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Old 01-12-2015, 11:21 AM   #61
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DW just read the thread and asked me to tell you about our 55th Anniversary Party, a year and a half ago.
We had it at our very most favoritist Chinese Restaurant. A very nice place with a separate dining room. Of course it is buffet style, but very elegant new interior and an extraordinary assortment of foods... a nice make-for-you sushi bar and a large open Mongolian kitchen for stir fry. 80+ entrees and too many desserts to count. 15 seafood entrees, from salmon to stuffed clams and lobster, shrimp, crablegs and about 20 beef and chicken selections. Sometimes froglegs and often calamari. (no oysters, but fresh mussels)
Much of this is fresh made in the restaurant, and not the normal frozen Oriental restaurant fare.

So anyway... there were eleven of us, and DW asked to get the bill, though the kids (in their 50's) wanted to pay. It's their choice of restaurants when they visit, and because we go there so often, we're all on first name basis with the owner, cooks and staff. DW always cuts out the coupons, so $10 off for parties of 6 or more. A great time had by all and a special surprise by the owner... big birthday cake w/candles and the whole waitress staff lined up to sing Happy Anniversary in Mandarin, kinda like in "A Christmas Story".

A very fun day. When DW got the fortune cookies and bill, the total for 10 adults and one child was $84.26 with tax. A $25 tip and still under $110.

If you're in the area, it will be our treat.

Next time, will tell you about our wedding party.
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Old 01-12-2015, 11:24 AM   #62
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There are so many good restaurants everywhere with innovative chefs who have a passion for cooking that don't charge premium prices for great food that no one " has" to spend megabucks for fine food anymore.
+1 At least, that is the case in New Orleans. Food is a Big Deal down here and competition is fierce. You can spend a lot if you want to, but it's not necessary.
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Old 01-12-2015, 11:28 AM   #63
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I'm ducking as I write this....

We only go out 2-3 times a month, usually ethnic/cheap. But, 12-15 times a year, we go nice/nuts--over $150 per couple (bring our own wine, so corkage fee included, but I'm excluding the cost of the wine). Most expensive was last year: unadvertised fixed price/menu bash for 20 people; New Years Eve; 15+ course tasting menu (with drink pairings) at a high demand restaurant in our town. Ate very slowly from 8:30-1:30, for a tab (for two) of $850 after tax/tip. Outrageous, but we enjoyed our 30th anniversary.

Like most, we love to cook and do the vast majority of meals at home--albeit often from a frozen food bag during the week. Of course, the cost of what DW brings up from the cellar for those meals can make them expensive at times....
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Old 01-12-2015, 12:00 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
DW just read the thread and asked me to tell you about our 55th Anniversary Party, a year and a half ago.
We had it at our very most favoritist Chinese Restaurant. A very nice place with a separate dining room. Of course it is buffet style, but very elegant new interior and an extraordinary assortment of foods... a nice make-for-you sushi bar and a large open Mongolian kitchen for stir fry. 80+ entrees and too many desserts to count. 15 seafood entrees, from salmon to stuffed clams and lobster, shrimp, crablegs and about 20 beef and chicken selections. Sometimes froglegs and often calamari. (no oysters, but fresh mussels)
Much of this is fresh made in the restaurant, and not the normal frozen Oriental restaurant fare.

So anyway... there were eleven of us, and DW asked to get the bill, though the kids (in their 50's) wanted to pay. It's their choice of restaurants when they visit, and because we go there so often, we're all on first name basis with the owner, cooks and staff. DW always cuts out the coupons, so $10 off for parties of 6 or more. A great time had by all and a special surprise by the owner... big birthday cake w/candles and the whole waitress staff lined up to sing Happy Anniversary in Mandarin, kinda like in "A Christmas Story".

A very fun day. When DW got the fortune cookies and bill, the total for 10 adults and one child was $84.26 with tax. A $25 tip and still under $110.

If you're in the area, it will be our treat.

Next time, will tell you about our wedding party.
I'm not surprised this is your favourite restaurant. It sounds like a great family place. I'll be right over......
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Old 01-12-2015, 12:59 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
DW just read the thread and asked me to tell you about our 55th Anniversary Party, a year and a half ago.
We had it at our very most favoritist Chinese Restaurant. A very nice place with a separate dining room. Of course it is buffet style, but very elegant new interior and an extraordinary assortment of foods... a nice make-for-you sushi bar and a large open Mongolian kitchen for stir fry. 80+ entrees and too many desserts to count. 15 seafood entrees, from salmon to stuffed clams and lobster, shrimp, crablegs and about 20 beef and chicken selections. Sometimes froglegs and often calamari. (no oysters, but fresh mussels)
Much of this is fresh made in the restaurant, and not the normal frozen Oriental restaurant fare.

So anyway... there were eleven of us, and DW asked to get the bill, though the kids (in their 50's) wanted to pay. It's their choice of restaurants when they visit, and because we go there so often, we're all on first name basis with the owner, cooks and staff. DW always cuts out the coupons, so $10 off for parties of 6 or more. A great time had by all and a special surprise by the owner... big birthday cake w/candles and the whole waitress staff lined up to sing Happy Anniversary in Mandarin, kinda like in "A Christmas Story".

