I’ve been thinking about this all weekend. Bonaparte and I went to our favorite restaurant Saturday evening—Spring Mill Café in Conshohocken. We were celebrating his birthday in the best way we knew how—by dining.
Our favorite place–Spring Mill Cafe! Philly’s best and it’s BYOB!!
So, what was I thinking about? I’ll tell you.
Back when I was working for the healthcare company in Wayne; the one that closed the very last day in December of 2014 and started my bout with unemployment and, consequently, the birth of this blog, I worked with a co-worker who made a remark that stuck with me since she made it.
We were making office small talk about dinner. It was no secret that she and her husband went “out to eat” at least three times a week. The reason being that she was too tired to cook when she arrived home. And due to her fatigue, she and her husband would get in the car, drive to a chain restaurant, have dinner and then go back home.
I’m so tired. I sat at a desk all day and pretended to work!
While we were having this conversation, I did mention that we, Bonaparte and I, rarely went out to dinner because I cooked at home. And when we did go out, it was because of a special occasion or event.
And the following remark that she made was the one that stuck with me. She said “Oh—you’re just too cheap to go out to eat”
Yes. Just call me a member of cheapskates anonymous–Bonaparte can only dream about that one with the way I spend!
There were quite the number of replies that I could have thrown back at her. I could have mentioned that it is far healthier to cook at home rather than go to a cheap chain and eat fat-laden garbage. Or I could have mentioned that when we do go out to dinner, we dine and spend quite a good amount of money for sustainable food. But I didn’t want to go there because I would have sounded bitchy.
Yeah. I coulda talked some smack too–but then I would have been called into HR!
I just shrugged it off. After all, living with a Frenchman was making me quite the expert on The French Shrug!
A “meh” and a shrug leaves more of an impact anyway! Oui!
Then again, this was a woman who judged a restaurant by the quantity of food rather than the quality of food served. The more food on the plate meant a better restaurant. Less food meant poor quality.
This is not how I rate a restaurant–trust me, I love a great cheeseburger and fries, but in human portions!
And it’s hard to judge because when my kids were young and with the running around that I did with their baseball, basketball, soccer, Irish Dance, field hockey, guitar lessons and various other activities crammed into an ever-changing schedule, there were those nights when we would head to a chain for a quick dinner. My chain of choice was Pizza Hut—and I can’t stand pizza but the bread sticks with a salad were an ideal meal for me back then.
Hey man, if Pizza Hut was good enough for Ringo then it was good enough for me and my kids!!
There were also the nights that I would stop at White Castle on the way home from Oona’s dance lessons. And the nights we went to Old Country Buffet. Boston Market was my take-out of choice but I always had room for Taco Bell!
No–that would be ME during the middle of the night after Boston Market take out!
So, I really can’t come off as self-righteous here.
But what bothered me was being called “cheap”. I love a bargain, but I dare say that declining to go out three times a week to a chain restaurant dinner is called cheap.
For all her fatigue from work and being too tired to cook, it takes more time and energy to get back into the car, drive to the restaurant, get a parking spot, wait for a table, sit down and wait to be served, wait for the food to come, eat, wait for the check, pay for the food, get back in the car and drive home. Not to mention the cost.
How long does it take to open a box of pasta, heat up frozen broccoli and toss it together with the pasta and add a bit of olive oil and parmesan cheese? How long does it take to grill a chicken breast and have a salad? All in the comfort of your own home.
And if you don’t like broccoli there’s always cherry tomatoes! Less time to boil the water and throw the pasta in then to drive to a local chain for dinner!
Perhaps Bonaparte and I are frugal rather than downright cheap.
And Saturday evening, we dined. And we had a marvelous time! Come along with me while I relive our dinner. OK? You don’t even have to get dressed either! I’m in my pajamas now!
The weather was gloomy on Saturday so I wore my favorite brocade pants from Old Navy! They stretch so they are very meal-friendly if you know what I mean!
This is the “other” building at Spring Mill Cafe–little events and parties are held here-although we did have dinner here once and it is a charming little cottage!
We made our way to the restaurant…
…had the weather been nicer I would have been tempted to eat out on the patio.
Instead, we made our way to the restaurant via the front porch…
…where “our” table was waiting..
…and we enjoyed our Kir Royals...
…while the wine breathed!
We started off with our usual Country Pate Tasting.
The Birthday Man had his usual grass-fed steak..
While I went with Rack of Lamb and what a rack this was!
Bonaparte, who detests veggies, gagged when he saw the side of Kale that I ordered (and I ate the whole thing)! It was delicious!
And for dessert, a cream and berry festooned Mousse au Chocolat!
What say you? Do you prefer to dine or eat? Have your tastes in restaurants changed as you’ve gotten older-I definitely know my tastes have. I don’t like going to those places that I went to when the kids were young.
Well—one caveat. Taco Bell is my weakness!
Yes I do. I love me some Taco Bell and always will!
Here’s Fergie’s Glamoorous–the song where she sings about Taco Bell!