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I would eat out more if . . .

The other side of the coin from the thread started by Spice_zing. I enjoy cooking, but mostly I enjoy cooking if I'm not doing it just for myself. In my ideal world I would eat out almost every meal, unless I was cooking for others. I don't have any shortage of good places to eat, and I don't object to going out by myself a lot of the time, so mostly it comes down to living within my income.

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  1. I'm with you--I genuinely enjoy cooking (and baking), too, but on the 3rd day of corned beef a Casa Katty, well...yes. Can I make you a plate? :) Food is meant to be shared. Clearly, I was meant to have more people around to feed. Or I was supposed to have a little restaurant of some sort. Or some combo thereof.

    For sure, I'd eat out more often if I had a fatter wallet, but in all honesty, I like a balance. I like to eat out here and there, then I really do appreciate certain things I make that I can only get at home. It's like when you go on vacation and can't wait to get back in your own kitchen instead of going out every night, y'know? Still, I wouldn't mind having some sorta fantasy-funded food expense account. :) Where do I sign up?

    4 Replies
    1. re: kattyeyes

      I would eat out more often if I felt there was good value in doing so.

      While there are many excellent and creative restaurants, as a good cook who enjoys shopping for food and preparing meals I'm well aware that I can cook a meal of equal or better quality at a fraction of the price of dining out. Since I get pleasure in cooking we generally only dine out to socialize with friends.

      I will say one of the advantages of travelling is dining out as we have no choice so I don't mind the money spent. There is an irony that I can be better acquainted with the restaurant scene in a city several thousand miles away than in my home city.

      I will say one of the advantages of travelling is dining out as we have no choice so I don't mind the money spent. There is an irony that I can be better acquaintanced with the restaurant scene in a city several thousand miles away than in my home city.

      1. re: Roland Parker

        "I would eat out more often if I felt there was good value in doing so.

        While there are many excellent and creative restaurants, as a good cook who enjoys shopping for food and preparing meals I'm well aware that I can cook a meal of equal or better quality at a fraction of the price of dining out. "


        1. re: LMAshton

          "Eating out" doesn't have to mean $50pp. Living in Chicago there are a great many exceptional ethnic options where you can eat well for under $10 a person. Given the fairly unusual variety of ingredients it's near-impossible to replicate at home economically. Possibly cheaper if you're cooking for a group but not for 1-2 people. My wife and I eat out a lot but for every meal that we spend $100 or more we have half a dozen that run about $20 (for two).

      2. I would eat out more if I had more money. The independent restaurant scene is very creative and is blossoming in my area.

        1 Reply
        1. re: sandylc

          +1. We eat out less than anybody I know. I would peruse the local offerings, gorge myself, and comment on them. I would love to be subsidized on this local restaurant journey, but this is just a pipe dream, after all.

        2. If the restaurants would let me customize my meal with true abandonment.

          In the restaurant I usually order as is with little to no change, at home, 'lets add kimchee to this,' 'nah I'll just add an egg on top,' 'Oh how about a Mex/Polish mash up instead'... I would be the worse customer ever if I ate out every night.

          10 Replies
          1. re: Crockett67

            There are undoubtedly restaurants that will cater to your whims but for me the point of eating out is to see other people's ideas, not to impose my ideas on theirs.

            1. re: ferret

              Reminds me of people who pay big money to go on vacation, then go to a giant resort that is as much like home as it could possibly be.

              1. re: sandylc

                Yeah, because the food there might be a little scary... woooooooooo! They go to Burger king in Mexico (a particular sore spot with me, a BK in my beautiful previously unsmirched Sonoran retreat) and expect - I don't know what.

                1. re: sandylc

                  living in Honolulu, which not a major food capitol of the world certainly has variety, i was always amazed to see the senior's lined up outside "Sizzler" at 5pm for the senior specials. I don't know, maybe they really don't have sizzler where they live, but I bet they don't have an Ono's or a Helena's or for a lot of them a decent chinese or thai restaurant either.

                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                    Ono's Hawaiian BBQ? That has to be the type of food served in Heaven:) Simply luscious addictive and full of bad bad things:) Makes life better though to eat it.

