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#31 of 53 Old 01-10-2011, 09:05 AM
 
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We currently live in a little town with a Subway, two places open at breakfast, five places that serve lunch, and three places that serve an evening meal.  They are all pretty cheap except for the places that serves steaks and seafood.  We also have a bakery and a grocery store that sells lots of prepared foods.  I'm not in love with any off them but one has decent breakfast, another good burgers, and a third is a good place for pie and a cup of coffee. 

 

We end up with eating out an entire meal sit down meal about once or twice per month, We also spend some on a random coffee, ice cream, slice of pizza or rare lunch out for DH.

 

We end up doing more eating out when we travel. We used to eat out much more when we had more choices.  We like ethnic choices too, but right now if we want decent pizza, pho, curry, mexican, or chinese we need to figure it out ourselves.  Sushi is on the meal plan for this week (per DS2 request).  I use the term loosely and a purist would find the nori, rice, veggie and krab with a K rolls we make pretty lame but we like them. It sure beats spending $50-60 dollars for sushi for four (plus the time and gas needed to get to there--at least 90 minutes of driving.)

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#32 of 53 Old 01-10-2011, 12:07 PM
 
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we rarely eat out all 6 of us, because it's always expensive (oldest two eat adult meals) and it's just not where we want to be putting money right now.  About 1-2 times a month, we'll order pizza (there's an awesome place around the corner form us that does $6 large pies that are soooooooo yummy)  We order 3 pies, and usually have leftovers to feed 1 or 2 kids for lunch the next day.  Or, we'll order chinese take-out, or hoagies - that's a bit more expensive, about $30 for all of us (with no leftovers)

 

When DH and I go out on date nights (average every 6 weeks or so) we usually go someplace down in Philly and that can range from super cheap (Indian, for $40) to crazy expensive (fancy french bistro - $150+) but the fancy ones are reserved for birthday/anniversary celebrations.  My father in law is a sommelier and has lots of friends in the restaurants downtown, so we go out with them occasionally (which is always a treat!) and generally that's to places we'd never go on our own because it's $$$$$.

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#33 of 53 Old 01-10-2011, 05:03 PM
 
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I am admittedly a finance geek. winky.gif

 

I update "Our Family Dining Guide" monthly. I just finished the 2010 year-end guide, so I have all this info right at my fingertips.

 

Some background info: We live in a High COL. We are a family of 3. DD is 9 and eats more than I do, but we often share an entree (depending on a few factors). My dad lives very close and will join us when we go out sometimes. I use restaurants.com to get gift certificates for the local places we like (and we try new places this way). We are in the Veg Club for Souplantation and never pay full price there. I calculate our "price per person" average by taking the entire bill (includes tax and tip and any parking fees) and then divide that by the number of diners (usually 2-4). We generally order 2-3 entrees and 2-3 waters. DD sometimes orders milk. DH sometimes order a soda. I sometimes order something besides water (sparkling fruity drinks are my treat). Once in awhile, we will order one dessert to share. Most of the places around here serve large portions, so sharing an entree with DD is great if we don't want leftovers. DH will share something from his entree with us, also. If we get 3 entrees, we usually have at least one lunch portion and sometimes 2 or 3 for leftovers.

 

These are all the places we dined in or got take-out from in 2010:

2010 Restaurants         Price per Person

School lunch                  $2.00

La Salsa                         $4.16

Boudin's Bakery             $5.91

Studio Diner*                  $6.35

La China*                       $6.79

Rubio's                           $7.05

Souplantation                 $7.24

Gaetanos*                       $7.90

Spice House Cafe*          $8.00

Giovanni's*                      $8.73

Fish Bucket*                    $9.61

Islands                             $9.69

Red Robin                       $11.60

Mimi's Cafe                     $12.00

Outback                          $20.00

Sierra Pacific*                 $22.53 (fanciest by far)

Cheesecake Factory       $29.31

 

* Locally-owned places and over half offer GCs through restaurants.com. Those places would be considerably higher otherwise.

