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Eating Out Considerations
Old 09-10-2017, 08:38 AM   #41
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Eating Out Considerations

We avoid chain restaurants. One off places - there is a Korean friend chicken place that is to die for (spicy, sweet, crunchy). Stone oven pizza, there is a health food store that makes Tex-mex (healthy and tasty). We do go to a chain burger place every now and again for the shot of cholesterol.

For steaks/ribs it's always better to cook at home. Not even considering price - never had a steak at a fancy restaurant I thought tasted better than what I could make for $20 at home.

We also do a lot of china town restaurants since its nearby.

Edit: forgot to mention I think you can get big discount cards for flemings and the like at Costco. Sometimes we will do a thing like that for date night just to get away from the kiddos.
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Old 09-10-2017, 10:28 AM   #42
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Type of food first!

After that, it petty much decided, unless it is Mexican. Choice is limited. Ok, I guess to some extent quality might step in, but it really is "a place you would eat in, and 'I would not got there if the paid me!' " Small town's don't give you a lot of choice.
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Old 09-10-2017, 10:41 AM   #43
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Generally, I eat out for one or more of these reasons:

1. Traveling and I have done my fair share of picnic lunches and dinners.

2. Socialization over food (the most common reason).

3. Eat food that I enjoy but for various reasons (usually complexity and cost) I would not prepare at home.
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Old 09-10-2017, 10:51 AM   #44
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We both like to cook, but there are some dishes that are too much troublesome to make for two. One example is the shredded-beef Chimichanga, which if I were to make it would be too much for one meal, and eating the left-over for a few days is no fun. And think of the hassle to set up a deep fryer to do just a few. It is easier to head out to Garcia's or Abuelo's to satisfy the craving. I usually ask them to hold the bean and to give me double rice.

See photo from the Web.





Another dish is the Chinese Roast Duck Noodle soup, which I have a craving for about once a year or two. Dunno about roasting a whole duck to make this dish, so a few bucks at a decent Chinese joint will get me satisfied.

See photo from the Web.


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Old 09-10-2017, 11:22 AM   #45
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I went through a period of over a year where my diet was quite restricted, and I had to prepare my own food at home. During that year I got used to home cooking all the time, and got pretty creative with meals. We were eating super, super well at home. After the dietary restrictions were eased, I was no longer motivated to eat out locally because almost none of the restaurants came close to the quality of the food at home. There are really only a couple of exceptions, and we eat out maybe once a month now.

I still observe gluten free when not in Europe, and that limits eating out options.
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Old 09-10-2017, 11:50 AM   #46
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When you go out to eat how do you choose a restaurant to eat at? Is it because of one favorite dish or because the quality across the board? Food type (nationality)? Location? Parking? Value? Reviews? Special occasion?
Price? Perhaps this should be a poll, and I ask for help with this if so agreed.
I am actually sitting here getting ready to go out to lunch with DH and thinking about where to go. There are a number of factors. We usually go out to eat for lunch every Saturday and Sunday. Occasionally we will go out another day of the week. And, we usually go out for special occasions.

I start with thinking about what kind of food I'm in the mood to eat. Sometimes, I will just get an urge to eat a particular food. Let's say I get the urge to eat fajitas. I live in an area with many, many restaurants that serve fajitas. But, 90% of the time we go to one particular restaurant. They serve a variation of fajitas that we like, the restaurant is fairly close, it is on the lake and has a nice view. And, we like the food. Occasionally, we will get an urge to try a different place and we do, but usually the place we try isn't better so we go back to the old standby.

Often with DH and I one of his will suggest 2 or 3 restaurants and the other picks. Yesterday, DH mentioned going to either Sweet Tomatoes (salad buffet) or to a lunch breakfast buffet. (We were going on before noon). I wasn't in the mood for salad but picked the buffet. But, if I hadn't been in the mood for either I would have said so.

A big factor for us that we keep in mind is calories. We actually prefer chain restaurants in many ways because they have nutritional info available. We do go to several non-chain restaurants but have to estimate calories (I track my food on MyFitnessPal). I like it when I don't have to. Both DH and I have lost a lot of weight and are lifetime members of Weight Watchers at our goal weights and we want to stay there.

