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View Full Version : Food you refuse to order in restaurants because it's too easy


sweeteviljesus
01-17-2014, 06:11 PM
There are a few dishes that I don't like ordering in restaurants because they are so easy and cheap to make myself that I feel like they are overpriced.

Two that spring to mind are migas and steak. I can make migas in five minutes for less than a dollar and see no need to pay anyone for it. With steak, I feel that I usually do a better job than most steak houses and it is such an easy dish to make. I will order it from time to time, especially if someone else is buying, but I prefer to order things like prime rib in steak houses because that is a dish I rarely make.

Do you have any dishes that you refuse to pay for (that you like)?

Thanks,
Rob

dropzone
01-17-2014, 06:36 PM
Steak and baked potatoes, so a typical steakhouse dinner is pointless. A guy at work asked if I had been to Ruth's Chris steakhouse and I asked him why I would bother paying more for something I can make as well at home for less money.

Trinopus
01-17-2014, 06:43 PM
Scrambled eggs, I guess... It's just about the only food (other than microwaved) I'm capable of making.

(Ooh, but I do love an "industrial" breakfast bar, the kind where scrambled eggs come in a big two quart warming pan! Yum! I can go through that stuff by the pound!)

zoid
01-17-2014, 06:44 PM
Steak, any kind of pasta, and breakfast.
Not only can I do it cheaper but I can do it vastly better.

bienville
01-17-2014, 06:52 PM
Before any says Grilled Cheese Sandwich . . .
I will say that, in my experience, if a restaurant puts a grilled cheese sandwich on their menu it is usually a really good grilled cheese sandwich!!!!!!


(EXCEPT for that new trendy chain place "The Melt". That place sucks. Yuck!)

j666
01-17-2014, 06:56 PM
Pasta and sauce. Any pasta and sauce. Except ravioli and tortellini.

chrisk
01-17-2014, 07:21 PM
Oddly, I don't cook much steak for myself and love steak in restaurants.

But pasta is definitely one for me. I make lots of pasta sauces, generally, and eat a lot of pasta at home, and at work. So I almost never order pasta at a restaurant.

Ferret Herder
01-17-2014, 07:32 PM
I'd say pasta except that being a vegetarian, I tend to get stuck with eating a lot of pasta.

So, I do tend to skip the less-complex kinds. If it's stuffed, like tortellini or ravioli, that's a bonus. More complicated sauces or preparations are good.

I usually skip fettuccine alfredo (easy to make, fattening as all fuck, doesn't reheat properly) or pasta primavera because those are just too 'overdone' as default vegetarian meals. Same with a portobello mushroom sandwich/burger - not only are those the "we don't know what to feed you" default, but too many people suck at cooking them even though it should be easy, and most of the time you end up with something that's so dripping with water still that it spatters off the plate (and onto your clothes), and the rest of the time it's overcooked and unpleasant.

I have had exceptions to these, but most of the time this guide serves me well.

buddha_david
01-17-2014, 07:35 PM
I love to order Kung Pow Chicken for home delivery. But at a sit-down Chinese restaurant, I'll eat anything BUT the Kung Pow. What's the point of going out for Kung Pow if I can always order it at home?

Same goes for plain spaghetti & meatballs at Italian restaurants -- too easy to fix at home, not worth the effort of leaving the house.

Arrendajo
01-17-2014, 07:46 PM
I can make almost anything better and cheaper than restaurants. The only thing I go out to eat nowadays is ethinic foods I can't make well at home. Sushi, for example.

Procrustus
01-17-2014, 07:50 PM
None thay I can think of. Hell, sometimes I'll even order a ham and cheese sandwich at a restaurant, and I can do that pretty darn good myself at home, if I do say so myself.

standingwave
01-17-2014, 07:53 PM
Assuming that the easiness corresponds to the amount of labor I tend to assume that is already factored into price. Not trying to be snarky, just that I don't think about it. Fillet Mignon or a corn dog... whatever I want at the time. a

Dag Otto
01-17-2014, 08:17 PM
Steak and baked potatoes, so a typical steakhouse dinner is pointless. A guy at work asked if I had been to Ruth's Chris steakhouse and I asked him why I would bother paying more for something I can make as well at home for less money.

I don't even understand the appeal of the baked potato at home or in a restaurant. You dig it up, knock the dirt off, and toss it in an oven. It's peasant food for the lazy and unimaginative peasant.

Wesley Clark
01-17-2014, 08:22 PM
I don't get everyone saying steak. I guess you guys are right though, I've bought discounted (meaning about to expire but still good) angus meat and for $4 had a good steak vs $15 in a restaurant.

For me pasta isn't something I'll buy at a restaurant for this reason.

toadspittle
01-17-2014, 08:23 PM
Pasta. I can't believe there are pasta restaurants. I want to go in and grab people and say, "You know that costs 8 cents and takes no skill to prepare!!!"

silenus
01-17-2014, 09:30 PM
Not a thing. I will pay someone else to prepare just about anything, even if the wife or I could do it at home because we don't fucking feel like it tonight. Or the restaurant has access to better ingredients or equipment. I'll pay $16 for a Grimaldi's pizza because we just don't have the space for a coal-fired pizza oven where we live now, thank you very much. I will pay good money at a steak house because I can't get my stove up to 500 degrees or find Nebraska Wagyu at the local supermarket.

What a pretentious question.

j666
01-17-2014, 09:37 PM
Pasta. I can't believe there are pasta restaurants. I want to go in and grab people and say, "You know that costs 8 cents and takes no skill to prepare!!!"To be fair, there are restaurants that make amazing sauces, and not everyone's mother taught them to make such sauces.

D.E.S.K.Top668
01-17-2014, 09:44 PM
Pasta. I can't believe there are pasta restaurants. I want to go in and grab people and say, "You know that costs 8 cents and takes no skill to prepare!!!"In a way, I disagree. Pasta is an easy dish to make. It is very hard to mess it up. It is easy to make decent pasta. It's hard to make GREAT pasta.
It's the same with pasta sauce. Making an inedible sauce almost takes intent. Making an average sauce is standard. Making an OMG! sauce also takes intent...and skill.
I actually prefer to order a simple dish when I go to a restaurant for the first time. If it sucks, I won't go back. If it's acceptable, I'll give them a second chance with a different dish. If it's great, I'll think to myself, "they made X great, I'll trust them with other things."

Peace - DESK

IvoryTowerDenizen
01-17-2014, 09:52 PM
None, really. I generally don't eat out to simply get what I can't get at home. I order what's tasty and to enjoy the company of the people I'm out with. If I can make it or not easily doesn't matter. If its good, it's good.

Ferret Herder
01-17-2014, 09:54 PM
I've been to a particular restaurant twice, and after the second visit, I won't go there again. The first time, the service was slow as fuck, but you could tell they were understaffed (and apparently had a cook no-show on them) and they were trying hard. I can deal with that.

Second visit? I ordered a pretty simple pasta with tomato-based sauce. I had my husband try it because it had no flavor. And this sauce had obvious fresh tomatoes in it, but the only thing I could taste was the little bits of fresh parsley chopped on top of it when I'd bite into them. It wasn't overly covered in parsley, either, I mean that was the only thing that had flavor, and I'm someone who believes there's something deeply wrong if I think restaurant food needs salt. Seriously, it was aggressively bland. Fuck that. Someone wasn't tasting a damned thing in that kitchen.

Smapti
01-17-2014, 09:59 PM
I've seen menus online for restaurants in New York that'll sell you a bowl of cold cereal or half a grapefruit, for somewhere around $5. I can't imagine bothering to leave the house and waddle into a diner just to get some Froot Loops. Must be a New York thing.

IvoryTowerDenizen
01-17-2014, 10:01 PM
I've seen menus online for restaurants in New York that'll sell you a bowl of cold cereal or half a grapefruit, for somewhere around $5. I can't imagine bothering to leave the house and waddle into a diner just to get some Froot Loops. Must be a New York thing.

Every diner I've ever been in offers cold cereal and milk or half a grapefruit. Sometimes you go out with friends or famiky and thats what you want. No waddling required.