                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                      My mom recently moved to be near us, and we are going nuts trying to find places that we are willing to set foot in that also satisfy her idea of a restaurant. She wants bland old-fashioned food, with an occasional steak for "fancy" - I am personally very reluctant to pay the price for a steak that would live up to the high quality of my childhood steaks. The flavor of beef has suffered tremendously in my lifetime.

                2. re: Crockett67

                  If the restaurants would let me customize my meal with true abandonment.

                  Isn't that called a "personal chef"?

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    AHA! I hereby wish to amend my previous food wish to a combination of dining out whenever I wish, supplemented by a personal chef. Then, on the nights I do cook at home, I would like very spiffy elves to clean up afterwards. Thank you.

                    ETA: Or Pete the monkey rather than the elves. I wish for both frequently. Note: Pete the monkey is not related to petek.

                    1. re: kattyeyes

                      +1 on the personal chef, +2 for having the money to afford one...

                    1. re: petek

                      The curse, the humanity, and the shame of being Petek.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        It's both a blessing and a curse... :)

                        1. re: petek

                          Yeah, if only you are not so awesome. :)

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            What can I say?? It's not as easy as you think..

                      2. re: petek

                        +1...I would eat out more if...the food at restaurants was consistently good as the food at home. I am not the most fabulous cook in the world but I make damn good food that I enjoy and if no one else has to eat it that's what matters. There are rare occasions for me these days since I have developed this wonderful passion for all things food when I can't fiddle with a dish which I enjoy more at home - both eating and preparing. Also, there aren't the most spectacular places around to go out to eat, most of it is not that great that I'd be motivated to go there. I very rarely really want something at a restaurant, but instead sit around all day craving another spinach salad topped with seared tuna and homemade vinaigrette. It shocks me just how delectable food from your own kitchen can be and it's so much fun.

                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                          I really do enjoy dinning out,but so many of the new and exciting restaurants in my city(Toronto) have "no reservations" policies.There's no way in hell I'm gonna wait 45 mins + for a chance to maybe blown away....Plus being in the biz,I can be a bit too critical at times.

                      3. Well, the issue of $ comes to mind, but I think my most limiting factor is the issue of having a dairy allergy and being highly gluten-sensitive. I know I can call ahead and certain restaurants will accommodate, but some cuisines are less adaptive than others, I've found.

                        I also prefer to eat vegetarian, but given the aforementioned issues, this can sometimes be impossible to maintain if I actually want to eat more than a garden salad.

                        All that being said, I do consider myself lucky to live in an area that has a number of restaurants that I a) don't have to worry about my allergies and b) have a decent to wide selection of menu items I can actually eat!

                        1. There are many months when I actually yearn to eat "in".

                          One can only stomach so many restaurant meals without wanting to just hit the couch, dressed in pajamas, and snuggling up with a big box of cereal and some Diet Coke.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            When we go on vacation (doesn't happen often), I get tired of seeking out three meals a day. I would go for an early lunch or late breakfast and a fabulous dinner, but Mr Mr was raised on three squares a day. It pisses me off. When we're done with vacation I'm pretty relieved not to have to find a place to eat. It would be much better if we only had to do it twice a day.

                          2. I would eat out more if I have more time. :)

                            Not to say money or health is not a concern, but the smallest bottleneck at this very moment is time.

                            1. I would eat out more if I didn't care how much I weighed. A good restaurant meal is often far more calories than I need in a day.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Jeri L

                                alas, that is so true, and I hate to leave a half eaten plate behind. may my parents be forgiven for enlisting me into the 'clean plate club'

                                1. re: Jeri L

                                  I'm tacky and doggie bag the leftovers, hey that's lunch tomorrow!

                                  The funny thing is I use to order a 16 oz steak dinner at the local steakhouse for carryout specifically because it's 4 meals with the bread, potato, & salad.

                                  1. re: Crockett67

                                    NOT tacky. Getting another meal out of it is definitely part of the appeal!

