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They Want HOW MUCH?

Friends are in town.Well heeled so they're staying at the Driskill on 6th st.Thought about meeting for a good breakfast before sending them to Dead Man's Hole and Poodies so I called the cafe inside the hotel to make sure they had plenty grease before bending me over for a pricey breakfast.

THIRTEEN DOLLARS for a bacon,egg and cheese breakfast taco with a cup of coffee.

Which set me to thinking.Given our current economic condition what restaurant has given you acute sticker shock on their pricing?

It can be humble[Dirty Martin's $9 plus Bacon Cheeseburger,Onion Ring and lemonade Combo....Frisco Shop's BLT,Fries and a Coke for $9 plus]or it can be grandiose[help me here].

Does anyone remember the scene in Network[the movie]when Peter Finch screams out the window:"I'm mad as Hell and I'm not going to take it anymore"?

I do.

And when the phone person at Driskill casually informed me of how much I would be paying for the humblest of breakfast foods[the taco]and the most common of morning drinks[coffee]I raised my window and let forth a torrent.

Let's hear your torrent...

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  1. Got one. We live within a mile or so of Pappasitos, and even though it's not my favorite, they have a couple of things going for them - I like the homemade flour tortillas, and they are really good at to-go orders. Sometimes if we have an unexpected friend or parents over I'll order their Fajita Party Pack and pick it up. They always pack it up nicely, go over the order when you get there, and give you plenty of tortillas and warm chips.

    The Party Packs are fajitas with fixins (sour cream, cheese, guac, pico, rice, beans, salsa, chips, tortillas) and are priced according to how many people you want to serve. We usually order the 2 lb pack which says it serves 4-5.

    I have a to-go menu on the wall - we moved into our house in 2000 so the menu can at most be 8 yrs old, probably less. On my menu, the price of the party pack in question is $29.95. The price has crept up little by little - $32.95, $34.95 - but I just went there a few weeks ago after calling in an order for that same party pack, and it's now... $72.95!!!

    Incredulous, I told the server that I had an older menu with a price less than half of what they are now charging. He didn't believe me. He goes, "yeah, it went up, it used to be $64.95." I said dude - I'm telling you, my menu says $29.95. Ah what does he care anyway. Austin's never going to run out of UT students and they are never going to run out of parents taking them out to dinner, so Pappasito's will live on. Just not in my house. Wah.

    1. Perhaps it's because I'm in a different part of the country than you, but nine bucks for either of the sandwich combos you mentioned sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me!

      1 Reply
      1. re: invinotheresverde

        Agreed..here in the SF Bay Area, a $9 sandwich combo would make me happy! Recently a restaurant near me started lunch service. The banner outside the restaurant touted inexpensive pricing however a quick peek at the lunch menu and the inclusion of a $17 lunch salad (the usual grilled chicken etc) made me just say no.

      2. I've never heard of a hotel that doesn't vastly overcharge for breakfast. It is just part of the hotel game.

        I'd say if you can get out of a hotel breakfast for under $20, you are doing pretty good.

        1. I am the most shocked at wine lists prices. I was amazed at the Old Castle Hill - new Mexican place last week. Part of that is being a (very) old Austinite - I just can't see paying premium prices for Mexican food. (We do have a strong Fonda San Miguel contigent in the house though...). Thirteen dollars for a breakfast taco and coffee? I would of been screaming also!

          1. Texicalli Grill. I dunno if it still exists since the Mayor died.

            Seriously, it was like $14 for a burger. Everything on the menu was insanely expensive for slightly better than fast food quality. Last time we ate there we got 2 sandwiches and split an order of fries and two teas and it was almost $40.

            2 Replies
            1. re: achtungpv

              A Texicali Grill is being put into the old Trudy's space at Brodie Oaks (Ben White & Lamar). I saw it last weekend, and also saw the El Rey in that same cluster of strip centers has closed. I used to think El Rey was pretty good but I was not impressed the last few times I went there.

              1. re: Ashforth

                Just a note:

                I think that may be a Texican that is opening at Brodie Oaks.

            2. I once lived in London for a year so it takes a lot to shock me, price-wise. As a result, I can't say I've been truly shocked by any prices in Austin. Paying the equivalent of about $45 for 2 medium Papa John's pizzas can cause that.