I classify restaurant meals into 3 categories. Green - under 800 calories, Yellow - between 800 and 1200, and Red - over 1200. I figure that I can always eat out at a restaurant that has abundant green meals (or, at least, that I usually order a green meal at). I can fit that into any day. An example of a green restaurant for me is Panera. I could eat at Panera every day and fit it into my calories easily. A yellow restaurant is one that is usually fine. I can fit it into most days. But, if I am planning to have a large dinner I wouldn't have a yellow meal for lunch. There is a Middle Eastern buffet we go to that is always a yellow lunch for us. The thing is that I couldn't have a yellow meal every day of the week. If I do it on Saturday and Sunday and we go out again on Tuesday then I would make Tuesday a green meal. Red meals are more occasional. Last weekend, I had a real meal at Red Robin. Because I did that on Saturday, on Sunday I had a green meal when we ate out and the two balanced out. I usually won't have a red meal more than once or twice a month.

I do pay attention to cost. While it isn't a huge factor for individual meals, this is an area of budget where I do feel tempted to go over budget. When I do I will then spend a couple of weeks where we either eat out less or I prioritize eating at lower cost restaurants such as Panera.
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Old 09-10-2017, 01:11 PM   #47
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Noise level is the number one consideration for me. The Washington Post food critic notes the noise level in all of his reviews, anything that is "Must speak with raised voice" or louder is off the list. I never raise my voice in my daily life, why would I go somewhere that required this in order to communicate?

Any cuisine is good for us, we love to try different types of food. Having said that, we don't eat out all that often because we do enjoy eating at home and have found that it is not that difficult to make restaurant quality meals at 1/3 or less of restaurant prices. And at home I can listen to Cole Porter tunes at dinner and not have to raise my voice to be heard.
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Old 09-10-2017, 02:05 PM   #48
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Like Cobra, I have my list of restaurants for each type of food and tend to frequent those and stick to certain dishes. Quality is the priority but all the restaurants are inexpensive since I favor ethnic and small family restaurants, never chains. And I eat out only once a week so price is not a factor. My favorite food type is New Mexican and for my recent birthday meal, I had fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and collard greens at a soul food place. I found most of these restaurants through recommendations but also through reviews (e.g., local newspapers or foodie websites, Yelp, Tripadvisor). My favorite local steakhouse was featured on Triple D.

I admit I'm in a rut and I plan to start experimenting with some new places once I retire and to eat out more often. Many of the restaurants in my casual city that I want to try based on their good reviews are lunch only, often just weekdays, and were not close to my workplace.

Where I splurge is on business and vacation travel. I read reviews and favor a mix of local hole in the walls and upscale restaurants, especially when I travel to a foodie city such as Las Vegas.
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Old 09-10-2017, 02:43 PM   #49
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We tend to stick to places that are reasonably priced or ones where I have a coupon or gift card - usually local mom and pop kind of places for Thai, Indian, Mexican or some other kind of ethnic food we can't easily make at home. Sometimes we'll get dim sum or taqueria carry out. Once in a while we pack a fancy picnic lunch and eat it at scenic locations like a winery (some allow outside food if you buy wine), a garden with bay views or a Redwood park, so it feel like eating out even though we brought the food from home. When we we have special occasion meals it is usually a Hibachi restaurant. Sometimes I get rush tickets for fancy food and wine tasting events / benefits in the city or wine country. DH would actually rather go out for burgers than sample foods like pureed peas with chopped scallops and pansies on top or fusion tacos with Asian fillings and nasturiums, but I think the foodie events once in awhile are fun.
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Old 09-10-2017, 09:48 PM   #50
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Most upscale steakhouses like Ruth's Chris, Fleming's, Morton's, or local non-chain restaurants now charge $50-60 for a steak without trimmings. A side dish of potato for $10-15 is the norm. The meat is good, but eating out like that every week costs a lot, plus it gets boring too. So, I do not do that often.


Years ago we went to Ruth's Chris. DW was in the powder room when waiter delivered our steaks. He refused to serve them and waited until she returned to bring two freshly cooked ones. I think we paid around $120 w/ two sides that we shared and drinks. That was many years ago.
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Old 09-10-2017, 10:10 PM   #51
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It's usually Paneras, Starbucks, or Boudins bc they're fast / reasonable / I can get what I'm used to
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Old 09-10-2017, 10:26 PM   #52
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We prefer to cook our own meals whenever possible, but when we do eat out it's usually for convenience. We choose from whatever restaurants are on the way to or from our destination. Since we tend to make the same trip every week or two, we have a few favorite places we like to go to. But, it's fun to check Yelp reviews and try something new every now and then too.

