantity.  What you can't do is heat a large quantity of food on an under-powered stove quickly to get a good sear, but that's not even remotely the same thing as saying you can't cook authentic dishes at home. Cooking for 2 isn't the same as cooking a dish that serves 4-6.  It looks like that food-lab article you linked is using a crap stove with an 8500btu burner- even big-box stores have cheap ranges have 21,000+ btu burners. Running a double-wok setup isn't particularly challenging either.  The dedicated turkey-burner is anther example of what's possible at home... espeically for those of us that cook frequently on our outdoor grills.

Similar story for Naan (or most other breads).  Oven temp goes to 600F and it can all be baked inside a pre-heated terracotta baking dish. 

I've worked in the food industry for 9 years and when people say 'you can't make this at home' we just shake our heads and chuckle.  The real truth is that you can't make a lot of dishes as well in a restaurant because of all the constraints that environment puts on the dish (time to table, cost, carryover, space etc).  Restaurant cooking is a series of compromises - you are a lot less constrained cooking at home. 
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: ooeei on February 03, 2016, 10:14:03 AM
This is the proverbial whipping-boy about how you can't make authentic cuisine at home.  Smoke-point is smoke-point regardless of location, so all we're really talking about is heat output and food quantity.  What you can't do is heat a large quantity of food on an under-powered stove quickly to get a good sear, but that's not even remotely the same thing as saying you can't cook authentic dishes at home. Cooking for 2 isn't the same as cooking a dish that serves 4-6.  It looks like that food-lab article you linked is using a crap stove with an 8500btu burner- even big-box stores have cheap ranges have 21,000+ btu burners. Running a double-wok setup isn't particularly challenging either.  The dedicated turkey-burner is anther example of what's possible at home... espeically for those of us that cook frequently on our outdoor grills.

I'm not so sure about getting 21,000+ btu from a cheap stove, but maybe you managed to get one of those.  Obviously if you set up your kitchen with this kind of cooking in mind, or have a dedicated turkey fryer outside, or a charcoal grill insert like the food lab article, you're good to go.  I suppose I'll rephrase my quote, "Those dishes cannot easily be done to the same quality a good restaurant can in a typical American home kitchen." A typical kitchen has electric coil burners, or a cheapo gas range.  Yes if you're cooking for one or two and preheat a cast iron skillet to searing hot and don't mind smoking up your house you can probably do it if you're skilled enough. 

Quote
Similar story for Naan (or most other breads).  Oven temp goes to 600F and it can all be baked inside a pre-heated terracotta baking dish. 

Mind sharing the recipe/technique?  I do pizza and ciabatta on a baking steel, but haven't ever gotten naan to work properly, it always ends up being a weirdly shaped thick pita.  Then again I haven't tried too many times, and have never made naan with someone experienced.  My oven hits 550 at the max.

Quote
I've worked in the food industry for 9 years and when people say 'you can't make this at home' we just shake our heads and chuckle.  The real truth is that you can't make a lot of dishes as well in a restaurant because of all the constraints that environment puts on the dish (time to table, cost, carryover, space etc).  Restaurant cooking is a series of compromises - you are a lot less constrained cooking at home.

Absolutely you can make most if not all dishes from a restaurant at home.  It's whether the trouble is worth it to you.  I make stir fries at home all the time, and don't really worry about the "wok-hei" because it's too much of a pain for me to bother with.  It ends up being great, and better than I get at a mediocre restaurant.  That being said, I do appreciate it on the rare occasion I have one at a good restaurant.  When I move into a house someday I'll probably try out a turkey fryer or the grill insert.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Trudie on February 03, 2016, 10:39:35 AM
We used to eat out a lot more, and now we're changing our ways.  Now we just tend to go out for lunch on Sundays after church.

My interest in restaurants has fallen to the wayside.  I've traveled quite a bit and eaten out a lot.  Most restaurant food just doesn't "wow" me anymore.  Often I feel I can do better at home.  It's not that I like fancy food, but rather simple food (often ethnic) prepared really well.  My most recent great restaurant food experience was the Syrian food I had in Denver.  I tried to make baba ganoush when I came home and my version was pitiful.

I've also stepped up my DIY game and am making more things from scratch -- bread, granola, bean dishes, rice and veggies in every form, homemade stock... I enjoy the kitchen time when I can big batch cook, then freeze.   I also enjoy exploring other traditions and cultures through food.

I've never tracked expenses in any great detail, but did take a look (easy to do with bank and credit card statements at year end) at our expenses this past year and was shocked by how spending little bits here and there really added up.  My husband and I have (pretty successfully so far in 2016) adjusted our habit of running to get a snack on break (instead we bring them from home) or even buying the $2 sandwich in the college cafeteria.  And, in lieu of happy hour at restaurants I'm doing a lot more inviting people over (BYOB) after work.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: jeromedawg on February 03, 2016, 10:54:52 AM
Definitely less than before we had a kid. My wife has been on an elimination diet after finding out our son has allergies to a lot of things: wheat, dairy, soy, etc... this basically eliminates eating out at a LOT of places. I don't think we can *never* go out to eat though - cooking is just too laborious for us to do all the time. Anyway, we're pretty much confined to eating at less than a handful of places if we do eat out. A couple that come to mind are Chipotle and In and Out. Other than that, my wife treads very carefully. She's getting closer to stopping with pumping and feeding him though, so eating out may be on the rise soon enough LOL. It is a bit more trouble getting out of the house with the kid *just* to grab a bite though. It really depends on our mood and cravings. Living in SoCal, and with the plethora of food options, it's really hard to avoid eating out.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: hoping2retire35 on February 03, 2016, 11:38:50 AM
We probably eat out once a month and that is just to give the kids some exposure to being somewhere else.

But other than the cost, we don't eat out b/c...
we can make it taste better
we can make it faster
we don't have to load everyone in the car
we know what we are giving our kids
we both like to cook
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: limeandpepper on February 03, 2016, 11:50:57 AM
With all due respect, this is one of my biggest cooking pet peeves because it paints an unrealistically narrow definition of what it means to have authentic "Asian cooking." Unless we're defining "Asian cooking" as eating food that tastes exactly the way at home as it does in a given "Asian restaurant" (which will, by definition, almost always be an Asian-American restaurant in the US unless every single ingredient and recipe is sourced directly from an Asian country in Asia), it's quite possible to have great "Asian cooking" at home. We just need a broader definition than the one lots of Internet "Asian cooks" are using, which often refers to food loaded up with butter, oil, and MSG to drown out the taste of the low-quality ingredients.

By this unrealistically narrow definition, none of the millions of Asians around the country cooking at home are making "Asian cooking," even if they literally just got off the boat (or plane) with suit cases full of Asian Cooking Ingredients. And that's before getting to the fact that people in Asia, right now, are cooking in their homes without restaurant-grade burners and ovens. Are they trying to replicate the restaurants too, or are they just...cooking traditionally Asian-sourced food with traditionally Asian recipes?

As with anything else in life, it's possible to cultivate a great amount of snobbery about Asian cooking with lots of "wok hei / hay" stuff and pseudo-mysticism. Grace Young is one of the biggest Asian-American wok afficionados in the US and she's one of the biggest proponents of this elitism, unfortunately.

All it takes to make "Asian cooking" is a desire to do so. Billions of people around the world are doing it right now on really cheap equipment; don't get sucked into the materialism of believing that things aren't authentic unless they aren't accessible.

Yes, I realise that, because I happen to be one of them. Look, I don't want to waste too much time in this thread, but I am Asian, and I cook Asian food (as well as other cuisines) at home. And I am far from materialistic or into fancy equipment, in fact I only learned how to use a dishwasher recently, and it's not my dishwasher, I probably will never own a dishwasher. Please don't assume a ton of things about me. I am simply someone who misses the food from my home country, if you want to call that being a snob, fine. And no, I can't recreate all of it at home to the same standards. Not even the restaurants in my second-home-country can, in many cases. Seriously - I respond to someone's post in which they say they can't do fried rice as good as their local place, and so I offer a possible reason why - and people want to be aggressive about that, which is sad.

By the way, I'm not familiar with Grace Young. I just looked her up. I don't see the problem. She is obviously passionate about wok-cooking and has a cookbook about this very subject, so presumably she is also trying to make this aspect Asian cooking accessible, and encouraging people to cook at home. I don't know why this apparently makes her such an elitist.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Philociraptor on February 03, 2016, 12:30:16 PM
We've reduced it by quite a bit, we used to go out to eat a few time a week, now we're down to a few times a month, typically limited to pizza, burgers, sushi, or Asian food (Vietnamese, Thai, Indian). We like to try new places out, see how their version of our favorite foods tastes. We also go out to eat when my parents invite us out, or when we're traveling.

