Why do you go to restaurants?

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flyingaway
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Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by flyingaway »

Yesterday was my wife's birthday and we went to OUTBACK steak house with our younger son. We ordered steaks and lobsters and paid about $78. The steaks were over-cooked and were not as good as what my wife cooked at home.

My wife likes to go to restaurants, mostly with her girlfriends, since I do not like to go to restaurants. My reasons for not liking restaurants are:
(1) When I go to restaurants, I am usually hungry. I have to go through a long process and wait for a long time at restaurants to get my food. I prefer fast food restaurants if it is necessary to go to restaurants.
(2) In most cases, I find menus at most restaurants are not very special, why go to restaurants to eat something that we can cook at home?
(3) I usually have difficulty in deciding tips. I feel bad for not paying generous tips, but also feel uncomfortable if I pay too much tips.
(4) Many times, the foods at restaurants are not as good as what we cook at home. Also, frequently, the foods are more than what I can eat there, so I frequently eat too much.
(5) High-end restaurants are expensive.

So, what are your reasons to go to restaurants?
Gill
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by Gill »

For a change of scenery, different food than we cook at home, and a date with my wife or socializing with my golf friends. We usually prefer lunches over dinners in restaurants.

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canderson
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by canderson »

Pick better restaurants.

If you eat in the right restaurants the food will be better than you can make and the service is icing on the cake.
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cheese_breath
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by cheese_breath »

So someone else can do the cooking and after dinner cleanup.
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bds3
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by bds3 »

Most of the time a restaurant is a convenience thing (long day for wife and I and poor planning leaves few options for food to cook at home). Probably once a week, places like Panera, Noodles & Co, simple places like that. Not a great financial decision but it's reality for us.

When I go to fancier restaurants (dates with the wife usually, it's because 1) we go out at dinner time, and 2) I like to get good food that I don't often cook at home (rabbit, duck, sushi, things I can't pronounce, etc).
livesoft
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by livesoft »

I go to restaurants often. I went yesterday and had a great meal. I was invited to lunch and didn't pay a dime although I did offer to pay for everything.

I go to be with friends and have great conversations reminiscing about all the great times we've had together and the great times we will have in the future. It isn't just about the food.

More things:
I don't have to shop for the food.
I don't have to cook the food.
I don't have to clean up the cooking dishes, nor the serving dishes, nor any of the dishes I eat from.
I can often bring leftovers home.
I don't have to eat what anybody else is eating.

I have a lot of practice calculating tips, telling the waitstaff exactly how I want my food prepared, and selecting restaurants where I really like the healthy food.

I travel about 2 months out of every year, so I cannot easily cook while away from home.

I don't go usually to high end restaurants unless someone else is paying for it.

It's the philosophy of Epicurus.
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blueman457
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by blueman457 »

The problem might be that you're going to restaurants that aren't interesting. I like eating and trying different foods. Wife and I used to go out to eat twice a week (pre-child) for food of all price ranges. We'd usually go for food that we couldn't make at home (lots of various ethnic foods or something like sushi).

Get some suggestions from co-workers/friends/Yelp of different places to try. I use a rule of thumb of no chain restaurants.

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blueblock
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by blueblock »

You won't like this answer, because of #5, but if you really shell out—let's say $150 per person—you will find that:
- you can sample flavors and cuisine nothing like what your wife prepares at home
- you'll find an array of dishes that are new to you if you are at all venturesome
- talented chefs can prepare even a steak in ways that will impress
- you're not "waiting" if you start with cocktails, the restaurant sends you a complimentary amuse bouche and you're enjoying conversation with your dining companions

Coincidentally, these are also the reasons I go to expensive restaurants when I'm in the big city (Chicago).
Mako
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by Mako »

There are some things I can't make well at home, like sushi. Or don't know how to make, or don't want to take the time.

It's nice to have a break where nobody has to cook. Yes as you say you can get that with fast food but usually we don't want that. Something like Panera or chipotle is adequate though a lot of times.

I try to go to places where I couldn't just make the same thing. Outback can be ok I guess, but you can do better.

I go less now with kids. When they grow a bit I'm sure I'll go back to it. I like trying new and different foods and I figure if I'm trying something new someone who knows what they're doing should make it.
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by tim1999 »

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Wildebeest
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by Wildebeest »

livesoft wrote:I go to restaurants often. I went yesterday and had a great meal. I was invited to lunch and didn't pay a dime although I did offer to pay for everything.

