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$100 to spend. Do you.....?

Don't get all high and mighty on me...be honest. I know everyone on here loves great food, but think about the questions.

What would you do in this situation? I live alone and while I love to cook and eat great food, I also like to go out with friends. So her'e's my question. If you have a $100 budget per week for dining out, would you rather

Have one $100 meal at a great restaurant or multiple good meals at different places?

MY example is this. There's a a few restaurants near me where I could go and have a nice seafood appetizer, a salad, a delicious steak and a decadent dessert for $100. But on the other hand, I could go Monday for the best chorizo burrito I've ever had for $8, then for a delicious chicken scarpiello on Tuesday for $17. Then have a shepherd's pie or bangers and mash for $12 on Wednesday, have an entire pie of the best thin crust pizza for $14 on Thursday, Westchester's best burger with a side of chili, fries and rings for $11 on Friday, some dumplings and a some spicy Chinese chicken dish on Saturday for $13 and still have $25 to have some wings, nachos and curried spring rolls on Sunday during the game?

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  1. It depends if you like to cook or eat out all the time...and where your friends like to eat.

    Oh and if its eating out all the time how much time you have to exercise.

      1. re: viperlush

        +1 on alternate! I'd do maybe 2 weeks on cheap meals out daily, then one week that would include a blow out meal.

        1. re: viperlush


          when i read the OP my immediate thought was, "why does it have to be strictly one or the other?" i'd stick with the more economical & frequent strategy most weeks, but mix it up with the occasional splurge once every month or two.

          of course it's all theoretical for me since i rarely eat out more than once a month (that includes breakfast, lunch and dinner)...so i splurge on more expensive ingredients for cooking at home instead.

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            This. And I like to know what's going into my food. I'm neurotic that way.

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              I was using a week as a reference guide. I figured if I wrote a month, I'd be inundated with comments saying if it's once a month they'd pick a gourmet meal.

              I wholeheartedly agree with more expensive at home

          2. I am all about variety. I'd choose the burrito-shepherd's pie sequence most weeks, then on the occasional week go for the splurge meal. Honestly, I'd rather have several interesting ethnic meals with ingredients that I don't normally have in the house or techniques that I don't know than have a steak dinner at a posh place.

            Years ago, when my husband and I were saving for our first house, we allowed ourselves a dining out budget of $120/week. We never went to a nice place during that year--it was always Chinese take-out, Mexican, etc. Never felt we were missing a thing.

            I should add that at the end of that time, after we'd bought the house, I won a contest at work, and we splurged on a $400 meal at what was then the Ritz-Carlton in Boston. I did love the idea that there was a dude whose sole job it was to put butter on my bread and butter plate and another whose sole job appeared to be to refill water glasses. Luxury is fun, but most of the time, I'd rather just eat good food.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Isolda

              Love The R-C story. Honestly, It's funny, I'm going through a really rough economic time, but ironically I'm trying to lose weight, so I went on a diet of pretty much veggies and cheese. They actually get a little pricey, but I'd rather eat healthy. I splurge ona burger once a week and usually eat out at least one other time (I've been sticking to ordering apps instead of entrees). The funny thing is despite being a little broke, I've got a $200 gift card to Morton's. So I'm waiting til I'm down to my last two cents to go have a nice martini, a seafood platter and a cajun rib eye....for free!

              1. Spread it around, but use half of it for places/foods that you haven't tried yet. Once you find something new you like, explore the high-end version of that food and spend all, or a big part, of the $100 on that. Rinse and repeat.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ediblover

                  Other than "in-town" I had going to restaurants over and over. I also almost never order the same thing twice unless it's a destination type thing ie, Peter Luger for the porterhouse.

                2. Personally I'd spread it around every last time.

                  1. I tend to mix it up. I spend and eat very frugally during the week and then treat myself on the weekends. I eat out infrequently as I save a lot of money making it at home, love to cook and have control over how it's cooked. For example, I can cook a steak and king crab meal (this would be a weekend meal for myself only) with salads and sides at home for about $40. It makes it all pretty guilt-free and not budget-busting. For that matter, I don't really see why anyone buys steamed crab or lobster at a resto- I mean how hard is it to throw it in a steam pot for a few minutes? Sorry- I digress...

                    1. I would prefer to spread the wealth.....and I never considered price to be the best indicator or determining factor as to the quality of an item or dish.

                      I take it as a badge of honor to seek out cheap eats, or value in items ordered out.....whether at home in my local area, or on the road in my travels.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: fourunder

                        I'm with fourunder on this one. I would like to eat out more often, and save splurge meals for a couple of times a year.

                        1. re: fourunder

                          I wasn't implying price was an indicator. I have a burger place around the corner from me that has burgers better than most steaks I've had. I also find I need to be in a certain mindset to go out for something special!

                        2. I'd alternate in threes:
                          First week the singular, high-end meal
                          Second week the variety pack
                          Third week buy a tasty little number from one of my wholesale buddies to add to the cellar
                          Lather, repeat.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: invinotheresverde

                            On that third week at home....what's on the menu? PB & J.....or Boxed mac n' cheese?