              Restaurant prices are getting steep though. I'm amazed at how expensive Houston's has become. Went there this weekend and opted against my better judgment for the rack of ribs for $27 and found them very disappointing. They didn't have a great deal of meat on the bone, the sauce was bland and the meat was a little on the dry side. Almost all of their dinner entrees are in the 25 and up range now, which makes their otherwise excellent $13 burger seem cheap by comparison.

              1. $8 for a single plain croissant at a terrible establishment in Australia. The service was horrendous as the person preparing in the back was incredibly rude.

                Fortunately for me I took the liberty of filing a complaint.

                ridgeback are Houston's ribs really $27 now? I suppose I haven't been there in a while but I always remember them being closer to $21. A little surprised to hear that they were dry. I usually like to get myself some houston's ribs when I am craving "fall off the bone" moist-style ribs. I particularly enjoy the fries. They can be quite savory.

                1 Reply
                1. re: dcx1287

                  yep, $27 for the ribs at Houston's. Went to Artz Rib House on Sunday and someone at the table got the babybacks, which were $19. I found the ribs at Artz to be much meatier and flavorful than what I received Friday night at Houston's. The half rack at Artz was $13, which might be a better point of comparison to Houston's in terms of how much meat was on the bones. I hate to bag on Houston's because I've always been a big fan. But their cost/benefit ratio may have gotten too high.

                2. Just finished unloading bitterness on El Greco in a gyro thread, so while i'm at it, El Greco on guadalupe wants eight bucks for a gyro that presents as a (small and mediocre) pork taco on pita bread. No coke or fries included. One taco.

                  1. You got it, Chef-
                    Ever since oil started rising last summer (and we thought they meant Olive Oil) prices have been creeping up all over town (and the country). Crappy lunch is now $6-$7, average b-fast is too. But the shocker that I avoided was the Olive Garden shlepping a bowl of linguine alfredo with cheese and cream for $10+??? Come on, frozen food shouldn't cost that much.

                    1. I recently had a friend stay at the Hyatt downtown,
                      a bowl of oatmeal was $8.00


                      5 Replies
                      1. re: mevans4aus

                        A few days ago I started hearing my heartbeat in my ears when the barista at Spiderhouse informed the girl in front of me she owed a little under ten dollars for a plate of migas and a small coffee.

                        I grabbed a menu and there it was:A SIX DOLLAR AND NINETY FIVE CENT PLATE OF MIGAS.

                        The gold standard for this dish is at Tamale House on Airport and if memory serves it's right at four dollars. I'm not a fan of Amaya's Tacos Village but I believe their migas platters comes in under five bucks too.

                        While the idea of eating food at Spiderhouse is laughable I know plenty people that view it as a viable food source.

                        How much do you pay for your migas?

                        1. re: scrumptiouschef

                          Anybody got a hankering for an $8.50 cent grilled cheese sandwich? How about $2.70 for a small cup of coffee? Run on by Spiderhouse,check out their shiny new menus and while you're at it have a FIVE DOLLAR AND FIFTY CENT pint of Live Oak produced on east 5th street right here in Austin.

                          120 pints per barrel.$5.50 per pint
                          They're pulling in $660 dollars per barrel.

                          This is treasonous behavior.An outrage.Live Oak is delicious beer with cost per keg kept low by the good people who run the company so the average Austinite can go out to the local pub and put back a few pints without breaking the bank.


                          1. re: scrumptiouschef

                            I have to admit that some of the price increases described in this post might be justified based upon increases in transportation costs, minimum wage, taxes, etc. However, I am still astounded that the new entertainment venue in Cedar Park was selling 12 oz. Bud Lights for $8.00, and half-liter bottles of Aquafina water for $4.50 at last week's George Strait concert.

                            Pure greed.....

                            1. re: marfaboy

                              Ha! I can beat that one. At the circus in August, they were selling lemonade in 12 oz. plastic bottles for $8. Lemonade! For that price, I wanted Tom Collinses.

                          2. re: scrumptiouschef

                            Tamale House is titanic and unmatchable. I love them and won't fairly hold other restaurants to their standard: a cash-only business with no air conditioning and low rent.

                            When you get a $5.95 plate of migas, look around. If the plate is 80% as good as Tamale House #3, but you have AC and a roof, accept that you're paying a tax for these luxuries. At TH, the extra fees are simply for forcing them to sub guac out for refried -- $0.25, depending on who is working the register.

                            Chori-migas w/ cheese is median seven bucks in Austin. We live in a new epoch. The line is crossed.

