Author Topic: Restaurant spending - I just can't seem to cut it  (Read 16832 times)

Eric

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Re: Restaurant spending - I just can't seem to cut it
« Reply #50 on: December 31, 2014, 03:03:23 PM »
Some things you just can't replicate with ease at home.

When I see someone claim that he can cook better food at home, I assume either that he eats exclusively at Chili's or that he lives in a flyover area where "fine dining" means steakhouse.

I live in Silicon Valley, so you should assume that I'm a fucking excellent cook, not that I have bad taste.

Roland of Gilead

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Re: Restaurant spending - I just can't seem to cut it
« Reply #51 on: December 31, 2014, 03:12:40 PM »
Forgive me if fancy jumbo shrimp in some sort of sweet-potato based saucey-thing I couldn't begin to whip up doesn't tickle my fancy about the same amount as grilled mushrooms and other random vegetables for an appetizer. Difficult doesn't mean better.

I used to think that way until I ate the food cooked by a Michelin star chef.  It isn't just a fancy arrangement of food...they actually know how to combine ingredients and cook to perfection.

I wouldn't expect a fine chef to know how to solder a 144 pin TQFP correctly, so why should anyone expect an untrained person to produce food on the level of top chefs?

aj_yooper

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Re: Restaurant spending - I just can't seem to cut it
« Reply #52 on: December 31, 2014, 03:18:10 PM »
We are foodies and get cabin fever so I feel your pain.  Pick cool spots to go to and don't drink, but totally enjoy the meal. 

garth

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Re: Restaurant spending - I just can't seem to cut it
« Reply #53 on: December 31, 2014, 04:28:46 PM »
Some things you just can't replicate with ease at home.

When I see someone claim that he can cook better food at home, I assume either that he eats exclusively at Chili's or that he lives in a flyover area where "fine dining" means steakhouse.

I live in Silicon Valley, so you should assume that I'm a fucking excellent cook, not that I have bad taste.

Oui chef.

skunkfunk

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Re: Restaurant spending - I just can't seem to cut it
« Reply #54 on: December 31, 2014, 04:38:23 PM »
Forgive me if fancy jumbo shrimp in some sort of sweet-potato based saucey-thing I couldn't begin to whip up doesn't tickle my fancy about the same amount as grilled mushrooms and other random vegetables for an appetizer. Difficult doesn't mean better.

I used to think that way until I ate the food cooked by a Michelin star chef.  It isn't just a fancy arrangement of food...they actually know how to combine ingredients and cook to perfection.

I wouldn't expect a fine chef to know how to solder a 144 pin TQFP correctly, so why should anyone expect an untrained person to produce food on the level of top chefs?

I'm typing this from Grand House. Am I still allowed in here?

mm1970

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Re: Restaurant spending - I just can't seem to cut it
« Reply #55 on: December 31, 2014, 04:40:38 PM »
Some things you just can't replicate with ease at home.

When I see someone claim that he can cook better food at home, I assume either that he eats exclusively at Chili's or that he lives in a flyover area where "fine dining" means steakhouse.
Well there's food, and there's FOOD.  I guess you could call me a "foodie" of some sort.  I love food, watching about it on TV, reading about it, etc.  I learned to cook in my 30's on my own, took some classes, learned to master a lot of basic dishes and a few fancy dishes.

Of course with small children and a full time job, my cooking these days is mostly uninspired and more the "Chili's" set.  But in years past, I got pretty good at experimenting.

The thing with cooking something yourself is that you get to make it EXACTLY how you like it.  It may take 2, or 3, or 4 tries to get the sauce right, or the spice level right, or to stop overcooking the damn salmon, but after that - you've got it.

That doesn't mean you should never eat out.  There are some nice restaurants in my town with local ingredients that make really really awesome food that I would never attempt on my own (mostly because I'm too busy and too frugal to risk wasting that much money on 3 or 4 or 5 tries of it).  One of them costs us - well, it depends.  We got out of there for $100 one night by not drinking and not having dessert, but it was closer to $250 the first time.  Delicious, but it's a kind of place we've been twice, and they've been in business 10 years.