The majority of our meals are cooked at home though. I make breakfast fresh every morning (3 eggs + 2 slices of bacon or a quarter cup Mexican chorizo), and we take a few hours on the weekends to prepare all of our lunches and dinners for the week. Leftover food that's handled safely (quickly cooled after cooking) will make it from Saturday's cook time to Friday's dinner just fine in the fridge, but we will freeze if we make too much. Restaurant / fast food meals are simply not large enough to fuel us; I eat 8 oz of protein per lunch/dinner, a cup of starch, and a cup of veggies, wife eats 6 oz protein, 1/2 cup of starch, and a cup of veggies. To get this amount of food would be insanely expensive most places.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: tobitonic on February 03, 2016, 07:44:34 PM
I am simply someone who misses the food from my home country, if you want to call that being a snob, fine.

That's not quite what I said. I said that the implication that you can't get authentic Asian cooking without restaurant-grade equipment doesn't make sense unless you set that as the default standard of Asian cooking. That's what I'd call snobbery.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: limeandpepper on February 03, 2016, 09:19:31 PM
I am simply someone who misses the food from my home country, if you want to call that being a snob, fine.

That's not quite what I said. I said that the implication that you can't get authentic Asian cooking without restaurant-grade equipment doesn't make sense unless you set that as the default standard of Asian cooking. That's what I'd call snobbery.

What's wrong with accepting that sometimes my cooking may not always be as good or authentic as what I can get elsewhere from people who have different equipment and are more skillful than I am? Also, I cook authentic, inauthentic, and fusion stuff at home all the time and I am fine with this haphazard mix. I don't see why there has to be outrage if someone dares to suggest that certain dishes are more difficult to make well at home. I've had some amazing food from people who devote their life to making and selling one type of dish for decades, and I'm not ambitious enough to think that I can do that dish as well as they do (at least not with considerable effort). That doesn't mean I won't attempt to cook it at home, just that I have a realistic expectation about the results if I do.

Thing is,

the fact that people in Asia, right now, are cooking in their homes without restaurant-grade burners and ovens.

Indeed, and if you ask these people, they will probably also tell you that "wok hei" tends to be more difficult to achieve at home. Ask me how I know. But eh, if you think the whole "wok hei" thing is "pseudo-mysticism", then there is no point in discussing this particular element further, because we'll just go around in circles.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: FINate on February 04, 2016, 12:40:46 AM
We go out to eat 1-2x per month. We used to go 3-4x per week. But we've come to realize a few things. The portions are too large and we end up over eating. The kids (now 3 and 5) get bored sitting and waiting for so long. Our kids are also very picky eaters and so despite our best efforts to force feed them, much of their food was going to waste (on the floor, in their milk, ...). Aside from the kids we got to the point that we didn't really enjoy the food that much. We've learned to be very good cooks and the quality of what we make at home is generally better/more enjoyable.

Now when we go it is mostly for date nights. One of the grandmas watches the kids (and makes mac and cheese for them) and we have a nice dinner out. We savor it more now that it is less common.

Other than date nights, we occasionally go out with the extended family, including kids. We don't mind prioritizing our spending for these because they are special and memorable.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: shelivesthedream on February 04, 2016, 04:43:15 AM
Things I hate about restaurants:
- It all takes such a long time. Getting there. Waiting to be seated. (And no guarantee they have a table!) Waiing to order. Waiting for the food to be cooked and arrive (the only bit comparable with home cooking but your meal has to take its place in the queue around everyone else's). Waiting for the plates to be cleared. Waiting for the bill to come. Waiting to pay it. Getting home again.
- The NOISE and other people. Of course the hen party or overtired toddler is sat next to your table.
- The schedule. You can't really deviate from the prescribed schedule and expectation that your meal with move forward at the approved pace. You can't speed up or slow down any of it apart from delaying ordering or delaying the bill.
- Chatty waiters. "How's your meal?" It's FINE, you think I wouldn't have told you if there were a problem? Now go away and leave us alone.
- Inefficient waiters. *waves* Yes, hello? I've been trying to catch your eye for the past ten minutes but you just seem to be standing in the corner staring into space.
- Having to ask for everything. Want ketchup? Flag down a waiter, ask them for it, wait while your meal grows ever colder for them to bring back a minute ramekin with half a teaspoon of ketchup. Water? One jug at a time.
- Food intolerances. I can't eat onion or garlic. My restaurant meal choices are extremely limited.
- Having to sit around a table the entire time. Sometimes you're just tired and would love to kick back and move straight to the sofa. No sofa until you've waited for the plates to be cleared etc etc and made it home.
- Splitting the bill. I don't drink, my friends do. So even splitting is unfair but adding up individual meals is a PITA and feels joyless.
- Tipping. Fucking hate it as a concept.

Things I like about restaurants:
- No washing up.
- Everyone can have a different meal. (Except of course you have to agree on which type of restaurant to go to!)
- Eating things I don't make at home because they're too much fuss or the ingredients are too niche.

If I want instant food I buy pre-made food from the supermarket (e.g. Frozen pizza) or just have something that doesn't need cooking (bread and cheese). Takeaways solve some of the problems of other people but you still have to wait.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: tj on February 04, 2016, 09:31:51 AM
Quote
If I want instant food I buy pre-made food from the supermarket (e.g. Frozen pizza)

Frozen pizza has never made a lot of sense to me because it's not really any cheaper than just getting a fresh one from a pizza place....and fresh tastes so much better. I feel like pizza would be incredibly easy to do at home though, just buy some pita or naan bread and put sauce and cheese on it and bake...close enough.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: GuitarStv on February 04, 2016, 09:43:09 AM
Pizza is pretty easy to do at home, but throwing cheese on pita is not the way.

*Preheat your oven to about 550.

*Stick about a cup to a cup and a half of warm water in a bowl, throw in a tablespoon of sugar and a tablespoon of yeast.

*After the yeast has dissolved for a couple minutes, throw in a teaspoon of salt.

*Add flour one cup at a time and mix until the dough becomes too hard to mix with a spoon.  Then knead in another cup or two of flour.  Depending on the type of flour you use, it'll be about 4-5 cups of flour in the end.

*Roll it out on to two large pans, spread the sauce (any jar or can of pasta sauce will work fine), throw grated cheese on top, and some toppings.

*By now your oven should be heated, so stick the pizza in.  It should be done in about 10 minutes.

Sooo . . . 20-30 minutes prep, 10 minutes cook time . . . two fresh pizzas from scratch in 30-40 minutes!

Pro-tip:  You wrap one tightly in plastic wrap and freeze it, then eat the other one.  Next time you want pizza, just take the frozen one out and warm it in the oven at 350 until it's warm (probably 10 - 15 minutes from frozen).  It'll taste like you just made it.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: FINate on February 04, 2016, 09:50:50 AM
Quote
If I want instant food I buy pre-made food from the supermarket (e.g. Frozen pizza)

Frozen pizza has never made a lot of sense to me because it's not really any cheaper than just getting a fresh one from a pizza place....and fresh tastes so much better. I feel like pizza would be incredibly easy to do at home though, just buy some pita or naan bread and put sauce and cheese on it and bake...close enough.

I make my own using homemade sourdough and my Big Green Egg. I get the BGE setup with the pizza stone and bring it up to about 700F for about 30 min. It then takes about 2-4 minutes to cook each pizza, and they are way better than from a pizza place. But yeah, that takes quite a bit longer than popping a frozen pizza into the oven :)
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: mm1970 on February 04, 2016, 09:58:50 AM
Quote
If I want instant food I buy pre-made food from the supermarket (e.g. Frozen pizza)

Frozen pizza has never made a lot of sense to me because it's not really any cheaper than just getting a fresh one from a pizza place....and fresh tastes so much better. I feel like pizza would be incredibly easy to do at home though, just buy some pita or naan bread and put sauce and cheese on it and bake...close enough.
Frozen pizza is $3.50 and a fresh one is at least seven bucks, and that's Dominos (which is probably the equivalent of frozen).

I like making my own pizza/ dough, but it's definitely not a weeknight thing (get home at 5:30 pm, dinner at 6 pm).

I don't think my oven goes to 550F.  Or at least, when I've tried to go above 450F, it doesn't go well.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: GuitarStv on February 04, 2016, 10:03:06 AM
Quote
If I want instant food I buy pre-made food from the supermarket (e.g. Frozen pizza)

Frozen pizza has never made a lot of sense to me because it's not really any cheaper than just getting a fresh one from a pizza place....and fresh tastes so much better. I feel like pizza would be incredibly easy to do at home though, just buy some pita or naan bread and put sauce and cheese on it and bake...close enough.
Frozen pizza is $3.50 and a fresh one is at least seven bucks, and that's Dominos (which is probably the equivalent of frozen).

I like making my own pizza/ dough, but it's definitely not a weeknight thing (get home at 5:30 pm, dinner at 6 pm).

See above . . . get home at 5:30, dinner at 6:10.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: mm1970 on February 04, 2016, 10:10:03 AM
Quote
If I want instant food I buy pre-made food from the supermarket (e.g. Frozen pizza)

Frozen pizza has never made a lot of sense to me because it's not really any cheaper than just getting a fresh one from a pizza place....and fresh tastes so much better. I feel like pizza would be incredibly easy to do at home though, just buy some pita or naan bread and put sauce and cheese on it and bake...close enough.
Frozen pizza is $3.50 and a fresh one is at least seven bucks, and that's Dominos (which is probably the equivalent of frozen).

