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How often do you dine out, how often do you cook etc ?

I think most people on this board know the different preferences of most people regarding different types of restaurants. But I would interested to know all these people a little bit more ;)
Since we all write a lot about dining in different restaurants and cooking at home I was always wondering how an average week looks like for most CH in SD (and beyond).
How often do you cook at home or have dinner in a restaurant ? How often do you eat fastfood for dinner ? Do you cook from scratch or heat up microwave food ? What do you eat for lunch - leftovers from your cooking, fastfood or restaurants ?

To get everything started here are some answers from me:

In an average week I cook four days a week and eat out at a restaurants three days a week. Beside 2,3 times a year an In-Out Burger we completely avoid fast food. We also try to avoid processed food and cook all meals from scratch. Lunch is mostly salads from the Wholefoods salad bar or leftovers from cooking and about once a week a visit to a restaurant.

I hope others are willing to share their eating habits.

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  1. I generally eat out 3-4 times a week, I try to avoid chains, I really look for family owned ethnic places that offer some great home style recipes, I like to eat out for breakfast, my fav meal of the day, on the week-ends. When I cook it's from scratch, especially pizza using my own dough as well and I try to avoid processed foods. Nice topic honkman.

    1. We eat out 3 or 4 times a week or more. We like to go out to breakfast on the weekends and lunches, too. We dine out for dinner on Friday or during the week, when I want a good meal, but am too tired to cook after work. My work schedule went from M-F to just Thurs., so now I cook more dinners at home. I have more time to shop and cook, now, and I really love it. We are not take-out folks- I won't order out what I can make, better myself.

      I do like to go out to restaurants and try new foods or ethnic or regional foods, or something different than I usually prepare at home. I also enjoy people watching and the convivial spirit in many local restaurants. About 4X's/month, we travel out of town to a "destination" restaurant for something special- a particular chef, cuisine or specific dish.

      We hit some chain restaurants on the way to/from soccer games (which are all over our state). It's been a fun challenge to find alternatives to McDonalds. The New England CH boards have been a source of many excellent suggestions for our family when we're on the road.

      Finally, we dine out more frequently when we are on vacation. Some of our favorite (and least favorite) meals have been during vacation times-even when we have a kitchen available! I like to hit the CH boards for suggestions, too.

      1. I usually cook five days a week and eat out at restaurants 2 days, although sometimes we eat at a friends house instead. I am with you on avoiding fast food except if I am on a road trip or an occasional trip to In-n-out. I also try to avoid too much processed food but I certainly don't make all of my meals from scratch. Sometimes I will get something from Trader Joes that is either premade or requires minimal effort. I avoid anything that has to go in the microwave. I do like going out for lunch some because you can get good deals but a lot of places aren't open for lunch or offer limited choices.

        1. I cook once a week but cook 5-6 days' worth of lunches and dinners. The plus to this is that neither of us come home, exhausted and too hungry to cook. The downside is that we're usually sick of what we've been eating all week. I cook from scratch, using recipes.

          We eat out once a week, on the weekends, after we've either ran out of food or gotten tired of eating the same food all week. We usually gravitate towards cheap Asian b/c both of us like it and I don't cook Asian b/c we don't have a Chinese kitchen to do stir-fry properly.

          About once a month, we may go out for a business dinner at a high end place. In-n-Out is "maybe" once a year. Costco pizza and hot dogs are "maybe" 2-3 xs/yr. Souplantation is about once every 6 months. I have an El Cuervo burrito once a week b/c of my commute/schedule on that particular day. On the weeks we are back from traveling, we will stock up on Costco prepared foods and/or get a week's worth of take out from Saffron, Sab E Lee or Punjabi Tandoor.

          Lately, I've been trying to plan more meatless meals, both for cost and environmental issues. I grew up in a large vegetarian community and know it's not impossible to eat well and be satisfied with less meat.

          1. Typically, we'll eat out two dinners a week and maybe a breakfast. The exception would be extremely busy weeks where we eat out more, but those weeks are rare. When we cook, it's almost always a hot meal from scratch. Most of our processed and prepared foods are from Trader Joe's (their frozen orange chicken, frozen pizzas, and frozen gnocchi are the usual suspects) and we eat them rarely.

