Originally Posted by jazz4cash
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.