                            I'm trying to make good migas at home. I've aced three or four "difficult" traditional french recipes over the last three years, teaching me so much about certain cooking principles. I've also learned how to leech bad tastes out of certain fish before cooking, how to make my own french fries, how to make a better fried chicken then I can find anywhere but Tony's (I might cry), three ways to make salmon that actually taste amazing, and maybe ten or fifteen other neat tricks.

                            But five books, twenty attempts, and forty speed-read internet recipes in, every home attempt at migas falls flat, flaccid, false.

                            I make a great steak at home. A better burger than 95% of the "best" in Austin. I'm OK dropping six bux on migas that blows my hair back. I can't seem to crack the case on my own. Whatever their rote moves are, I can't seem to replicate. The barrier to entry is high.

                            Despite the cheap ingredients, the masters maybe deserve the dinero.

                            (Apologies for the tardy reply. I've largely been "away".)

                        2. when gas prices skyrocketed, i could understand why the cost of some items might go up, due to increased transportation costs.
                          but i honestly cannot accept or tolerate price increases and portion/quality downgrades now just because the economy is in a slump.
                          there has to be a better way to entice diners into restaurants, rather than sticking it to the loyal customers who keep coming in despite the tough economy.

                          that being said, i don't go to any particular restaurants with such frequency that their price hikes have outraged me.

                          that being said, i have noticed a steep increase in prices at HEB, and i am not normally the kind of person who pays a lot of attention to that.
                          example: 6 pack of 20-oz diet coke was 2 for $5 for as long as i can remember.
                          less than six months ago it went up to $3 each, and in the past few weeks it jumped to $3.09.
                          there have also been a lot of hand-written shelf tag changes because much smaller packages are being sold for the same price (cereal, laundry detergent, etc.).

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: dinaofdoom

                            A six pack of Lone Star longnecks was almost $6 at Central Market last week. No excuse for that, none.

                            1. re: mkwng

                              How about $3.50 bottles of Lone Star at Opal Divine's?

                          2. Sunday brunch at Fonda San Miguel - $40 per person. $20 for a kid's plate. The service was slow, the meat all tasted the same, and they were out of aguas frescas by 12:30.

                            I mean, honestly, $20 for a six year old's brunch?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: addlepated

                              I searched through Fonda San Miguel mentions to post a review, and ultimately decided this was the most logical place. We have been probably 15 times over 10 years, and it has ranged from amazing to pretty good...but the price is just ridiculous. My four year old ate guacamole and a sliver of chocolate cake, for $20. There should be an "under 10 eat free" policy, especially since there was so much food left at 2:20. The pluses: great chicken pipian verde (smooooth, with crunchy roasted pepitas on top), good mole with moist chicken, amazing sauteed mushrooms with some kind of chile, albondigas with an ethereal tomato chipotle sauce, the ceviche today was amazing - I had to pilfer some avocado from the nopalitos salad, but the ceviche itself was perfectly balanced and very fresh (can definitely be otherwise). Nothing sucked, but the pork in the cochinita pibil was pretty dry, the eggs I felt were pedestrian, the chayote casserole was creamy and the chayote had good texture but strangely lacking flavor, and I thought it was bizarre to find little rolled florets of smoked salmon with creme fraiche and red onion at this brunch. All in all, it was a delicious meal, but honestly, this should have worn a 28.95 price tag, preschoolers eat free. Oh, Our service was great, the trio singing and playing were wonderful, and as always, it is a beautiful place to be in. Paco was taking a nap, though.

                            2. My favorite burger in town, at the Tavern on Lamar, has priced itself out of my league. A cheesegurger with steak fries, an iced tea and tip is now over $15. Youch.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: austinfood

                                Austin Consumers must have no clue as to the cost of producing a burger. Every day they are sold again and again for $8 around here. I guess fast food is what people weight them against instead of how little effort they are to make at home. Especially when they aren't grilled over open flame and cooked well done.

                                Add Opal Devine's as one of many places I stopped bothering to go to due to prices going up past 18 months... with no adjustment downward.

                              2. Swissotel in Chicago takes $30 for room service breakfast for 1. Mrs. doc ordered after taking a fall on the steps to Architectural boat ride tour.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: phantomdoc

                                  At the "new" (and that means remodeled) Finn and Porter in the Hilton downtown, they have raised their prices on their steaks. Prime NY Strip is now $48! Only $10 more than Eddie V's.