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Everyday luxuries?

  • f

Last night around 11, I had already had an early dinner but was hungry and realized there was one strip of veal scallopini that would go bad if I didn't cook it. I shook some flour on it and cooked it med-rare in butter. amazing.
even though my food budget doesn't usually allow for much meat, and I don't really care for it, I buy this about once a month. it's worth it and I know I won't let it go bad in the fridge :)
what kind of "luxuries" do you regularly allow yourself?

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  1. Paying $2.50 for coffee I could make at home for 1/10th the cost.

    3 Replies
    1. re: MSPD

      Ditto...for me it's a medium Americano. Although I tried making them at home, even bought a Bialetti stove top espresso maker and it failed spectacularly (picture espresso pouring out the "seal" between the top and bottom pieces of the machine *ack!*). I could stick to regular coffee all the time but once and awhile the ritual of going to a coffee shop and letting someone else make it for you is a nice treat.

      My DH would argue the organic milk, cheese and produce I buy is a luxury but imho it just tastes better and I prefer to support producers who use organic methods.

      1. re: gourmethunter

        too funny...to me, my freshly ground one cup in the morning that I make at home IS my daily luxury.

        1. re: Val

          Yeah...some day, I'll have the time and equipment to make good coffee at home. For now, it's just not an option unfortunately.

    2. High-end chocolate. I will pay $6.00 for a Vosges chocolate bar, especially one with salt in it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: charlesbois

        Yum! That Barcelona bar is the best one!

      2. I have a standing order with a small coffee roaster in Portland (we live in Iowa now). We pay $30 and get two pounds of good, fresh-roasted coffee from her at the beginning of every month. (Before you admire our restraint let me add that two pounds of coffee only lasts us about two and a half weeks, then we supplement it with the best I can find around here.)

        1. I agree, Charles-i will make a Vogses (or other gourmet chocolates/candies) order every other month or so, just so I know I will have a really great chocolate on hand when I crave it. I love the Barcelona bar, too, though the Black Pearl bar is my favorite :)

          Also, really good loose-leaf tea. I make it at home, but I have lots of tins of it- everything from Jasmine pearl oolong to some rich Yunnan black tea. I rarely buy tea outside of my house (i will have on occasion an espresso drink), or cheap tea bags.

          3 Replies
          1. re: teamuse

            woollomooloo and red fire are awesome too.

            (p.s. Charles is just part of my last name, I'm really a girl! ;-] )

            1. re: charlesbois

              hmmmm red fire! hehe sorry for the mix up! I am heading into new york today, I think i might make a side trip to pick up some....

              1. re: teamuse

                Love the fire bar and the fact that I can find it at my local Wegmans and World Market..though cheaper at Wegman's. My other splurge is this green olive tepanade I found at my Wegmans as well. It's called cataldos or something like that. Fresh, not overly oily, and fabulous. Pricey but worth it.

          2. I buy the more expensive coffee, the more eexpensive espresson beans and treat myself regularly to an espresso or cappucino at three in the afternoon, this ritual is so well known around here that nieces and nephews pop up at three to join me in this ritual, of course I always have 70% dark chocolate to have with it. Funnily this young nieces and nephews got initiate to espressos this way.
            By the way, I have forgone expensive and way too big espresso machines a while back, I have the tiny stainless steel stovetop espresso kettle that makes the finest if brews and use a matching hand milk foamer.
            These appliances take so little room, are perfectly beautiful and work faultlessly.

            9 Replies
            1. re: Richelle

              Richelle - if I might ask, what kind of espresso maker do you have?

              1. re: gourmethunter

                I had to go get the foamer to look, it's a Frabosk, frankly, the name tells me nothing, I had an aluminum espresso brewer and my father refuses that I poison myself with aluminum anything, and because he also eats here regularly and we always end our meal with espresso, chocolate, port and for him a cigar, he went and bought it for me. I will look up Frabosk now and see what comes up.

                1. re: Richelle

                  Thanks for the info I'll have a look and see if it's carried in my area. :-)

                  1. re: Richelle

                    I normally use a wee stainless-steel Bialetti mocha. Is this something different?