How often do you need to blow $100+ for dinner for two people?

The challenge for me (of course) is ethnic food.  I love Indian, Thai, etc. etc., and the restaurants are often better.  But there are a few recipes that I've tried and love (usually from a friend who is Indian, for example).

Ricky

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Re: Restaurant spending - I just can't seem to cut it
« Reply #56 on: December 31, 2014, 04:51:49 PM »
I'm addicted to Chipotle and I literally need rehab. The bad part is that it is over 45 min to the closest one for me so I don't go often, but I honestly probably won't move anywhere unless its maximum 2-3 miles from a Chipotle. To be fair, it's about the only place I care about eating at since I semi-trust the food quality and it's very filling food that will last a few meals.

Other than that, I eat cheapish fast food nearly every day at work. Something like Subway or the local chinese place. We don't have a proper break room and what we do have is disgusting and right next to a bathroom and I'm OCD as it is, so I have no other choice than to eat out.

skunkfunk

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Re: Restaurant spending - I just can't seem to cut it
« Reply #57 on: December 31, 2014, 04:57:21 PM »
I'm addicted to Chipotle and I literally need rehab. The bad part is that it is over 45 min to the closest one for me so I don't go often, but I honestly probably won't move anywhere unless its maximum 2-3 miles from a Chipotle. To be fair, it's about the only place I care about eating at since I semi-trust the food quality and it's very filling food that will last a few meals.

Other than that, I eat cheapish fast food nearly every day at work. Something like Subway or the local chinese place. We don't have a proper break room and what we do have is disgusting and right next to a bathroom and I'm OCD as it is, so I have no other choice than to eat out.

Lunchbox in car. Eat there? What do you do for a living?

Roland of Gilead

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Re: Restaurant spending - I just can't seem to cut it
« Reply #58 on: December 31, 2014, 05:01:47 PM »
Forgive me if fancy jumbo shrimp in some sort of sweet-potato based saucey-thing I couldn't begin to whip up doesn't tickle my fancy about the same amount as grilled mushrooms and other random vegetables for an appetizer. Difficult doesn't mean better.

I used to think that way until I ate the food cooked by a Michelin star chef.  It isn't just a fancy arrangement of food...they actually know how to combine ingredients and cook to perfection.

I wouldn't expect a fine chef to know how to solder a 144 pin TQFP correctly, so why should anyone expect an untrained person to produce food on the level of top chefs?

I'm typing this from Grand House. Am I still allowed in here?

That isn't the point.  I eat at places like Grand House that cost around $15 to $30 per person occasionally.   I also cook most meals at home.   Going to a high end restaurant once in awhile is just to sample something completely different.

I wouldn't facepunch somebody who wanted to travel to Asia or Europe to sample the history and culture just because they could get a cheaper representation at the local library or on a TV travel show.

Spondulix

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Re: Restaurant spending - I just can't seem to cut it
« Reply #59 on: December 31, 2014, 05:19:55 PM »
Some things you just can't replicate with ease at home.

When I see someone claim that he can cook better food at home, I assume either that he eats exclusively at Chili's or that he lives in a flyover area where "fine dining" means steakhouse.
I completely disagree. As someone mentioned before, a lot of foods take spices and tools that may not be worth keeping in the kitchen all the time if you're just going to make it once in a blue moon. For example, restaurant quality sushi takes mirin, sushi rice, a sushi roller, etc. Unless you cook Japanese a lot, it just takes up room to keep these in your kitchen. Same could be said of Indian - you can make a decent curry with only a handful of spices, but if you want to make a real good, authentic curry you need about 8 spices (a number which you won't use for hardly anything but Indian).

Same could be said of baking, even. I've got so many cookie cutters it's ridiculous, but only make cookies about once a year. When storage is a premium, it might be smarter to only keep around the tools and cooking ingredients that you really can use regularly. Alton Brown says don't ever buy a one-purpose tool, cause it costs money, takes up space, and rarely gets used.