Donegal Dragon
01-17-2014, 11:02 PM
I am a great cook! But there are definitely dishes that I won't attempt or that I can't get the ingredients for. That is what restaurants are for. It is worth it to taste what great chefs have created. It is their skill and imagination that is the attraction not the simple cost of a dish.

MLS
01-17-2014, 11:15 PM
In a way, I disagree. Pasta is an easy dish to make. It is very hard to mess it up. It is easy to make decent pasta. It's hard to make GREAT pasta.
It's the same with pasta sauce. Making an inedible sauce almost takes intent. Making an average sauce is standard. Making an OMG! sauce also takes intent...and skill.
I actually prefer to order a simple dish when I go to a restaurant for the first time. If it sucks, I won't go back. If it's acceptable, I'll give them a second chance with a different dish. If it's great, I'll think to myself, "they made X great, I'll trust them with other things."

Peace - DESK

I have to disagree on pasta sauce. I've tried really, really hard, many times, to make pasta sauce. It has never approached the quality of a half-decent sauce out of a jar.

Superdude
01-17-2014, 11:35 PM
I've seen menus online for restaurants in New York that'll sell you a bowl of cold cereal or half a grapefruit, for somewhere around $5. I can't imagine bothering to leave the house and waddle into a diner just to get some Froot Loops. Must be a New York thing.

We have an NYC Dopefest several years ago, and we all went to a fairly nice restaurant one night (I think it was called the Americana...I had the lamb chops).

On the menu, they had a PB&J for $7. I can make a pretty nice PB&J at home. Nevertheless, this Indiana boy had never been to NYC before, and I had to know what a $7 PB&J tasted like. So I ordered it to eat later.

White bread. Creamy peanut butter. Grape jelly.

Severely disappointed. So now I REFUSE to order PB&J in a restaurant. No fool I.

Except for that one time.

Smapti
01-18-2014, 12:29 AM
Every diner I've ever been in offers cold cereal and milk or half a grapefruit. Sometimes you go out with friends or famiky and thats what you want. No waddling required.

I must not be going to the right diners, then, because I've never encountered that menu option in person.

pulykamell
01-18-2014, 12:45 AM
I have to disagree on pasta sauce. I've tried really, really hard, many times, to make pasta sauce. It has never approached the quality of a half-decent sauce out of a jar.

Meanwhile, I've rarely found a jarred sauce that I like. So much so that I've given up.

I also won't order pasta at a restaurant not so much because it's easy to make (and I'm surprised at how many places manage to screw it up anyway with overcooking), but they generally come way over-sauced and a bit over-spiced for my tastes (like, really, lay off the oregano and especially the sugar a bit). Very occasionally I will find an Italian restaurant that does it just how I like it, with a gentle hand, but, more often than not, it's just not a meal I enjoy unless I make it myself.

Mister Rik
01-18-2014, 01:11 AM
Caveat before I reply to individual posts: I am a professional cook, with 30 years of experience.

To answer the OP directly, with this question:

"Do you have any dishes that you refuse to pay for (that you like)?"

Fucking oatmeal. In my town, every time there is a proposed property tax increase, I would see letters in the newspaper from senior citizens protesting the tax increase because "I'm on a fixed income, blah blah blah..." And meanwhile, in my job as a cook, I'd see senior citizens coming into my restaurant day after day after day, ordering oatmeal and toast. I looked at what we charged for a bowl of oatmeal and a side of toast, and did some math, and determined that these seniors were paying well over $1200 a year for somebody to cook their damned oatmeal (assuming they were doing this 5 days a week, as many of them were).

I swore that, no matter how decrepit I become in my old age, I would never pay for somebody else to cook my damned oatmeal.

I don't get everyone saying steak. I guess you guys are right though, I've bought discounted (meaning about to expire but still good) angus meat and for $4 had a good steak vs $15 in a restaurant.

I like my steaks flame-broiled. But I live in an apartment. I don't own a flame broiler. I've lived in houses that don't have a flame broiler. In fact, I don't think I've ever been in a house with a flame-broiler in the kitchen. Damned right I'll pay for somebody else to cook me a flame-broiled steak.

Not a thing. I will pay someone else to prepare just about anything, even if the wife or I could do it at home because we don't fucking feel like it tonight. Or the restaurant has access to better ingredients or equipment. I'll pay $16 for a Grimaldi's pizza because we just don't have the space for a coal-fired pizza oven where we live now, thank you very much. I will pay good money at a steak house because I can't get my stove up to 500 degrees or find Nebraska Wagyu at the local supermarket.

What a pretentious question.

Exactly. When you go to a restaurant, you're not paying for the food. You're paying for the convenience of not having to cook it yourself (and the convenience of not having to clean up afterward).

We have an NYC Dopefest several years ago, and we all went to a fairly nice restaurant one night (I think it was called the Americana...I had the lamb chops).

On the menu, they had a PB&J for $7. I can make a pretty nice PB&J at home. Nevertheless, this Indiana boy had never been to NYC before, and I had to know what a $7 PB&J tasted like. So I ordered it to eat later.

White bread. Creamy peanut butter. Grape jelly.

Severely disappointed. So now I REFUSE to order PB&J in a restaurant. No fool I.

Except for that one time.

Thank you :D PBJ is a pain in the ass in a restaurant, because, damnit, I don't keep PBJ on the line. You order a PBJ, and I have to go find the PB, and find the J, and that keeps me from cooking everything else...

Anyway, I will add that, despite what you see on TV cooking shows, professional cooks are the easiest people in the world to cook for. We'll order it, and you put it in front of us, and, unless it's completely inedible, we'll eat it. Because we didn't have to cook it, and we have empathy with the person in the back who cooked it. I've sent back exactly ONE plate in 30 years.

bump
01-18-2014, 11:17 AM
The only things I can think of that I tend not to order at restaurants are simple sandwiches.

It makes no sense to me to go to lunch and pay someone to make me a turkey(ham/roast beef) sandwich on wheat with mustard, mayonnaise, lettuce and pickles.

That's something I could have just as easily made at home and brought with me for a lot less money.

I tend to get more involved sandwiches or ones with ingredients that I usually don't buy- capicola, etc...

Kasper1014
01-18-2014, 11:27 AM
I remember when my kids could order off the children's meal, the restaurant was proud to offer Kraft macaroni for kids. I never let them order the macaroni and cheese as I was not about to pay over $5 for a small bowl of Kraft Macaroni and cheese.

Eva Luna
01-18-2014, 11:31 AM
Every diner I've ever been in offers cold cereal and milk or half a grapefruit. Sometimes you go out with friends or famiky and thats what you want. No waddling required.

Or sometimes you're traveling, and even that is an improvement over room service or the hotel restaurant. (Not that I'd order it, just saying I can understand why people would.) Or the picky kid at your table wants it.

IvoryTowerDenizen
01-18-2014, 11:31 AM
I think there are very few things I can't make at home cheaper than at a restaurant, with the exception of those that require rare ingredients or expensive tools.

Making cheaper at home never factors into my decision at a restaurant.

Or sometimes you're traveling, and even that is an improvement over room service or the hotel restaurant. (Not that I'd order it, just saying I can understand why people would.) Or the picky kid at your table wants it.

That's very true! Sometimes I actually want to go out for breakfast, but don't want a huge, heavy meal and order something I'd enjoy (like oatmeal), because it simply tastes good.

pulykamell
01-18-2014, 11:53 AM
The only things I can think of that I tend not to order at restaurants are simple sandwiches.

It makes no sense to me to go to lunch and pay someone to make me a turkey(ham/roast beef) sandwich on wheat with mustard, mayonnaise, lettuce and pickles.

That's something I could have just as easily made at home and brought with me for a lot less money.

Yeah, sure, but, if you're like me and eat sandwiches maybe once a week or every two weeks, it's easier just to go get a prepared sandwich since you don't have the deli meats, cheeses, and veggies always lying around. Bonus points if the deli makes their own roast beef and roast turkey.