            We do tend to be a little carb-heavy in our meals, but we're increasing our veggie intake with a CSA box from Be Wise Ranch every other week. Our at-home meals are largely vegetarian, but we cook meat about once a week.

            Eating out, we stick to cheaper ethnic meals and the occasional run to In-N-Out. Breakfasts are probably our most processed meal, as we favor places like Perry's that cook Sysco foods so well. Our more upscale dining restaurant of the moment is Wine Vault and Bistro. Lunches are sandwiches or salads (I make them... Mr. Geeky is more likely to buy them from a sandwich shop downtown). Leftovers for lunch are typical for me... money-wise, it's good I work in Torrey Pines. It keeps me from going out to lunch often because it's not close to many good food sources, but my lunches tend to be kind of boring.

            To throw another aspect of our "food lives", we do our shopping primarily at Trader Joe's, Henry's, and ethnic markets (99 Ranch for Chinese and Minh Hoa in City Heights for Vietnamese items). Costco for anything that we would use a lot of and would last a while (canned goods, usually) and the local Vons for the occasional item (i.e. when we were going through our Cocoa Crispies phase). Specialty items usually come from Whole Foods or Specialty Produce. Produce, as mentioned above, is from the CSA.

            1. Eat out or order delivery 6 times a month on average.
              When eating at home 7 out of 10 times I'm cooking. When not cooking but eating easy food, Frozen pizza, veggie burgers/dogs and dried/canned soups usually are the way I go.
              I look forward to cooking and eating, do the other things for convenience, change of pace and inspiration/education.

              1. I used to eat out pretty frequently but in the last year to 18 months I've been eating at home quite a bit more. This wasn't due to the economy as much as it was due to my schedule and home obligations and the fact my waisteline was expanding a little too fast. I have recently been diagnosed with a medical problem that is going to require some diet modification for the next few months :-( and that's easier to control eating at home rather than out.

                I cook from scratch at least 6 days a week and often 7. I usually cook something with a large yield on Saturday or Sunday so we can have leftovers during the first part of the week when I don't get home until after 7 pm. The act of cooking is therapuetic for me so I take my time on weekends and frequently tackle complicated or time consuming recipes. I usually shop farmers markets and indy grocery stores.

                I can't tell you the last time I had a fast food meal. On days when I take my lunch it is usually left overs or a salad. Since I work in the food business, I eat at work on days when I don't pack a lunch.

                1. We used to eat out 3-4 times a week, but since moving to San Diego 18 months ago, we've reduced that to 2-3 times a month. We've just been disappointed too many times. Fast food? Basically never (I've eaten at In-N-Out Burger once just to see what the noise was about).

                  I cook 2-3 nights a week (weekend nights), while my wife takes weeknights. I am *loving* the grocery scene in this town. Ranch 99, Lucky Seafood, North Park Produce, Mitsuwa, Nijiya, Iowa Meat Farm, Knight Salumi. I have yet to try Point Loma Seafoods, and some of the Korean grocers, but looking forward to it... I wonder what cities outside of New York, SF and Chicago have better grocery scenes?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Indirect Heat

                    Our pattern is basically the same as Indirect Heat mentions above. We're also transplants to San Diego (Del Mar). We're from the NYC area and are frequently disappointed when we go out to "finer" restaurants in the area. Call us frugal, but I really hate to spend money going out to a restaurant, only to have a mediocre meal in some trendy place, especially when we can easily eat better at home. Also, it kills me to spend a fortune on a glass or bottle of wine when I have much better stuff for a fraction of the cost sitting at home. Still, there are some local places that we love to go to.

                    We're a family of four, and have teenagers who are adventurous eaters so we frequently take them when we go out. We've tried most of the higher end restaurants in the area, but now gravitate to a few places that serve food that we don't make at home, such as Kaito for sushi, Bety's Tacos for Mexican, Rendezvous for takeout Asian fusion, Sab-E-Lee for Thai. There are others but those are on our main rotation, and I'd say we go out to one or the other about once every 10 days or so. Most weeknights, I'll cook, my hubby loves to cook on weekends, and one of our teenage daughters also loves to experiment with new recipes and will sometimes spend all afternoon on a Saturday whipping up a great meal for us.