I go to be with friends and have great conversations reminiscing about all the great times we've had together and the great times we will have in the future. It isn't just about the food.

More things:
I don't have to shop for the food.
I don't have to cook the food.
I don't have to clean up the cooking dishes, nor the serving dishes, nor any of the dishes I eat from.
I can often bring leftovers home.
I don't have to eat what anybody else is eating.

I have a lot of practice calculating tips, telling the waitstaff exactly how I want my food prepared, and selecting restaurants where I really like the healthy food.

I travel about 2 months out of every year, so I cannot easily cook while away from home.

I don't go usually to high end restaurants unless someone else is paying for it.

It's the philosophy of Epicurus.
We go out to dinner a lot. Everything Livesoft states.

Except we do not bring leftovers home except bones for the dog.

We do go to high end restaurants, and generally find them overrated. It is the company what matters.

I have not gone to a fast food place in 20 years. I rather not eat and go hungry for till I can get a good meal.
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DTSC
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by DTSC »

I go because I enjoy good food and it's fun!

I also go to eat foods which I don't know how to make (such as ethnic foods) or foods which are too much of a hassle to make at home (such as deep fried foods).
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by AlohaJoe »

You ordered a steak at Outback Steakhouse which strongly suggests you are not an especially savvy or experienced or adventurous restaurant-goer & orderer.

You may just not be a person who will ever enjoy going out to eat, which is fine. Not everyone has to like and enjoy the same things.

You might as well post, why do people watch the Superbowl? Or why do people go to the movies? Or why do people travel? Or why do people play video games?

Also, your #1 excuse is pretty lame. That's just an inability to plan on your part.
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by Sandtrap »

We go to a restaurant sometimes just to "get out", or a special thing like Valentines Day, But generally we like quiet and peaceful and healthy organic meals at home. :D
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Dottie57
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by Dottie57 »

Mostly low cost or medium cost restaurants. Mostly because I'm tired and don't want to cook for one.

Otherwise it is to go out with friends on the weekends.m or family celebration.

I generally over tip because I am glad I am not a waitress.
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by adamthesmythe »

> Pick better restaurants.

Yup. I tend to go to two ends of the spectrum- basic, maybe ethnic, and better places.

I go for convenience, for fun, and for some things that are difficult or inconvenient to cook. For example: barbecue. I don't want to babysit my brisket overnight.

You can make a pretty good steak at home if you shop well and know the technique. You can't beat a really good steak joint but this costs a heck of a lot more than an Outback.
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by Gnirk »

cheese_breath wrote:So someone else can do the cooking and after dinner cleanup.
:thumbsup :thumbsup :thumbsup
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by RoadHouseFan »

We go to Chick-fil-A and/or Cracker Barrel because it's good and to support their wonderful owners/workers. For desserts, we get Blizzards from Dairy Queen. Also, we get Dairy Queen ice cream cakes for birthdays.
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alec
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by alec »

OP,

If you're such a good cook, try convincing your spouse to have the girls over to your house. We do this and invite people with whom we like to hang out. My wife cooks and I clean up. Much cheaper and no drinking and driving.
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by Lillibelle »

There is eating out and then . . . there is dining out.

Dining out is one lovely experience, an art to be cultivated.

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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

To the OP:
You like to cook.
You don't like to spend money on food, especially if it's no better than what you cook.
You don't know what to tip.
You are uncomfortable taking the leftovers home.

To some extent, I'm the opposite:
I hate to cook.
I'd rather pay someone else to make the food and am not a foodie.
I look at the bill, double it, divide by 10. 20%. If it's super great or horrible, I'll diverge from that (I'm' also an engineer so when the ziosk table terminal says that 20% of $36 is $9.50, I slide the slide down to $7.20.
At Outback, my wife and I usually order the porterhouse and split it.
My wife and I don't drink alcohol and she usually gets water with lemon in it, so our drink price is probably $3.
We tend to have a coupon for everything.
We take home any leftovers.

I have frequent eater cards from every restaurant known to man and use them. You mentioned Outback...after 3 times there, you get 50% off your bill on the 4th visit.

To answer your question "Why do we go to restaurants?"? Because we don't like cooking or cleaning up and like playing hangman before the food gets to us. Oh, and we're hungry.
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by 123 »

I go to restaurants to accompany my wife and keep her happy.