Johnez

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Re: Restaurant spending - I just can't seem to cut it
« Reply #60 on: December 31, 2014, 05:41:59 PM »
I can't imagine too much wasted money if you're only going out once a week. If it's high end and spendy, I suggest checking out some hole in the wall places. Where to find them depends on your locale, but I'd suggest yelp and any local small time newspaper. Ours (OC Weekly) has recommended some fantastic joints. Fish taco plates and beer for two comes out to $20 at my favorite restaurant.

cabeasle

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Re: Restaurant spending - I just can't seem to cut it
« Reply #61 on: December 31, 2014, 06:28:02 PM »
I'm just chiming in to say thanks for all the great replies.  I figured I would respond to some of them directly, but by the time I rechecked the post, there were over 60! 

Glad to know I am not the only one struggling with this, though.  I definitely get the fact that this is a great problem to have.  I mean, I'm worried about over-indulging on fancy food as a detriment to retiring earlier.  First world problem to the extreme.  Sometimes it's nice just to vent the frustration though, and make sure I'm not just struggling with something that everyone else figured out long ago. 


JuSp02

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Re: Restaurant spending - I just can't seem to cut it
« Reply #62 on: December 31, 2014, 06:52:21 PM »
Also, make your home comfortable...

I second this.

You can try and recreate a restaurant environment when you start feeling bored. Break out some candles and buy some fancy napkins (this is a double-win because you'll also be minimizing paper napkins and saving the environment at the same time). Put on some background music and dim the lights. You could even change the music to fit what you've cooked. (Mexican music for taco night!)

Try going to the grocery store on your way home if you feel tied down to the food in your fridge. There is no reason you can't have coq au vin tomorrow night if that's what you're craving. It's still cheaper, and healthier!, than going to a restaurant.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Restaurant spending - I just can't seem to cut it
« Reply #63 on: December 31, 2014, 07:07:52 PM »
I struggle with this, and I'm not even going to fancy places much, but even going to the local chicken shop, a parma at a pub or getting Subway at lunch costs plenty over time. Then there's the long-term Nando's addiction I'm not completely over, although Nando's themselves are helping me kick it with their prices (when a chicken burger, chips and drink costs the best part of $20).

I'm going to allow myself a pass to buy dinner tomorrow night though, tomorrow's going to be hot and I have no aircon, so I'd rather not heat my apartment up further by cooking.

kathrynd

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Re: Restaurant spending - I just can't seem to cut it
« Reply #64 on: January 01, 2015, 03:17:15 AM »
Set your budget up, so you only have access to $$$ amount of money.
Whether it be groceries or restaurants.
When it's gone, it's gone.

If you run out of food a few times, and don't have much to eat, you will budget better the next time.

myrax

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Re: Restaurant spending - I just can't seem to cut it
« Reply #65 on: January 01, 2015, 08:09:43 AM »
When I started buying spices and staples at international grocery stores, the fun of learning how to cook new dishes helped me cut back on restaurants. And you can buy a dozen spices for the same price as one bowl of curry.

Finding delicious, near instant foods helped stop me from going to a restaurant when I was too tired to cook or clean. My freezer is alway stocked with frozen potstickers from the Asian grocery store. I serve it with stir fried broccoli (frozen) or cabbage. The cost per meal is under $2, which is acceptable for the convenience. Another quick meal is baba ganoush made from the roasted eggplant in a jar. I serve it with pita from the market near my house and a salad. Finally, when I am making food that freezes well (lentil stew, some curries), I make extra to freeze for dinner when I am rushed.

I like to make salads and vegetable side dishes that I can serve several days in a row to streamline dinner prep. Salads made with kale or cabbage can last several days, refrigerator pickles last for weeks, and lots of sautéed or roasted vegetables can be reheated quickly in a pan. This lets me put together an awesome meal quickly.

startswithhome

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Re: Restaurant spending - I just can't seem to cut it
« Reply #66 on: January 01, 2015, 08:35:13 AM »
Find other ways to socialize. Host potlucks (little to no additional cost), find out when art galleries have free/cheap nights. Start a meetup for an interest you have. My husband started one for game masters and it was awesome, we met at a local coffee shop and each bought a drink to "pay" for their space. So much creativity and energy for $2-$5 (depending on the drink).