 

The last three restaurants were once each during the year (DH's birthday with a gc, our anniversary with a gc, and my birthday with no reduction). Our monthly 'dining' budget was $130 last year. We spent an average of $101 per month and we had 52 meals at the above places (breakfast, lunch, or dinner) total for the year, including 10 school lunches for DD.

 

Note: We may have dined elsewhere and paid cash, but I don't track cash expenses. Costco for lunch happens once in awhile (less than once a month) and is an example of this. I usually get the chicken Caesar salad and share with DD, if we don't want leftovers (not going home directly afterwards). DD loves that chicken bake thing and eats about half then and takes the other half to school the next day. (When she does that, I either share the chicken with DH or have the rest of the salad later that same day.) DH will get a slice of pizza. We usually have water with us whenever we are out. I don't know the exact prices off the top of my head, but I believe that would average a little over $3 per person when we all get something and about $2 per person when DD & I share.

 

Pizza night is not common here. At least not as a meal like the rest of you are talking about. Gaetanos is a local Italian restaurant and we usually get 2 entrees delivered when we order from there (includes salads or soups + garlic bread, and DH's typical entree includes a side dish of spaghetti). However, DD's school does fundraisers using their pizzas three times a year at the school. We pay cash for those nights and each have a slice of pizza ($2 each) and a bottle of water ($1 each). Sometimes a parent will offer fresh fruit cups (fundraiser) and we'll buy 2 of those ($1-2 each) or we'll get 1-3 fruit popsicles (75 cents each), if someone is still hungry. Once in a blue moon, we'll pick up a Costco pizza for dinner ($10.99) which we'll order half and half or even in thirds to satisfy us all. They are great about doing that! We'll have 2-3 lunches leftover. Sometimes, we'll walk to Round Table Pizza for dinner and do the same thing (order in halves or thirds) for $14-16 (using a coupon). Their pizzas are smaller and when we did this (obviously not in 2010 because Round Table didn't show up in my report and we wouldn't have paid cash there), DD was younger and ate less and we still rarely came home with leftovers. In fact, we used to do this when she received a Baskin-Robbins free ice cream GC from school and we'd be hungry enough to have small cones after the pizza. (They are in the same area of our community and less than a mile walk each way from our house.) DH is the big pizza fan in our house and we will make them himself (from scratch) more than anything else. If he is the only one who wants them, he will make English muffins from scratch and then the sauce and then the mini pizzas. If we all want pizza, he'll make a pizza dough and go from there.


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#34 of 53 Old 01-11-2011, 07:58 AM
 
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What an interesting thread.

 

As a rule, we avoid chains and support local businesses. I can't remember the last time we ate at a chain restaurant.  All my cost figures are based on 3 people. 

 

Breakfast at any of the local mom & pop places - $15 to $20

 

Dinner at a local social club (fire company, fraternal organization, etc.) - $20 to $40 including beers and appetizers and something like burgers or fried chicken for an entree

 

Dinner at a local casual restaurant - $40 - $60 including one appetizer and beer or wine for the adults

 

Dinner at a really great local upscale place - $100 or more. this includes one appetizer or salad and wine.

 

The only ethnic restaurants in my area are Chinese, there seems to be a Chinese buffet every quarter of a mile down the road.  There is one Mexican place that is good (in the $40 - $60 category) and one Japenese place (same category)  I wish there were more ethnic places.

 

We don't eat out often.  I admit to being a foodie and I rather stay home and cook a really great meal that go out for something medicore. 

 

My "rules" for going out are 1.) the meal must be cheaper and faster than I can do at home and/or 2.) something I can't/won't cook at home.  For example, I can't make sushi at home so we go to the Japanese place for that.  


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#35 of 53 Old 01-11-2011, 08:12 AM
 
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We have a family of four.  My two daughters are insanely picky eaters so they don't really eat much. And our youngest is autistic so if we go into dine somewhere, we try to leave her with grandma. Which means we don't go out to eat a lot.  She's difficult to take care of.

 

Fast food (which of course we try to avoid) Under $20 - Chipotle, around $25

Sit down can range anywhere from 30-$70 depending on where we go.  My favorite Texas De Brazil which is very expensive (To me).  We only go there when we get the buy one get one free coupon and it's still $70.  But oh man is it good.