She reads the new restaurant reviews in the newspaper and watches the new restaurant reviews on TV and keeps track of places she's like to try. We typically will eat out once or twice a week (can be breakfast, lunch, or dinner). About 1/3 of the time it's someplace we haven't been before. Typically our restaurant meals have to fit in with other chores/activities. So sometimes it could take a year to get around to trying a place after it gets on her radar.
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by Helloeeze »

The steaks were over-cooked and were not as good as what my wife cooked at home.
learn to cook steaks and set the table, do the grocery shopping and meal planning and then do the dishes.
Then your wife won't want to eat out
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Wildebeest
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by Wildebeest »

Helloeeze wrote:
The steaks were over-cooked and were not as good as what my wife cooked at home.
learn to cook steaks and set the table, do the grocery shopping and meal planning and then do the dishes.
Then your wife won't want to eat out
The only thing I would like to add is: bake the potatoe, make it loaded, serve the salad and do not forget to warm up the bread before you serve it and do it all with a smile. And what about the drinks and desert?
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2comma
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by 2comma »

I noticed you said your wife likes to go to restaurants, enough said? We are adventurous enough but we've found a few restaurants with consistently good food, good service and decent prices. I'd say make an adventure of it and try finding a few places you both like. It's hard for me to try out the latest restaurant because they are usually crowded (I hate to wait), overpriced and they don't provide the level of service I'm used to. Going out for lunch with co-workers allowed me to try out what other people ordered - that way you might find things you like without having to order the whole menu on you own. We find that locally owned restaurants where the owner is involved tend to be better than most chains. We tip based on the wait staff, not the kitchen. If the waiter/waitress is good we do 20%, if the food is not right we don't return. If I had a steak or lobster that wasn't cooked per order I'd send it back - they're used to that, I'll give them a chance to make it right. I'm pretty good with my Weber grill and steaks/burgers and I steam/boil a mean lobster so we don't often go out for that.
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by Loik098 »

AlohaJoe wrote: You may just not be a person who will ever enjoy going out to eat, which is fine. Not everyone has to like and enjoy the same things.

You might as well post, why do people watch the Superbowl? Or why do people go to the movies? Or why do people travel? Or why do people play video games?
+1. Not really seeing anything actionable here. OP's seems like a trolling post.
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by Tycoon »

I go to restaurants because my wife makes me.
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Robert44
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by Robert44 »

We find dining out very pleasurable, especially with another couple. Eating at home is great and my wife is a great cook, but we usually just eat in silence and then go about our business, since we are retired and see each other all day.

We never order things we can fix at home very easily. My wife cooks great pasta, so we never get pasta out. I do great barbq so we never get that out.

I do great steaks on the grill, but not in winter.

We just find it so relaxing to go to a nice restaurant, usually bring our own wine, cause we are picky, pay a corkage fee, get a nice appetizer, maybe split a salad and get a seafood dish or steak or duck or something we would never cook at home. And we love to take our grown children out to eat at a very nice place they wouldn't usually go to.

Just got our one credit card summary for 2016 and spent $6000 on restaurants just through then.

It is fun and we can afford it and enjoy on special occasions taking other people out.

We always tip 20% at minimum.
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flyingaway
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by flyingaway »

After reading all the replies so far, I can say that I am still not convinced that I should go to eat at restaurants more often. By the way, the restaurant that we usually go when we want to is Red Lobster restaurant.
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gator15
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by gator15 »

My wife and I like to go to restaurants to have food we can't cook as well at our house. We often try different restaurants in our city looking for a great meal. Like others have said, you likely went to the wrong place. It pains me to spend good money for a meal at chilis or applebees or any restaurant like that. For the most part they are all the same. I do strike out sometimes with trying new restaurants but it's worth the risk. It's worth it because sometimes you strike gold with an excellent restaurant. Most of the time you spend about the same or less than you would spend at a chilis.
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by *3!4!/5! »

Restaurants are generally stressful, boring, inconvenient, expensive. But the worst part by far is being forced to sit in judgement of someone's "service".
rgs92
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by rgs92 »

Outback steakhouse is pretty darn bad. Steak/fried onions/mashed or baked potatoes/cheesecake? Yuk. Is this 1950?
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by Erwin007 »

flyingaway wrote:After reading all the replies so far, I can say that I am still not convinced that I should go to eat at restaurants more often. By the way, the restaurant that we usually go when we want to is Red Lobster restaurant.
I think the problem is your restaurant selections don't match your expectations of "dining out." If I only ever ate out at Outback and Red Lobster I wouldn't go out either.

We have fairly young children (10, 7, and 5) but we still take them out to good ethnic places. Our eating out choices are usually restaurants where the menu is things we can't or don't want to make at home (Thai, Greek, Chinese, Mexican, etc.).

