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Old 02-02-2020, 01:24 PM
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Food you won't order in a restaurant because your version is better


When I go out to eat - think nice meal here, not something you just grab and go - there are certain items I won't even consider. It's not that I think I'm a great cook, but I don't see the sense in ordering something I can make as well, or even better, than a restaurant.

For example - meatloaf. It's a pretty basic item, and I can't imagine a spectacular meatloaf. Also mac-n-cheese. Yeah, you can put lobster in it, but that seems a waste of perfectly good lobster.

Even spaghetti - it's pasta with sauce. Nothing wrong with it, but it's so basic as not to be special enough to warrant ordering it at a restaurant.

Oddly enough, I'm OK ordering most breakfast foods, with the exception of cold cereal and milk - that doesn't belong in a restaurant. Seriously!

Am I alone in this? Are there things you would never consider paying someone else to prepare for you?
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Old 02-02-2020, 01:50 PM
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I feel the same way about some of the things you've mentioned. Potato salad is pretty common where I live, and most of it is good, but mine's better. Damn near perfect! Other things like iceberg lettuce in salads and long-grain rice in certain dishes don't fly with me.
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Old 02-02-2020, 02:08 PM
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I can't do much more "cooking" than grilling, but I'm pretty good at it. The one item that's a no-brainer for me is steak.
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Old 02-02-2020, 02:10 PM
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If I order pasta in a restaurant it had better come with a duck ragu or a wild boar sauce that’d be too much of a pain in the ass to make at home.

Schnitzel is easy to make, but who wants to clean up the mess on the stovetop?

OTOH, I think a diner or coffee shop breakfast is one of the last inexpensive luxuries remaining to us. Omelette, hash browns, sausages, buttered rye toast, please.
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Old 02-02-2020, 02:13 PM
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Poached eggs.
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Old 02-02-2020, 02:15 PM
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I second the meatloaf. We ate at a Cheesecake Factory for the first time a week ago and I saw their "Famous Meatloaf" on the menu. I love meatloaf and had to try it. Bahh. Nothing special at all. It's all meat, no nice bread crumbs or minced onion, celery, etc. Just a giant hamburg.

I had to make my own a few days later.

There are some very nice mac-n-cheeses out there although I never make it from scratch at home.

Dennis
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Old 02-02-2020, 02:16 PM
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Because mine is better? Steak.

Just because I make something better doesn't mean I won't ever order it. Say due to effort or size (I'm not going to make two servings of lasagna.) Or because it needs some inconvenient ingredient.
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Old 02-02-2020, 02:22 PM
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Steak. I can make a better steak at home than I'd get in 90% of the restaurants I find myself in.
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Old 02-02-2020, 03:08 PM
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White clam sauce.
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Old 02-02-2020, 03:14 PM
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I always want the Chicken and Dumplings at Cracker Barrel. Mine is VERY good. So I wouldn't order it.
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Old 02-02-2020, 03:50 PM
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Can't say never. But unless it's special occasion out with someone else, I probably won't order prime rib again since I once made an amazing one that far surpassed anything I've ever had before.

Other than that, I like trying restaurant food since it sometimes gives me good ideas/flavors to add to my home cooking.

Last edited by lingyi; 02-02-2020 at 03:52 PM.
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Old 02-02-2020, 03:54 PM
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how are all you people making steaks at home that taste better than restaurant steaks?

Closest thing I can think of is spaghetti. I make my spaghetti by melting velveeta cubes in the sauce, using olive oil on the noodles and then dicing up garlic as a topping. Tastes better than any restaurant spaghetti. thats about it, I'm not much of a cook.
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Old 02-02-2020, 03:56 PM
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I make kick-ass macaroni and cheese, so I won't order it from a restaurant. Some buffet versions aren't half-bad, though, I admit.
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Old 02-02-2020, 04:01 PM
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Nothing. If I'm ordering something I or the wife can make better at home, it's because I'M NOT HOME AND/OR CAN'T BE ARSED TO COOK!
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Old 02-02-2020, 05:08 PM
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Coffee. If it's drinkable at all, they serve it with those damn Mini-Moos that don't cool it off worth a damn.
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Old 02-02-2020, 05:25 PM
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I also avoid pasta at restaurants - it's so easy and convenient to make at home that I probably eat it too often. I've probably passed on some great dishes. Lasagne is different however. A great lasagne is hard to find but I'm forever hunting for it.
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Old 02-02-2020, 05:48 PM
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Omelets.
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Old 02-02-2020, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Fiendish Astronaut View Post
I also avoid pasta at restaurants - it's so easy and convenient to make at home that I probably eat it too often. I've probably passed on some great dishes. Lasagne is different however. A great lasagne is hard to find but I'm forever hunting for it.
Meanwhile, lasagna is something I prefer to make at home, as very few places around here really does it the way I like it (bolognese style with spinach sheets and a bechamel white layer; no ricotta).