                                2. We'd likely eat out more if we lived in a bigger city. 3/4 of the year, we live out in the boonies, with a few w/end city trips thrown in here and there -- NYC, Philly + the random conference location.

                                  There simply isn't a lot of variety in town, plus I enjoy cooking, am good at it, i.e. generally make better food than what 90% of the places around here turn out.

                                  That said, we have a weekly jour fixe at a local Sichuan place (never tire of it -- yeah, it's *that* good), and a couple other restos we go to fairly regularly. I'd say we eat out about twice a week (or get take-out).

                                  We spend our summers in Berlin, often in apartments where the kitchens are more than lacking.... and even if they weren't -- I mean, we're in BERLIN. Tons of places to return to, discover new favorites, stumble into. Plus one can still eat at very reasonable prices.

                                  But obviously, money is a factor. Thankfully, we're not tempted much for most of the year :-)

                                  1. I would dine out more if we lived closer to town and if I had more time available.

                                    1. Quite simply, the places "doing it right" in that they source local and sustainable and cook the best food with the best ingredients are also the most expensive, so I can rarely afford to go to them. I'd rather not eat crap so I don't eat out very much, as it's the "right" way or no way at all.

                                      1. I would eat out more if I was Guy Fieri.

                                        1. Sure, I'd eat out more if I had more extra money but I do enjoy being at home after working all day. I like putting on my PJs and eating at the counter while reading a book.

                                          1. I would eat out more often if (1) I had a bit more money to do so, and (2) someone with whom I could enjoy trying new restaurants.

                                            I prefer enjoying a meal with someone else when I'm eating out, but I'm totally comfortable cooking for just myself.

                                            1. I would eat out more if the smoke detector in my kitchen had a battery in it.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                Thanks - this will keep me smiling all day!

                                                Mine is unfortunately hardwired. For certain meals I have a tower of boxes piled on a chair with a pivoting fan atop aimed at the dang detector. Talk about meal prep!

                                              2. Money, or rather not enough of it! We live in a small town with a lot of really good restaurants, many within walking distance, and lots of variety. Within half a mile, I can think of:
                                                -brew-pub with really good beers and food
                                                -Indian (2)
                                                -Japanese/sushi (2)
                                                -diner (breakfast/lunch)
                                                -Thai (2)
                                                -French bistro
                                                -pizza (3 or 4)
                                                -Italian (2)
                                                -sports bar
                                                -Irish pub

                                                We haven't tried a lot of them, just because of $, but hope to in the future!

                                                1. a) there were good restaurants where I lived
                                                  b) I had more money
                                                  c) I didn't have to care about weight and health

                                                  1. My husband wasn't so frugal!!!!
                                                    Damn I'm tired of cooking after 47 years of scratch cooking. And I am a good cook. Can very often do better than the restaurants.

                                                    1. I would eat out more if I had more money and/or could find more reasonably priced restaurants that were worthwhile. I live in NYC, so it's easy to find food that will knock your socks off if you're willing to pay for it. However, I'm a very good cook, and I find that I am consistently disappointed in mid-priced restaurants because I can do most of what they do at home, at far less expense and with much more flair. We tend to eat out either at very high-end splurge places (infrequently) or cheap but amazing ethnic places, of which there are many in NYC.

                                                      1. I'd probably eat out more often if we lived in a larger city and actually had restaurants and cafes. I'm in a town of ~40K and once you've dined at one or two places, you've pretty much covered the "food tour" here. The plus side? Dining out when travelling is a real treat!

                                                        1. Hi KaimukiMan,

                                                          I would eat out more if I had an unlimited dining budget, and if my spouse shared my taste in food. I love all kinds of foods (laab to sashimi to vindaloo to tripe), but my H does not, so that's a bit of a pinch.

                                                          1. Like most, money. Also for me, health reasons. Since most restaurants are not healthy, they can only be a once in awhile thing for me.