Unless I was going to some high end steakhouse (Morton's) or seafood place, I would never choose a chain restaurant for those types of foods like you have. It would be like saying that you hate driving if all you'd ever driven was a Geo Metro.
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snowshoes
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by snowshoes »

Consider what your paying for @ restaurants, ALL its overhead. The food and its quality & costs on that list is near the bottom. I like to know what I'm eating, not last fridays fish special, the following friday as fish chowder. Good luck!
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by quantAndHold »

I think we've identified the problem. Are there really, truly no restaurants that aren't part of a chain near you?

My favorite restaurant has a name I can't pronounce, a menu I can't read, and food I can't cook. It's a perfect storm of food goodness.
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by phantom0308 »

The problem is you're going to the wrong restaurants. Anyone with a sous vide machine can cook steak 10x better than outback for a fraction of the price.
Try new food. My favorite restaurants in my Midwestern city surrounded by corn are Indian, Vietnamese, Lebanese, and a seafood restaurant. Even food deserts like a small town I lived in MS for a few months had a Thai place and a couple other interesting places to eat.
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by daveydoo »

phantom0308 wrote:The problem is you're going to the wrong restaurants. Anyone with a sous vide machine can cook steak 10x better than outback for a fraction of the price.
Try new food. My favorite restaurants in my Midwestern city surrounded by corn are Indian, Vietnamese, Lebanese, and a seafood restaurant. Even food deserts like a small town I lived in MS for a few months had a Thai place and a couple other interesting places to eat.
This. I can get a great meal from a food truck in my town for $8 -- or a mediocre meal in a tourist-y hotel restaurant for $60. Ethnic food can be great anywhere (although I hate that term) -- Middle Eastern, Indian, Thai. We seldom go out as a couple or family, but tend to go to places with better food when we do (which is not the same as "more expensive food"). It's easy to see in your town what's well thought of -- Zagat, etc. Even Yelp can give a little insight although it's not really trustworthy, imo. For $78 for two, you should be able to find a meal that would make anyone smile. Maybe my HCOL area isn't so HCOL after all.
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by sperry8 »

canderson wrote:Pick better restaurants.
Uh, yea! Hello... outback!? What aspiring chef says... my dream is to cook at outback. :oops:
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by sambb »

if tips cause uncertainty then there may be a bigger issue
restaurants are great roi on time and effort
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market timer
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by market timer »

We dine out every meal mainly because of convenience, but also to enjoy diverse cuisines. I've typically lived in cities with many good restaurants accessible by foot on my commute home. If I had to make a special trip and drive to get to a restaurant, or if I were a stay-at-home dad, I'd probably cook more often.
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by Longdog »

flyingaway wrote:Yesterday was my wife's birthday and we went to OUTBACK steak house with our younger son. We ordered steaks and lobsters and paid about $78. The steaks were over-cooked and were not as good as what my wife cooked at home.

My wife likes to go to restaurants, mostly with her girlfriends, since I do not like to go to restaurants. My reasons for not liking restaurants are:

So, what are your reasons to go to restaurants?
You mention your wife cooking steaks at home. But every other mention in your posting of cooking at home is "we." Do you do cooking at home, too, or does your wife do all the cooking?
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avenger
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by avenger »

blueblock wrote:You won't like this answer, because of #5, but if you really shell out—let's say $150 per person—you will find that:
- you can sample flavors and cuisine nothing like what your wife prepares at home
- you'll find an array of dishes that are new to you if you are at all venturesome
- talented chefs can prepare even a steak in ways that will impress
- you're not "waiting" if you start with cocktails, the restaurant sends you a complimentary amuse bouche and you're enjoying conversation with your dining companions

Coincidentally, these are also the reasons I go to expensive restaurants when I'm in the big city (Chicago).
This exactly. We live in Chicago too, and love trying all of the culinary delights in our city. Recently, we've been enjoying some of the BYOB fine dining experiences up near our neighborhood. Yes, you're paying $150 pp, but can bring your own wine. We recently had a very nice anniversary dinner with a nice bottle of Frog's Leap Cabernet that we had on our hands.

You get to eat so many things that I would never have access to or know how to prepare.

Dining out is one of our largest expenses, and I couldn't imagine it any other way.
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HueyLD
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by HueyLD »

I go to restaurants to sample many dishes that I have no idea how to prepare myself.

Skip the chain restaurants as most of them are mediocre at best. Try local restaurants that have been around for a while and have good reviews from various sources.

