Saturday, March 07, 2009

Eating a $40 Meal at a Fancy Hotel

My wife and I headed to our room and gussied up a tad. We were quite happy that we didn't have to pay a dime for the fancy dinner; some generous soul had agreed to pay for four people who couldn't afford to go (or in my case, didn't believe that any meal could possibly be worth 40 bucks).

We stepped into the banquet hall about 15 minutes after the scheduled start (this was intentional as I knew there was to be some socializing before any food was served). I asked a maitre'd if I could have a soft drink. He responded that the agreement was just that they have coffee and water available. What a rip-off! I told my wife I was going to get something liquidy out of the vending machine.

I found a dispenser on the 3rd floor (it was just outside). This was actually the 2nd time I'd been serviced by the machine; we'd been there the night before to find some chocolate to munch on before going to sleep. It was there that we petted a cat, a cat that we found out was the hotel's (shades of the shop cats we'd seen over the past few days). The cat was there yet again as I put money in for a 20 ounce container of Gatorade (I also got some juice for my beloved).

Upon my return, I found a seat and asked for a cup of ice in which to put my tasty beverage. Ah, that's much better now. I feel almost human. A few minutes later, we got in the buffet line. I'm a relatively small portion guy, so just took some chicken, a bit of mashed potatoes and something else that escapes my mind at the moment (I knew I shoulda took more detailed notes). My wife piled it on as she was aiming to get her money's worth.

We sat down and began eating. The chicken wasn't bad, but it was several degrees inferior to what was served at our wedding 10 years prior. The other stuff was mostly rubbish. I wondered if any of the others felt the same. No one was letting on at this point.

I tried two desserts hoping for better luck, but again, both were shit. My wife actually liked one of the items I didn't have the heart to finish. OMG. I can't believe how many sentences I'm using just talking about this meal. My wife didn't even drink the juice I'd bought her (perhaps peer pressure led her to drink the water others were having). There was decent conversation as we got to know a few of the people at our table better. One lady was wondering what Neale thought about 2012. I just shook my head.

- Recent update to "My Experience in Ashland, Oregon at the End of 08"


Timothy Smith said...

Believe it or not some places charge 50+ and its worth it but I just cant bring myself to go unless someone else is footing the bill (yeah, I'm cheap).

Argentina restaurants are worth it (like Fogo De Chao). Its all the most savory meats you can imagine and they walk around the place and slice off whatever your hearts desire onto your plate.

Of course its best not to eat all day so you can make them pay when you get there. They counter this by having the best salad bars on earth (which we avoid, meats are expensive and we punish them).

Sushi also runs me about $30 for dinner so I tend to stick with the $13 lunch.

Hotel food usually sucks but I was forced to eat that crap when on the road. Overpriced, cold and tasteless for the most part but I just billed my clients for the damage.

Timothy Smith said...

P.S. Tom, they do have a Fogo De Chao in Minneapolis.

Of course by the time you and your wife have a soda and dinner with tax and tip its going to be $125 bucks but if you ever went there for an anniversary or something you would enjoy the experience (except paying for it of course).

Thomas said...

I suppose it's possible for a meal to be worth 4 dozen dollars, but it's just such a short-lived thing (course, many don't mind spending 3 times that amount for sexual pleasure in the brothels of Nevada).

If I went to Fogo and had to pay for it entirely on my own, I would be thinking, "Well, this bite is gonna cost me $2.50. You better enjoy it".

When I go to Friday's, I typically don't eat much earlier in the day so that it will really hit the spot. Good strategy on avoiding the salad bar (I only eat half a Caesar salad as my appetizer when going to TGI's).

dmh said...

Fogo is not Argentinian, it's Brasillian. It's based on the currascurias in southern Brasil on the plains. Just sayin.

The key to these places is to not eat all day. Two days, if possible. Fogo also has the best key lime pie I've ever had.

Timothy Smith said...

Brazilian, thats right. They just opened one down here finally so I plan to starve myself for a few days before eating there.