I like making my own pizza/ dough, but it's definitely not a weeknight thing (get home at 5:30 pm, dinner at 6 pm).

See above . . . get home at 5:30, dinner at 6:10.
You posted before I updated, ha!

My oven does not go that high, so my best bet is to "pre-bake" my dough before topping and baking (I've experimented a bunch, so if I want pizza mid-week, I have to make the crusts on the weekend).

And #2, 3 year old toddler does not allow for that whole "dough" thing between 5:30  and 6 pm, when he needs: help washing his hands, wiping his butt, playing with his toys, getting a drink, getting a snack, getting a snuggle...
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Jakejake on February 04, 2016, 10:34:39 AM
My husband's family is local, and we have to go out to restaurants with them for all the birthdays, mother's day, etc. We're close enough we can't skip out on the obligations, but just far enough that it's not worth all of them driving separately out to our house - we're the outliers.

So I eat out with them maybe once every 5 or 6 weeks, and that's it for me, except for maybe once a year when we are traveling to see my relatives.

Going to a restaurant is just too much work for me when I'm tired from a day at work - it's always so weird to me that others go out BECAUSE they are tired. I just want to get home, take off my shoes, put on yoga pants or sweats, and throw something together and just chill on the couch while it cooks. I definitely don't want to stay dressed up, fight traffic, stand around awkwardly waiting for a table, waiting for a waiter, waiting for food, and then paying as much for the one meal as we spend for an entire month's worth of groceries. The whole process seems insane to me.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: shelivesthedream on February 04, 2016, 10:56:16 AM
The point about frozen pizza wasn't that it is particularly nice or that you can't make it at home or even that it's cheap. It's that restaurant food is not quick and easy - frozen pizza is. It's out of the freezer and on your plate in twenty minutes (including time to preheat the oven) and requires almost no effort. Restaurant food, on the other hand, is a lot of effort and time (see my entire post). If you really want to get all foodie  about it, feel free to make your own pizza and then freeze it.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Kaydedid on February 04, 2016, 11:10:57 AM
We used to eat out a lot.  This changed when I started growing most of our own veggies and some fruit.  Even with simple cooking, there is absolutely no comparison taste-wise with what the restaurants we can afford serve.  We also get our meat in bulk from a local, organic, grass-feeding farmer and again-no comparison.  We go to a fancy restaurant once a year for our anniversary, and get something that's a pain to make at home (creme brulee, eggplant parm etc.), and will pick up fried chinese food maybe a few times per year.  Other than that, I cook anywhere from one to 5 times per week, usually making an extra meal or two each time and freezing.  I also make full, 6-8 serving meals that give us leftovers for multiple meals. Some things like stuffed peppers get made once or twice a year when peppers are in season and frozen.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: tobitonic on February 04, 2016, 07:40:18 PM
Indeed, and if you ask these people, they will probably also tell you that "wok hei" tends to be more difficult to achieve at home.

I have. Pretty much all of them agree that "wok hei" is nonsense.

Wait...that's not true. Many of them thought it was a great way to get people to spend money in Chinese restaurants.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: limeandpepper on February 04, 2016, 08:24:42 PM
I have. Pretty much all of them agree that "wok hei" is nonsense.

Wait...that's not true. Many of them thought it was a great way to get people to spend money in Chinese restaurants.

Forget the exotic-sounding term, it is basically just a descriptor for cooking food in a wok in a manner that produces a fragrant smoky flavour in the end result. Nothing mythical about that, just not necessarily super-simple to achieve. If you want to say that this particular flavour is a figment of people's imagination, that seems pretty ridiculous to me. But if you genuinely can't taste it, then I guess it explains your posts in this thread. :)
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: tobitonic on February 04, 2016, 08:43:32 PM
But if you genuinely can't taste it, then I guess it explains your posts in this thread. :)

This comes back to that pseudo-mysticism bit earlier. I've heard the same argument used to justify $1000 headphones, multi-thousand dollar guitars, and similar "refinement" and "subtlety" pretensions in more hobby areas than I can remember.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: limeandpepper on February 04, 2016, 08:51:05 PM
But if you genuinely can't taste it, then I guess it explains your posts in this thread. :)

This comes back to that pseudo-mysticism bit earlier. I've heard the same argument used to justify $1000 headphones, multi-thousand dollar guitars, and similar "refinement" and "subtlety" pretensions in more hobby areas than I can remember.

So I'm curious. Either you haven't had a really good smoky stir-fry (quite possible if you've never been to certain countries in Asia), or your taste buds are perhaps not very sensitive. Because to me that's like saying you can't tell the difference between caramelized and non-caramelized food, or burnt and not-burnt food.

By the way the good stuff I get costs about $1 - $2... :)
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: limeandpepper on February 04, 2016, 08:55:58 PM
I've had great stir fry

Did it have a nice charred-but-not-burnt smoky flavour?
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: tobitonic on February 04, 2016, 08:57:10 PM
I've had great stir fry

Did it have a nice charred-but-not-burnt smoky flavour?

I've had great stir fry and have marvelous taste buds...I just don't buy the argument. And most of the folks I know who regularly eat or prepare Chinese food don't either. Pretty much the only people I've seen who support it are online hobbyists who talk themselves into purchasing very expensive ranges that can only be justified by chanting 'wok hei' over and over again.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: limeandpepper on February 04, 2016, 09:04:17 PM
You didn't answer my question. Anyway, I don't know anyone who buys expensive ranges to cook stir-fries at home, and this is moving away from the "eating out" discussion. Upgrading a kitchen is a bit different to paying a few dollars to eat out occasionally.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Midcenturymater on February 04, 2016, 09:04:25 PM
We have cut out the cheap restaurant meals we used to do every other week when our kids were smaller and I was more tired at the end of the day.
I am taking I hop and the like. They did add up.

Now we just do panda express every few weeks if we get caught out on a long day. We drop 16 to 20 for 4 of us by sharing 2 meals between 4 and even that seems a lot when we think how much food that buys. So we are trying to cut that extra $40 a month out. But this is because we are house poor.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: tobitonic on February 04, 2016, 09:11:09 PM
You didn't answer my question.

I found it irrelevant because I don't consider a "charred-but-not-burnt smoky flavour" to be the epitome of Asian cooking, or even particularly desirable. It's one kind of cooking, yes, but it's certainly not what everyone is striving for. That's part of the pseudo-mysticism again; making the assumption that something very specific is the key piece that everything else is lacking, regardless of whether folks are interested in that thing or not.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: limeandpepper on February 04, 2016, 09:23:36 PM
You didn't answer my question.

I found it irrelevant because I don't consider a "charred-but-not-burnt smoky flavour" to be the epitome of Asian cooking, or even particularly desirable. It's one kind of cooking, yes, but it's certainly not what everyone is striving for. That's part of the pseudo-mysticism again; making the assumption that something very specific is the key piece that everything else is lacking, regardless of whether folks are interested in that thing or not.

So, you're admitting that there is such a thing, just that you're not into it. Therefore, it's not really pseudo-mysticism, but just something that you don't care about. There's a difference. In other words: it's an important factor to some people, and it isn't for others. Case closed, I guess.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: AlwaysLearningToSave on February 05, 2016, 09:02:31 AM
There are two reasons our restaurant patronage has decreased significantly: Taking our 18 month old to a restaurant is not a pleasant experience and we have learned to cook well enough that we can cook most anything as good or better at home for a fraction of the cost of a restaurant.  And when the alternative to taking the child to the restaurant is paying a babysitter for the privilege of overpaying for a mediocre meal, restaurants just don't seem all that attractive.

The reasons we still go to restaurants occasionally are for social reasons (i.e. meeting up with friends or for our date night), to get something we cannot do economically at home (i.e. quality sushi or cooked-for-24-hours barbecue), or because we've had a busy week and the restaurant is the easy thing to do.  When we break down from laziness, we usually do cheap takeout or fast food because we feel guilty about making a stupid financial decision out of laziness and we are just trying to limit the damage. 
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: TheBeardedIrishman on February 05, 2016, 09:08:55 AM
My parents  got so tired of us never going out to eat they bought us 200 worth of gift cards for Xmas so they could finally go out with us lol we were  laughing pretty  hard bc  we realized  we are truly  dedicated  to being cheap asses 
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: greaper007 on February 05, 2016, 09:28:28 AM
I used to travel 60% and ate 3 meals a day out (reimbursed). As a result, I developed a hatred of restaurants. I went 3 years without eating out except for work related. Since then, I don't travel for work, and don't hate them all the time. Though I'm still picky and usually prefer to stay in.

I had the same situation when I was an airline pilot.   I generally carried a huge cooler around full of healthy and semi-healthy food.    I would still eat a meal or two out, but I felt much better eating my own stuff and I was able to pocket the per-diem as income.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Kaplin261 on February 05, 2016, 11:35:41 AM
Is cooking at home really cheaper if you live in a urban area with restaurants within walking distance?