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#36 of 53 Old 01-11-2011, 08:13 AM
 
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For about $35 at a local chinese takeout place we get

 

4 orders appetizer

2 entrees with rice

large fried rice

free chicken dish

 

It feeds 2 adults and 6 children (they eat the appetizers as meals).  Normally we have leftovers.

 

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#37 of 53 Old 01-11-2011, 08:46 AM
 
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Hmmm.  We never eat at chains or eat fast food.  Typically we "save" our dining out budget for one big/fancy meal.  Typically my husband and I spend about $250 for dinner when we go out-this includes tip. We have been as high as $350/400 but that is an exception.

 

When we do go out as family it is usually a local Thai place (about $40-50), a local Japanese/sushi place ($50-60) or local pizza/Italian (a little higher end ie: wood grilled ovens, nice tables, full bar, homemade pasta, etc ($30-60 depending if we get pizza or full meal).

 

My husband and both drink so that keeps the tab higher.  We both usually get a cocktail to start and a glass of wine or beer with dinner.


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#38 of 53 Old 01-11-2011, 09:47 AM
 
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We are a family of three but dd is only 3 y/o so she gets a kids plate or a side of pasta or appetizer when we eat out which is rare these days. Even though we are in a very HCOL area we keep costs down by ..

 

1. Never ordering drinks. Once in a while my dh will get a soda but dd and I will always have water.

2. Sharing one dessert and appetizer if we even order them at all.

3. We are vegetarians which is just lucky that the veg option is usually a lot cheaper than the meat dishes. 

 

Pizza is about $20-$25 a pie with a topping or two including delivery & tip. 

Chinese is our best deal - $16-$20 also with delivery & tip and we always have enough for a full lunch the next day. 

Subway is the only fast food we ever get and that's about $10-$15 for two foot longs that the three of us share and we will sometimes save a piece for dh's lunch the next day. 

Breakfast is $6-$10 for the local bagel place and $20-$25 for the three of us to sit down and eat somewhere. 

For our fancy local places for a nice sit down meal it's $40-$80 with tip.

 

Once a few years ago, my dh's company gave us a dinner out for him doing a ton of extra work. We really splurged since it wasn't our money - two appetizers, two desserts and even both got a glass of wine which we never do because of cost. With a generous tip it was $120 or $130 and it was a really fancy place. I would have passed out if we had to actually pay that bill. It's amazing how different things are for everyone. 

 

 

 


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#39 of 53 Old 01-11-2011, 10:14 AM
 
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What an interesting thread. 

 

We have a few chains that we like (Longhorn's is one), but mostly smaller places.  I have 3 small children, who can still be satisfied by side dishes (for instance, at a Mexican restaurant, we order them a side of beans and a side of tortillas, and they eat bean tacos), we drink water, and because of logistics, we most often eat lunch.  Even in our pre-children days, we rarely drank alcohol at restaurants, preferring to do that at home.


Dh and I have a favorite "fancy" place, where we go for celebrations.  James Beard award winner, fresh, local, yadda, yadda.  Plus, it's 10 minutes from my parents, the wonderful free grandma babysitter.   LOL.  We go there for early bird prix fixe menu, which is $25 each.  And that's once or twice a year splurging. 

 

Every now and then, I take my kids to Chick-fil-A to play at the playground.  The 4 of us eat for about $10, but again, they are little. 

 

Otherwise, we eat lots of Mexican ($1 taco taqueria types, sit-down restaurants, and mariscerias), Indian (but our favorite is sort of family style fast food Indian--food comes in big dishes, then there is a stack of plates, cups, and pitchers of water for you to take to your table yourself), Turkish (one is fast food--order at the counter type, and our other favorite is fancier, but we usually get take-out), and a great Thai/Malaysian place.  For all of those, we average about $25.  That's 2 entrees, an extra side dish/appetizer or two, and water to drink. 

 

 

 

 

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#40 of 53 Old 01-11-2011, 10:32 AM
 
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Forgot to add that most places we go to don't have kids menus which is A-OK with me since my son was never a chicken nugget/mac n cheese kind of kid.  When our son was a toddler he would eat whatever I ordered. As he got older the places we ate at would make any adult entree "child sized" and cut the price by 50-75%. 