The main thing is I won't eat out what I can make at home better to my tastes in a reasonable amount of time (and is a good reason why I don't eat out all that often. I simply enjoy cooking and eating my food more.) When I go out, it's usually because I want a specific place's rendition of a specific food. For example, I can make very good pizza, but I can't make a pizza that tastes just like Chicago style thin crust, so I go to my favorite pizzerias for that. I don't have the dough sheeter, I don't have the deck oven, I can make something in the ballpark, but it ain't gonna fool me for the real thing. Or a greasy spoon hamburger. I love the hamburgers I make, but there's something about a burger griddled on a god-knows-how-old flattop with greasy onions that is just different enough that I like to go out for a burger from time to time. Plus I don't have to stink up the kitchen. Or sometimes I want some food that, while not difficult to make, takes hours or days to get (like sauerbraten), and I just have to have it right now!. Then I might go out for it, even if I make a version of it that's preferable to me.

DMark
01-18-2014, 12:02 PM
When I lived in NYC, one of my favorite things was to go to the nearest greasy spoon, no-name restaurant (there were tons of them) and get those great, cheap breakfasts: eggs fixed how you liked them, great hash browns, sausage or bacon, toast and jelly, coffee - all for about $4.00. Sure I could have made it at home, but geez - take your newspaper, order and eat and go. I loved that, and for a non-morning person, I would actually get up a half hour early to go eat at those hole-in-the-walls.

I am sure they are more expensive now, but still - just the mess in the kitchen in the wee hours of the morning is enough reason to say "screw it - I'll go eat at some diner."

I am pretty good at pasta and pasta sauces and lasagna, etc. so I rarely go to Italian restaurants. Not that they might not be good or have some interesting variations, but when I see standard spaghetti with a basic tomato sauce being sold for $14.95, I just can't wrap my head around paying that.

On the other hand, point me to any Indian restaurant, or Chinese or Greek, and I pretty much don't care what it costs. I don't have any of those ingredients, don't know the tricks, probably don't have the utensils and certainly not the patience to try to make those at home from scratch - but I love the food!

Roundabout
01-18-2014, 12:08 PM
I remember going to one Ham and Eggery that sold cereal. Bizarre.

Like, who the hell would travel all the way to a diner to eat Lucky Charms?

DCnDC
01-18-2014, 12:15 PM
Salad. Salad is what you get "free" when you order almost anything else.

(Yes, I know, a lot of stuff doesn't come with a salad, and yeah, sometimes you just want to get a salad because you want to keep it light or you're not that hungry or whatever other reason, but I'd never specifically go out to get a salad.)

John Mace
01-18-2014, 01:08 PM
Not a thing. I will pay someone else to prepare just about anything, even if the wife or I could do it at home because we don't fucking feel like it tonight. Or the restaurant has access to better ingredients or equipment. I'll pay $16 for a Grimaldi's pizza because we just don't have the space for a coal-fired pizza oven where we live now, thank you very much. I will pay good money at a steak house because I can't get my stove up to 500 degrees or find Nebraska Wagyu at the local supermarket.

What a pretentious question.

Yeah, that was my thought as well. If I'm out to eat, I'm out to eat. And if they make a great pasta dish I'll order it if I want. So what if I can make one just as good at home? I'm not at home!

And those of you saying "steak" don't realize that it's almost impossible for you to buy the grade of beef that a top notch steak house gets. It's not just the preparation, it's the very steak itself. The top to of the top grade meats are sold exclusively* to restaurants.

*If you have a really good butcher, there's a chance he can order it for you as a specialty item.

zoid
01-18-2014, 01:14 PM
Salad. Salad is what you get "free" when you order almost anything else.

(Yes, I know, a lot of stuff doesn't come with a salad, and yeah, sometimes you just want to get a salad because you want to keep it light or you're not that hungry or whatever other reason, but I'd never specifically go out to get a salad.)

Depends. There are salads I gladly pay for. The chopped salad at Portillo's, the shrimp salad at Baja Fresh, Nam Tok from a good Thai place, the chicken salad from Roti...

John Mace
01-18-2014, 01:14 PM
Missed the edit window...

I should add that I eat out a lot. A real lot. I suppose if I only ate out a few times a year, I might be more selective.

zoid
01-18-2014, 01:17 PM
Yeah, that was my thought as well. If I'm out to eat, I'm out to eat. And if they make a great pasta dish I'll order it if I want. So what if I can make one just as good at home? I'm not at home!

And those of you saying "steak" don't realize that it's almost impossible for you to buy the grade of beef that a top notch steak house gets. It's not just the preparation, it's the very steak itself. The top to of the top grade meats are sold exclusively* to restaurants.

*If you have a really good butcher, there's a chance he can order it for you as a specialty item.

Or just order directly from a restaurant distributor like Allen Brothers (http://www.allenbrothers.com/wet-aged-beef.html/).

silenus
01-18-2014, 01:22 PM
I remember going to one Ham and Eggery that sold cereal. Bizarre.

Like, who the hell would travel all the way to a diner to eat Lucky Charms?

Guy went into a whorehouse and told the Madam he'd pay $1000 for the worst lay in the house. "Why?" the Madam asked. "For that kind of money you can have the best we have!" "Look, lady" the salesman replied, "I'm not horny, I'm homesick!"

pulykamell
01-18-2014, 01:30 PM
And those of you saying "steak" don't realize that it's almost impossible for you to buy the grade of beef that a top notch steak house gets. It's not just the preparation, it's the very steak itself. The top to of the top grade meats are sold exclusively* to restaurants.

*If you have a really good butcher, there's a chance he can order it for you as a specialty item.

You can find it if you know where to look. Costco often has prime meats. Whole Foods almost always has prime meats, as well as dry-aged meats. A local chain called Treasure Island is similar in the availability. It's hardly difficult to find, but you do need to know where to go. I generally make my own steak because I only have a hankering for it once or twice a year, and when I do, I buy myself prime steaks (typically around $25-$30/lb, but I have gone as high as $40/lb for the most amazing dry-aged ribeye I've ever eaten. I'm fine with choice grade for filet mignon, but I'm not really much of a filet fan, unless I'm in the mood for steak au poivre.) That's already expensive, but I'd be paying about 1.5x - 2x that at a restaurant that serves those types of steaks. Plus add in the cost of wine and drinks, and for something like that, I'd rather stay home, pop open a nice bottle and grill myself a steak. Plus I enjoy cooking the steak myself.

Chefguy
01-18-2014, 02:08 PM
I can make most things that one finds on ordinary menus. I'll order lasagna in a restaurant if I know that it's good, because I rarely feel like it at home. Same for carbonara. But Sunday gravy and meatballs? Never. I refuse to pay $30 for a steak, so I never order it. Steak is usually the bait for the bait-and-switch menu scam. Put a $30-$40 steak at the top and everything else looks reasonable, even if it's not. Suddenly that $12 hamburger looks like a steal.

We rarely go out for breakfast, because mine are usually much better. When we do, we order things like crab cakes hollandaise or something else unusual. Bacon and eggs is just stupid to order, and in my experience a breakfast cook will most likely fuck up biscuits and gravy than not. It doesn't take many orders of hockey pucks and watery kindergarten paste to put you off ordering that dish. Restaurants fuck up hash browns and home fries as well. Either the potatoes are mealy or under cooked. Short answer: I just avoid going out for breakfast unless I'm traveling.

I make killer soups, but will order a good bisque or something complicated like cioppino or bouillabaisse, or one that sounds nicely spiced, but not something ordinary.

pulykamell
01-18-2014, 02:19 PM
I have to admit, for me, my favorite meal to go out for, even though I rarely do it, is breakfast. It's amazing what you can still get for $4 here. My wife and I stopped by a Mexican joint and not only did we get the obligatory bowl of chips and some kind of warmed-up salsa that was heavy on the green peppers (in additional to the usual salsas), but there was some sort of amuse bouche thing of a warm tortilla with an appetizer-sized portion of spiced meat. Frankly, I was almost full just from the free stuff. Then two eggs huevos rancheros with homemade salsa, rice, beans, and warm fresh tortillas. I really don't know how these guys can make money. I would easily pay 2-3 times those prices for that kind of menu. And I don't have to get any pots or pans dirty. :)

expectopatronum
01-18-2014, 02:42 PM
Not a thing. I will pay someone else to prepare just about anything, even if the wife or I could do it at home because we don't fucking feel like it tonight. Or the restaurant has access to better ingredients or equipment. I'll pay $16 for a Grimaldi's pizza because we just don't have the space for a coal-fired pizza oven where we live now, thank you very much. I will pay good money at a steak house because I can't get my stove up to 500 degrees or find Nebraska Wagyu at the local supermarket.

