I don't know if I'm too late with my response. But, here goes anyway.
Anytime I am asked what type of pan I would recommend by friends, customers, employees etc., the first thing I always ask is what sort of cook are they? Are they an average home cook? Are they weekend warriors? Are they a home chef with good technical skills? The reason why I ask is because there are cookware sets out that suit all levels of cooking skill and experience. For instance, I would not recommend a set of tin lined copper to someone who is just starting out nor would I recommend a set of Teflon coated pans to a seasoned chef. So, knowing where you are at with your cooking skill and your style of cooking is one of the most important questions.
Another important question to consider is what is heat source? Electric? Gas? Glass top electric? Induction? Some pans work better with certain sources than others while some pans can't be used on some heat sources at all.
From the sounds of it, you seem to know your way around a kitchen pretty well and therefore, I assume you have a good, solid set of cooking skills. Given your price range and location, I would agree with Grande's suggestion of buying a good set of stainless steel cookware. Stainless steel is pretty much non reactive and rather indestructible. Its a little more work in the clean up department, especially if you like to fry foods like meats and starches. But, in the category of cost vs. length of use, stainless is about as good as your going to get. So, having said that, I have had great experiences with Emerilware stainless steel. In fact, a set of Emeril stainless steel was my first set of cookware many, many moons ago and I still have it all and use them rather often when I cook at home. They are well made and the sets include a good number of pieces for the money. They are versatile and can handle just about any style of cooking that your recipes require. You can even use them over an open flame like a campfire.
Stainless steel is probably the most universal when it comes to the issue of heat source. It works reasonably well on all heat sources except, even induction. However, unless the stainless cookware is specifically made for induction stoves, its not going to work well at all.
When it comes to stainless steel, there are certain factors that you should consider. First, is what sort of core, if any, do they have? Some of the better stainless steel cookware have copper or aluminum layers sandwiched between the layers of steel to improve heat conductivity. Cheaper stainless steel cookware may not have any copper or aluminum at all and therefore, you will get hot spots and very uneven heat distribution.
Emerilware offers a reasonably good 12 piece set of all clad stainless steel cookware (Aluminum core) for around $200 that is compatible with all heat sources, including induction.
I hope this helps.