Spending Your Dining Out Dollar Wisely

Even before the current economic crunch, I found myself becoming more and more picky about dining out. There's only so much money in my budget for eating at restaurants, and when I do, I want to make sure that I'm getting not only value for my money, but also good food!

I'm fortunate to live in a city that offers a wide variety of choice when it comes to restaurants. Besides the usual fast food, there are ethnic options such as Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Asian fusion, steak and seafood just to name a few.

I started becoming choosier after a particularly mediocre meal at a middle of the road chain restaurant that bills itself as offering Italian food. I won't give you the actual name of the place, let's just say that they prefer to go barefoot.

Everything that came to the table was either undercooked or overcooked, the presentation was lackluster, and the "chef" seemed to believe that if everything was covered in sauce, it would mask how totally unappealing the food really was. The service was friendly, but unfortunately the server didn't know squat about the menu and was unable to answer our questions. We paid a decent amount of money for dinner for two, and on the way home my husband and I both agreed that we'd never go there again.

We started exploring locally owned and operated restaurants instead of those operated by a chain. And let me tell you, there's a world of difference between the two.

Without fail, the owner of such a restaurant is on hand during dinner and circulates the restaurant talking to customers, getting feedback and answering questions. They know, down to the spices, what goes into the dishes that come out of the kitchen, and more importantly, the source of the food. For the most part, they source locally for in season produce, and year round for beef and poultry, a big plus in my book.

They're always delighted when you enjoy the creations they present, and they are just that, creations. Interesting textures and food combinations that you simply don't find in a chain restaurants. Yes, they're in it to make a living, but their approach to food is miles above that of a chain restaurant. They care, they're passionate about food. And that passion finds its way onto your plate.

Over the past couple of years, I've eaten some incredible food. Most of it I've loved, some of it I haven't, but not because it was badly prepared, without thought, but simply because the taste of it didn't appeal to me. It has and continues to be a wonderful experience. One that I don't mind spending some money on.

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About The Author, Shawn Wilson
This article was written by Shawn Wilson, a member of the customer support team at Datepad, where internet dating is always free. Datepad has a massive directory of informative dating articles along with a great list of dating site reviews on their dating blog.