What a pretentious question.

oh my god, this. a thousand times this, your last sentence especially.

i mean, we all know everything in a restaurant is going to cost more because you're not just paying for the food, you're paying for the service and the atmosphere as well. in addition to the "don't feel like cooking" factor, cooking doesn't come easily to everyone. some people can look around their kitchen and whip up a tasty meal with whatever's on hand, some people can't, or don't want to, or don't have the time or the inclination to do so.

Steak and baked potatoes, so a typical steakhouse dinner is pointless. A guy at work asked if I had been to Ruth's Chris steakhouse and I asked him why I would bother paying more for something I can make as well at home for less money.

does this guy still talk to you?

SerafinaPekala
01-18-2014, 03:13 PM
I dont get ppl not liking steaks in restaurants either. Prime dry-aged beef (http://www.forbes.com/sites/larryolmsted/2011/06/29/steaks-worth-bragging-about-are-dry-aged/) is certainly better than I can get at the local Kroger marked-down section and by the time Id pay for online delivery of these steaks, I coulda had someone else flame-broil it for me. That and a really good salad - Im easy to please!

j666
01-18-2014, 03:20 PM
We rarely go out for breakfast, because mine are usually much better. Good home-fries, or whatever you call breakfast potatoes, take a long time to cook; some would argue at least 12 hours because you must use baked potatoes left over from the night before. I seldom make them at home.

The perfect over-medium egg is also not to be dismissed lightly; I cannot do it in a frying pan at home, and apparently many professionals cannot either. (Good scrambled eggs are a bit easier to find.)

Toast is deceptively simple; heat the bread, spread some butter, what could go wrong? Good toast requires good bread, and I don't eat a lot of bread, some I hesitate to spend $5.00 on a decent loaf that goes moldy before I finish it, because, of course, it doesn't have any preservatives in it.

Bacon, sausage, ham - never mind. They're frequently pre-cooked and then re-heated, which makes no sense, they cook so fast on a good grill. I seldom order meat with my breakfast for this reason. But I do love going out to breakfast for two eggs over medium with home-fried and pumpernickel / rye / wheat toast.

ShibbOleth
01-18-2014, 03:22 PM
There is a restaurant I go to in Culver City, almost every time that I'm there, because the pasta is truly amazing. You can't make it. I can't make it. It's handmade, hand rolled, hand cut, mostly styles that you almost never see anywhere, cooked to perfection with just the right toppings, never with tomato sauce.

Now, Olive Garden, I can agree on not ordering that kind of pasta in a restaurant. Or just stay away from Olive Garden and the like.

dracoi
01-18-2014, 03:53 PM
I remember going to one Ham and Eggery that sold cereal. Bizarre.

Like, who the hell would travel all the way to a diner to eat Lucky Charms?

The same relative of mine who orders oatmeal at Starbucks - and here's the real kicker - then takes it home to eat it. I kid you not.

So as far as the original thread topic, the only thing I really will not order is spaghetti with a red sauce. I can definitely do that better, even using sauce out of a can.

There are a lot of things I order less often from restaurants just because they're so easy to do at home - steak, most breakfast options, many other pasta options, and just about anything barbecued. When I do order these it's because I'm either out with other people or I just don't want to clean up the kitchen after the meal.

Chefguy
01-18-2014, 03:56 PM
Good home-fries, or whatever you call breakfast potatoes, take a long time to cook; some would argue at least 12 hours because you must use baked potatoes left over from the night before. I seldom make them at home.



I make them fresh. Cut them up and fry them in some oil or bacon fat. Takes about 15 minutes or so. That said, this morning I used some leftover braised red potatoes (http://www.americastestkitchen.com/recipes/7384-braised-red-potatoes-with-lemon-and-chives). Cut them up and fried them, topped with a couple of medium eggs; excellent. I don't like using leftover russets because they tend to fall apart. Reds are waxier and hold together better.

aceplace57
01-18-2014, 04:06 PM
My wife and I always go out for fried chicken. It's so messy to cook at home. You have to wash the chicken, cut it up, flour it. The stove gets splattered, and the walls too. Popeyes is just as good. Why make a mess at home?

I never object to eating any food at a restaurant. A deli sandwich or hamburger can easily be made at home but I enjoy them at restaurants too.

The only food I never order at a restaurant is soup. I'm convinced the restaurant opens a can just like I do at home. I'm not paying restaurant prices for soup.

silenus
01-18-2014, 04:28 PM
The only food I never order at a restaurant is soup. I'm convinced the restaurant opens a can just like I do at home. I'm not paying restaurant prices for soup.

You've never been to our local Thai place, that's for sure. Every day there is a different soup, made from scratch and tasting like heaven.

CrazyCatLady
01-18-2014, 04:51 PM
The only food I never order at a restaurant is soup. I'm convinced the restaurant opens a can just like I do at home. I'm not paying restaurant prices for soup.

Nah, they don't open a can like you do at home. They thaw a brick. Seriously. Soup base (concentrate, like the stuff you get in a can of Campbells) comes frozen in bricks. You thaw it out, add water or milk, and heat it up.

aceplace57
01-18-2014, 05:09 PM
Sams Club has some really good soups in plastic containers. They can be eaten immediately or frozen.

I might order it if I knew for sure a restaurant made soup from scratch. But it's rare these days to find a place that does. That frozen soup base saves the restaurant too much time.

Face Intentionally Left Blank
01-18-2014, 05:29 PM
I used to go to a restaurant specifically to eat their spaghetti. It was an Italian place that made the noodles and sauce from scratch. Their sauce was a thick, garlic-y, not-sweet orgasm on the tongue, with Parmesan cheese grated and melted on top. The people running it grew old and couldn't get enough family to take over the business, so they closed. :(

I should look into duplicating it, but I'm sure it would be FAR more effort than simply doctoring store-bought sauce. Still, maybe on special occasions. . .

theR
01-18-2014, 06:00 PM
There is a restaurant I go to in Culver City, almost every time that I'm there, because the pasta is truly amazing. You can't make it. I can't make it. It's handmade, hand rolled, hand cut, mostly styles that you almost never see anywhere, cooked to perfection with just the right toppings, never with tomato sauce.

Now, Olive Garden, I can agree on not ordering that kind of pasta in a restaurant. Or just stay away from Olive Garden and the like.

Right. I don't get the people that are posting as if there aren't restaurants that make their own pasta from scratch. It is a world of difference when made fresh from scratch instead of buying dry. There is a local Italian place that makes their pasta and sacues from scratch. Maybe I could make pasta that was as good if I made it from scratch, but dried or even "fresh" pasta from the grocery store certainly doesn't compare.

Attack from the 3rd dimension
01-18-2014, 06:11 PM
Fugu. Always best made at home.



Seriously though, I make a good steak at home, but at a restaurant I get to just eat it, I don't have to make it appear at the same time as the rice is done, and the roasted asparagus are overdone, and the dog is waiting to go out because he thinks the smoke alarm is going to go off. Then when it is done and I tell the family to come and eat they all wander off to different parts of the house like it a ritual pre-dinner hide-and-seek game.

At a restaurant it comes: I eat it. Very simple.

zombywoof
01-18-2014, 06:18 PM
While I certainly agree that there are reasons to eat out besides the cost and ease of cooking a similar meal at home (even if you can), I find the phenomenon of the popular-for-weekend-breakfast-place really puzzling - I might choose to go to a restaurant for bacon and eggs and toast rather than making it at home, but I sure as hell am not going to wait in line for an hour or more for it.

