I used to really enjoy eating out in restaurants. That’s where good food was, afterall.
Then I developed a passion for cooking. Travel fueled it. So did gardening, Food TV, and exposing myself to a lot of culinary education. As time went on, I got more and more disappointed with the quality of food at restaurants. It’s to a point when my wife and I choose to eat out, it’s neary always a cheap asian place [good value]. That and fine dining once a year for our ‘staff xmas party’. Much beyond that, and I’d rather cook it myself, thanks. That must sound snobby.
For example. I used to call Boston Pizza my ‘favorite restaurant’. Don’t ask me why – this was back in university. Now, I’d far rather make my own pizza at home from scratch [dough, sauce, and all] than set foot in BP’s. Not only is it going to taste better, but I know what’s in it, and it costs $3 rather than $23. And value matters a lot to me when it comes to food.
On our recent trip to France, I was eager to eat some ‘real’ restaurant food. After much research, a plane ticket, and a few euros, some of my faith was restored as I ate foie gras, tete de veau, and vanilla bean custard on vanilla bean ice cream. Accordingly, my ‘new’ favorite restaurant is the Perraudin in Paris. www.restaurant-perraudin.com [Oooh – sounding snobby again]. But as a whole, crossing border after border, I encountered few things I couldn’t pull off respectably on my own for far cheaper. Even in Italy. The best food by far I ate in Italy was in someone’s home [more on that another day]. What a piss off this was.
And it wasn’t a passing observation – it will influence how we travel from now on. ‘Never again without having my own kitchen’ – I resolved. It seems ridiculous to me to walk through cheese shops, wine shops, meat shops, bakeries, patisseries, and local markets bursting with seasonal vegetables, fruits, and local products – and not be smart and take advantage. You could collect a wicked AND economical meal in these places. I’m not knocking the restaurant industry here – they have overhead, staffing, and profitability to worry about. What I am saying is that, short of a few exceptions, eating in restaurants is no longer for me.