A very fun day. When DW got the fortune cookies and bill, the total for 10 adults and one child was $84.26 with tax. A $25 tip and still under $110.
We have a couple of these places within walking distance. I'm amazed at the quality of the food combined with the price (or lack thereof). Our local Chinese buffet restaurants all have the fresh made sushi bars and mongolian bars. My DW claims the sushi bar at one of the restaurants rivals the fancy pants sushi places in the fancy part of town where she works (although the buffet sushi has a bit less fish/seafood, she says). One of the restaurants even has a pho bar where you pick your noodle, broth, fillings, egg (or not), steak (or not). All fresh made in front of you. And for $7 for lunch (a bit more for dinner), it's hard to beat what you get.
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Old 01-12-2015, 01:02 PM   #66
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DH and I rarely eat out; we enjoy kicking back at home with good food from fresh ingredients and we both enjoy cooking.


We once went to London and found that a few friends from a travel board I was on would be there at the same time. One guy lived there and invited us to have drinks at his place and then suggested we go to Simpsons-in-Strand (where Gladstone and Disraeli used to eat) for dinner. Dinner, he said, would run around $100 pp. This was probably 10 years ago.


DH and I jokingly called it "spending our kids' inheritance night". We took a classic black cab past Buckingham Palace to his flat on the South Bank, which had magnificent views of Tower Bridge. Wow. After a few glasses of bubbly, we went to the restaurant. Magnificent atmosphere, gracious service, good food and good company. DH and I shared treacle pudding for dessert. I remember our friend took all the cash we put on the table and paid with his British Airways credit card. Hey, someone ought to get miles out of it and he'd certainly been a gracious host.


As we left the restaurant it began to rain. We headed for the Underground station and joked that it was past midnight and we'd turned into pumpkins again. Wonderful memories.
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Old 01-12-2015, 01:07 PM   #67
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We have a couple of these places within walking distance. I'm amazed at the quality of the food combined with the price (or lack thereof). Our local Chinese buffet restaurants all have the fresh made sushi bars and mongolian bars. My DW claims the sushi bar at one of the restaurants rivals the fancy pants sushi places in the fancy part of town where she works (although the buffet sushi has a bit less fish/seafood, she says). One of the restaurants even has a pho bar where you pick your noodle, broth, fillings, egg (or not), steak (or not). All fresh made in front of you. And for $7 for lunch (a bit more for dinner), it's hard to beat what you get.
I'm not a fan of the buffet style Chinese restaurants in this part of the world. They look great, but way too often show up on the "I'm NOT eating there!" list on the local news "Behind The Kitchen" door expose of health inspection scores. No thanks.
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Old 01-12-2015, 01:21 PM   #68
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We like mom and pop ethnic places, too. There are many local ones by us with great food and buffets or big lunch specials for $7 - $9 a person. We also use coupons, go out during happy hours, sign up for mailing lists, etc. I have a big collection of restaurant coupons and gift cards I keep in a folder, plus we use Entertainment books and restaurant.com. I'm usually the event planner for us so it is kind of a fun hobby for me to plan events like dinner and a play and not have it cost much.

I am not sure what the most expensive meal we ever paid for ourselves. We've never been foodies so probably $50 a person. That is our special occasion limit now and I don't think it was much different in past years.
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Old 01-12-2015, 01:27 PM   #69
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DH and I rarely eat out; we enjoy kicking back at home with good food from fresh ingredients and we both enjoy cooking.


We once went to London and found that a few friends from a travel board I was on would be there at the same time. One guy lived there and invited us to have drinks at his place and then suggested we go to Simpsons-in-Strand (where Gladstone and Disraeli used to eat) for dinner. Dinner, he said, would run around $100 pp. This was probably 10 years ago.


DH and I jokingly called it "spending our kids' inheritance night". We took a classic black cab past Buckingham Palace to his flat on the South Bank, which had magnificent views of Tower Bridge. Wow. After a few glasses of bubbly, we went to the restaurant. Magnificent atmosphere, gracious service, good food and good company. DH and I shared treacle pudding for dessert. I remember our friend took all the cash we put on the table and paid with his British Airways credit card. Hey, someone ought to get miles out of it and he'd certainly been a gracious host.