YWalker
01-18-2014, 07:16 PM
Fucking oatmeal. In my town, every time there is a proposed property tax increase, I would see letters in the newspaper from senior citizens protesting the tax increase because "I'm on a fixed income, blah blah blah..." And meanwhile, in my job as a cook, I'd see senior citizens coming into my restaurant day after day after day, ordering oatmeal and toast. I looked at what we charged for a bowl of oatmeal and a side of toast, and did some math, and determined that these seniors were paying well over $1200 a year for somebody to cook their damned oatmeal (assuming they were doing this 5 days a week, as many of them were).
Maybe there needs to be a distinction in the question between going to a restaurant specifically to get a particular dish, and ordering a dish because you happen to be in a restaurant.

I've ordered oatmeal in restaurants a number of times when I'm travelling. I eat oatmeal at breakfast at home probably about 80% of the time. It's a healthful whole grain, and I normally round it out with some fruit (normally cooked in the oatmeal) and a cup of skim milk, and it keeps me satisfied until lunchtime. When I'm travelling, I still have the same priorities for what I want out of breakfast. (I always ask first to make sure that it is regular rolled oats and not damned instant, however. I refuse to pay for wallpaper paste.)

And I was going to come in here saying what several others have said, that I couldn't see myself saying "I refuse to pay for that because it's too easy/cheap to do at home," but I actually did think of an example. Although some of my co-workers at my former workplace used to go grab lunch at a nearby place called The Dog House, I never joined in with them, because I just couldn't see going out for hot dogs. However, recently a new place called FireWurst opened up next door to a store I go to occasionally. One day I had been running around all morning until way past lunchtime, and I noticed their sign saying they had a $2 special after 2:00. I went in and grabbed a Carolina dog (hot dog, chopped onions, slaw, and chili) --- and I loved it. However, once again, the restaurant had the advantage of providing something I normally couldn't do conveniently at home. I like my hot dogs with slaw and chili, but the others in my house don't, so I normally don't have either the slaw or chili on hand to make the hot dog the way I like it.

Left Hand of Dorkness
01-18-2014, 07:29 PM
I suspect PBjs and cold cereal are mainly on the menu because of toddlers. I might want to stop by the burger joint, but if my kid is at a picky age, the pbj is just what we need to get her th rough the meal without drama.

I'm not sure if ther's anything too easy to make for me to order out, but I won't order chicken soup, because mine is better.

Guinastasia
01-18-2014, 07:48 PM
Or you're traveling and just want something quick.

Isn't it about the sauces on the pasta? I mean yeah, PASTA itself is easy, but a lot of sauces aren't. (Who the hell eats plain pasta?) My mother makes a really good tomato sauce, but it's the kind that takes all day to cook. And sometimes I like going out with my friends, getting together, and enjoying the atmosphere itself -- the food is secondary. And if I happen to see something I like that's really simple, I'll order it anyways. I won't have to wash dishes.

It's not the food itself, sometimes. It's the going out part.

InternetLegend
01-18-2014, 08:35 PM
So many people have already quoted him that I'll just say I'm with silenus on this. Nine times out of ten, I'm not going to a restaurant to get a special treat; I'm there because I really don't feel like cooking, not even something simple, at that particular time. I'll order whatever looks good to me at the moment.

I must say, though, that I don't go out for breakfast much anymore. On days when I would have time to go out for breakfast, I'd almost always rather be home in my pajamas, even if it means cooking my own food. And, now that I think about it, my pancakes are better than almost any pancakes I've had in a restaurant.

Chimera
01-18-2014, 09:17 PM
About the only thing I won't get at a restaurant that I make at home would be Spaghetti. It's easy to throw together at home, but for that matter, I don't eat it very often. Partial jars of sauce rot in my fridge with distressing (long term) regularity.

Other than that, I go to restaurants because I'm with people, or I want something I can't or don't want to make, or it's just easier.

I also find this idea of not ordering something in a restaurant because 'I can make that cheaper at home' to be ludicrous. Of course you can! It's not like they're waving a magic wand and creating it out of nothing. Although on the other hand, I'm sure they can make my two tacos cheaper than I can, because I'd have to buy a lot more than two tacos worth of lettuce, cheese, onions, etc, and I certainly don't go through bulk lettuce to get that sort of thing as cheaply as they do.

IvoryTowerDenizen
01-18-2014, 09:17 PM
I must not be going to the right diners, then, because I've never encountered that menu option in person.

Guess so.

Actually at a diner right now. Grapefruit and cold cereal both on the menu.

http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/01/19/agybate2.jpg

http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/01/19/e3y8a7y3.jpg

Voyager
01-18-2014, 09:38 PM
BLTs. I make BLTs in the summer with my own tomatoes, five seconds from the vine, and good, warm toast. Far better than any I've ever had out.

For the steak debate, I'll get it at a high end steak house, but never at a Applebee's or some place like that. I prefer to eat stuff out which is hard to make in little batches, or which take lots of exotic fresh ingredients.

Miss Woodhouse
01-18-2014, 10:42 PM
I don't order steak at restaurants because usually the ones we're at don't have great steak. I doubt I'm getting prime beef at Applebee's (and before you knock my choice of restaurant, we don't go there often and we live in an area where locally owned restaurants that aren't Chinese, Mexican, or $30 a plate just don't exist.) We have a budget when we go out so Nebraskan Wuygu (whatever) just isn't even close to being on the menu. I have steak at home when we've bought a side of beef. I get grass fed, local beef cut exactly the way I want and cooked exactly the way I want it cooked. Why the crap would I pay a $15/plate restaurant for a crappy steak? There are a lot of other dishes inexpensive places do a lot better.

I also don't order stir fry in Chinese restaurants. That's my go do dish when I'm in a hurry at home. Yes, I'm using frozen vegetables but the Chinese restaurants around here are doing the same thing. Basically, if the Mandarin sauce is day glo orange and came out of a Sysco bucket, the veggies in the stir fry probably weren't fresh cut.

I totally get the OP's question and don't find it pretentious at all. We don't go out to eat enough to make me want to order something I can do better at home.

Patty O'Furniture
01-18-2014, 10:46 PM
2¢ tea bag + 1¢ hot water = $1.49 cup of tea.

[edit] Is there a mathematical symbol for "is somehow equal to"? Because that's what that equation really needs.

Miss Woodhouse
01-18-2014, 10:49 PM
This discussion does remind me of a story my mom told me though. My mom refuses to eat at Italian restaurants with my dad. Every time he goes to one he orders the lasagna and every single time he's disappointed because it doesn't taste like my mom's. My mom's lasagna would never be allowed on the menu. She uses jarred sauce and cottage cheese. For years she even used jarred Parmesan. (We managed to convert her to the good stuff in the last ten years.) It makes me laugh. He knows he won't get what he wants, but he orders it anyway. Crazy man. :) He really should make it a rule to never order lasagna at a restaurant.

typoink
01-18-2014, 11:03 PM
Before any says Grilled Cheese Sandwich . . .
I will say that, in my experience, if a restaurant puts a grilled cheese sandwich on their menu it is usually a really good grilled cheese sandwich!!!!!!

Corollary: if you're stuck at an otherwise terrible restaurant, if they have a grilled cheese sandwich on the menu it will probably be edible.

IvoryTowerDenizen
01-19-2014, 07:53 AM
I don't order steak at restaurants because usually the ones we're at don't have great steak. I doubt I'm getting prime beef at Applebee's (and before you knock my choice of restaurant, we don't go there often and we live in an area where locally owned restaurants that aren't Chinese, Mexican, or $30 a plate just don't exist.) We have a budget when we go out so Nebraskan Wuygu (whatever) just isn't even close to being on the menu. I have steak at home when we've bought a side of beef. I get grass fed, local beef cut exactly the way I want and cooked exactly the way I want it cooked. Why the crap would I pay a $15/plate restaurant for a crappy steak? There are a lot of other dishes inexpensive places do a lot better.

I also don't order stir fry in Chinese restaurants. That's my go do dish when I'm in a hurry at home. Yes, I'm using frozen vegetables but the Chinese restaurants around here are doing the same thing. Basically, if the Mandarin sauce is day glo orange and came out of a Sysco bucket, the veggies in the stir fry probably weren't fresh cut.