 

Unfortunately now he orders his own entree so that gets the tab up there too! Don't get me started on sushi- this kid can eat his body weight!, LOL

 

I also wanted to say that our goal is never to eat out for the cheapest we can. That's why we usually end up using our eat-out budget on one really good meal a month than a bunch of quick food on the run kind of meals or a couple of take outs. We (my son included) like order meals that are hard or too complicated for us to prepare at home.  We like to relax and enjoy the atmosphere.  We like to order whatever intrigues us and not be worried about the bill.

 

Of course this all moot right now since I am doing January Pantry and No spend challenges this month, LOL.  I hope to put our eat out budget towards and new fridge!


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#41 of 53 Old 01-11-2011, 01:40 PM
 
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We are a mom, dad and three young children.

 

A little over $20 feeds the family at Mickey-D's, inasmuch as Mickey-D's can be said to "feed" anyone. 

 

We can get out of Denny's or IHOP for under $40, out of Applebee's or Chile's for under $50. 

 

Indian lunch buffet is a little over $40 since DH insists on adding on a lassi. 

 

Chinese takeout is $40 and creates lunch leftovers. 

 

"Real" restaurants, just DH and me, are going to be at least $70 and I don't give a flip, because guess how often we get to go out and eat as a couple? 

 

As a family, we LOVE eating out. Taking three kids to a restaurant is a supreme hassle, and our current locale is not know for fine dining, so we're not in a phase where we do it much, but when they are older and we live in a city? Boo-yeah. Food carts and ethnic takeout every. freaking. day. if we can afford it. I will save the planet some other way. winky.gif

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#42 of 53 Old 01-16-2011, 04:47 PM
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Usually it's the two of us eating out, so two adults. The chains we occasionally go to are Chipotle and Sweet Tomatoes, and we always have a coupon for the latter. Depending on how good the coupon is, either of those will run us $12-18 (no tip at Chipotle but a couple of bucks at Sweet Tomatoes. Oh, and we make occasional fast food runs, but that's more about being stuck in the car and in a hurry and hungry than about eating out, really...

 

Other than that we go to ethnic places, and usually pay between $15-$30 for the two of us, including tax and tip. There's an Ethiopian place in our town that does a mixed vegetarian plate that literally feeds four women, for $10 or so... but that seems way too cheap so we always get sambusas or coffee there too, if there are four of us eating there. We love Indian food, too. I haven'd found a Mexican place here that I like, but that's to be expected I guess... I grew up in Tucson and traveled to Mexico regularly, and now I'm in Missouri. 

 

Oh, and we've been trying places with groupons more lately, too, and that's fun and usually saves me 50% or so. :)


 
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#43 of 53 Old 01-16-2011, 09:05 PM
 
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We're a family of 4 in a high COL area. There's a lot of variation on how much a meal out costs. We can easily eat for $25 somewhere simple like Rubio's or Souplantation, but we can also easily spend $100+ at Cheesecake Factory or our favorite Italian place. Our favorite Mexican place is usually about $60 for the 4 of us. Chinese takeout for us costs about $30. Pizza is about the same. Going out for Japanese can cost $30 or $150 depending on if it's lunch or dinner and what we order.

 

I do admit that occasionally (I try for once a month, but I'm not always able to go every month) I go out to Mom's Night Out with girlfriends, and it can get very pricey for just me depending on where we go. I'm going out for Mexican with the girl's next weekend and it'll probably be about $25 (including tip) if I only have one margarita. If we were going somewhere more expensive it could easily come to $75 (it has in the past). So, lots of variation.

 

If I go somewhere expensive and spend a lot I don't do much eating out for a while. If I go to a cheaper place I'll probably go out to eat again within a week or so. DH and I both enjoy trying new places and new foods, and we love introducing the kids to new foods as well.