                          2. I'd do the eat out decent and often route most of the time and maybe once a month / every 6 weeks do a fancy meal.

                            1. If it's all or none (desert-island decision) then it's multiple inexpensive meals every week.

                              week 1: multiple cheap meals out
                              week 2: divert money to great make-at-home food
                              week 3: divert money to great make-at-home food
                              week 4: multiple cheap meals out
                              week 5: put in bank for next week
                              week 6: fancy blow-out meal

                              6 Replies
                                1. re: jhopp217

                                  LOL, no, just food-obsessed! I really did enjoy the mental challenge of your question. I discussed it with my husband and we reviewed our dining habits for a bit, and discussed what we'd like. Very cool. :^)

                                  1. re: DuchessNukem

                                    I love to eat out and love to eat in, but living alone, I've become lazy about cooking. I don't even have what can be called a kitchen and ever since my girlfriend and I broke up, I've been in a cooking rut. I've been eating boring food at home for the most part out of money problems and a diet, but spent the last two weeks at my father's and have eaten like a king. I miss it. That being said, I did have to cook one night and pretty much nailed it, so I was happy I still somewhat know what I'm doing. But there is something nice about going out 2-3 times a week and letting someone else do the dirty work

                                    1. re: jhopp217

                                      i'm sorry to heart about your girlfriend - there have been a lot of broken Chow-hearts this year :( spend some more time on the Home Cooking board & we'll do our best to reignite your inspiration!

                                      1. re: jhopp217

                                        Understood. I do our cooking, and I love it. But when he travels, I have been known to eat micro popcorn and red wine for dinner. By day 3, I start cooking again. :)

                                        Do consider focusing on small meals: exquisite grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato/basil soup; peasant platter of olives, cheeses, rough bread, pepperoni; high-end mac-n-cheese that you can eat for 2-3 nights; beefy chili or stew.

                                        I always keep hand-sliced veggies around: carrot sticks, snow/snap peas, grape tomatoes, celery, radish, beets. They're easy to snack on and can add to a dish as needed. Good habit to get into.

                                        1. re: DuchessNukem

                                          Funny, you said the grilled cheese thing first. Last time I made grilled cheese I took Italian bread and kind of flattened it out. Loaded the bread with oil, fresh minced garlic and grated parmesan. Then put thick slices of mozzarella on, then topped with tomato and basil pesto. I was telling a friend about this and they looked at me like I had two heads.

                                          Lately, I've never been short of veggies. Lately, everything at home seems to include tomato, avocado and red onion...sometimes just that on an english muffin...with a slice of cheese. I've also been on a crazy hummus kick!

                                2. Blow the wad, eat, drink and be merry..... Ever since Vietnam, I live every day as it may be my last and every day in the memory of buddies that didn't make it. This is part of the reason I will not frequent a chain restaurants.
                                  I'm just a teacher w/ too many kids to put through college. We don't eat out that often, I cook a lot, but when we do, I splurge! My wife worries about money, but we always will, we won't remember money worries, but we will remember the wonderful meals and times.
                                  I used to be the headmaster of international schools. I had a meal per diem when I traveled. I'd scrimp on breakfast and lunch and blow the wad on dinner. Cognac, coffee and a Cuban cigar became my favorite dessert. Those days are gone, but the memories are not.
                                  Life's short and then..

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                    I love everything you said. I hardly grew up in poverty, but my parents loved to spend money on fresh good food and wine. I was very lucky that my mother was a good cook....and I'm not talking good in a mediocre way. Good in a way, that in all my life, I've had two, maybe three dishes in a restaurant that my mother couldn't do better and usually because it was just plain not available.

                                    It is true. When I reminisce (I'm 40) about my childhood and it's memorable moments, I remember what we ate. It was that wondeful.

                                  2. Most weeks I would go for variety, but occasionally I would splurge on a really posh meal.

                                    1. Depends.

                                      On what?

                                      You ask.

                                      My dining companions.

                                      Even the best $100 meal when eaten alone will pale in comparison to one single $1 meal enjoyed with a cherished friend.

                                      But, then, that's just me.

                                      Just do what makes you happy.

                                      Who cares what other 'Hounds think.

                                      1. Probably spread it around and not use it all on food too. Eat somewhere with husband or friend, buy a book, get a tiny toy for my kitten (or maybe not, I spent $80 to buy her a little cat house and I have since learned that she loves playing with wads of paper--made out of junk mail best :/ ). Buy an inexpensive dress or a cute t-shirt.

                                        If I had to use it all on food, I would spread it around, definitely.

                                        1. I've been married & cooking for 45 years, it's a no brainer for me - eat out, I'm tired of cooking!! However that being said, we don't go out very often, not more than once a week, and I do cook with ingredients as expensive as they need to be to get great food. Comes with the territory of being retired and not supporting anyone except ourselves.