 When I see someone quote the cost to prepare a meal at home, no one factors in the cost of the kitchen. If I buy a home chances are it will have a kitchen and that kitchen was probably the most expensive room in the house, so with a $250k house I would expect $50k to be used for kitchen: materials for the sqft, plumbing,electrical,hvac,counter tops,cabinets and appliances. So did that meal you cooked at home really cost $5 after you add on the hidden cost of owning a kitchen? Kitchens are also the most expensive rooms to remodel in your home and use the most energy.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: tj on February 05, 2016, 11:44:18 AM
Is cooking at home really cheaper if you live in a urban area with restaurants within walking distance?

 When I see someone quote the cost to prepare a meal at home, no one factors in the cost of the kitchen. If I buy a home chances are it will have a kitchen and that kitchen was probably the most expensive room in the house, so with a $250k house I would expect $50k to be used for kitchen: materials for the sqft, plumbing,electrical,hvac,counter tops,cabinets and appliances. So did that meal you cooked at home really cost $5 after you add on the hidden cost of owning a kitchen? Kitchens are also the most expensive rooms to remodel in your home and use the most energy.

Do you live somewhere without a kitchen? I think the assumption is most people have a kitchen in their residence.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: ooeei on February 05, 2016, 11:49:14 AM
Is cooking at home really cheaper if you live in a urban area with restaurants within walking distance?

 When I see someone quote the cost to prepare a meal at home, no one factors in the cost of the kitchen. If I buy a home chances are it will have a kitchen and that kitchen was probably the most expensive room in the house, so with a $250k house I would expect $50k to be used for kitchen: materials for the sqft, plumbing,electrical,hvac,counter tops,cabinets and appliances. So did that meal you cooked at home really cost $5 after you add on the hidden cost of owning a kitchen? Kitchens are also the most expensive rooms to remodel in your home and use the most energy.

I guess if you can buy an equivalent house for $50k less without a kitchen, sure you could add that price in and see.  You'll also have to take into account whether you'll be able to sell it without a kitchen someday. 

But for poops and giggles, assuming $10 per meal eating out for a year, 3 meals a day, that's $10,950 per person.  Assume you can make meals at home for $4 per person, that's $4380 per meal.  You save $6750 per year per person by cooking at home.  Granted that's not taking into account energy costs (both running a stove or driving your car), time (cooking or driving), and can be changed either way depending on the specifics.  Based on this very simple model, for a 2 person household you end up net positive after ~ 4 years.  For a 3 person household it's under 3 years.  For a 4 person household it's less than 2 years to recoup the $50k kitchen.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Midcenturymater on February 05, 2016, 12:15:02 PM
Our kitchen is 60 years old. We don't intend to spend 50 k on it. We have been pondering a $700 dish washer addition since last summer)
Of course eating home is cheaper and healthier.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: mm1970 on February 05, 2016, 02:48:44 PM
Is cooking at home really cheaper if you live in a urban area with restaurants within walking distance?

 When I see someone quote the cost to prepare a meal at home, no one factors in the cost of the kitchen. If I buy a home chances are it will have a kitchen and that kitchen was probably the most expensive room in the house, so with a $250k house I would expect $50k to be used for kitchen: materials for the sqft, plumbing,electrical,hvac,counter tops,cabinets and appliances. So did that meal you cooked at home really cost $5 after you add on the hidden cost of owning a kitchen? Kitchens are also the most expensive rooms to remodel in your home and use the most energy.
Not really a fair question.  Especially if you are talking about buying a  house - because it will come with a kitchen.  If you rent one, or rent an apartment, it will have a kitchen.

Also, $50k is high for a kitchen.  A basic kitchen can be a lot less.
Our kitchen:
Fridge: $600
Stove: $400
Dishwasher: $500
Hood: $1000
Cabinets: $600 (my husband built them)
Tile: $1000
Sink, etc: $400
That's $4500.  So why don't we round that up to $5000?  We've owned the house for 12 years, that's $400 a year, give or take.

Cost to eat out:
Let's assume that you are willing to eat something that doesn't require cooking for breakfast.
Lunch out: $7
Dinner out $10
Total out $17 a day x 2 = $34 per day x 365 days = $12,410 a year. ~$150,000 in 10 years

Cost to eat in:  Last year we spent $6000 (family of four), so let's just assume it's the two of us only.
$6000 x 12 = $78,000

Cost to eat out: $150,000 in 12 years
Cost to eat in: $78,000 + $5000 = $83,000 in 12 years
Savings of $67,000

Now.  The only area that you might have a point is if you have a short-term type rental.  I have a coworker who lives 6 hours from here.  She drives down on Monday and drives home on Friday.  She rents a room in a house, with NO kitchen privileges.  She saves quite a bit of money over renting a more traditional place, but I honestly don't know how much.  That will be the determining factor, no? 

It's not what you save, it's what you spend.  If you live in a van and eat out, and the savings on rent is more than the extra spent on eating out, then fine.  But factoring the cost of the kitchen is not particularly valid, unless you are living in such a place.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: tobitonic on February 05, 2016, 03:06:56 PM
You didn't answer my question.

I found it irrelevant because I don't consider a "charred-but-not-burnt smoky flavour" to be the epitome of Asian cooking, or even particularly desirable. It's one kind of cooking, yes, but it's certainly not what everyone is striving for. That's part of the pseudo-mysticism again; making the assumption that something very specific is the key piece that everything else is lacking, regardless of whether folks are interested in that thing or not.

So, you're admitting

Nah. I said the idea that this is the only kind of authentic Asian cooking is bogus.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Inaya on February 05, 2016, 03:37:48 PM
Even if you didn't have a traditional kitchen, you could still make pretty decent meals if you bought an all-in-one cooker like an Instant Pot. For a little more cash you can branch out with an electric kettle or electric skillet. These 3 items pretty much give you full kitchen functionality for less than $500.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: APowers on February 05, 2016, 04:06:14 PM
I'll chime in with another "we don't go out to eat as a matter of course". Mainly because it's insanely expensive. But then it's also because we can almost always do the same quality food at home for less time, money, and stress. This usually also applies to fast food-- if I have the ingredients, it is almost always faster, better, and cheaper to cook at home than to load everyone in the car, drive 5-6 minutes, look at the menu, get everyone's order organized, give the order to the cashier, pay, wait for the food, then drive 5-6 minutes home, unload everyone from the car, then eat.

We haven't been to a sit-down restaurant in ages, and when we do go out to eat, it has been at the Costco food court.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: lpb0306 on February 05, 2016, 06:23:34 PM
I think it's obvious home cooking is much cheaper (although if I'm feeding a group of 8 friends, 3 medium pizzas from Dominos is less than $20, while making lasagna or any kind of meat entree would cost more than that for the 8 of us. When I make lasagna it tends to cost me about $20-25. Plus I don't have to spend an hour in the kitchen.)

My reasons for eating out are: a) it's enjoyable...no kids, so it's not a stressful or exhausting event, and b) we can eat something new without spending the money on condiments we may not use again (and I do have fish oil, sesame oil, sweet chili sauce, etc.)

That, and sometimes I'm just too tired to cook new things. But I would like to cook different foods more often. It's fun to cook! But not when you get home at 6:30, change to go to the gym and get back home at 8. After showering, it's 8:15-8:30. We usually just make chicken or shrimp and rice or some kind of pasta.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Kaplin261 on February 06, 2016, 03:44:19 AM
Is cooking at home really cheaper if you live in a urban area with restaurants within walking distance?

 When I see someone quote the cost to prepare a meal at home, no one factors in the cost of the kitchen. If I buy a home chances are it will have a kitchen and that kitchen was probably the most expensive room in the house, so with a $250k house I would expect $50k to be used for kitchen: materials for the sqft, plumbing,electrical,hvac,counter tops,cabinets and appliances. So did that meal you cooked at home really cost $5 after you add on the hidden cost of owning a kitchen? Kitchens are also the most expensive rooms to remodel in your home and use the most energy.

I guess if you can buy an equivalent house for $50k less without a kitchen, sure you could add that price in and see.  You'll also have to take into account whether you'll be able to sell it without a kitchen someday. 

But for poops and giggles, assuming $10 per meal eating out for a year, 3 meals a day, that's $10,950 per person.  Assume you can make meals at home for $4 per person, that's $4380 per meal.  You save $6750 per year per person by cooking at home.  Granted that's not taking into account energy costs (both running a stove or driving your car), time (cooking or driving), and can be changed either way depending on the specifics.  Based on this very simple model, for a 2 person household you end up net positive after ~ 4 years.  For a 3 person household it's under 3 years.  For a 4 person household it's less than 2 years to recoup the $50k kitchen.