                    I had an aluminium one, but I took it to a relative's house to make real coffee. I don't think using it two or three times a year will give me Alzheimer's or cancer - much less than the aluminium pots and restaurants (although I don't eat out terribly much - I live very close to Jean-Talon market in Montréal and work mostly at home).

                    1. re: lagatta

                      The Bialetti I had was the Mukka Express (the model below the Moka)... and unlike the Moka it's aluminium but that wasn't an issue for me. No matter how careful I was to follow Bialetti's recommendations to say not to leave espresso on the threads of the top and bottom, or to screw it together tightly etc it usually failed...or I failed... Whether it was the machine or the operator, 8 time out of 10 tries it meant hot espresso sludge and grinds all over the stovetop. Big mess...and me without my caffeine...not a good combonation. I ended feeling like a complete moron taking it back to Williams Sonoma.

                      It may be that I have to check out the Moka instead since it looks like it's one of Bialetti's original espresso makers...I originally bought the Mukka with the intention of making my "everyday luxury" of an espresso drink (an Americano) at home, instead of paying someone else to make it for me. :)

                      1. re: gourmethunter

                        I know a few people who had trouble with the Mukka. I actually found it pretty simple to use, though I don't use it very often. I do use my Moka every morning, though. I am an espresso junkie- I prefer it without any milk getting in the way! Give the Moka a try. Just remember: cool water up to the little round bolt (inside); heaping coffee grinds (not packed down) and a centered, tight fit when you screw the top on. Use low-med heat and remove just as the water seems to be finishing, or else it will burn.

                      2. re: lagatta

                        i know of no scientific studies supporting the notion that cooking with aluminum causes or contributes to alzheimer's or cancer.

                        1. re: alkapal

                          my personal experience has been that the stainless steel produces a better result. i thikn the aluminim heats up too quickly -i've even had melting (maybe it wasn't pure aluminum?)
                          anyway, just make sure to keep the water below the line, and the coffee full. you also need to oil it if it doesn't screw on properly.

                          1. re: fara

                            you have had melting of a metal cooking utensil? it was a coffeemaker?

                2. really good different cheeses, and gourmet crackers to go with them :)

                  Wow you peeps drink a lot of coffee! :)

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: starlady

                    lol this peep has three kids ages six and under...there are days when I'm powered by caffeine so it might as well be the good stuff ;-)

                    1. re: gourmethunter

                      Amen. Mine are 5, 3 and 1. Add the 6 a.m. workouts to the mix and some evening classes I'm taking and my caffeine intake is at an all-time high (no pun intended). Things will ease up a bit in the Spring, but for now a guy's gotta do what a guy's gotta do.

                      The worst part is, I just started working at an office that has an on-site espresso facility where all I have to do to pay is have the barista scan a bar code on my employee badge and it's deducted from my paycheck. WAY too easy.

                    2. re: starlady

                      I love Kenyan coffee and artisan chocolate, but really aged artisan cheese is my addiction.

                    3. organic skim milk for my cereal; imported high-fat butter for cooking/baking/spreading on toast; good Swiss and Belgian chocolate for treat time; individual bottles of champagne for when I really feel like some bubbly with my solo dinner...

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: vvvindaloo

                        out of curiousity... are there uses for butter other than cooking/baking/spreading on toast? or, maybe I don't want to know.

                        1. re: kindofabigdeal

                          Sure... some people spread butter on sandwiches, some use butter on baked potatoes... some even use it on burns! I guess I was just jotting down the first things that came to mind, in terms of how what I would use butter for-Substitute "sauteeing" for "cooking", for accuracy :)

                          1. re: kindofabigdeal

                            Toast is just a polite way to eat butter.

                            1. re: The Engineer

                              Yes indeed ! Nothing like plugra on a slice of warm toast & on occassion dipping the toast in a fresh cup of Dean & Deluca Georgetown Blend !

                          2. re: vvvindaloo

                            VVV- had to laugh at "imported high-fat butter"
                            You mean there's something even more fattening than the regular stuff?
                            I truly learn something new each day!

                            1. re: SweetPea914

                              a/c to wiki, us butter 81% butterfat (avg), euro - 85%

                              1. re: SweetPea914

                                Yes! Different butters have different densities/fat percentages.

                              2. re: vvvindaloo

                                Cultured butter is great on bread!

