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Old 10-14-2008, 12:04 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by jazz4cash View Post
As for self-control, we've started playing a 'game' where we convince ourselves how good the leftovers will be and it seems to encourage us to save enough for a second meal. It kinda works too because we've found the meal is more enjoyable when we're less stuffed. This only works if the meal re-heats well. This game has gotten a bit more elaborate lately and we request more bread just before we're done (and take it home with the leftovers). Sometimes we stop short to save room for a shared dessert, but usually we're still too full for dessert. Sometimes the take-out becomes midnight snack! These are medium priced resturant chains like Longhorne, but it's still 45-50 bucks with 2 drinks and no dessert. The staff seems to play along with our 'game', courteously helping us pack up our leftovers and we leave a decent tip.
We do the leftover thing too, now that I've finally (after ~50 years) overcome my "starving children in India" conditioning that caused me to always finish my plate and everyone else's too.

What I do to limit the damage in the restaurants is to use my Discover card to pay. Then I use the rewards points to get cards for the various chain restaurants we visit (Red Lobster, Carraba's, etc). I pay for everything I can with the Discover card, then get a $25 gift card for $20 worth of points, or whatever the deal is. It makes me feel like I'm getting away with something, since I never have to pay interest or fees on the card.

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DW and I - FIREd at 50 (7/06), living off assets
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Old 10-14-2008, 12:20 PM   #42
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Both quality of food and prices have held pretty steady here. Our favorite Indian place hasn't changed their buffet price for about 2 years; DH and I had a really nice dinner at a local steak place a couple of weeks ago and the tab was in line with what we'd spent there in the past.

Places are quieter now, but that's probably because we're a tourist town and the huge buses of tourists aren't swinging through anymore -- it'll pick up again in the spring. Hooray, there's parking downtown and space at the watering hole again!

"You'd be surprised at how much it costs to look this cheap." -- Dolly Parton
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Old 10-14-2008, 06:39 PM   #43
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Great dinning in Pasadena CA, where I live, 99 restaurants in a 6 square block area. Big chains, fine places and less expensive ethnic eats. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.
T.S. Eliot:
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Old 10-14-2008, 06:47 PM   #44
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many of our mom-n-pop restaurants are using processed food from the local megasysco supplier. they used to cook from scratch and use real chicken vs processed chicken, make their own lasagna as a weekly special, etc. groan!
i have very little ethnic diversity here. hence i collect international cookbooks and spices and make it myself.
local portions are still large, but the local prices are outrageous lately.
we just returned from Portland ME and were astounded at the tourist trap prices. $16.50 for a single lobster roll, which is pure lobster meat on a grilled hot dog bun with a single piece of romaine lettuce. we ended up ordering a pizza for dinner one night. 2 people ate for $17.

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