Where are you eating that breakfast is $10 and lunch is $10? I don't eat breakfast out but in the rare case I do a bacon,egg and cheese sandwich from the cafeteria are $2.50 and the thing is 700+ calories. A salad at work from the salad bar is less then $5 I pile on seeds and nuts instead of meat, and grocery stores have pre made sandwiches for $5 and subway has $5.50 footlongs. I think your about right for dinner, on average dinner is about $10 but with coupons and being selective on what nights you visit restaurants for specials and how much food you eat(share a entree with your spouse) you could get that cheaper.

If I were going to eat out every day I would only do so for dinner,during the day I would keep eating what I already do fruits,nuts and veggies. These foods are convenient, packed with nutrition,require no refrigeration or preparation. I can shop at whole foods and get those items organic for less $50 a week for two people, another $40 for ingredients for 3-4 dinners,$60 for a couple nights eating out. There are other things I would rather be using my free time doing then spending 2 hours a day cooking and cleaning in my kitchen.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: tj on February 06, 2016, 10:30:41 AM
Indeed, it's very rare when my breakfast or lunch out costs more than $10 (its often closer to half that, or less), but if you lived somewhere urban and touristy, I could see it.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: SweetLife on February 06, 2016, 10:33:14 AM
We eat out only on VERY rare occasions (that we can't get out of usually)!! The reason is simple ... my husband is a fantastic cook ... so nothing is ever as good out (or as inexpensive) as he can make :)
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: FIRE me on February 06, 2016, 05:23:39 PM
I give up something every year for an entire year. Once it was coffee, another year it was alcohol, another year it was fried food. This year, I have up all restaurant food. 

That's an interesting habit. Is it always food (or beverage) related? Once the year is up, do you always go back to what you gave up?
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: fitfrugalfab on February 06, 2016, 09:33:18 PM
Is cooking at home really cheaper if you live in a urban area with restaurants within walking distance?

 When I see someone quote the cost to prepare a meal at home, no one factors in the cost of the kitchen. If I buy a home chances are it will have a kitchen and that kitchen was probably the most expensive room in the house, so with a $250k house I would expect $50k to be used for kitchen: materials for the sqft, plumbing,electrical,hvac,counter tops,cabinets and appliances. So did that meal you cooked at home really cost $5 after you add on the hidden cost of owning a kitchen? Kitchens are also the most expensive rooms to remodel in your home and use the most energy.

I agree with TJ. A home is going to come with a kitchen anyway, regardless of whether you eat out or not. I own a home in an urban area and it's much cheaper for me to eat at home. My grocery bill for me and my DH a month is about $300, which includes alcohol and seltzer water, which we like to splurge on. Besides, when you go out to eat, the price of the restaurant's kitchen and rent is incorporated in the price of their food collectively. On top of that, the dining out in an urban area is very expensive. An average meal just for myself without alcohol is about $15-$20, before tax.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: kaetana on February 06, 2016, 10:58:07 PM
I eat out a lot less than I would like to, and tend to eat out more when in another country as part of the experience. There are some things I believe I simply can't replicate at home.

As another Asian living in Australia and missing food back home, I've got to agree with limeandpepper. I would not agree that the only thing needed to cook meals that I miss is the desire to do so. There are just some meals that I can't make to my personal satisfaction due to a lack of:
- equipment: in my case, low-tech equipment like old-fashioned ovens made of stone and charcoal that may not cost very much but do take up space.
- culinary skills: Yes, my skills are limited and some meals I'm thinking of require a lot of experience to either choose the best ingredients for it or to actually cook the dish to the level that I want.
- ingredients: Despite the fact that things ARE getting better, there are simply some ingredients that are not available where I live because of climate, lack of demand, or governmental regulations. Sure, there are substitutes, but they're not as good.
- time: There are some dishes I could cook but are not worth the time (in my opinion) to make, when I could be doing something else that is either more productive or more enjoyable to me.

I think taste is a highly subjective and personal thing, and if you're okay with the food you're cooking, then great! I'm happy that you are able to exactly replicate what you were going for. However I think that calling it "pseudo-mysticism" when others have more exacting requirements for the food they eat is unnecessarily insulting. What I take out of Mustachianism is the importance of prioritising your life in the pursuit of happiness, however that may look like for YOU. If someone says it makes her happy to spend money on eating out, who am I to judge?
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Vagabond76 on February 07, 2016, 10:05:29 PM
I give up something every year for an entire year. Once it was coffee, another year it was alcohol, another year it was fried food. This year, I have up all restaurant food. 

That's an interesting habit. Is it always food (or beverage) related? Once the year is up, do you always go back to what you gave up?

Yes, it's always been food related. The only one I permanently gave up was coffee.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: ooeei on February 08, 2016, 07:09:54 AM
Is cooking at home really cheaper if you live in a urban area with restaurants within walking distance?

 When I see someone quote the cost to prepare a meal at home, no one factors in the cost of the kitchen. If I buy a home chances are it will have a kitchen and that kitchen was probably the most expensive room in the house, so with a $250k house I would expect $50k to be used for kitchen: materials for the sqft, plumbing,electrical,hvac,counter tops,cabinets and appliances. So did that meal you cooked at home really cost $5 after you add on the hidden cost of owning a kitchen? Kitchens are also the most expensive rooms to remodel in your home and use the most energy.

I guess if you can buy an equivalent house for $50k less without a kitchen, sure you could add that price in and see.  You'll also have to take into account whether you'll be able to sell it without a kitchen someday. 

But for poops and giggles, assuming $10 per meal eating out for a year, 3 meals a day, that's $10,950 per person.  Assume you can make meals at home for $4 per person, that's $4380 per meal.  You save $6750 per year per person by cooking at home.  Granted that's not taking into account energy costs (both running a stove or driving your car), time (cooking or driving), and can be changed either way depending on the specifics.  Based on this very simple model, for a 2 person household you end up net positive after ~ 4 years.  For a 3 person household it's under 3 years.  For a 4 person household it's less than 2 years to recoup the $50k kitchen.

Where are you eating that breakfast is $10 and lunch is $10? I don't eat breakfast out but in the rare case I do a bacon,egg and cheese sandwich from the cafeteria are $2.50 and the thing is 700+ calories. A salad at work from the salad bar is less then $5 I pile on seeds and nuts instead of meat, and grocery stores have pre made sandwiches for $5 and subway has $5.50 footlongs. I think your about right for dinner, on average dinner is about $10 but with coupons and being selective on what nights you visit restaurants for specials and how much food you eat(share a entree with your spouse) you could get that cheaper.

If I were going to eat out every day I would only do so for dinner,during the day I would keep eating what I already do fruits,nuts and veggies. These foods are convenient, packed with nutrition,require no refrigeration or preparation. I can shop at whole foods and get those items organic for less $50 a week for two people, another $40 for ingredients for 3-4 dinners,$60 for a couple nights eating out. There are other things I would rather be using my free time doing then spending 2 hours a day cooking and cleaning in my kitchen.

$10/meal was an average, breakfast will be less, dinner more.  You'll notice I also estimated $4 per person to cook at home, there are plenty of people (myself included) who spend less than that.  It was just a ballpark estimate.  Substitute your own numbers and see if it works for you.

Yeah if you get cheap fast food or live in a LCOL area you can eat cheaper than that.  Personally I'd feel terrible if all I ate was stuff like $5.50 footlongs and Wendy's hamburgers.  It's great that your work has $5 salads with good toppings, my last job had that (and the company subsidized the cafeteria, making it artificially cheap), but that's far from the norm.  In general "urban areas with restaurants in walking distance" aren't synonymous with cheap restaurants.  If you want to use bottom of the barrel restaurant couponing and eating as cheap as possible as your benchmark, it only seems fair to compare it to a similar strategy for grocery stores.  There are people out there eating for $1-2/meal cooking at home.  Beat that at any restaurant and I'll be impressed, or more likely, disgusted.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: MMMaybe on February 08, 2016, 05:55:36 PM
We pretty much never eat out. Partly this is because we like to know what we are eating and enjoy a healthy diet.

But it is also partly circumstantial. We are living in a developing country, which does not have a very healthy (IMO) local diet. That and uncertain food prep standards and hygiene concerns keep us out of the restaurants.

We have access to a lot of amazing fresh fruit and vegetables here. There is also a burgeoning health food scene here so its not all bad. It allows us to eat extremely well at home.

When we leave here and go back to a more developed country here in Asia, we will most likely go back to eating out once or twice a week. But to be honest, we still prefer our own cooking!
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: tj on February 08, 2016, 06:05:10 PM

Agree with ooeei that chicken-breasts don't reheat well at all. Ditto for ground turkey. Substitute chicken thighs for most any recipe and they'll reheat much, much better, and give more flavor.  They're often cheaper too.

Wanted to thank you for the chicken thighs suggestions. i did teriyaki chciken thighs yesterday for dinner, and reheated them today, and I coudln't even taste the difference. Two meals for about $4.00 total. Pretty cool.