                                1. re: WCchopper

                                  It sounds funny to say it, but considering all of the dietary warnings we get lately, good old bread and butter has become a guilty pleasure! Then again, my relatives ate it their whole (long) lives. And you're right- sometimes it hits the spot just right.

                              3. I would never spend $15 - $20 a pound on meat, but I will on cheese from time to time. There are some dairymaids here in Houston, that have fabulous cheese that I get. I don't get too much, but cheese is my luxury, and since the DH doesn't eat it, it's all mine (insert evil laugh.)

                                11 Replies
                                1. re: danhole

                                  ha! I'm totally with you. I will happily pay $25/lb or so for some Coach Farm Triple Creme (we don't eat meat so maybe it all balances out). DH and I gladly spend extra on good cheeses (sadly, I *do* have to share!). We are lucky to live in a city (NYC) with several AMAZING cheese purveyors with knowledgeable staff.

                                  1. re: LNG212

                                    There is a liquor store (Spec's) that has a very knowledgeable cheese staff, and an amazing amount/variety of cheese. They even host cheese festivals. It takes me forever to figure out what to try "this" time! Then I go nuts over all the gourmet crackers. My DH gets so bored!

                                    1. re: danhole

                                      My DH is kinda scared of the market. It can get really crowded and since he doesn't know where he's going he gets a "deer in the headlights" and "please don't abandon me" look on his face.

                                      I too love to taste. The counterman knows me and so he is always suggesting what to try each week and helps me make up cheese plates and the like. He's even given me recipe advice for which cheeses to use and such. Since I always shop early in the a.m. I always joke that the couple (or several!) tastes of cheese on that morning is my breakfast! :)

                                      1. re: danhole

                                        I confess, I live in Houston, and I'm a Spec-a-holic too! Their cheeses are great, and for a deli sort of section that started off as a afterthought in this largest liquor store in the country, they 've done very well with a good variety. Have you visited the Central Market wall of cheese on Westheimer? They'll give you a taste of everything, and there is always someone on duty to answer your cheese questions. They're good too -- I always buy something.

                                        1. re: Cheflambo

                                          I love that Spec's deli, too!

                                          I haven't been to Central Market in a long time and the last time I was there (on a Sat. afternoon) it was so crowded that I couldn't take it! And the customers were so rude, just stopping in front of me, leaving their baskets so that I couldn't go left or right to get around them . . . I had to leave before I started screaming. I'll give them another try just to see that wall of cheese, but it won't be on a busy Sat.!

                                    2. re: danhole

                                      Me too...the $20 a pound extra aged gouda or triple creme brie. Unfortunately, DH loves it too (though fortunately that means he doesn't fight about the cost). We eat meat, but not a lot, and I would never spend that much for meat. Oh, with the exception of really good tuna for sushi or poke-that's another splurge.

                                      1. re: girlwonder88

                                        you might eat an 8 oz. portion of steak, but wouldn't eat 8 oz. of cheese at a go.

                                          1. re: WCchopper

                                            Indeed - you've not met my husband yet!

                                          2. re: alkapal

                                            if the 8 oz was the entree and it was served with some good bread and jams, jfood would polish that off no problem. He probably had 5 oz of cheese and jam on bread as an pre-app this past saturday nite.

                                        1. re: danhole

                                          Fortunately, some of the best tasting cuts of meat are also the least expensive. I'll take oxtails, short ribs and hanger steak (all generally priced in th $7-$13/lb range) over filet mignon and porterhouse most days of the week.

                                        2. Fresh figs. The season is short and they can be quite expensive for fruit, but I can't help buying pounds of them whenever they're available, and lots of nice strong cheese to go with them.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: mordacity

                                            This thread makes me feel guilty...

                                            Every morning is a Starbucks drink...basically a cappucino
                                            Butter...it's my new found interest...I spent $15 last week on butter alone
                                            Cheese...it's all the good stuff from gruyere to frommage d'affinois, endless
                                            Pastas...it's only the good stuff
                                            Chocolates...I mail order Michel Cluizel
                                            Organic products...most of our meats, eggs, and milk are organic or natural (this is a huge chunk of money)

                                            1. re: mordacity

                                              Fresh figs! Ah, me too! I like triple creme camembert with figs.
                                              Would love to know what you pair with figs.