                                                            1. Funny you should ask. Earlier today SIL and I discussed this very subject. I would eat out more if I weren’t so particular. In recent years I’ve become more health-conscious and aware of “hidden” items in prepared foods. When I cook, I know what’s in the food and can control quantities of salt, sugar, fat, etc. I can’t do that when I eat out. I also cook with high quality ingredients that have been handled properly. That’s beyond my control when eating out. However on those occasions when I do eat out, I consider it a treat and go with the flow.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Spice_zing

                                                                I also have become more particular in what I eat, and often just don't feel good after eating out... Not enough vegetables, too much salt, too much sugar, sometimes just too much. But I do love to go out once in a while, and that more chefs are embracing farm to table.

                                                              2. Money and leisure time are both issues. The other big issue I have is that my husband is vegetarian so while we do fine finding places to work for both of us for a lot of meals out, when it comes to special meals (which would be seafood for me, totally vegetarian for him), it's harder to find places that we oth think we would love that are worth the time/$$/drive.

                                                                1. If I knew for a fact that the food served at a restaurant would please me.I hate spending money for a dining experience that disappoints me.Annoying!

                                                                  1. I would eat out more if...

                                                                    - more restaurants were halal (the husband is Muslim) (although there are a fair number of halal restaurants in Singapore that are Muslim, but there are still quite a few cuisines where none are, like Mexican)
                                                                    - I could be sure of the ingredients (I have a long list of food allergies/sensitivities which include some spices, and you know those are never listed on the menu)

                                                                    1. I would eat out more if more restaurants could execute their food the same way every time I came in. I'm happy to pay for someone to cook for me as long as they pay as much attention to my meal as I would at home. I went out to dinner last night at a restaurant I thought I liked, and was served three cold dishes and a severely overcooked pasta. If I knew that would never happen I would eat out twice as often as I do now.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: la2tokyo

                                                                        Oi, that overcooked pasta thing drives me up a wall, especially if I am paying 20+ dollars for a plate of Spaghetti Bolognese at someplace that claims to serve fine Italian food. I can live with it past al dente, but when it goes smoosh in my mouth its going back to the kitchen. Its like a Japanese restaurant serving gloppy rice or a steakhouse with microwaved baked potatoes.

                                                                        edit: And yes, I know that Japanese "medium grain rice" is a little bit sticky, thats not what I meant.

                                                                      2. I would eat out more if there was any place close by that was worth going to. The majority of the food places in this area are the usual fast food joints. There are a couple Chinese restaurants, but they are expensive and rather westernized. None of the pizza places can make pizza that well and I prefer to make it myself.

                                                                        I also would eat out more if there was a real seafood place. I'm about a 20 - 25 minute drive from the nearest commercial wharf and fish market. Next to that wharf is a restaurant that serves poor quality frozen seafood. Such a waste.

                                                                        If I could afford to drive south to the nearest city for some good food, I would.

                                                                        1. Money is the main reason I don't eat out more. Secondary reasons are health and schedule not meshing with restaurant hours.

                                                                          But that is a good thing in some ways! Since I try to stay within budget I put more thought into each meal out. Which makes it easier for me to pass up a quick mediocre meal that is tempting just because I'm out and about and hungry.

                                                                          1. I would eat out more if . . .I didn't have a kitchen

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                              If I had recently been released from prison.

                                                                            2. If my town (about 30,000 people) had a better selection of restaurants. If we want something interesting or good, we need to travel a distance.

                                                                              We have about 4 Italian restaurants, undifferentiated. Menus, quality, ambiance, the works. It's almost like they're all owned by the same family. They open, close, re-open, with few changes to food quality or menu choices. I like Italian food, but not every time I eat out!

                                                                              Then there is one hideously expensive Chinese restaurant that has had an illuminated "open" sign and empty parking lot for years (Obviously more going on there than actual food).

                                                                              We have about 5 "sports bar/restaurants" that blast athletic events from multiple tv sets and serve deep fried everything. Very loud. You'd better like (loud) sports if you wish to eat there. We don't. They never seem very busy, but we can only guess by looking at their parking lots.

                                                                              Surprisingly, the only "chain" restaurants in town are McDonald's and an Applebee's. They're always packed.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: juliasqueezer

                                                                                Ha...we have one of those Chinese restaurants, as well. It has been there forever, it's always open, and there are never any customers. We just call it the drug front restaurant.