I still need to get a better gauge on how long ot cook stuff because I inevitably get parts that are pink and have to throw back on the grill. :(
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Bracken_Joy on February 08, 2016, 06:07:26 PM

Agree with ooeei that chicken-breasts don't reheat well at all. Ditto for ground turkey. Substitute chicken thighs for most any recipe and they'll reheat much, much better, and give more flavor.  They're often cheaper too.

Wanted to thank you for the chicken thighs suggestions. i did teriyaki chciken thighs yesterday for dinner, and reheated them today, and I coudln't even taste the difference. Two meals for about $4.00 total. Pretty cool.


I still need to get a better gauge on how long ot cook stuff because I inevitably get parts that are pink and have to throw back on the grill. :(

2 options: 1- thermometer 2- cut it down toward the bone, if the juices run clear, it's done
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: plainjane on February 08, 2016, 07:45:36 PM
I still need to get a better gauge on how long ot cook stuff because I inevitably get parts that are pink and have to throw back on the grill. :(

For chicken thighs, watch the colour change up the side, when it is just over halfway through is generally a good time to flip it over.  Chicken thighs can survive a bit of overcooking more than chicken breast.  If you are doing boneless, then you can tell by pushing down a bit with a wooden spoon - cooked meat is less flabby.  And if you're really worried, chop it into cubes and cook it that way. 

And don't worry about throwing it back on the grill every once in a while - it's how you learn the cues.  Every piece is going to be slightly different, it is a different animal, a different butcher, on a different day.  So it's less about strict timing, and more about noticing.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Kaplin261 on February 09, 2016, 06:08:34 AM

Agree with ooeei that chicken-breasts don't reheat well at all. Ditto for ground turkey. Substitute chicken thighs for most any recipe and they'll reheat much, much better, and give more flavor.  They're often cheaper too.

Wanted to thank you for the chicken thighs suggestions. i did teriyaki chciken thighs yesterday for dinner, and reheated them today, and I coudln't even taste the difference. Two meals for about $4.00 total. Pretty cool.


I still need to get a better gauge on how long ot cook stuff because I inevitably get parts that are pink and have to throw back on the grill. :(

2 options: 1- thermometer 2- cut it down toward the bone, if the juices run clear, it's done

For chicken thighs get a sous vide!! I picked up a anova precision cooker for $99 and it has made cooking thighs so much easier and they taste amazing cooking them this way. I also cook cheaper cuts of meat with this like sirloin and it turns out better than pricier cuts cuts cooked on the grill.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Bracken_Joy on February 09, 2016, 08:57:44 AM

Agree with ooeei that chicken-breasts don't reheat well at all. Ditto for ground turkey. Substitute chicken thighs for most any recipe and they'll reheat much, much better, and give more flavor.  They're often cheaper too.

Wanted to thank you for the chicken thighs suggestions. i did teriyaki chciken thighs yesterday for dinner, and reheated them today, and I coudln't even taste the difference. Two meals for about $4.00 total. Pretty cool.


I still need to get a better gauge on how long ot cook stuff because I inevitably get parts that are pink and have to throw back on the grill. :(

2 options: 1- thermometer 2- cut it down toward the bone, if the juices run clear, it's done

For chicken thighs get a sous vide!! I picked up a anova precision cooker for $99 and it has made cooking thighs so much easier and they taste amazing cooking them this way. I also cook cheaper cuts of meat with this like sirloin and it turns out better than pricier cuts cuts cooked on the grill.

I just can't get over the whole "boil in plastic" thing with the sous vide. I grew up hearing never to heat food in plastic tupperware, and science has borne that out with endocrine disruptors... boiling in it just seems like a bad idea to me.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Tabitha on February 09, 2016, 11:56:35 AM
The point about frozen pizza wasn't that it is particularly nice or that you can't make it at home or even that it's cheap. It's that restaurant food is not quick and easy - frozen pizza is. It's out of the freezer and on your plate in twenty minutes (including time to preheat the oven) and requires almost no effort. Restaurant food, on the other hand, is a lot of effort and time.
Yes. 
Two years ago I separated our food budget down to:
groceries (further subdivided),
eating out - restaurants,
eating out - fast food,
eating out - out with friends. 

Fast food was driven by our schedules and has now been reduced to almost nothing by frozen pizza, frozen lasagna (made ahead or grocery store) and made ahead stews. Restaurants has dropped with a shift to eating out with friends.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Inaya on February 09, 2016, 12:13:54 PM
The point about frozen pizza wasn't that it is particularly nice or that you can't make it at home or even that it's cheap. It's that restaurant food is not quick and easy - frozen pizza is. It's out of the freezer and on your plate in twenty minutes (including time to preheat the oven) and requires almost no effort. Restaurant food, on the other hand, is a lot of effort and time.
Yes. 
Two years ago I separated our food budget down to:
groceries (further subdivided),
eating out - restaurants,
eating out - fast food,
eating out - out with friends. 

Fast food was driven by our schedules and has now been reduced to almost nothing by frozen pizza, frozen lasagna (made ahead or grocery store) and made ahead stews. Restaurants has dropped with a shift to eating out with friends.


Similar here. Groceries, fast food (fast-casual, sandwich joints, etc.), sit-down restaurants, pizza.


Working on reducing the pizza budget. It's pennies to make at home, but I don't make it nearly as good as any of the local joints.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: WerKater on March 18, 2016, 12:58:18 AM
Quote
If I want instant food I buy pre-made food from the supermarket (e.g. Frozen pizza)

Frozen pizza has never made a lot of sense to me because it's not really any cheaper than just getting a fresh one from a pizza place....and fresh tastes so much better. I feel like pizza would be incredibly easy to do at home though, just buy some pita or naan bread and put sauce and cheese on it and bake...close enough.
Frozen pizza is $3.50 and a fresh one is at least seven bucks, and that's Dominos (which is probably the equivalent of frozen).

I like making my own pizza/ dough, but it's definitely not a weeknight thing (get home at 5:30 pm, dinner at 6 pm).

I don't think my oven goes to 550F.  Or at least, when I've tried to go above 450F, it doesn't go well.
Seconded. Where I live, a good frozen pizza can often be had for 1.80. That's the sales price at the grocery store next door, they almost always have a couple flavors on sale. Regular price is ~3 I think, but I don't buy them at that price. They are a pretty good alternative for the occasional day where I am really to lazy to cook.
A delivered pizza will run you at least 6-7. Also, I think that walking to the grocery store, buying one pizza, walking back and baking it is actually faster than getting a pizza delivered. And I don't have to figure out whether pizza delivery persons should be tipped and if yes how much.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: hedgefund10 on March 18, 2016, 08:44:37 PM
I find eating to be a hassle, why would I pay $30 and take 90 min to go out to eat?
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: stlbrah on March 19, 2016, 11:33:36 AM
I love eating out and determined it is one of the few things not worth eliminating, along with a gym membership.

However, I only go out once or twice per week, usually with gf, and it is always a quality international restaurant. I don't go out for burgers or anything that can be made at home with minimal effort. I don't grab quick rip-off meals like sandwich shops or other take-out places. I don't eat out for weekday lunches.

These meals probably add anywhere from $100-250/month to my expenses. Generally, on the lower end of that. I will do the same thing in FIRE as it is one of my favorite ways to enjoy life.


Eating out once per week is the norm, 2 times usually is if there is some type of social event. Really, anything more than once per week makes it less exciting. I also don't drink, which helps.

Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: SweetLife on February 20, 2017, 12:51:06 PM
We never go out to eat ... I used to love it but now, with my hubby being such a great cook "restaurant" food falls flat ... I go out with the girls for drinks/dinner about once every 3-6 months. That's it!

Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: GreenSheep on February 20, 2017, 03:31:46 PM
Thanks for resurrecting this thread! I missed it the first time, and it's been an interesting read. I'm with those who say they prefer not to eat out, for all of the reasons mentioned (minus the fact that we don't have kids). My fiance likes to eat out, so I do go with him about once a month. I don't enjoy it, but I take my good attitude with me and enjoy the time spent with him because I know eating out is fun for him.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: CmFtns on February 20, 2017, 04:52:10 PM
I pay to eat out pretty much never (like 1-2 times a year)
I do end up eating out a few times a year when I visit family who insist on going out and paying for everyone.

At first it was just about saving money and learning to cook better at home then after a year or so I noticed that going out became a strange thing for me. Being waited on is weird for me now and driving to and from somewhere just to eat and prices have huge sticker shock now. Idonno I just would rather prepare at home in almost all circumstances so that's what I do.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: AMandM on February 20, 2017, 05:05:42 PM
My father always said he couldn't afford any restaurant that served better food than my mother cooked.  We are in pretty much the same situation.  The only time we go to a restaurant is (ironically enough) when my father comes to town; in the course of his stay (1-3 weeks) he takes us all out to dinner once.  It's his way of giving me a night off and saying thanks for the hospitality.