That said, there's not really anything I won't ever order in a restaurant. There's certain things I won't specifically go out for, but if a place is known for its meatloaf or steak or Hungarian goulash or whatnot, I'll give it a try, even though I make versions of all those at home I'm more than happy with.
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Old 02-02-2020, 05:59 PM
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As others have said steak.

Basic red sauce I can do WAY better than any restaurant but I'll make the exception if it's something that takes effort like veal parm or stuffed shells that I CAN do but I'm just to lazy to.

Roasted chicken. REALLY? $25 to throw a $3 bird in the oven and not be stupid enough to fuck up a dead simple dish?!
Fired chicken however I only eat out. Yes it's not really difficult but it makes a mess I just don't want to deal with - again, lazy.
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Old 02-02-2020, 06:17 PM
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As others have said steak.
How is that possible? It's almost certain you don't have access to the same quality of meat as restaurants do.
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Old 02-02-2020, 06:25 PM
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Steak, I’m no wizard at grilling but I can cook a steak just fine and pocket the $10 or so markup I’d pay at a restaurant.

Spaghetti, if the restaurant is famous for theirs I’d give it a try, but otherwise Cremete spaghetti noodles and Clasico Traditional Sweet Tomato Basil sauce can’t be beat for taste time and cost.

My wife and I make a feta, sautéed onion and walnut pizza that simply can’t be found anywhere else.
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Old 02-02-2020, 06:35 PM
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How is that possible? It's almost certain you don't have access to the same quality of meat as restaurants do.
Sure I do. Prime is available at Costco these days for Pete's sake. Now I don't dry age it like they might but I don't really like that anyway.
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Old 02-02-2020, 06:46 PM
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Ma-Po Tofu. And it's not like it's that hard to make either. It just doesn't taste right in restaurants.

Chili. Another one that not that hard to make well. I think it's because restaurants use lousy ingredients.

I will order a steak in restaurants simply because I'm reasonably sure it is cooked to order and not thawed in the microwave like some other entrees. I avoid places like that but sometimes you don't get to pick the place.
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Old 02-02-2020, 06:58 PM
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Oh yes the Ma-Po I've had around here is no good. Getting some of the ingredients was a pain but they keep for a while.
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Old 02-02-2020, 07:01 PM
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Comment from the peanut gallery: "Anything chicken"

Of course I'm usually the one cooking that chicken at home

I'm happy to order chicken at a restaurant.
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Old 02-02-2020, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by D'Anconia View Post
How is that possible? It's almost certain you don't have access to the same quality of meat as restaurants do.
As said above, you can get prime at Costco, and at upscale butchers, hell, even Whole Foods, you can find dry-aged steaks of whatever hell kind you want. This place in Wilmette, IL, for example, absolutely has restaurant quality meat, prime, dry-aged, the whole she-bang.

And, of course, with online sourcing, you can get it wherever the hell you are in the US now. For Christmas, I bought my brother, for example, a Japanese Wagyu A5 grade piece of meat (of course, it also cost $100 for a half pound, but I could get it.)

