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Anyone else have a hard time with this?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
My wife and I have a really hard time going out to eat due to the fact that we have yet to find a place that offers better food than what we can prepare at home - even some of the "nicer" dining establishments.

To get better, we'd have to spend an ungodly amount of money (anything over $100bux ea is too much)... We've done it.. but felt violated at the end of it..
post #2 of 11
Our budget doesn't allow for more expensive restaurants but we do occasionally go out to eat as a family. The food is never that great and it seems we leave lacking and still wanting something to eat. Many times the family has said they'd rather have my homecooked meals over what we eat out. Now we seldom go out to eat and when we do, it's because we're out doing other things and aren't at home to cook.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Even then, I think about all the steaKs we can buy from our favorite butcher - and just drive down to pick some up to cook rather than have that "feeling of being violated" for a sub-standard eating experience at the local eatery... :)
post #4 of 11
Yes! I know the feeling.
post #5 of 11
OMG I really know what you mean.

Even when dining at fancy and expensive restaurants, I walk out feeling like I'd just been had.

The ones that really kill me are Italian restos that charge 25.00 for a plate filled with about 25 cents worth of pasta (as a vegetarian, oftentimes that's my only option.)

www.foodandphoto.com

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www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

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post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Ya know... I'm all about the "overall experience" - i.e. when I go out to eat, it's not the price that bothers me per say.. as much as it is what I think the value should be for the associated dollar amount and unfortunately, I can only think of a handful of dining establishments I've ever been to which met or exceeded my expectations for the given dollar amount...

To me, here's a quick breakdown of what I'd expect:

$10-20 per dinner - Good food using fresh ingredients with good service.
$20-40 per dinner - Really good food, freshest ingredients and exceptional service, good plating and the overall atmosphere of the place should be highly conducive to our enjoyment and company of each other at the table.
$40-100 per dinner - Exceptional food of the highest quality with service to match yet isn't obtrusive. Dinners in this price range should use the best quality of any given ingredient (i.e. prime, dry-aged beef etc). The atmosphere should be beyond expectations.
$100+ per dinner - All of the above and the place should be offering some "reach-around" treatment for everyone at the table.

:)
post #7 of 11
-Cp - know where you're coming from. Our main reason for going out for a meal is to have someone else do the cooking and to enjoy the time out of the house. Yes, some places we go to I could do better, sometimes not.

If there's a specialty restaurant, e.g. good quality place doing Chinese - we'll go there mostly because of the good food. Also, I don't do deserts very well, so we always leave room for a sweet when we go out. Had a lovely panacotta recently - something I'd never bother to try making. No patience :)

We've only recently come out of a period of a few very lean years on a very tight budget, so we're just glad to be able to go out for dinner. There was a time when I couldn't even remember the last time we went out even for a pub meal - and I'm talking years not months or weeks.

It's all relative I guess....

DC
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #8 of 11
-Cp, I'm with you! And I've recently had a weird variation on your breakdown with a chef's tasting menu.

The service was attentive without being obtrusive :)
The views of the city and the bay were outstanding :)
We could talk to each other without having to yell :)
The plating was beautiful and inventive :)
The ingredients were local and fresh :)

HOWEVER
The server wasn't always sure what the ingredients exactly were (We all knew the soup was made from yuzu but she didn't seem to know what that was) :confused:

One rarely wants a view of the setting sun when the sun will be blazing into your eyes for two hours. :suprise:

We were able to talk to each other . . . a lot, since the time between courses would have included a boat ride around the harbor. :cool: It also gave us too much time to laugh about the food. But more about that later.

The plating was pretty, but often there was so little of whatever the server couldn't identify decorating the plate, we couldn't taste it to try figuring it out for ourselves. :look:

And now for the best part: yes, the ingredients were fresh and local . . . all 87 of them that went into each and every course! And I never realized that if you put too many different ingredients together they would combine in the mouth to no taste at all! I'm not kidding :eek: It was weird. Talk about trying too hard.

And, usually, no one messes up dessert on a tasting menu. But they managed to mess up their 3-way chocolate cake. Very little sweetness, almost no taste of chocolate and what was there as, well, CAKE, tasted like it had been sitting on a diner counter, uncovered for 5 days.
All this for nearly $100 a person.

thank you for letting me vent.
Emily

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Emily

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"If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener." -- J. C. Raulston, American Horticulturist
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post #9 of 11
Also as a vegetarian, I find some of the options I have unconscionable.

However, many vegetarian meals require quite a bit of processing, and *sometimes* I'm happy to let them do the work.

For example, there's a great veggie restaurant near me that serves incredible seitan and gluten meals that I'd rather not make at home.

Actually, since I've been vegetarian, I've generally not felt as "violated" as I used to.
Vegetarian restaurant blog: http://longislandveg.blogspot.com/
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Vegetarian restaurant blog: http://longislandveg.blogspot.com/
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post #10 of 11
Hardly ever eat out at night and haven't for some 15+ years. That's how we justified spending enormous amounts of money to completely remodel the kitchen into a somewhat "professional" kitchen that one can actually cook in.

The money we calculated we've saved over these years has more, actually much more than re-compensated us for our initial expenditure. The joy of eating the food we prepare was an added "plus"!

The only time I eat out now is at lunch or when it is being paid for by the company. And I find that lunches are usually cheaper and better than dinners at the same places. Guess they're trying to create an "evening" clientel by impressing them at lunch.

doc
post #11 of 11
Welcome, Antipode!

Speaking of vegetarian dining, I'm always amazed at the use of chicken broth and other meat-based broths in "vegetarian" dishes. I have friends who keep kosher (after a fashion). They'll eat out, but will eat stick to fish, eggs, cheese and veggies. They've learned to be very specific with servers about ingredients- and still they are served risotto, delicious risotto, but made with chicken broth. Same with bean-based dishes containing lard, bacon, etc. A commitment to a non-typical eating regime (and I hope I put that respectfully), whether it's for dietary, religious, moral or other reasons, can turn you into quite a knowledgeable cook!
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