                                            2. Quality food in general is my everyday luxury, whether it's $10 single-origin chocolate bars, $40/pound cheese or tea that's $15 for 100 grams. I think of food as an affordable luxury. Can I afford the most expensive car in the world? No. The most expensive cheese, yes.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                Ditto...The best qualilty food is a high priority for me...I realize, that this is not eveyone's "cup of tea", but I do not have a large family, or I am sure that would be a different story...As it is, great food and ingredients are one of my passions...

                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                  I feel the same way. Good food is probably the greatest luxury that I afford myself. I occasionally buy gorgeous designer shoes and handbags, too, but somehow they don't bring me quite as much satisfaction. In addition to the items I listed above, I also include only the freshest unfiltered Italian olive oil, my favorite brands of bronze die cut pasta and flats of fresh Italian figs (when in season) to be on my list of "essentials".

                                                2. Sushi for lunch and selected fruits in season...

                                                  I'm normally fairly frugal when it comes to food - try to shop sales and at less expensive grocery stores. We don't eat out or order in too much, and plan left-over meals. But since I started to lose weight, I've both bought (mediocre) sushi in my local grocery store, and even took out a sushi luncheon from a Japanese take-out in my neighborhood. It's much more expensive than my usual lunches, but low-calorie & yummy.

                                                  I rediscovered fruit too. Pineapples are $5 or $6 in my regular grocery store. But I can get the for ~$3 in a produce stand in another part of town. When Haitian mangoes, raspberries or concord grapes are in season, I go crazy with them, whatever the price.

                                                  1. Produce. I buy mostly organic fruit and veg, since they make up about 90% of my diet. I also splurge on things like figs or berries because the season is short.

                                                    Bread. I'd rather pay twice as much for a good crusty loaf than end up with an anemic-looking wad of dough like Wonderbread.

                                                    Nuts. I don't buy them too often, but I love cashews and (even rarer) chestnuts. The latter are even more special because you can only get them for a limited time each year.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: piccola

                                                      i love chestnuts. I could happily eat them every day.

                                                      1. re: fara

                                                        I try to do just that, when they're in season.

                                                      2. re: piccola

                                                        The contents of your fridge/cupboards sound identical to mine., except that I don't care for chestnuts. I also second those folks who'll splurge on pricey cheese once in a while.

                                                      3. cheese
                                                        organic or local produce

                                                        1. Bread. My favorite sourdough is outrageously expensive, but life is worthless without a nice piece of crusty bread. Mushy, soft, packaged bread depresses me.

                                                          1. huge jar of marinated artichoke hearts from costco.
                                                            and their hearts of palm in glass jar double-pack.
                                                            smoked salmon and good french brie from trader joe's.
                                                            firehook bakery (dc metro area) baguette.
                                                            goat cheese.
                                                            nuts -- "gourmet jumbo virginia peanuts" and pistachios, walnuts, cashews, smoked almonds.
                                                            smoked trout from applewood farms (sold at whole foods in refrigerated case near seafood, fyi).
                                                            harris teeter's "market fresh" refrigerated soups. esp. charleston she crab soup and lobster bisque. (look for it on bogo sale about once a quarter) (no doctoring needed! unless you add a dash of lustau's amontillado sherry and some fresh snipped chives.)

                                                            1. Prime Beef
                                                              Top Shelf Tequilas
                                                              King Crab Legs

                                                              My 3 weeknesses.

                                                              1. jfood's very lucky. it's the time in his life where the kids are away at school and M&M jfood can relax a little. And they donot really have a food budget, but have a food guidance plan, eat healthy and that, at times costs a little more. They are also lucky having both good meats and produce available within 3 miles of the house.

                                                                The trick to the food planning is done by the grocer. Each week they have something on sale. And it's not "Manager's Special" where the chicken is 10-minutes this side of rancid, but he chooses something that he places on sale as a teraser. Jfood finds this as a challenge and as an A-type works nicely. So each week there is the Supermarket Challenge on what jfood can cook using the "on sale" protein. And since both of the jfoods try to avoid white carbs at dinner, there is always a large salad as well. Some nice cheeses have made there way onto the salads in recent weeks.

