How often has this happened to you?
You walk into a restaurant knowing that it is pricey. You have a budget of how much you want to spend, then you add up the numbers in your head as you order each item, but somehow it all gets confusing, you lose count, and you receive a bill with a total that you were not expecting at all. Then you wonder, was the food worth it? Was the experience worth the extra $35 I did not plan on spending?
So let me sum up to you what happened to me last night.
I like food. Just a FYI. And because I like food, I want to have as much of it as I can. So I would rather choose a less fancy place where I can get more for my buck, then a place where the food looks pretty and the ambiance is chic. I am not implying that all expensive restaurants have pretty looking food and are chic looking or vise versa, but it just seems to be my experience a lot of the time.
Several months ago I received a $50 gift certificate to a restaurant near me that many people have been raving about. I was not sure when I was going to use it, but after a tough week for my friend and I, I decided that last night was a good time to redeem this certificate.
Before I go to any restaurant I have a habit of reviewing their menu and determining what I want to get before I get there. So I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to order. Honestly speaking, I did not want to go over $60 and I did not see how that would be the case if both my friend and I ordered items that combined equaled less than $25 each. The mains ranged from $17 to $35 and I decided to go with the steak for $25 and only tap water to drink. My friend had planned to get the salmon for $22 and at the last-minute decided to go with a daily special. This special was written on a board and did not have a price next to it. I had a strong feeling that it was going to be over budget, but I did not want to deny my friend her request. She also ordered a diet coke with a refill. Unfortunately the refills were not free, so she was charged $6 for 2 diet cokes that really constituted one whole can when you factored in the amount of ice they gave you.
Finally, I knew that I wanted to get their bread pudding. The bread pudding was really the reason I wanted to go to this restaurant since I had it once before and loved it. In retrospect I wish I could have just ordered 2 bread puddings and left it at that.
So the total?
Steak Frites (my order) $25
Special of fish and chips (friend’s order) $28
Diet coke (friend’s drink) $6
Bread pudding (shared) $9
Total before taxes and tip: $68
Final total: $85.84
As much as I loved the bread pudding, I did leave the restaurant frustrated (I will be reviewing this restaurant in detail later). I have a hard time deviating from a plan when in Toronto (where I live), though I do not have this problem at all when traveling. At home I like structure. On the road I am carefree. In fact, I hate timelines, schedules and plans when traveling. But darn! $35.84 off budget!
Do you want to see the bread pudding I had to have?
Here you have it. A bread pudding made with salted espresso caramel, candied walnuts and chantilly cream. It was served hot with a fresh strawberry.