I went back and forth about whether to continue posting daily this last week of NaBloPoMo. But truly it gives me something to think about rather than watching the dog anxiously so I sat down to write this post. And writing is always therapeutic.
Archana asked, "How often do you eat out and what do you guys like to eat?
What's the fanciest meal you've had and would you be willing to shell out big dough for good food?"
V and I have very different personalities and interests. He loved sports, history and science fiction. You know what I love- reading, crafts and cooking. Our evenings are often spent doing things in parallel, enjoying each others company while doing different things: me knitting while he's watching a game and so on. But we share a love of good food and we both absolutely love eating out- it is our favorite shared interest. The thing about eating out is that it is only a special experience if you don't eat out every day.
We end up eating out once a week or so. In pre-Lila times, that was often a Friday night. We would cap off the work week and get the weekend off to a good start by going to a favorite restaurant or trying a new one. Or we'd meet friends for dinner someplace on Saturday night. Now with a little one in tow, we tend to eat out at brunch or lunch on the weekend.
While I wouldn't like to eat out all the time, we always have a couple of go-to places where we can eat out during the week. It is our back up plan for when we're too tired to cook or have to work late. Even if it takes only minutes to make khichdi or even cook a packet of Maggi, it is always nice to have the option of picking up a hot meal. Everyone has days when they feel like they just want to be taken care of. In NYC, our back ups were a taco place and a pizza place. In St. Louis, there was a Lebanese deli on the corner where we could get hot-from-the-fryer falafel and tubs of hummus and tabbouleh. Here, we have a lush food store nearby with a well-stocked hot and cold food bar.
As for where we tend to eat: We are both vegetarians and always choose places that have good vegetarian options. Some of our favorite cuisines are Ethiopian, Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, Italian, Mexican and all the Middle Eastern cuisines. I'd say that other than steakhouses and French restaurants (both of which typically have slim picking for vegetarians), we try just about everything. We're always looking for good pizza wherever we go! We do go to Indian restaurants but it is difficult to find Indian restaurants that have something to offer than I don't already make decently well in my own kitchen. My great joy in eating out is to enjoy something that I can't easily make at home. I'm thinking of experiences like the dozens of appetizers of Chinese dim sum or the tangy injera and irresistible curries of Ethiopian cuisine. I always keep a running list of new places that I want to try.
Eating out is very important for me. I'm usually the cook in our family and it gives me a break from the daily cooking. We tend to go to small, locally owned restaurants and I like supporting these businesses. Trying new flavors in restaurants is always an inspiration and I often go home trying to think of ways to recreate a favorite dish. Trying different cuisines is an affordable way to travel the world without getting on a plane. Trying new restaurants is a small way to add adventure to everyday life- you never know what gem you're going to discover. It also takes us to different neighborhoods in the city.
We don't tend to go to fancy restaurants at all. Most fancy restaurants have a meat-heavy menu and I have no desire to spend hard-earned money on some afterthought of a dish like the one pasta that's put on the menu for those pesky vegetarians. I definitely vote with my dollars, and anyone who can come up with inventive meatless dishes (served without a side of condescension) will get my business. There are very fancy vegetarian restaurants in the bigger cities but somehow I've never managed to go to those either. I think basically I love comfort and hate luxury. When something smacks of luxury and excess and opulence, I don't enjoy it. I've only seen those exquisitely plated meals on TV and read about them in the memoirs of chefs. And you know what? When I read about the tension and drama and wastefulness in fancy restaurant kitchens, I'm quite happy not to eat in those restaurants. Food should be cooked in an atmosphere of love and gratitude, right? Or am I just a hopeless philistine?
Tell me, what do you enjoy about eating out? Have you eaten in a fancy restaurant and was it worth it for you?