                                                                Likeiwse fruit. Jfood uses his nose like a dog in the market. He walks down the pears and suddenly stops and stares like a Labrador Retriever. Some good sniffs and he finds which pears are the best for the week then a bunch into the cart. Plums, bananas and now apples all make there way into the house. And jfood has at least two pieces watching TV and reading every night.

                                                                So to answer the question, jfood loves fruit and buys what is fresh and perfect in season. As far as the other every day luxuries, he has many but they are on sale. So one oxymoron answered with another.

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: jfood

                                                                  Do you have a technique for distinguishing between old clearance meat/poulty and teaser sales? I know Manager's Special is best to avoid, but assume that many of the other sale items are old as well, and am never sure how to get an affordable piece of meat without getting a geriatric piece of meat.

                                                                  1. re: Discoethan

                                                                    You are right about the how-to and Jfood would NEVER do that in the Chains in his neighborhood.

                                                                    The first clue is the Big Orange "Manager Special" sticker. That translates into "approaching rancid."

                                                                    The second clue is the weekly circulars that come out. If they know in advance and order more, then the meat is a special for a week versus "move on out." If on Thursday all of a suddent the meat has that sticker, it probably will not pass the smell test. Likewise jfood is on first name basis with the butchers in the grocer. If in doubt, smell the meat and if still in doubt ask the guy who looks like the horizontal character in the first scene in CSI.

                                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                                      Ita Agree re: checking circulars. I always check them online on Sunday and go to the store that has more of what I need/want that week on sale. In marketing these items are also referred to as Loss Leaders since the store is willing to lose $ on them to get people in the door.

                                                                2. Always:
                                                                  Organic Milk
                                                                  good chocolate from chocodirect.com
                                                                  microbrew beer
                                                                  $2 coffee everyday (weak argument, but I live alone and it's tough to make coffee for one!)
                                                                  high quality ice cream (as an indulgence)
                                                                  in season produce

                                                                  I'd like to buy good quality organic meat and produce all the time, but it's just not possible where I live (Toronto) and considering my lifestyle (travel a lot, social, training/coaching endurance sports). Sure, we have great food sources here but not on every block.

                                                                  15 Replies
                                                                  1. re: thenurse

                                                                    Really? I find it much easier to get reasonably priced organics here than in the US. I mean, even Loblaws has a decent, affordable selection - not to mention the farmers' markets. (Though I know what you mean about not having the time or the opportunity to hit the local markets every week.)

                                                                    Organic meat is harder to find, I think, but I can't say for sure since I've never bought meat.

                                                                    1. re: piccola

                                                                      I guess you didn't read the news a few years ago that Loblaw's can't guarantee that their products (PC) are truly organic. I still buy it, as long as the price is on par with non-organic food.

                                                                      1. re: thenurse

                                                                        Sure, the jury's out on the packaged stuff, but produce is certified.

                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                        I find it's less necessary in Canada, where milk has less crap added to it than the US.

                                                                        Now, soymilk I always get organic, since soy is one of the most pesticide-laden and genetically modified crops in the world.

                                                                        1. re: piccola

                                                                          piccola, what in Canada is the "crap" added to non-organic milk, and what in the US is added "crap"?

                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                            The main difference, as far as I know, is that no hormones can legally be given to dairy cows or added to milk in Canada. There may be other additives in there, though - I don't know.


                                                                            1. re: piccola

                                                                              i know of no hormones added to milk in the u.s.

                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) is not added to milk directly, but it is injected into dairy cows, and it consequently appears in most non-organic milk on the US. Monsanto insists that rBGH is safe, but Canada and the EU prohibit it in milk production due to human health and animal welfare concerns.

                                                                                1. re: Morton the Mousse

                                                                                  Which is what I meant, though not exactly what I said.

                                                                                2. re: alkapal

                                                                                  And Budweiser knows of no beer that is more expensive to produce. But there are many!

                                                                                  1. re: The Engineer

                                                                                    what hormones are added to US milk? name one. it would be considered adulterated! hormones from the cow are in ALL milk. the claim above is the US allows hormones added to milk. simply untrue. (and engineer, i hope you are a civil engineer ;-)



                                                                        2. re: thenurse

                                                                          Thenurse, I'm CERTAINLY not telling you to do without your $2 coffee - that isn't much of an indulgence - but you can buy a small stainless-steel mocha espresso pot and make a very nice wee pot at home - if you prefer.

