Have gas prices effected your habits?
I recently checked out a hamburger place in Milwaukee that has been touted as one of the best in the midwest. I would have checked it out a long time ago, but it is across town (that means something even in Milwaukee), and didnt want to make the trip just to check out a hamburger. Saturday, I found I had some other things to do in the area, so I finally went, and indeed, it was one superb burger.
But I find that I have been doing this a lot recently, and I am wondering if anyone else has had their chow-habits changed by gas prices. (Back in the distant days of the Clinton administration and gas well under $2.00 a gallon, I would have driven to Chicago just to eat at Carson's, and then turn around & come home.) Are you combining trips to restaurants, markets, or bakeries that are off your beaten path with other errands in the area? Are you foregoing them if that would be the sole reason for your trip?
At the same time, are you exploring the chow resources in your own neighborhoods for places that you might have otherwise ignored?
We live in the burbs and definitely don't drive downtown as much for dinner. If we don't just meet there right after work, we don't go downtown and gas is the main reason (hassle and time being the others, but those were always there). We have sought out more local places and as soon as it gets even close to a normal temperature plan to walk to local places as often as possible instead of driving.
We have changed slightly. As a family that spends over $600 month on gas for our SUV we have made some changes as gas has gone over $3.00 per gallon again.
During the week we would typically eat out, or get carry-out at least twice during the week, but now we only do carry-out once a week, and cook meals at home. We are also cooking more dinners at home on the weekends.
We live 70 miles from Chicago, and we still make a twice monthly trip into the city just to eat on the weekends: 2 weekends ago we hit 3 different places in Chicago for lunch: Smoque for some bbq, Semiramis for some middle eastern food, and Sun Wah BBQ for some chinese bbq's pork, and duck. This weekend is my birthday dinner @ Joe's Seafood, Prime Steaks, and Stone Crab. Trips like these will not change.
I am in a strange situation these days, and so I am using the car less than I used to. This is a welcome change given the cost of gas. But we had already been trying to reduce our use of the car, not because of the cost so much as an attempt to reduce our carbon footprint a bit. We aren't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but we're trying to make better choices. But I must admit we still use the car to get to our sports games, and for the occasional food quest when we get cabin fever (we have had a lot of snow!!!). So for example, I went on a zeppole hunt this weekend, using the car.
Usually we try to combine quests with other errands. And yes, we are exploring our neighbourhood on foot. We are lucky that our neighbourhood is full of great food finds, and there is a lot of variety.
As soon as the *^#*)*@ snow goes away, we are looking forward to doing bike trips all over the city on our chow quests! Best of both worlds, exercise and good food. But that seems a long ways away. We are nearing record levels of snow, and we just spent 5 hours yesterday clearing our roof lest the weight of the snow causes the roof to cave in. Sigh. Hence the need for things like the zeppole run.
We've always tried to walk as much as possible and are lucky to live near lots of good small markets, so we almost never drive to the store. We've been making even more of an effort lately, because of gas prices, and once tried to walk to Target. That involved walking under a freeway overpass, and along a frontage road with no sidewalk, over train tracks, past a peeing man and a recycling facility, and across the huge parking lot to the store itself. Our conclusion was that walking to Target must be unAmerican, because it is so difficult.