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#44 of 53 Old 01-16-2011, 09:54 PM
 
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What an interesting thread.  I've enjoyed reading everyone's responses!  We have six kids age 10-15 and so don't go out too often.  Going out for us has a wide range of spending options.  I tell the kids we can go out to Mickey D's more often for less money.  Everyone prefers much nicer places, of course.  There's three of them that would always and forever choose the fine china and white table cloth experience.  Mickey D's is Dollar Menu. Chicken or beef, three large fries, water only for the kids, pop for mom and dad, always under $20.  Taco bell is usually under $15.  Skipping the pop is the best choice we make.  Water.

If we go to Outback, it will be about $120, most of the kids will get the kids' meal and eat it all. I get so frustrated seeing people buy a meal that the kid never eats!  My kids love steak and will readily eat a steak dinner with potato and vegetable. A local Italian place is always $80.  The kids share entrees because the portions are huge.  Half a salad, half a soup, and half a chicken parm with ziti is still a huge dinner.  Usually my youngest will just get some of everyone else's.She is not a picky eater and loves to try new stuff so she likes the surprise of getting a sampler platter.  We went to a Greek restaurant in Orlando, that is $225 incl tip.  Everyone tried new things and had a great time.  If we go to Red Robin, it is always $80, never dessert but always onion ring tower and another appetizer.  Four oldest kids split two adult burger choices, they pair up with the same partner since they love the same dish.  That sharing enables them to enjoy appetizers, which they know. The two youngest just order kid meals, they're economical since they'll eat all of it and offer good choices like vegetables. 

We try to not choose places where they offer the trite chicken nuggets, pizza, mac 'n' cheese, or bread/cheese sandwich with fries and a pop.  We call those accomodation menus.  If you can't eat what the restaurant is servering to the grownups, stay home, lol.  Smaller portions is great, enabling kids to eat just those four junky dishes is not responsible. And don't forget the buttered noodle kids!  If we eat out at Chinese, the kids get Chinese, not mac 'n' cheese. If we eat a a Chinese place that is not buffet (I'm just not a fan) then we'll get a Sesame chicken, something all the kids like and it is always pretty consistent on taste so they know what to expect, then a couple other things that mom and dad pick.  They'll all get some of each.  Chinese for us is take out since the best tasting place is only delivery!  It is about $40 and we always get enough steak on a stick for everyone.  Egg rolls for those that want them, and the dinners.  German food was a hit but was pretty expensive.  We had taken relatives with us and our party totalled 14 and the bill was $400.  Everyone except the youngest got a dinner, she was the sampler kid again.  We also had three appetizers and everyone had dessert since the place had a great reputation for specialties. 

Even though the kids LOVE them, we avoid all you can eat buffets like Homestyle and Old Country.  I personally don't care for the food, the kids always want to eat only dessert and get sick. 

We go to Rainforest Cafe on vacation and that is always $100 for standard burger fare.  But it's a tradition!

We do take one or two kids out with us on occasion and then they may order whatever they like including pop.  That makes it a special treat and they get to order different things.  We've found the bill to be as much with two as it is with all six of them because of that.  But everyone gets special time that way. 

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#45 of 53 Old 01-17-2011, 02:55 AM
 
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When we are home in the States we get pizza once a month or so -- $20.  There is a Mexican place we like too, but that runs us $40-$50 for a family of 5.  Once a year, dh and I get a babysitter and go out for a fabulous meal that runs us about $100.  That includes wine, a shared appetizer and two meals.  Maybe a dessert, but usually not.    

 

We are in Sweden right now and the grocery store prices are about a 1/3 more.  Eating out is tremendously expensive and not something we will do very often.  Even the locals eat at home.  If you go out, it is for a coffee or a beer at happy hour.  It is perfectly polite and acceptable to order one drink and nurse it for an hour or more while you are out with friends.  

 

I know it sounds strange to my American friends, but IKEA has a nice cafeteria here that serves a good meal for $6-8.  Sunday afternoon is packed with families, so we have done that once.  The food was good and the bill came to less than $35. 


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#46 of 53 Old 01-17-2011, 09:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthiegirl View Post

We are in Sweden right now and the grocery store prices are about a 1/3 more.  Eating out is tremendously expensive and not something we will do very often.  Even the locals eat at home.  If you go out, it is for a coffee or a beer at happy hour.  It is perfectly polite and acceptable to order one drink and nurse it for an hour or more while you are out with friends.  