                                                                          I usually make my own as I have it early and don't feel like going out in the cold, but sometimes the whir of a real espresso machine in La Petite Italie (Montréal)!!!!

                                                                          Yeah, travel for work makes ideal food problematic. I'm ashamed of some of the crap I consume when working in small towns - and I'm lactose-intolerant, so it is very difficult.

                                                                          1. re: lagatta

                                                                            I will consider that for weekends, although I have to admit liking my weekday and weekend coffee rituals. I only drink one small one a day so it's not out of control. I like steamed milk in my coffee and the whole process seems easier to let someone else deal with!

                                                                            1. re: thenurse

                                                                              Oh, I certainly understand!

                                                                              I can't drink milk so that is a moot point, but I like going to nearby cafés as well. In my neighbourhood I have great ones that aren't expensive at all - really old-fashioned, Italian workingmen's bars (though fortunately female presence is not as frowned on as it would have been a generation ago). Caffé Italia, very early in the morning, is still a wondrous experience.

                                                                        3. Our EDLs are organic meat and line caught fish., and generally the best quality organic fruit and vegetables in season. We shop at several markets and love the thrill of the hunt.
                                                                          All that plus either a Hendrick's or Bombay martini keeps us happy. Oh, and don't forget the cheese!

                                                                          1. Our luxuries are definitely quality produce, cheeses and salad related items. We eat salad everyday and sometimes to mix it up you just have to add artichokes hearts, good olives or hearts of palm, etc.
                                                                            In my neighborhood we have a lot of Asian markets and farmers markets where I can usually get very nice fruits and veggies without breaking the bank.
                                                                            Lately good fish is a luxury as well since we just had some life changes and realized our food budget was the first thing that needed to be scaled back. So, where we used to have crab, tuna, swordfish and/or shrimp often, it has now become a weekly luxury for us.

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: SweetPea914

                                                                              I know how you feel, in months where we may be tight money wise, the food budget is the first place we cut back as well. : (

                                                                              1. re: swsidejim

                                                                                I think from previous posts that we are in very similar positions. After we had our baby and I stopped working (for this 1st year anyway) I spent 1 month tracking all our spending, it was unreal how much we spend on food, and even alcohol. Especially when you include eating out at restaurants, ordering in and the occasional specialty market splurge.

                                                                                1. re: SweetPea914

                                                                                  It is a shocker to keep all our receipts from a month, and see how much we spend. Some things are fixed costs: (mortage, insurance, gas for the vehicle, etc), but food is the one place we find that we can always find a way to stretch our dollar if we need to. Hopefully our daughter who just turned one will be done with the baby formula soon, that was close to $50 a week. Ill be gald when I have that $50 back in the food budget for all of us to use.

                                                                            2. I always buy organic milk and eggs and lately I have been crazy for a local fair-trade coffee shop. However, I occassionally enjoy a great cheese and some crusty bread. it just doen't get much better than that!

                                                                              1. My local natural grocer has the most AMAZING dried goods section, nuts, fruits, spices, trail mixes etc. I stop by about once a week and allow myself no more than $20 worth of snacky foods, I feel less guilty getting my snack food at a natural grocer, haha. This week it was dried calimymar figs, shelled pistachios, cashews, and from another part of the store, a 1.2oz organic milk(gasp) chocolate bar. My SO thinks the prices are ridiculous and is quite content with his Planters peanuts, box of Sunmaid raisins, and Hersheys, but I just cannot help myself and really feel no guilt about it.

                                                                                1. If it's truly an everyday habit, I say no sense skimping on tea (my drink du jour) or coffee. Life is too short to sip American Lipton or Folgers.

                                                                                  I usually make mine at home, but I can sympathize with those who order $4 lattes!!

                                                                                  Unfortunately, most of my other foodie habits also feel like "everyday luxuries" as well, but I'll stop with tea/coffee.

                                                                                  1. Quality ingredients doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg, so when you say luxury, I take it to mean relatively expensive stuff that you treat yourself once in a while.

                                                                                    So for me it's tea (palais de thes), chocolates (woodhouse or rechiutti), cheese (best grade of parmesan), fatty tuna ($40/lb).