However, if you are not adventurous and prefer only your own comfort food, eating out may not be your cup of tea. Do keep in mind that everybody is different including your wife. It appears that the OP's wife does all the cooking and she wants to eat out to get some relief from all the chores associated with meal preparation. She probably should go out to eat with her friends and the OP can go to McD for a Big Mac combo. :)
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by Barefootgirl »

I believe there is a correlation between a preference for eating at restaurants and responsibility for doing the food shopping, food prep, serving, dish and pot cleaning, general kitchen clean up afterwards.

So, it all depends on how much of the at home food responsibility one has - if you don't have much, you probably don't see it. lol.
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by cherijoh »

AlohaJoe wrote: Also, your #1 excuse is pretty lame. That's just an inability to plan on your part.
+1

It sounds like OP is looking for excuse(s) not to go to restaurants.

OP - the fact that it was your wife's birthday and she DOES like to eat out should trump all your excuses! Unless you are prepared to cook HER a special meal at home.

I'm a more adventurous eater than the OP, so I like to try new cuisines by eating at ethnic restaurants - sometimes via carryout or when I'm meeting friends. I have several friends with different dietary restriction (full vegetarian, pescetarian, no pork, etc.) so the ability to choose individual options is critical. In addition, ethnic restaurants are often a very good value IMO.
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Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by petulant »

flyingaway wrote:After reading all the replies so far, I can say that I am still not convinced that I should go to eat at restaurants more often. By the way, the restaurant that we usually go when we want to is Red Lobster restaurant.
I don't think your first post asked for reasons to eat at restaurants more, and I don't think anybody's trying to convince you to eat at restaurants more. People have told you why they eat at restaurants, and they've questioned the reasons for your attitude toward restaurants.
cherijoh
Posts: 6591
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 4:49 pm
Location: Charlotte NC

Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by cherijoh »

alec wrote:OP,

If you're such a good cook, try convincing your spouse to have the girls over to your house. We do this and invite people with whom we like to hang out. My wife cooks and I clean up. Much cheaper and no drinking and driving.
I don't think the OP is the one who is the good cook:
The steaks were over-cooked and were not as good as what my wife cooked at home.
stoptothink
Posts: 8704
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:53 am

Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Post by stoptothink »

flyingaway wrote:Yesterday was my wife's birthday and we went to OUTBACK steak house with our younger son. We ordered steaks and lobsters and paid about $78. The steaks were over-cooked and were not as good as what my wife cooked at home.

My wife likes to go to restaurants, mostly with her girlfriends, since I do not like to go to restaurants. My reasons for not liking restaurants are:
(1) When I go to restaurants, I am usually hungry. I have to go through a long process and wait for a long time at restaurants to get my food. I prefer fast food restaurants if it is necessary to go to restaurants.
(2) In most cases, I find menus at most restaurants are not very special, why go to restaurants to eat something that we can cook at home?
(3) I usually have difficulty in deciding tips. I feel bad for not paying generous tips, but also feel uncomfortable if I pay too much tips.
(4) Many times, the foods at restaurants are not as good as what we cook at home. Also, frequently, the foods are more than what I can eat there, so I frequently eat too much.
(5) High-end restaurants are expensive.

So, what are your reasons to go to restaurants?
I don't get it either. It flat out takes longer (two professional careers, two young children - this is really important), I am usually very disappointed with the food, since health/obesity is my career I often have a difficult time finding food that I'll eat and I have made it a lifestyle decision to not have social events revolve around food, and a halfway decent meal costs more than an entire week of groceries for our family of 4. My wife and I visit our favorite restaurant each year for our anniversary, it is food (Brazilian churrascaria) which I couldn't dream of replicating on my own, so we enjoy it, otherwise she might eat out a handful of times with her friends a year. She doesn't really enjoy it either, though she is slightly less picky than I. Personally, I could go the rest of my life without eating out, and have gone several years. I don't judge others if they enjoy eating out, but I know it isn't my thing and we won't partake.

My friends and family have been very generous/understanding and know that if a social event involves eating out, we likely won't come or that we will come and not eat; and they get to choose whether us not partaking makes them feel awkward. What we do do is organize potlucks or other dinners all the time. Every other Sunday my extended family in the area (about 25 of us) gets together for a potluck-style dinner at one of our homes, we have a revolving schedule as to who hosts them. We also host friends or family at our home for dinner almost every Monday evening; it is how we have gotten to know most of our neighbors.
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