As we left the restaurant it began to rain. We headed for the Underground station and joked that it was past midnight and we'd turned into pumpkins again. Wonderful memories.
Sounds like a great evening out!
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Old 01-12-2015, 01:27 PM   #70
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I'm not a fan of the buffet style Chinese restaurants in this part of the world. They look great, but way too often show up on the "I'm NOT eating there!" list on the local news "Behind The Kitchen" door expose of health inspection scores. No thanks.
Yeah, there's that. I like the sushi/mongolian/pho bars because they cook the stuff right in front of you.
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Old 01-12-2015, 01:35 PM   #71
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Probably about $100 when we went out for our 25th anniversary and ordered a bottle of wine. It was very nice for a memory, but we rarely spend more than $20 before tip in restaurants. On special occasions, we may spend up to $50, but it's not but once a year on our anniversary.
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Old 01-12-2015, 01:36 PM   #72
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The only time I've ever had Mongolian BBQ was in Ulan Baatar. The place we went, BD's, opened up to cater to tourists who kept asking for Mongolian BBQ and no local places served anything like that because it is kind of a Chinese invention.
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Old 01-12-2015, 01:36 PM   #73
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It would be too far back in ancient history for me to recall the most expensive meal I ever had. My husband and I did not really watch menu food prices after our student days but neither did we ever order expensive bottles of wine. Generally we had either a cocktail when we were seated or a glass of wine with our meal but never both.

Nowadays when I meet friends for lunch I have a $10-15 lunch tab with either water or iced tea as my beverage. Most dinners I have out (maybe once a month) are in Pittsburgh and my tab for one is typically $20-30 plus tip. I used to have a cocktail or glass of wine with dinner but I have eschewed this practice of late as I have 30-40 minute drive home after, often in the dark and the car must be retrieved from a parking garage.
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Old 01-12-2015, 02:00 PM   #74
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DW and I enjoyed an anniversary dinner at L’Auberge Chez François in Great Falls, VA in the mid 80s. I think it was in the $125 range. A wonderful evening.

DD likes Italian food and it is not unusual to spend $70 - $80 for her and I including drinks and desert, but well worth it to find out what has been going on in her life.
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Old 01-12-2015, 02:05 PM   #75
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I'm not a fan of the buffet style Chinese restaurants in this part of the world. They look great, but way too often show up on the "I'm NOT eating there!" list on the local news "Behind The Kitchen" door expose of health inspection scores. No thanks.
It's the same story here. The county health department posts the results of restaurant inspections online so you can see not only the numerical number of violations, but what those violations are. Sometimes they're pretty picky, others the place should be closed.

I think the most we've ever spent was ~$150 for two including drinks and that was for our anniversary. For that reason I no longer order any drink stronger than tea or coffee. Once in a blue moon DW will have a glass of wine at a restaurant. On the rare occasions when we do go out it is usually in the $20-$30 range including tip. DW hoards 2 for 1 coupons and the like for those.
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Old 01-12-2015, 02:43 PM   #76
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It's the same story here. The county health department posts the results of restaurant inspections online so you can see not only the numerical number of violations, but what those violations are. Sometimes they're pretty picky, others the place should be closed.
I double checked all our local favorites and didn't see any scores below an A for the last year. I have an operating theory that if the place is really busy (and most places we frequent seem to stay busy), the food doesn't last long enough to get dirty.
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Old 01-12-2015, 03:51 PM   #77
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I think the most we've ever spent was ~$150 for two including drinks and that was for our anniversary. For that reason I no longer order any drink stronger than tea or coffee. Once in a blue moon DW will have a glass of wine at a restaurant.
I took DS and DDIL out on DS' 30th birthday; a friend of his in Des Moines had said that Lidia's near us was a nice place with moderate prices. I'd been there on business years ago and liked it; checked the on-line menus (great innovation!) and decided it was a good choice. My son was a bit stunned when he saw the prices and I told him not to worry about it and they should order what they wanted. It was a wonderful meal and DS and DDIL don't drink alcohol, so I had a second glass of wine. Still came to only $125 with the tip. It is good to treat non-drinkers to a nice restaurant!

I'm careful not to run up a huge bar tab but I love a glass of wine with a good meal, so I indulge in at least one.
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Old 01-12-2015, 04:02 PM   #78
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As a general rule when I go out to eat I like to order tasty foods I would never make at home.

Otherwise, if I must eat out, I'll get a burger.
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Old 01-12-2015, 04:23 PM   #79
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As a general rule when I go out to eat I like to order tasty foods I would never make at home.
This.

We don't really go out for dinner very often. Maybe once a month. Usually for a special occasion. DW has some food allergies that make it difficult.

When we do go out it's higher end. For food we don't fix ourselves.

I'd rather go out once a month and spend $150 and really enjoy it.

On the rare occasion we "just go out" (like the kitchen is getting worked on or some other reason nothing is going to get cooked tonight), our "go to" place is Texas Roadhouse. Pretty darn tasty steaks for a reasonable price. If you show up before six, there usually isn't a wait. Well, mid-week ;-)

Vacations are another matter. You basically have to go out to eat, so that's fun and part of the whole traveling experience.
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Old 01-12-2015, 04:34 PM   #80
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I double checked all our local favorites and didn't see any scores below an A for the last year.
Interesting. I checked and our county food services office does not publish their restaurant health inspection results.

They told me I'd have to come to the county building, ask about a specific restaurant, and they would 'show me the file.' I'd like to see results from all the restaurants we frequent, but I guess that's not going to happen. 😷
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