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: notmartha

                                                                                      Forgot - good olive oil and balsamic is essential!

                                                                                    2. My everyday luxury is the $10 per pound coffee from the gourmet shop that I brew at home. I also prefer to spend an extra few pennies for foods that are all natural or organic.

                                                                                      1. riverhorse trippel ale
                                                                                        kobe beef

                                                                                        1. For the next few weeks, I'll enjoy the farmers market...I get produce, bread, & other goods from there. I'll always splurge on a nice bottle of wine - I don't usually drink booze or beer. Always splurge on cheese. And always splurge on Marcona Almonds (from WF - not TJ's, sorry!) with a touch of oil and sea salt.... Just thinking of all these things combined make life worth living and brings a big "ahhh, life is good" smile to my face.

                                                                                          1. Quality honey and prices can run the gamut
                                                                                            I order mine online from a small hive keeper in Savannah
                                                                                            Honey on greek yogurt, in tea, drizzle on everything. At $$$ a tsp its a real luxury
                                                                                            but good grief I love honey!

                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                                              multiple dollars per TEASPOON, HillJ? now THAT is a luxury! honey from gold-plated bees, in an emerald-and-diamond faberge hive?

                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                Certainly golden, honey is produced at -$ to $$$ the Faberge hive I'm going to assume (grin) would be extra.

                                                                                                a quick link to a little background

                                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                  last Christmas eve at the National Gallery of Art's Garden Cafe
                                                                                                  current menu: http://www.nga.gov/pdf/garden_cafe_me...
                                                                                                  mr. alka treated me to the buffet. the theme (timed with a then-current British exhibition) featured, among other things, the most luscious chestnut honey served with walnuts and the cheese course. 'twas pure bliss.

                                                                                                  those bees were certainly golden!

                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                    Amen, alkapal! Luscious indeed.
                                                                                                    There is a library of honey avail online if u care to explore. One of my 100 things to do b4 I die...try each one! Thanks for sharing the link!

                                                                                            2. good olives, great bakery bread w/ good olive oil, good parmesan, my favorite local microbrew (legend brown ale - not expensive, exactly, at $3.79 a bottle - but's it kind a pricy for beer). And the Sunday NY Times, delivered to my house in VA on Sunday morning. I've always been a cheap date!

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                                That last one made me smile. I'm a new yorker but for a few years I lived in Toronto and the Sunday NY Times was my special treat too. It was soooo expensive!! Now it's just downstairs at the deli. With a cup of coffee, it's the most relaxing morning.

                                                                                              2. I must have high-quality... SALT! I finish everything with Sel de Fleur, or Grey salt. I always have 'fancy' salts.

                                                                                                1. Veal's a treat for me and the latest indulgence is buffalo mozzarella.

                                                                                                  When I go to the Chocolate Show in Manhattan every year, I indulge in a big piece of milk chocolate with nuts in it (I guess like almond bark, but has almonds, hazelnuts and pistachios) from Jacques Torres. He skipped last year at the show, so I was a bit disappointed, but he's back this year, with his ridiculous theatrics at the food demonstration, that French accent and great chocolate. I am sure there are other chocolates that other people like as much or better, but I got hooked on this a few years ago and look forward to the treat.

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: Shayna Madel

                                                                                                    I love the Chocolate Show! One year dh treated me to a Fashion Show ticket and it was so much fun to see the chocolate runway! My fav part of the show is the dipping booths.

                                                                                                  2. Good coffee beans

                                                                                                    Lobel's meats about 4x a year

                                                                                                    good European butter on a regular basis (I use LoL in baking)

                                                                                                    I treat myself once a year to Seabear's Copper River salmon

                                                                                                    I only buy Organic Cow 1% milk (unless I'm at a store that doesn't carry it when I need more milk)

                                                                                                    And sometimes I go overboard on expensive cheeses from Formaggio Kitchen

                                                                                                    1. We spend money on:
                                                                                                      European butter
                                                                                                      and we always have at least a 6 pack or a growler of really good beer in the fridge.

                                                                                                      1. A nice thick pan-fried filet mignon, medium rare, with a cab-sauv reduction sauce. Accompanied by a good glass (or two) of wine!