Other times we eat non-home-made food:
We go to church fundraiser suppers.
If DH forgets his brown bag in the fridge at home he will buy a chicken sandwich at work.
Occasionally we have an event (robotics meet, baseball game) at a venue that prohibits brown-bagging.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: oldtoyota on February 20, 2017, 06:23:44 PM
I'm curious where all of you live who never eat at restaurants because the quality is poor.  Is it a small town?   I'm in Houston, and while my girlfriend and I are both very good cooks, there are simply some things restaurants can do better or more efficiently than we can.  Vietnamese pho, Chinese Dim Sum, and a few Indian foods come to mind.  We eat somewhere like that probably twice a month, it's usually ~$15/person.

That being said, in my small hometown the restaurants are all pretty much below what I could make myself.  Maybe that's where you guys are coming from?

If we go, I aim for the restaurant to either be a good meeting place with friends or to provide a meal I can't prepare well myself. As my cooking skills have grown, I've felt the need to eat out less and less.

I taught myself to make Pho and like my own best. Restaurant Pho is full of MSG, which gives me a killer headache.

Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: mamagoose on February 20, 2017, 07:16:59 PM
My father always said he couldn't afford any restaurant that served better food than my mother cooked.  We are in pretty much the same situation.  The only time we go to a restaurant is (ironically enough) when my father comes to town; in the course of his stay (1-3 weeks) he takes us all out to dinner once.  It's his way of giving me a night off and saying thanks for the hospitality.

Other times we eat non-home-made food:
We go to church fundraiser suppers.
If DH forgets his brown bag in the fridge at home he will buy a chicken sandwich at work.
Occasionally we have an event (robotics meet, baseball game) at a venue that prohibits brown-bagging.

How sweet of your dad to say that about your mom's cooking! I hope that with more practice one day my husband will say something like that about my cooking.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Faraday on February 20, 2017, 08:11:50 PM
I pay to eat out pretty much never (like 1-2 times a year)
I do end up eating out a few times a year when I visit family who insist on going out and paying for everyone.

At first it was just about saving money and learning to cook better at home then after a year or so I noticed that going out became a strange thing for me. Being waited on is weird for me now and driving to and from somewhere just to eat and prices have huge sticker shock now. Idonno I just would rather prepare at home in almost all circumstances so that's what I do.

+1 to this and more. Eating out feels weird now.

Also, wife and I live keto, which restaurants just don't understand.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: OthalaFehu on February 21, 2017, 07:19:24 AM
Eating out is my single biggest waste of money, $10k a year (family of 4) but there are 2 things I will say about this in defense of the habit (I acknowledge it is way too much money)

1. I have an unhealthy relationship with food and eating out makes me happy. I spend time with friends/family over a meal and my mental health is deserving of some portion of the my budget.

2. I am lucky, I have a lot of money, I look at it like a system for redistributing wealth, I tip well and eating out helps drive the economy.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: jade on February 21, 2017, 11:46:02 AM
We eat out rarely partly to save money but mostly because of some food intolerances. Like a lot of others here, we started to realise that most of the time we can cook better at home. When we go for out now, it's mostly for things that are trickier to do at home. I am surprised at how little I miss eating out now.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: nottoolatetostart on February 21, 2017, 02:07:19 PM
I learned so much reading this thread.

Many of the reasons previously cited apply to us to (hate waiting, cost, toddlers, overeating, etc). Another big one is food safety and germs. These items have become super important to me in the lst couple years.

We could start a whole thread on food safety of the restaurant food itself - proper temperatures, reheating things multiple times, high quality produce, sourcing food.

But taking a turn on things (because maybe a lot of people are sick this time of year)..
How many times have you seen the hostess, cook, server wipe their nose? Do they wash their hands? Or do they hand you your menus after they blow their nose? Grab your silverware?  When do you see them wash their hands? Public Bathroom often have handles that pull inward when you are inside the bathroom requiring you and the employees to pull open the door (the dirty dirty door - there is likely feces on that door- you know some people don't wash up after using restroom) , touching the door, infecting your hands even if you just washed your hands (unless you use a towel to open the door or wait for someone else to open the door for you). Have you seen people use the same gloves that they just wiped up something to also touch your food? People don't change gloves often enough.

Also, when they refill water glasses, it is a MAJOR pet peeve of mine to rest the water jug on a patron's glass to refill. No no no. How many other patrons glasses did you do that too? The water jugs are typically washed a couple times per shift, if at all, but typically shared by all servers. I was a server in high school and college at multiple restaurants so I know what I am talking about. I also did shifts washing dishes, cashier, line cook, etc.  Have you seen people touching menu and then touch your plate?

How clean are the tables? Who sat in the booth before you? Were they sick? Menus? Those rags are often used to clean everything. Yes I know there are inspections but everyone is on best behavior during food inspections.

I know I sound like I am a major germaphobe, but seriously ....think about it. Why would you pay for that? Again, we used to eat out a lot more, but we really like being at home (and yes we wash hands often, even at home, especially when we first get in the door from being out).

Ok, after writing this, I don't want to eat out again. Problem cured for me.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: DTaggart on February 21, 2017, 03:39:57 PM
I almost never eat out... like maaaybe once a year, and only when "forced" to by the situation (ie travel) or family who insist on taking us out.

Many years ago we would eat out all the time, and get fast food for dinner multiple times per week. It was pure laziness and inability to plan ahead - forgetting to take things out to defrost, etc.

As I've gotten older I've learned to shop cheaply and meal plan, and learned to enjoy cooking. This has pretty much eliminated eating out because we needed to. I keep quick and easy stuff in the freezer for those nights when I don't feel like cooking so there's always something we can just heat up, or quickly whip up some omelets or something.

As for eating out because we want to, well I simply don't enjoy it. I hate the whole process of getting dressed (I mean, they make you wear shoes and everything!), getting in the car, going somewhere, sitting around waiting for your table while screeching children with inattentive parents run wild, then you have to sit around and wait for them to take your drink order, decline the upsells for appetizers and expensive alcoholic beverages, sit around some more while they take your food order, wait for the food to come out, then be interrupted 8 times as they ask you inane questions like "How's everything tasting tonight?" the moment you have a mouth full of food, decline the additional upsells dessert, etc, then wait for the damn check, then wait again for them to run your CC and bring it back.... And of course while all this is going on there are horrible little children with inattentive parents jumping on the seat behind you and dropping crayons on your head, TVs blaring obnoxious sporting events or overwhelming music combined with general ambient noise that makes it pretty much impossible to actually have a conversation with the people you are purportedly there to spend time with. And of course, depending on the restaurant, its probably costing what I spend on a week's worth of groceries for that one meal. And holy shit is the food unhealthy, most entrees I see contain about 1/2 a day's worth of calories, and that's before they add on the fries or side salad or anything else.

Fuck that :)
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: misshathaway on February 23, 2017, 07:00:04 AM
I do it maybe twice a year and only if I know that the experience is going to be worth it. That includes the company as well as the food. If one or the other is missing then I always regret the expense afterward.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: jade on February 23, 2017, 08:06:46 AM
I almost never eat out... like maaaybe once a year, and only when "forced" to by the situation (ie travel) or family who insist on taking us out.

Many years ago we would eat out all the time, and get fast food for dinner multiple times per week. It was pure laziness and inability to plan ahead - forgetting to take things out to defrost, etc.

As I've gotten older I've learned to shop cheaply and meal plan, and learned to enjoy cooking. This has pretty much eliminated eating out because we needed to. I keep quick and easy stuff in the freezer for those nights when I don't feel like cooking so there's always something we can just heat up, or quickly whip up some omelets or something.

As for eating out because we want to, well I simply don't enjoy it. I hate the whole process of getting dressed (I mean, they make you wear shoes and everything!), getting in the car, going somewhere, sitting around waiting for your table while screeching children with inattentive parents run wild, then you have to sit around and wait for them to take your drink order, decline the upsells for appetizers and expensive alcoholic beverages, sit around some more while they take your food order, wait for the food to come out, then be interrupted 8 times as they ask you inane questions like "How's everything tasting tonight?" the moment you have a mouth full of food, decline the additional upsells dessert, etc, then wait for the damn check, then wait again for them to run your CC and bring it back.... And of course while all this is going on there are horrible little children with inattentive parents jumping on the seat behind you and dropping crayons on your head, TVs blaring obnoxious sporting events or overwhelming music combined with general ambient noise that makes it pretty much impossible to actually have a conversation with the people you are purportedly there to spend time with. And of course, depending on the restaurant, its probably costing what I spend on a week's worth of groceries for that one meal. And holy shit is the food unhealthy, most entrees I see contain about 1/2 a day's worth of calories, and that's before they add on the fries or side salad or anything else.

Fuck that :)

This made me chuckle! Sadly, quite true, isn't it? :)
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: DTaggart on February 26, 2017, 02:48:38 PM
I almost never eat out... like maaaybe once a year, and only when "forced" to by the situation (ie travel) or family who insist on taking us out.

Many years ago we would eat out all the time, and get fast food for dinner multiple times per week. It was pure laziness and inability to plan ahead - forgetting to take things out to defrost, etc.

