Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Best Money Saved Is At Home

I don't know about you, but I have been taking a tally recently on the amount of time I spend dining out, and thinking more, and more if I am really getting my monies worth. Is it me or has the quality in food gone down? Perhaps it has been this way, and I have been very forgiving. Forgiving why? Why am I compromising? I guess for a long time, I have been giving a blind eye because I am too busy caught up in the moment. Whether it is the drinking scene, the vibe, being surrounded by people, I find that I have been feeding into a fix at my expense, and it needs improving.
The other day I was at a popular spot, and ordered a cream of chicken that was served in a Crate and Barrel soup bowl. You know the one I am taking about, it is the one that is 3 times larger than the 1/2 cup of soup that is poured into it. It was actually comical, even the waitress gave me a smirk as she served me. We made eye contact as we both stared at the bowl with an outrageous basil leave in the center, there was a knowing without words. I am a big wine drinker, so yes, wine was a must. My $10 dollar glass of red was served in a huge goblet with the obvious cheap fill that I have now started to become observant to. Granted, the place is a chic eatery in the city, but come on.....In the end, who is the joke on?
The experience has not been the first, and I have been taking a genuine effort in being a critic than the customer. Meaning the times I have gone out to eat I have been on guard, watching the picture repeat itself over, and over. I have a thing about complaints at a restaurant. Unless I plan on not eating anything, I usually just settle for what is served or ask to have the platter removed off the bill....if I only touched it a couple of times. I have come to the conclusion that it is time to make time at home. It is sad when you have to make a run for a Big Mac after dinner.
By no means am I boycotting the dining out scene. I love it! There are many great places that serve with a smile, and deliver to perfection. Unfortunately, those places are either too far, and out of the way or just too expensive for a Tuesday night out. For me, I am just tired of wasting hard earned funds on a meal that I am only taking bites from. I might as well just walk into a restaurant and hand over a $20 dollar bill, and just leave. I know for me, the choice to eat out has always been impulsive. I do it, just because. Well, just because does not serve anymore. It is time to be sensible. The kitchen is the heart of the home. If your kitchen is missing a beat, then work to make it tick again. What is keeping you out of your space? Look at what draws you out of your house, and bring it in. Is it a certain style, design, or paint color. This you can fix. It can be as easy as a new dining room set.

I should be ashamed of myself because I have a wine rack of bottles that are just sitting there while I am wasting my money on less than a 1/2 a glass at a swanky wine bar, and I happen to be a good cook when I do. This experience cannot be mine alone, and I am sure that others agree, as well as can relate. So, if you are like me, make an effort to take the time out for a home cooked meal. You wind up enjoying it more, than signing a bill for mediocre. If wine is your thing, and I know I am not alone with this addiction...buy a bottle or open the ones you have in your rack. Do not wait for the company to arrive to open that expensive bottle of wine. Just go for it. Treat yourself to it. If you are like me, you are spending the same amount of money on a few $10 dollar glasses of wine anyway. What is the point in waiting? Pay yourself first!
The more you push yourself for a good dining experience at home, the less time, and money will be spent having a bad one somewhere else. Home improvement begins in the kitchen and starts with you. Give yourself a night out at home. Turn off the lights, and get those candles ready. Sometimes we are paying for an experience that we can replicate in our own homes. Plan a fun night, whether it is pasta night or open a cook book, and be creative. Just because, you cannot cook, it does not mean you do not know how to read. Trust me, you can do it. You may even surprise yourself with a hidden talent, 2nd servings, and with some monthly savings in the end.