Obviously, good food is the main priority, but a nice atmosphere is a must. Eating out is a special occasion for us, so we prefer smaller places that are quiet and laid back. I don't mind slow service if my wife and I can spend time enjoying each other's company. We actually quit going to a couple of places we used to love because they got so popular and busy. Service got slower and it became so noisy we couldn't hear each other speak. Kind of took the fun out of eating there. Thankfully there are plenty of small and startup restaurants we can enjoy.

We don't eat out that often, so we usually don't worry too much about the price. That said, there are a couple of small places we enjoyed but no longer visit because they are way overpriced for what you get.
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Old 09-11-2017, 04:09 AM   #53
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we love eating out and try all kinds of different places . our photography takes us all over and part of the fun is eating out in different areas .

we recently had a fabulous dinning experience . we waited a year to get reservations at a famous restaurant on the old Rockefeller estate .

it is called blue hill at stone barn and it is owned by one of the most famous chef's in the world .


the farm experience runs 550.00 without wine or 850 with wine pairing . dinner runs 4 hours and about 20 different dishes grown or slaughtered on the farm make it up . each table gets slightly different dishes .

we waited 1 year for a reservation for 2 and had to take a wed night at 5pm .

https://www.bluehillfarm.com/dine/stone-barns
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Old 09-11-2017, 04:59 AM   #54
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we love eating out and try all kinds of different places . our photography takes us all over and part of the fun is eating out in different areas .

we recently had a fabulous dinning experience . we waited a year to get reservations at a famous restaurant on the old Rockefeller estate .

it is called blue hill at stone barn and it is owned by one of the most famous chef's in the world .
Looks great. Thanks for the link. I loved the wine list with sherries, vermouths and ciders. With cider prices ranging from $30 to $80 per 750ml, I am thinking about coming out of retirement and going into the cider business.
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Old 09-11-2017, 05:48 AM   #55
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it really was the kind of things you do once unless very rich . it is small with 25 tables . most were regular folks celebrating an event .
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:21 PM   #56
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We go out to eat because
A) Im hungry for something its too much hassle to cook at home (usually Sushi or some delicacy) else I'll cook it at home. There are only a few things so it limits our options and it took us a long time to find someone that does it up to my satisfaction so we always go back to the same spot.
B) I'm too tired to cook (usually once or twice a month), then convenience and price is the only factor which means the local pizza or taco joint.
C) socialization which means its usually because a friend wants to check out some place and I just go along.
D) Its a special occasion which we usually have read some great reviews about some unique experience and save it for a birthday/anniversary.
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:50 PM   #57
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We treat ourselves to breakfast a couple times per month. Our favorite places include Eggspectation, First Watch, and Mimi's Cafe which is supposed to be New Orleans Style. Mimi's closed recently. Funny how my breakfast runs $11 with tip when I dine alone but it's $30-40 for 2 of us.
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Old 09-12-2017, 10:06 AM   #58
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We don't go out to eat at steakhouses because it's so easy to fix excellent steaks at home, and we've also got the sides down, and we have a great selection of wine in the cellar.


We feel like this most of the time, but will occasionally make an exception for two reasons:
- LOVE the sizzling butter on the Ruth's Chris streaks and haven't been able to duplicate their cooking method at home, so we occasionally splurge there, usually for a birthday or anniversary dinner
- We can walk to a high end local steakhouse that doesn't charge corkage. We share a wedge salad and a 12 oz filet with a nice bottle of wine from our cellar and can get out of there for around $100 including tax & tip.
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Old 09-12-2017, 10:33 AM   #59
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Most of our restaurants visits are while traveling (we go out maybe once a month otherwise).

So where we are heavily influences it. If we're over \seas, we like to eat at "local" food restaurants. Why go for Italian when you are in Germany?

Traveling around the US we rely on Yelp and usually pick highly rated places. That works about 90% of the time. Even then, local is our preference. Fresh fish if on the coast, brisket in Texas, etc.
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Old 09-12-2017, 02:46 PM   #60
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we would very likely try a place that friends or relatives recommend. Sometimes we just try a place because it looks like the kind of place we might like and is run by a local family with a reputation to uphold.
My neighbor recommended a restaurant which I found to be not good. Found out she recommended because her daughter worked their. Some people go to a restaurant to eat, some do not. Important to understand which restaurants are good to EAT at for me.

She was anxious to see if I tried the house cocktail..but I don't drink
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