                                                                                                        1. Plugra butter.
                                                                                                          Hungarian goats milk butter.
                                                                                                          Artisinal breads.
                                                                                                          Organic dairy and meats.
                                                                                                          These are every day luxuries for me, since I consume them almost every day. Veal, on the other hand, is really a once a month luxury.

                                                                                                          1. To pamper myself I have a cup of drinking chocolate preferably Charbonnel et Walker and a couple of good sugar cookies! A nice fire in the fireplace just adds to the indulgence!

                                                                                                            1. My big splurge, about 2 times a month is a Bone-in Rib Eye, (I may get some flack for this...) that I pan fry in butter and olive oil (just to extend the smoking point) to med rare..

                                                                                                              It's lusciously rich. I usually feel satiated and sleepy afterwards. I pick up this luxury when I was diagnosed as severely anemic earlier this year and was instructed by my doctor eat animal and plant based iron. Well, now my hemoglobin level is back to normal, but my lust for marbled beef has not subsided

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: Veggietales

                                                                                                                Mmm...I'm so hungry now! That sounds delicious. Nothing better than a big slab of meat!

                                                                                                              2. Pastured Meat and Eggs
                                                                                                                Extra Virgin Olive Oil
                                                                                                                English Butter
                                                                                                                Hand Made Candy
                                                                                                                Sun Dried Fruit

                                                                                                                When in Season:

                                                                                                                Wild Mushrooms
                                                                                                                Wild Arugula
                                                                                                                Royal Blenheim Apricots

                                                                                                                1. A Bolli-Stoli in one of my beautiful "Provence" flutes from Baccarat.

                                                                                                                  Ginger Snaps with Clemson Blue & good honey for dipping.

                                                                                                                  1. I usually shop for big bargains on meat, but do splurge on good cheese like Stilton or aged Gouda. The cheese can be made to last a long time! And the better the cheese the less likely I am to cook with it, but just eat it unadulterated. Of course if money were not an isssue...I'd cook with expensive cheese all the time!

                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: scuzzo

                                                                                                                      A friend with a restaurant orders me 5 lbs. of Rembrandt aged gouda at a time!

                                                                                                                      1. re: scuzzo

                                                                                                                        If you're a Maytag fan, treat yourself to order Clemson Blue (if you haven't already) - it's extraordinary !

                                                                                                                      2. Probably fresh herbs. As a 21 year old college student, extra money is pretty much non-existent. But I can't stand dried herbs! My boyfriend jokes that I need an "herb allowance." Hey, I don't smoke, I don't drink "much" alcohol, I deserve at least one vice, right? Please tell me I do!

                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: linz_e_moore

                                                                                                                          Yes - and a tasteful one at that. My favorite fresh herb is Tarragon, especially for, but not limited to yummie Chicken Salad with good Dukes mayo, sliced green grapes, chopped celery & slivered almonds. I love to use fresh Tarragon in my famous fluffy scrambled eggs too with heavy cream. It's a great flavor with fish too.

                                                                                                                          1. re: linz_e_moore

                                                                                                                            Maybe you could grow them? I used to, until I got a cat - now it's pretty much pointless since she eats them before I can.

                                                                                                                            1. re: piccola

                                                                                                                              We do grow a good variety. A frost is expected here tomorrow night so we will be harvesting the last of the herb garden tomorrow and preserving what we can of it (some vinegar and some compound butter). Then herbs will move back into the everyday luxury category again until next summer. Especially tarragon, basil, mints and thyme.

                                                                                                                          2. Madrange ham from France (at $16/lb.) and Vacherin cheese when I can get it. I buy the ham about once every three months and the cheese maybe once a year - and I wait for the day!

                                                                                                                            1. Boy, this has opened up a whole new world of choices for me. I used to think buying Kraft mayo (the real kind, not the low-fat or zero fat ones) and Diet Coke instead of store-brand cola were luxuries.
                                                                                                                              We buy Starbucks by the pound for brewing at home.
                                                                                                                              Every once in a while, I'll buy Pleugra butter but I always have some type of butter. Never margarine.
                                                                                                                              And always extra virgin olive oil.

                                                                                                                              1. Irish butter
                                                                                                                                Sea salt
                                                                                                                                Shmancy tonic water
                                                                                                                                all kinds of booze
                                                                                                                                Organic full fat yogurt. Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...