                    When we're in a rush and need to get fast food during the week, we stop by Jimbo's, which has delicious, healthy prepared foods in their hot case, similar to things I'd cook at home. I feel fortunate to have Jimbo's nearby because I'm in there at least 4-5 times a week mostly just to do our regular food shopping, but about once or twice a week, there's a need to buy something already prepared. I see Jimbo there all the time, and have chatted w/him and feel good about supporting someone who cares about food, how it's produced and made, and what he sells to the community.

                    We make the ocassional trip to Chinos, always shop the Del Mar or Solana Beach farmer's markets on weekends, also go to the Japanese markets on Balboa at least 2-3 times/month, and also go to Henry's a couple times a week for random things. Von's is the closest grocery store to where we live, but I dislike a lot of what they sell and almost never go there. We also have a Harvest Ranch market nearby, but their stuff is way overpriced and frequently sits around too long, in my opinion.

                    1. re: carli

                      High-end food isn't something SD does well. Our ethnic restaurants are very good, though, IMO.

                  2. We go out to dinner on Friday evenings and frequently once or twice during the week. I try to cook from scratch at least 3 times a week. Once a month we try to hit a new, higher end restaurant. In between we hit favorites that have coupons (Love the Community coupon magazine and Restaurants.Com)

                    One of my favorite challenges is to rework leftovers ( my own or restaurant based). We also pick up a rotisserie chicken from Costco or Henry's and stretch it over a couple of meals. I take my lunch 4 days a week--can't stand school cafeteria meals. Wednesdays I make the rounds, Saigon, Super Cocina, Fruitlandia and sometimes a Whopper.

                    Groceries come from Henry's, Pancho Villa's and Von's (I like their bakery, but hate their produce.) We make a monthly trip to Costco for chicken tenders and bulk pantry items.

                    1. Hmmmm. Four-year-old post, but what the heck.

                      Basically, I "dine out" every day except on Saturdays, when my companion and I cook up our own terrific (pat, pat) dinner specialties.

                      1. I eat out all the time and have not cooked since 1987....I once tried BBQ'ing spaghetti but the strands of pasta kept on falling into the grill. Perhaps if I had laid the strands of pasta perpendicular I might have had better success.

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: El Chevere

                          Yes, perpendicular. Also, be sure to soak the noodles in olive oil first.

                          1. re: El Chevere

                            Sadly, by some definitions barbecue COULD be spaghetti; yes, it is cooked, and yes, it is covered with red sauce.

                            1. re: Tripeler

                              Oh, so you've been to that place too?

                              1. re: Tripeler

                                I remember R & M Barbeque when they used to be off Imperial. They actually offered spaghetti as a side, but not with barbeque sauce. It was mixed with one of the spiciest sauces I've ever had on pasta.

                                But I'm fairly certain they didn't grill it. :)

                                1. re: phee

                                  That would be an interesting side at a BBQ place. Different. I'd like the hot part, but was it any good and did it work with the BBQ? Sounds like a wierd combination to me, at first blush anyway.

                                  1. re: DoctorChow

                                    It was good! I believe the owner said her family recipes came out of Texas, but don't quote me. It's been many years since they closed. I remember my first time there, asking the owner if they had rib tips. "Honey", she said, "I can make you any kind of rib pieces you want." All served with white Wonder bread.

                                    And, I might add, it was the first place I'd ever had sweet potato pie.

                                    1. re: phee

                                      Actually, thinking about it, macaroni is pasta, so maybe it's not so strange after all. I guess it's the texture of spaghetti that made it sound a bit odd, without having tried it. If had been penne rigate, for example, it might not have sounded quite so unusual.

                                2. re: Tripeler

                                  Probably like the Rendezvous in Nashville, Q sauce over pasta.

                                  1. re: cstr

                                    Nashville? Do you mean Memphis?

                                    In any event, don't recall Rendezvous serving pasta, although they do a pretty good BBQ nacho platter.

                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      OOPS...brain freeze, thanks ipse.

                              2. I usually eat out once a week, mostly on a weekend night.

                                I have breakfast at home and bring a salad or homemade soup for lunch at work.

                                Other nights I cook, but do have 2 nights with leftovers of things I have cooked.