 

I know it sounds strange to my American friends, but IKEA has a nice cafeteria here that serves a good meal for $6-8.  Sunday afternoon is packed with families, so we have done that once.  The food was good and the bill came to less than $35. 

You're not kidding about eating out in Sweden! Rain and I did the backpacking around Europe thing last summer and I about had a heart attack in Stockholm. I did love the Knäckis at Nystekt Strömming (weird moment - the family working at the stand were speaking among themselves in Arabic and I responded in the same without thinking) and we had gotten a hotel through Destination Stockholm that came with a huge breakfast buffet (that turned out to be an awesome deal), but even getting coffee for the two of us could be $10-$15.

 

IKEA's meatballs rock!
 


 
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#47 of 53 Old 01-17-2011, 02:57 PM
 
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Hmmm... this is tricky.  Because of dd1's celiac disease there are only a few restaurants we can go to.  And only one of those has a "children's menu" that has a gluten free option so in general we have to pay full price.  We're in a HCOL region.

 

There is a small Chinese all-you-can-eat buffet that we have been eating at since I was about 12 (I'm 36 now lol).  Over the years they've gotten to know us really well and they've been wonderful about keeping dd1 gluten free.  Since it's a flat rate buffet with different prices based on age, we end up paying for two adults, two children, and our youngest is free.  Total bill, with hot tea, is $29 dollars.

 

There is a Mexican restaurant that is part of a local chain (they have four restaurants I believe).  If we order off the pre-set menu (two adult, three children) the total is $28.  Drinks would add to the total but we nromally have water.

 

Both of those are fun family places, but they certainly don't use local or organic foods.  For local, organic, or generally "high quality" food the price is significantly higher.

 

Not too far away is an amazing (and very Celiac friendly!) BBQ joint.  Fabulous food, locally sourced, and prepared with some serious attitude.  But at an hour and a half away it's a "once a year" type outing.  Eating from the lunch menu the tab for 2 adults and three children is around $80-100 dollars (depending on what drinks are ordered, or what desserts are on the menu).  Eating from the dinner menu is about $100-120.  For that we'll get four half chicken platters (half chicken, three sides), a hungry man type platter (chicken, ribs, pulled pork and three sides), and then dessert is usually ice cream for the kiddos and key lime pie for the adults.

 

Closer to home there is a wonderful Cajun style restaurant that is our "fancy celebration but still kid friendly" spot.  So again, maybe once a year.  They don't offer a gluten free children's menu but do make sure that dd1's plate/portion "looks" a bit more kid friendly even though it's their standard adult plate.  Foods are local, organic, and seasonal, with information provided on where everything came from, when it was harvested or butchered, and so on.  Dinner for two adults and three kiddos is around $120 if everyone orders a simple platter with water and no dessert.  But since this is our "celebration spot" we only go when we're celebrating so... we generally have a few drinks and desserts and even appetizers!  So $180 is more likely.

 

All that said, we eat out less than once a month and go to a "fancy" restuarant maybe once a year.  Before kids (and even before the celiac diagnosis) we did go out more frequently... maybe twice or even three times a month.  The China Buffet was always a favorite, but also places like Applebees or Friendlys that are no longer an option for us.


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#48 of 53 Old 01-17-2011, 03:28 PM
 
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I live in a low cost of living area, with few choices.  Our family of 5 can eat out for $30 on average. 


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#49 of 53 Old 01-17-2011, 04:55 PM
 
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We live in a high COL area, and just the other night we went for indian food with me, DH, and and 5 yo DD and it was $70!  BYOB!  DH and I discussed and said we'll only go back for buffet in the future, which is way more reasonable.  Things are just expensive here.

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#50 of 53 Old 01-18-2011, 10:24 AM
 
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We are in Sweden right now and the grocery store prices are about a 1/3 more.  Eating out is tremendously expensive and not something we will do very often.  Even the locals eat at home.  If you go out, it is for a coffee or a beer at happy hour.  It is perfectly polite and acceptable to order one drink and nurse it for an hour or more while you are out with friends.  