I totally get the OP's question and don't find it pretentious at all. We don't go out to eat enough to make me want to order something I can do better at home.

(Bolding mine) But that's not the OPs question. The OP is asking if you won't order something because it's easy and cheaper to make at home, not because the home version is better. As I read the OP, the restaurant version can be spot on and terrific, but because you could make easily and cheaper, you'd refuse to order it.

That, frankly, is the puzzling part. I'd totally get not ordering an inferior version of something. But to refuse to order something tasty and well done because I can do it cheaper at home, or just too easy is odd to me. Not really pretentious, but just odd.

The OP:
There are a few dishes that I don't like ordering in restaurants because they are so easy and cheap to make myself that I feel like they are overpriced.

Two that spring to mind are migas and steak. I can make migas in five minutes for less than a dollar and see no need to pay anyone for it. With steak, I feel that I usually do a better job than most steak houses and it is such an easy dish to make. I will order it from time to time, especially if someone else is buying, but I prefer to order things like prime rib in steak houses because that is a dish I rarely make.

Do you have any dishes that you refuse to pay for (that you like)?

Thanks,
Rob

The Controvert
01-19-2014, 09:15 AM
Wedge Salad. I win.

enipla
01-19-2014, 10:28 AM
There is nothing that I would not order in a restaurant because I could cook it better at home. If I want a baked tator and steak, thatís what I order. Iím out at a restaurant to enjoy myself.

On the other hand, we have a local company that raises its own beef. Thatís pretty much the only steaks we buy now adays. Itís very $$$ but worth it for the steak we have once a month or so. Itís worth every penny, and better or as good as any restaurant steak I have ever had.

I also think that fresh, homemade pasta is worlds better than the dry packaged stuff. Some folks disagree I know. But in any case, I like the fresh stuff. I donít make it often. My Wife doesnít seem to care either way and it is pretty time consuming.

pulykamell
01-19-2014, 10:58 AM
Sams Club has some really good soups in plastic containers. They can be eaten immediately or frozen.

I might order it if I knew for sure a restaurant made soup from scratch. But it's rare these days to find a place that does. That frozen soup base saves the restaurant too much time.

Maybe if you're only going to diners, but most of the places I go to make their own soup. It's not really all that hard to find.

salinqmind
01-19-2014, 11:14 AM
What, like a tuna sandwich? Bowl of chili? things commonly ordered for lunch (in my experience) - they ARE 'too easy', and not all that special, but they're quick, and don't fill you up to the ears with food. I'll order a cup of soup of the day, if I get a choice: Thai coconut? Yes, please! Chicken noodle - not so much :-(. Things too easy: I will order steak in a restaurant (because the only steak I like to cook at home is on the charcoal grill, and that's not always an option) or anything with a ton of fried onions (because it's easy to do myself but I don't like cooking smelly stuff in the closed in house in the winter).

Antigen
01-19-2014, 11:35 AM
I don't usually order tortellini or ravioli unless I know the restaurant is making them there. Too many places use the exact same frozen ravioils I can get at Costco, and that bugs me.

Otherwise, as others have said, while it may be technically cheaper for me to make a thing at home, sometimes I don't have all those ingredients around. A baked potato? Yeah, easy to do at home but then I'd need cheddar, scallions, sour cream... and then I'd need to find something to do with the extra sour cream and scallions so I don't waste them...

Doody Pants*
01-19-2014, 12:30 PM
I don't eat out very much, so my rule is that if I can make it at home, I am not ordering it in a restaurant.

BigT
01-19-2014, 12:38 PM
Not a thing. I will pay someone else to prepare just about anything, even if the wife or I could do it at home because we don't fucking feel like it tonight. Or the restaurant has access to better ingredients or equipment. I'll pay $16 for a Grimaldi's pizza because we just don't have the space for a coal-fired pizza oven where we live now, thank you very much. I will pay good money at a steak house because I can't get my stove up to 500 degrees or find Nebraska Wagyu at the local supermarket.

What a pretentious question.

Uh, you're the one setting yourself above everyone else who has answered this question in the spirit offered. I don't think that word means what you think it means.

Saint Cad
01-19-2014, 12:42 PM
Caprese. I can by heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil and great olive oil and make a better caprese for 20% of what a restaurant would charge me.

silenus
01-19-2014, 01:08 PM
Uh, you're the one setting yourself above everyone else who has answered this question in the spirit offered. I don't think that word means what you think it means.

Swing and a miss. As usual.

JohnT
01-19-2014, 01:30 PM
I don't get scrambled eggs because I can get those at home. I have a hard time making quality sunny-side-up or over-easy/medium eggs at home, so always get those when I'm at a restaurant.

And I don't know if I could fit enough rolleye smilies in this post for the "potatoes are peasant food" comment.

Procrustus
01-19-2014, 01:42 PM
I don't get this "I can make it myself at home cheaper and/or better." If I'm at a restaurant, I'm not "at home." And I need to eat. It would be like saying, "I'm not ordering the burger here, because they have better burgers at this other restaurant in Tacoma or Miami." Yeah, but you're not there, you're here. Order what sounds good, even if you can do it better and cheaper at home, or even if 5 other places do it better. I probably eat more meals in restaurants than I do at home. I might decline to order a PB&J, not because I can do it at home, but because it's not the most interesting thing on the menu.

On the other hand, I do get the idea of ordering something at a restaurant that's not something you make at frequently home, because you like having something different. If I had scrambled eggs 3 times a week at home, I'd probably order something else at a restaurant just for variety. Unless, of course, I was in the mood for scrambled eggs.

BeeGee
01-19-2014, 02:20 PM
When I go out to eat, it's because I forgot to pack my lunch, I'm on the road,I'm short on time, or I just don't feel like cooking. I'm a good cook. But I'm also a good seamstress. Some days I'd rather be a cook. Some days I'd rather be a seamstress. Next Tuesday I've got a basketball game to see an hour after work. I'm sure I'll eat something at the game that will cost three times as much as it would to make at home. But I'll be the sports fan Tuesday night, not the cook, not the seamstress. I base my food choices on what I want and can afford.

melondeca
01-19-2014, 04:47 PM
Steak rarely fails to disappoint me when eating in a restaurant. The steak I cook at home. is so much more flavorful and cooked exactly the way I like it.

Attack from the 3rd dimension
01-19-2014, 07:12 PM
Steak rarely fails to disappoint me when eating in a restaurant. The steak I cook at home. is so much more flavorful and cooked exactly the way I like it.

I wound up eating at a restaurant last night. It was okay, but the steak was medium, not medium rare. Even rare would have been better, if they had to get it wrong.

So disappointing.

pulykamell
01-19-2014, 08:02 PM
I don't get this "I can make it myself at home cheaper and/or better." If I'm at a restaurant, I'm not "at home." And I need to eat. It would be like saying, "I'm not ordering the burger here, because they have better burgers at this other restaurant in Tacoma or Miami."

Well, I suppose it depends why you're at the restaurant. I don't eat out a lot for many reasons. When I do, it's because I want to have something that I can't make, don't feel like making because of the mess/time involved, or the restaurant I'm going to has a version of something I have a hankering for. This covers about 80% of the time I eat out. The other 20% is if I'm meeting someone for dinner or on vacation/traveling/need to grab a quick bite. In that case, I still generally go for foods I don't like making at home or foods that the particular establishment is known for. If that's "pretentious," (and I know that's not your term) so be it. It's simply not why I eat out. I'm happy to eat at McDonald's and places like that, but it's because I actually do enjoy their burger, and I can't make the same thing at home.

stui magpie
01-19-2014, 10:36 PM
Interesting. Steak is my go to when going to a new restaurant. It's hard to get good steak in the local supermarket and butchers so a good piece of steak served with chips and a salad, very noice.

Things I won't order are Spag Bol, Chicken Parma, lasagne and any kind of sandwich. If i want a sandwich I'll go to a food court or a sandwich shop.

aruvqan
01-20-2014, 04:27 PM
More or less the only times we eat out are our anniversary [oddly enough, Valentines Day was the first legal date after my divorce we could get married on between Navy and state paperwork.] and our 'mutual' birthday [his is Aug 27, mine is Oct 27 so we go out on Sept 27] and if we are traveling.

