Serious question about what you expect for $100-$200 per person meals. I choke at $30
Not trying to stir the pot , so to speak, but what exactly do you expect for a meal that costs $100-$200 per person? The reason I ask is that I often see posts with titles like "Is it possible to get a good meal for $150 per person in XX city?" This is very foreign to me, as $150 (or less) is a months worth of groceries, or a weeks fuel tab to get to work and back. I make a decent wage, but I start to balk when a meal gets over $20. It may be because I am a frugal person by nature (that one meal could buy a months groceries), and partly due the fact that I feel that I will be disappointed in what I get for that price I( could have made it myself for less) etc. The most I have spent on a dinner was $75, and that was for two of us.
So my question to you is,, What would you expect for a meal that is in the $100-$200 per person range, and how often do you get a meal like this; daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, or only on special occasions? I don't need to know how much you make, or what you do for a living, but I would expect that you would be making $100,000 on up, or possibly retired.
We dined at Le Cinq in Paris and I'd say it was about $200 a person. I was initially hesitant to spend so much, but my husband insisted we have the experience. And I can say without a doubt that experience was so amazing that we still talk about it years later. The food was so incredible that at one point I thought I was going to cry. The waitstaff pampered us like nothing we had ever experienced. They even had a bouquet of white flowers just because it was our anniversary. The meal lasted for about 3 hours and the chef kept sending out surprise courses. It was worth every penny for an experience that we'll remember the rest of our lives.
I'd say it would be worth not going out to dinner for a year, to experience dining at Le Cinq.
Different strokes....150 a week on fuel for commuting? You must have a hell of a commute, I spend about 120 a month. So we all budget differently and have our priorities.
What do I expect? Multiple courses, at least 5. Technical perfection with a high degree of creativity. Surprises and delights. Beautiful, complex dishes and impeccable service. Dishes that make me wonder how they did it or that introduce me to a new ingredient or combination. These days I might hope to have a very high end meal once a year. For me there are restaurants worth saving for and traveling to. They are not for everyone.
re: babette feasts
Yes, I do have a Hell of a commute, 206 miles round trip every day. Don't like it, but I have to follow the paycheck. When I get my Saturn back on the road it will be about $240-$300 a month for fuel. The wagon finally said it needed a rest at 293,000+ miles, so it is time to rebuild the engine, and get back to 40 mpg instead of what I am getting now.
you also have to factor in location/region. $20 won't go nearly as far toward a high-end meal in cities like NYC, SF or Chicago as it might in other places.
What would I expect? Food that I won't or can't cook at home. Staff that will give me good ideas on wine (again, I like something that I wouldn't have at home.) A lovely environment and great service.
How often do we do it? Less than in prior years. The better my cooking skills become, the less we go out for big to-dos.
A couple of years back, a very good client of my husband's company owned a restaurant where meals, with mid-list priced wine, ran $100-$150 per person and could easily go above $200 with higher priced wine and additional cocktails.
Because of the business connection, we visited once every other month or so. The food and overall experiences were truly outstanding. A visit was an all night event. The wine steward liked to take us down in the cellar to show and discuss wine selections for our meal. He knew we weren't $200 a bottle wine drinkers ($50 was more our speed) but he loved wine so much, he seemed to relish the challenge of selecting something perfect for us. The restaurant changed hands and as is so often the case, the new owner changed it for the worse (and quickly went bankrupt) We have wonderful memories of those meals.
On vacation it isn't unusual for us to spend $200 on dinner for three people because it is vacation, my time to take a break for my second full-time job of meal planning, shopping and cooking. It is also a time for us to eat and drink much more than we usually do, which drives up the price. I do a lot of research about the restaurants and we pick ones that specialize in local dishes.
We do a $125-$150 lunch two or three times a year at one of our favorite places. It is relaxation and entertainment for us. I cringe at $30 to go to the movies but have no problem spending that + on a great lunch.
Only spend $$$$ for vacation meals or special occasions such as birthday. I expect and usually receive a meal that I will remember for years. It's all about the memories. I have eaten way more than my share of $20-$30 meals and very rarely remember them at all.
On a different note, if you are spending $150 a month on food and $600 a month on fuel to get to work, I think you should move closer to work. Just my opinion.