Last edited by pulykamell; 02-02-2020 at 07:13 PM.
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Old 02-02-2020, 07:55 PM
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How is that possible? It's almost certain you don't have access to the same quality of meat as restaurants do.
My grocery store sells USDA Prime 30 day dry aged rib eyes. They are pricey, but available
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Old 02-02-2020, 07:55 PM
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Only 2% of U.S. beef is prime. It mostly goes to restaurants and hotels, not the Jewel.

https://www.thespruceeats.com/what-is-prime-beef-995266
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Old 02-02-2020, 08:00 PM
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The prime stamp is there for all to see in the meat counter. There were rib roasts available for christmas, stamped Prime. They were north of 400.00, but available
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Old 02-02-2020, 08:03 PM
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Only 2% of U.S. beef is prime. It mostly goes to restaurants and hotels, not the Jewel.

https://www.thespruceeats.com/what-is-prime-beef-995266
You can literally get it at Costco. Besides as you may have guessed from your citation most steak houses don't offer prime. Mom & Pop Charhouse is serving choice cuts, the exact same stuff you do in fact get at the Jewels
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Old 02-02-2020, 08:03 PM
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not many restaurants dry age either
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Last edited by longhair75; 02-02-2020 at 08:05 PM.
  #32  
Old 02-02-2020, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by D'Anconia View Post
Only 2% of U.S. beef is prime. It mostly goes to restaurants and hotels, not the Jewel.

https://www.thespruceeats.com/what-is-prime-beef-995266
That's true. You can still find it at Costco. It's not as impossible to source as you seem to think.

Last edited by pulykamell; 02-02-2020 at 08:07 PM.
  #33  
Old 02-02-2020, 08:05 PM
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Pizza. I have never seen my favorite pizza in any restaurant. It is made with basil pesto sauce, soft goat cheese, kalamata olives, walnuts, and mozzarella cheese. I make the dough and my wife fills it.

Meat loaf: mine is simply better than what you find in a restaurant.

When I eat out I order something I likely cannot make at home, most likely because it is too complicated or I cannot readily find the ingredients.
  #34  
Old 02-02-2020, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by D'Anconia View Post
Only 2% of U.S. beef is prime. It mostly goes to restaurants and hotels, not the Jewel.

https://www.thespruceeats.com/what-is-prime-beef-995266

Quote:
The total beef production in the United States is estimated to reach 27.3 billion pounds in 2019.
2% of that comes to about 54 million pounds.

Just say that out loud.

54 MILLION POUNDS.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/...on-since-2000/

Last edited by zoid; 02-02-2020 at 08:10 PM.
  #35  
Old 02-02-2020, 08:16 PM
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not many restaurants dry age either
Yeah, wet-aging seems to be more popular around here. And with dry-aged, I used to go to Fox & Obels by Navy Pier when it was around to get my dry-aged steaks. Treasure Island (when it was around--I used to go the Hyde Park one) had it as well, and even the Whole Foods on Roosevelt has both dry-aged and prime steaks (or at least did last time I bought steaks there.) Sure, the Jewel ain't gonna carry prime (and Jewel butchers their steaks too thinly, anyway. Costco is my go-to for all my beef steak needs), but there's plenty of places where you can find it here, as well as quality dry-aged steaks (I'll personally take a dry-aged choice over a wet-aged prime). And when I make steak, those are the places I go to. It's rare I have a taste for steak, but when I do, I'm going to do it right.
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Old 02-02-2020, 08:25 PM
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pulykamell If you ever find yourself out in the western wastelands hit Joseph's - Awesome people and impeccable product
https://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=18993


But you probably already knew that
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Old 02-02-2020, 08:38 PM
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pulykamell If you ever find yourself out in the western wastelands hit Joseph's - Awesome people and impeccable product
https://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=18993


But you probably already knew that
I know Joseph's, but I've not been there yet. Thanks for reminding me. These 30-day dry aged prime ribeyes (scroll down) look fantastic.
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Old 02-02-2020, 09:03 PM
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Chili, roast chicken, meatloaf and some pastas are good examples of things I wouldn't order in a restaurant. I can make those as well or better at home and they just aren't worth the added cost at a restaurant.
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Old 02-02-2020, 10:00 PM
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Pulled pork, Chicken Tikki Masala, and especially anything with Alfredo sauce. Mine's way better.
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Old 02-02-2020, 10:29 PM
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That's true. You can still find it at Costco. It's not as impossible to source as you seem to think.
Hell, I've been ordering prime cuts from Amazon Fresh even.