As I've gotten older I've learned to shop cheaply and meal plan, and learned to enjoy cooking. This has pretty much eliminated eating out because we needed to. I keep quick and easy stuff in the freezer for those nights when I don't feel like cooking so there's always something we can just heat up, or quickly whip up some omelets or something.

As for eating out because we want to, well I simply don't enjoy it. I hate the whole process of getting dressed (I mean, they make you wear shoes and everything!), getting in the car, going somewhere, sitting around waiting for your table while screeching children with inattentive parents run wild, then you have to sit around and wait for them to take your drink order, decline the upsells for appetizers and expensive alcoholic beverages, sit around some more while they take your food order, wait for the food to come out, then be interrupted 8 times as they ask you inane questions like "How's everything tasting tonight?" the moment you have a mouth full of food, decline the additional upsells dessert, etc, then wait for the damn check, then wait again for them to run your CC and bring it back.... And of course while all this is going on there are horrible little children with inattentive parents jumping on the seat behind you and dropping crayons on your head, TVs blaring obnoxious sporting events or overwhelming music combined with general ambient noise that makes it pretty much impossible to actually have a conversation with the people you are purportedly there to spend time with. And of course, depending on the restaurant, its probably costing what I spend on a week's worth of groceries for that one meal. And holy shit is the food unhealthy, most entrees I see contain about 1/2 a day's worth of calories, and that's before they add on the fries or side salad or anything else.

Fuck that :)

This made me chuckle! Sadly, quite true, isn't it? :)

LOL well I'm glad someone appreciates my little diatribe, for some reason most people just tell me I'm no fun :)
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Tyson on February 26, 2017, 09:04:30 PM
I hate to eat out unless it's a really top flight restaurant.  I don't want to pay $$ unless it's for food at a level that I simply can't match at home.  Seems a waste, otherwise.  Problem is - as I get better and better over time in my own kitchen, fewer and fewer restaurant meals are still worth it.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: jade on February 27, 2017, 07:33:48 AM
I almost never eat out... like maaaybe once a year, and only when "forced" to by the situation (ie travel) or family who insist on taking us out.

Many years ago we would eat out all the time, and get fast food for dinner multiple times per week. It was pure laziness and inability to plan ahead - forgetting to take things out to defrost, etc.

As I've gotten older I've learned to shop cheaply and meal plan, and learned to enjoy cooking. This has pretty much eliminated eating out because we needed to. I keep quick and easy stuff in the freezer for those nights when I don't feel like cooking so there's always something we can just heat up, or quickly whip up some omelets or something.

As for eating out because we want to, well I simply don't enjoy it. I hate the whole process of getting dressed (I mean, they make you wear shoes and everything!), getting in the car, going somewhere, sitting around waiting for your table while screeching children with inattentive parents run wild, then you have to sit around and wait for them to take your drink order, decline the upsells for appetizers and expensive alcoholic beverages, sit around some more while they take your food order, wait for the food to come out, then be interrupted 8 times as they ask you inane questions like "How's everything tasting tonight?" the moment you have a mouth full of food, decline the additional upsells dessert, etc, then wait for the damn check, then wait again for them to run your CC and bring it back.... And of course while all this is going on there are horrible little children with inattentive parents jumping on the seat behind you and dropping crayons on your head, TVs blaring obnoxious sporting events or overwhelming music combined with general ambient noise that makes it pretty much impossible to actually have a conversation with the people you are purportedly there to spend time with. And of course, depending on the restaurant, its probably costing what I spend on a week's worth of groceries for that one meal. And holy shit is the food unhealthy, most entrees I see contain about 1/2 a day's worth of calories, and that's before they add on the fries or side salad or anything else.

Fuck that :)

This made me chuckle! Sadly, quite true, isn't it? :)

LOL well I'm glad someone appreciates my little diatribe, for some reason most people just tell me I'm no fun :)

lol! Funnily enough we went out for a pizza this weekend and I thought of this... the food was nice enough but it was SO noisy! It made me appreciate my own dining room more!! We're obviously not having fun "properly"! ;-)
Modify message
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: plainjane on March 01, 2017, 08:24:20 AM
I hate to eat out unless it's a really top flight restaurant.  I don't want to pay $$ unless it's for food at a level that I simply can't match at home.  Seems a waste, otherwise.  Problem is - as I get better and better over time in my own kitchen, fewer and fewer restaurant meals are still worth it.

And they give me so much food.  OTOH, I went out for lunch with a coworker on Monday, and now we have curry that I'm going to only need to stretch a very little bit for two people to eat tomorrow night.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: BogleBoy on March 12, 2017, 12:39:31 AM
Our favorite restaurant is our kitchen.

I think as our cooking skills increase the bar rises as far as how impressive a restaurant has to be. There's a growing number of recipes we can cook at home that you commonly find in restaurants yet they don't make the dish as well as we do.

Every now and then though there are those exceptions: dining out when traveling, special occasions, or just being too busy or tired to have the time to cook something.

When we do go out to eat we also like to pick restaurants that we know offer dishes we'd have a very hard time replicating at home.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Dicey on March 12, 2017, 01:38:24 AM
Went out to dinner pre-theater with friends. It was fine for a muggle, but disappointing as hell for a mustachian. OTOH, I hit up the proprietor for a gift card for an upcoming charitable event, so it might not be all bad news. We'll see if he comes through.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: MrsPB on March 12, 2017, 06:24:00 AM
We limit dining out mainly to when other people treat us! The inlaws visit a few times a year and they typically treat us to a meal out but with two small children, the last few visits we have opted for take out instead.
On the rare occasion (maybe 2x per year)  we eat out of our own accord( because we have a gift card typically), it's usually early bird breakfast at a family breakfast joint where it's quieter and cheaper.
I agree with others that with little kids, dining out is so much work between keeping the kids amused as you wait, remembering to take kid safe utensils/bowls, picking up dropped food, dealing with crap high chairs with broken straps etc.
If we had a sitter, we might in theory go for a meal occasionally as a couple, but add in the cost of the sitter and I just can't accept the total cost for a meal that I can make at home. Eating out isn't just about the food but relative to the experience gain, I don't feel it's good value most of the time. When the kids are older we will probably venture out a little more.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: kissthesky on March 12, 2017, 11:39:27 AM
I'd say I'm pretty close to never. In the past 12 months I've probably gone out to eat 5 times (although none were because I wanted to). 3 times the parental units were visiting and took us out to eat, and 2 times good friends got engaged and we took them out to dinner to celebrate. But I usually "go" out to eat with friends more often than that; I just don't order anything. My restrictive diet due to health issues and food allergies make it almost impossible to eat anywhere anyway. But it also saves me a lot of money so it works for me.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Mtngrl on March 12, 2017, 09:34:13 PM
Hmm -- we go out for my birthday and our anniversary. (We have a couple of restaurants we like where we celebrate these occasions.) Other than that, add in a few times a year when we are traveling or if friends invite us. I think this last year we ate out maybe 8 times. We live in a rural area, so any dinner out is at least a 20 minute drive and 95% of the time the food I could make at home is better.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: ltt on March 12, 2017, 09:58:56 PM
We much prefer eating at home, although we will get take-out or order pizza occasionally.  Once my husband comes home from work, he simply does not want to turn around and go out to eat.

I will go out with friends for lunch once a month to catch up.

I am also very tuned into to service at restaurants, fast food joints, etc.  The last time I stopped with my kids at a fast food joint, it was enough to turn me off from ever going back.  The girl behind the counter really didn't care if we were there or not.    Honestly, I don't know why restaurants put people like this on their front lines to provide customer service.  Also, I do not like going to fast food places where you have to touch the soda machine buttons to make your drink, knowing that there have been many people prior to you who have touched the buttons to make their drink.  Sorry, just not sanitary.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: OvertheRainbow on March 13, 2017, 04:02:05 AM
By "go out" do you mean at a sit-down restaurant or are you also including fast food like Mickey D's?

I eat out WAY too much, but it isn't an expensive, sit-down. Mostly McDonald's, $1.50 fries at work cafeteria, and the occasional Chipotle and Panda Express.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: havregryn on March 13, 2017, 04:48:01 AM
We only eat out in most special of circumstances. I grew up in a rural area in a poor country where the notion of eating out was reserved only for weddings and baptisms so I grew up without ever seeing that as a viable option to feed oneself and husband grew up in Sweden where the cost of such endevours is extremely high so he also learned to live without during his student years. Before we would occasionally treat ourselves to a Japanese restaurant as Japanese food is hard to make at home but now we have small kids so that too is very rare.
For us this is not even about saving money, our lifestyle just evolved around it. We both love cooking and are good at it, so also any restaurant we'd go to has to be able to offer us something we can't make at home which makes them both rare and super expensive.
Title: Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
Post by: Tyson on March 13, 2017, 11:08:21 AM
We used to go out to eat more often because my daughter liked to get waffles or milkshakes from some of the local restaurants.  I bought a waffle iron and a blender and now we make those things at home (and gluten free, too!).  I also learned how to do home-made whipped cream, turned out to be super simple, and my daughter likes it better than the "fake" whipped cream you get when you go out.