Having been a professional hash slinger, and collector of cookbooks and mrAru being also an accomplished cook, we can make more or less anything we can get supplies for and find a recipe for and can probably make it cheaper than we can get it for out so we simply get what is reasonably close to what is on my nutritional plan for the day, appeals to us and is in stock - though typically once a year the 3 of us [hubby, roomie and I] hit Nordic Lodge for the all you can eat lobster. Our roomie and I have a deal, I get the tails and she takes the front half of the lobster as she likes the innards and I don't so this way they don't go to waste. Drives my cardiologist nuts, but as my cholesterol numbers are great without any statins, I told him he can't bitch me out about it. Turns out that upon cardiac stress test and MRI, I also don't have any plaque action going on either. [Drives him nuts, fat, diabetic glutton me, eats eggs, butter, whole cream, an annual lobster gorge ... :p Just goes to show that you really can eat anything as long as you maintain reasonable portions. My nutritionist is down with my annual gorge, she sees my diet log and my glucometer charts. She knows I don't eat the typical premade junk foods.]

gigi
01-20-2014, 06:17 PM
(Ooh, but I do love an "industrial" breakfast bar, the kind where scrambled eggs come in a big two quart warming pan! Yum! I can go through that stuff by the pound!)

Picture it: Shoney's all-you-can-eat breakfast bar. One half of my plate was the eerily-uniformly-yellow scrambled eggs, and the other half was the eerily-uniformly-pink jello-y stuff. YUM.

pancakes3
01-20-2014, 06:51 PM
This discussion does remind me of a story my mom told me though. My mom refuses to eat at Italian restaurants with my dad. Every time he goes to one he orders the lasagna and every single time he's disappointed because it doesn't taste like my mom's. My mom's lasagna would never be allowed on the menu. She uses jarred sauce and cottage cheese. For years she even used jarred Parmesan. (We managed to convert her to the good stuff in the last ten years.) It makes me laugh. He knows he won't get what he wants, but he orders it anyway. Crazy man. :) He really should make it a rule to never order lasagna at a restaurant.

There are 2 reasons why I never order lasagna at a restaurant. 1 is that lasagna (imo) tastes better as leftovers than fresh. They hold the shape better? 2 is that I'm Garfieldian in my lust for lasagna and can eat half a damn pan if not more.

I rarely order fish dishes either. There are precious few cooks who can make a fish taste better than an order of cow, pig, lamb, or duck. I've been pleasantly surprised a few times at Chinese/Indian restaurants but I don't think I'm missing much.

I don't order Panera because I used to work there and just can't bring myself to pay those prices KNOWING the mark-up first hand.

As for dishes I don't order because it's too easy? Pasta, fried rice, meatloaf, and chili. If the price is right and I'm hungry enough though ($1 Wendy's chili) I could make an exception but usually not.

TBG
01-20-2014, 07:03 PM
I dunno... toast maybe? Thought that comes as a side with other stuff I might order, so maybe after all.

Cereal for sure. When I was a little kid I did have cereal in restaurants when we were on a trip down to Florida, sounds silly, but to a kid of that era, cereal = breakfast. I'd certainly never order cereal today.

Clawdio
01-20-2014, 07:38 PM
Absolutely nothing. Sometimes I don't want to make it myself. I don't care how easy it is to make, I don't go to work everyday for my health, let someone else make it and make a couple bucks off of my cooking laziness.

troubledwater
01-20-2014, 08:28 PM
All right, you people have had me going, convinced that I am a complete philistine for always going with the safest/dullest option on the menu. You see, I am a picky eater, so I am that person ordering steak or spaghetti or grilled cheese sandwiches.

So last night I was taken to a Very Nice Restaurant. Instead of ordering steak, I decided to try something new (which I believed there was at least a decent chance I might like) that I would have no ability to prepare at home. Well, I didn't like it. No complaints from me - I'd gone the safe route on the appetizers, so I wasn't going hungry, and I wasn't wondering if I'd just gotten a badly prepared main course, I just didn't like it. The fellow who was bussing plates noted I hadn't eaten much, and asked what was wrong. I told him there was nothing wrong, I'd just wanted to try something new. He said "You didn't like it. I will tell your server" and was off before I could do anything. My waiter turned up and we had the same conversation - he was concerned there was something wrong (fair enough) and I repeated that there was nothing wrong with the dish, I had simply been trying something new. Then he ticked me off by saying he should have explained to me what it was. I knew what I was ordering. If I had had questions, I would have asked. By now I felt terribly embarrassed in front of my dining companions. I felt like a little kid again, being berated by my relatives for what I was/was not eating. So much for adventures in dining, I guess it's back to the local Mexican place and plain bean burritos for me. (And since I don't have lard at home, those are better than what I can make myself).

j666
01-20-2014, 08:44 PM
All right, you people have had me going, Ö

No complaints from me - I'd gone the safe route on the appetizers, so I wasn't going hungry, Ö

The lesson is, Always be adventurous with the appetizer, not the main course.

zoid
01-20-2014, 09:08 PM
Instead of ordering steak, I decided to try something new (which I believed there was at least a decent chance I might like) that I would have no ability to prepare at home. Well, I didn't like it.

Don't be such as tease - what was it?

Ferret Herder
01-20-2014, 09:31 PM
They're trying to ensure that you are happy with your dining experience. God knows how many people they get who don't complain and then go online to bitch about how awful their food was.

If it just wasn't to your taste, just explain that. They will fall all over themselves trying to ensure you are happy; politely counter them and tell them they're fine, you were trying to be adventurous and just didn't find it to your taste, assure them you loved the appetizer.

(Today I had a salad at a place that I could only eat some of the appetizers and salads, due to being a vegetarian. My salad was... salty. :( I politely sent it back and since my husband was basically done with his food, left still hungry and a little tipsy from the beer I'd had. The waiter really tried to offer me other stuff but we had to go. I'm not holding it against them, though; the appetizer was good and what I ate off my husband's plate was yummy.)

troubledwater
01-20-2014, 10:17 PM
Don't be such as tease - what was it?

Steak Tartare.

At home, where there is no one around to be disturbed by this, I will cheerfully eat raw hamburger. So I had reason to believe raw minced beef with egg and herbs was not completely out of the question.

I suppose they must get at least a few people who were disappointed not be be receiving more of an Outback Steakhouse sort of product.

Anyway, I know they were concerned about the quality of my dining experience. I think once I had explained I was trying something new, that should have been the end of it.

Rick
01-20-2014, 10:38 PM
I am not a chef, but I am one damn good amateur cook. Frankly I can't think of anything that I can't cook at home that isn't either easier, cheaper, or probably better tasting at home. Yet I go out on a regular basis.
Why?
Lots of reasons.
Every work day at lunch the fact that my kitchen is 50 miles away is a pretty good reason if you ask me.
Dinners and breakfasts? Often going out with friends for a bite. Also see work is 50 miles from home.
Many times even though I can produce a per serving saving, the total is more than going out. For example a prime rib roast is well over $100 even though 1 serving maybe works out to $10 or so.
Also quite often I go somewhere to see what their take is on a particular dish.

SanVito
01-21-2014, 01:48 AM
I don't get the complaints about restaurant food being more expensive than home cooked. Well of course it is, you're paying for the whole experience not just the steak.

But I wouldn't order pasta. I make better pasta than most restaurants. And I wouldn't normally order chicken or salmon, just way too everyday for a restaurant meal.

aruvqan
01-21-2014, 11:09 AM
Many times even though I can produce a per serving saving, the total is more than going out. For example a prime rib roast is well over $100 even though 1 serving maybe works out to $10 or so.
.
OOO - prime rib .... that is something I will definitely go out for to one specific place - Red Osier (http://www.redosier.com/index1.html)in Batavia NY - I am not really set up at home to do a prime rib and they do it so nicely. I hate going for a prime rib and they serve the food service version where it is cooked in a factory, portioned out and retort packaged. I would love to go to the place I saw on one of those food TV shows in LA - Lawreys (http://www.lawrysonline.com/). I love those prime rib carts and being served at the table.