I will order steaks from a restaurant if they have a wood burning grill.
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Old 02-02-2020, 10:30 PM
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Nothing. If I'm ordering something I or the wife can make better at home, it's because I'M NOT HOME AND/OR CAN'T BE ARSED TO COOK!
mostly this. If I'm stuck at a hotel, I might eat their cereal with milk for breakfast. I gotta eat something...

Quote:
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how are all you people making steaks at home that taste better than restaurant steaks?
....
Steak is pretty easy to cook. I do sometimes eat steak at a restaurant, but that probably means there's nothing else appealing on the menu. I trust most places to do a decent job of steak.

Do high end steak houses have access to a better grade of meat than I do? Yes. But I rarely eat at that sort of place. And it's not that much better than what I can get at the supermarket. Whereas if I'm spending that much to eat out, I can get something that I can't do at all at home. Or that's seasoned differently than what I would do.
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Old 02-02-2020, 10:32 PM
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Put me down as another one who almost never orders chicken in restaurants. I make chicken every which way and doubt that I can be pleasantly surprised by someone else’s.

And NYC restaurants have NEVER gotten fried chicken right.
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Old 02-02-2020, 11:03 PM
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White clam sauce.
Can I trouble you for the recipe? I haven't found any recipes I like as much as the white clam sauce at Maggiano's.
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Old 02-02-2020, 11:15 PM
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Steak, like so many of you. I also live in a wasteland where there's apparently no such thing as a great restaurant, but I honestly had NO idea it was so difficult to cook a medium rare steak.

Fried chicken, bones or not. I'll pick up a box at Bojangles occasionally if I just can't be bothered, but NEVER at a sit-down type establishment. You might think otherwise, here in the Deep South. I am regularly disappointed.

Meatloaf, mine is definitely better, especially the sauce. Chili, I like mine with some body and flavor. Most pasta sauces, any meal sized salad (though that's mostly the cost and they put weird stuff in - I can make a salad I like for 1/3 the price) and never things like sandwiches unless it's just something VERY unique. You're going to have a hard time impressing me by slapping some stuff on bread.
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Old 02-03-2020, 12:05 AM
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That's true. You can still find it at Costco. It's not as impossible to source as you seem to think.
Fair enough.

But I'd bet dollars to donuts that the posters claiming that their steaks are better than a steakhouse steak are not buying Prime cuts.

YMMV.
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Old 02-03-2020, 12:42 AM
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There are quite a few dishes where I prefer my version to any restaurant version, not because I'm a good cook but because I cook them exactly the way I like them and I can add whatever condiments I like
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Old 02-03-2020, 01:50 AM
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Nothing. If I'm ordering something I or the wife can make better at home, it's because I'M NOT HOME AND/OR CAN'T BE ARSED TO COOK!
This.

Though it is getting more difficult for e to eat out, so many places are using baking mixes or products that have palm oil in them, and I might as well save the money and stay at home with a bottle of bowel prep.

I also refuse to get crepes out, I can turn out a huge batch of crepes for the cost of one plate of them out. And I make a damned good crepe.
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Old 02-03-2020, 02:45 AM
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Fair enough.

But I'd bet dollars to donuts that the posters claiming that their steaks are better than a steakhouse steak are not buying Prime cuts.

YMMV.

The people in this thread have not only told you they're using prime cuts, but also where they buy them.


Not sure why you keep pushing back on this.
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Old 02-03-2020, 02:59 AM
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my dad had a rule that if he took us out we couldn't order anything that could be made at home .... so we usually ended up ordering something expensive and complicated only problem is people get mad these days and tell me "why can't ya get something cheap?

Like when we went to subway and a relative ordered a ham and American cheese sandwich and I get stiffed 5.50 for it ..... I was pissed... I had the sandwich of the month which I couldn't make at home like I was taught to
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Old 02-03-2020, 07:01 AM
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Cooking steak at home is hit or miss for me - I've had the single best steak of my life at home, a couple good ones, and lots of mediocre ones. But up until the last holiday season I wouldn't say I cook them better than at restaurants - until I ate at Applebee's. I can confidently say that their steak was below my average effort.
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