 

I know it sounds strange to my American friends, but IKEA has a nice cafeteria here that serves a good meal for $6-8.  Sunday afternoon is packed with families, so we have done that once.  The food was good and the bill came to less than $35. 

You're not kidding about eating out in Sweden! Rain and I did the backpacking around Europe thing last summer and I about had a heart attack in Stockholm. I did love the Knäckis at Nystekt Strömming (weird moment - the family working at the stand were speaking among themselves in Arabic and I responded in the same without thinking) and we had gotten a hotel through Destination Stockholm that came with a huge breakfast buffet (that turned out to be an awesome deal), but even getting coffee for the two of us could be $10-$15.

 

IKEA's meatballs rock!
 


That food stand looks great.  I never thought I would say it, but fried herring is delicious.  We plan to take the train to Stockholm next month and I bookmarked that as a good food spot.  Thanks.   And what a great adventure for you!  I love to travel.....


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#51 of 53 Old 01-18-2011, 11:23 AM
 
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We live in a high COL area but we do have a wide variety of options food and price-wise.  We don't do fast-food restaurants - but we do order fast food in the sense that it is carry-out (Indian, Mexican, Japanese, Chinese, etc.).  We prefer to bring it home and do our own thing without the pretense.  We may do this once or twice a month and depending on the cuisine, it usually runs us about $25.  We tend to over-order so that we can snack on it for several days.

 

Prices range wildly here.  Across the street from my office is an Indian restaraunt (which caters mostly to business people) which has minimum prices for an entree starting at $18 (not including drinks, appetizers, etc.).  About twenty blocks south, we visit an Indian lunch counter-type place and we can get a huge meal for the three of us for under $20.  About another twenty blocks south, we can get the same type of food from a place where cabbies eat for under $10.  Same type of food for all, but location and clientele really dictate the prices.

 

When we do eat out, it is generally on Saturday nights and it is usually at family-run type restaurants.  For a party of three with drinks for DH and I, the bill usually runs about $40.  Sometimes DD and I go to a local diner for Saturday morning breakfast, and the bill usually runs about $7.  Since we are vegetarian/vegans, we are primarily limited to pastas, rice dishes and salads unless it is a specific vegetarian restaurant.  So ultimately, we're paying less than the average customer. 

 

Several times a year, DH and I go out to see music and we try to go to a nice restaurant.  There are several high-end vegan restaurants that we like and with drinks, etc. we usually pay about $80. 


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#52 of 53 Old 01-18-2011, 11:32 AM
 
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Usually about $60 for me, DH and DD1, incl. beer/wine.  We tend to go for non-chain ethnic casual.  A few times a year it'll be 80ish, and maybe once a year DH and I will spend $200-300 for a fancy anniversary or birthday dinner with plenty of booze, apps, dessert, whole 9 yds (usually that's partially a gift certificate, thanks mom or dad!)

 

Quick take out (pizza, fish & chips, subs) is around 20-40.  We try not to do fast food but I do have a weakness for occasional vegetarian Taco Bell and it's usually about $15.


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#53 of 53 Old 01-18-2011, 11:34 AM
 
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We don't eat fast food or at chains. We live in an exensive urban area and tend to go to places with good quality meat and farmer's market veg, etc. Varies widely. Probably $10-15pp at lunch and 40pp at dinner. We tend to overorder to generate leftovers. We also eat a sushi, which is more. And a couple of times a year we splurge on meals that are going to be closer to $300. But even a pizza is going to cost close to $30. But we never to steakhouses anymore because we can buy such good quality meat locally. Cooking a good steak is easy. Making an Indian feast is not. We can also go to lot of ethnic neighborhoods, even cities, for excellent regional everything and that is cheaper, even at the feast level. The quality of the cooking is great. The quality of the meat is not. We also buy a certain amount of high quality prepared foods for the kids at lunch when we aren't there.

 

And yes, these are all sources that we should cut for a more frugal lifestyle.

 

ETA: Why ARE kids menus so lousy? I just want a smaller portion, not junk! We are at a really nice fish restaurant the other day and I got one fish and one macaroni and cheese. It was Kraft!!! Seriously. I don't serve Kraft to my kids at home.

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