Another thing I will go out for is tempura and sushi/sashimi. While I can fry up my choice of grub, and do a reasonably good tempura, and I can make sashimi it is worth the money to have someone else do it for me. When we meet up with a particular bunch of friends, we go to a specific Japanese place because we have carnivores, vegetarians and vegans in the group and everybody can find something to eat. [not to mention Japanese is great for fitting into the nutritional profile I have for a meal. Well, I also adore tuna sashime, the tamagozushi and the shrimp-miso soup] I would love to be able to find a place that has all you can eat tempura - my favorite bits are the shrimp, the yam and the onion. Sometimes they will also do cauliflower.

jrsone
01-21-2014, 11:55 AM
I grow my own greens and vegetables and make my own salad, and bake my own bread and butcher my own meat and make own cheese and build my own sandwiches. I raise chickens so I have my own eggs and obviously I have the cows to get the steaks for a delicious steak and eggs breakfast. My pigs provide my bacon and the chops. I hired a sweet old Italian lady for the pasta and sauces, she is wonderful.

I went to a restaraunt once, but it was only to use their restroom. I didn't flush.

pulykamell
01-21-2014, 12:57 PM
I grow my own greens and vegetables and make my own salad, and bake my own bread and butcher my own meat and make own cheese and build my own sandwiches. I raise chickens so I have my own eggs and obviously I have the cows to get the steaks for a delicious steak and eggs breakfast. My pigs provide my bacon and the chops. I hired a sweet old Italian lady for the pasta and sauces, she is wonderful.

I went to a restaraunt once, but it was only to use their restroom. I didn't flush.

Well, that's not really the point of the thread. This is about people who actually do go to restaurants and order food, but don't order something for one reason or another (although it being "too easy" was the original reason, it's drifted a bit from there). Most of the objections here seem reasonable to me. The chicken one is good, too. I have great difficulty ordering chicken dishes at a restaurant for the same reason San Vito mentioned, unless it's a particular specialty of the restaurant or a presentation I've never encountered before (or if it's fried chicken, but I'm not usually at a sit-down restaurant for that, and if I am, it probably will fall under "specialty of the restaurant" if I'm ordering it.)

jrsone
01-21-2014, 01:41 PM
Well, that's not really the point of the thread. This is about people who actually do go to restaurants and order food, but don't order something for one reason or another (although it being "too easy" was the original reason, it's drifted a bit from there). Most of the objections here seem reasonable to me. The chicken one is good, too. I have great difficulty ordering chicken dishes at a restaurant for the same reason San Vito mentioned, unless it's a particular specialty of the restaurant or a presentation I've never encountered before (or if it's fried chicken, but I'm not usually at a sit-down restaurant for that, and if I am, it probably will fall under "specialty of the restaurant" if I'm ordering it.)

I know, I'm just a smart ass.

I wouldn't say I order anything out of the easiness factor. I commonly don't ever order hamburgers or spaghetti when I go out. I eat a lot of pasta at home and I just never really crave a burger I guess. A fast food one does in a pinch I guess.

Drunky Smurf
01-21-2014, 03:04 PM
So much for adventures in dining, I guess it's back to the local Mexican place and plain bean burritos for me. (And since I don't have lard at home, those are better than what I can make myself).

This. There is no way to replicate a good mexican places refried beans. The place where they have a giant pot of beans going all day and it's all larded up.

For me I'd say cereal. Because if they have cereal on the menu then they have pancakes/waffles and bacon/sausage and that's what I'll be having.

pulykamell
01-21-2014, 03:28 PM
This. There is no way to replicate a good mexican places refried beans. The place where they have a giant pot of beans going all day and it's all larded up.

I was going to say, sure there is, lard. But you know that. Seriously, you can do it at home, but for the amount of refried beans I eat (generally just a single serving of about 1/2 cup or so), it's not worth it. Only for parties. (The lard I almost always have in my fridge, though, since, well, I love the combo of lard & onions to start off a stew. Or chicken fat & onions.)

scootergirl
01-21-2014, 03:51 PM
I can make almost anything better and cheaper than restaurants. The only thing I go out to eat nowadays is ethnic foods I can't make well at home. Sushi, for example.


This ^.

scootergirl
01-21-2014, 04:12 PM
I'm traveling to Lima in a couple of weeks. I am looking forward to Peruvian food so much! I know how to prepare a number of Peruvian dishes, but I'm sure I'll end up eating something that I will promptly and happily attempt to replicate when I get back.

My SO is a great cook. We don't live together, but we take turns feeding each other weekly. We only occasionally go out to eat. Unless it's Sushi, I almost always think - I could've made that and made it better. When eating Sushi I like to sit at the bar and watch the chef prepare it. It's part of the experience. I love the sensation of tobiko popping in my mouth when I bite down....that and the saltiness and crunch. And course, then there's warm Sake, too.

TBG
01-21-2014, 05:28 PM
Caveat before I reply to individual posts: I am a professional cook, with 30 years of experience.

To answer the OP directly, with this question:

"Do you have any dishes that you refuse to pay for (that you like)?"

Fucking oatmeal. In my town, every time there is a proposed property tax increase, I would see letters in the newspaper from senior citizens protesting the tax increase because "I'm on a fixed income, blah blah blah..." And meanwhile, in my job as a cook, I'd see senior citizens coming into my restaurant day after day after day, ordering oatmeal and toast. I looked at what we charged for a bowl of oatmeal and a side of toast, and did some math, and determined that these seniors were paying well over $1200 a year for somebody to cook their damned oatmeal (assuming they were doing this 5 days a week, as many of them were).

They were paying over $1200 a year for a chance to get out of the house, more likely. They ordered oatmeal because it's bland and old people of that generation tend to like bland and it's familiar and even though it'd be cheaper at home it's still pretty cheap. Also probably their doctor told them not to eat anything else that's likely on the breakfast menu such as bacon, sausage, eggs. Also easy to eat for those with bad/missing teeth.

But the point is, they're there because what else are they gonna do, sit at home all alone all the time. They're not there for the oatmeal, they're there and happen to get oatmeal.

At least that's my guess.

Annie-Xmas
01-22-2014, 10:04 AM
As Peg "I Hate To Cook" Braken once put it: I use to hold people who could make Fettucine Alfredo in high regard. Then I found out it's only slightly simpler than a peanut butter sandwich."

FriarTed
01-22-2014, 02:59 PM
While I am sure there are some adults who go out for breakfast & order cold cereal, I'm pretty sure that's really on the menu in case they bring their picky kids.

aruvqan
01-22-2014, 04:27 PM
As Peg "I Hate To Cook" Braken once put it: I use to hold people who could make Fettucine Alfredo in high regard. Then I found out it's only slightly simpler than a peanut butter sandwich."
My roomie frequently makes her version which starts with frying up bacon to get the crunchies, and is basically a way for her to use up leftover pasta. Ends up about a twice a month lunch for her. The longest part is frying up a couple strips of bacon for the crumbles.

I prefer to have pasta dressed with a bit of garlic and basil sauteed in olive oil and then some black pepper and parmesan cheese grated over the top.

Learjeff
01-22-2014, 08:07 PM
Quesadillas. Mac & cheese. Grilled cheese. Why order what I make at home?

silenus
01-22-2014, 08:49 PM
Because you aren't at home, and you feel like a quesadilla for lunch?


Why is this so hard for people to understand?

Mister Rik
01-22-2014, 10:02 PM
When I cooked at one particular restaurant, there was one item on the breakfast menu that I really wished people wouldn't order because they could make it better at home: Cream of Wheat. I don't know why it was even on the menu. It didn't seem to matter how thin I made it; by the time the waitress picked it up and delivered it to the table it was a solid lump.

OTOH, I made damn good oatmeal (despite my dislike for making it). When I wound up cooking in the convention business, we'd occasionally have to do a breakfast buffet that included oatmeal. I eventually told the head chef, my boss, "I'll make the oatmeal". Because his oatmeal sucked and and I couldn't stand seeing it go out on the buffet.

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