Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE eating out! How, why, and when did it all start? I don't know the real answer but I remember, as a kid, looking forward to my father coming home on a weekend because 1) my mother cooked (mainly boiled) everything until it was well-done and then 15 minutes more! I knew when my father was home it would be hot bread and bagels from the bakery, fresh salmon and cold cuts from the deli and then, after going to the Paradise Theatre to the movies , it was a Chinese dinner. To this day I remember my dad taking me to the Sun Luck West Gourmet Chinese restaurant in mid-town Manhattan and ordering me a frozen Daiquiri (without the rum) though I don't remember the occasion!
Wherever I traveled I remember the restaurants I ate at including the Lloyd's Coach House--a steak restaurant--where I ate a 72-ounce steak, a shrimp cocktail, salad, baked potato and cake Ala mode all for free because I ate it in less than an hour (and I still have a picture of the bill!)--in Laguna Beach, California, the Hawaiian Luau, in New York City Marchi's (my favorite restaurant of all time), Piccolo's in Miami Beach in the late 1950s, where I worked as a waiter for a couple of years, Big Louie's here in Fort Lauderdale for pizza and Cafe Vico where I had one of my best Leap Year birthday party ever. I have never forgotten Pappy's Lobster Shack in Memphis, the King's Cross restaurant in Sidney, Australia and I could go on and on and I have pictures of restaurants over 60 years that I ate in.
What brought this all up? Allen and I had lunch at Catfish Dewey's which opened in 1984 and was a big favorite of mine for their all you can eat Shrimp Monday & Tuesday night plus, yes, in a fish restaurant, all-you-can-eat beef prime rib ribs--I honestly don't remember what the shrimp cost but I think under $12 and the ribs were about $15. I looked at the prices when we went for lunch this past Friday and those items were double the price. As it was since neither item was on the menu for Friday so I ordered a seafood platter which was $30 and very not worth it. Allen had scallops for about the same price so by the time his (soft) drink taxes and the tip were added we paid $40 each---for lunch!!
Little by little, though still shocked, I have been getting used to the rise in prices due to Covid, shortage of supplies because of the Russian's war on Ukraine, inflation, though an average of $15-$20 per person for lunch in a full-service restaurant can certainly hit/hurt the budget!! In fact, the cheapest 'meal' (well a 'treat' after lunch) was a one-scoop ice cream cone at Dairy Queen!
Like most people I find the budget getting tighter, prices of everything items going up and, yes, inflation is hurting. When Covid first hit we stopped going to the theatre and eating dinner out plus it was awhile before the movies reopened and going every Friday and sometimes a Tuesday wasn't important anymore nor were movies.
Theatre going is gone--movie-going is fading--is eating out next? Can I give up jambalaya at the Quarterdeck? Garlic rolls at Big Louie's? Fajitas at Tequila Sunrise? Cheese Omelet with a side of pancakes at IHOP? A NY Strip at JMark's? How can I not try out restaurants for my 22nd birthday?
WHAT? NOT HAVE A LEAP YEAR DINNER PARTY?!